Kids in the kitchen: ready, set, cook!

Are you ready to cook? So is Katie Wilton. She's the author of "You're the Cook: a guide to mixing it up in the kitchen" ($13.95, www.cookingwith katie.com). It's a cookbook for kids 9 and older who want to help Mom and Dad prepare meals or nutritious snacks.

What parents may find, however, is that they're the ones doing the helping. At 52 pages, this full-color cookbook doesn't overwhelm you with its 20 kid-friendly recipes. It's easy to read. And you get the impression that not only can kids make these recipes - but they'll have a great deal of fun in the process. (We did!)

The numerous color photographs often illustrate the steps in a recipe, so you can see, as well as read, what comes next. There are no tricky ingredients either. Ms. Wilton mostly uses fresh fruits and vegetables, pasta, dairy products, and common seasonings.

The kitchen knowledge section at the beginning of the book is excellent. Here, kids learn about proper food preparation, how to measure correctly, and cooking safety, as well as about kitchen staples (vanilla and eggs, for example).

If you're craving something cheesy, the book's recipes for cheesy chicken casserole, quesadillas, and pizza wontons make quick, hearty meals that feed two to four.

Not hungry for a big meal? How about a yogurt fruit shake? Here's what you need to make this fruity treat.

Yogurt Fruit Shake

1 cup frozen strawberries or blueberries
1/2 cup milk
1 cup vanilla yogurt
1 tablespoon honey

Place the frozen fruit in an electric blender. Then add the milk, yogurt, and honey.

Put the lid on the container and blend until the shake is smooth. Taste and add a bit more fruit, milk, or honey if needed.

The recipe serves 1, but you can make two by doubling the ingredients.

Wilton says that fruit shakes aren't just for snacks. They're also great for breakfasts. Now that's one berry good treat!

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