All Posts In Family

6 Kid-Tested Cold Dinners for Hot Summer Nights

by in Family, Recipes, August 1st, 2015

Capellini with Tomatoes and BasilThe idea of cooking a hot dinner in the summertime reminds me of asking my kids to clean up their rooms, because the answer to both is the same: “I’m too tired!” That’s why I love this list of cook-ahead or no-cook ideas for easy summer dinners. Each one is kid-tested by my own four rascals but delicious enough for every adult at the table to enjoy as well.

Capellini with Tomatoes and Basil (pictured above): Just another 5-star recipe from Ina Garten, this one has tender noodles soaked in sweet tomato juices. These noodles practically beg to be slurped, so have those napkins ready.

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One Recipe, Two Meals: Classic Chicken Stir-Fry for Kids and a Kicked-Up Version for You

by in Family, Recipes, July 28th, 2015

One Recipe, Two Meals: Classic Chicken Stir-Fry for Kids and a Kicked-Up Version for YouI always forget what a cinch it is to pull together a stir-fry: some hot oil, a lean protein, an array of brightly colored veggies, maybe a carb or 40, and some quick garnishes. Bam! Dinner’s done.

This is especially handy on weekday nights, when you have less than zero time, and a whole crew of hangries on your hands — especially the little ones. Little ones get hangry-licious in a nano.

You want to punch me in the face for saying “hangry.” Twice. I know this because I want to punch myself in the face.

SO! We’ve got two quick chicken stir-fry methods here: one crazy-speedy, stripped-down recipe for the kiddie kids, and one right behind it with more goods in it. More flavor. More sauce. More errrthang. You’re gonna dig it.

So really, I can’t say hangry? No? Fine.

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Summer Cooking Projects for Kids  

by in Family, July 27th, 2015

Now that school’s been out for several weeks, the initial excitement has worn off and you may find yourself searching for creative ways to keep the kids occupied. Why not let them try their hand in the kitchen? Cooking projects are a great way to bond with your little ones while letting them explore new flavors and discover new favorites. Here are some ideas to let your kids take the reins in your kitchen and get them away from that pesky TV screen. Read more

The Secret to Kid-Friendly Meat? Easy Marinades — Get the Recipes

by in Family, Recipes, July 18th, 2015

The Secret to Kid-Friendly Meat? Easy Marinades — Get the RecipesWhen it comes to cooking with small kids underfoot, I’m always looking for dinner ideas with that magical combination of flexibility, simplicity, big flavors and tender meat. Our kids are 1, 3, 4 and 6, and the whole crew has varying amounts of teeth at any given time, so tender meat is a must. Plus, it’s delicious — no matter what age you are.

So I rely on two delicious marinades that I know by heart to put on anything from flank steak to chicken strips to roasted whole chickens. One is a tangy blend of lime and cumin; the other is lemon and garlic. Even though they’re both citrus-based, they’re full of totally different flavors. Our kids LOVE them, and, as a bonus, you can double any batch of marinade and throw a second dinner in the freezer while you’re making the first. The meat will just keep soaking up more flavor while it thaws later on.

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9 Simple, Kid-Friendly Snacks Perfect for Playdates

by in Family, Recipes, July 8th, 2015

English Muffin PizzasWith summer in full swing, and four kids under the age of 7, we’ve got friends of all ages coming and going all the time. To keep things simple but still plenty of fun, I have a roster of easy and (almost) universally liked snacks for kids. Here’s what we’re serving.

English Muffin Pizzas (pictured above): For more of a meal, these English muffin pizzas can be topped with your choice of fixings, like olives and broccoli.

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6 Kid-Tested Zucchini Dishes for Summer

by in Family, Recipes, June 30th, 2015

Zucchini Ribbon PastaIf you’re a gardener, or you’ve been to the grocery store and seen it on sale, you know the zucchini has officially arrived. We have a ton of the stuff popping up in our small garden beds every day, which means we’re eating a ton of the stuff every day. These are my favorite kid-tested zucchini recipes, offering enough variety to keep everyone eating the good stuff all summer long.

Zucchini Ribbon Pasta: Long tendrils of zucchini combined with tender fettuccine noodles are the base of Ellie Krieger’s lightened-up Italian meal (pictured above). But it’s the garlic, Parmesan cheese and fresh basil on top that make it truly mouthwatering.

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One Recipe, Two Meals: Beef Quesadillas for the Kids and Street Tacos for You

by in Family, Recipes, June 29th, 2015

One Recipe, Two Meals: Beef Quesadillas for the Kids and Street Tacos for YouIt’s hard to go through life without an unabashed obsession for tacos, am I right? It’s tacos, for crying out loud. Tiny carb canoes with seasoned meat, maybe a fruit here, a veggie there, a sprinkling of delicious cheese, and a burst of fresh lime juice or maybe even a delightful salsa or sauce. I mean, tacos.

I kept these particular tacos on the street side, with simple seasoned grass-fed beef (regular beef is fine!), fresh onion and cilantro, and a bit of crumbled queso fresco, but I added a creamy side with cubed avocado and mango. Mmmm mmm. What makes these most street-y, though, is the use of corn tortillas, especially when you lightly char each one over an open flame on your stovetop — oooooooWEEEE. They’re so amazing. So street-y. I like street-y. That came out wrong.

If your little ones aren’t yet into seasoned, street tacos, I pause toward the beginning of the recipe and slide a little of the beef into tortillas with melty cheddar cheese for some quick quesadillas. Boom. Errrrrone’s happy.

Get street-y! Err, you know what I mean.

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35 Possibilities for Dinner on a Cutting Board

by in Family, Recipes, June 24th, 2015

35 Possibilities for Dinner on a Cutting BoardOne of my favorite summer dinners comes together in about five minutes. (Coincidence?) Pulling ingredients from the pantry, fridge and freezer, then loading them onto the cutting board is equal parts handy (chop those peppers right here, slice the cheese too) and festive — like a cheese tray with extensions. Set the whole thing in the middle of the table and let everyone dish up exactly what they like.

Mix and Match Any Combination:

Meats
Salami, cooked shrimp, leftover roast chicken, turkey or ham deli meat rolled up like a cigar, prosciutto

A Little Something Salty (Served in a Bowl)
Olives, peanuts, pickles (dill or sweet), pistachios

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Cooking with Kids: Adventures in Guacamole Making, Plus a Simple Recipe

by in Family, Recipes, June 23rd, 2015

Cooking with Kids: Adventures in Guacamole Making, Plus a Simple RecipeI taught my daughter’s third-grade class how to make good guacamole. It was my second time working with classroom 3B, this time not in the art room but on a diminutive desk in the classroom itself. On this knee-high rectangle of beechwood-colored Formica with a scooped out slot for a pencil at the top, I was able to use skills gained long ago interning at a doll-size garde manger station, elbows pinned to my sides.

When kids came into their classroom, they found tortillas, knives and avocado halves on their tables, and the other ingredients were ready on mine. It smelled like onions and cilantro. Passing teachers poked their heads in to see why. I worked fast to outpace the kids’ hunger, questions and strong desire to get avocado goo on their sleeves. Eventually I guided my 19 cooks to a high-five-inducing guacamole (with a side of chips).

First I told them the safe and polite way to handle their plastic knives (by the handle, always cutting away from your body, the other hand’s fingers curled under, etc.). Then we cut up tortillas to make chips. They are studying fractions, so there was a lot of debate. Some tables chose eighths for more chips, some went with sixths for bigger chips, and others chose straight strips for the sake of innovation. We tossed them in a bowl with oil and salt, layered them on sheet pans and popped them into the oven down the hall in the art room. Then we moved on to the main attraction.

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How to Make a Complete Kid-Friendly Meal on the Grill

by in Family, Recipes, June 17th, 2015

How to Make a Complete Kid-Friendly Meal on the GrillEating outside is one of the joys of summer. For the kids it’s about fresh air and fun. For me it’s about not having to clean the floor. And cooking all the food outside? Even. Better. Here’s our foolproof family meal, made completely on the grill.

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