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3 kid-friendly dinners from 'Kalamata's Kitchen' to make school-night cooking easy

One-pot dal, chicken curry and chile-cheese toasts make back-to-school cooking easy.
/ Source: TODAY

Sommelier and author Sarah Thomas is joining TODAY to share a few of her favorite back-to-school recipes from her children's book, "Kalamata's Kitchen." She shows us how to make comforting dal with toasted spices, a creamy chicken curry with coconut milk and cheesy chile toasts.

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Mom's Dal

A bowl of dal and rice (or bread or roti or whatever grain you have on hand), is an entirely contained healthy meal that can be made with little to no thought or complication. I used to sit at the kitchen table finishing my homework as my mom would whip something like this together for all of us to eat as we all finished up our respective activities. We would come home to eat together, listen to the spices popping and be wrapped in the scents of cooked rice and aromatics. It is one of my most formative memories and one that always reminds me of home.

Chicken Ishtew

Of all the chicken curries we used to eat at home, this is probably the mildest, but it's still super aromatic and delicious. We used to eat this with lacy appam on special occasions, but more often we ate it with rice or my preference, slices of bread. You can easily make this stew with lots of veggies instead of chicken: Some options include carrots, cauliflower, beans and potatoes. It smells amazing while it's cooking, comes together quickly and is comforting and delicious.

Chile-Cheese Toast

This is a super craveable, savory snack that I often used to request for breakfast as a kid. Who doesn't love cheese toast? This version is just sort of energizing with jolts of brightness and flavor from the chile and peppers — a perfect pick-me-up any time of the day. If you have a lower tolerance for heat, de-seed the chile or use a milder variety. We grew up eating very hot chiles with this, but then again, my father tells me that I ate anything that wouldn't eat me back. Adjust to your family's preferences.

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