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Now that fall sports are in full swing, and our schedules are as busy as ever; Sunday’s have become a time for rest and relaxation. We usually sleep in, or try to at least, drink coffee over morning cartoons, and prep for another chaotic week. About a year ago, we started having Sunday Dinner with friends. A tradition that started with neighbors soon turned into an entire family event. The days are filled with lots of cooking, and bonding as a family of course. After a long exhausting week, a day dedicated to pajamas and food is well deserved if you ask me.
It wasn’t until recently that B started showing interest in our Sunday ritual. And since then, it has become a weekly tradition we all look forward to. From shopping local, to measuring ingredients- B is involved every step of the way. By educating him about the foods we eat, it has inspired him to make healthy choices, and develop a love for helping out in the kitchen. While traditions vary from home to home, here are a few tips that help us stay connected in the kitchen, even when life gets busy.
Have A Plan
First thing in the morning, we sit at the table together and come up with a grocery list. We brainstorm what type of meals we want, and list all the ingredients needed. By allowing B to make the list helps him with his writing skills as well as comprehension. Having a plan teaches him the importance of being prepared and creates a foundation for success.
Grocery shopping tends to be stressful at times, especially with two kids. By involving them and allowing them to be apart of the decision making process, makes for a much more successful trip. They feel a sense of accomplishment, and are more inclined to help out. Whether it is crossing off items on a list, or picking out the ripest produce; such a little task goes a long way. We were able to pick up all of our ingredients at the Commissary, but most can be found at any local grocery store.
Keep It Simple
When it comes to Sunday dinner, I want something simple and wholesome that the entire family will enjoy! One of our favorite meals to prepare with B is a hearty Mixed Greens and Smoked Sausage Soup. Packed with nothing but fall flavors, the true star of this recipe is the Eckrich Smoked Sausage. Naturally hardwood smoked for a true smokehouse taste, this recipe wouldn’t be complete without it. The versatailty of Eckrich Smoked Sausage allows busy parents like us to create delicious and satisfying meals with confidence.
With the help of Eckrich Smoked Sausage, I can create a stress-free meal so we can focus on what’s most important- family. When it comes to this particular recipe, I enjoy using Polska Kielbasa Natural Casing Smoked Sausage. But it’s available in a wide variety of flavors, including Cheddar Smoked Sausage Links.
- 1 bunch of kale, stems on and chopped
- 1 bunch of collard greens, stems on and chopped
- 1 lb. tomatoes, diced
- 2 onions, diced
- 2 red bell peppers, chopped
- 10-12 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 c butternut squash, chopped
- 1 can black eyed peas, drained and rinsed
- 1.5 packages of Eckrich Smoked Sausage, chopped
- 1 tbsp. oil
- Salt and pepper
- Once all the ingredients are prepped, heat oil in a large pan on medium-high heat. Sautee Eckrich Smoked Sausage for approximately 5-10 minutes. Set aside.
- Fill a large pot with chopped kale and add just enough water to cover the greens. I used roughly 9 cups.
- Over medium-high heat, bring to a gentle boil. Lower heat and simmer kale for 30 minutes.
- Add the collard greens, onions, tomatoes, garlic, squash and black eyed peas to the pot. Season with salt and pepper.
- Cover and simmer for 1 hour, stirring often.
- After an hour, remove lid and continue to simmer for an additional 1 hour.
- Remove from heat, serve immediately.
Before the cooking begins, we always wash our hands and discuss the steps needed to complete the recipe. First, B will read the recipe out loud and gather all the necessary ingredients and utensils. We then split the tasks and start cooking. The kids wash the produce, and I do the chopping. They assist in the taste testing, stirring, and so on. This is by far their favorite part. Watching it all come together, knowing they had a hand in the process is so satisfying to witness.
Cooking is one of my favorite things to do, so having the ability to share my passion with my kids means the world to me. We laugh, joke, and sing the entire time. While I am certainly teaching them the fundamentals of cooking, they’re the ones who are really teaching me. That everything you do, even the task of preparing a meal, can be fun!
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