Friday, January 28, 2011

Mixing Bowl Academy: Meatballs and Marinara

Last week we had another chance to take a Mixing Bowl Academy class through CurrClick Live. This time it was a Junior Chef class called Meatballs and Marinara. E12 and R10 had a turn at helping to fix dinner which they both thoroughly enjoyed. The Junior Chef classes are $30 for one session which is four classes.

The class is taught using the Adobe web room format. It's easy to use and follow along. She sends you the log in information ahead of time. And in case you are wondering...of course that's a graduated cylinder in my kitchen. Doesn't everyone have one?

The kids had a great time being "in charge" in the kitchen and it was fun to just supervise and give direction.

First, the kids made the marinara sauce. They chopped the green peppers and would have chopped onions if I could have handled them. The other kids also pressed garlic. Ultimately, this sauce was put through the blender to hide all the veggies. We opted for chunky marinara!

E12 mixed up the beef with the other ingredients. I left out the onions and garlic because I'm allergic to them both. But they were tasty just the same!

E12 and R10 are sharing the load. He is rolling the meatballs and she is dredging them through the breadcrumbs. Have you ever had a meatball with an outer crusty covering? Mmmmm....

Look at how organized we were! Like my new cast iron pan? It was a gift and I bought the one that has a skillet lid as well. Love it!

This recipe uses 2lbs of ground beef and it makes caboodles of meatballs! We froze some for a future meal. Once again, I had an opportunity to use my new commercial baking pans (the 2/3 sheet size).

What a fabulous meal!

The class was definitely fun and the meatballs were AMAZING! The kids really liked working in the kitchen. The web room format has some pros and cons. I asked the kids what they thought of the experience. They really liked watching real time the action in the instructor's kitchen. You can use the chat window to ask questions and the instructor will answer you verbally.

The downside is that it is sometimes difficult to hear what's going on. Lots of folks were asking for clarification so it may have been a common problem. Between us moving back and forth from the laptop to the stove and counter top and the instructor being off to the side and her kids doing the same, it was sometimes hard to hear her and to keep up with what she was doing. The chat option is fun for the kids, but it's not so easy to hang out and chat when things are moving during class. So, the idea of the kids being part of something bigger than what's happening at our house gets a bit lost on them.

I would love to see this program offer some classes a la carte rather than having to sign on for an entire series. The other thing that could see some improvement is the recipe availability. We got the ingredients list ahead of time which does give you the amount of each ingredient, but I would think after the class takes place that a copy of the recipe would be helpful for replication. I'm left to recreate it from memory and copy it down.

Both of my kids thought having me set up a recipe and having them cook it would be more fun. For me, one advantage of the class is that it forces me to leave that time to have them help in the kitchen (not something we always do...I bet you know what I'm talking about!) The other thing I really liked is the choice of recipes. It introduces new things to our kitchen.

I encourage you to try this for yourselves and see what you think!


Deb said...

I've never had a meatball dredged in breadcrumbs, but I'll tell ya, I have meatballs in my freezer and breadcrumbs in my pantry, and I am going to make this happen RIGHT NOW!

Thanks for the idea!

Kisha said...

Ooh, that looks like fun! I wish there wasn't a 6-hour time difference so that we could take the live class too! Good job to both your kids.