Posts Tagged ‘cooking with a toddler’

Mini Ravioli with Fresh Tomatoes

Monday, August 13th, 2012

Simple. Straightforward. Delicious. When I’m cooking from my garden, I like to let the flavors of the produce stand on their own. I’m pretty sure I saw Martha cook this on her old show, except it was more like a caprese salad and she called it no knife pasta and she ripped fresh summer tomatoes apart with her hands. Actually, they aren’t very similar at all, but this recipe is the happy result of the battle between an idea in my head and the food stock in my house.

Ravioli with Garden Tomatoes

Mini Ravioli with Fresh Tomatoes

Confession: I didn’t measure, but am a pretty good estimator. Take all this with a grain of salt, well, literally more than a grain. This gets salted. Twice.

3 cups chopped fresh tomatoes, I used half cherry and half large because that is what I picked from the garden. Anything will do.
3 cups mini ravioli, cooked per package directions
2 cloves garlic (peeled and minced)
1 tablespoon cooking oil (I use safflower)
1 teaspoon fresh oregano (basil would work, maybe a bit more. My basil plant did not do well this year. Not at all)
1/4 cup parmesan cheese

  1. Put salted water on to boil for ravioli (follow package instructions)
  2. Chop tomatoes into bite sized pieces (halves for cherries)
  3. When water is just about to boil, heat oil in a large sauce pan and add garlic. Cook over medium-low heat until garlic is translucent, but not browned.
  4. Put the ravioli in the boiling water (follow directions for cooking time, normally about 3 min for minis)
  5. Add the oregano to the garlic and oil.
  6. Drain the ravioli
  7. Put the tomatoes in the garlic and oil, sprinkle with salt and then add the drained ravioli and cover.
  8. Let sit for about two minutes then add parmesan cheese and stir.
  9. Place in a warmed bowl to serve family style or dish out to plates. Enjoy!

Toddler Tip: Spencer really wanted to help make this, but there wasn’t a lot  for him to do. He helped pick the tomatoes and oregano. He scraped the cut tomatoes off of the cutting board into a bowl with a spoon. He “measured” the grated parmesan from the container into a bowl. (I like to grate a whole block of parmesan at once and just keep it in a tub in the freezer. Or sometimes I buy the shaved parmesan. I don’t judge. Your cheese is your business, unless it is the green can. That isn’t really cheese.)


A Chocolate Cake for Father’s Day

Monday, June 18th, 2012

Baking with a toddler can be a challange. Between the grabbing hands, a constant refain of “I’m gonna do it myself,” and his less than accurate measuring cup to bowl skills, it is a wonder that a cake comes out at all. But bake a cake we did. This was our second cake and our first layer cake. Spencer decided he wanted to make a chocolate cake and had been asking for days so we attempted one for Father’s Day.

We used this recipe for Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake (we had some mayo to use up and figured it was worth a shot) and Martha’s ganache recipe. For the filling, I used up a batch of cherry syrup that turned out too thick.

The cake wasn’t perfect. It was a little dry and the ganache thicken up too quickly to get a good glaze on the sides because of a certain toddler’s refusal to give up the whisk.  It tasted great and looks… fine. But Spencer? He’s ecstatic and had a blast. For days he talked about the cake he was making for father’s day and that is what this cake was all about.

Sometimes cooking with a child is hard when you enjoy cooking and spending time in the kitchen. In order to relax when cooking with Spencer, I need to let go of ideals of perfection, taste or appearance, and remember this is about the experience. If I want to cook for my own pleasure, it might be best to wait until I can do it by myself. He’s such a small little helper, not yet three, that this is about us not the cake.


Heart Shaped Croutons

Monday, January 30th, 2012

Heart shaped croutons are a super easy and fun way to make a salad festive for Valentine’s Day. It is such a simple way to add an extra little touch. Nothing says romance like toasted bread. Fact.

And, to be quite honest, any shape would do. I plan on making bunnies for Easter and you could even make footballs for the super bowl. All game days need a salad. It balances out the good stuff. I went with a simple salt and pepper combination with these, but feel free to spice them up with a little garlic powder, dried basil or oregano or red pepper flakes.

Heart Shaped Croutons on Salad

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Heart Shaped Croutons
Serves 4(on a salad)
4 slices sandwich bread (or french or whatever you have laying around)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper. fresh ground
Heart shaped cookie cutters, pastry brush, cookie sheet

  1. Using cookie cutters, cut heart shapes out of bread and place on cookie sheet
  2. Let sit for an hour, then preheat oven to 350 degrees
  3. In a small bowl or measuring cup, mix oil, salt and pepper
  4. Using a pastry brush or a spoon, brush heart shapes with oil mixture. Flip and brush other side.
  5. Place in oven and cook for 8 minutes. Turn shapes over and continue baking for an additional 8 minutes until shapes are golden brown
  6. Let cool on cookie sheet and enjoy!
  7. Croutons are best enjoyed on the same day, but will keep for a few day in an airtight container at room temperature.

I had a little helper today. This is a great cooking project to do with kids. Spencer is only 2.5 and could cut the bread, remove the shapes, and brush them with oil. I did a little evening out when he was done, but for the most part he was able to do it. (It does depend a little bit on your desire for neatness and precision. Some of the hearts ended up a little rustic and he ended up a little… oily.) how to make heart shaped croutons   cooking with a toddler croutons   making croutons at home   fun things to cook with toddlers heart shaped croutons   heart shaped croutons for valentines day   Pin It

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