Kids in the Kitchen: Basic Beans and Rice

One my goals for my kids in the kitchen is that they be capable of making all basic dishes that are needed for healthy, economical living.  Two of those basics are beans and rice.  I thought everyone knew how to cook beans, until my sister-in-law told me a few years ago that she had never made beans “from scratch!”  Now I know that cooking dried beans is an art — not!

Max had his first lesson making beans and rice for us this week, and we turned his hard work into a delicious meal:  black bean soup with rice.

Here are the basics for cooking dried beans.

Step 1:  wash the beans.

washing black beans

Step 2:  Put in a pot with water to cover plus about 2 inches, and add salt (I usually add at least a teaspoon.)  The salt is not necessary, but helps the beans to be salted enough at the end of cooking.

add salt best

Step 3:  Bring to a boil and then turn pot to low.  Cover tightly, but keep an eye on the water level so the beans stay covered at all times.  Cook until soft, usually around 2 hours.  Taste and season as needed.

My kid-proof rice recipe is similar.

1 cup rice

2 cups water

1 tablespoon butter

1 teaspoon salt

Bring to a boil in a medium saucepan, turn to low and set a timer for 20 minutes.  Turn rice off after 20 minutes and fluff with a fork.  The same method works for brown rice, just cook for 40 minutes.

black bean soup with rice

To finish this meal, we chopped 2 onions and 2 bell peppers and sauteed them in a LOT of olive oil (3/4 cup.)  Stir those into your pot of cooked black beans, and serve over rice with a homemade roll on the side — now that’s what I call YUMMY!  Cheap, healthy, good food, made by a 7 year old.

What basics do you think are necessary to teach your kids?  Please leave me a comment below.

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Kids in the Kitchen: Key Lime Pie

One of my goals for 2012 was to make a pie each month.  Even though I had already made pumpkin pies in December, I decided to make one last pie to top off the year — a key lime pie.  Mom had given me a whole bunch of limes, and I had some willing helpers to help juice them.  Key lime pie is so terribly easy, I couldn’t help but make one.

Lucy and Max juiced the limes.  Limes juice easier if you microwave them for 20 seconds before slicing.

juicing limes

My recipe calls for only egg yolks.  I showed the kids how to separate eggs just by lifting the yolk out of the bowl of egg white.  This is the most kid friendly way to separate eggs, even if it is MESSY!

max separating eggs

After beating the three ingredients together, we poured the mixture into the pre-baked shell (a Crisco crust, this time.  I like butter crusts, but sometimes just want the crispness that Crisco provides.)  Bake for 10-15 minutes, and when the pie is cool, top with whipped cream.  YUM!

Here’s the recipe:

1 pre-baked pie shell

1 can sweetened condensed milk

4 egg yolks

1/3  cup lime juice

whipping cream for serving

Beat egg yolks until combined, then add sweetened condensed milk and mix thoroughly.  While continuing to beat, slowly add lime juice.  Pour into pie shell and bake in 350 degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until pie is softly set.  Remove from oven and cool completely before serving.

Come back tomorrow for the 2013 pie challenge!