If there is one recipe I feel like I have perfected, it is for banana bread. I have a few variations of it to keep things interesting, but I am happy with the recipe I have customized over the years. Because of this, I almost overlooked the Banana Bread recipe in the new Chop Chop cookbook I received to review. I cannot remember now if I decided in the spur of the moment to try this version or if it was my daughter’s request, but a few weeks ago we found ourselves in the kitchen putting this recipe together.
It is a pretty basic banana bread recipe, and most of the recipes in this book are exactly that: basic. You will not find truffle oils or complicated steps in this book as these recipes are geared toward children. The banana bread tasted good, but it is simple. Likewise, the smoothie and sandwich ideas are straight forward, but allow room for creativity and give children a sense of control over their food choices. My daughter has made banana bread with me dozens on times, but her favorite part about baking this particular recipe was that they combined the mashed bananas and sugar together, which was different than our usual recipe where we include the sugar with the dry ingredients.
The book is filled with large pictures of the food and children, which seemed to add to the engagement of the book and it also helps children to visualize the final product. The book also includes the “why” behind some of the steps or ingredients with their little side notes, which comes in handy and many of their side notes promote giving the recipe in a creative twist or adding a little extra pizzaz for the adventurous cook.
Although my five-year-old daughter is young and still reading at a very basic level, she was thrilled to get her first cookbook that she can call her own. We even made the fancy berry ice cubes for my father’s birthday when he was visiting last month and that was a project my daughter was able to do almost completely on her own. We are anxious to put the Warm Mulled Cider and Hot Cocoa, Mexican Style to the test now that the chilly weather is kicking in and I cannot wait for my kids to get more helpful in the kitchen as the years go on!
Based on their award-winning quarterly magazine with the same name, Chop Chop is a book that encourages children to cook together with their family or alone, depending on their age and the specific recipe, and aims establish healthy eating habits. If you are what you eat then you eat what you prepare, so it is never too young to start cooking with your kids. This book is available at a wide range of retailers including Amazon, Barnes & Noble and iTunes.
ADULT NEEDED: YES | HANDS-ON TIME: 20 MINUTES | TOTAL TIME: 1 HOUR
MAKES: 12 LITTLE LASAGNAS
12-cup muffin tin, measuring cup, measuring spoons, box grater (adult needed), pot holders, butter knife
1/2 cup hot tap water
2 1/2 cups tomato sauce
1/2 pound (1/2 box) spaghetti
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1. Turn the oven on and set it to 350 degrees.
2. Put 2 teaspoons hot tap water in each of the 12 muffin cups inside the tin.
3. Add 1 tablespoon tomato sauce to each muffin cup.
4. Count out 48 spaghetti strands. Break up 4 spaghetti strands and add them to the first muffin cup, then continue adding 4 broken spaghetti stands to each muffin cup.
5. Top each with 1 teaspoon grated Parmesan cheese.
6. Top each with 2 teaspoons shredded mozzarella cheese,
7. Top each with 2 teaspoons tomato sauce.
8. Repeat, starting with step 4 (the spaghetti strands).
9. Repeat again.
10. Carefully put the muffin tin in the oven and bake until the top is golden and the tomato sauce is bubbling, about 45 minutes. Set aside for 10 minutes. Slide the butter knife into the inner edge of each muffin cup and gently go around it, loosening up the sides. Carefully remove the lasagnas from the tin and serve right away.
A sample was provided for this review, but no compensation was received. The views and opinions are my own. Recipe shared with permission.