The Amish Cook: A herd of helping hands


By Gloria Yoder

The Amish Cook

Cooking styles come and go in spurts at our house. I enjoy paging through cooking magazines with creative ideas by other cooks; however, in the midst of an intense life of homeschooling three and mothering six young children, I rarely have or take the time to make extravagant dishes.

When I dig for new recipes, it’s no longer the prettiest creations I go for, but what falls into the category of nutritious and simple and affordable, all in one. Julia certainly is a baker at heart and enjoys trying new recipes in the baking line. There’s a satisfaction I never imagined possible in having a baker grow up right in our midst. With a growing family, consuming mega amounts of food, it’s such a blessing to have her come to me in the afternoon, asking if she could bake something.

Unless I have other plans for her, I always give her a green light, “Go for it!” After choosing a recipe and tying the new baker’s apron Aunt Mary made for her, she’s good to go.

Hosanna is on her heels. Thanks to Mary for making a matching tan and white apron for her also. Recently, she mixed up pancakes from scratch all by herself as I told her the ingredients and amounts from the recliner where I was holding a feverish child.

Since Austin has learned to read, he enjoys reading his ingredients by himself now. As a seven year-old boy, I’ve been amazed at his kitchen skills. Maybe he’ll take after his dad who’s a chef at heart?

Jesse loves to help where he can. Last week, when I was mixing up dry ingredients for biscuits, pancakes, and brownies, (for convenience on busy days), Jesse declared that he wants to drive the new little back hoe in my ingredients. I debated. There was no doubt that it would keep him out of trouble for a good while. I scanned over my turn table with containers and spotted a flat one. Snatching it up, I scooped a few cups of quick oats in it. “Here, you dig in these oats, and drive them around in the container, okay?” It worked marvelously while Elijah carefully helped me measure and dump ingredients and whisk them up.

Elijah has his Daddy’s patience and can happily help in the kitchen for a long while, reminding me from time to time, that since he is the one making this food, he’ll also get to spoon it out, onto his plate then. Amazing how much motivation it gives to them to want to bake or cook when they know they may dish out their own food, and if happens to be a cake or bars that they’re helping with, they are the lucky one to cut them.

At a year old, little Joshua is serious about doing his part in dumping and stirring. He follows Elijah and Daddy’s traits of being careful and precise and is careful to not make too much of a mess.

As you can only imagine, by 4 p.m. our kitchen has characteristics all its own as we make supper. Though it teaches valuable life lessons to have the children help clean up the kitchen, it is a treat and a half to have Daddy sometimes take the little tribe with him to the living room while I clean up! And yes, when the canisters were replenished and the projects completed, Jesse wiped his new loader and I was as good as new once more!

Now as Julia mixes up chocolate chip cookies, I’ll leave you with my ‘too easy ‘n too good rice’, which we’ll be having for supper tonight. As you know, rice usually isn’t too high on children’s lists of favorites, but this rice is a hit, no matter where we go! It seems too easy for how tasty it is every time. Thanks to Daniel’s sister Mary for introducing the recipe to us! Check out this Classic Amish Rice Casserole, it is so easy and delicious!

Classic Amish Rice Casserole

4 cups chicken broth

1 cup water

2 cups rice (I prefer using Parboil rice.)

3 tablespoons parsley flakes

2 teaspoons seasoning salt

6 tablespoons butter

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon chicken base

2 cups diced and prepared chicken

1 cup peppers, diced (optional)

1 cup onions, chopped (optional)

1 cup mushrooms, diced (optional)

Dump all into a 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish, mix all together and bake at 350 for an hour or until rice is tender.

You may add a dash of water if more is needed to soak up the rice.

Sprinkle with a cup of shredded cheese of your choice, and if desired top with seasoned bread crumbs.

Return to oven until cheese is melted.

Serves 15. Recipe may also be cut in half.

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