I’m a control freak in the kitchen. I like to do things my way which makes it difficult to cook with other people unless they are willing to help out with the dirty work and then stand aside to let me do my thing. My husband is perfectly willing to help me by spatchcocking a chicken, which is a great way to cook a whole chicken, but really gross when you have to crunch through those bones. It brings out my wimpy, squeamish side.
Simon is much better at bringing Timothy into the kitchen to help him cook. I am definitely trying, especially because Timothy has become quite a picky eater. I was a very picky eater when I was little and I started cooking so that my meals would be exactly the way I wanted them. My mom worked too, so as my sister and I got older it was necessary that we help out more. Cooking was not my sister’s favourite chore, so that fell to me.
I don’t have to have a power struggle with Timothy about food all the time, so I want to help him feel ownership over what we have for dinner. He doesn’t get his choice all the time and if we have something on the table that he doesn’t much like or hasn’t had before, he must eat a ‘thank you bite’.
I admit that I still don’t really let him have much freedom in the kitchen. I only let him help on my terms. I have to have everything organized and ready for him. I want to eventually get him peeling carrots and cutting things a little more independently. For now I will let him keep using the mini-chopper under my supervision and hold his hand when he cuts anything with a proper knife. He is getting a taste for cooking now and he is opening up the possibility of trying new things that his knee-jerk reaction would be to reject it outright.
With this soup, he sees that there are onions and garlic going in and red bell pepper. These are all things he has previously said that he doesn’t like. Because he helps chop them for ‘his’ soup, he knows that he does actually like them. He will now eat raw bell pepper. The vegetables that he finds acceptable to eat is slowly, but surely, expanding. I just need to get him to make something with green vegetables now. I think I will try broccoli and cheese soup. Wish me luck!
What was the first proper meal you or your kids took full ownership in making? At what age?
A creamy kid-friendly tomato soup with cheese tortellini that is a quick weeknight meal to throw together.
5 minPrep Time
35 minCook Time
40 minTotal Time
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 small onion
- 1 garlic clove
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp Herb de Provence
- 1/4 cup red wine
- 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1 680 g (24 oz) jar of strained tomatoes or crushed tomatoes
- 140 g goat cheese
- 1/3 cup whipping cream (35% cream)
- 3 cups cheese tortellini*
- 1/2 tsp salt (more or less to taste)
- Using a mini chopper or food processor, blitz the bell pepper, onion and garlic together until they are very finely minced.
- In a wide 3 1/2 - 4 quart pot, heat the olive oil and sauté the minced bell pepper, onion and garlic with a good pinch of salt and pepper for 3 or 4 minutes over a medium heat.
- When they have softened well, add the Herb de Provence, and red wine.
- Pour in the chicken broth and strained tomatoes and break up the goat cheese into the soup. Let it simmer together for 15 or 20 minutes with the lid on. Stir often to help the goat cheese melt into the soup.
- Check the seasoning and add any salt if needed. Pour in the whipping cream and add the cheese tortellini. Let the soup simmer for another 10-15 minutes depending on if you are using fresh or frozen tortellini.
Use more tortellini if you want the soup to be thicker and heartier -more like a pasta dish than a soup.
Robin Meehan says