Hot casserole is spectators cold weather friend
I’m writing with stiff, half-frozen fingers. That’s what happens when Grammie goes to watch a field hockey game — or anything else in which my grandchildren participate — on a 55 degree evening when it’s spitting rain.
At middle school age, kids have the metabolism of a steam engine — they simply don’t get cold while they’re playing. Thus, 12- and 13-year-old girls can play field hockey wearing uniforms that consist of short, “flippy” skirts and matching sleeveless tops, all the better to run like race horses and swing wooden sticks that can send a hard little rubber ball many yards down a grass field toward the opposing team’s goalie box.
Then, we have the fledgling football players — the “boys of fall.” Starting about fourth grade, they square off to play intramural football every Sunday afternoon in my community. They run, block, tackle, throw, (sometimes) catch and occasionally break a limb. As in other kid sports, a smattering of parents, grandparents, siblings and friends line up beside the field.
Back in late August, we spectators set up our chairs in whatever patch of shade was available, moving when necessary to avoid the early afternoon sun. Six weeks later, as we sit still in temperatures 35 degrees lower, cooled still further by gentle 10 mile per hour breezes, Mr. Sun is our friend.
I can only imagine how it is on Sunday afternoons in New Hampshire, where another young grandson battles it out for possession of still another pigskin.
Then, there are the kids who also wear uniforms and move around a football field more than half the year, in all kinds of weather, but don’t play football — those who are members of the bands.
Band is a nearly every day activity in the fall. Starting with band camp in July, they march in all kinds of weather, wearing long sleeved jackets and long pants — did I mention band uniforms are made of wool? Yes, what once insulated a herd of sheep now warms a group of kids.
Did you ever try marching in step with 45 or so others while playing a song in sync and in the same key? I have a hard time walking and chewing gum at the same time, much less doing so wearing a wool suit.
When we attended Seniors Night at the Red Raiders’ Stadium in London last weekend, the temperature dropped 20 degrees in an hour as a cold front swept in just before dark. Blankets were part of the onlookers’ outfits. Going to kids’ games and outdoor activities puts a whole new slant on the term “spectator sports.”
With cold weather settling in for the next few months, our major family activity is likely to happen in the kitchen — team cooking. ‘Tis the season for Nanna candy, Swedish meatballs, meat pies and casseroles.
Kids can be a great help with big-batch cooking. It’s really fun to cook enough for everyone to take a meal home to freeze and warm up after a winter sports day two or three months from now.
Here’s something to prepare next time you have a kitchen full of kids as sous chefs. The genesis of this recipe comes from Kraft Foods.
1/2 pound chorizo sausage or ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon adobo seasoning
1 teaspoon cilantro, minced
1 cup mild salsa
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup flour
1 8-ounce package shredded Monterey Jack cheese
4 poblano chiles, roasted, seeded and quartered, if desired
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brown chorizo or ground beef in large skillet on medium heat and drain. Add onions, garlic, adobo seasoning and cilantro, mix well. Cook and stir until onions are tender.
Stir in the salsa. Simmer 5 minutes.
Beat eggs lightly in a medium bowl. Add sour cream and flour, mix well. Stir in the cheese.
In a greased 8-inch square baking dish layer one half of chiles (if you are using them), meat mixture, and egg mixture. Repeat layers for a total of 2 layers of each.
Bake 35 minutes or until center is set.
Linda Conway Eriksson can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com.