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It’s another Monday and time to put together a menu plan. After running around like a crazy person last week, we are running into “What’s actually in the house?” syndrome.

Oh we have plenty of soup and etc, but I needed to put together a good menu and hit the grocery stores and all that jazz. You know how it goes!

Last week, realizing I probably wouldn’t make it to the market until this week, I thought of a brilliant idea. Especially when we got a great deal on the Nintendo DS game: Personal Trainer – Cooking.

I turned this week over to Joram. If you’ve been reading my menu blogs, you know he’s really finding himself at home in the kitchen. Last week we mailed off camp registrations and he signed up for a cooking 101 class.

I asked and he jumped at the chance! So this week’s menu is brought to you by the letter J for Joram and the number 10 for his age!

Last week he discovered some great shows on the Food Network. (Thanks to my inlaws for some great recommendations!) He wrote down a couple of recipes he thought sounded great and he set the DVR to record Rachel Ray. I think we might be in trouble…

After getting the cooking game, he picked out several things to make. So here’s our menu for the week!

Monday: Three Cheese Spaghetti Casserole (from the freezer – we still had to prepare! But just wait!)
Tuesday: I’ve got something so I can’t help Joram. It’s up to the three dudes what they eat.
Wednesday: Scouts so you know the deal.
Thursday: Fondu
Friday: Bacon and Potato Soup
Saturday: 3 Cheese Kielbasa Freezer Meal (Once more I may be gone)
Sunday: Pizza Margherita

So here’s the scoop: Joram’s three dinners are on Thursday, Friday, and Sunday. He got all three off the DS Game. He also picked two desserts to make: Banana Brownies and a Meringue cookie. The first comes from the DS game, the other from something on the food channel.

I decided he could cook something each day for five days. If he didn’t do a dinner, he could do a treat. He liked this idea.

The other fun little thing was that the DS game gave us countries where the food came from. Our good friends are doing a fun thing this year called “Around the World in 80 Plates”. Because of this game, Joram gleefully announced that we’d be hitting FOUR countries. I thought that was just cute!!

So this week we’re going to visit Switzerland on Thursday, Germany on Friday, and Italy on Sunday. Today we baked the brownies and those are down home American to send us off on our little adventure!

Today we did some extra cooking, too. Of course this is the Joram Takes Over Edition so I let him take charge.

Last night we had our pizza from last week, but we ended up with pizza sandwichs. (Long and boring story that basically means we were lazy.) We needed to use up the rest of our pizza sauce so we decided to make what I’m calling “Pizza Uncrustables”.

First we needed crust, so Joram made some pizza dough from scratch. Without the use of a bread machine!

We ended with some heavy kneading action and so Joram got quite the lesson. I’m here to attest that you can get one heck of a workout doing that!

After the dough had some time to rise, we rolled it out and used a cup to make circles, almost like making biscuits. We also mixed up some chunks of cheese, the sauce, and some pepperoni for the inside.

We made twelve uncrustables. We placed a circle on the baking stone, put some filling in, and then covered with another circle. We pinched all the sides together and baked in the oven. They ended up bagged and frozen for eating in the future for a dinner or lunch.

Oh, I can’t forget to post these pictures. It’s not pizza dough without a little tossing!!!

Joram went first:

Then Caramon went:

Fun? Oh yeah!!!!

After the pizza uncrustables, we made some whole wheat waffles for the freezer. We found a great recipe and the waffles turned out fabulous. It made 25 of our waffles and that is just fantastic! Joram got a kick out of this because it was all from scratch, not from a box of pancake mix.

Here he is mixing it up:

The final thing we got the treat of making tonight? Banana Brownies. This was the first thing we made using our DS Game and that was interesting. First thing we learned? It is neurotic. We finally started closing the lid so Mr Chef wouldn’t jump ahead faster than we could go! But we learned all sorts of cool things!

Joram got to sift, something we should do more but I’m always too lazy to do. We haven’t sifted since we lived in Ohio. The boys barely remember it. He also got to learn how to melt butter and chocolate “the old fashioned way” – on the stove top. Let me tell you… that was interesting but never again. Hello microwave melt setting! God bless the person who came up with THAT idea!

This recipe called for some milk chocolate. We chose to use a dove bar. It also had cocoa powder and bananas. We skipped on the walnuts.

Here’s Joram cutting up the bananas:

Doesn’t he look serious?

Well let me tell you, these brownies are awesome! I’ve made brownies before from scratch and have never liked them. I stick with box mixes for that reason. But hey, it’s all in the fun. I figured we’d go for it. I’m so glad! These are really great! There are banana chunks which I’m not so keen on, but the banana taste did infuse into the brownies which I like. (I like the taste of bananas but I can’t stand bananas themselves – I know… WEIRD!) The chocolate is rich and fantastic. We had some extra bits of chocolate left over on that bar and I think we should have chopped it up for some “chocolate chunks”.

Oh well, live and learn!

Here’s the boys feasting on their treat:

So Day One of Joram Takes Over was an absolute success!

Never fear, I plan to blog about his further adventures in cooking this week. Complete with photos of course!

On a side note, in the photographs you can see he wore my apron. He made me that apron for Mother’s Day and I love it. I think he needs his own, possibly saying “Kiss the Chef”, whatcha think?

What’s on your menu and who’s cooking it?

–Lady O