I have always loved to cook and I love to encourage and teach others to cook and share recipes as well. I especially enjoy cooking with my grandkids.
This past weekend our grandson William, who is in kindergarten, came to spend the night. Shortly before he came I made a quick batch of bread dough in my food processor. I wanted it to start rising so he could play with it as soon as he got there, and then bake it into something for dinner. First he rolled out snakes, then cars, then dinosaurs. Eventually it all went back into one mass of dough on the counter. We divided it in half. We rolled out one ball and made it into cinnamon rolls, which William loves! The other ball of dough eventually became a heart shaped loaf of bread for his mother.
Basic Bread Dough
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup honey
1 cup warm water (body temperature)
1 tablespoon yeast (1 packet)
Measure flour into bowl (or food processor). Add salt. Add oil and honey. Dissolve yeast into warm water; then add to flour mixture. Add a little more flour if it is too sticky. If the kids are helping you, they can knead it for a while. Put into an oiled bowl for about an hour to rise. Make into your favorite shape, let rise again for about 30-40 minutes, and then bake at 350° until lightly golden.
To make cinnamon rolls, roll out dough. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Roll up into log and slice into 1 inch pieces. Place cut side down on greased cookie sheet or pie pan and let rise until double. Bake at 350° for about 15 minutes. You can mix up a little melted butter, milk, vanilla, and confectioner’s sugar for icing if you like.
This dough can also be used for pizza. (You might want to cut back the honey a little.) The kids can each shape their own pizza on a piece of foil. Add their own toppings and bake.
I buy my yeast in bulk and keep it in the freezer so that I always have it.
The other recipe William and I decided to make was macaroni and cheese. I used my favorite Ronald Reagan Macaroni and Cheese recipe because it is very good, and easy enough for William to help me make. No need to make a white sauce. I once heard Nancy Reagan say that “Ronnie” loved for her to make this for him in the private quarters of the White House! It’s a real comfort food and very cheesy.
I let William pick out shell pasta and other shapes to make it more fun. We used half sharp cheddar cheese and half mozzarella to make it a little milder.
President Reagan’s Favorite Macaroni and Cheese
½ pound macaroni or other shell pasta
1 tablespoon butter
1 egg, beaten
3 cups grated sharp cheese
1 teaspoon dry mustard, dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
Boil macaroni in water. Drain. Stir in butter, egg and half of cheese. (Reserve the other half for top.) Put in buttered casserole. Dissolve dry mustard into hot water. Mix together with salt and milk. Pour over macaroni. Sprinkle with reserved cheese. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes until custard is set.
I asked William what kind of vegetable he wanted with his dinner and he said carrot sticks. So we had carrot sticks and a big fruit salad and he was happy. And so was Mike!
Fran DeWine is a Cedarville resident, wife of Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and guest columnist. Her most recent cookbook, Fran DeWine’s Family Favorites: Special Edition, features her most requested recipes and illustrations done by kids and grandkids. She is working on a new cookbook with Tina Husted which will come out this summer.