Our Family Dinner Book Club selection for the month of November is Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
Here you’ll find a menu that can be prepared with the help of your children, and will hopefully be a fun and interactive activity for the whole family. Head over to Growing Book by Book for some talking points to get the conversation started. We invite you to share a picture from your dinner with us anytime during the month on our Family Dinner Book Club Facebook page.
I never read Little House on the Prairie as a child. I knew of these stories, and I knew there was a tv show, but that is the extent of my memories associated with this story. I am so glad we chose this book for Family Dinner Book Club. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Laura and her family. I laughed, I cried, I got nervous, and I grew very fond of the Ingalls. Although the foods they ate are talked about quite a bit in this book, I had a difficult time deciding on a dinner menu. I wanted to represent what they would have eaten back then, but I also wanted it to be exciting, tasty, and easy. Most of the foods they would have eaten back then would have been very heavy and bland. While the Ingalls were traveling in their covered wagon, they ate the same thing just about every day. Ma would mix some cornmeal and water together and fry it in bacon grease. The bacon grease part of that sounds great, but the mixture of just water and cornmeal sounds very dense.
Once they settled and Pa went hunting on a regular basis and they planted their garden, their meals would have become more exciting. I loved the description of the first time they had rabbit since settling. “They sat by the campfire and ate the tender, savory, flavory meat till they could eat no more.”
I decided on a one-pot meal for this month’s Family Dinner Book Club. Braised Chicken with Carrots and Green Beans. I think this dish combines the simplicity of cooking that Ma would have done and adds in some of our modern flavors to create something that you can make easily and serve to the entire family.
Little House on the Prairie Dinner Menu
One-Pot Braised Chicken
with carrots, green beans, and onions
White Flour Biscuits
Water or Fresh Cow’s Milk served in your Tin Cup
Coffee sweetened with Molasses
Watermelon, if you can find any, because it is Pa’s favorite
Here are some other menu ideas I had that I think the Ingalls would have enjoyed:
Corn Bread with Molasses
Your kids can help you pat the chicken dry and sprinkle it with salt. Make sure to wash hands well after handling raw chicken! They can also carefully add the onions, carrots, and green beans to the pot. You can also add some chopped red potatoes to the pot along with the carrots to add a starch to this meal.
Now gallop on over to Growing Book by Book for some talking points and table decorations!
- 1 whole chicken, cut into pieces OR
- 2 chicken breasts and 4 chicken legs, skin on and bone in
- kosher salt and pepper, to taste
- extra virgin olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, peeled and quartered
- 4 carrots, chopped
- 3-4 large garlic cloves, smashed
- 8-10 sprigs fresh thyme
- 16 ounces (2 cups) dry white wine or chicken broth
- 1 pound green beans, trimmed
- Pat the chicken dry and sprinkle generously with salt.
- Heat the oil in a large dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium-high heat.
- Add the chicken breasts, skin side down, and sear until the skin is golden brown and the chicken easily lifts from the pan, about 5-7 minutes depending on the size. Remove to a plate.
- Add the chicken legs to the pan, and sear until the skin is golden brown on all sides, about 3 minutes per side. Remove to a plate.
- Add the onions and carrots to the pan and saute for 5 minutes.
- Add the chicken back to the pot, on top of the veggies.
- Add the garlic, thyme, and wine to the pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Add the green beans to the pot, cover with lid slightly ajar, and continue to simmer until all the chicken is cooked through. About 10-15 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken.
- Serve with the pan juices drizzled on top.
You can also add some chopped red potatoes to the pot along with onions and carrots.