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

Welcome to kidscookdinner.com: 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 still occasionally reruns.   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: kidscookdinner.com.  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! 

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Dinner in 2015

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Dinner in 2020

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 to 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.

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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 May 2, 2020: More COVID Comfort Food: Thanksgiving in May!
May 10th, 2020 by Katekoster

Welcome to kidscookdinner.com.  To learn more about our website, and we why started doing it five years ago, scroll down a couple of posts. To read what we cooked today: read on right here!

Even though it was May, we decided we really needed some traditional comfort food so we decided to make Thanksgiving Dinner: turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and cranberry sauce. The only thing missing was the pumpkin pie.

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First step was to make sure there was nothing inside the turkey (mom said sometimes the neck or liver is inside…unfortunately she was right).  Good thing we had extra gloves.

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Next step was to tuck the wings into the skin and then rub the bird with butter and salt and pepper.

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Then into the oven at 325 degrees for 3 and 1/2 hours.  (Time to cook depends on the size of turkey: this was one 13 pounds).  We covered it with a tent of foil for the first two hours of cook time so it wouldn’t get too brown. We checked it every hour. The second photo is about halfway through the cooking.

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About an hour before the turkey was supposed to be done, we started peeling potatoes.  Then we chopped them into quarters and put them in water to boil.

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Max was in charge of mashing once the potatoes were fork tender

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For the stuffing, we chopped an onion, sauteed it and added chicken broth.  Once that was combined, we added the stuffing mix.  Right before serving we toasted it in the oven.

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Cranberry sauce was easy: from a can (that’s our favorite; homemade has too many whole berries!) We pulled out the turkey and let it sit for 20 minutes while we finished up the stuffing, added butter to the potatoes and set the table.  Mom sauteed kale since we “forgot” to include a green vegetable.

Then it was time to plate and eat. Each individual part of the dinner was pretty easy. Hardest thing was making sure each part was done at the same time). Happy Thanksgiving in May!

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Sunday, April 26, 2020: More COVID Comfort Food: Barbecued Brisket
May 3rd, 2020 by Katekoster

Hi, welcome to kidscookdinner.com.  To learn more about this blog, scroll down a few posts.  To find out what I cooked for COVID comfort food this week, keep reading here.  This week’s comfort food was barbecued brisket, made in a slow cooker.  I started it on Saturday morning, let it cook all day, refrigerated overnight and then reheated it for Sunday dinner.  Ingredients are simple: spices for a dry rub, beef brisket and barbecue sauce.

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The first step is to remove some of the extra fat on the brisket.

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Next, put together the dry rub for the brisket and rub it in.  The dry rub has onion powder, garlic powder, paprika and salt and pepper. It needs to rubbed into the meat.

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Then into the slow cooker with barbecue sauce and let it cook.

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Here’s what it looks like after eight hours in the slow cooker. Yummy!

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After it cooked for 8 hours, I let it cool down and put it in the refrigerator overnight.  This makes it super easy to remove excess fat because it solidifies.  (Orange stuff around the edges is solid fat).

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The bowl has all the fat we removed!!

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Then I reheated it.

I like to break up the brisket with a fork so the sauce penetrates deeper into the meat.

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Then it was time to eat.  I served the brisket with a hamburger bun and arugula salad.

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Saturday, April 18, 2020: More COVID Comfort Food: Spanish Tapas
Apr 24th, 2020 by Katekoster

Hi, like most of you, I am stuck at home with my family (parents, sister, and dog, Koko) as a result of COVID and New York State’s “PAUSE” Act.  Our family had talked about going to Spain this summer but I don’t think that’s going to happen, so for some COVID Comfort Food, I decided to make two classic Spanish tapas: Gambas as Ajilo and Tortilla Espanola.  We like this restaurant in NYC called Soccarat, and besides their paella, these are two are of our favorite tapas.

Tortilla Espanola (Spanish Omelette)

I made this first, really as an appetizer before dinner. (Tapas are small savory dishes, so that makes sense).  Ingredients for this are simple (potatoes, eggs, onion and olive oil), but I have never made it before so I found a recipe from Mark Bittman, one of my favorite food writers.

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First step is to peel the potatoes and slice them as thin as possible.

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Next step is to slice the onion.

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Next step: sautee the potatoes and onions until they are soft but not falling apart.  Remove from heat, drain the oil with a colander and let cool for a few minutes while you beat 3 eggs together.  Mix the eggs and potato/onion mix back together.

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Next step, back into the pan with the whole mix until the eggs set.  Once that happens you have to do this crazy flip thing to plate it.  You put a plate on top of the cooked eggs/potato and flip everything over.  Not easy!

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But the end result was worth it.

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Gambas as Ajilo (Shrimp with Garlic)

Ingredients for this are also simple: shrimp, garlic, olive oil and paprika (and of course salt and pepper).  I made a larger portion of this because we ate it as our main meal.

I used frozen shrimp (because we are sheltering in, and it was in the freezer).  After thawing the shrimp, the worst part of the prep: removing the tails from the shrimp.  Our family is a no shrimp tail family.

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After that, I minced the garlic and sauteed it in olive oil.  It needs to soften but shouldn’t brown

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Then it was time to add the shrimp, sprinkle with paprika and cook.  I also started some pasta to serve with the shrimp.  Traditionally, you eat it with toasted bread, so I did that as well.

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Finally, time to plate and eat.  I plated the shrimp with both pasta and toasted bread and added some roasted broccoli (mom made that). Buen Provecho!

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Sunday, April 4, 2019: More COVID Comfort Cooking: Turkey Chili
Apr 9th, 2020 by Katekoster

This morning I wanted to make more comfort food so I decided to make turkey chili in a slow cooker.  This is a really easy recipe, plus it uses a lot of beans (and my mom bought a lot of beans).  Ingredients are ground turkey, black beans, red beans, white beans, tomato sauce, corn, chopped onion, and of course chili powder.

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The first (and hardest) step is to chop the onion…I hate chopping onions.

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Then you have to brown the ground turkey in a little olive oil.

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Then you add everything but the corn to the slow cooker: first the turkey, then the beans, then the onions, tomato sauce and chili powder.  You stir and let cook for 4 hours on high, 6-8 on low, and add the corn 30 minutes before serving.

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Here’s what it looks like about 4 hours in, before and after the corn.

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When you are ready to eat, add a few toppings (we had avocado, cheddar cheese and tortilla chips, sour cream is good too if you have it.

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Then it’s time to eat!

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Sunday, March 29, 2020: More COVID Comfort Cooking: French Toast.
Apr 6th, 2020 by Katekoster

Today I decided I needed to make some french toast as part of my COVID-19 comfort cooking campaign. I like to use cinnamon raisin bread (although challah is also very good). Ingredients are simple: bread, milk, eggs, vanilla and cinnamon. Powdered sugar and fresh fruit are nice finishing additions.  Maple syrup is another option. First, I made my batter, which was just the eggs, milk, vanilla and cinnamon mixed together. I soaked a slice of toast slightly on each side before cooking them with some melted butter on a pan. I cooked about four slices, most of which were stolen by my family members. Still, I enjoyed the simple breakfast and can’t wait to make it again!

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First step is to make the batter. Combine eggs, milk, cinnamon and vanilla.

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Then soak the bread in the batter and sautee in melted butter until browned on both sides.

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Top with powdered sugar and strawberries and its a wrap. Simple and delicious (and comforting)!

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Sunday, March 14, 2020: COVID Comfort Cooking
Mar 18th, 2020 by Katekoster

So, I just heard that school is closed and we are moving to online learning for a month.  I’m not sure how I feel about that but decided cooking comfort food would be a good distraction.  Since my mom has probably single-handedly cleaned out Trader Joe’s, I decided to use one of the four boxes of cinnamon crumb cake mix I found in the kitchen.  I love cinnamon crumb cake and while made from scratch is usually better, Trader Joe’s mix is pretty good…and very simple.  Besides the mix, you just need butter, eggs, and milk.

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After you preheat the oven and grease the pan, you combine the eggs, milk and cake mix in one bowl and the topping mix (cinnamon sugar, essentially) with butter in the other.

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Then you layer: cake mix, topping mix, etc.  (you get it)

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Finally into the oven. Delish!  Prepare for more COVID-19 Comfort Cooking!

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Saturday, March 7, 2020: Baked Eggs with Tomato Cheese Grits
Mar 15th, 2020 by Katekoster

Today was a cold March day and I wanted something warm and cozy. Plus I wanted to use my Insta-pot (well actually it’s my mom’s, but I gave it to her) so I found a recipe for Baked Eggs + Tomato Cheese Grits in Melissa Clark’s cookbook, Comfort in an Instant.  She has a bunch of good comfort food recipes and that was just what I needed.  This didn’t exactly take an “instant” but it was very easy.  Ingredients are pretty simple: grits, cheddar cheese, chopped tomatoes, butter, olive eggs and milk or cream (or half and a half).

 

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The first step is to saute the grits in the Insta-pot for about 3 minutes till they are slightly brown.

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Then you add water, tomatoes, salt and pepper and cook on the high pressure for 10 minutes.  I included a photo of the actual pot to show that the controls are pretty complicated and you should definitely read the manual before you cook anything. Then you let the pressure release by itself for 10 minutes, before manually releasing the pressure (stand back because steam comes out when you manually release).

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After that you set the function back to sautee and add milk (or cream), butter and the cheddar cheese. You mix that in and while still hot, crack 4 eggs into the cheesy grits (easier if you crack them into a small bowl and slide them in.  You cover the pot and let the eggs cook for 3 to 5 minutes.  (3 minutes is very runny and 5 is very firm, so I recommend 4 minutes).

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Then it’s time to serve and eat. Add a little Tabasco if you want some spice.

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March 4, 2020:Blueberry Crisp
Mar 7th, 2020 by Katekoster

Even though it was a cold March day, I was in the mood for one of my favorite summer treats: blueberry crisp, and since I had the day off school, I decided to make it.  Usually, we pick the blueberries at a blueberry farm upstate but this time I picked them up at Trader Joe’s.  Along with blueberries, the ingredients you need are sugar, flour, rolled oats, soft butter and little salt.  The most important (and frustrating) part of cooking is that the butter needs to be soft, which takes at least 45 minutes before you start baking.

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First step is to preheat the oven to 375 degrees

Then it’s time to make the filling.  Rinse the berries and then combine:

  • 6 cups berries
  • 1/2 Cup sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon flour
  • 1/4 Teaspoon coarse salt

Pour that into an 8 x 8 cooking pan

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Next step is to make the topping.  Mix together the following ingredients

  • 1/2 Cup flour
  • 3/4 Cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 Teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon coarse salt

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Then cream together the following (either in mixer or by hand)

  • 6 Tablespoons softened butter
  • 1/3 cup sugar

Add the flour and oats mix to the butter and sugar and combine to make lumpy topping (use your hands if necessary)

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Spread over the berry mix, put in the oven and cook for about 45 minutes.   The waiting is hard (Koko loves blueberries so she lay down in the kitchen to wait as well.)

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Berry mix should be bubbling and topping crispy and light brown.  Served warm is great (but cold for breakfast is pretty good too!)

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February 8, 2020: Cheese Corn with Eggs
Mar 4th, 2020 by Katekoster

Today I was craving some cheese corn with eggs (I had had it a Korean restaurant with my friends), so I tried out a recipe I found online.  Ingredients are pretty simple: 2 cups corn, 1/4 cup butter, 6 tablespoons mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons sugar and 1 cup shredded mozzarella, with salt and pepper to taste.  Plus I topped it with some scrambled eggs.

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First step was to thaw the frozen corn.  Then I heated the corn, mayo, butter and sugar together in a saucepan until they were mixed and bubbling.

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Next step, add shredded cheese and let melt. Once it was melted, I put it in the oven to broil for a couple of minutes.

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Meanwhile, I got to work on the scrambled eggs: I melted the butter, mixed eggs and milk and sauteed.

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Finally, time to put it together and enjoy!

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