Chopped- At Home With The Kids. - My Culinary Adventures Blog at - 225574

My Culinary Adventures

Chopped- at home with the kids. 
Mar. 3, 2011 7:30 pm 
Updated: Mar. 8, 2011 5:22 pm
My family loves the show “Chopped” on the Food Network. Tonight, since we didn’t have any activities right after school, I thought it would be fun if we played Chopped at home. My two oldest sons (12 and 8) love to cook and my youngest (3) loves to help, so they were up for the challenge.

Unlike the show, which gives each chef a basket whose contents must be used for a specific course, I bought quite a few ingredients at the store, which were allowed to be used in any course.

Their basket included:

Green onions
Fresh clams
Dried figs
Yucca root
Grape-berry punch

I went heavy on the fruit and really light on the veggies. That wasn’t intentional, I was just grabbing things that sounded good at the time.

So… what did my little chefs create?

Ronald decided on a fruit salad of mango, strawberry and star fruit. Justin had the idea of reconstituting the dried figs by boiling them in the grape-berry punch. We then tossed in a diced plum and Ronald thought it would be a good idea to reduce the sauce with some red wine. I had a bottle of sweet red, so that’s what we used. I was really proud when he suggested that. He cooks like his mama. We smoothed the glaze with my immersion blender.

The boys did all of the chopping and peeling, with the exception of the mango and the yucca root. It was tough to cut, so I took care of that. We boiled it until tender. Justin sautéed some green onions and garlic to mash with it and Ronald had the great idea of thinning it out with some chicken stock (it really needed thinning). We added a little cream cheese for richness and plenty of salt and pepper.

Justin steamed the clams until they opened up for him, which the boys found thrilling. He also made a simple garlic butter sauce to accompany them.

Throughout all of this, Cody was stirring and tossing this and that into the nearest cooking vessel and sometimes onto the floor.

The results?

It was a huge success. My kitchen was trashed, but it was so much fun and the cleanup wasn't too bad, considering. The food was excellent- everyone cleaned their plates and Justin went back for seconds of our yucca root smash.

I can’t wait to do this again with them!
Mar. 3, 2011 7:46 pm
What a great idea. Glad you had a good time with your boys.
Mar. 3, 2011 7:47 pm
That is the best! I would have loved every minute of it. You are such a great Mommy.. :o)
Mar. 3, 2011 8:08 pm
Great fun... I do a challenge with the kids now and then. We go shopping, each can pic ingredients for the assigned dish (appetizer, main, side, desert)... the we all vote on the best at the end... everybody wins... and yes, the kitchen gets trashed :D
Mar. 4, 2011 4:07 am
I love your idea! That sounds like a fun family unity project! As well as a project in creativity! I might just have to try it when my college kids come home for Spring break!
Mar. 4, 2011 4:23 am
So adorable!!
Mar. 4, 2011 4:47 am
Awesome family night, thats what life is all about! Congrats.
Mar. 4, 2011 5:06 am
But, the point is, CP, you got your kids together, in the kitchen, at home, using some very creative thinking! You are to be commended and more young moms should copy your delightful way of Food Prep 101. Loved your blog!!
Mar. 4, 2011 5:08 am
We play CHOPPED in our house too - if you are bored you can go scan my old blogs for the results - love your basket and your cheftestants all did a great job
Mar. 4, 2011 5:26 am
What a great idea! Thanks for sharing.
Mar. 4, 2011 6:17 am
What a rocking mom you turned out to be!! Thats freaking great. Good on ya!
Mar. 4, 2011 6:52 am
I love it!
Mar. 4, 2011 6:53 am
I love it!
Mar. 4, 2011 8:51 am
How fun! I love it that you're teaching your sons not only HOW to cook, but to love it, too!! Enjoy your future sessions of Chopped at Home :-)
Mar. 4, 2011 8:52 am
What a great idea! You certainly sound like a really "cool" mom! I think it's great for young folks to learn about cooking with imagination and have fun doing it. Too bad more men werent' taught to cook back in the day, huh?
Mar. 4, 2011 8:53 am
No disrespect meant towards you guys, Raedwolf, Mike, Doug, etc. You guys are the best!!!
Mar. 4, 2011 1:40 pm
What a cool Mom you are!! That sounded like so much fun. Afraid my DS is more worried about prom than cooking with Mom! As fast as little boys and pouppies grow, a mess in the kitchen one day will be such a sweet memory for you later :)
Mar. 4, 2011 1:47 pm
OMG, thanks for the idea! My nieces, ages 10 and 15, visit for a week every summer. This would be a terrific activity to do together this summer! The youngest especially loves to assist in the kitchen!
Mar. 4, 2011 2:01 pm
Thanks for all the great comments! This really was a terrific time. My boys help out all the time in the kitchen, but we usually have an idea of what we're making; this was the first time that creativity reigned supreme. :)
Mar. 4, 2011 2:02 pm
Doug- I can't wait to check out what your family has created! Cliff- I saw your post on my last blog and I was so happy to have been able to help out. I knew you were going to be baking bread and I was very curious to know how it turned out. Thanks for the update!
Mar. 4, 2011 2:05 pm
Marvel- Everyone won in our competition as well. I didn't have the heart to pit them against each other, so we decided to make it a group effort. I told the boys in advance that if everything was edible, we won, if not- we all won anyway because it was a learning experience. :D
Mar. 6, 2011 1:51 pm
What a threefer! - The boys tried some new foods, They are learning how to cook and they had fun with Mom - winners all around.
Mar. 6, 2011 3:54 pm
It's great you're having fun with your kids in the kitchen.
Mar. 6, 2011 5:06 pm
I used to do something similar....I would open the cabinet and have one of my boys pick the ingredients for dinner. I really like your idea. It's wonderful you are getting your boys in the kitchen. It's fun, yes!
Mar. 7, 2011 1:29 pm
Great idea! Great way to get kids involved. Thanks for sharing.
Mar. 7, 2011 7:31 pm
Awesome. I wish you were MY mom!
Mar. 8, 2011 12:47 pm
WOW Nice Idea. I may try that.
Mar. 8, 2011 2:43 pm
Fantastic!!! What a great idea! Sounds like you guys had a lot of fun! They made really nice choices too. Looks like you're doing a great job with your kids!
Mar. 8, 2011 4:24 pm
Great idea! You have some wonderful kids too. I have a 10 and 11 year old and all they can make is toast and packaged soup. I might have to try something like this to get them more involved in cooking!
Mar. 8, 2011 5:22 pm
Love love this!! I failed at teaching my kids to cook, always wanted to be the "Kool Aid Mom" But it's way better to get them up and involved. I will try it with my college crowd when they come home, thanks for the inspiration :)
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Citrus Punch

Home Town
Wilton, Iowa, USA

Member Since
Mar. 2009

Cooking Level
Not Rated

Cooking Interests
Baking, Slow Cooking, Indian, Italian, Southern, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, Healthy, Vegetarian, Dessert, Kids, Quick & Easy, Gourmet

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About Me
I'm a stay at home mom with a terrific husband and three sweet sons. I come from a big, crazy, loving family and am very close to my five sisters. Family is the best.
My favorite things to cook
I like to make anything. I like to bake and cook and I especially love making new (to me) ethnic foods and baking bread.
My favorite family cooking traditions
My mom's chicken & rice soup with biscuits, Christmas baking, the "nothing but homemade" rule for family gatherings.
My cooking triumphs
I am a good baker. Not cakes and cookies type baking, but I do well with yeast breads and enjoy thinking up new bread recipes.
My cooking tragedies
We don't talk about those- it makes me cranky.
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