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To Get Kids Into The Kitchen, Teach Them To Cook

Sally Sampson founded ChopChop magazine to get kids to eat healthier by getting them interested in cooking.

The magazine won a James Beard award earlier this year and this week, Sampson published the book “Chop Chop: The Kids Guide to Cooking Real Food With Your Family.”

The recipes have detailed instructions for kids and their parents, as well as taste tests so kids can find out how they can change the flavor of a basic ingredient, such as a potato, by adding curry powder and a little salt.

Sampson joins us and shares two recipes: White Bean Dip and Little Lasagnas.

White Bean Dip

(printer-friendly PDF)

From “Chop Chop: The Kids Guide to Cooking Real Food With Your Family” by Sally Sampson.

Sally’s Note:When you puree beans, they make a rich, creamy dip that’s delicious with French bread, pita chips, or raw vegetables. Or use it instead of mayonnaise, as a spread for a ham or cheese sandwich—it will add lots more flavor and nutrients.

Adult needed: Yes

Hands-on time: 15 minutes

Total time: 15 minutes

Makes: 1 1⁄4 cups

Kitchen gear

Can opener

Measuring cup

Colander or strainer

Food processor (adult needed)

Sharp knife (adult needed)

Measuring spoons

Large spoon

Serving bowl


2 cups cooked or canned white beans, drained and rinsed

1–2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced or chopped

1⁄4 cup olive oil

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1 lemon)

1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt

1⁄4 teaspoon black pepper


1. Put the white beans, garlic, oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in the food processor fitted with a steel blade. Put the top on tightly and process until completely smooth. (If you don’t have a food processor, you can mash everything using a fork or a potato masher. It won’t get as smooth but it will definitely be yummy!)

2. Spoon into the serving bowl, cover, and refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to 2 days.

Note: Don’t worry if you run out of carrot and celery sticks! Not only are there loads of other great veggies (bell pepper strips, asparagus, cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices), but dips also make great sandwich fillings, roll-up spreads, and burger toppings.

Fancy That!

When you add the beans, add one or more of these:

  • 1–2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, parsley, or
  • cilantro leaves, or snipped chives
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1–2 tablespoons chopped or pureed olives
  • 1 teaspoon chopped jalapeño peppers or hot sauce (if you like it spicy)
  • 1 tablespoon pesto

Be Creative

Substitute black beans for the white beans, and lime for the lemon.

Little Lasagnas

(printer-friendly PDF)

From “Chop Chop: The Kids Guide to Cooking Real Food With Your Family” by Sally Sampson.

Sally’s Note: It’s fun to get your own cute little lasagna! And this is an easier, quicker recipe than the big-pan lasagna. Plus, this recipe will give you some good math practice, too.

Adult needed: Yes

Hands-on time: 20 minutes

Total time: 1 Hour

Makes: 12 little lasagnas

Kitchen Gear

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,

World’s Quickest Tomato Sauce (page 121) or store- bought

1⁄2 pound (1⁄2 box) spaghetti (any kind is fine)

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 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 strands 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.


  • Sally Sampson, founder of ChopChop magazine and author of “ChopChop: The Kids’ Guide to Cooking Real Food with Your Family.”

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Sally Sampson is author of “Chop Chop: The Kids Guide to Cooking Real Food With Your Family.” (Rachel Rohr/Here & Now)
Sally Sampson is author of “Chop Chop: The Kids Guide to Cooking Real Food With Your Family.” (Rachel Rohr/Here & Now)