Monday, August 8, 2011

Camp Mom: Spaghetti Hot Dogs

This week will be doing Cooking Camp at our house... inspired by a good friend's blog. Our creations will be a little simpler, since they'll be focused on the preschool aged folks at our house... but hopefully they'll be yummy enough that other kids/family members might want to eat them too!

Our first creation of the week was inspired by the Filth Wizardry- Spaghetti Hot Dogs! We'll plan to try the other healthier versions another day... since this was a big hit at our house... especially the part when we impaled the hot dogs with pasta.

Ingredients: dried spaghetti or angel hair noodles, hot dogs (we only used two hot dogs since this was for just the two of us)

Materials Needed: big pot, stove, colander, wooden spoon, knife, plates :)

1. Boil water in large pot (we used about 2-3 qts of water?... or enough to cover the amount of noodles we were making).

2. Cut up the hot dogs into small pieces (this is an adult job at our house). Hot dogs are a choking hazard, so cut these as small as your child needs. Adult supervision is needed for every part of this activity.

3. Grab a piece of hot dog and start sticking pasta noodles into it. You can stick to one side, or go crazy like we did and just put them everywhere!

At first my little guy broke a lot of pasta... but we used them and he kept trying to push the noodles a little more gently. It was a great fine motor task to push the noodles through the hot dog and then pull them out the other side as well. Hard for little fingers, but so much fun once he figured it out!

We were making "octopus" so we made sure that each hot dog had eight legs! We counted the legs as we created our octopus.

4. Once we were done adding noodles to all the hot dogs, we counted how many octopus we had and then I dropped them into the boiling water (my little guy wasn't involved in that part).

We did some spaghetti noodle painting while we waited. I don't use food items as art materials that often because I think it is wasteful, but the textures of the noodles and the way that they could be used was too fun to pass up.

My favorite idea was using a rubber band to keep a handful of small broken pieces together. They created a really neat pattern.

5. (More adult directions) Cook the noodles for 7-9 minutes until they are tender and then turn off the stove. Strain the spaghetti hot dogs in the colander... and then start eating!

My little guy didn't want any sauce, ketchup, or cheese, but you could definitely add that depending on what your kids like.

Eating food (any food... even less healthy foods like hot dogs) is a daily battle at our house, so I was really happy when my little guy ate this and loved it! I am really excited to introduce him to more recipes as the week progresses! Hopefully we can find a way to throw in some of my favorite veggies too.

Cooking and Language Development 

It is AMAZING how much language occurs during a brief cooking session together. In addition to learning new vocabulary, and practicing and modeling basic concepts (in, out, up, down, high, low, inside, outside, over, under, etc.), cooking together is a great bonding experience that really strengthens relationships!

Some words we talked about today: hard/soft (noodles), boil, noodles, high/low (temperatures), water, pot, plate, strain, colander, hot/cool, small/large, broken, half (when we broke noodles), squishy, long, etc. The list is endless.

I am still collecting more recipe ideas... so pass along your favorite things to cook with your kids (not for your kids)!

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