Jenna Prepares Dinner

Jenna cooks off the salsa liquid

When I was a boy, my mother felt it was important to teach me and my siblings to be independent; to endow us with useful life skills. To that end she assigned each of us one night each week for which we would be responsible for planning, preparing, and cleaning up after a full meal for the entire family of seven. When, a couple weeks ago, I noticed that my daughters were subsisting on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, I guiltily acknowledged my progeny were being cheated out of a bit of quality parenting. I proposed (more like dictated) each of the girls plan a full meal which they would later prepare for the family.

Jenna planned to make quesadillas with fresh guacamole and a banana pudding pie. She found recipes on the internet and made a shopping list. When her day was nearing, she and I went to the grocery store to acquire the needed ingredients. Last Sunday was her evening.

Neither of us had made quesadillas before. She loves to order them every time we go to a Mexican restaurant, and figured we could make them ourselves. She was a little (lot) grossed out by the fresh boneless skinless chicken breasts. I cut out the tendons/ligaments and turned them over to her to cube. Then we heated them in a frying pan. She was quite intrigued when the pink flesh began to turn an opaque white as the heat penetrated. When the meat was thoroughly cooked, we added salsa and cooked off the excess water.

When the chicken filling was done, we heated a flour tortilla in Kirsten’s crepe pan (I had purchased on a trip to France), added some of the chicken and salsa, covered it with cheese, and topped it with a second tortilla. Then we had to flip the entire thing to cook the other side. The first one Jenna flipped basically exploded on the stove, but by the end she was an expert flipper. We cut them into sixths while they were hot and put the slices in a warm oven. When the chicken ran out, we made cheese quesadillas. It was great fun.

As we were sitting down to eat, Jenna and I made fresh guacamole, another first for both of us. It was super simple, and wicked delish!

For dessert Jenna had prepared, mostly without help, a fresh banana pudding pie. The crust was frozen, but the filling was made from scratch. It was delicious! Enjoy the photos. I can’t wait until this weekend, when I get to make dinner with Hayley.

Quesadilla chicken
Jenna is an expert quesadilla flipper
Banana pudding pie
Jenna and her fresh pie

**Quick Chicken Quesadillas**

– 6 oz chicken (we used more, and it wasn’t enough)
– 1/2 cup salsa
– 1 package flour tortillas (8, 8 inch)
– 2 cups finely shredded cheese (I like much more)
– sour cream

1. Cut chicken into bite-size pieces. Cook. Mix chicken and salsa (we had to cook off a lot of liquid from the salsa)
2. Spray one side of tortilla with cooking spray; place sprayed side down in skillet. Layer with a bit of chicken mixture (not too much) and cheese. Top with another tortilla; spray top of tortilla with cooking spray.
3. Cook uncovered over medium heat for a few minutes, or until tortilla is browned and the cheese has begun to melt enough that the tortillas stick together. Flip. Brown. Remove and slice with pizza cutter.

**5-minute Guacamole**

– 1 medium ripe avocado, peeled and cubed
– 1 tablespoon salsa
– 1 garlic clove, peeled
– 1 teaspoon salt

1. In a food processor, combine all the ingredients; cover and process until smooth. Transfer to a small bowl; serve immediately.

**Banana Cream Pudding Pie**

– 3/4 cup sugar
– 1/4 cup cornstarch
– 1/4 teaspoon salt
– 3 cups milk
– 3 egg yolks, slightly beaten
– 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
– 2 teaspoons vanilla
– 2 to 3 medium bananas, sliced

1. Heat oven to 450ºF. Make pie crust as directed on box. Bake 9 to 11 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, in 2 quart saucepan, mix sugar, cornstarch and salt. Stir in milk until smooth. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils and thickens; boil and stir 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
3. Stir about 1/4 cup hot mixture into egg yolks. Gradually stir yolk mixture into hot mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, just until mixture begins to bubble and is thickened. Remove from heat; stir in butter and vanilla. Cool until lukewarm, about 20 minutes.
4. Arrange banana slices in cooled baked shell. Pour cooled pudding over bananas. Refrigerate until set, at least 3 hours. Top with whipped cream. Store in refrigerator.

One thought on “Jenna Prepares Dinner”

  1. This is awesome. We get the kids to participate in meal planning and preparation on a sporadic basis, but keeping it consistent when someone doesn’t ‘feel like it’ is challenging. Jayden does not enjoy cooking (especially after a few hours of flipping burgers at McDonald’s)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *