K was up early from nap, and C was still sleeping, so guess who got to help Mommy make supper? In our house, cooking with the boys isn’t be an event or a project. It’s a way of life, a routine. And it started 2 years ago with C, like this.
Adapted from Quick Cooking, probably 5 years ago
- 4 medium potatoes, cubed
- 3 medium carrots, sliced into circles
- 2 celery ribs, chopped
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 large green pepper, chopped
- 5 bratwurst links
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon dried basil, crushed
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 2 cups (16oz) half-and-half
- 3 Tablespoons cornstarch
- 3-4 teaspoons cold water
(Before I begin, I should mention that at 7 months, K is a great sitter and not a mover. We have an under-counter seat that I intended to use while cooking, but he is much more content – and safe at the moment – sitting on the counter. We’ll see whether I’m right, but I believe that by starting this way and continuing with the expectation that there is only sitting on the counter, we won’t have many problems with crawling around, standing, etc. If it comes to that, the understanding will be: Helpers sit. When you stop sitting, you’re done helping.)
I had all of my veggies and supplies ready beforehand so I could keep a constant eye on the babe. While I chopped vegetables, he got to play with/learn about them. A carrot is heavy, skinny, hard, smooth. I can bite a green pepper; it’s juicy! The produce bags make a great sound when I pat them! I chatted with him a bit so he heard words like “wet, carrot, smooth,” but mostly I let him explore on his own. I think it was as fun for me to watch him as it was for him to discover!
After all of the veggies (potatoes, carrots, celery, onion, green pepper) were chopped, I put them in the slow cooker and mixed them up. Then I took my kitchen scissors and cut the brats into 1-inch rounds (after removing the casings because I’m particular like that). The brats stay on top of the vegetables.
I measured the chicken broth into a plastic lidded container that I knew K could hold. Then I added the salt, basil, and pepper after letting K smell each one. I put the lid on the container and let K shake it as best he could. What an interesting noise. I can feel something moving inside. I finished the job and poured it over the brats.
I put the cover on, put K down for nap, and the stew cooked on low for 4 hours. The original recipe says 7 hours, but my slow cooker is super hot. You should probably lean toward a longer cook time so you don’t end up with raw veggies and a late supper.
30 minutes before supper time, I stirred in the half-and-half. I combined the cornstarch and water in a cereal bowl until smooth (cornstarch and water is a fun toddler science project!) and stirred that in too. The crock pot was switched to high for 30 more minutes until the sauce was thickened.