Kids Kitchen: Gluten-Free Skillet Mac & Cheese

For this dish, my all-time favorite cheese is cheddar; however, you could use a Mexican blend, shredded mozzarella or anything else, as long as it can melt. Also, I use 1% or 2% milk for this recipe, but half and half, skim or cream will work as well—the higher the fat content, the creamier your cheese sauce will be.

– Maizy Boosin

gluten-free macaroni and cheese

Skillet Macaroni and Cheese


2 tablespoons of butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 box gluten-free pasta (I used elbows for the traditional mac ’n cheese look, but you can choose whatever you want)
4 cups chicken stock
¼ cup milk of your choice
1½ cups shredded cheese of your choice
Chopped parsley, for garnish


First, heat a large skillet on medium heat.

Add the butter, salt and pepper to the pan.

Once the butter is melted, add the box of pasta to the skillet

Lightly toast the pasta on medium to high heat, until all of the pasta has been coated in the melted butter and is beginning to change to a more toasted color (the exact shade depends on the brand or noodle, but usually pasta gets either a reddish or more golden tone when it’s toasted).

Add some chicken stock to the pan until the liquid covers the noodles.

Turn the heat up to high and continue stirring until the pasta absorbs all of the liquid.

Add more liquid, let it absorb, and repeat until pasta is cooked. You’ll need to turn down the heat once the chicken broth comes to a boil. Keep the liquid at a low simmer.

When the pasta is cooked, there will still be a little extra liquid in the pan. Turn the heat down to low, add your milk and cheese of choice, and stir until everything is incorporated.

Add salt and pepper to taste, top with chopped parsley, and serve.

Kids Kitchen: Make Easy Homemade Gluten-Free Pasta

Hey, guys! Just a few notes before we start cooking. Making homemade pasta is so much fun. If you want to make more of a project out of it, mix the dough in a bowl. It’s the same process as the food processor, but it’s way more fun for young kids! I used the Kitchen Aid pasta roller and cutter attachments, but any pasta roller would work. The process is relatively fast, and the pasta is WAY healthier than boxed dried pasta because you know exactly what’s in it. Have fun!

Serves 4-6


2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour (use whatever brand you want, but make sure it includes xanthan gum) 

6 tablespoons tapioca flour 

2 teaspoons salt 

2 whole eggs 

3 egg yolks 

2 tablespoons olive oil 

⅓ cup water (plus extra if needed) 


Add the flours, salt, eggs, egg yolks and olive oil to a food processor and pulse until everything is combined. Once you have one homogenous mixture, turn the food processor on low/medium and add the ⅓ cup of water slowly to the mix while the food processor is running. You’ll know when the dough is ready to come out of the food processor when it all clumps together. The dough should have a similar consistency to cut-out sugar cookie dough. It should be soft and pliable but hold its shape. If it’s too stiff, add more water by the tablespoon until you have a good texture to work with. 

Place the dough out on a floured surface and cut it into 4 equal parts. Working with only one part at a time makes the process way easier and less overwhelming. Cut the ¼ piece of dough you are working with in half. Take ½ of it and roll it into a rectangle ¼-inch thick. Feed the dough through the pasta roller to flatten it and make it thin enough to cut. I kept the roller setting on 1 and fed the dough through a few times. Once the dough is smooth, you can move to a thinner setting; I used setting 3. It’s important to make sure the dough is well-floured on both sides every time you feed it through the roller, otherwise it will stick.

After that, you should have a thin and long rectangular section of pasta dough. Switch the roller attachment to a spaghetti or linguine cutter, depending on your preference. Run the dough through the cutter to cut it into noodles. Place the noodles on a floured baking sheet and repeat this process with all the dough. 

To cook the pasta, boil a pot of water. Once the water is boiling, gently place the pasta in the water and cook until the pasta floats to the top for al dente pasta. If you prefer your pasta cooked a bit more, cook it for 30 seconds to 1 minute longer. Drain the water, toss with your favorite sauce (I like pumpkin sauce for something a little more seasonal) and enjoy! 

A message: Be careful not to get hair, loose clothing, etc., in the pasta attachment. As always, kids should be careful with boiling water and blades in the food processor, so get an adult involved. I hope you love this pasta dough as much as I do. If you make this recipe, post it on Instagram and tag @chefmaizy and use the hashtag #chefmaizy. Happy cooking!

Kids’ Kitchen: Spring Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

Makes 3 dozen cookies

For the cookies

1½ sticks unsalted butter, softened

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs 

1 tsp. vanilla extract 

½ tsp. almond extract 

1 tsp. baking powder 

3½ cups gluten free all-purpose flour 

For the icing

5 tbsp. meringue powder 

4 cups powdered sugar 

7 tbsp. water (plus more if needed!) 


Make the cookies first.

Preheat the oven to 350° F.

Using the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and the sugar in a stand mixer on medium speed until lighter in color and fluffier than before. 

Then, add the 2 eggs, vanilla extract and almond extract.

Once the sugar mixture is fully combined, sift in the baking powder and the flour ¼ cup at a time.  Continue adding ¼ cup at a time until all the dry ingredients are incorporated and the dough comes together.

Now it’s time to roll out the dough. Flour a flat, dry surface and a rolling pin. Place ½ of the prepared dough to the surface and roll out until ¼-inch thick. 

Using the cookie cutters you have decided on, cut out the cookies. (I used hearts, stars and flowers.) 

Place the cut cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment. 

Repeat this process until all of the dough is cut into cookie shapes. 

Bake the cookies for 12-15 minutes. 

Don’t worry if the cookies are soft when they come out of the oven, they will DEFINITELY firm up as they cool down!

Next, make the icing.

In a stand mixer, add the dry ingredients to the bowl. Mixing on the lowest speed possible, add the water 1 tablespoon at a time. Trust me, it’ll look weird. Continue adding water ½ teaspoon at a time until it comes together. First, the icing will turn into little pebbles, but as you add the water, it should get a better consistency. Turn up the speed to medium high and let it mix for around 5-7 minutes. The frosting will increase in volume. Personally, I like piping with a thinner royal icing, but if you prefer it thicker, just add less water until it gets to your desired consistency. If you want to dye it, use gel food dye because it does not alter the texture of the icing. 

Then, decorate. Pipe a border on the cookies first, and let it dry for 5-10 minutes before filling the middle of the cookie with icing. Get creative and have fun. 

Sweet Gluten-Free Crêpes

Maizy Boosin headshotMaizy Boosin, winner of Food Network’s Chopped Junior, likes this easy recipe for sweet crêpes. “These elegant crêpes are not only easy to make, they’re incredibly versatile as well,” she said, “So everyone can have fun personalizing them with an infinite variety of fillings.”




1¼ cups milk

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 teaspoon melted coconut oil

3 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup, divided, plus

2  tablespoons rice flour*

3 tablespoons sugar

Butter, for the pan

*Make sure it is pure rice flour without xanthan gum.


First, mix together the milk, oils, eggs and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Make sure they are completely incorporated. Add the rice flour a quarter cup at a time, then mix in the extra 2 tablespoons. After the flour is fully combined and the batter is smooth, add the sugar and whisk to combine.

Next, add a bit of butter to a medium-sized pan to coat the bottom when melted. Once the pan has been heated over medium heat, add ¼ cup batter into the pan. Working quickly, swirl the pan around so the batter fills the whole surface of the bottom of the pan. If there are gaps, fill them in with some extra batter. Wait until the side facing up is matte and doesn’t show any breaks or tears when gently lifted with a spatula. You may have to use two spatulas: the first to lift one side of the crêpe so the other spatula can go underneath and flip the crêpe. Wait until both sides are browned, 3-4 minutes on both sides, and continue making the crêpes until all the batter is used up.

Get creative with your fillings! My favorites are Nutella with fruit, ice cream, ham and cheese (even though it’s a sweet crêpe, the savory fillings still work), and fresh whipped cream and berries! Add your favorite foods and fillings to make them your own.

3 crêpe-making keys

  • During prep, batter will likely drip on your stove or countertops. If you don’t want the kitchen to get messy, put down paper towels or dish towels so when you are bringing batter to the pan it doesn’t spill anywhere you don’t want it.
  • Once a stove gets hot, the crêpes cook extremely quickly! You may have to keep adjusting your stovetop heat so the crêpes don’t burn.
  • If you are making this recipe with little kids, be careful with the raw eggs! When working with eggs, make sure to wash your hands and properly dispose of the shells. Also, don’t eat the raw batter. Trust me, it does not taste good and can be dangerous.

Kids’ Kitchen: 3 Gluten-Free Tartlets for Fall

These tasty gluten-free tartlets offer a variety of seasonal flavors in an adorable package.

Maple Carrot Tartlets

Makes 8-10 tartlets


8          large carrots

2          tablespoons maple syrup

1          tablespoon brown sugar, light or dark

2          teaspoons cinnamon

1          teaspoon nutmeg

2          teaspoons salt

4          slices prosciutto

8-10    Tartlet Shells (see instructions below)

Parsley, optional


Peel and cube carrots into small chunks, then add to a pot of 6 cups boiling salted water and cook for about 20 minutes. While the carrots are cooking, mix the syrup, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt together.

When carrots are done, add them to either a bowl or blender with the syrup mixture. If you add them to a bowl, you will need an immersion blender. Blend until smooth. Heat a pan to medium heat and fry the prosciutto for 30-45 seconds on each side. Fill a piping bag with the carrot mixture and fill tartlet shells. Chop prosciutto and sprinkle onto tartlets along with parsley, if desired.

Sweet Potato and Caramelized Onion Tartlets

Makes 8-10 tartlets


2 small sweet potatoes

1 onion

1 tablespoon butter

¼ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons cracked black pepper

8-10 Tartlet Shells (see instructions above)

Parsley, chopped, optional


Peel and cube sweet potatoes into about ½-inch cubes. Boil in a pot of 6 cups lightly salted water, about 20-30 minutes.

Dice onions and add to a medium-hot pan with the butter. Caramelize for 20-30 minutes, or until soft and browned. Keep them moving in the pan so they don’t char. After the onions are caramelized and the sweet potatoes are soft enough to be broken with a fork, add them to a large glass mixing bowl with the Parmesan, salt and pepper.

Blend the ingredients with an immersion blender, food processor or normal blender. Blend until everything is combined and smooth. Place the filling in a piping bag. Pipe little swirls into the tartlet shells until they are filled. Top with more Parmesan and chopped parsley, if desired.

Ginger and Butternut Squash Tartlet

Makes 8-10 tartlets


1 butternut squash, cut into ½-inch cubes

2 teaspoons salt

1 shallot, diced

4 tablespoons goat cheese

1 teaspoon grated nutmeg

3 tablespoons fresh grated ginger

8-10 Tartlet Shells (see instructions above)

Parsley, optional


Preheat the oven to 400° F. Roast squash cubes for 40 minutes then add to a blender or glass bowl. If you are using a glass bowl, you will need an immersion blender.

Add salt, shallot, goat cheese, nutmeg and ginger to bowl/blender and blend smooth. Pipe the filling into the shells and top with additional goat cheese and parsley, if using.

Maizy Boosin won Chopped Junior in 2016, inspiring a generation of kids with celiac to feel like champions, too.

If you’re a gluten-free kid or know someone who is, click here for more kid-friendly recipes>>

Kids’ Kitchen: 4 Easy-Peasy Popsicle Recipes

Just because it’s hot outside doesn’t mean you have to miss out on fun food prep! These four popsicle recipes are super simple and produce refreshing, vibrant and delish snacks to cool you down in the sweltering sun. Note: The recipes below are listed in the order they appear in the image above, from left to right.

Mango Creamsicle Pops

Makes 3 popsicles


¼ cup heavy whipping cream

1 cup frozen mango, defrosted for about 10 seconds in the microwave


First, blend mango in the blender until it is really smooth. Next, fill 3 popsicle molds about halfway with the mango puree. Keep the rest of the mixture that you didn’t use in the blender, then add the heavy cream and blend until mixture lightens in color and is fully combined. Next, fill the top half of the popsicle molds with the mango-infused whipped cream, which is essentially what the mango-cream mixture is, because the cream whips up in the blender. Put the sticks in the popsicles and freeze overnight. Break out of the freezer the next day for a refreshing snack.

Coconut Maple Chia Pudding Pops

Makes 3 popsicles


¼ cup whole black chia seeds

1 cup coconut milk (from a carton not a can)

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 kiwi, sliced

3 large strawberries, thinly sliced

8 large blueberries, sliced in half horizontally


First, combine the chia seeds, coconut milk and maple syrup in a liquid measuring cup, then stir until well combined. Let that sit while you make the rest of the popsicles.

Place sliced fruit inside the 3 popsicle molds so it is firmly pressed up against the side. Be creative with the placement of the different fruits. Next, put the molds in the freezer and let sit for 5 minutes, so the fruit freezes to the molds.

Next, stir the chia pudding and pour it up to the fill line of the molds. Then freeze overnight (it’s really important that these stay in the freezer a while) and enjoy the next day.

Lava Popsicles

Makes 3 popsicles


½ cup fresh strawberries

¼ cup fresh pineapple

¼ cup frozen pineapple


First, make the pineapple puree. Blend the fresh pineapple ON ITS OWN in your blender until it is a totally blended liquid. Then, add frozen pineapple and blend until completely mixed together. Set the pineapple puree aside in a bowl with a spout, so you can easily pour the mixture into the popsicle molds.

Next, clean your blender and make the strawberry puree. Simply blend strawberries until smooth and fully pureed. Yep, it’s super simple. Pour this mixture into another bowl with a spout and get ready to make your popsicles.

Now comes the fun part. Alternate pouring a little bit of each puree into a popsicle mold until it is about a quarter filled. In the end, each of the 3 molds should contain 2 layers of pineapple and 2 layers of strawberry. Next, using a long stick (I used a cake pop stick, but chopsticks or skewers also work), gently swirl together the layers of fruit. Be careful not to mix too much so you can see the swirls.

Put popsicle sticks into the molds, freeze overnight and enjoy some yummy fruity pops the next day.

Strawberry Milk & Cereal Popsicles

Makes 3 popsicles


½ cup whipped frozen topping

½ cup strawberry milk (either buy or make your own*)

1 cup fruit-flavored crisp rice cereal

*Making your own strawberry milk is actually really simple—and really delicious. Put a cup of chopped fresh strawberries in a pot along with a cup of water and a ½ cup granulated sugar. Stir together on high heat until the mixture comes to a boil. Let boil for about 10 minutes, then strain through a sieve to get the chunks of berry out, and chill until cool. To make the strawberry milk for this recipe, add 3½ tablespoons of the strawberry syrup to a ½ cup of whole milk and stir until combined. However, if you are going to drink the strawberry milk, I recommend adding a tablespoon of syrup to every ¼ cup of milk.


Put whipped topping and strawberry milk in the blender and blend on the lowest setting until fully combined. Then pour into a liquid measuring cup and add the cereal. Mix to combine.

Next, pour the mixture into your 3 popsicle molds and freeze overnight to have the next day for a delicious breakfast or snack.

Click here for more recipes kids will love to prepare—and eat!

Kids’ Kitchen: DIY Gluten-Free Dumplings

This recipe for gluten-free dumplings may seem like it has a lot of ingredients or is too complicated for kids, but it is actually easy and fun. Just follow the directions step by step, and it will be delicious.

Homemade Chicken Dumplings



2 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour plus more for sprinkling

1 cup water

2 tablespoons salt


¼ cup gluten-free soy sauce or tamari

1 bunch scallions, chopped

2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

1½ tablespoons rice wine vinegar

4 teaspoons roasted red curry paste

Juice and zest of 1 lime

3 tablespoons miso paste

½ teaspoon fish sauce

1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger or 2 teaspoons ground ginger powder

½ tablespoon Asian hot sauce

3 tablespoons black sesame seeds

Olive oil

1 pound ground chicken


For the dough, combine 2 cups flour, water and salt in a large mixing bowl. Stir with a firm rubber spatula or a wooden spoon. When everything is evenly combined, turn the dough out onto a floured countertop. Now, this is where it can get a little messy, but it’s totally worth it for these amazing dumplings! Keep adding flour until the dough is firm but rollable. Roll the dough out until it is about ¼-inch thick, then cut it into circles. I used a cookie cutter about 4 inches in diameter to do this part. Next, roll out the leftover dough until it is ¼-inch thick, then repeat this process until you have used all the dough. Set rounds aside until it’s time to assemble the dumplings.


Now it’s time to make the filling. In a small mixing bowl, add soy sauce, scallions, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, curry paste, lime juice and zest, miso paste, fish sauce, ginger, hot sauce and black sesame seeds. Mix together to form a “marinade” of sorts for the ground chicken. TASTE YOUR MARINADE! This sauce can be tweaked to your personal preference, so change it up if you don’t love the way it tastes.

Add about a tablespoon of oil to a large pan over medium heat.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground chicken and the marinade. Mix until evenly combined.


Add the chicken mixture to the hot pan and break it apart into little chunks with a firm wooden or plastic spatula. Cook, about 5 minutes, making sure the chicken is fully cooked.

After the chicken is cooked through, transfer it into a clean bowl and make the dumplings.


Assembling the dumplings is the most fun part of this recipe. The whole family can take part because this step doesn’t require any sharp objects or heat.

Place a small spoonful of filling on one of the dumpling dough rounds. Be careful not to overfill the dumpling, which can result in it bursting during cooking. Don’t hold back, either—under-filling won’t taste as good, and you won’t get as much yummy chicken filling in your bites. Fold the dumpling dough round in half and seal the edges.*

Now it’s time to cook the dumplings. Heat a thin layer of olive oil in a large pan on medium-high heat. Once the oil is heated, GENTLY add a few dumplings to the pan. The dumplings should be more or less shaped like triangular prisms, so you will be browning three sides, starting with the flat bottom. Once it’s nice and golden brown, flip to one of the other sides. These dumplings burn easily, so keep an eye on the pan! When each side is cooked to your liking, take the dumplings out of the pan and transfer to a plate. Let them sit a few minutes so they aren’t too hot, and then enjoy.

*Use this simple technique to seal the dumpling: First, run your fingers along the curved borders of the semicircle, pinching as you go. Once the dumpling is sealed, you can either leave it as-is or twist and fold the pinched edge starting at one side and working over to the other.

A few things to mind when making these delicious dumplings! 

  • Be careful of splattering oil when cooking the filling and pan frying the dumplings. This should always be done by an adult for safety reasons.
  • The oil in your pan will really heat up, so if you see ANY smoke at all, reduce the heat and remove the pan from the stove. Also, make sure you let the dumplings cool for a bit before eating them. Around 3 minutes or so should be good. (I know it’s going to be hard to wait, but take it from me—I burned my mouth eating one straight from the pan.)
  • If you don’t want flour on the countertops when making the dough, put down plastic wrap or a rolling mat.
  • When rolling out the dough, you will need to add lots of extra flour (mine ended up being about a cup extra). Don’t get discouraged if your dough isn’t the perfect texture in 5 minutes—keep working at it. This can also be fun for younger kids because they get to play with the squishy dough.
  • Have fun! This recipe is so fun to make with the whole family, and lots of people can be working on different components of the dumplings. Get everyone involved.

Click here for more recipes kids will love to prepare—and eat!

Kids’ Kitchen: Lemon and Butter Shrimp Pasta

Get the whole family involved in preparing this crowd-pleasing Lemon and Butter Shrimp Pasta recipe.

Maizy’s tips for young chefs

Ask an adult for help adding the shrimp to the pan with the melted butter and olive oil and again when adding the pasta water and broth to the other components. When adding water to a pan with heated fat, the oil won’t mix with the water, causing the hot oil to splatter out of the pan and burn you if you get too close.

If you need to devein and shell your shrimp, have an adult help. This requires a lot of intricate work with a paring knife, which is very small and sharp.

When you are done cooking the pasta, don’t drain it yourself if it’s too heavy. It’s really easy to burn yourself on the pot or the water if it spills over—plus, it’s really easy to drop.

Happy cooking!

Lemon and Butter Shrimp Pasta


  • 1  pound shrimp
  • ½ cup chopped asparagus
  • 1  box gluten-free spaghetti
  • 2  tablespoons olive oil
  • 1  tablespoon butter
  • 1  tablespoon gluten-free seafood seasoning
  • 5  tablespoons gluten-free chicken broth
  • 3  tablespoons lemon zest
  • 4  tablespoons lemon juice


First things first, if you didn’t buy deveined and shelled shrimp, devein them and remove the shells. Next, prepare the asparagus. Snap the sticks so the dead white part at the bottom is removed. The stalk will snap where the dead part naturally meets the healthy part. Once you have done this with all of your stalks, slice them into rounds, either diagonally or straight on penny-rounds—it won’t affect the taste, only the look.

Boil a pot of water, following the directions on the box of spaghetti. While the water is boiling, add the olive oil and butter to a large frying pan on medium heat. Toss the cleaned shrimp with the seafood seasoning and then into the frying pan with the butter and oil on medium heat. Once the shrimp are in the pan, wait around 3 minutes before flipping them over to the other side and cooking for a few more minutes. The shrimp should be pink and slightly browned. After the shrimp are done (you can check by taking one out of the pan and cutting it in half—there should be no translucency, only opaque white), remove from the pan to a clean bowl.

Next, add the asparagus to the pan and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, or until it is cooked to your liking. You can tell if the asparagus is cooked by the color. An undercooked or raw piece will have its natural young green color, but a properly cooked one will have a bit of a deeper green. Once the asparagus is done, add the shrimp back to the pan.

Now, the pasta should be done (cooked to your liking, but I recommend al dente for this purpose) so add it to the pan with the shrimp. Also add the pasta water and broth, along with the lemon zest and juice. Toss together and serve!




Kids’ Kitchen: Triple-Decker Quesadillas

Each of these triple-decker quesadillas is comprised of three tortillas and two layers of filling. One layer contains blackened corn kernels and melted cheese, and the other refried beans, shredded chicken and even more melted cheese. The best thing about this recipe is that it’s super kid-friendly and 100 percent customizable except for the melted cheese that holds everything together. Kids can put whatever they want inside. Some of my personal favorite variations include spicy shrimp, shredded pork and ground taco meat.

Makes 4 triple-decker quesadillas

Quesadilla ingredients

12 gluten-free tortillas (3 tortillas per quesadilla)

2 cans refried beans (I used Amy’s with mild chiles)

4 ears of corn, shucked

1 roasted or rotisserie chicken

6 teaspoons olive oil, divided

1 8-ounce package shredded cheese (I used a Mexican blend)

Guacamole ingredients

4 ripe avocados

Juice of 2 limes

Zest of ½ lime

Salt, to taste

Pepper, to taste

1-2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, optional


First, prep all your ingredients. Let the tortillas sit out for about 10 minutes if you store them in the fridge so they can thaw a bit and won’t be as brittle. Open one can of refried beans at a time in case you don’t end up using them all. For the blackened corn, I used fresh corn on the cob, boiled it and cut off the kernels, but frozen or canned corn kernels also work perfectly. Just make sure to thaw frozen corn or drain canned corn. Shredded chicken is absolutely the way to go with this dish, so shred your rotisserie chicken ahead of time. It doesn’t take that long when using two forks—it’s an easy but helpful step that kids can totally do by themselves.

Now it’s time to blacken the corn. Heat a pan on medium-high heat with 2 teaspoons of olive oil. When that becomes hot, add the corn and let sit for 3 to 4 minutes. Flip the kernels over and let them sit for another 3 to 4 minutes, or until blackened. Feel free to blacken the corn more, less or not at all —it depends on your personal preference.

Now that your ingredients are prepped, heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a pan on medium to low heat. To assemble a quesadilla, put one tortilla on a cutting board, then spread it with the beans. Add a quarter of the shredded chicken on top of the beans, and then follow with 1⁄8 of the cheese. Add another tortilla on top. Put this simple quesadilla in the pan, and brown for about 3 minutes on one side, then flip, and immediately add a thin layer of shredded cheese to the top tortilla. Right after the cheese, add a layer of corn, then another layer of cheese, followed by another tortilla.

Wait about 1 to 2 minutes for the quesadilla to brown. Flip, so that the cheese-and-corn layer is now on the bottom, and the beancheese- and-chicken layer is on top. Wait 3 more minutes for the bottom layer to brown, then remove from pan. Use a pizza slicer to cut the quesadilla into sixths or quarters. Repeat three more times to make remaining quesadillas. Enjoy! And don’t forget to top with guacamole if you’re an avocado fan.

To make homemade guacamole, halve your avocados and remove the pit, then score and scoop into a large mixing bowl. Add the lime juice, lime zest, salt, pepper and cilantro, if using. Mix to desired texture. If your kids are more adventurous, feel free to add whatever they like. Some of my favorites are diced jalapeño, diced red onion and a drizzle of hot sauce. I also like diced sweet bell pepper, too.

Kids’ Kitchen: The Best Thai Coconut Soup

The Best Thai Coconut Soup

Whether you have a cold, are craving some homemade soup or just really love Thai flavors, this Thai Coconut Soup is for you. It can be easily modified to have less or more spice, and can even be customized by the bowl (just leave the sriracha out until serving and stir into each individual bowl). This recipe has a lot of leniency, so it’s great to make as a beginner chef or with kids. You can get creative with garnishes and different proteins. Sautéed shrimp or any shredded meat would work well. Overall, this soup is easy to make and so delicious.

Important notes and things to consider while cooking: The vermicelli noodles will stick together if they are cooked and not tossed or submerged in a liquid, so if you find yourself still simmering or mixing the broth when the noodles are cooked, either submerge them in an ice bath or toss them with some oil (sesame oil works well). Taste as you go. The last thing you want is a soup with too much heat, ginger or salt. If you taste as you go, this is easily avoidable, and you’ll end up with a soup just right for you.

I wrote this recipe with the flavor ratios that I like, but chances are you will want something different. Modify the amounts however you’d like. This coconut curry soup is a really fun recipe to make with kids, but be careful of splattering oil. Look out when adding the onions to the melted butter and oil. Splashing broth out of the pot shouldn’t be an issue if you stir gently. Remember, you can never be too careful when prepping with a sharp knife, especially if you haven’t done it before and aren’t 100 percent confident in your ability.

Serves 4


1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon olive or grapeseed oil

½ sweet onion, chopped

½ tablespoon freshly grated ginger

2 tablespoons chili paste*

2 chicken breasts, pre-shredded or raw

1 tablespoon, give or take, gluten-free tamari, to taste

4 cups chicken broth

1 package vermicelli rice noodles

1 teaspoon brown sugar

2 tablespoons lime juice

1 can coconut milk, light or regular

2 teaspoons or ½ tablespoon gluten-free fish sauce

½ tablespoon sriracha sauce

*I used roasted red chili paste, but any gluten-free chili paste will work.


Take a large pot and throw in the butter and oil. Put it on medium-high heat and let sit until melted. Move around the melted butter and oil until the bottom of the pot is evenly coated. Add the chopped onion and stir every 2 to 3 minutes until softened.

Now it’s time to add the ginger and chili paste. Stir the onions with the chili paste and ginger until evenly coated and continue to stir for 2 to 3 minutes over medium heat.

Now add in the chicken breasts (if you are using raw), tamari and chicken broth. Cook on high heat until the broth comes to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover until chicken is cooked, about 15 minutes. Remove chicken from pot and place on plate or cutting board. Let chicken cool for about 10 to 15 minutes.

While the chicken cools and the broth simmers, put on a pot of water to cook the vermicelli rice noodles. When the chicken has cooled, take two forks and shred it, then toss it back into the broth. (If you are using pre-shredded, add the chicken now.) Add the brown sugar, lime juice, coconut milk, fish sauce and sriracha to the broth and stir to combine.

Add the noodles to the boiling water and cook for about 3 minutes, or until soft. Drain the noodles and divide into bowls. Pour soup over noodles and garnish with whatever you would like. Some of my favorites are sliced red onion, a drizzle of sweet chili sauce, a drizzle of sriracha, lime wedges, chopped cilantro, grated ginger (but in moderation … it’s strong) or anything else your heart desires.

Hope you enjoy this delicious recipe. Happy cooking!


Kids’ Kitchen: Gluten-Free Summer Rolls

Roll up some fun with Maizy Boosin’s Shrimp Summer Rolls

Maizy Boosin, 14-year-old winner of Food Network’s Chopped Junior who has celiac (see “An A-Maizy-Ing Performance“), likes this recipe for gluten-free summer rolls because it shows that “cooking can be creative, and everyone can bring their own taste and style to it.” At her house, she sets up a “summer roll bar,” where everyone picks their desired fillings, and she rolls them up. “It’s a great dish for adults and kids,” Maizy says.

Maizy’s Shrimp Summer Rolls

Makes about 24 rolls


½     box vermicelli

1      teaspoon sesame oil

2      teaspoons gluten-free soy sauce

2      tablespoons olive oil

1      pound shrimp (you can devein them yourself, but it takes less time to buy the pre-cleaned ones)


1      bell pepper (color of your choice)

1      mango

1      cucumber

1      bag bean sprouts

1      package rice paper wrappers

Dipping sauce of your choice


Fill a pot with water and place it over high heat. When the water boils, add the vermicelli noodles and boil 3-5 minutes or until they are fully cooked. Drain them, rinse with cold water, toss with the sesame oil and soy sauce, and place in a bowl. Set aside.

Pour olive oil into a skillet or wok over medium heat. After the oil is hot (or you can feel the heat from 2 inches away), add the shrimp and season with salt. Cook for 3-5 minutes on each side. If you have any uncertainty about the shrimp being fully cooked, take one out of the pan and cut it in half. If it is still a shade of translucent pink, the shrimp need more time, but if it is pale, opaque pink, the shrimp are done. Once the shrimp are cooked, take them out of the pan and place in a bowl. Set aside.

Thinly slice the bell peppers, and cut both the mango and the cucumber into thin spears. For the cucumber, make sure to scoop the seeds out, as they add too much moisture. Open the bag of bean sprouts and pour them onto a plate, along with the other vegetables and the mango.

Now you are almost ready to assemble the summer rolls. For this next step, you can use whatever dish you want, but I like to use a glass pie dish. Fill your dish with about 1½ inches of warm water. Soak one sheet of rice paper in warm water until it becomes pliable. Remove the rice paper wrapper from the water and place on a cutting board.

Now comes the fun part! Fill the wrapper with whatever fixings you would like, making sure to line all the fillings up right in the middle of the wrapper. To finish your summer roll, fold in the sides and the top toward the center, then roll like you would a burrito.

You can make or buy any type of dipping sauce that sounds good to you. I like to use Thai peanut sauce or sweet chili sauce. There are several brands that make gluten-free versions of these.