Announcement: Saturday, April 10, 2021: Crispy Gnocchi with Tomatoes, Mozzarella and Basil
Apr 11th, 2021 by Max Koster

Welcome to, a website I (Max) started with my sister Alex 5 years ago to talk about kids’ cooking, food in general, and the challenge of hunger worldwide.  To learn more about why we started the site and what hunger-relief charities we support, scroll down a bit to the “About Us” page.  To see what we are cooking tonight, stay right here.

As I prepare for college next year,  I plan on handing over complete control of this site to Alex.  However, in the meantime, I am focusing on cooking simple one-sheet or one-pan dishes, with minimal ingredients, since I know next year I won’t have the luxury of my parents’ well-equipped kitchen when I get hungry for home-cooked meals.  Because of this, a recipe in this weekend’s New York Times from Ali Slagle appealed to me.  Tonight’s dinner is largely based on her recipe for Crispy Gnocchi With Burst Tomatoes and Mozzarella.

Here are the ingredients you will need:

  • 1 Tablespoon, plus more as needed, of olive oil
  • 1 12-18 ounce package of either shelf-stable or refrigerated potato gnocchi
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 Teaspoon storebought minced garlic  (OK to use fresh minced garlic but use 2 cloves)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1-pint grape tomatoes
  • 1/4 Cup thinly sliced basil leaves (optional)
  • 6 Ounces of fresh mozzarella cut in 1/4 inch thick rounds


The first step is to heat the broiler with a rack 6-8 inches below the heat source. Then, in a 12-inch oven-safe saucepan (i.e. stainless steel) heat the olive oil.  Make sure the oil coats the whole surface of the pan and add the gnocchi and spread evenly.  Cover and cook for 4 minutes.


Meanwhile thinly slice the basil.


Once the gnocchi are golden brown and crispy on one side, remove from the saucepan and add the butter to the pan.


Once the butter is melted and slightly brown, add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds and then add the tomatoes and 2 tablespoons water.  Salt and pepper the mix.


Let the tomatoes cook for 5 minutes and when they start to soften, push down on them to make them burst.

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Add back the gnocchi, sprinkle with most of the basil (reserve a bit for garnish), and lay the mozzarella slices on top.

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Then the pan goes into the oven and broils for 1-2 minutes (until the mozzarella is melted and starting to brown). Keep an eye on the dish, as you don’t want the mozzarella to completely brown. Sprinkle your reserved basil on top and, as my mom always tells me, remember the handle of the pan is HOT.


And we are ready to eat! Delicious and truly a one-pot pasta dish: you don’t even have to boil water for the gnocchi.

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Announcement: Sunday, March 14, 2021: Apple Pi Pie (because its Pi Day)
Mar 14th, 2021 by Max Koster

Welcome to, a website I (Max) started with my sister Alex to talk about food, kids cooking it, and world hunger.  To learn more about our website and the hunger-relief charities we support, scroll down to About To learn what we are cooking today, stay right here.

Today, because it’s Pi Day (March 14, or 3.14), we celebrated by making, of course, Apple Pi Pie.  (Pi, as most of you know, is the ratio of the circumference of any circle to the diameter of that circle which is always approximately 3.14).  March 14 is also Albert Einstein’s birthday so that’s another reason to celebrate.  We don’t always celebrate Pi Day, but here are a couple of previous attempts:

Apple Pi Pie 2014

Apple Pi Pie 2014

Apple Pi Pie 2018

Apple Pi Pie 2018

For the apple pie, you need

  • 2 sheets of store-bought pastry*
  • 5 large apples
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 Tablespoons butter


*recipe for homemade piecrust is below if you want to make it from scratch.  Honestly, it’s better made from scratch.  Store-bought is more convenient but doesn’t taste as good. (Trader Joe’s is easy to use but tastes and looks a bit more like bread dough than pie crust.  Pillsbury is more pastry-like.)

To make Pi Pie, it helps if you have a Pi cookie cutter as well.  We have made it cutting out Pi shapes by hand, but that’s pretty difficult (see 2014’s attempt). Also, I recommend Gala apples: if you use more tart apples such as Granny Smith, you will need to increase the amount of sugar.

The first step is to thaw the pastry if it’s frozen.  Either leave in the fridge overnight or at room temperature for 45 minutes or so.


Once it’s thawed, roll each sheet out into a circle, keeping it between the wax paper if possible, and place it in the fridge to rest


Peel the apples, quarter, and slice thinly.



Mix the sugar and cinnamon together and stir into the apples.

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Then remove one of the pastry rounds from the fridge and place over a 9-inch pie pan.


Trim extra pastry from around the sides and fill with the apples.  Dot with cut up pieces of butter.


The next step is to prepare the top of the pie. Remove the other pastry round from the fridge and use your Pi cookie cutter to cut out a couple Pi shapes (or if no cookie cutter, cut by hand)

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Let the top rest in the fridge again and then place gently on top of the filling.  I also decorated the pie with the Pi shapes I had cut out.

Bake in a preheated 450-degree oven for 15 minutes and then turn down the heat and cook for another 30 minutes (checking every so often to make sure not to brown).

Happy Pi Day!


Ingredients for Pie Crust (if you want to make from scratch)

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2/3 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 5-6 Tablespoons ice cold water

Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl.  Add the butter pieces and combine using a pastry cutter or 2 butter knives.  When the butter is in pea-sized pieces, add 5 tablespoons of butter and form into two balls.  Add additional water sparingly if needed.  Let two balls of pastry rest in the fridge for 15 minutes and then roll out into rounds and follow the directions above for making the pie.

Announcement: Sunday, March 7, 2021: Slow Cooker Turkey Chili and Buttermilk Biscuits
Mar 7th, 2021 by Max Koster

Welcome to, a website my sister Alex and I started 5 years ago to talk about food, cooking, and the issue of world hunger.  With COVID-19 the issue of hunger has gotten even worse, so please consider donating to a hunger-relief charity such as Action Against Hunger (AAH): DONATE HERE.  To learn more about why we started the website and AAH, scroll down a few posts.  To see what we are cooking today…stay right here.

Turkey Chili

Today I decided to make turkey chili in the slow cooker. It’s really easy and only takes about 15 minutes of prep time.  (The recipe is loosely based on Laura KKH’s recipe on


Here are the ingredients you need:

  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 (15 ounces) can of chopped tomatoes, juice included
  • 1 (15 ounces) can of red kidney beans, drained
  • 1 (15 ounces) can of white kidney beans, drained
  • 1 (15 ounces) can of black beans, drained
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 Tablespoon paprika*
  • 1/2 Teaspoon red chili flakes*
  • 1/2 Teaspoon garlic powder*
  • 1/2 Teaspoon ground cumin*
  • Salt and pepper to taste

*If you don’t have all these spices, just use 1 Tablespoon of chili powder instead, and if you want it spicier, double the chili flakes. The amount of red chili flakes here (1/2 teaspoon) will give you a little heat but not too much.

The first step is to heat the oil and cook the ground turkey until evenly brown.  I like to use a stainless steel pan because then I can use a metal spatula to break up any chunks.

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Meanwhile add the beans, tomatoes, and onions to the slow cooker pot. I bought pre-chopped onions which really made this easy.

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Using a slotted spoon, add the turkey to the slow cooker (to prevent too much of the cooking oil in there)

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Add your spices.


Let cook! 4-5 hours on high or 8 hours on low.

About 1/2 hour before serving, add the frozen corn.

Serve with rice and whatever toppings you like: we usually have it with sour cream, cheddar cheese, avocado or guacomole.


Buttermilk Biscuits

Hi, this is Alex.  Today I decided to make buttermilk biscuits because we had leftover buttermilk (I made red velvet cupcakes two days ago, which called for buttermilk, and we had a lot leftover.) There are a lot of good recipes online but I used one I found on Other than buttermilk, all the ingredients are typical baking ingredients.


Here are the ingredients you will need:

  • 2 Cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 Teaspoon salt
  • 2 Teaspoons sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter
  • 3/4 Cup cold buttermilk, plus more to brush tops of biscuits

The first step is to preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.  Then chop the cold butter into small cubes and put the cubes in the fridge to keep cool while you do the next step.


The next step is to whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt) and line a large baking sheet with a silicone baking mat (or parchment paper).


Then add the butter cubes and cut them into the dry ingredients using a pastry cutter.  If you don’t have a pastry cutter, you can use 2 blunt knives working against each other.


Once the butter is mixed into small pea-sized pieces, add the cold buttermilk and gently work it until the dough comes together. I started with a spoon but ultimately had to use my hands. Form a ball, trying to incorporate all the crumbs.


Place the dough on a lightly floured surface.  Gently roll it into a rectangle and then fold it in thirds.  Turn it, flatten it into a rectangle and fold in thirds again. Repeat this one more time.


Then pat or roll it into a 1/2 inch rectangle.  Cut 2.5-inch rounds and place on a baking sheet.  When you are cutting, try not to twist just go straight down.  Combine any scrap pieces to make additional rounds but try to cut as many out the first time as possible as the more you work the dough, the less it may rise.  These will be a little free form but will taste great. You should get about 10 to 12 biscuits.

Brush the top with a little buttermilk and bake for 15 minutes.


Serve with butter, jam, or honey (or even with chili!).  For dessert: red velvet cupcakes which started this whole buttermilk episode.



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

Welcome to 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 in 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:  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! 

2020 Update: as our city, state, nation, world struggle to deal with COVID-19, hunger is not going away, in fact it’s getting worse.  As we see it affect our fellow New Yorkers, we have also been donating to local hunger relief organizations, such as City Harvest.  Please consider giving locally if you can (HERE is City Harvest’s link.) Stay safe and well!


Dinner in 2015


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.


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.


Puffed Apple Pancake
Mar 15th, 2021 by Alex Koster

Puffed Apple Pancake is a fairly simple yummy Saturday morning treat that doesn’t take much effort and is perfect if you have extra apples that may be close to going bad. After cooking the apples in cinnamon sugar, an egg mixture gets poured on top, then the mix gets baked until it puffs up and is ready to serve. The more specific recipe that we use is below, but of course, tweaking it by adding more cinnamon or sugar is always an option:)
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Peel and slice 4 apples
  3. Mix ¼ teaspoon cinnamon and 5 tbsp sugar (adjust for preference).
  4. Combine the sugar mixture and the sliced apples
  5. Melt 6 tbsp of butter in a shallow pan or skillet, remove 2 tbsp butter and set aside in a bowl.
  6. Add apples to the remaining 4 tbsp of butter
  7. Cook at medium heat until apples are tender but still hold their shape.
  8. In a separate bowl combine 3 eggs, ¼ teaspoon salt, ½ cup of all-purpose flour, ½ cup milk, and the 2 tbsp melted butter  (previously set aside)
  9. Beat until smooth
  10. Spread apples evenly on the bottom of the skillet and pour the batter on top. Bake for 20 minutes until golden and puffy.
  11. Dust with powdered sugar and enjoy
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Monday, February 23, 2020: Chicken Tikka Masala and Baked Feta & Veggies
Feb 26th, 2021 by Max Koster

Welcome to, 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


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.


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.


Top with the basil if using.


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

Chicken Tikka Masala


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.


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


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




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

Welcome to, 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.


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.


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


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!


(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.


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




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

Welcome to, 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.


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:


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:



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.


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.


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.


Into the oven for 20 minutes.


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.





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

Welcome to  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.


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.


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


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)


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.


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


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




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

Welcome to — 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 (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):


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.


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.


Here’s the “before the broth” picture:


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)


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.


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!)


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



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