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Foster your son’s independence
One of the things I am working on while we have time this summer, is teaching my oldest some cooking skills. It is really important to me that my boys know how to make the basics like scrambled eggs and spaghetti as well as a handful of recipes. Plus, being able to cook for yourself fosters a lot of independence and inspires a huge amount of confidence.
With that in mind, I tasked my 11-year-old with cooking meals for us regularly. He is required to pick what he wants to cook ahead of time, so that there is time to gather the ingredients, and then cooks the meal himself (with a lot of parental support). To be perfectly honest, the whole meal took A LOT of time to prepare. If this is something you would like to try with your son, be sure to add in extra prep time as creating the meal involved learning a lot of new skills.
On to the recipe!
For his first meal, my son chose to cook Twice Baked Potatoes. I dug out an old recipe that we tweaked to suit his tastes. One of the cool things about this recipe in particular is you can really put whatever you want in the potatoes, and this is a chance for your son to put his own spin on dinner.
This evening, we were cooking for 6.
- We started by scrubbing 7 potatoes (we made an extra just in case).
- Using a fork, poke a few holes in the skin of the potatoes.
- Rub some olive oil all over each potato and sprinkle all the potatoes with salt.
- Bake in a 400-degree oven for 45 minutes or until soft when pierced with a fork (our potatoes were huge! And took about an hour to cook).
- Once complete, take the potatoes out of the oven and let them cool for a few minutes.
- While our potatoes were cooling, my son and I put together a salad to serve on the side. We also chopped up the pre-cooked sausages that we would be mixing into our potatoes and browned the sausages on the stove top.
- Slice each potato in half and scoop out the insides of the potato, leaving a ¼ inch of potato flesh in the potato to hold its structure. Put the scooped-out flesh into a large mixing bowl and set the potato shells aside.
- To the potato add: butter, browned sausage, cheddar cheese, chives or green onion, salt and pepper to taste. Mix all of the ingredients well.
- Carefully take the potato mixture and spoon it back into the reserved potato shells.
- For any that you are going to add an egg to create a well inside the filled potato. We made a few with eggs and a few without to suit the tastes of our family.
- Add eggs to the potatoes with a well, and the potatoes without eggs with extra cheddar.
- Put the potatoes back into the oven at 400-degrees until the eggs are set (10-15 minutes) or the cheese on top is melted.
My son was so proud of his accomplishment and all the time and effort was definitely worth the look on his face as he got to serve it. I think he really got a confidence boost from the whole experience, especially with everyone complementing the chef!
Twice Baked Potato Eggs
7 russet potatoes
3 Tablespoons Butter
¾ pound pineapple bacon sausages (can use any pre-cooked sausage), chopped and browned
2 cups cheddar plus extra to top
4 green onions, sliced (we used chives growing in our garden)
- Preheat oven to 400-degrees.
- Scrub potatoes, pierce with a fork.
- Rub potatoes with oil and sprinkle with salt and bake 45 minutes or until fork-tender.
- Slice potatoes in half and scoop flesh into a large mixing bowl, reserve potato skins.
- Fold in butter, sausage, cheddar, green onions and salt and pepper to taste.
- Spoon mixture back into the potato shells, creating a well for the eggs.
- Crack eggs into filled potato.
- Bake until set, 10-15 minutes.