Fulfilling my pledge to teach my children to cook this summer, I grabbed the youngest (the only one I could find at the time), and said, “let’s cook chili!” He was game. Doing something without his older brother and sister to boss him around sounded appealing, so off we went into the kitchen to make our family’s signature four-ingredient chili. It’s fast, simple and homey, and we eat it year-round, even in stifling 90-plus degree weather.
Lately, I’m in love with meatballs. All kinds, not just in spaghetti. You can toss them in soups, serve them on skewers with a variety of sauces or slide them between crusty po’boy or hero bread. They’re great with all sorts of ground meats including veal, lamb, pork, turkey, beef, sausage or chicken, and are further enhanced by different cheeses, bits of ham or prosciutto, pesto or fresh herbs. You can roll meatballs in breadcrumbs and pan-fry them in a skillet, or you can bake them on a cookie sheet to save calories. I find that meatballs in any form are appealing to most kids — mine included — and they’re great for making ahead and freezing. I like to work them into the weeknight line-up and save myself some time and grief.