Simply Kid Chefs: Cheese and Onion Enchiladas

IMG_1191.JPGOver the summer, our youngest enjoyed borrowing the Hank Zipzer books from the library. Imagine his surprise that Holy Enchilada included a recipe at the end of the book. He knew he would want to try it but the book needed to be returned. We decided to take pictures of the recipe for future use.

He has been deciding when he wanted to try it and this week was it! The ingredient list was nice and small, making the young shopper quite happy. The recipe was pretty simple and he could do most of it himself. We decided to make up a Southwestern salad to go with the enchiladas.

The chef did everything (with very heavy supervision)! I held the items being cut and kept a very close eye/hand with the knife. He was incredibly proud of himself!!

Here are the photos of the recipe we worked with…



It was my first time making enchilada sauce and we will definitely do it again. It was easy and everyone liked it. The recipe is easy to play with. You could easily add black beans, chicken, ground meat, etc to the meal.

Our salad had lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, defrosted fire roasted corn, avocado and green onions. We used Newman’s ranch dressing.

The entire meal was a huge success!! Both boys loved it and can’t wait to have it again πŸ™‚

Have you made your own enchilada sauce? Have you taken photos of a recipe for later use?


Simply Kid Chefs: Mix and Match Mac and Cheese

Our oldest took over the kitchen this cold and stormy weekend. Seriously, it snowed! Back to cooking, he has been wanting to come up with his own creations, but still needs a little guidance in what goes together.

As we were flipping through our Food Network Magazine cookbook, we came upon the mix and match mac and cheese. Basically, they give you different types of pasta, cheeses, proteins, veggies and toppings. This is great because he had some creative control, but the ingredients all went together.

He picked medium shells, Monterey Jack, crumbled bacon, artichokes and a toasted Parmesan topping. There were a lot of moving parts to this dinner and the chef handled them like a pro. He was able to do most of it. He needed some help cutting the artichokes and I strained the pasta; but he did everything else.

We were a little slack on the white sauce, making it a little more liquid than creamy. Regardless, it was delicious πŸ™‚ The ingredients all went together well. They seemed an interesting choice by a nine year old, but he devoured it and had leftovers for lunch.

I don’t make mac and cheese very often and always stick to our family recipe when I do. It’s one of our oldest’s favorite meals so it isn’t surprising that he found a way to make it again. It was such a fun process, we’ll have to play the options a little more πŸ™‚

Do you have a favorite comfort food recipe? Have you ever tried a mix and match recipe?

Simply Kid Chefs: Crab Cakes

We are slowly getting into our routine. As we’ve been adjusting, the kids’ cooking has been put on hold. Well, we’re back!! Our youngest was chomping at the bit and our oldest had basketball tryouts so the youngest is kicking off the school year cooking πŸ˜‰

He knew he wanted to cook, but he wasn’t sure what. Suffice it to say, almost every cookbook was pulled out and perused. Ultimately, he selected crab cakes from Ellie Krieger. This allowed him to make seafood and his favorite tartar sauce. He also selected French fries and carrot/celery sticks to round out dinner.

He did most of the work. I helped with the cutting, but cut the potatoes for him. They are hard to manage with extra, little hands on and around the knife. He did put them in the bowl and add the olive oil, salt and pepper. I think he really enjoyed tossing them around before putting them on the pan.

I let him crack the egg for his first time. Let’s just say that resulted in a quick clean-up as the egg imploded on his hands and the floor. We re-grouped and mixed together the crab cakes. They didn’t stick together too well in the beginning. They were a bit of a mushy mess when we “rolled” them in the bread crumbs.

We wound up placing the cake down and covering with crumbs. Then we scooped it to the pan and shaped it. They did come together while cooking. I was a little nervous about flipping them, but it worked well for the most part.

Here’s the recipe from Elli Krieger *We double the tartar sauce as it’s quite popular around here πŸ™‚ *

Nonstick cooking spray
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Dash hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon crab boil seasoning (recommended: Old Bay)
1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1 scallion, including green top, finely chopped
1 pound lump crab, picked over for cartilage
3/4 cup dry bread crumbs
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Smarter Tartar Sauce:
6 tablespoons nonfat plain yogurt
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 scallion, finely chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped sour pickles
1 tablespoon chopped capers

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.

In a medium bowl mix together the egg, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, Old Bay seasoning and hot sauce. Stir in the bell pepper and scallion. Gently fold in the crab, 1/4 cup of the bread crumbs and salt and pepper to taste. Put the remaining bread rumbs in a shallow dish.

Divide the crab mixture into 8 mounds. Shape 1 mound into a round and coat in bread crumbs. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and flatten the crab cake to form a patty about 1-inch high. Repeat to form the remaining crab cakes.

Bake until golden on the bottom, about 10 minutes. Gently flip the crab cakes and cook until the second side is golden, 5 to 10 minutes longer.

Smarter Tartar Sauce:
Spoon yogurt into a small bowl lined with paper towels. Place in the refrigerator for 1/2 hour until some of the liquid from the yogurt is released. Scoop thickend yogurt into a small bowl, add the rest of the ingredients and stir to combine.

Yield: 3/4 cup

Copyright 2005, Ellie Krieger, All Rights Reserved
Read more at:


Our youngest LOVED the crab cakes! Our oldest was a little unsure as he doesn’t like stuffed quahogs or other seafood cakes, but he tried it and did eat his whole crab cake.

Have you made crab cakes? What’s your favorite dinner inspiration?

Simply Kid Chefs: Grilled salmon with oregano oil, avocado tzatziki sauce and grilled lemons

This week, our youngest took over the kitchen and stuck with his favorite, seafood! He was excited to try the grill and knew immediately that he wanted to make a salmon dish.

I suggested one of my favorite salmon recipes from Bobby Flay that I had found in the Food & Wine Best of the Best cookbook.Β I had never tried the avocado tzatziki sauce, but we have tons of oregano in the garden and love grilled lemons. Β The chef was on-board and we decided to give it a go πŸ™‚

After a great morning at the beach, we went off to the store and found a new seafood guy. For a treat, we picked up stuffed quahogs for an appetizer and the chef selected broccoli on the grill for a side.

The chef did most of the work in the kitchen. I cut open the avocados and chopped the Serrano chile, while he put everything in the food processor. He also cut the oregano from the garden and prepared the salmon. I chopped the broccoli, but he seasoned it and helped out it on the grill.

My husband handled most of the grilling, but explained everything as he was doing it. The chef was able to help turn the broccoli, but the grill was pretty hot and a little smoky near the fish.

The meal was a huge success! We will definitely be making the avocado tzatziki again πŸ™‚ The entire meal was easy to prepare and didn’t take long at all. Can’t beat a quick and delicious meal!!

Here is Bobby Flay’s recipe originally from Grill It, but I found it in Food and Wine’s Best of the Best


What’s your favorite way to grill salmon? How is your summer going? Does your routine change in the summer?

Simply Kid Chefs: Taco Burgers

20140714-063427-23667433.jpgAfter some busy and fun weekends, our oldest took the kitchen back this weekend. Over the winter, the boys wanted to know if they would be cooking over the summer and I said, yes. They were beyond excited to think about using the grill.

As we talked about them getting back in the swing of cooking, they were both excited to return to the kitchen. I reminded this week’s chef that he could pick a grilling recipe.

It is no surprise that cheese burgers on the grill was his immediate decision. I suggested that we should do something to mix it up, a special sauce or flavoring. Without pause, he wanted to add taco seasoning to the meat. Why not?

After the beach, we went to the store and he selected toppings to go with his burgers. He decided on cheddar cheese, salsa, guacamole, crushed tortilla chips and Dad requested green chiles.

We came home, watched a little World Cup and got to work. He crushed the chips (I think one of his favorite parts) with a potato masher in a bowl and then got to work mixing the meat.

I helped him divide the meat, but he made the burgers himself.

Then it was time to grill and he had a great teacher!

He did everything except take the burgers off the grill. There was a little re-adjusting at times by Dad, but overall – he did the grilling.

We kept everything pretty simple. The burgers were about 2 pounds ground beef with one packet of Old El Paso taco seasoning.

There are so many ways you could play with this. Fresh garlic, onion, cilantro with chili powder and paprika is one variation that jumps to mind.

As for easy and yummy, this meal received four thumbs up! Our youngest, who generally doesn’t eat burgers (he is a devout hot dog eater) ate his entire burger and complimented the chef πŸ™‚

How do you mix up burger recipes? Did you watch the World Cup?

If you missed it, last week I was featured by My Fit Family πŸ™‚ Click here to read it!

Simply Kid Chefs: Cheese-Stuffed Pork Chops

This weekend, dinner was up to our youngest. He looked through the cookbooks and selected cheese-stuffed pork chops from our trusty Food Network Magazine cookbook. This was a different selection for him as he tends to stick with seafood.

We ventured off to the store and found all of the ingredients pretty easily. He wasn’t too sure about the beans, but we decided to follow the recipe.

There were a lot of new experiences for both of us. I had never used a brine or prepared a stuffed meat. The chef loved mixing the brine and putting the meat in. I sliced the pockets in the meat and minced the garlic (he peeled it). We worked together to chop the escarole.

The stuffing was pretty easy, but I didn’t make the pockets big enough. We decided to let a little spill out and see how it went. The chef was able to put the meat in the pan. I flipped them and removed them. He added the beans and prepared them in the pan for the chops return.

They were delicious!! The escarole added a really nice flavor. The adults enjoyed the beans and the kids tried them. Definitely a recipe we will try again and our youngest helped me get over the fear of stuffed meat πŸ™‚

Here’s the recipe from the Food Network:

Kosher salt
1/4 cup sugar
4 bone-in, thick-cut pork chops (6 to 8 ounces each)
1/2 medium head escarole
2 cloves garlic
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
Freshly ground pepper
4 slices provolone cheese (about 2 ounces)
4 fresh sage leaves, chopped
1 (19-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

Dissolve 1/4 cup salt and the sugar in 3 cups warm water in a large bowl. Insert a paring knife into the curved side of each pork chop to make a deep pocket, about 2 inches wide. Soak the chops in the brine, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, finely chop the escarole and garlic. Toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.

Remove the chops from the brine and pat dry. Fold each cheese slice and tuck into the pocket of a pork chop, then stuff with the escarole mixture. Brush the pork with olive oil, sprinkle with the sage and season with salt and pepper.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sear the pork in batches, turning once, until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Add the beans and 1/3 cup water to the skillet, scraping up any browned bits; season with salt and pepper. Return the pork to the skillet, cover and cook over medium heat until no longer pink, 5 to 7 more minutes. Serve the pork with the beans.

Per serving: Calories 463; Fat 28 g (Saturated 7 g); Cholesterol 63 mg; Sodium 693 mg; Carbohydrate 21 g; Fiber 6 g; Protein 31 g

Read more at:

Have you tried stuffing meat? What is your favorite recipe? Do you have a go-to cookbook?

Simply Kid Chefs: Mini Quiches

After some busy weekends, our oldest was back in the kitchen. He looked through the cookbooks and settled on a recipe for bacon and cheese mini quiches from Rachel Ray’s Classic 30 Minute Meals. We all enjoy the frozen mini quiches and who doesn’t love bacon? This was our first time making them ourselves.

Our oldest does most of the work himself (with supervision). This time, he began to multi-task. He was cooking the bacon while grating the cheese and preparing the eggs. He started off cutting up the potatoes, but they were pretty small and I did most of the cutting.

As with everything, we have to learn from our mistakes. For example, there is a reason we crack the eggs into a separate container πŸ˜‰ After this one, he was a pro

Here he is preparing and cooking…


Bacon and Cheese Mini Quiches

24 Filo pastry cups (available in the frozen food section)
4 slices cooked bacon
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 eggs
A splash of milk
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 375*

Arrange the pastry cups on a cookie sheet. Cut up bacon into thin pieces. Add a little bacon to each cup. Add a sprinkle of cheese to each cup. Beat eggs in a bowl with a splash of milk and some salt and pepper. Use a large spoon to add egg to each pastry cup to fill them up. Bake until golden, 10-12 minutes.

I cut up some baby potatoes and cooked them over medium-high heat with olive oil and Montreal Steak seasoning for about 20 minutes.

Everyone loved dinner. Breakfast for dinner is always fun! There are a lot of ways to play with this recipe. I think we will try it with some veggies in the future.

Have you made mini quiches? What are your favorite fillings?