Tiffani Thiessen‘s love of cooking started at an early age.

“When I was around nine my mom was working the evening shift and I was the only girl left at home. So being that my dad didn’t cook, I was placed as head chef, fixing my dad and brothers dinner every night,” the host of Cooking Channel’s Dinner at Tiffani’s told Sweet Paul magazine’s Fall issue. “It was my first real lesson in cooking for others.”

Now, the matriarch of a family-of-four – Theissen shares Harper, 6, and Holt, 13 months, with husband Brady Smith – still enjoys making meals and passing down her passion for food.

“I have a daughter who has finally become my little side-kick in the kitchen and loves to cook along side of me,” said the former Saved by the Bell star. “As well, I have a baby boy who I call my gourmet baby. He eats anything and loves it. He has a big appetite and a love of food…and I am not talking baby food. Once that kid got a taste of real food, he never went back. I can’t tell you how much it puts a smile on my face to see my son loving all different types of food.”

And since Thiessen is raising little foodies, she makes sure her pantry is packed with a variety of ingredients and snacks.

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“Being that I have two kids…I have seaweed snacks, freeze-dried fruit, applesauce pouches, granola bars, graham crackers, and quick mac ‘n’ cheese for those nights. You know what nights I mean,” she explained.

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In addition to staples like infused oils, pastas, nut butters and dark chocolate, Theissen also keeps her husband’s favorites on hand. “[I always have] ketchup and hot sauce because I’m married to a Texan,” said the star. “[As well as] spices galore, different varieties of citrus from my citrus tress, fresh herbs from my garden, and cacoa of every type.”

So what is Thiessen’s all-time favorite dish? It all comes back to childhood nostalgia.

“I can never say no to a good grilled cheese with caramelized onions and homemade roasted tomato soup,” said Thiessen. “Of course it has to be accompanied with a big glass of wine. And then there’s nothing wrong with ending a great meal with something sweet like my chocolate espresso brownies.”

We couldn’t agree more.