Tag Archives: Kids cooking

Chicken Little Hand Pies

22 Sep


Chicken pot pie is not nearly as daunting a project as you may think. I know it sounds fussy with all that dough, sauce making, chicken cooking, chopping and so on. It is really just a matter of tossing everything in a pan and adding some kind of doughy top.  I got all excited one night while I was cooking some chicken and though these would be a prefect thing to make the next night for dinner.  Because I’d already cooked the chicken and would use the leftovers for the pies, it would be so easy. Then I remembered I don’t have those cute little pots that are  special for making individual chicken pot pie in. I have a million small dishes, but like Goldie Locks and the Three Bears, none were just right, some were too small and some were too large. Then I thought who needs those stinkin’ mini pots anyway, I’ll make hand pies and then I won’t even have to wash forks after dinner because you eat these with your hands! Brilliant.

Then I realized that I had scheduled a very busy day the next day so… home-made pie dough wasn’t going to happen. Ok, I cheated, call me Semi Homemade (it’s ok I don’t mind, I know I can make pie dough if I really needed to) 

So I made the filling that evening after dinner and snuggled it right in the fridge for the next day. I was lucky enough to have some homemade chicken stock on hand. I was unlucky because I had a house of sick people, precisely why I had chicken stock.  The next day I had to grab some stuff at the store anyway so I tossed in a pre made pie dough, you can get fairly healthy ones at a natural market. You could use puff dough If you can’t find pie dough. I enlisted the help of my daughter in making these, she picked the size and shapes for the pies. We cut out the dough with cookie cutters, brushed them with egg, filled them and sealed them. Chilling the mixture makes easy work of filling the little pies when it’s time. We assembled them around 3 o’clock and put them back in the refrigerator until it was time to bake them before dinner. You could also freeze them raw for another day.  They baked up really pretty and were equally as tasty. You can try adding anything, make them vegetarian even, just use your creative genius. Serve alongside a colorful salad.


Chicken Little Hand Pies

These little suckers stay very hot inside for a long time, be careful when serving little kids.

If using raw chicken, cut it up very small and add it after the broth, simmer until it is cooked through.

Tip: Slicing semi frozen chicken is easier than trying to slice raw chicken. Place your raw chicken in the freezer for 10 minutes and then slice away.

Adapted from Epicurious

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, quartered lengthwise and diced
1 small potato, peeled and chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
1 celery rib, halved lengthwise and diced

1/4 cup thawed corn kernels

1/2 cup ounces cooked shredded chicken

Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme

Squeeze of lemon juice about a 1/2 tsp

2 unbaked pie crusts, either store-bought or homemade (not pie shells)
1 egg, beaten

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When it shimmers, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the carrot,potato and celery and season with salt and pepper to taste, raise the heat to medium-high. Cook until the vegetables are softened , add the corn and pre-cooked chicken.

Sprinkle the flour over everything in the pan, stir, and cook for 1 minute. Add the broth,  thyme and lemon juice,  and simmer for 5 minutes more or until thickened.  Transfer the mixture to a bowl, cool and refrigerate until cold, about to 30 minutes. Remove the pie crusts from the refrigerator so they can soften slightly.

When the filling is cool, preheat oven to 4oo°F  Grease or line two baking sheets with parchment.

Lay the crust out on a cutting board.   Use cookie cutter to cut as many shapes as you can. Re-roll the dough and cut more until you have no more crust left.

Place about 1 Tbs.  of filling in the center of dough, brush beaten egg around the outside of the crust,  then place another matching shape in top. Crimp the edges together with a fork, and prick the top a few times for steam to escape. Carefully transfer pie to the prepared baking sheets. Repeat with remaining pie crust and filling. Just before baking brush all the pies with egg wash.

Bake until golden brown, 20 30 minutes.


Hamantashen, to fold or to pinch? (that is the question)

5 Mar

Hamantashen Cookie

Making cookies is always fun for kids but for us, these are especially exciting to make.  The familiar shape of the triangular cookies shows itself every March, it is the official cookie of Purim, a Jewish holiday geared toward the kiddos. (You definantly don’t have to be Jewish to make these!) We first tried a recipe that seemed to have good reviews but they came out too cakey, I needed another try and I knew exactly where to look for the perfect recipe.

I went straight to Claire’s old Preschool, the ECE Preschool at the Marin Osher JCC  A place where baking and kids is perfectly natural! They use tried and true recipes passed down from Bubi to Bubi and they really work.  If 100 preschoolers can make Challah or Hamantashen taste good then I know the recipes work! When I visited, the Director handed me an adorable colorful printout of the Hamantashen recipe. Let’s back up a minute, I know you are wondering what’s up with that weird name and why is the cookie shaped like a triangle?

The Origin of Hamantaschen
“Hamantaschen” is a Yiddish word meaning “Haman’s pockets.” Haman is the villain in the Purim story, which appears in the Biblical Book of Esther. In the story, Haman is the Grand Vizier of Persia and a rabid anti-Semite. When Mordechai, a Jewish member of the king’s court and relative of Queen Esther, refuses to bow down to Haman, the Grand Vizier plots to have all the Jews in the kingdom massacred. However, Queen Esther and Mordechai discover Haman’s plot and are able to foil it. In the end, Haman is executed on the gallows he planned to use on Mordechai.
Jews eat hamantaschen on Purim as part of the celebration of the holiday, which commemorates how Jews escaped Haman’s dastardly plans. One explanation for the triangular shape of these pastries is that Haman wore a three-cornered hat. (excerpt from http://judaism.about.com )
There are some other facts about Purim that the kids really love one is

There are four good deeds that people try to carry out at Purim time.

1) To hear the reading of the Megillot Ester (Book of Esther) at a group gathering. This developed into a custom several hundred years after the real event took place.

2) To enjoy an atmosphere that encourages celebration with food and drink.

3) Helping out at least two people who are less fortunate than we are (charity) by giving them gifts on the 14th of Adar.

It has also become a tradition (Machatzit Hashekel) to give 3 half-dollar coins to charity to commemorate the half-shekel given by each Jew in the time of the Holy Temple. This good deed is usually done in the synagogue.

4) Giving gifts to a friend who is not necessarily poor. These ready-to-eat gifts might take the form of a fruit basket (Shalach Monot), pastry or beverage.

The best part of Purim is the dress up, the kids dress as Esther, Hamen or any royal. Purple is often used in decoration because it is the color connected to royalty.  The celebration is kind of like Mardi Gras and Halloween all wrapped up in one, lots of sweets and lots of fun!

Now that the history part is out of the way we can get on to sweeter things..

This recipe was great to use, a parent form the school made it, I have no clue who, but thanks because it is so handy!

The traditional filling of the Hamantashen is poppy-seed but we love strawberry or apricot preserves. I also sliced up fresh strawberries and added a slice to each one for a fresh taste.  The method is much like making sugar cookies, you roll out the buttery dough and chill. The triangle starts with a circle, imagine that, stay in school kids, the wonders of math never cease! Use a cup or a round cookie cutter to cut circles, drop a bit of filling in and then from your triangle (recipe below)

Raw chocolate chip dough

I butter

There is a debate in the land of Hamantashen about the correct way to seal up the Hamantashen, to fold or to pinch. I was always a pincher but I recently tried a recipe from Cupcake Project, while her tashen looked and tasted good, her suggestion of folding was intregiung to me. Folding the dough can produce a beautiful cookie but we had problems. Our dough was cracking with each fold although our cookies came out pretty we were discouraged by the cracking.

When we used the recipe below we pinched, you may have to use some water on the dough to make it stick but the pinched ones came out perfectly! So I say, depending on the recipe, your oven and your skill level pinching may be the way to go. **Note- for gluten free see bottom of post.

Lizet’s Hamatashen Recipe

preheat oven to 350˚ƒ
4 1⁄2 c. flour
1 c. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Mix together in a large bowl

3 sticks butter (1 1/2 c).
soften in a bowl
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
beat eggs in a bowl, stir in vanilla.
add eggs to flour mixture, add butter, stir, then dump on clean surface, knead briefly until sticky.divide dough in quarters.  ( I wrap and chill at this point)
roll to 1/4 inch thick on floured board.
Cut circles using a cutter or cup.
Place 1 tsp filling in center of dough.
Fold or pinch 3 sides to make a triangle.
Leave some filling showing in center. 
Bake on cookie sheet about 15 minutes.

Filling: use jam, or mix 1⁄2 lb. Prunes with 1⁄4 c. strawberry jam in a food processor. Or try making your own poppy seed filling…

Mohn (Poppy seed filling)

2 c. poppy seed, finely ground

1 egg

1/3 c. honey or sugar

1 Tbs. lemon juice

1⁄4 c. chopped nuts

Wash the seeds well, them grind them in a food processor or place the seeds in a cloth and pound them with a mallet. Mix with the remaining ingredients. chill.


Folding the dough on a cookie sheet avoids the transfer disaster.


When we made these goodies with for our third grade class we needed a gluten free recipe. I tried a pie dough mix and it was terribly unsuccessful. As you can see it the photo they were like sand and not folded or pinched, we just dug out a space for the jam..

One of the moms made up a batch of GF cookie dough from Pure Pantry sugar cookie mix and it worked really well for the Hamantashen. I only have a photo of our ugly ones because the better ones got gobbled right up!

Ugly duckling gluten free cookies

After Battle Chocolate Cake

10 Jan

After Battle Chocolate Cake

Recently my daughter has been reading like crazy, big books, the kind with lots of pages!  The kind I didn’t read until I was in my 30’s! She is voracious, she eats books!  My husband got her a book by Patricia C. Wrede called “Book of Enchantments it’s a book of short stories by the author who wrote a great series about dragon nappings…and a princess.

From The New Book of Enchantments

Cimorene, the princess who refuses to be proper, meets her match in the not-quite-kingly Mendanbar. With the aid of a broken-down magic carpet and a leaky magical sword, the two tackle a series of dragon-nappings.”

In the back of the book the author wrote a recipe for Barbarians on how to make a chocolate cake.  The way  she  wrote it is so cute (see below) it’s basically a bunch of barbarians making a cake using their swords and doing the mixing in a helmet!  They chop the chocolate with a sword and cook the cake on the fire. We made it in a real mixing bowl, although Claire was looking for a shield to bake it in!  The cake was simple and delicious we all loved it! I am showing both recipes, the normal folks version and the original Barbarian version below.

After Battle Recipe (last one known to man)

We decided to make the cake for New Years Eve and to also give out the recipe on some old-looking paper to the kids to take home. We stained the paper with a soggy tea bag and let it dry overnight. We printed the original recipe on the front and the normal folks version on the back.  We then burnt the edges to make it look old, it was a family affair we all sat in the driveway and worked on burning the edges, it was lots of fun!  It really brought me back to middle school when we tried to made our book reports look aged.
After Battle Cake

Quick After-Battle Triple Chocolate Cake-Barbarian Version

First, round up the prisoners and have them make a good fire. Pile shields around it to hold in heat.

Assemble Ingredients

Butter the size of a good spear head

A good big fistful of brown sugar

A big fistful of white sugar

A couple of eggs

A good splash of vanilla

Secret Magic Ingredient

Milk from a chocolate cow

A small fistful of cocoa

Two or three fistfuls of flour

Pinch of salt

Two pinches soda

Hunk of chocolate, hacked to bits with second-best sword


Pick a small shield and clean it, then grease it up good.  Sprinkle a little flour and save it for later.

In somebody else’s helmet, beat butter and brown sugar and white sugar together-make sure helmet is clean before using! Add eggs and beat some more. Add vanilla and Secret Magic Ingredient and beat it all again.

Stir flour, cocoa, salt, and soda together in whatever is handy. Add to batter, alternating with milk. Beat real good. Stir in chocolate pieces.

Dump batter into greased shield. Bake next to fire while gathering loot. Give helmet back to sucker who let you mix cake in it; promise him first piece if he gets too mad. Eat warm while counting loot. Serves two.











Quick After-Battle Triple Chocolate Cake – Normal Folks Version

One adjustment – we used cocoa to prepare the pan instead of flour.

Preheat oven to 350 ˚F


1 stick butter

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup white sugar

2 large eggs

2 Tablespoons blackstrap molasses

2/3 cup chocolate milk (1 tbsp. chocolate syrup to 2/3 C. milk)

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa

1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 6-ounce package semi-sweet chocolate chips


Grease and cocoa a 9″ x 9″ pan

In a large bowl, cream butter or margarine until fluffy. Add brown sugar and white sugar and mix thoroughly. Add eggs, vanilla, and black strap molasses, beating well after each addition

In a separate container stir flour, cocoa, salt, and baking soda together. Beat into butter mixture, alternating with the chocolate milk. Beat for 1-2 minutes, and then fold in chocolate chips.

Pour batter into greased and floured 13″ x 9″ pan. Bake 35-45 minutes. Cake should be sort of flat and solid, not light and puffy. (Don’t over cook it though) Let cool before cutting, or the pieces will fall apart and the gooey chocolate chips will get all over everything. Sprinkle powdered sugar or top with whipped cream. Serves a lot more than two, even if everybody really likes chocolate.


* * * * * From Patricia C. Wrede’s “Book of Enchantments” * * * * *


Protein-a-luscious: A Fancy Pants Breakfast

25 May
Finished nests just out of the oven

If you know me you know I am a breakfast junkie, I am a believer in high protein breakfasts for kids. I think they act better, think better and grow better. With good for you foods in the early hours of the day their brains function much better than with sugary or even no breakfast. Some kids just don’t like eggs so this is for kids who don’t like eggs.  Call them nests! I saw this recipe on Simply Recipes and I instantly loved the concept. The original recipe called for Gruyere cheese but I happened to have a cheddar and jack blend so I went with that. I have changed this recipe, I upped the servings and added a few tips of my own, enjoy!

I like making a few extra smaller puffs (as we call them) ones without egg just to snack on! So snack on and on….
My daughter said it was the best breakfast EVER!
I can’t wait to start experimenting with some other ideas using this technique stay tuned.

The Bird is in the Nest (wink wink, That’s code) Egg Nests originally from 

La cuisine est unjeud’enfants

4 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup grated Cheddar / Jack Pepper or Paprika (optional)
Serves 4
Preheat the oven to 450°F with a rack in the middle. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or non stick silicone mat. Separate the egg yolks from the whites. Keep each individual yolk in half of a shell on a rimmed plate or small bowl. (this way you don’t have to dirty four little bowls, making for an easier clean up.)
Yolks awaiting to be deposited in the white nests

Place the egg whites and salt in a very clean mixer bowl. Beat the egg whites with a whisk attachment in a mixer (or using a hand mixer), start on low speed working your way up to high speed, until stiff peaks form. Do not over beat the eggs here, you’ll want them silky not chunky.

With a rubber spatula gently fold in the grated cheese, doing your best not to deflate the egg whites.
Create four equal mounds (or more) of the egg white mixture on the lined baking sheet. Form the mounds so they look like nests, using the back of a spoon make indentations in the centers.
Place nests in the oven for 3- 4  minutes until firm but not browned. After 3 minutes, take the pan out of the oven and gently add an egg yolk to the center of each nest. Return the baking sheet to the oven and cook for 4 more minutes. Sprinkle with a small amount of salt.
Serve immediately.

Tip* Make sure your egg whites are yolk free, free of any fat, the yolk will cause the whites to misbehave. 

Sneak Peek at Stone’s Soup Corner

3 Jun

Announcing Edible Marin Wine Country Magazine Premiere Issue (drum roll please)

edible Marin and Wine Country Summer 2009

We here in Marin, Napa and Sonoma are thrilled to be contributing to a great new magazine. Read Stone’s Soup Corner my kid centric foodie column. See The fabulous cover that Matthew shot, and find out about seasonal foods and recipes. Grab one at your local natural foods store or farmers market, you can always subscribe. We hope you enjoy it!

Because peas are coming into season I changed this recipe to accommodate fresh peas but if you are unable to get them use frozen.

On the searing summer days of my childhood, I spent

long hours outside with other kids, playing hide

and seek, getting dirty, and making mud pies. The

moment we heard the bells of the ice cream truck, our ears

perked up in unison and we raced off to get our ice cream treat.

Now, 30-something years later, I hardly ever see an ice cream

man. Maybe it’s because grocery stores today are stocked

with so many more ice cream choices, or maybe it’s because

kids play indoors more. Whatever the reason, the summer

school break presents a great opportunity to spend time with

your kids, cooking with them and teaching them about food

and family. It should be easy to entice them into the kitchen

to help create these unique and deliciously cooling Minty

Pea Pops and Veggie Corn Pops.

They may not get to chase

the ice cream man, but they will be having fun, enjoying

their dessert, and eating their veggies, too!

Sweet Veggie Pops

A New Twist On an Old Treat

By Jenifer Carden

Minty Pea Pops

Peas on a Popsicle stick? Just tell them it tastes like mint–chocolate

chip ice cream—but these are not quite ice cream and not quite vegetable.

They are now a staple in our house—a great dessert, snack, or

treat on a hot day. Have your kids help shop for and shell the peas.

You’ll love it when your child asks for a Pea Pop! These will come out sweeter if oyu use frozen peas.

Makes 6 cube-shaped pops

8 ounces cream cheese

1 cup shelled sweet English Peas (or frozen peas, thawed)

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

1/8 to 1/4 cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips

6 Popsicle sticks or wooden craft sticks

Place the cream cheese, peas, and sugar in a microwave-safe bowl

and microwave on high for 20-second intervals until the cheese is

softened to room temperature.

Using a blender or food processor, puree these first three ingredients

into a smooth paste. Add the extract and mix again, scraping the

bowl frequently. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand.

Place the mixture into a food grade plastic bag and cut about 1/2 inch

off of one of the bottom corners. Squeeze the puree into an ice cube

tray or mini muffin tin, place 1 Popsicle stick into each serving and

freeze until solid, about 1 hour. You may also spoon the puree into the

molds. Depending on your freezer, you may have to let them freeze for

up to 4 hours. For best results, make and freeze these overnight.

Once the pops are frozen, remove them from the molds by twisting

just like ice cubes. You may need to go around the edge with a warm

knife if you used a muffin tin. Sealed in an airtight container, these

will keep for up to 1 month.

Variation: Sprinkle a layer of graham cracker crumbs into the bottom of the ice

cube trays or muffin cups and place the corn puree on top; the result will look and

taste similar to a mini cheesecake on a stick.

%d bloggers like this: