I never really helped my mom in the kitchen when I was a kid since it was really her domain, but nonetheless I was in the kitchen with her everyday doing my homework at the table. We had dinner at 5:00 every night. If my dad wasn’t home by 4:55, my mom would order me to call him at his office and tell him to come home for dinner (we lived in a very small town). Once the big hand was on the ’12’ and the little hand on the ‘5’, the table was set and everyone was at the table. Newspapers down, TV off, and no excuses.
If you’ve been following my blog, then you know that I grew up primarily eating Korean food. It is my favorite cuisine. But as much as I love my mom’s Korean cooking and Korean food, one of my most memorable dishes from my childhood is pork chops and sauerkraut. I’m sure she got the recipe from one of our neighbors down the street. It’s a fairly simple dish. From what I observed as a child, my mom pan-fried the thin chops and then smothered the white chops with sauerkraut, and cooked that dish to death. Sure, the chops were a little dry and tough, but the caramelized sauerkraut made up for it. It didn’t matter, it was such a welcome treat from all the usual Korean meals.
That was then, this is now
As much as I would like to have the whole family at the dinner table during the week, it is not feasible for us with my husband’s erratic work schedule so I cherish the weekends for family dinners. But even during the week, I try to maintain a routine for the kids and me and try to have dinner at the same hour every night. My kids are 4 and 6 and are eager to help me out with dinner. They have been “helping” me since they were 3. Here are a few tips that I found helpful:
1 – Enlist the kids early!
They are eager and willing to help especially with “grown-up” tasks. Helping with mealtime doesn’t always mean prepping or cooking, but can include setting and clearing the table, and putting away dishes. When my kids were younger and not able to reach the counter, I put a plastic bin on the floor next to the kitchen sink so they could easily put away the dishes. This is a tip I borrowed from their daycare!
2 – Start with easy tasks.
Cutting tofu is great! All it takes is a butter knife to cut through it. Tearing lettuce leaves, stripping herbs from its stem, or helping you pour in ingredients. You can move onto cracking eggs (this is a big sought after task) and cutting vegetables. I found that because they are so eager to help, they do listen to directions and are very cautious when I explain a task that is a little more adventurous, like working near a stove or cutting, or working with raw meat. Once you’re clear with them, then the process is less stressful.
3 – Relax and have fun!
Don’t stress out! Easier said than done, right? I admit this took me a while since I’m such a control freak in the kitchen. But once they get used to being in the kitchen, it gets easier and much more fun!
Now my kids are still young so it’s still a work-in-progress in our household, but I do want my children to be comfortable in the kitchen, know what they are eating, and learn to make good decisions when it comes to food and health. I’m also a firm believer that dinner time is family time.
- 4 1-inch thick bone-in pork chops
- 2 Tablespoons salt
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- Cooking oil
- 1.5 to 2 pounds of sauerkraut, drained
- In a large sealable food storage bag, dissolve salt and sugar in 3 cups water. This is your brine. Once the salt and sugar are dissolved, place the pork chops in the brine. Seal the bag and place the bag in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
- Remove the chops and pat dry with paper towels.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add a couple of tablespoons of cooking oil. Once the skillet is nice and hot, add the chops. Sear the first side for about 2 minutes. Flip the chops and sear for another minute or so. Smother the chops with the drained sauerkraut. Cover the skillet, lower the heat to medium and cook for about another 5-7 minutes.
- Uncover and continue to cook for another 15 minutes. Let the liquid in the pan evaporate and allow the sauerkraut to caramelize a bit. To double-check that the pork is cooked, make sure the internal temperature reaches 145° F.
- To serve, place the pork chops on a large platter and cover them with the sauerkraut. Serve warm!
The Sunday Supper Team is partnering up with American Family Insurance and sharing their favorite childhood meals and memories with us this week. Our contributors will also be sharing tips to encourage families to rediscover the power of family meals. Here is what everyone is bringing to the #FamilyDinnerTable:
- Asian Short Rib Tacos with Pineapple & Crunchy Slaw by Foxes Loves Lemons
- Barbecue Chicken Pizza by In The Kitchen With KP
- Beef & Potato Skillet Supper by Cupcakes & Kale Chips
- Braised Pork Chops and Sauerkraut by kimchi MOM
- Chicken a la King by Juanita’s Cocina
- Chicken and Dumplings by Country Girl In The Village
- Chicken Crescent Squares by Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
- Family Fave Lasagne by NinjaBaking.com
- Gluten Free Peppered Steak by No One Likes Crumbley Cookies
- Greek Meatballs (Soutzoukakia) by Supper For A Steal
- Green Chile Chicken Tortilla Casserole by girlichef
- Hungarian Goulash by The Foodie Army Wife
- Linguine with fresh Tomatoes and Basil by The Not So Cheesy Kitchen
- Meatloaf by Magnolia Days
- Peixe Asado no Forno | Fish Baked in the Oven by Family Foodie
- Pierogies by Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
- Sour Cream Coffee Cake by The Girl In The Little Red Kitchen
- Straw and Hay Pasta by That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Swiss Steak by Curious Cuisiniere
- Veggie Mac and Cheese by Hip Foodie Mom
But wait there’s more!
American Family Insurance is having a “Share Your Recipe” sweepstakes for 6 weeks with a weekly prize is a $100 Williams-Sonoma gift card plus a grand prize of a $500 Williams-Sonoma gift card. For details, click on the icon below.
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This post is sponsored by American Family Insurance. All opinions are my own.