December 30, 2019: Roast Chicken and Pasta (hard to go wrong)
Jan 5th, 2020 by Katekoster

Welcome to  I just realized that my sister Alex and I have been cooking and posting since 2015!  Scroll down a post or two to see the story of our website and the $17,500 we won and donated to Action Against Hunger (or click here!) or if you just want to read about food…read on.

Tonight I made another pretty easy dinner: roasting a pre-marinated chicken from Trader Joe’s and making some fresh pasta. The hardest part of the dinner was going to Raffetto’s in the West Village to buy the pasta.  But it’s a pretty cool place: you tell them how you want your pasta sliced and they use a machine to cut it for you fresh.  Plus their pesto sauce is literally the best ever.  Anyway, here’s my favorite chicken…it’s a little more expensive than just a whole chicken but it tastes really good and cooks a little faster because it’s “spatch-cocked”…essentially flattened.  It needs to cook for at least 60 minutes…a little more probably better.

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Once that 60 minutes was pretty close to being done, start the water boiling for the pasting (we chose 1/4 inch, which expands to 1/2 inch when cooked).

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The thing with fresh pasta is that it cooks really fast (3 – 5 minutes) so you can’t walk away.  Otherwise it just turns gunky.  Drain it and check on the chicken.


Looks good: time to plate.


For dessert, we did a honey tasting.  Trader Joe’s had a rainbow of honey collection that Mom got for us…it ranged from light to dark (Clover, Sunflower, Macadamia, Orange Blossom, Mimosa and Eucalyptus).  Alex and I took on the difficult test of trying them all and unanimously agreed that Clover (the lightest) was definitely the best!

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December 1, 2019: Beef Stew with Mushrooms and Egg Noodles
Dec 29th, 2019 by Katekoster

December came in with a cold blast and I (Max) decided to counter it with a hearty beef stew with mushrooms, served over egg noodles.  I used the crock pot so I didn’t have to worry about a pot on a stove all day.  Ingredients were pretty simple: beef, carrots, onions, garlic, mushrooms, beef broth and noodles (if you aren’t serving this over noodles then you can put potatoes in the stew.)


First step was to chop up the beef (because some of the pieces were really big).


Next was the onions, carrots, and garlic and yes, I needed goggles to chop the onions.

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Then I sauteed the beef, removed it from the pan and sauteed the onions and carrots.  (Sauteeing stuff gives it a bit more flavor before you add to the crock pot)

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Then I added all this stuff to the crock pot with beef stock (I didn’t add the mushrooms yet because the beef and veggies need to cook a while before the mushrooms…otherwise the mushrooms turn to mush)

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After 4 hours (on high), I sauteed the mushrooms and added them in for half an hour.  Once the mushrooms were in the crockpot,  I started cooking the egg noodles.

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Once the noodles were done, I plated the dish…

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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!)


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!)


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.)



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