I wanted to make a good dinner last night, with enough for leftovers, and I thought C. would be home from work early enough to watch Bella while I cooked. He called to say he was going to be late, but rather than scrapping my dinner plans and succombing to my daughter's, "mac-and-cheeeeese, Mommy, mac-and-cheeeese" whinings, I thought I would take the opportunity to have her help me in the kitchen (or chitchen, as Bella calls it).
I was making individual Italian meatloaves (a Rachel Ray recipe, which we all know take longer than 30 minutes) and homemade mashed potatoes. I had a fair amount of chopping for the meatloaves (green pepper, onion, garlic) and I had to wash and cut up the baby new potatoes as well. So I plopped Bella down on the counter and had her watch and help when she could. She handed me potatoes from the bag so I could wash them, and after I cut them up, she put them in the pot for me. The pot already had (cold) water in it, so she got soaking wet plunking the potato pieces in the water. But I also learned that she LOVED helping Mommy in the chitchen.
When I cut up the green pepper, she actually ate a few pieces of it (what?! - my child likes raw green pepper?!) She watched me mix and form the meatloaves, and mash the potatoes after they were cooked. And best of all? Because she had helped me make dinner, she wanted to try everything! She said, "Bella try...Bella try" when we were dishing up the plates (C. got home just in time to eat, of course). My not-quite-two-year-old ate Italian meatloaf with onion and pepper and garlic in it...and loved it!
I think next time I'll try baked macaroni and cheese with ham, and a fresh salad. She can help Mommy wash the lettuce. And eat the chopped ham, of course.