In a bid to get children to eat healthier, ‘The Cook At Home Dad’ shares tips and recipes he creates for and with his kids.
My wife and I are both of Italian and Polish descent and we love to share the cuisines of each heritage with our kids. When I first presented pierogi to my three young daughters, we heard a lot of: “It is disgusting, I won’t eat it, I’m starving,” and other statements along those lines.
I realized that if I got them involved in the cooking process and had them ‘hands-on’ with the food we were going to eat, it just might work. With the creation of the “super-duper pierogi makers” (see demonstration below), they not only loved to cook pierogi, they loved to eat pierogi – to the point where they fight over the last one every single time.
While this is not a “healthier” version of a traditional pierogi recipe, I wanted to share it because not only is it one of my best and favorite recipes, it also highlights how getting your children excited and involved about cooking will increase the chances of them eating ‘what’s for dinner’. Enjoy!
- 2 1/4 C all-purpose flour
- 1 t salt
- 2 large eggs, room temperature plus 2 whisked eggs for egg wash
- 1/2 C sour cream
- 10 T cubed butter, softened
- In a large mixing bowl, add flour and salt
- Beat eggs and add to flour with sour cream and butter.
- Combine all ingredients and knead the dough for 8 minutes (for best results, use your hands, though a food processor and dough hook can be utilized).
- Once the dough becomes not sticky, wrap in plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator for at least 45 minutes.
- Allow the pierogi dough to return to room temperature.
- Generously flour your rolling surface, rolling pin and dough.
- Roll out to between 1/8” and 1/4” thickness.
- Using a child’s cup or a small storage bowl dipped in flour, cut dough into small circles; re-knead the leftover edges and repeat.
- Roll out each circle to flatten, and brush with egg wash.
- Put a dollop (about 1 T) of filling (see recipes below) in the center of the rolled out circle and bring the edges together to make a semi-circle.
- Using a fork, crimp the edges of the pierogi to create a seal.
- Bring 5 quarts of water to a rolling boil and add a touch of salt.
- Place pierogi, six at a time, and boil for 30 seconds to a minute after they begin to float.
Potato Cheese Filling:
- 3 medium size potatoes cut to 1″ cubes
- 1 C ricotta cheese
- 1 T butter
- 2 T milk
- a pinch of nutmeg
- salt and pepper to taste
- Place cubed potatoes in a medium sauce pot and add water to just cover them.
- Liberally salt the water and bring to a boil.
- Cook until fork tender (about 10-12 minutes) and drain.
- Add potatoes to a food processor with 1 C ricotta cheese, 1T butter, 2 T milk, salt and pepper to taste and a pinch of nutmeg. Mix until well combined. TIP: A hand mixer or old fashioned potato masher can be utilized if you do not have a food processor.You may substitute farmer’s cheese, though I find that the ricotta cheese pairs perfectly with the slight tang the sour cream brings to the pierogi dough. The nutmeg brings a very subtle layer of flavor that is warm and festive.
- 1 T canola oil
- I package of bacon cut into thin strips (TIP: freeze the bacon first for easy cutting)
- 1 small chopped vidalia onion
- 1 C fresh sauerkraut, drained and rinsed
- a liberal amount of fresh ground black pepper
- salt to taste
- In a large sauté pan on a medium high heat, drizzle 1 T canola oil and add cubed bacon.
- When the bacon becomes translucent, add 1 small chopped Vidalia onion, a pinch of salt and a generous amount of black pepper.
- When the bacon becomes crisp and the onions have softened, add 1 C fresh sauerkraut that has been drained and rinsed.
- Stir frequently for 2 minutes to combine all ingredients.
- Cover and reduce to low and simmer for at least 10 minutes.
Photo: courtesy of the Author. Originally appeared on The Cook At Home Dad
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