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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 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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Saturday, January 24, 2021: Beef Bourguignon with Noodles
Jan 25th, 2021 by Max Koster

Welcome to kidscookdinner.com — a website my sister Alex and I (Max) started 5 years ago to talk about cooking, food, and world hunger.  To learn more about how this started, and the hunger charities we support, scroll down a bit.  Otherwise, to see what we’re cooking for dinner today…stay right here.

Today was a typical January day:  cold and very windy.  The whole family wanted something warm and hearty.  I looked online and found a recipe for Beef Bourguignon with noodles that looked good (it had bacon in it so how could it be bad?).  I went to Trader Joe’s and found all the ingredients except pearl onions.  I wish we could have found them but I substituted a cup of chopped onions instead. This recipe, sort of based on one found at myrecipes.com (found here) calls for a fair bit of prep but there is nothing difficult about it.

Here are the ingredients (except for the bacon, which I unbelievably forgot to put in the photo):

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And here’s the exact amounts you need:

  • 2 to 2.5 pounds of beef stew meat
  • 4 slices of bacon halved
  • 1.5 pounds halved mushrooms (or quartered if mushrooms are large)
  • 1 cup carrots sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1.5 cups dry red wine
  • 14 oz. beef broth
  • 16 oz. frozen pearl onions (or 1 cup rough chopped white onion)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (total)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons chopped FRESH thyme
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt (total)
  • 3/4 teaspoons black pepper (total)
  • 16 oz wide egg noodles

The first step is to prep all the ingredients.  That means chopping the onions and carrots, mincing the garlic, washing and quartering the mushrooms, and cutting up the beef chunks if too big.  My parents got me an onion chopper for Christmas which was supposed to make chopping onions easier.  (Chopping onions is my least favorite part of cooking.) Y0u are just supposed to have to cut the onion in half and then push the cutter down on top of it.  Unfortunately, it didn’t work.  It took all my strength to push the chopper down on the half onion and then I still had to pull out each piece of the onion from the chopper.  It was more work than just using a knife!

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Even when I tried chopping just a SLICE of onion (versus the half onion), I had to pull the chopped onion through the other side.  Definitely do not buy this gadget.

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OK, enough about onions.  Chef’s tip, when chopping up mushrooms, remember they cook down a lot but if they are large (more than 1-1/2 inch diameter), cut into quarters not halves for this dish.  The idea is that this is a stew that you should be able to eat with a spoon, no knife needed.  Similarly, cut up the chunks of beef to be bite-size.

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After everything is chopped, combine the flour with 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper in a large bowl.  Add the stew meat and toss until the meat is coated lightly with the flour mix.

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Then cook the bacon in a large saucepan on medium heat.  When it’s crisp, remove it from the pan but leave the bacon drippings in the pan.

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Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to the bacon drippings and then add the beef stew meat.  Brown on all sides.  (You may need to do this in batches, don’t overcrowd the pan).

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Put the browned beef into the slow cooker, add the second tablespoon of olive oil to the saucepan, and then add the chopped onions, sliced carrots, and minced garlic.  Saute for 5 minutes.

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Then stir in red wine and 1/2 of the broth.  Scrape the pan to loosen all the browned bits stuck to the pan. And the remaining 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, chopped thyme, and tomato paste and bring to a boil.  Pour over the beef chunks in the slow cooker.

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Add the remaining beef broth to the saucepan to get all the browned bits out of the pan.   Chop up the bacon a bit more (again, think bite-size bits).  Then add the mushrooms, pearl onions (if you have them, if not the roughly chopped cup of onions), and chopped bacon to the slow cooker. Then pour the remaining beef broth (with the last browned bits from the saucepan) over the mix in the slow cooker.

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Here’s the “before the broth” picture:

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Cook on high for 3 hours (or low for 6): here’s what it looked like the half-way through.  (I gave it a good stir here to make sure the meat and mushrooms on top got cooked)

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After 3 hours (high) or 6 hours (low), turn off the heat and let it sit.  If you have time refrigerate overnight: the flavor will be better and it’s easier to remove extra fat.  We were too hungry to wait 24 hours, but I did let it cool in the fridge for two hours, then removed the extra fat.

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For dinner, I prepared wide egg noodles and served the Beef Bourgignon on top.

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(While the water was boiling for the noodles, I roasted some leftover kale and baby zucchini for snacks. We were all getting hungry!)

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It was delicious (and frankly, even better for lunch the next day)

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January 10, 2021: Sunday Dinner: Sheet-Pan Salmon and Broccoli with Brown Rice
Jan 15th, 2021 by Max Koster

Welcome to kidscookdinner.com, a website I (Max) started with my sister (Alex) 5 years ago to document our cooking adventures, encourage kids to cook more (and not just re-heat junk in the microwave) and make people aware of the huge issue of world hunger.  To learn more about why we started the site, and the hunger-relief charities we support, scroll down a bit. Otherwise to learn what we cooked this week, stay right here.

Tonight I wanted to cook something healthy…it’s the New Year and with COVID surging, I thought that our family should focus on “good” food.  Since Covid, The New York Times has had a weekly section called At Home that suggests a variety of coping mechanisms, lock-down survival recommendations, and delicious recipes.  One of those was for Sheet-Pan Salmon Broccoli with Sesame and Ginger, and I decided to try it out, along with some brown rice. Here’s my final plate.

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There are a lot of ingredients but everything cooks on one sheet so it was a surprisingly simple recipe.

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Here’s what you need to have on hand:

  • 4 Tbs. toasted sesame oil
  • 2 Tbs. soy sauce
  • 1 Tbs. rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbs. honey
  • 1 Tbs. finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 pound broccoli florets
  • 3 scallions: 2 of which should be peeled and cut into 1-1/2 inch segments and the other finely chopped for garnish
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 4 Six ounce skin-on salmon filets, or as we did 6 Four ounce filets
  • 1 Tbs. Sesame seeds (optional, for garnish)

The first step was to pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees (the NYT recipe says 425 degrees but I am always worried about overcooking fish so I lowered the pre-heat temperature to 400 degrees). Meanwhile, while the oven is heating, I rinsed 2 cups of brown rice and started the rice in our rice cooker.  I’m not sure why but whenever we rinse rice until the water runs clear, it is much fluffier. But if you don’t have time…just cook it.

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I also peeled and chopped the ginger and garlic.

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Once everything was prepped for the salmon glaze, I whisked  3 tablespoons of the sesame oil with the soy sauce, rice vinegar, honey, ginger, and garlic ingredients until smooth, and set aside.

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Then I chopped the scallions into 1-1/2 inch segments and tossed with the broccoli and the remaining tablespoon of sesame oil, along with the olive oil and salt and pepper, and put in the oven to roast for 10 minutes.  (NYT says 5 minutes, but that’s not enough time, the broccoli just won’t be cooked enough.)   Once the broccoli and scallions were in the oven, I chopped the remaining scallion into small slices for garnish.

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After 10 minutes, it was time to add the salmon to the sheet pan. Salt and pepper the fillets, brush with glaze, and then position them in the center of the sheet pan.

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Here’s the beauty shot of the sheet pan going into the oven:

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And here’s the shot of the pan coming out of the oven:

(And here’s our dog Koko chasing her tail because she thinks she might get some salmon leftovers…she loves salmon.)

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Ultimately, we plated the dinner and it was both delicious and healthy (and we did give Koko some salmon). Here’s to a happier and healthier 2021!

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December 30, 2020: Lamb Riblets
Dec 31st, 2020 by Max Koster

Welcome to kidscookdinner.com, a website that I (Max) started with my sister (Alex) in 2015 to talk about our cooking experiments and encourage kids to cook more.  We are fortunate enough to have plenty to eat in our family, so we also founded it to draw attention to the issue of hunger.  Especially as this challenging year draws to an end, if you are able, consider donating to a hunger or poverty relief charity.  Two of our favorites are Action Against Hunger and City Harvest.  To learn more about kidscookdinner.com, scroll down a few posts.  To see what we’re cooking today…stay right here.

Tonight I decided to try to cook Lamb Riblets.  I had never heard of them, but my family bought a whole lamb from Herondale Farm (an organic farm in the Hudson Valley).   We love lamb but it’s not always available in the grocery store, and when it is, it’s often very expensive, so we thought it made sense to buy one.  We also wanted to support small farmers like Herondale’s.  However, when you buy a whole lamb, you get everything, including heart, liver, and riblets.  Fortunately, it comes butchered, frozen, and in vacuum packs.

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Riblets look sort of like beef short ribs and when I looked up recipes, I found a simple recipe for garlic roasted ribs. It looked delicious and the ingredients were straight forward:

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Here’s the recipe:

  • 1-1/2 pounds lamb riblets
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 minced garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon  paprika

After preheating the oven to 375 degrees, the next step was to chop the 4 cloves of garlic.

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Then I combined the paprika, onion powder, olive oil, salt, and garlic and rubbed the mix all over the lamb.  I added a bit more olive oil because there wasn’t quite enough of the mix.

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This is what they looked like before I put them in the oven:

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After 45 minutes, I took the riblets out:

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Dad had bought Indian food from Ozone Park in Queens, where his office is, and we combined that with the riblets. The nan, rice, and chicken masala were a good complement.

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To be honest, the riblets were good but the Indian food was better.  The lamb meat was delicious but there was a lot of fat and sinew around it. Next time I cook them, I think I will braise them–cooking them for a long time in a slow cooker– to dissolve all that, and then remove the fat.  Live and learn (and happy new year!)

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December 5, 2020: Pecan Pie (FINALLY!)
Dec 13th, 2020 by Max Koster

Hey, welcome to kidscookdinner.com.  My sister and I started this website in 2015.  We post about dinners we’ve cooked (or eaten) and also try to encourage kids to cook and be aware of the extent of hunger worldwide and how we can help.  We support an international charity called Action Against Hunger (to learn more about that organization and what we’ve donated to them, scroll down a few posts).  To learn about what we’re cooking now… stay right here.

THE PECAN PIE

So at the last minute, I (Max) told mom I’d like a pecan pie (in addition to pumpkin pie) for Thanksgiving, unfortunately, that meant I told her at noon on Thanksgiving Day that I would like a pecan pie.  She was fine with the idea, but we didn’t have all the ingredients, mainly Karo corn syrup.  Dad and I drove around to see if we could find the Karo corn syrup but none was to be found.  Accordingly, the following weekend, my mom and I dedicated ourselves to baking the perfect pecan pie.

Ingredients are straightforward: Pie crust, pecans, brown sugar, eggs, Karo syrup, vanilla, and salt.

Mom volunteered to make the pie crust (you can definitely buy a premade pie crust, but if your mom volunteers to make you one, that’s definitely better, plus if there’s extra pastry you can make other stuff with it.)

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Ideally, the pie crust should be cooked for about 10 minutes at high heat, but if you are in a hurry you probably don’t need to bake it. If you do bake it, make sure you let it cool before you add the filling.

THE FILLING:

For the filling, I combined 1 cup of Karo Corn Syrup, 3 eggs, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 2 tablespoons of butter (melted), 1 teaspoon of vanilla, and 1 and 1/2 cups pecans.

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(I included the shot where I added the syrup because of the interesting separation of syrup vs. eggs.) The next step was to combine the brown sugar and the pecans.

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Then, we had to add the pecan mix to the par-baked pie crust. (Thanks Mom)

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Final step was to cook the pie (and eat, of course).

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Really, really delicious. Next Thanksgiving, I will be sure to request Pecan Pie a bit earlier (also, to be honest, better to chop up the pecans a bit). Whole pecans look pretty but are hard to cut with a fork.  Also, since mom made the pie pastry and a bit extra pastry,  I was able to make cinnamon pastries ( where you roll out extra pie dough, sprinkle it with butter and cinnamon sugar and bake…mini cinnamon rolls but even more delicious.  Especially with a bit of milk and a quick check of my phone.

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November 26, 2020: Thanksgiving Dinner (and leftovers the next day)
Dec 7th, 2020 by Max Koster

This year, Thanksgiving was an intimate affair: just the five of us: Mom, Dad, Alex, Koko (dog), and me, Max.  With COVID levels increasing, we decided to stick with the basics (nothing fancy this year) and each of us took responsibility for part of the meal.

I was in charge of the stuffing; Alex was in charge of the pumpkin pie; Mom was in charge of the turkey and vegetables (supposedly Brussel sprouts); Dad was in charge of mashing the potatoes; and Koko was in charge of cleaning up the floor.  Midway through the preparations, Mom realized she had forgotten to buy Brussel sprouts so she made a kale salad instead from the last of the kale in our garden.  Additionally, around noon Dad and I decided we wanted pecan pie as well as pumpkin pie and drove around trying to find the ingredients, but everything was closed.  At least I got to practice driving — but I really wanted pecan pie!

Although I didn’t want to change tradition too much, I decided to make “Stuffin’ Muffins” instead of regular stuffing.   The main difference is how you cook the stuffing (in individual muffin tins, versus one big pot). Because there is more surface area of the stuffing exposed to heat, there is more delicious crispiness.

Stuffin’ Muffins

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Ingredients for stuffin’ muffins are pretty straightforward: Pepperidge Farm stuffing mix (the best); butter, onion, and chicken broth.  I used the whole bag of stuffing.  There was some discussion about adding sausage to the mix, but that was deemed too much of a break from tradition (maybe next Thanksgiving).  Also if you have celery you can chop and add that.  (Mom forgot to buy celery as well as the Brussel sprouts)

The first step is to preheat the oven to 325 degrees and butter the muffin tin.  The next step is to chop the onions.

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Then it was time to melt the butter in a saucepan and sautee the onions. (Note that Koko is diligently doing her job in the background, checking for scraps on the floor.)

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Then you add the broth and the stuffing mix to the onions and stir till well combined.

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Fill the muffin tins with the stuffing mix and bake for 35-40 minutes or until brown and crispy on top.  Let cool for 10 minutes before you remove.

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Here is the final version: they tasted great but did fall apart a bit. Next time I will add a bit more chicken broth (AND SAUSAGE!).

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Pumpkin Pie:

(This is Alex):  My job was pumpkin pie.  We always make pumpkin pie using Libby’s Pumpkin Pie mix and follow Libby’s recipe (so long as we have the ingredients). It’s pretty simple.  You need one 15 ounce can of Libby’s pure pumpkin, one 12 ounce can of Evaporated Milk, 2 eggs, 3/4 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon ginger, 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves.   (Of course, we didn’t have cloves, and the ground ginger was about 10 years old, so we didn’t use those; I added an extra 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon instead.)

The first step is to combine the sugar, spices, and salt in a small bowl.  Then in a larger bowl, you add the two eggs and beat them.

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Next step is to stir in the pumpkin mix and gradually add the evaporated milk

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When everything is combined, you pour into a pie shell.  I prefer the graham crust kind.  Also, it’s easier to handle if you place the pie shell on a larger tray before you put it in the oven (because the filling is liquid, it’s easy to spill without that tray)

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You cook at 450 degrees for 15 minutes and then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees until a knife inserted toward the center of the pie comes out clean. It has to set for at least 2 hours, and since we like it cold, I made it Thanksgiving morning so we could refrigerate before dinner.  We served it with freshly whipped cream.

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Turkey

Here’s the before and after turkey shots (the green stuff is thyme from our garden):

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And here’s the dinner plate.  We didn’t make the cranberry sauce.  It’s weird but we really love the pre-made, canned cranberry sauce; that’s just one of our traditions.

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Leftovers

Everyone loves Thanksgiving leftovers, and everyone raves about turkey sandwiches, turkey soup, turkey chili…etc. But really one of the best use of leftovers is our family’s invention: Turkey Mash! I (Max) personally love making a meat hash out of leftovers. Say for example you cook steak and baked potatoes for dinner.  The next day, steak hash with onions and chopped baked potatoes is awesome, especially if you have some good left over veggies to throw in. So for the day after Thanksgiving, we made Turkey Hash, or more accurately Turkey Mash. The first step was to chop an onion and sautee it in olive oil.  We had a couple of pieces of bacon so we chopped those up and threw them in.  Then we added some frozen corn that needed to be cooked and a bunch of chopped up turkey.  Finally, we added left over mashed potatoes.  Because they are so soft, it didn’t look or have the texture of normal meat hash, but it was still delicious.

turkey mash

 

 

Monday, November 23: Easy Weeknight Dinner? Rack of Lamb
Nov 26th, 2020 by Max Koster

Welcome to kidscookdinner.com, a website I started with my sister in 2015 to document what we were cooking (or trying to cook ), to encourage more kids to cook and to remind people that a lot of people don’t have enough to eat.  For more about the website, scroll down. For what we most recently cooked, stay right here.

Tonight I made a surprisingly quick and easy dinner: rack of lamb.  The only thing you have to remember is to marinate the lamb at least 2 hours before you cook it.  And your marinade can be as simple as olive oil, chopped garlic, and salt and pepper.  We happen to have rosemary and thyme in our garden (which Koko helped find) and that made the marinade even better.

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Here’s the ingredients I used:

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The rack of lamb was frenched, which means the meat and fat were removed from the ends of the ribs. The first step of making the marinade was stripping the rosemary leaves and thyme leaves from their stems.

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Then it was time to chop up the herbs.

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After that, I chopped up the garlic and added olive oil.  I spread the mix over the rack of lamb and put it in a plastic bag for 2 hours.

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After letting the lamb marinate for 2 hours, I preheated the oven to 450 degrees.  I removed the rack from the bag and wrapped each rib bone in aluminum foil to keep them from getting burnt (honestly, this was the trickiest part of the dish).  Then it was into the oven in a foil-lined pan for 15 minutes.  After 15 minutes, the lamb was nicely browned so I reduced the heat to 300 degrees for 20 minutes. I took it out and let it stand for 5 minutes.  The meat was perfectly medium-rare.

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We ate it with couscous and a spinach salad.

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Delicious!

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Wednesday, November 11, 2020: Coconut-Curry Shrimp and Couscous
Nov 18th, 2020 by Max Koster

Welcome to kidscookdinner.com, a website I started with my sister in 2015 to document our food adventures, encourage kids to cook and highlight the issue of hunger in American and the world.  Scroll down to learn more about the website and hunger relief charities.  For tonight’s menu, stay right here.

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Tonight I wanted to cook something new but also needed it to be something that didn’t take a long time since I have a lot of homework (and college applications).  My mom suggested I try this shrimp curry recipe, which, because it has shrimp and couscous (two quick-cooking ingredients), wouldn’t take too long.  She was right: it was quick and easy. Ingredients are as follows: 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 medium oil, three tablespoons red curry paste, 1 can coconut milk, 1 pound small tomatoes, 1-1/4 cup couscous, 1 cup frozen peas, 1 pound large peeled shrimp, and salt and pepper.

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The first step was to slice the onion thinly and cut the tomatoes in half.

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(I also chopped up some veggies for separate stir fry) but that was easy.

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The next step was to saute the onions in the olive oil with a little salt.

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When the onions were translucent, I added the red curry paste, the coconut milk, and a cup of water.  I brought that to a boil and added the sliced tomatoes.

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After 3 minutes, I reduced the heat to low, added the couscous and frozen peas.

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Finally, I layered the shrimp on top, covered the pan, and cooked for 5 minutes.  All of the liquid was absorbed, but when I tested the couscous, it was a little crunchy, so I added a 1/4 cup of water and let cook for 3 more minutes.  One tip for cooking the shrimp: besides peeling them, take off the tail.  No one wants to bite into the tail.

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Then I plated it. Delicious.  Just needed a little salt and pepper.

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