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Stephanie, Josh, Jaden and Ayla cook up a storm. (Photo by Anne-Marie Caruso)
Posted: Thursday November 8, 2012, 8:48 AM
By Mary Vallo - (201) Magazine

Gathering the generations around a groaning table is a Thanksgiving tradition. But so is having a kitchen full of assistants helping with the feast. Make some of those assistants the junior chefs and young cooks that reside right inside your house. The kids' table will  especially enjoy these appetizers, sides and dessert prepared by the younger members of the family. The following recipes, from Cresskill's WannaBee Chef, are hand picked for children, from little ones to teens.

About the Chef

WannaBee Chef, 8 Union Ave., Cresskill offers basic skills and specialized classes for children, teens and adults. Owner and Chef Rama Ginde developed a passion for cooking from her mother, who exposed her to her native Indian food, Latin cuisine and other types of cuisines. She has a bachelor's degree in culinary arts from the Culinary Institute of America. For more information, check wannabeechef.com.

Mini Apple Pies
Serves 6 to 8

1    teaspoon grated orange zest
3    tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
1 1/4    pounds tart apples, such as Empire or Granny Smith (3 apples) 
1/2    cup brown sugar
1    tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/4    teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8    teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2    tsp vanilla extract
    Pinch kosher salt
1    package Pillsbury pie dough, defrosted
8    ramekins or custard cups

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Combine the orange zest and orange juice in a bowl. Peel, quarter, and core the apples and then cut them into 3/4-inch pieces. Immediately toss the apples with the zest and juice to prevent them from turning brown. Add sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and salt.

Spoon 1/3 cup pie filling into each ramekin dish.  Unfold pie crust, peel off top plastic sheet. Press out fold lines. Sprinkle flour over crust. Place crust flour side down on cutting board.

Using 3 1/2 inch cookie cutter, cut circles from crust. Place dough over pie filling. Cut 2 slits in top. Sprinkle with sugar. Place cups on large sheet tray. Bake at 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Serve warm.

Turkey and Cheese Pinwheels
Serves 6

4    flour tortillas
4    tablespoons shredded apples
4    tablespoons shredded carrots
4    slices (about 5 oz) thinly sliced turkey breast
2/3    cup shredded or sliced cheddar cheese
2    tablespoons Dijon mustard
4    tablespoons mayonnaise

For cold pinwheels:
Spread a small amount of mayonnaise and mustard on each tortilla.  Layer the other ingredients evenly across each tortilla, but not too close to the edges. Carefully roll into log shapes, finishing with the seam side down. Slice with a serrated knife.

Serves 6

  1    pound baby carrots, halved
  1/2    cup honey
  3    tablespoon butter
  1/4    cup chicken stock

In a small saucepan, melt butter and honey and stir to dissolve. Stir in carrots and toss to coat. Pour in stock and cover to steam. Stir occasionally and cook 8 minutes or until tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Green Beans Almondine
Serves 6

3    cups of green beans, trimmed
3    tablespoon olive oil
1    tablespoon garlic, minced
1/4    cup chicken stock
1/2    teaspoon salt
1/4    teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4    cup slivered almonds

In large pot boiling salted water, cook beans until crisp-tender, about  4 minutes. Drain in colander and rinse well under cold running water.  Drain well and pat dry with paper towels. (Green beans can be prepared  up to 1 day ahead and refrigerated, wrapped in paper towels, in zippered plastic bags.)

In 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, heat butter until hot but  not smoking. Add garlic and sauté until softened and fragrant, about  30 seconds. Stir in green beans and stock and cook, stirring often, until  liquid is almost completely evaporated, about 3 to 6 minutes. Add  almonds and sauté 1 minute. Stir in salt and pepper. Transfer to serving  dish and serve immediately.


3    cups all-purpose flour
1    cup yellow cornmeal
1/4    cup sugar
2    tablespoons baking powder
2    teaspoons kosher salt
1    cup milk
1    cup cream
3    extra-large eggs
1/2    pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, plus extra to grease the pan
8    ounces aged extra-sharp cheddar, grated, divided
1/3    cup chopped scallions
3    tablespoons seeded and minced fresh jalapeno peppers, optional

Combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the milk, cream, eggs and butter. With a wooden spoon, stir the  wet ingredients into the dry until most of the lumps are  dissolved. Don't overmix! Mix in 2 cups of the grated  cheddar, the scallions and the jalapenos, and allow the  mixture to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-13-by-2-inch baking pan.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top, and sprinkle with the remaining grated Cheddar and extra chopped scallions. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool and cut into large squares. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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