I don't really know why Boy 3 picked meatballs, this is one of his brother's favorite meals.  Oh, scratch that - I just ask him why he picked Spaghetti with Meatballs and he looked at me with that look my children get when they have that moment of thinking 'my mom has lost all her marbles' and then he said "I didn't pick it, you made me pick it."  Oh.  Oops...I'm thinking that might take some of the fun out of this venture... (Next time I will let him pick.)

OK, here we go - INGREDIENTS:
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs (I know I should have used the frozen/fresh bread crumbs I have in my freezer, but I totally      didn't think about it until RIGHT now.)
1/2 cup of milk
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 1/2 pounds ground pork (you can mix this up and used ground whatever you want really, chicken, turkey, veal...whatever suites your fancy just make sure you have 3 pounds total)
1 small onion diced as small as you can get it (you know to hide it from the kids)
4-5 garlic cloves minced (or more if you dare)
1 TBL oregano
Toss in some parsley if you have it, I didn't.
1 egg lightly beaten
ground pepper
2 TBL olive oil
2 jars of your favorite marinara (our favorite is Rao's - expensive but SO WORTH it!)
1 box spaghetti (No, I don't make my own pasta or sauce)
Freshly saved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese! (Seriously, if you don't do anything else, please don't buy that parmesan that you shake out of a can that DOES NOT require refrigeration.  JUST SAY NO!)

In a small bowl combine bread crumbs and milk.  In a larger bowl mix the ground meat with soaked bread crumbs, onion, garlic, oregano, egg, salt and pepper........
Then smush it all around with your hands!!
I know this picture is a bit blurry, but I LOVE the look on his face!!
Form into big ol' meatballs....
Brown meatballs over medium heat in a little olive oil, flipping until browned on all sides.
Add a jar of marinara sauce to the skillet, cover and simmer over low heat for about 30 minutes turning meatballs occasionally. 
While you are waiting boil a large pot of water - cook pasta to desired cookness - drain, add the second jar of marinara sauce to the noodles (we like it saucy!).  Top with a meatball & some freshly shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano -
And EAT!!!
Episode 2 of cooking with the kids - this time it was Boy 2's turn.  He LOVES ribs, so we thought it was only fitting that he help me with ribs. 

The recipe:
1 cup of dark brown sugar
3 TBL kosher salt
1 TBL dry mustard
1 TBL freshly ground mustard
1 TBL cayenne pepper
1 TBL sweet smoked paprika
4 racks baby back ribs (about 2.5 pounds each)
Mix all ingredients together and sprinkle all over ribs, pressing and patting it. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.  (We did not do this overnight...we did this early in the morning about 8AM)
Preheat oven to 250 degress F.  Pour off any liquid, cover ribs with foil and cook for about 3.5 hours until meat is tender but not falling off the bone.  While the ribs were cooking we made the BBQ sauce.  We didn't LOVE the BBQ sauce and when we make the ribs again we will most likely use KC Masterpiece BBQ - don't hate.  I'm not even going to bother with giving you the recipe.  Too much typing....just go out and buy your favorite sweet/spicy BBQ sauce to serve on the side if you want the sauce.  I still included the pictures because Boy 2 is pretty much a rock star making his own BBQ sauce at the age of 8 (with a broken arm).
Hello beauties!!  Once your 3.5 hours is up, crank the broiler up on your oven and broil the ribs for about 10 minutes or until the edges start turning a 'little' crispy!
Serve with your favorite BBQ sauce....
Or not, and enjoy!!
This recipe was adapted from Food & Wine's "Our Best New Classics" magazine
I'm very much an "I will do it myself" type of mom.  Don't get me wrong, the kids have chores, but sometimes it is just easier and faster to do it myself, plus when it comes to cooking I don't really like sharing my kitchen.  Call me set in my ways.  However I am trying very hard to change my ways just a little and since all the kids have shown an interest in cooking I have decided that a couple of nights a week I'm going to have a different child help out in the kitchen. (God, please help me.)  This will not only provide a much needed one on one time I need with each child it will also give them a skill for the 'real world' when that time comes. (It makes me sad to think about that time - them moving out.) PLUS - what type of mom would I be if I sent my kids out into the world without cooking skills?  
First up, Garlic Bread and Cheesy Garlic Bread! 

First Girl prepares Garlic Butter - 1 stick butter at room temperatures + 5 cloves of minced garlic.  Mix together spread evenly onto a loaf of French bread. 

To make cheesy Garlic Bread we like to add slices of fresh mozzarella as seen on the left hand side of picture.  Bake in the oven at 450 for about 7-10 minutes.  Watching to make sure it doesn't over cook
Next up Shrimp Scampi!
2 sticks butter (room temperature)
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
fresh ground pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon thyme
3 pounds large shrimp, shelled, deveined
10 leaves thinly sliced basil

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. 

In a bowl mix butter, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice pepper & thyme. 

Place shrimp in a large dish, dot with butter mixture - make funny faces:
Sprinkle with fresh cut basil.  Place in oven and cook for about 10 minutes (mixing once) until shrimp are pink and butter is bubbling. 
We like serving on top of Angel Hair pasta.