My older son is at an age now where he is extremely curious, and as a result he asks questions. He asks questions all the time. From the second he wakes up in the morning (“Mommy, where does the water that I brush my teeth with come from? What’s a water line? What’s a water company?”) to the second he goes to bed at night (“Can I sleep in my tent tonight? Why not? Can I have one more drink of water? Why not? What are we going to do when we wake up in the morning?”), he is asking questions. A lot of times, his questions leave me confounded, like when he asks me something like, “What does a machine do?” or “What’s freedom?” If you’ve never tried, let me just tell you: It’s nearly impossible to describe those things in a general way that a preschooler will understand. But I do my best.
I made this for dinner one night back in February, when the light for pictures still wasn’t great. As a result, before I ate my dinner, I carried my plate into the room we use for an office and put it on a small table in that room, right underneath the window, so I could get the maximum amount of natural light (which is also where I have my library books, which is why you can sort-of see a couple of them in the background). The whole time I was snapping photos, this chorus was going on in the background: “Hey Mommy, why you eating your dinner in there? Why you taking a picture? What’s a blog, Mommy? Can I have some pudding?”
Thankfully, as soon as he tried this dinner, all he had to say was: “This is yummy food, Mommy.” And after that, his only question was, “Can I have some more, please?”
Cheddar Bacon Ranch Chicken Pasta: Quieting Children’s Questions Since 2012.
Cheddar Bacon Ranch Chicken Pasta
adapted from Better Homes and Gardens
1 pound mostaccioli or other short pasta
6 strips of bacon, diced
1 tablespoon butter
2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, cut into bite-size pieces
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 packet ranch dressing mix
2 cups milk
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Cook pasta according to package directions in boiling salted water; drain, return to pot, and keep warm.
2. Meanwhile, cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp. Drain on paper towels. Drain all but one tablespoon of bacon drippings from the pan.
3. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Add the butter to the reserved bacon drippings, then add the chicken to the same skillet. Cook until tender, no longer pink, and slightly browned.
4. Sprinkle the flour and ranch dressing mix over the chicken, stirring to coat evenly. Stir in the milk, and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened and bubbly. Stir in the cheddar cheese and half of the reserved bacon; cook and stir until the cheese is melted. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed.
5. Add the cheese sauce to the reserved pasta and stir to combine. Serve each plate of pasta with more bacon sprinkled over the top. Green onions would also be a delicious topping.