Cooking with kids: 2 easy dishes

Mass Appeal
cooking kids_153249

CHICOPEE, Mass. (Mass Appeal) If you’re hanging out at home this week with the kids, get messy in the kitchen!  Deanna Cook is the author of ‘Cooking Class’, and she showed us how to make elegant food with our kids.Bow-Tie Pasta with Tomatoes, Basil & Fresh Mozzarella

Here’s an easy, no-cook sauce for pasta. This recipe calls for bow-tie pasta, but you can use any fun shape that you like. You can also eat it without the noodles as an appetizer (in Italian, this salad is called insalata caprese). Or try it on some toasted Italian bread.

  • ½ pound fresh mozzarella
  • Small bunch of fresh basil
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (1-pound) box bow-tie pasta
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving


1 Cut the mozzarella into bitesize pieces and place in a large serving bowl.

2 Snip the basil leaves with clean scissors and measure about ⅓ cup into the bowl.

3 Add the olive oil, tomatoes, garlic, and salt to the bowl. Stir well and add more salt to taste. Set aside while you cook the pasta to let the flavors blend together.

4 Have an adult help you cook the pasta. Drain, then toss the warm noodles with the mozzarella and tomatoes.

5 Serve on plates, and garnish with any remaining basil, if you like. Pass the Parmesan cheese, please!

Makes 4 servingsThink Spring! Rolls

For a no-cook dinner, try this Vietnamese favorite. Fill papery rice rounds with lettuce, grated carrot, and fresh herbs. (You can buy the rounds in the international section of most grocery stores.) Roll them up, step back, and watch them disappear!

  • 1 head Boston lettuce, chopped
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 10 sprigs fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 10 sprigs fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 cup cooked chopped shrimp, tofu, chicken, or pork, optional
  • 12 spring roll wrappers
  • 2-3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • ¼ cup chopped peanuts, optional
  • Dipping sauce, for serving


1 Lay out the lettuce, carrots, mint, cilantro, and shrimp or other protein on a large plate or cutting board.

2 Fill a pie plate with warm tap water. Soak one spring roll wrapper until soft, about 30 seconds.

3 Working with the rice paper wrappers can be a little tricky (and sticky!) at first, but with a little practice, you’ll soon get the hang of it. It’s cool to see the sheets transform from crisp wafers to slippery wrappers!

4 To assemble a roll, place the softened wrapper on a cutting board and top with the lettuce, carrots, mint, cilantro, and shrimp or other protein. Add a teaspoonful or so of hoisin sauce and sprinkle with some peanuts, if you like.

5 Fold the sides in and roll the wrapper up around the filling as shown. Set it aside and repeat soaking and filling the wrappers until you’ve used up all the wrappers and filling. Cut the spring rolls in half. Serve with the dipping sauce.Dipping Sauce

Serve this sauce with your Think Spring! Rolls

  • ¼ cup smooth peanut butter
  • ¼ cup hot water
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lime juice


Whisk together the peanut butter and water in a small bowl until smooth. Add the soy sauce, honey, and lime juice and whisk again.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Contact Mass Appeal

Trending Stories