January 27, 2022: Sheet Pan Shrimp and Veggies
Jan 28th, 2022 by Alex Koster

Welcome to, a website my brother and I started in 2015 to talk about food and kids’ cooking. Since then we’ve tried to use it to raise awareness about social issues such as worldwide hunger (see post above “About KidsCookDinner…” but now my brother is in college, so I get to choose what to cook!

Tonight I wanted to cook a healthy, meat-free dish so I decided to do a sheet pan roast of shrimp and vegetables. While shrimp is considered a “healthy” choice, after researching it from an environmentally sustainable perspective, I was surprised to learn that a lot of shrimp is not considered a good choice from an overall climate change, sustainability POV. There are a lot of different organizations that list “good” fish to eat, and it’s hard to keep track of them all (and one article I read even said it’s so confusing as to what fish is OK to buy!


The shrimp I bought had a sustainability label on them so I hope they were ok. But just be careful, look at labels and certifications from organizations such as,, or

Anyway, the ingredients you need include:


  • 1 pound raw, peeled shrimp (hopefully from a sustainable source)
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1/2 red onion chopped
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

NOTE: you can add whatever additional veggies you like: thin-sliced carrots? garlic cloves? cauliflower? peppers (you just may need to add a bit more olive oil if you have more volume)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and prepare the shrimp. For our family, that means making sure they are peeled and the tail is removed! Oftentimes, if you buy peeled shrimp, the tail is still on, which is fine if you are eating them as a shrimp cocktail but not so good if they are part of a dish.

Then put the veggies in a large bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and some salt and pepper.

In a separate bowl, toss the shrimp with the other tablespoon of olive oil and salt and pepper.

Spread the veggies on a sheet pan and bake for 10 minutes until lightly charred, then toss and turn them on the pan and bake for another 5 minutes

Add the shrimp and bake for another 5 minutes until everything looks a bit browned.

Serve with rice if you like, or not! I found it was a delicious, satisfying meal without any additions…

Penne alla Vodka
Jan 22nd, 2022 by Alex Koster

Today I made Gigi Hadid’s famous Penne alla Vodka… it was a fairly simple recipe with minimal ingredients: (serves two)

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • ¼ green onion
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon vodka
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (adjusted for preference)
  • 225 grams of shells pasta (anytype)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ¼ cup pasta water
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese

To make the sauce start by dicing the garlic and green onion (use the white part of the green onion- it has the most flavor and the green part is typically used for a garnish). Then heat a sauce pan with olive oil, add the garlic, and the onion, once softened add the tomato paste. After letting that simmer (don’t burn it!) stir in the heavy cream and vodka. When the vodka has evaporated, add the red pepper flakes. At this point it’s okay if the sauce isn’t fully coming together!

Remove from heat and cook your pasta… you can use any type- I used penne but want to try it with Conchiglie. Save 1/4 cup of the water for later!

Put the sauce back on medium heat and add the butter while stirring until it melts. Add pasta and 1/4 cup of the pasta water. Add the parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper.

Remove from heat and serve with more cheese and fresh basil. The pasta was perfect for a cozy winter night in, and I can’t wait to make it again. Enjoy!

Greek Yogurt Bagels
Jan 19th, 2022 by Alex Koster

I was scrolling through my Instagram feed when suddenly I came across an incredibly simpleand healthy bagel recipe, at first I thought it was fake… surely making bagels is a long process- but after some more research I verified the recipe:

Ingredients: 1 cup all-purpose flour, 2 tsp baking powder, 3/4 tsp kosher salt, 1 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt, 1 egg white, seasoning of choice

Simply preheat the oven to 375°F.

Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt and whisk well. Then add the yogurt and mix with a fork or spatula until well combined, it will look like small crumbles.

Flour a surface and knead the dough a few times enough so that the dough isn’t left on your hand when you pull away.

Divide the dough in 4 balls and roll them into 3/4-inch thick ropes and join the ends to form bagels.

Cover both sides with egg wash and seasoning of your choice (I used Trader Joe’s “everything but the bagel” seasoning). Bake on the top rack of the oven for 25 minutes. Let cool at least 15 minutes before cutting and enjoy!!!!

**I didn’t realize how much they would rise and should have made the hole a bit bigger… still delicious!**

These are an easy, healthy alternative and seriously good, as a bagel enthusiast I would definitely recommend them!

January 5, 2021: Fun with Composting
Jan 9th, 2022 by Alex Koster

Welcome to, a website my brother and I started in 2015 to talk about food and kids’ cooking. We also tried to raise awareness about social issues like worldwide hunger. (See post below, About Kids Cook Dinner, for more info about that.)

I am also trying to educate myself and others about climate change and I’ve learned that the food we eat can be a big part of it. And the food we waste is a huge issue! Not only does it waste water and energy to produce food that is then wasted, but food waste also generates greenhouse gases and the United States is the worst. We discard more food (40 million tons) than any other country in the world.

So instead of talking about cooking today, I wanted to talk about what we can do to help reduce food waste. The first thing is to buy groceries more thoughtfully: make a list before you go to the store about what you need and stick to it.

The second thing you can do is compost some of the food waste. We have always done this at our house in the country because it’s easy there. Our compost bins are close to the house and we just empty our compost bucket into them when it’s full. The things we compost are:

(We have two bins, one is for new compost and the other is aging, and we use that in our garden)

  • fruit, vegetable scraps
  • egg shells
  • coffee grounds
  • dried flowers/leaves
  • old bread, grains or pasta

For the new year, I wanted to try to make sure we tried to compost stuff in the city. So I got another compost bucket and found a compost bin along the Hudson River near where we walk the dog.

If you are interested in composting your food waste, it’s easy to find a drop off spot in New York City. Just check out

The link will show you your nearest drop-off spot and what it accepts. Good luck and happy composting!

December 20, 2021: Crispy Sheet Pan Teriyaki Tofu, Broccoli, and Garlic
Jan 1st, 2022 by Alex Koster

Welcome to, a website my brother and I started in 2015 to talk about food and kids’ cooking. Since then we’ve tried to use it to raise awareness about social issues such as worldwide hunger (see intro post above “About KidsCookDinner…”. And now, since I’m really concerned about climate change, I want to raise awareness about food’s carbon ‘footprint”. I am trying to learn more about it, but what I understand is that the mass production of meat, dairy, and eggs has a big negative impact due to the greenhouse emissions these activities produce. I love meat but I am going to try to eat a more plant-based diet to do my part. Accordingly, today I am going to cook something healthy, high in protein–but with no meat, dairy, or eggs. This tofu dish, loosely based on a recipe in Recipe Runner (I added garlic!), looked delicious.


For the tofu, broccoli, and garlic mix:

  • 1 block extra firm tofu
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin oil
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce*
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 3 cups broccoli florets
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 10-15 peeled garlic cloves

For the teriyaki sauce

  • 1/3 cup soy sauce*
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sriracha
  • 1/3 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon corn starch whisked with 1 teaspoon water.

* you can substitute tamari sauce if you have it.

Once you have everything assembled, drain and dry the tofu with paper towels. Cut the tofu into about 50 cubes by slicing the tofu into 5 slabs, stacking them on top of each other and slicing lengthwise and then across again.

Line a sheet pan with paper towels, or a soft clean cotton towel, and lay the tofu on top in a single layer. Place a towel on top and them put something heavy on top and let the tofu rest for at least 20 minutes (longer is better).

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and oil a rimmed baking sheet. After at least 20 minutes, toss the cubed tofu with 1 and and 1/2 teaspoons olive oil, 2 teaspoons of soy sauce and 2 teaspoons of cornstarch in a large bowl. Keep mixing until no corn starch is visible.

Spread the tofu onto1/2 of the baking sheet. Then add the broccoli to the same bowl along with the remaining olive oil (1 and 1/2 teaspoons) and salt and pepper. Mix and then spread the broccoli on the other half of the baking sheet, leaving a little room for the garlic

Slice the cloves of garlic in half if too big, toss with a little olive oil.

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Bake for 12 minutes, remove the pan from the oven. Toss the broccoli and tofu around and add the garlic. Cook for another 12 minutes or until the tofu is gold and crispy on the edges.

Meanwhile, make the teriyaki sauce (this is what makes the dish really good)! Over medium heat in a small saucepan, whisk together all the ingredients listed above, except the cornstarch and water. Bring it to a boil and then whisk in the cornstarch-water mix. Reduce the heat and continue stirring until the sauce thickens.

Once the tofu, broccoli, and garlic are done baking, combine with the teriyaki sauce and serve over rice. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

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