One of my goals in 2013 is to teach my boys to cook … safely. Don’t gasp. We’re not talking anything braised, battered or blackened … and no chef hats or fancy techniques are required.

Just plain old survival cooking. The kind that will keep them alive once they leave their mama’s nest for their college dorms and hopefully get them props from their future wives.

They are nine and eleven, and although they’ve helped me in the kitchen from time to time, I want them to gain some culinary independence. My oldest son enjoys being in the kitchen. The younger one – not so much.

Baby steps.

To start, I had them pick one dish that they enjoyed. I want them to become comfortable enough with this dish that in the next four months, they will be comfortable preparing it completely on their own.

Lessons learned.

I can’t stress enough to keep it simple. Tyler chose spaghetti and Willis picked barbeque chicken sandwiches (recipe below).  Perfect! They are not only fast and easy but they are meals that my boys could eat every day, which means plenty of opportunity for practice.

Don’t overlook basic kitchen techniques. For example, knife skills.  As tempting as it is for my boys to bust a pirate swashbuckling move, they are learning to keep fingers far away from the knife blade, to always pick it up handle first, and to put it the dishwasher blade down.

If you are like me, you probably don’t read them but trust me, there are instructions on the back of pasta boxes.  These instructions will help a child start to understand the format in which recipes are written.

Discovering how small an actual serving really is can be a shock to two growing boys. And learning how to change the recipe for different serving amounts exercises the math muscle.

Sanitary Cooking! The term, I don’t know where your hands have been is an understatement!

We are also learning how to boil water, drain the fat off of ground beef, thoroughly rinse vegetables, strain pasta and why mommy calls the crock pot her “BFF”.

Although, I can have these meals on the table in less than fifteen minutes (minus crock pot simmering), the teaching of the not so skilled little hands adds more time and requires a lot more patience. A little kitchen swagger will go a long way so I’m up for the challenge.  Who knows, they may be bringing me my meals some day!


Easy and Tasty Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches in the Crock Pot




1 -2 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
1 (18 ounce) jar of your favorite barbecue sauce (I love Sweet Baby Rays!)
1 medium sweet onion, sliced
4 -6 hamburger buns


1         Remove all visible fat from the chicken and toss it in the crock pot.
2         Place the onion slices on top of the chicken.
3         Pour the barbecue sauce over top.
4         You may not need the entire jar, just enough to cover the chicken.
5         Cook it on LOW for 8 hours or until the chicken is nice and tender.
6         Shred the chicken with a fork and knife; scoop the mixture onto the bottom buns and top it with the top buns.
7         Or, if you’re like my dad, you might prefer leaving the breasts whole and eating it that way.
8         Voila!  An easy weeknight meal that doesn’t heat up your kitchen in the summertime!