Category Archives: cookingkids

Walking Tacos

walking taco key ingredient

Of all the hyper-local Iowan foods I’ve had, Walking Tacos are my absolute favorite. Even though they are made with Doritos, they are (at least in practice) a seasonal food. And I’ve been dying to have some all summer.

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Pretzels

New Wine, IA

We were back in Iowa for my wife’s family reunion. It’s a potluck affair that, in years past, my wife and I have been freeloading on by bringing something lame, like plates and cups or chips. This year, to make up for that, I made brisket in a crock pot and also some pretzels.

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Cooking Fail – Pizza Rolls

blow out pizza rolls

With some of my in-laws arriving late in the evening after a long drive, I figured they would need a snack when they got here. So, I decided I would try and make some pizza rolls. It had been years since I made pizza rolls, and back then, I used puff pastry. This time, I wanted to use regular pizza dough.

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>Cooking for the in-laws

>Every holiday, Sarah’s family gets together at her mother’s house. All of the other siblings bring something from their kitchens to share. Because Sarah doesn’t really cook all that much, we would typically bring booze.

This year, since we have been cooking more, we decided that we would cook something. And to make up for lost time, we decided we would make dinner for sarah’s parents and her sister’s family. Except for when there’s a grill involved, this was my first time cooking for a group this large: ten people, four of which were children. 
When they visited over the summer, pizza seemed to work out quite well. So Sarah and I decided we would make a triple batch of pizza dough. I also breaded some pork and chicken in panko for the adults. We served this with a side of acorn squash, a father-in-law favorite, and green beans. 
While I was busy cooking the meat, Sarah had the kids work on the pizzas with the kids. We pre-baked the crusts and let the pans cool down so the kids wouldn’t burn themselves. Then we set out the crusts for the kids to do the work. It was a pretty awesome setup. If the kids would have been Asian, it would have looked like a small sweat shop. 
We bought extra extra toppings, thinking that the kids would be heavy handed. But, for some reason, they weren’t. They would put some sauce on, ask if that was enough, I would tell them to add more, and so on. After the third time, I just told them that it was enough. The same happened with the cheese. 
Here are the pizzas we had:
  1. cheese: pizza sauce, mozzarella ball chunks, shredded mozarella, and a shredded pizza blend (mozzarella and some other yellow cheese)
  2. pesto: pesto sauce, mozzarella, shredded mozarella
  3. chicken alfredo: alredo sauce, diced cooked chicken, shredded pizza blend
  4. blue cheese and mushroom: pizza sauce, blue cheese, shredded mozzarella, baby bells mushrooms
  5. pepperoni: pizza sauce, turkey pepperoni, mozzarella, shredded mozzarella, and pizza blend cheese
For the dough, I used my regular pizza dough recipe, although we used all regular flour instead of the flour and wheat flour mix I usually use.
Overall, I think things turned out fair. The pizza ended up tasting pretty doughy and definitely needed more cheese and sauce, but the kids seemed to like eating the pizzas they made. Also, I have made better chicken and pork before. I think it was the scale of the number of servings that threw me off. At home, I rarely have to manage more than a pan or two at a time.
Turning out a meal for that many people was an endeavor. I don’t know how people do it on a regular basis.
It was nice to cook in a full sized kitchen, though. While prepping the meal, Sarah and I noted that our feet were getting tired. This, we hypothesized, is because we had to walk to and from the fridge, the counter, the sink, or the garbage can. Our kitchen at home is the size of a closet. We can reach all of these things by simply turning around. 

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