Chicken Plov (Rice Pilaf)


When I was a child our next door neighbors made this amazing Uzbek Plov (Rice Pilaf). The smell of spices and flavors made even the pickiest eaters hungry. I can already smell it as I am writing!

Plov (pilaf) is a perfect mixture of protein, grains and vegetables – great for a healthy diet and easy way to get your child to eat several food groups in one serving. Enjoy this amazing recipe your guests and whole family will love!



  • Meat: Organic Chicken Thighs (boneless and skinless) (2.5-3 lbs = 1-1.5 kg) or traditional lamb
  • Grain: Organic Indian Basmati white rice (32 oz = 2 lbs = 905 g)
  • Vegetables:
    • 1 onion
    • 10 large carrots (shredded)
    • 2 garlic heads (used whole)
  • Grapeseed oil or any other vegetable oil
  • Spices: salt, pepper, cumin, coriander, 2-3 bay leaves, and 3 whole cloves
  • Optional: scallions
  • Cookware: Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven or you can try a regular pan or a crock pot

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2.5-3 hours


  1. Mince 1 onion and sauté it in a large amount of grapeseed oil (~8 oz) on high heat.
  2.  Add 2.5 – 3 lbs of diced chicken thighs. Boil out all chicken broth (juice).
  3. Add shredded carrots. Boil out all liquid. ~ 25 minutes from the beginning of cooking.
  4. Add 1 liter (33 oz) of boiling water.
  5. Add spices to taste: salt, pepper, cumin, coriander, 2-3 bay leaves, and 3 whole cloves.
  6. Cut off the bottoms of the garlic heads and add whole garlic heads to pot.
  7. Cover with the lid and set heat to medium. Cook for ~10 minutes.
  8. Wash Indian Basmati white rice. Add it evenly on top of the mixture and cover with additional 1 liter (33 oz) of boiling water.
  9. Turn heat to high and boil with open lid for a total of 12-15 minutes. When the water starts to seep down into rice (~7-10 minutes), turn heat to medium and cover with a lid.
  10. After cooking rice for the above mentioned 15 minutes take the pot off the heat, cover rice with a porcelain plate, cover with the lid, wrap it into a towel and a thick blanket. Let it sit for 0.5-2 hours.
  11. Optional: mince scallions and add on top of Plov.
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Bon Appetite!

Printable PDF version is at

Thanksgiving turkey in just 1 hour! I can do that!

Thanksgiving should be about family time and not cooking time. I’ve search online for yummy turkey recipes that save time. Here is a recipe that’s delicious and will allow you to spend more precious time with your loved ones.

The trick is to cut the back bone out and lay the turkey flat on the tray. This way it will roast evenly and cook twice as fast. Basic laws of physics save the Thanksgiving dinner! Bon appetit!

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

oatmeal raisin cookies toddler cooking and sneaking a cookie

What kid doesn’t like to bake cookies? Not my child! Although many of the cookies never made it to the oven, as my toddler is like her mother, who enjoys eating batter / dough.

“Spontaneous” – best describes our cooking style, since we improvise with ingredients on hand while making our yummy masterpieces. Feel free to modify the recipe to fit your tastes.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies Recipe

Batch: 24-30 cookies


  • 14 tablespoons of butter softened (1 and ¾ of butter sticks)oatmeal raisin cookies toddler cooking ingredients
  • 1¼ cups of sugar (or ¾ cup of brown sugar and ½ cup of granulated sugar)
  • 1½ cups of all-purpose flour (optional – skip if you want chewy cookies)
  • 3 cups of uncooked oats
  • 1 cup of raisins
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon of salt (optional – skip if you’ve used salted butter)
  • 2 teaspoons of maple syrup (or 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1 teaspoon of vanilla)

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Bake Time: 15 minutes

Directions: Follow this step-by-step instructions. Allow toddler to measure, pour, mix, and taste all of the ingredients to add some educational value to this already creative process. Don’t worry about any mess; it’s only dirt! But SO much FUN!

oatmeal raisin cookies toddler cooking breaking eggs into dough oatmeal raisin cookies toddler cooking adding maple syrup oatmeal raisin cookies toddler cooking adding baking soda
  1. Preheat oven to 350 °F (180 °C).
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat sugar and softened butter until creamy.
  3. Add eggs and maple syrup (or vanilla and cinnamon).
  4. Add combined flour, baking soda, and salt.
  5. Add oats and raisins. Mix well.
  6. Using a spoon, drop dough onto ungreased cookie sheet. Leave plenty of space between drops to avoid cookies sticking to each other.
  7. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.
  8. Cool for 1 minute on a cookie sheet. Then transfer to wire rack or plate and let cool completely. Store lightly covered. Enjoy!
oatmeal raisin cookies toddler cooking adding oats and raisins oatmeal raisin cookies toddler cooking spooning dough to cookie sheet and eating dough oatmeal raisin cookies toddler cooking eating a cookie

Fluffy Baked Omelet


Teething for the most part went pretty easy for us. However, the 2-year molars made sure we got our taste of the pain. Anna refused to eat most everything, so I had to get creative to make sure she gets some food in her stomach. An omelet came to mind. It’s a good source of protein and it melts in your mouth. Perfect for my teething toddler!

It’s been forever since I’ve had a soft, fluffy omelet like we had in our Russian kindergartens. Anna gave me a good reason to bring it back to our menu. It’s also one of those quick and easy recipes. You will enjoy cooking it together with your child!

Fluffy Baked Omelet (omelette) Recipe

Ingredients: eggs, milk, spices (salt and pepper), butter (to grease pan)

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Bake Time: 25-30 minutes

Directions: Use an easy to remember Omelet Formula to measure your ingredients. Multiply the formula as necessary.

Omelet Formula: 1 egg + 50 ml of milk

In this recipe we’ve used 10 eggs and 500 ml of milk. This makes 4-5 servings, assuming an adult eats 2-3 eggs.

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  1. Combine eggs and milk in a deep mixing bowl.
  2. Add spices (salt and pepper) to taste.
  3. Softly mix the ingredients, don’t beat them.
  4. Use a butter stick to lightly grease the pan.
  5. Pour the omelet mixture into the pan. Don’t fill the pan to the top as omelet will rise a bit.
  6. Preheat oven to 400 °F (200 °C). Place the pan in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes. Do not open the oven during the first 15-20 minutes.
  7. Serve omelet cut up into portions. Add a piece of butter on top for flavor (optional). Bon appetite!

Additional comment: the omelet will rise during baking process, but will settle once you pull it out of the oven. Not to worry, this is normal. The final height of your omelet will be at about the level to which you’ve filled the pan. Hence, take this into account when measuring your ingredients.

Healthy Halloween Snacks

I appreciate quick and easy recipes, especially those where my busy toddler can help. Here are some hauntingly healthy ideas for your Halloween party.

Itsy Bitsy Spiders

Spiders On A Log

Add a little bit of Halloween to an all-time favorite snack at our house. Don’t forget to practice the Itsy Bitsy Spider rhyme as kids gobble down these yummy treats.

Ingredients: celery sticks, peanut or almond butter, plastic spiders

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Directions: Cut celery sticks into bite-sized logs. Fill each log with peanut or almond butter. Decorate this protein-rich snack with plastic spiders. Kids would be happy to help with this part. Just remember not to eat the spiders!

Cheesy Broomsticks

Cheese Broom Sticks

High in protein, low in calories. These easy to make treats will fly off the plate!

Ingredients: mozzarella cheese sticks, pretzel sticks, chives (optional)

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Directions: Cut each mozzarella stick in three pieces. Then cut up the lower parts of each piece to make it look like a broom. Ask your kids to assist with inserting a pretzel stick into the cheese broom. It’s easy and fun to do! As an option, you may decorate broomstick by tying a chive around the top of the broom.

Banana Ghosts and Orange Pumpkins

Banana Ghosts and Orange Pumpkins

This scary healthy dessert is a treat to prepare. Unleash kids’ creativity as you fill their tummies with vitamins and fiber.

Ingredients: bananas, chocolate chips, clementines, celery sticks

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Directions: Peel bananas and cut them in halves. Then press three chocolate chips in a triangular pattern to identify ghost’s eyes and mouth. While kids are busy decorating bananas, insert pre-cut celery strips into peeled clementines to make pumpkins. Stand banana ghosts on a plate along with your orange pumpkins. Voila!