Posts in the Kids Cooking Club Category

Mini Chocolate Chip Cannoli's

My trip to Italy continues to loom large in my mind. I daydream about the sunny cobblestone streets, the centuries old ruins, and the glorious food that I ate non-stop. I even have a newly expanded waistline to prove it!   I only wish I had been able to stop in Sicily for some truly spectacular homemade cannoli’s. Their fresh ricotta cheese is supposed to be some of the best in the world.

Facebook does a wonderful job of making sure I don’t lose any of the extra weight I gained in Italy. It tempts me with red velvet cupcakes, chocolate covered s’mores, mac n’cheese, and so many more delicious treats. A recipe from Pillsbury recently caught my eye and I though it would be fun to try with my kids cooking club.

Tomorrow is the first day of my kids cooking class. Class begins at 3:10, and somewhere around 3:09 I hear what sounds like the running of the bulls. I should actually take that back as they walk very nicely down the hall to my room. Then they explode through the door with all the excitement of a mariachi band on Cinco de Mayo! Filled with questions and comments and pictures from their day. I dare say my excitement at seeing all those smiling faces almost matches theirs. The most often asked question is definitely what are we making today, followed quickly by 101 ideas about what it could possibly be (I try to save the “big reveal” for once everyone has arrived in class, washed their hands, and settled themselves at the table). So this is a big treat as I am announcing our first recipe in advance….we’re making Mini Chocolate Chip Cannoli’s!

Mini Chocolate Chip Cannoli's

Ingredients:

1 Pillsbury piecrust
2 tablespoons sugar
1-teaspoon cinnamon

1-15oz. container good ricotta cheese (Polly is my favorite supermarket brand)
¾ cup confectioners sugar 9plus a bit more for garnish)
1-teaspoon vanilla
½ cup mini chocolate chips (plus a bit more for garnish)

Directions:

Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the piecrust on a lightly floured surface. Sprinkle with the sugar and cinnamon. Using a rolling pin, gentle roll the sugar/cinnamon into the dough.

Using a 2½-inch round cookie cutter, cut out about 16 equal circles. Using an ungreased mini-muffin pan, press each round into the pan. If you have round pie weights, put 2-3 in each cup. These cups might puff up a bit but they still work nicely.

Cook for about 8-10 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Cook on a cooling rack.

While the cups are baking, mix the ricotta cheese, confectioners sugar, vanilla and chips in a medium sized bowl. Put in the refrigerator to set.

Before serving, fill each cup with about one tablespoon of filling. Put a few chips on top and sprinkle with powdered sugar. The filling might be a bit looser than traditional cannoli’s, but still delicious.

  • This recipe was adapted from Arlene Cummings at www.pillsbury.com.

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Miso Ramen Noodle Soup

Kids cooking club starts soon and I am working hard to develop new, kid-friendly recipes. Yesterday I made a great Miso Ramen Noodle Soup, Wakame Cucumber Salad and Miso Glazed Roasted Eggplant. It turns out that they all have similar ingredients, though a very different result. They use soy sauce, scallions, a bit of sesame oil and red chili pepper flakes.

I think the kids will love the ramen noodle soup and it’s a dish that they can make almost entirely on their own. It’s surprisingly easy to make and reliably turns out delicious even for the novice cook. I bought all the ingredients at Mrs. Greens Natural Market and they even had a gluten free ramen noodle. An Asian market would have all the ingredients as well. What’s really fun about this dish is that you can mix and match lots of different soup bases and vegetables. Try adding cabbage, a soft-boiled egg, carrots, corn, bamboo shoots, spinach, pork, sausage, coconut milk etc. I love to hear about what friends are making in their kitchen, so please share your favorite ramen noodle twists.

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Ingredients:

6 cups chicken broth
1-tablespoon wakame (this expands A LOT when it hits the hot water)
1 package Enoki or Bunapi mushrooms (have fun with the types and varieties of mushrooms)
2 teaspoons olive oil
Salt
2 packages dried Ramen noodles (don’t use the flavor packet). Fresh noodles are     great too.
1 package firm tofu, small dice
½ cup Red Miso (this can be a bit salty, so be careful about adding any additional salt)
2 scallions, thinly sliced
¼ teaspoon sesame oil per person (basically a few drops in each bowl)
1 pinch red chili pepper flakes

Directions:

In a medium sized pot, heat the chicken broth.

Put the wakame in a medium sized bowl and cover with very hot or boiling water. Allow to sit for 10 minutes or until soft. Then drain.

In a small frying pan, heat the oil and add the mushrooms. Sprinkle with a bit of salt and sauté on medium-high heat for about 5 minutes.

When the broth is gently simmering add the noodles and tofu. This should take about 5 minutes to cook.

Put the miso in a small bowl and add a ladle full of broth. Stir until the miso is dissolved and then add all of it into the soup pot. Do not bring the miso to a boil.

Add the wakame to the pot and the mushrooms. It’s not necessary to cook the mushrooms first. You can add them to the broth at the same time you add the noodles and tofu. I just found that it enhances the flavor of the soup if they are sautéed first.

Serve soup into bowls. Add some scallions, chili pepper, and sesame oil to each bowl. Serve hot.

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Fried Wontons

This summer has been a crazy whirlwind. I am not sure when the summer even began, though I know its here because it’s HOT! I started teaching cooking at a new camp called Next Level Camp for Girls. It’s an amazing new place that allows children to choose different activities and really fosters confidence, independence and friendship. I teach cooking to different kids every week and it’s been so fun getting to know them. I also have a great counselor, Nora, who is a tremendous support, hard worker and excellent chef. She’s also super nice and great with the kids.

We’ve made lots of delicious things so far including Strawberry Shortcakes and Smoothies. We also had Cupcake Wars, which was a huge success. I was blown away by the amazing cupcakes and fabulous designs. Last week we made Fried Chinese Chicken Wontons. We did a test run at home and my 3 children made, then polished off, 50 dumplings and begged for more. We tried them in different shapes and cooked different ways (fried, boiled, and a hybrid method). My kids voted hands down for the fried version – go figure! They were equally successful at camp and enjoyed by both campers and counselors. Tomorrow is a brownie bake off: Chocolate Zucchini Brownies vs. Chocolate Avocado Brownies . . . Which brownie do you think will win?

INGREDIENTS:

Wontons:

3 cups finely chopped Napa cabbage (salted and drained onto paper towels)
1 lb. ground chicken
1 tsp. ginger, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
3 scallions, finely chopped
3-5 twists black pepper
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1-tablespoon rice wine
1-tablespoon sesame oil
1 package square dumpling wrappers

Canola oil for frying (they can also be steamed or boiled)

Sauce: (Just mix it all together in a small bowl)

½ cup soy sauce
½ cup rice vinegar
1 tsp. ginger, minced
Pinch of hot pepper (flakes or sauce)

DIRECTIONS:

In a medium sized bowl, add all the dumpling ingredients and mix well. Refrigerate until needed.

Using an assembly line approach, lay out 8 dumpling wrappers, using your finger moisten the edges with water, add about a teaspoon of filling, and fold into a triangle. Then take the 2 outer corners of the triangle and fold them together. Put them on a cookie sheet (not touching) and cover with a moist paper towel.

Heat a large non-stick frying pan and add oil to just cover the bottom. When hot, add the dumplings and fry about 3 minutes per side. The timing is important and you want to make sure the filling is cooked. If they are cooking too fast turn the heat down, too slow, turn the heat up. Eat hot with dipping sauce.

 

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Easy Chicken Burritos

There is almost no better feeling than when you spend the time to shop and cook a wholesome meal, and then your family actually loves it (I mean “lick-their-plate” loves it)! These burritos are so easy and versatile. Basically that means one meal the whole family will eat (I feel like finding recipes that the whole family will eat is like finding a group of Leprechauns planting four leaf clovers in your garden, complete with directions to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow – impossible)! Here’s what you need to know, there are no rules when making these burritos. I use ground turkey (half white meat and half dark meat). You can use anything you want, hamburger meat, rotisserie chicken (shredded), tofu, or just veggies. I buy small, low carbohydrate whole wheat wraps from Trader Joe’s, but you can use any soft wrap, any size (in fact, I can buy all the ingredients from Trader Joe’s). You can even use a crunchy corn tortilla. I’m pretty sure Taco Bell once introduced a crunchy corn tortilla with a soft wrap on the outside! Then I add lots of vegetables to the ground meat: diced tomatoes, onions, garlic, pepper, jalapeno peppers, corn, beans, rice, etc. Use up what’s leftover in your refrigerator. I top it with store bought taco seasoning, though I am careful to find one that is MSG free and doesn’t have too much sodium (make sure to taste first before adding salt). Some of them are really spicy too. Then you can “go crazy” (literally or figuratively) with the toppings. Let your kids pick their favorite toppings. I like guacamole, salsa, shredded cheese, sliced lettuce, diced tomatoes, sour cream, lime wedges, etc. The list is endless, but the pot will be empty! At the end of this post there a few pictures of “apps” made with Yellow Corn Chip Rounds (also from Trader Joe’s).

Hello . . . Trader Joe’s . . . I’d love a job writing recipes for you . . . heathersolomon72@hotmail.com

Easy Chicken Burritos

INGREDIENTS:
1-2 tablespoons canola oil
1 lb. ground turkey
½ onion, small diced
1 pepper, small diced
1 cup frozen corn (I love the fire roasted frozen corn from Trader Joes)
½ packet taco seasoning (MSG free)
½ cup black beans
Salt and pepper as needed (please taste your mix first)

* Optional: Adobo seasoning (this adds lots of extra flavor)

DIRECTIONS:

Heat a large frying over a medium flame. Add oil. When hot add your ground meat and sauté about 5-8 minutes. Then add the onions and peppers and sauté another few minutes. Add the  Then add the corn and seasoning (most taco seasonings recommend mixing with ½ – 1 cup water). Let is simmer until the corn is hot. Add some chicken broth if it seems to be getting too dry. Adding some diced tomatoes is another good option. I like to serve this with all the trimmings!

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These awesome looking appetizers or “apps” were made by my boys . . . anyone looking for pint-sized caterers?

 

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chocolate pretzels

Boy it’s been a tough couple of weeks (months). I’ve been really under the weather and the medicine I am taking is knocking me out. I really dislike not feeling like myself. I know that life ebbs and flows, and that everyone has ups and downs, but it’s sure crappy when it’s happening to you. I am finally feeling better. Not 100% yet, but one day at a time. I’m so happy to be adding a new post (or 2). I have a growing list of summer projects, but for now I am happy to be posting Chocolate Covered Pretzels. They are so easy and fun to make.

INGREDIENTS

8 oz. semi sweet bakers chocolate (chocolate chips don’t work as well)
½ tablespoon butter
Pretzels (I buy the half size rods)
Toppings (mini-M&M’s, sprinkles, colored sugar, finely chopped nuts)

DIRECTIONS

Using a coffee mug, add all the chocolate and microwave for 1:00. My microwave usually needs another 30 seconds. Microwaves vary, so after the initial 1 minute, you can try 10-second intervals. The chocolate will not be fully melted, but if you put a spoon into the chocolate, it will be nice and soft when it’s ready. Add the butter and stir until smooth. I like to use a silpat lined baking sheet, but the paper plates with a waxy finish work well too. Get ready to dip and decorate! When all finished, put the bedazzled pretzels in the refrigerator to harden. I read on a website, forgive me for not remembering who’s idea this is, but she suggest adding milk to the leftover chocolate in the mug for an amazing Parisian hot chocolate!

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My son and I made these at home!

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So proud of my FM classes!  You guys did great!

 

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