Kids’ Cooking Project for School – Spaghetti and Meatballs

I like this project for a class lunch for ages 3-8.  I recommend making one set of meatballs ahead of time to speed up the process.  Have the teacher bake the meatballs the kids made during lunch time and save for afternoon snack later that week.  I like to use turkey meat and think dark or white breast meat is fine.   I have tried both many times.  For ease of class project, I recommend measuring the spices ahead of time and just bring baggies or little cups that the kids can toss in.   Otherwise I find the kids are fighting over helping each other with the measuring spoons and pouring and you get a mess.  Start the jumbo pot of water ahead of time and lightly salt it.  Use extra water if you think some of the water will boil down.  You want a lot of water for the pasta.

Class Spaghetti and Meatballs – February 2014

 

Check List of Items Needed

1 Cookie Sheet for baking meatballs

Aluminum foil to line baking sheet

Cooking oil spray to spray foil on top of cookie sheet

Very large bowl for meatball mixing , small bowl for egg

Plastic bags for mixing meat initially by hand

Large strainer for pasta

Heavy duty large mixing spoon

Very large pot to cook pasta

Small pot or fry pan for heating sauce and already cooked meatballs

Spoon for tossing sauce as it is heated

Bring spaghetti serving fork to school if you have one (I only attaching this link because it is a good picture.  You do not need to spend $32 for a pasta serving fork.  However look for a utensil that is firm on the bottom vs a cheap plastic one.  You will have better success and it will hold up better in the dishwasher.

http://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/9915919/?catalogId=8&sku=9915919&bnrid=3120901&cm_ven=Google_PLA&cm_cat=Cooks’_Tools&cm_pla=Cooking_Utensils&cm_ite=All-Clad_Stainless-Steel_Professional_Pasta_Fork_%7C_Williams-Sonoma&srccode=cii_17588969&cpncode=34-136177943-2

Food Needed

Bag of spices already measured (see below**)

Few tablespoons of milk

1 Egg

Pinch of salt for the boiled water for pasta

Already made meatballs (to speed up project) –

(can save other meatballs for later after cooking)

Ground turkey meat (1 to 1.5 pounds) for hands on kids mixing – you should easily be able to make 20 meatballs

Box of spaghetti – Break sticks in half before cooking

1 jar of sauce

½ Cup Panko bread crumbs or some other brand –  Wegman brand good too

Parmesan Cheese for Topping

Optional fresh broccoli stalks cut small

Reminders for teacher 

Get water boiling early before start project with kids

Spaghetti needs 11-13 minutes on per box direction – start the timer once the water reboils and watch pot that it does not overflow

If using, toss in broccoli with about 5-6 minutes to go;  strain pasta/broc.

Meatball Making – likely to take 15 minutes with kids and then needs to cook

Pre-heat oven to 400 for meatballs before starting project with kids.

Lined Rim Baking Sheet with alum foil and spray a little oil

NOTE: each kid can add in ingredients below – suggest parent mix meatball batter, then hand a little meat to each kid to form meatball

–       In large bowl- stir  bread crumbs (1/2 cup) and milk (3 tbsp) and let stand 5 mins

–       ** Add oregano (1/2 T) , dried onion (1/2 t), salt (1/2 t) , pepper (1/4 t)

–       Crack egg in small bowl and lightly beat

–       Add egg to large bowl of breadcrumbs

–       Add in the meat and make meatballs

–       Bake about 11-13 minutes

Warm Sauce on medium low  along with already cooked meatballs; serve with spaghetti and sprinkle with cheese.  Plan for ten minutes for sauce and already cooked meatballs to get warm

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Guy Fieri Pepperoni Pizza Dip – Good Not Great

Have to say I followed this recipe to a tee and was disappointed.  It was not because it was bad, but just because it wasn’t outstanding for the amount of work to make this dish.  I would not make it again.   Pizza is simply better.  If you do proceed, make sure to plan ahead and leave out the cream cheese to soften before doing anything else.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/guy-fieri/pepperoni-pizza-dip-recipe2.html

I was pumped up after watching guy make it two weeks ago.  The recipe tasted fine but not worth the large amount of effort is you ask me.  His prep time says 30 minutes  – even with a helper and being perfectly efficient we could not complete the prep of this dish in 40 minutes.  You also have a lot of clean up in this recipe.   So with one person, unless you are super efficient, forget about it.  The sauce using exactly his ingredients was fine.  Even expensive fresh whole food cheeses did not perk this dish up.

Pepperoni Pizza Dip

Recipe courtesy of Guy Fieri
Total Time: 1 hr 50 min: (my notes: hands on time for prepping and cleaning up 1 hour to one hour fifteen minutes +)

Prep: 30 min Cook  (my notes, expect 40+ just to get it ready for the oven,  plus clean up time + time to bake)

Yield:8  – probably tad more

Level:Easy – nothing is too complicated but for a novice I would skip this recipe and I think an expert would not be excited about the outcome.  People still ate the dish at our party, but it was not a “crowd wow”.

Ingredients

Pizza Sauce:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon red chile flakes
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes (recommended: fire roasted Muir Glen)
1 tablespoon julienned fresh basil leaves, plus sprig for garnish
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Bottom Layer:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened

2/3 cup ricotta cheese

1/3 cup grated Parmesan
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon red chile flakes

Pizza Toppings:
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 cup thinly sliced pepperoni
1/2 cup diced (1/4-inch) red bell pepper
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1/2 cup quartered and thinly sliced crimini mushrooms
1 cup small-dice buffalo mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
Serving suggestions: Toasted pizza dough strips, toasted pita strips, or crackers
Directions (I made King Arthur’s Artisan Bread Sticks, my next entree)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

For the pizza sauce: Add the olive oil to a 12-inch saute pan over medium heat and, when hot, add the onion. Saute until translucent. Add the garlic and red chile flakes, cook for 1 minute, and then add the canned tomatoes. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. When the mixture has thickened, stir in the fresh and dried spices. Simmer for an additional 15 minutes and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Remove from the heat.

For the bottom layer: In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese, ricotta, Parmesan, egg, garlic and spices. Spread the mixture evenly into an oven-safe casserole (2-quart capacity or a 9-inch pie pan). Set aside.

For the toppings: In a small saute pan over medium heat, add a drizzle of olive oil and the pepperoni. Saute until the pepperoni is just crisp, 4 to 5 minutes, and then drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Add the remaining olive oil and the red bell peppers and saute over medium-high heat until just starting to soften. Add the shallot, cook for 2 minutes, and then add the mushrooms. Cook for 7 to 10 minutes and remove from the heat.

To assemble: Spread the pizza sauce over the top of the bottom layer of cheese, sprinkle with the pepper and mushroom mixture, and then the pepperoni. Evenly distribute the mozzarella over the top and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the Parmesan. Garnish with the basil sprig and serve hot with pizza dough strips, toasted pita strips, or crackers.

Crock Pot Applesauce BBQ Chicken.

I tried this Applesauce BBQ dish recently from a women named Lori.  I was very intrigued by her concept of making 40 Meals/4 Hours Recipe Collection and this was one of them.  I have also tried her orange chicken recipe and that was pretty tasty as well.  I prepped both chicken dishes the same day freezing the chicken for the BBQ for a later date.  (What a helpful tip).   However move the frozen chicken to the fridge at least 24 hours before using it.  I used chicken breasts for the recipe sited below as it calls for that.  My husband and brother-in-law clearly would have preferred the dish made with thighs.  I personally like white meat better but each to his own.  I am sure the dish made with your preference will turn out great either way.  I made this dish in my : All-Clad 7-Qt. Deluxe Slow Cooker with Cast Aluminum Insert from Williams-Sonoma.  If you have the money, this is an awesome slow cooker.  The insert comes out and can be used to brown meat on a burner and it can go in the oven.  It is a time saver and the cleanup is always easy using this gadget.

Lori’s recipes – 40 –   http://whoneedsacape.com/2012/11/crockpot-freezer-cooking/

The Crock Pot Applesauce BBQ Chicken Dish (Note she credits this recipe to someone else herself)

http://whoneedsacape.com/2013/01/crockpot-applesauce-bbq-chicken/

Ingredients – sized for the way I made it.

  • 3 pounds of breasts cut in large chunks)
  • 1 t ground pepper
  • 2/3 cup times 2 of  chunky applesauce – I used regular and threw in some peeled diced apple chunks for 1 apple
  • 2/3 cup BBQ sauce times 2 (I used Wegmans)
  • 4 Tablespoons of light brown sugar
  • 2 Teaspoons of chili powder

Instructions

  1. Spray Crockpot with non-stick cooking spray, or use a Crockpot liner for easy clean-up.  With my slow cooker I skipped this step and had no problems.
  2. Place chicken breasts on bottom.
  3. Mix all remaining ingredients together, and pour over chicken.  I then stirred the chicken and sauce some so some stuff was below the chicken layer.
  4. The sourced recipe calls for 6-8 hours on crock pot low setting. Serves 8+.  I found after 5 hours the chicken was more than done and suggest not cooking it as long as the recipe calls for.
  5. I served over rice.

Williams-Sonoma Slow Cooker:

http://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/all-clad-deluxe-slow-cooker-with-aluminum-insert/?pkey=e%7Cslow%2Bcooker%7C8%7Cbest%7C0%7C1%7C24%7C%7C1&cm_src=PRODUCTSEARCH||NoFacet-_-NoFacet-_-Feature_Recipe_Rule-_-