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Announcement: Monday, February 23, 2020: Chicken Tikka Masala and Baked Feta & Veggies
Feb 26th, 2021 by Max Koster

Welcome to kidscookdinner.com, a website my sister Alex and I (Max) founded several years ago to talk about food, kids’ cooking, and the fact that so many people are still hungry!  To learn more about why we started the site, and the charities we support, scroll down a couple of posts to About Kids Cook Dinner.  To see what we are cooking tonight…stay right here.

Tonight I had grand plans to make Chicken Tikka Masala in the Insta-pot, accompanied by baked feta cheese with baby broccoli, tomatoes, and lemon.  However, given that it was a school night, and the Tikka Masala recipe looked like it actually was going to take a long time, I decided to try Trader Joe’s Tikka Masala “simmer’ sauce and focus on the sheet-pan baked feta.  This recipe is based on a recipe that was recently published in The New York Times (Yasmin Fahr).  The photo of it looked so delicious, I had to try it.  There is a bit of prep work but it’s otherwise pretty easy.

Baked Feta

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Ingredients for the Baked Feta + Veggies are as follows:

  • 1 bunch of baby broccoli, thick stalks split lengthwise
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes
  • 1 small red onion, quartered into 2-inch wedges
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 2 (6 to 8 ounce) blocks of feta cut into 3/4 inch slices
  • 1/2 cup basil (optional)

The first step is to preheat the oven to 400 degrees and prep the vegetables.  The original recipe called for halving the grape tomatoes, but that’s not necessary.  They cook just fine if they are whole.

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Then on a sheet pan, spread the baby broccoli, tomatoes, onion, and lemons and toss with the olive oil,  cumin, (red pepper flakes if using), and salt and pepper.   Put the feta slices in with the vegetables.

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Cook in the oven for 15 minutes, stirring about halfway through, and then cook another 10 minutes until the broccoli is lightly charred and the tomatoes are starting to burst.

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Top with the basil if using.

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This can be served with orzo, farro, or rice: I chose rice.

Chicken Tikka Masala

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Ingredients for the Tikka Masala are 2-3 pounds of chicken cut up into bite-size pieces and two jars of Tikka Masala sauce (obviously you can half the recipe if you don’t want leftovers, but we always want leftovers.)

This is pretty easy: really the only thing I had to do was cut up the chicken into bite-size pieces.

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Then I combined the Tikka Masala simmer sauce with 2 cups of water, added the cut-up chicken, and simmered for 30 minutes.

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I served the chicken with rice along with the roasted feta and vegetables.

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Announcement: Sunday, February 14, 2021: Valentine’s Day Cookies
Feb 17th, 2021 by Alex Koster

Welcome to kidscookdinner.com, a website my brother Max and I started five years ago to share our thoughts about food and cooking and helping hungry people.  It’s also a digital cookbook for our family to make sure we remember the meals we love (as well as the ones that didn’t work out so well…)

To learn more about the website, scroll down a few posts to About KidsCookDinner.  But to see what we are cooking today, stay right here.

Since it’s Valentine’s Day, I decided to make Valentine’s Day cookies as my valentine to my family.  I used a traditional sugar cookie recipe (this one is based on Nigella Lawson’s recipe from her cookbook, Feast) and then go crazy with the frosting.

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Ingredients are as follows:

  • 12 ounces softened butter (unsalted if possible, if not, reduce salt by 1/2 teaspoon)
  • 1  cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

The first step is to make sure the butter is soft so it’s easy to cream.  If you want to take a shortcut you can microwave it, but for no more than 15 seconds.  It needs to be soft, not melted.

Then you cream the sugar into the butter and beat it till it is well blended and pale yellow.

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Beat the egg and the vanilla, and add to the butter mix.

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Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt and stir with a whisk

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Add the dry ingredients to the butter-egg mixture and stir well. The dough will be pretty stiff and crumbly.

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Form into two balls and flatten into discs.  Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for an hour (the dough needs to rest.)

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees and then roll out the first ball of dough and cut your cookies out and place on greased tray (or one with a silpat).  I mainly cut out hearts but I threw in a few frogs in the valentine spirit of frogs being kissed and turning into princes.  Put the cut-out cookies in the fridge while you roll out the second disk of dough and cut shapes from that disk.

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Bake until just light gold around the edges and let cool completely. Watch carefully so you don’t burn them!

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(Now the fun part).  After the cookies are cooled, get your frosting and decorations ready.  I used 2 cans of store-bought white vanilla frosting, mixing red gel color into one.  We also had assorted sprinkles and M&Ms to decorate.

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Max even helped frost, but I think that was mainly so he could eat the ones he over-frosted.

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HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!

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Announcement: Sunday February 7, 2021: Super Bowl Sunday!
Feb 8th, 2021 by Max Koster

Welcome to kidscookdinner.com, a website that I (Max) started with my sister Alex five years ago to talk about food, encourage kids to cook, and raise awareness of world hunger.  To learn more about the history of the website, our adventures on Chopped Junior, and the charities we support, scroll down a few posts.  To see what we’re cooking tonight….stay right here.

Tonight we are celebrating Super Bowl Sunday.  We usually have a bunch of people over but obviously that’s not going to happen today thanks to COVID.  Nonetheless, we are making some excellent food and face-timing with some of the people with whom we usually celebrate.  I’m in charge of nachos, Alex is making brownies and mom will probably make something healthy (salad) that no one will eat.

I decided to make chicken nachos, and after looking at a few recipes online, decided to make the chicken in our Instapot.  If you don’t have an Instapot, you can make it in a slow cooker (but adjust the time), or you can buy an already cooked rotisserie chicken and use that.

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For the chicken you will need:

  • 1-1/2 pounds boneless chicken breasts
  • 2 cups mild salsa
  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice (2 limes)
  • salt and pepper.

The first step is to squeeze the limes and add the juice to the Instapot.

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Then salt and pepper the chicken all over and add to the pot.

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Finally, pour the 2 cups of salsa into the pot, stir, and cook for 7 minutes at high pressure.  Standing back from the Instapot, quick release the pressure and check to see if the chicken is done by slicing into it.  If it is still pink, return to Instapot and cook for another 2 minutes on high pressure.  (I needed to cook mine for 2 more minutes)

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Once the chicken is fully cooked, shred it using two forks and return to the pot so it picks up the salsa flavor and stays moist.

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If you are using a rotisserie chicken, shred the chicken and mix with 1 to 1-1/2 cups salsa. You won’t need the limes.  I made the chicken in the morning and then waited till right before the game to put the nachos together:

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To actually make the nachos, you will need:

  • One 15-ounce can of black beans
  • 12 ounces of cheddar or Monterey jack cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1-1/2 pounds chicken (preferably the salsa cooked Instapot chicken, but rotisserie chicken mixed with salsa will also work)
  • One  jalapeno pepper
  • One 16-ounce bag of tortilla chips
  • 4 scallions (optional)
  • Sour cream, guacamole or avocados for serving

The first step here is to preheat your oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil.

Then prep the ingredients: drain and rinse the beans, grate the cheese if not already shredded, half the tomatoes and thinly slice the scallions and jalapeno.

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Build the nachos, arranging about half of the 16-ounce bag of chips on the baking sheet in an even layer.  Top with half of the salsa chicken and a handful of the cheese.  Put the remaining chips on top, followed by the rest of the chicken and cheese. Sprinkle with black beans.

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Bake the nachos in the preheated oven until the cheese is melted and the chips on the edge are starting to brown (about 8 minutes).  Just before serving garnish as you like…with additional beans, tomatoes, jalapeno, scallions and serve with sour cream and avocados or guacamole.

Here’s the before and after photos:

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Enjoy!

Hi, this is Alex.  I was in charge of brownies.  This recipe is amazing and very simple.  It’s originally from my grandmother Jean, who passed it to my mom, who tweaked it a bit and has passed it along to my brother and me.

Here are the ingredients you need:

  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup flour* (see note below)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 to 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

*if you want very fudgy brownies, only use 1/3 cup flour.  If you want brownies with a little more structure, use 1/2 cup flour.

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The first step is to preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease an 8 x 8 square pan. Then melt the butter and the bittersweet chocolate on very low heat, watching all the time (put the butter in the pan under the chocolate). You do not want this to burn.  Let cool till warm but not hot.

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Beat the eggs together and then whisk in the sugar.  Once the chocolate-butter mix is cool enough, add to the eggs (if it is not cool enough, it will scramble the eggs, which is not what you want)

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Then mix in the vanilla and flour and pour into the greased pan.

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Into the oven for 20 minutes.

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Then once out of the oven, immediately sprinkle the top with the chocolate chips.  (Or, if like in our family, people have strong and divergent feelings about whether brownies should be frosted, only put chocolate chips on half the pan of brownies.)

    

The heat from the warm brownies will melt the chocolate chips and you can spread easily, making a wonderful chocolate frosting for the brownies.

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Voila!  Note, it’s usually a good idea to keep these covered in the fridge…otherwise, they are very very sticky.

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Saturday, January 30, 2021: Slow Cooked Korean Beef
Feb 2nd, 2021 by Max Koster

Welcome to kidscookdinner.com.  I (Max) started this site with my sister Alex five years ago to talk about our cooking efforts and to raise awareness of world hunger.  We won $35,000 in a website contest and donated over half to Action Against Hunger, a hunger-relief charity.  (Our parents told us we had to save the rest of the money for college.)  To learn more about the history of the site, and the charities we support, scroll down a few posts.  To see what we’re cooking today, just keep reading.

Today was another cold January day and dad had bought 3 pounds of chuck roast, which is pretty inexpensive and has a lot of connective tissue in it.  It needs to cook a long time to dissolve that tissue so it’s traditionally used for pot roast (beef cooked with carrots and potatoes).  I didn’t want to do a traditional pot roast so I found a couple of recipes for Korean Pot Roast/Slow Cooked Korean Beef to try.  This recipe uses a slow cooker for this but you could probably also cook it in a large saucepan over low heat (or in the oven in a Dutch oven).  Note this recipe is inspired by Chungah’s recipe for slow cooker Korean been found here.

KoreanBeefIngredients

Ingredients were as follows:

  • 3 pounds of boneless chuck roast, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon grated or minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon white sesame seeds (optional)

The first step was to prep everything: cut the beef, mince the garlic, grate the ginger and measure everything.  The meat was tough to cut up: will definitely need to cook for a while in the slow cooker.

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The next step was to whisk together the beef broth, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar onion powder, and pepper.

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Then put the cut-up chuck roast in the slow cooker and pour the beef broth-soy sauce mixture over the top and give a good stir.

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Cook on low heat for 7-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours, stirring from time to time.  When the time is up, and meat is very tender, turn off the cooker and let it cool. (The meat will have reduced in size dramatically)

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Refrigerate overnight, if possible, so fat hardens (there will be a lot of it).  This is what it looked like in the morning. All the white stuff is fat.

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Remove the fat (it’s about 1/4 inch thick and solid, so easy to do with a big spoon) and reheat.

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I  served it over rice, sprinkle with sliced scallions and sesame seeds.  Delicious!

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