On Tuesday night of this week – the eve of the last day of school – the hubby and I were heading to bed. “Don’t stay up too late,” the hubby reminded our 11-year-old kiddo, Jack.
“What about tomorrow night?” Jack asked.
“You can stay up a little later, but not as late as on weekends,” the hubby answered.
“But … tomorrow night is the start of like a 90-day weekend,” Jack retorted.
Kid’s got a point. Summer vacation looms long and lazy in May, and Jack’s got a lot of plans for his summer. He also intends to prepare more of his own meals rather than relying on his dad’s food drop-offs for every meal, so the hubby and I have been brainstorming a plan so the kiddo isn’t eating chicken poppers and Velveeta Shells & Cheese for every meal.
It will be a learning experience for all of us; Jack has cooked from scratch dozens of times – things like knoephla soup and Instant Pot mac and cheese – but always when we’re home to monitor and troubleshoot. There are bound to be a few missteps.
Like the other day when I was at work and the hubby was at a ball game in Casselton when Jack called. That’s rarely a good thing; Jack does not like phone calls, so he never calls just for the heck of it.
“I think I broke the Instant Pot,” Jack said. “The broth keeps coming out from underneath it as soon as I pour it in over the macaroni.”
I wracked my brain for a minute, then remembered we’d used the Instant Pot the previous day. “Um, is the insert still in the dishwasher?” I asked.
“The what now?” Jack said.
“The insert. Shiny metal pot. Fits inside the Instant Pot. It’s the part that holds the food.”
“Oh. Let me look … yes. Is that important?” Jack asked.
Jack knew exactly how to make mac and cheese in the Instant Pot if he was starting with a fully assembled appliance; alas, he’d poured a box of macaroni and 64 ounces of chicken broth directly into the heating element of the appliance.
Jack made a frozen pizza, instead.
We’ll likely be relying on a rotation of easy meals (thank you, chicken poppers), foods Jack can cook from scratch on his own and leftovers he can easily reheat – like these grilled Moroccan pork kabobs. They’re great served alongside veggies (I love food blogger Molly Yeh’s Moroccan carrot salad), pita bread and toasted pearl couscous cooked in broth – another of Jack’s favorite foods he can make by himself.