Announcement: Sunday, November 24, 2019: Back to the Basics: Healthy Chicken Parm
Dec 1st, 2019 by Katekoster

So I (Max) will be the first to admit I have not been cooking as much as I would like to.  However, I am re-dedicating myself to perfecting my favorite meals (and trying a few new ones) so I can survive on my own in college. I know there will probably be a college cafeteria, but who knows how good the food will be? And I really like good food. So first up: healthy chicken parm.  What’s nice about this is that it really doesn’t take many ingredients (and only 3 fresh ingredients: chicken, tomatoes and mozzarella cheese).


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First step, prep the tomatoes: this is super easy, just wash the tomatoes, toss them in olive oil, put on a sheet pan with salt and pepper and they are ready to go in the oven at 375 degrees.  They will cook down (some will explode) and will make a super simple tomato sauce.


Seond step, make the chicken.  To do this, I set up a simple assembly line of chicken, bowl of olive oil, plate of panko bread crumbs and baking pan.  Then I dip the chicken in olive oil, bread it with the panko bread crumbs, and into the pan.  Then both the chicken and tomatoes go into the oven and cook for 15 minutes.  (Note you could cook the tomatoes and chicken on the same pan, if you needed to)

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After 15 minutes, I flip the chicken for over and then cook for another 5-10 minutes (checking one by cutting it in half to make sure not too pink).  Cooking time depends on how thick the chicken cutlets are.  Then I layered on slice of mozarella to just melt a bit.

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Meanwhile, I started water boiling and started cooking pasta, and also took out the tomatoes.  (I used dried papparedelle but you can use any type of pasta you want)

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Once the mozzarella has melted, it’s time to plate (and eat!)


Announcement: October 20, 2019: Comfort Food Weekend
Nov 26th, 2019 by Katekoster

This weekend was cold and rainy so my family and I indulged in warm, comforting food…starting off with the classic egg-in-a-hole for breakfast on Saturday am.


For those of you not familiar with this classic breakfast: all it requires is a slice of bread, butter, an egg and a circular glass to cut out a whole in the bread.  After cutting out the hole in the bread, you melt butter in an pan, place the bread in the pan and then crack an egg in the center hole.  After the egg has solidified, you gently flip it over (sometimes 2 spatulas necessary). (And flip over the circular piece so it gets browned as well.)  Voila: you have an egg-in-the-hole!

Next stop on the comfort food train was Progresso Chicken Noodle soup for lunch on Saturday.  Now I know that homemade chicken noodle soup is pretty good, but honestly, Progresso’s canned version is pretty amazing.


Next up (Sunday dinner), cabernet-marinated pot roast, courtesy of Trader Joes.  This was pretty easy:  buy pot roast, cook in oven, boil potatoes on the side.  To add a little bit more comfort, we melted raclette and served on the side (with the potatoes of course!)

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Finally for dessert, Alex made the most amazing (and simple) puff pasty apple tarts: buy frozen puff pastry; defrost one sheet, cut into sixths, slather with butter and cinnamon and arrange sliced apples on top, bake.  Simple and delish. (Thanks Alex!)


Announcement: About Kids Cook Dinner and Max and Alex’s Adventures on Chopped Junior
Sep 29th, 2017 by Katekoster

Welcome to a website/blog dedicated to kids cooking (usually dinner, but not always) and also to draw attention to the fact that a lot of people don’t have enough to eat.   And thanks for all of you who watched us compete on Chopped Junior on Food Network which first aired on Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017 and then ran again on Tuesday, June 19, 2018.   We were thrilled to compete to raise awareness (and hopefully money) for Action Against Hunger, an international hunger relief charity that we have supported since we first won a prize for our website domain name:  If you want to find out more about Action Against Hunger, or donate to this charity, please click HERE.  But if you just want to see what we cooked this week or other weeks, just scroll up or  down! 


As you may know, we (Max and Alex…the kids) started cooking dinner for our family once a week back in 2015.  We realized how fun it was too cook and we wanted to share our experiences (and encourage kids to cook), so we started this website.  We also randomly entered the website in a national domain name contest.  Amazingly enough we won the contest and $35,000!  Click here for more about the story of our domain name.


But because we have plenty to eat, and millions of people around the world don’t, we donated half of our prize ($17,000) to Action Against Hunger–a charity dedicated to saving the lives of malnourished children and helping vulnerable communities become self sufficient. We were lucky enough to get to visit the Action Against Hunger office in New York and meet some of their amazing staff. (Below we are sitting with Alex Cottin, Director of External Affairs, and Andrea Tamburini, CEO of AAH-USA, in August 2015)

Max and Alex with Alex Cottin, Director of External Affairs and Andrea Tamburini, CEO, of AAH-USA

We hope you enjoyed watching us compete on Chopped Junior and we hope you are inspired to cook more.  Let’s all try to take the time to enjoy what we cook together. And, at least for our family, let’s be thankful for what we have and try to help those in need.


Saturday, September 28, 2019: CroNut Surprise
Oct 25th, 2019 by Katekoster

Sorry  that we haven’t posted for a while: school started and we are both playing varsity soccer so it’s been tough.  So for a surprise and treat this weekend (when I (MAX) didn’t have a game), I decided to get up super early and go to Dominque Ansel Bakery in Soho, NY,  to try the infamous “Cronut”: half croissant/half donut.  (The line was insane, but I got up so early I was first in line.)  I also bought a variety of other treats in case we didn’t like the cronuts.  First, I do want to congratulate Dominque Ansel on the atmosphere and packaging: they put on a good show  — I mean look at this packaging!  It opens up like a flower!

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However, frankly, I am not (nor were the rest of my family) huge fans of the cronut. Apparently they change the color, frosting and filling every month? And this month’s was purple frosting with a grape filling:

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It just didn’t work for us, super sweet.  (Mom scraped off the purple frosting and ate some of the pastry, but I think she was just trying to make me feel good).  I also bought frozen s’mores which looked amazing! But again way too sweet (and we like sweet things).

Fortunately I bought a lot of other things, including an apple puff pastry tart and some sort of nutella twist/circle thing.  Those were delicious! And the staff there were super nice.  Definitely worth visting, but maybe not just for the cronut.



Saturday August 24, 2019: Farmer’s Market Feast
Sep 8th, 2019 by Katekoster

We were upstate and visited a farmer’s market in nearby Hillsdale.  It was great (especially the dumplings) and we bought a lot of great vegetables, including peppers, zucchini, corn and cauliflower  We also had a barbecue turkey breast that good friends in Austin had sent us from Salt Lick Barbecue.  We decided to marinate and grill the peppers & zucchini, make cauliflower steak, boil the corn and (luckily for us, just reheat the turkey.



For the veggie marinade, we combined soy sauce, olive oil, diced garlic and chopped ginger. Then we let everything sit.  Corn was simple: just husk and rinse.  (We also made couscous)

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For the cauliflower we tried to slice it into slices, but most of it crumbled.  We did get one good slice that we drizzled with olive oil and salt and pepper, and then grilled a regular steak.

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For the turkey breast: we just reheated in the oven at low heat for about an hour, took off the netting and sliced (and then we doused it with Salt Lick barbecue sauce.)

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Pretty easy but tasty meal, although considered:


Saturday, August 3, 2018: Simple Moussaka
Aug 16th, 2019 by Katekoster

A couple summers ago we went to Greece and I (Max) tried moussaka, and I really didn’t take to  it. But my dad  really likes it and bought the ingredients so I decided to humor him and make it.  I looked at a couple recipes and I realized why I probably didn’t like it…it had cinnamon in the topping! For me cinnamon is pretty much a dessert spice (like with apple pie…) so it doesn’t work for me in a savory dish. Consequently I didn’t use the cinnamon when I made it, and both my dad and me loved the result.  Even mom liked it, and she doesn’t like egg plant!

First, I  sliced 2 eggplants, salted them, drizzled them with olive oil and put in the oven to roast for 20 minutes.

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Meanwhile I chopped an onion and sauteed it with a pound of ground lamb (you can use ground beef but lamb is better.) When the lamb was cooked through, I added a can of chopped tomatoes. (you can also use plain tomato sauce)

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While the eggplant cooked, I made a white sauce for the top. The white sauce is basically butter, flour and milk:  then when its nice and thick, you add grated parmesan.


When the eggplant was soft and brown, the lamb was cooked, and the white sauce was done, I layered it all together: first the eggplant, then the lamb/tomato sauce and finally the white sauce .. with a little more parmesan grated on top.




I let it cook for about 15 minutes, until golden brown.


DELICIOUS!! And no cinnamon.

July 19, 2019: Chicago Feast
Jul 28th, 2019 by Katekoster

Last weekend I went to Chicago and tried some really good food. We started off at Nando’s Peri-Peri for lunch.  Nando’s is a South African restauarant chain that is really popular world wide but only has restaurants in the US in Chicago and DC.  I ordered 1/2 peri-peri chicken with peri-peri fries. Delicious but a little spicy (pictures courtesy of Nando’s, we were too hungry to take any photos!).  I just want them to open in NYC.

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Then it was off to Wrigley Field to watch the Cubs beat the Padres and have the obligatory hot dog. The hot dog was ok  but I really like the stadium.


For dinner, we of course had to have deep dish pizza.  We had a bunch of recommendations and ended up choosing Giordano’s, which was really good. But man is that pizza cheesy. There was cheese in the crust! I liked it but I am a bigger fan of thin crust, New York style pizza.

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Finally for a late lunch the next day, following a visit to the Aquarium,

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we went to Epic Burgers.  It is a cool concept where you build your own burger: first you select your protein, then choose which “free toppings” you want (like lettuce and tomatoes) and then choose which extra toppings you want (like avocado and bacon). They also have excellent milkshakes.

I got a beef burger with lettuce, tomatoes, cheese and bacon along with fries and a nutella milkshake. Mom got a turkey burger with lettuce, tomatoes, cheese and avocado.

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Friday, July 5, 2019: Roast Lemon Chicken
Jul 27th, 2019 by Katekoster

Thanks for checking out our blog.  Read below for the story of how we created it, or just for some ideas on what to cook, keep reading (this is Max; Alex is still away at sleepaway camp)

Along with the regular barbecue fare we cooked over the July 4 weekend, I (Max) decided to roast a chicken for dinner and for left overs. We had a bunch of lemons so I decided to make roast lemon chicken. (We have been buying spatchcocked lemon rosemary chicken at Trader Joe’s and I wanted to try to recreate that.

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I sliced two lemons into 1/2 inch slices and laid them in the bottom of a roasting pan.  The point was that they would keep the bottom of the chicken from sitting in its own fat.


Then I rinsed the whole chicken with cold water, removed the stuff in a little sack (the liver, etc.) and patted the chicken dry.

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Then I put a little olive oil on the chicken, salt and peppered  it, drizzled it with lemon juice and put lemon slices on top and in the cavity of the bird. Then I washed my hands really well and put the chicken into the oven for an hour and a half at 350 degrees. I check to see if it was done by poking the thickest part of the thigh to see if still red…it wasn’t

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When we ate it, it was pretty good but not as lemony as I thought it would be. I think the secret is probably marinating it in some lemon based marinade to really give it flavor.  To be honest, the Trader Joe’s chicken tasted a little better.

Sunday May 12, 2019: Mother’s Day Meal (Salmon & Veggies)
Jun 23rd, 2019 by Katekoster

Tonight I wanted to make something special for mom (since it was Mother’s Day…) so I went to our nearby Trader Joe’s and bought a chunk of salmon and a bunch of vegetables to make a simple, healthy and tasty meal.  I also bought couscous as our carb, and a bunch of flowers in case I messed up dinner…

The biggest challenge was figuring out how to cut the salmon into serving size pieces…I ended up using meat scissors and a knife.  Here are the ingredients:

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(See below: after several attempts with the scissors, I resorted to our biggest butcher knife)

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After I prepped the salmon, I drizzled olive oil over it and salt and peppered it.  I also chopped all the vegetables and did the same (olive oil and salt and pepper) and everything in the oven to roast.  Here’s a trick for prepping asparagus that my mom taught me.  You shouldn’t chop the ends off, you should hold a spear in your fingertips and gently bend down the end: it will snap off just where it’s too woody to eat.  Takes longer than cutting but tastes better.

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Meanwhile, I started water boiling for couscous, and checked on the salmon. In retrospect, I should have broiled it to get a little more color on it, but I didn’t want to burn it, and when I cut into it, it was perfectly cooked through, so I pulled it out.

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Here’s the final plate (except for the brussel sprouts…I must have forgotten them, or this was my plate and I’m not a fan.)



Monday, April 29, 2019: Moroccan Adventure
May 27th, 2019 by Katekoster

We just got back from a week in Morocco so I (Max) thought I would describe some of our favorite foods and favorite restaurants.  Our first taste of Morocca was mint tea (or atai) offered to us by our hosts at our Riad in Fez (see below…straight off the plane).  I liked it (but added sugar) and we drank a lot of it over the course of our trip.  Our other favorite drink was fresh squeezed orange juice.  Wherever we went there was always plenty of it and it was always delicious. The dish we ate the most was tagine with couscous. A tagine is a stew, usually with  chicken, beef, lamb or vegetables: we liked the lamb the best.  There was another dish called a pastilla: it is a pastry traditionally prepared with pigeon (note we tried it with chicken…living in NYC, it’s a little hard to imagine eating pigeon).  It has cinnamon and ground almonds and it’s actually sweet…we didn’t love it.   We also ate a lot of chicken or lamb skewers with rice or couscous. Dessert was usually a platter of fruit. Pork is forbidden in Islam so we didn’t see or try anything with pork in it. (Alcohol is forbidden as well, but mom and dad managed to find wine to drink most nights.)


Favorite Restaurants:

The Blue Patio (Fez)

We ate lunch at the Blue Patio (on a terrace overlooking the media)  and it was really authentic and delicious.  We started with mixed salads, that were a bunch of different cooked vegetables (cauliflowers, beets, cucumbers), chick peas, and olives  and breads, and then we each had tagine and a plate of skewers. Finally we finished up with fruit and yogurt.

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Desert Luxury Camp (the Sahara)

One of the best meals we had was at our camp in the Sahara.  We started with lentil soup and then moved on to a chicken dish that was like the best fried chicken ever, an angel hair pasta dish that is hard to describe but tasted good (it had cinnamon and powdered sugar on the plate next to it, but I didn’t mix that in), and then vegetable/cheese tagine.  Plus the setting was pretty awesome

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Dar Anika Restaurant (Marrakesh)

We loved our riad in Marrakesh (called Dar Anika).  It had a beautiful courtyard, and on the top floor, a great, light-filled restaurant.  We ate lunch there our first day in Marakkesh.  We started with a trio of dips (goat cheese, tomato and tapenade) with bread (batbout…like a mini pita pocket)and then had a great salad, some tasty pastries called briouat and I ordered pasta (I was craving it after all the tagine and couscous).  It was sort of like a fettucine alfredo, except it had tomatoes and chicken in it and truffle salt on top.  I really liked it and so did Alex…we are going to try to recreate it when we get back to NYC.

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Azar (Marrakesh)

Azar is a restaurant/nightclub. Apparently belly dancers come out at 10 PM (but we didn’t stay that late).  It’s very glitzy: red, black and gold, and the menu is mainly Lebanese. We ordered a bunch of starters (falafel, hummus, hummus with avocado, chick pea salad)  and then Alex had filet mignon with mushroom sauce, Mom and Dad had lamb shoulder and I had lamb shawarma.   We felt underdressed: people were definitely there to party.

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Other favorites in Marrakesh were Cafe 16 on the edge of the Marrakesh Plaza: good for a sandwich or ice cream and Pepenero in the Medina for surprisingly good Italian.

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