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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Me & My Little Chef

There used to be a time that recipes with a lot of chopping or shredding was enough to make me push it to the bottom of my "to-try" pile. The thought of yanking out the cutting board, cleaning veggies, shredding cheese, etc, etc, was just so unappealing and seemed so time-consuming. Now that I have a two-year-old however, these are the types of recipes that I search for. Why? Because if I chop it, he can put it in the pot. If I shred it, he can sprinkle it on. It doesn't exactly cut my cooking time in half, but it definitely helps to have a little company in the kitchen.

Last week we had mommy & "bubby" time (my pet name for him), and we experimented with making calzones for the first time. I didn't exactly know how to make a calzone, but I figured it couldn't be that difficult, so I gathered together a random assortment of things I thought I'd need: pizza sauce, refrigerated pie crust, olives, onions, sausage... and of course cheese. But since I already had an assortment (so I thought) of Sargento cheeses at home, I decided to leave that off the grocery list. When I got home I realized I only had three slices of provolone left, and the mozzarella I was thinking of was actually a package of string cheese (oops).

I decided to go ahead and make them anyhow. It was pretty easy to flatten the pie crusts and cut them into fourths. After that it was a simple matter of spreading the sauce on, chopping up the veggies, cooking the meat and then figuring out what to do with the cheese. My son helped me the whole time, muttering cute little observances like "Perfect!" whenever he put the olives in just the right place. Every so often I would hear him comment to himself, "Perhaps I need some more." I don't know where he learned to talk like a little grown-up, but I was having a hard time not cracking up as I heard his chef-like phrases and watched him squint at his handiwork.

When we got to the cheese I was going to just chop it up when I suddenly thought to myself "duh! It's string cheese." I handed it to my little chef and showed him how to peel the cheese down so he could put it on the calzones. It didn't take him long to get the hang of it and pretty soon all of them were piled up with mozz-y goodness. I tore up the provolone slices and put them in the calzones too, a little extra cheese never hurts in a pizza.

After much tinkering with the right amount of time and cooking temp, we finally got them to come out nice and golden brown, and when I opened them up the cheese was gooey and melty. Thankfully they tasted as good as they looked, and my husband declared them a keeper. I wish I would have written down what I did, then I could actually "keep" it. What I do have though is the memory of making a meal with my son, and that's something I'll hang onto forever.