Cooking With the Boys

Toby and Anton have always loved food (here’s proof), and now they’re getting interested in cooking. We’ll whip up oatmeal or French toast in the mornings, but for dinner, I decided to get a month of Blue Apron family meals and really cook with them…

They liked seeing all the ingredients lined up. Over the month, we made almond-crusted cod, butternut squash gnocchi and fish chowder, but our favorite were these Swedish-style meatballs with egg noodles and lingonberry jam.

The recipes are all easy and kid-friendly, and their instructions look like comic strips with step-by-step photos and written directions. Toby loved “reading” them to me.

Before we started, I did the washing and chopping, so Toby could focus on the fun stuff. He stirred the sauce in the pan, poured in the kale and grated the pepper.

To a one-year-old, the raw turkey meatballs looked just like chocolate chip cookies. Sorry, Anton!

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Alex and I devoured the meatballs with rich, creamy sauce and the pasta with kale, while the boys ate the plain meatballs and noodles. We had such a great month cooking together, and I’d love to keep it up.

Bonus for readers: First-time customers get two free meals by clicking here and ordering your first box. Thanks, Blue Apron!

(Photos by Nicki Sebastian for Cup of Jo. This post is sponsored by Blue Apron, one of our long-term sponsors. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Cup of Jo.)

  1. Would you ever consider feeding the boys the same thing you’re eating? I can’t imagine having to make my future kid(s) separate meals. When I was visiting my husband’s family in the UK and my sister in law fed her 2 yr old the same food as the adults (even in a restaurant!), it clicked for me. Get the kid used to eating grown-up food and you won’t have a picky eater, and you’ll have to do less work. I am not sure why in North America we cater to the kids so much. I would venture to say that kids don’t like certain foods because they haven’t been exposed to them… not because kids are fussy in general. I remember devouring kalamata olives as a four year old lol. I am glad I have European parents!

  2. These photos say it all! What a fun activity to do together.

    Do you edit your own photos?

    – Sam

  3. We’ve been doing Blue Apron since your first mention of it, I tried it because of the discount. We’re a bit squicked out by the packaging, but my husband is a real champ at re-using stuff, he hand washes almost all the little zipper bags and the bottles and stuff. I’ve found the portions to be a bit wonky, the way we (my husband) usually cooks, it’s less starch and more than the BA recipes provide/call for.

    One of the reasons it’s great for us is that it gets me to cook. *I’m* the one that signed up for it, to husband’s initial horror so I feel the responsibility to make it work, plus the pride that comes with doing a whole nice meal. One thing I like about it are nice details that I probably wouldn’t do otherwise – garnishes, certain exotic ingredients, etc. We sort of critique each dish we do “if I was doing that again, I’d add more X, not as much Y.” etc.

    Our son is a little younger than Anton and he eats nearly as much as we do so we don’t have many leftovers! We’ve found out that he especially likes wilted greens, like the spinach with that Almond-Crusted Cod (we’ll add garlic to the spinach next time) and there was a kale thing he loved so much that he threw a tantrum when we wouldn’t give him the whole serving bowl!

  4. Toby looks so much like you .. he is a doll, they both are. And they cook ! what more could anyone ask for :)

  5. That’s a great idea! I wish I had a bigger kitchen, because I really would like to involve my girls like you do with your boys. Maybe next year!
    Toby is so cute with the stars and stripes pants.
    You always look so good, Joanna!

  6. I just cooked this EXACT blue apron meal this weekend – it was so good.

  7. this is unbelievably sweet, cute and perfect!! <3

  8. I use and love Blue Apron too! Like Meghan said, my only issue is with the packaging. We save the plastic bags and recycle them at our local Whole Foods, but I wish they’d come up with a greener packaging solution. That said, it’s certainly more green and healthy than the takeout/delivery containers Blue Apron meals have replaced!

  9. Also, love that you guys all cook together! So sweet

  10. I’m obsessed with Blue Apron! It really helps me meal plan and stay on top of our groceries.

  11. LOVE this!! It’s so so so important to cook with your kiddos. I work with schools to help teachers, students, parents, the local community reconnect with food from farm to fork. It’s amazing how some adults underestimate how much children are capable of doing in the kitchen! Focus on Food has some great ‘skills snippets’ short videos on safe ways to teach children to use a knife – :)

  12. I love your shirt Joanna, may I ask where it’s from?

  13. My husband and I love Blue Apron! We started last fall. We’ve been on a bit of a break lately, but I can’t wait to start up again after we move to Jersey/NYC next month! I’m sure BA will come in handy as we get used to our new town :) How fun to get the kids involved too! The recipe cards really make it easy and enjoyable to cook.

  14. I like the *idea* of Blue Apron but I can’t bring myself to try it because of all the packaging it comes with. SO many plastic bags! I know most of them will just end up in the landfill, which breaks my heart. I just can’t.

  15. Glad you had fun! I love cooking with my kids, too. Hopefully, they will know more at 18 when they go off to college than I did at that age :)

  16. @jennifer, that sounds delicious. we had salmon rolls (just like lobster rolls) last night with roasted potatoes. so, so good! (and something we never would have thought of making ourselves.)

  17. Adorable.. While my four year old is not a big fan of eating he does love to help out in the kitchen.

  18. We tried our own first Blue Apron meal last night. We had the Salisbury Steak with roasted asparagus and potatoes. It was so good and both of my boys loved it!!

  19. all the blue apron recipes i keep seeing look so amazing. i think i’m going to have to try them.

  20. To a 32 year-old, the raw turkey meatballs also looked just like chocolate chip cookies! Haha

  21. I have a friend who loves Blue Apron. Kale, pasta, and meatballs sounds so fancy and yummy. As to ‘boys eating a lot’ ~ boy howdy yes! We have 4 — and I could only eat like they do in my (non-weight watchers) dreams!

  22. Love this! My boyfriend’s mom was talking about this the other day, she taught him and his big brother a new meal every Sunday afternoon – chicken, beef, fish, pasta, pizza, everything. They went through everything she could think of! He’s a wonderful cook now :)

  23. I’ve heard that the recipes are great and super easy to prepare but, as a previous poster mentioned, that the packaging is super wasteful. I mean, duh, shipping all these ingredients that I could buy around the corner from my home will of course be wasteful. So, I love the idea but just can’t get past the “silliness” of having meal ingredients shipped to my house!

  24. I’m totally eating the almond-crusted cod as I read this – how odd! Blue Apron are amazing. Because I live by myself I cook the whole thing then take the second portion into work for lunch!

  25. @kate, oh and they send the meals once a week. we got the family plan, so we got two recipes and they each served 4 people. (we would also have leftovers for lunch the next day since the boys didn’t eat as much as adults.) there’s a lot!

  26. @kate, haha, he loves them. he actually cried the other day when they were in the wash.

  27. We’ve been using Blue Apron as well, which has been great. The meals have been well put together and super tasty. The only issue I have with them is that they use so much plastic. Even the packing material feels really wasteful. They also don’t use organic produce which bums me out. I don’t think we will be continuing with them in the future because of these issues.

  28. Toby and Anton are the cutest, Joanna! Blue Apron looks amazing. I tried Munchery recently, btw, after you mentioned it on a post. It was awesome, and they gave me a free cookie.

  29. when we ordered Blue Apron, we got a whole head of garlic for a recipe, and my husband didn’t know the difference between a “head” and a “clove”… (he was surprising me by making dinner) It was a pungent experience!

  30. Haha! Toby’s getting some mileage out of those pants, huh?! How often do they send the food out to you- is it a once a week kind of thing?