It was our last week before the family dinner and we had only three students for class and only two who were cooking. Kyle Hunter was feeling under the weather, so it was up to Nathan Delva and Ariannie Morales to put together the Curried Chicken dish and the Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp. But these two were up to the task!

Ariannie started on the marinade: “Oh that’s cool how it kind of separated,” she marveled as she added the vinegar to the olive oil.

Nathan lifted a chicken thigh out of the package to place in a zip lock bag where it would marinate: “Oh it is slimy,” he said, but then fearlessly proceeded, moving all 12 thighs.

While the thighs were marinating, Nathan persevered to chop the cauliflower and slice the apricots and olives for that dish, while Ariannie mixed the ingredients for the crisp and sliced the strawberries. (We couldn’t find the rhubarb, fresh or frozen, so we just went with the strawberries this week and hope to find the rhubarb next week.)

As we were chugging along on the recipes, we talked about which dish to make for our family dinner. Nathan voted for the Bolognese, whlle Ariannie wanted to make the Clam Chowder and Cornbread. Nathan reminded us that Kyle should also vote, even if he wasn’t feeling well. Kyle voted for Sloppy Joe Sliders. So now we had three different votes. Ny’Asia Damon was not able to make class that day, but I did have her Mom’s cell phone, so we gave her a call. And her vote was: Sloppy Joe Sliders! So we had our dish for next week.

By now the chicken was marinaded, and ready to be placed on top of the cauliflower and olives and apricots on the sheet pan.

Nathan was ready for the job. “Do you want tongs, Nathan?” I asked him. And he shook his head. “He’s going in!” said Miss Michelle as Nathan plunged his hand into the zip lock bag, his eyes wide, and pulled out the slimy chicken thighs, one by one. Once he had assembled them on the sheet pan, he held up the pan he had prepared with great pride before sliding it into the oven to bake.

Meanwhile, Ariannie had pressed the crumb mixture into the bottom of a pie pan, scattered the sliced strawberries, and then sprinkled the rest of the crumb mixture on top. So it was ready to bake as well.

Once both were in the oven, and the aromas from both filled the kitchen, Kyle perked up and thought he might be able to join us for dinner. We decided he should get up and help with the dishes just to make sure he was feeling better before he ate.

Once the dinner was served, the reviews were strong. Each child asked for seconds before we could even get to the dessert. The only thing Ariannie left on her plate were the olives.

“I can’t explain it,” she said. “When I was little I told my Dad I thought olives were little green aliens.” She did try one again, but quickly spit it out into her napkin. No matter the boys were happy to relieve her of the olives on her plate.

The strawberry crisp was another hit. “I love this!” Ariannie said.

Everyone wanted to bring home leftovers to their families. And the students were all excited to cook for their families the following week at our family dinner.