I feel like the worst mom in the world because of what I have fed my kids the last few weeks. Things have been so crazy and with my back being messed up we have eaten WAY TOO MUCH fast food and take out. I LOVE to cook. I love watching the Food Network. Giada De Laurentiis is my favorite. Her grandfather was the movie producer Dino De Laurentiis. She is really pretty and her kitchen is always spotless. Everything is white and clean looking. Her daughter, Jade, is around 2, so she hasn't learned yet that kids and white don't go together.
I also enjoy making my own recipes. I just try things out and add what we like, omit what we don't like, and have fun making my own recipes for me and the kids. I made a vegetable spaghetti last night that is one of the kids' favorite things I make. It is so easy and you can make it according to what you like. I cut up squash, zuchinni, red onion, and red, green, and yellow peppers. I cut everything around 1 1/2 inches in size, but you can make them bigger or smaller, just try to make everything about the same size. I put them in a baking dish, put salt and pepper on them and some olive oil. Toss everything to make sure it is all coated in the oil and roast in the oven on 400 degrees until it is all tender. According to your oven, you can cook it on a little higher or lower temp. You have to watch it and toss them often or they can burn. Then, I put them in a pot and add my regular recipe for spaghetti sauce. I don't use meat, just the veggies, but you can add meat to it. I have added shredded chicken before and it turned out really good. I like Bertolli sauces. The tomato and basil and the olive oil and garlic are my favorites. I also like to add dried Italian spices such as sweet basil, oregano, and, rosemary. I simmer the sauce, spices, and veggies while cooking wheat penne pasta. (The ridges in the penne catch the sauce better!) The kids love this and I feel better knowing they are eating a healthy dinner!
I am pretty good in the kitchen, but I did have a little accident a few months ago. I had made garlic bread the night before, using one of Giada's methods. I put olive oil on thinly cut bread and toasted it in oven. You can half a clove of raw garlic and rub the cut side on the warm bread when it comes out of the oven for the garlic flavor. Anyway, some of the bread was hanging off of the pan I used and I guess a little bit of the oil dripped down onto the bottom of the oven. The next day, I decided to cook some tater tots in the oven to go with my lunch.
I knew the tater tots didn't smell quite right, so I went to open the oven and check on them. I opened the door, took out the pan and heard a "poof". Then there were flames in my oven. I panicked and closed the door really fast. I just stood there thinking crap, what do I do now? Everyone was gone to the twins' baseball game so I was alone on our street. I waited a couple of minutes and then opened the door again. WHEW! The flames were gone. Then, I heard the "poof" again and the flames came back. I dialed 911, completely freaking out. I did manage to close the door again. I went outside as I called 911.
This was supposed to be a lazy day for me. I had been having all the problems with my neck, and had been given one of the epidural injections a few days before so I wasn't feeling well and was in my gown. Well, I called my dad because I knew that everybody would be getting home from the ballgame at any time and I didn't want to scare them with the fire truck being at my house. I was on the phone with him, but having a hard time hearing him because of the fire truck siren . Not from my side of the conversation, his side. I have to tell him, over the siren, that the fire truck he is having to pull over for is on the way to my house. I hear him repeat this to my kids. Then he asked what was wrong . I said, "I have a little fire in my oven." Well, the firetruck got to my house, along with an ambulance, and patrol car. GREAT. It ended up being okay. They did have to bring in the fans because of all the smoke, and they checked the oven out. I didn't know that although I didn't see flames in the oven anymore that there could be a fire in the wall behind the oven. They told me I did the right thing calling them because there could have been problems I couldn't see. They used some kind of detector to check everything out. If any of you almost burn your house down trying to make tater tots, call them even if you think it has gone out just to make sure everything is clear and okay.
You have to know my family, but once everybody got there and knew everything was okay, they started in with their jokes. First, being that I am in my gown. Next, being that since I am single, they accused me of calling the fire department in search of a man. My dad just kept laughing at me. The twins thought it was neat having a fire truck on the street and seeing the firemen in action. But, they kept looking at me like, what did you do? I am glad they all thought it was funny. It scared me to death and now I have a phobia of tater tots!