Ways to teach by doing in the kitchen


Compiled by Denise Swogetinsky

Kemper Messenger

 In the last couple of weeks,  we have been doing virtual learning with our grandchildren.It has been a lot of fun. Not only are they doing the assignments from the school, but I'm throwing my two cents in. I am a retired teacher and just can't help myself.We are learning measurement and fractions when we cook. We will find a recipe, gather the ingredients, and measure out each in separate bowls.

Then when it's time to add it, we pour it in. When we make things like grits, we use a proportion to figure out how much we need. For example, the five minute grits I use calls for 1 Cup grits to 3 cups of water to make a serving of grits. That's a 3:1 ratio so if we're cooking for 4, we need 4 cups grits and 12 cups water. They love helping in the kitchen and it's a fun way to do math. Here are some recipes they love making with me.

Homemade Macaroni and cheese 

1 (1 lb.) pkg. elbow macaroni

1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk

1 tsp. pepper

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter

1 lb. assorted cheese (sharp, cheddar, Velveeta, Parmesan)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Bring medium sized pan of water to boil. Add elbow macaroni. Cook macaroni until done. Meanwhile, cut up cheese into thin slices or small cubes. Drain water and pour macaroni into a casserole dish.

Add butter, salt, pepper, milk, and cheese. Stir together. Bake for about 20 to 30 minutes. Stir occasionally. If it gets dry you may add a little more milk.For crispy top sprinkle with grated parmesan or shredded cheese and put in oven on broil for about 10 to 15 minutes, or till golden brown.


Hobo Packets             

2 lbs hamburger

1 large onion sliced

8 med potatoes sliced thin

1 lb carrots sliced

16 oz cheddar cheese sliced

8 tbsp. butter




heavy duty foil

Make 8 1/4 lb hamburger patties in 2 layers foil place patty in middle of foil stack onion, potato, carrots, and cheese on top of patty. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Place 1 tablespoon of butter on top.

Pull sides of foil together. Folding top together, fold one end tightly. Pour a small splash of milk in packet to keep moist and help to steam the potatoes and carrots.Fold other end and cook on grill or open fire over medium heat. Cook until carrots and potatoes are done (depends on how much you put in the packet). You can do this with pork chops and Chicken breast.

Homemade pizza sauce

1 c. crushed tomatoes

1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste

1/4 c. dry red wine

1 tbsp. minced onion

1 tsp. brown sugar

1/2 tsp. basil

1/2 tsp. oregano

1/2 tsp. parsley flakes

1/4 tsp. fennel seed

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

Mix ingredients in saucepan. Cook over low heat for 15 minutes. Use approximately 3/4 cup sauce for each pizza. 

We use French bread for the pizza crust and they each build their own pizza with any topping they want.


Best Homemade vanilla

 ice cream (4 quarts)

4 eggs

2 1/4 c. sugar

2 cans evaporated milk

5 c. whole milk

4 1/2 tsp. vanilla

1/2 tsp. salt

1 can Eagle Brand milk

Beat eggs until foamy. Add sugar gradually. Beat until stiff. Add remaining and mix extremely well. Pour into ice cream freezer and freeze using rock salt and ice. Great with homemade hot fudge sauce.


Homemade hot fudge sauce

1 tbsp. butter

1 square unsweetened chocolate

1/3 c. boiling water

1 c. sugar

2 tbsp. white Karo corn syrup

1/2 tsp. vanilla

1/8 tsp. salt

Melt butter in saucepan. Add chocolate and stir over low heat until melted. Add boiling water slowly, stirring constantly and bring to a boil. Add sugar and corn syrup, stir until dissolved. Simmer 5 minutes, watch carefully, then add vanilla and salt; mix well. Makes 1 cup.


Frosted brownies     


1 1/2 cups sugar

3/4 cup shortening

3 eggs

1/4 cup milk

1 tsp. vanilla

10 tbsp. cocoa

1 1/2 cups sifted flour

1/2 cup walnuts, pecans or macadamia nuts

Preheat oven to 275°F. Cream together sugar and shortening; add eggs, milk and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Stir in cocoa, flour and nuts. Bake in a greased and lightly floured 9x13-inch pan for about 45 minutes or until done. Remove from oven and frost immediately.



2 cups confectioners sugar

3 tbsp. cocoa

1 tsp. vanilla

1 tbsp. butter

strong coffee

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, using very strong coffee until proper spreading consistency is obtained. 

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