All Posts In Family

Easter Baking Projects to Do With Little Chefs

by in Family, Holidays, March 23rd, 2013

Easter Bunny CakeEaster’s coming a bit earlier than usual this year, and given the stress of meal planning and shopping for basket trinkets, it’s no wonder that you may not have had time — or even simply remembered — to carve out moments and enjoy the holiday with your kids. This weekend, spend some time with your little ones coloring eggs, decorating the house with all things chicks and bunnies or baking sweet treats to celebrate the holiday. We’ve rounded up a few of Food Network’s favorite Easter desserts, like cakes in the shape of almost-too-cute-to-eat bunnies and larger-than-life Peeps, plus springtime cupcakes and cookies, to help you make the most of your time in the kitchen. Read on below for some of our top recipes, then tell us in the comments what you’re baking for Easter.

Food Network Kitchens’ top-rated Easter Bunny Cake (pictured above) may look like an all-day adventure to prepare, but it actually takes just one hour to complete. The key to this recipe is starting with pre-baked cakes (pick up a few store-bought boxed mixes to make the process a cinch) and being patient when it comes to shaping them. Check out this step-by-step guide to learn how to best slice and arrange the cakes into an eventual bunny, then let your kids decorate it with fluffy frosting, shredded coconut for the look of fur and candy to add a nose, eyes and whiskers. Even if your cake looks more like a misshapen snowball than Peter Cottontail, it will surely be deliciously sweet in the end.

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Giada’s Shortcut Pot Pies — Most Popular Pin of the Week

by in Community, Family, March 17th, 2013

Mini Chicken and Broccoli Pot PiesThis week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week, Giada’s Shortcut Pot Pies, is a great way to incorporate broccoli or other veggies into your family’s meals. Kids will also appreciate the manageable two-bite size of these cheesy broccoli-and-chicken-stuffed pot pies, and you’ll be relieved that they’re a cinch to prepare thanks to store-bought crust.

For more everyday recipe inspiration, visit Food Network’s Let’s Cook: Recipe of the Day board on Pinterest.

Get the recipe: Mini Chicken and Broccoli Pot Pies

Waffle Maker Magic

by in Family, Recipes, March 16th, 2013

Taleggio and Pear PaniniStorage is always an issue living in New York City, especially when it comes to much-coveted counter space; there never seems to be enough. It makes me pretty merciless when it comes to appliances and kitchen equipment. This also means I can’t afford to keep any one-trick ponies hanging around, so it was only logical for me to look beyond basic waffles when it came to cooking with my waffle iron.

A few years back I read about waffle grilled cheese in Jennifer Carden’s Toddler Café cookbook. It’s easy. Instead of cooking your grilled cheese in a skillet on the stovetop, you throw it into a preheated waffle iron doubling as a panini press. It’s a genius idea, and makes its way into my daughters’ lunchboxes a few times a week. My husband, Mikey, loved it so much that I would often gussy up the filling by using fresh mozzarella and tomato jam. It was the best of both worlds for him, from a culinary standpoint.

Then my eyes were opened even wider when my friend Silvana’s book, Cooking for Isaiah, came out. She had the brilliant idea of making shredded potato pancakes in her waffle iron. This works better in a standard waffle iron than a deep Belgian-style one, and is a fun twist on latkes.

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How to Host a Kid-Friendly St. Patrick’s Day Party

by in Family, Holidays, March 16th, 2013

Green Eggs and HamWhen you think of St. Patrick’s Day, what comes to mind? Beer, corned beef, cabbage, crowded bars and more beer. Kid-friendly favorites? Not so much.

This weekend, instead of forgoing a St. Paddy’s day celebration simply because you have kids in tow, tweak your celebration to make it friendlier for young party guests. The key to planning a bash that both kids and grownups will enjoy is offering a menu centered not on the mature tastes of traditional Irish delicacies like colcannon and shepherd’s pie, but rather on the signature color of the Emerald Isle: green. Let green be the theme of your dishes by getting creative with your meal choices and incorporating naturally vibrant ingredients — plus a bit of food dye — into crowd-pleasing eats and drinks. Check out a few of Food Network’s favorite deliciously green recipes below, then tell us in the comments how you’ll be spending St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow.

Instead of saving the party until late in the day, start the celebration in the morning with a St. Paddy’s Day brunch. A casual, relaxed get-together that’s ideal to host with other families, this simple meal is a cinch to pull off, especially when you make it a potluck so you can split cooking duties with other parents. No matter what dishes your friends bring, Paula’s Green Eggs and Ham (pictured above) will be the talk of the table: this easy scramble features fluffy eggs that are made wonderfully green with the help of a few drops of food coloring. Don’t look to green bottle to do the trick, however. It’s the blue dye that will mix with the yellow eggs and emit a green tint in seconds. Incorporate diced ham to add heft and texture to the eggs, and serve with a side of shaped buttery toast to transform this 25-minute plate into an all-in-one meal.

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The Most Satisfying Pasta Dishes — Comfort Food Feast

by in Family, Recipes, March 13th, 2013

Food Network Magazine's Skillet LasagnaThere’s a time and a place for classic Italian pasta dishes. You know, the kind where al dente spaghetti is lackadaisically draped over the plate and a few sprigs of basil are planted on top. This time around, we’re digging only pasta dishes that require a sturdy spoon to lift up every last layer. With dishes as comforting as these, it’s hard to believe it all started with rigid pasta. Thank goodness for the great art of boiling water, right?

Alton Brown’s Baked Macaroni and Cheese combines the classic elbow shape with freshly shredded sharp cheddar and hints of paprika and mustard. It’s just what you would expect out of the traditional baked rendition and, man, is it good. If you’re looking to move beyond the quintessential mac, try out Food Network Magazine’s Buffalo-Chicken Macaroni and Cheese. It’s spiked with hot sauce and loaded with store-bought rotisserie chicken.

This collection wouldn’t be complete without a recipe like Neelys Baked Ziti or a good lasagna. For once, the latter isn’t restricted to the casserole dish. Food Network Magazine’s Skillet Lasagna packs all that baked flavor using just the stove. Scattered with ground beef and two types of cheese, Paula Deen’s Baked Spaghetti fixes the strands into melted, bubbly form in the oven.

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Dinner in a Hurry: Quick-Fix Recipes for Meals on the Go

by in Family, Recipes, March 9th, 2013

Cheesy Gnocchi Casserole With Ham and PeasWhile there’s a time and a place for indulgent three-course feasts complete with slow-simmered sauces, stuffed meats and warm desserts, busy weekday evenings are not it. Often there’s barely enough time in the day to grocery shop let alone cook any food you may have managed to pick up, and when those days strike, it’s important to have an arsenal full of fuss-free recipes to rescue you from dinnertime stress. Known kid-approved picks and easy-to-make-and-eat classics will help you put a supper on the table that’s both deliciously simple and satisfying. Check out a few of Food Network’s favorite quick recipes below, then tell us in the comments: What tried-and-true meal do you reach for on frenzied weeknights?

Perhaps the ultimate family-friendly meal, casseroles are one of easiest go-to dinners, as they boast the simplicity of an all-in-one supper and can often be made with whatever ingredients you happen to have on hand. Food Network Kitchens’ 30-minute recipe for Cheesy Gnocchi Casserole With Ham and Peas (pictured above) puts the fridge and freezer to work with deli ham and frozen peas. Laced with fresh thyme and rich heavy cream, this Swiss cheese-finished bake is a cinch to prepare thanks to store-bought potato gnocchi.

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DIY Dinners: Ingredient Bars to Please the Whole Family

by in Family, Recipes, March 2nd, 2013

All American Beef TacosPicture this: It’s about 5:00 in the evening and you ask your family what they want for dinner. Your spouse responds with one dish — but it’s not what you’re craving — and what your kids answer with isn’t appealing to the grownups in the house. Sound familiar?

It can be downright impossible to please everyone at the dinner table with a single meal, but that doesn’t mean you have to cook multiple recipes to guarantee everyone enjoys what they’re eating. The trick is to pick a single base dish and let each person customize it to his or her own tastes with their favorite ingredients. Family-friendly picks like pizza, tacos and baked potatoes are blank-slate recipes that can be prepped to a certain point, then finished by each person with preferred additions depending on if they are a vegetarian or diehard carnivore, or have a picky palate or simple distaste for certain foods. To serve these make-it-yourself dinners, set up an ingredient bar with toppings, condiments and more to which your family can help themselves; they’ll be able to choose how much of each component they want, plus the interactive element of mealtime will go a long way in getting little ones excited about their food.

For a traditional taco preparation, stick with Alton’s All-American Beef Taco (pictured above). He sautes ground beef with Taco Potion #19 — his signature blend of spices — and serves it in freshly fried tortilla shells before filling each with optional add-ons like crumbled panela cheese, pickled jalapeno, cool lettuce and cilantro.

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Waste Not, Want Not — New Ideas for Leftovers

by in Family, Recipes, February 28th, 2013

New Ideas for LeftoversEating on a budget can be challenging, especially when trying to feed your family the best-quality food possible. Planning your grocery list wisely isn’t just about searching for sales or clipping coupons. Think about the hidden dollars and food that gets wasted — sometimes without us even realizing it. I’m talking about leftovers from recipes that once enjoyed front and center stage, only to be cast in the back of the fridge to be forgotten.

Those leftovers needn’t go to waste, even smaller portions. A few leftover meatballs may not make a complete meal for a family of four, but they’re a necessary ingredient for my Shortcut Bolognese Sauce. The sauce comes together quickly — in about the same time it takes for the water to boil and pasta to cook. Mash the meatballs and saute them with some chopped onions and olive oil in a deep skillet. Once the onions are golden, stir in some marinara sauce and let it simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, so the meat can soak up the flavors in the sauce. With minimal effort, you’ve transformed a humble meal into a hearty one by using a few meatballs to bulk up a simple tomato sauce.

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10 Kitchen Tools Under $10 — The Product Puree

by in Family, February 27th, 2013

10 Kitchen Tools Under $10Do you want to get serious about cooking, but you don’t know where to start when it comes to choosing the right tools, especially when you’re on a budget? Setting up a well-rounded kitchen can be a daunting, not to mention expensive, task. Whether you’re a college student, newlywed or budding cook, these 10 cooking tools under $10 are a great start to upping your game in the kitchen.

1. Whisk: A whisk will come in handy when mixing batters or whisking eggs for breakfast.

2. Fine Grater and Zester: Zest adds instant flavor and color to any recipe. This tool does double-duty by grating hard cheeses like Parmesan too.

3. Swivel Peeler: Peel potatoes to be mashed, remove the tough outer skin of butternut squash and prepare carrots for your favorite chicken noodle soup recipe with this gadget.

Get 7 more kitchen tools under $10

How to Make Your Own Dried Herbs — Simple Scratch Cooking

by in Family, How-to, February 25th, 2013

How to Make Fresh Dried HerbsI used to have a backyard bursting with bunches of basil, parsley, lemon thyme and a plethora of other herbs. Whenever a recipe called for some, I’d just go and pluck a handful. Aside from the hot, balmy New York City summers when the plants required constant care, mother nature mostly did the work — sunshine during the day and the occasional rain once a week, which supplied enough water to make up for the days I forgot to give them a sprinkle with the hose.

The apartment I live in now doesn’t have a garden, so I rely on window boxes for growing fresh herbs. Indoor plants need more attention and due diligence, especially in the water department. When I went away for the Christmas holidays this past December, I forgot to set up my self-watering globes. It was no surprise that I came home to bone-dry plants.

As with all of life’s mistakes, though, there is a lesson to be learned. Ever since I accidentally killed all my plants, I’ve been relying on the farmers’ market for fresh herbs — luckily we have a hydroponic farmer at the Union Square market during the winter months. The problem with buying herbs versus growing them is that I don’t usually finish up the bunch before it wilts. Then one day, I glanced at the old containers of dried-up plants (I swear I’m going to empty them this week), and suddenly the light bulb went off. With a little planning, I could make my own dried herbs. I use the fresh-bought herbs as I would normally, but just before any leftovers hit the wilting stage, I pluck the leaves and set them on a baking sheet.

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