All Posts In Family

White House Snack Attack

by in Family, Food Network Magazine, August 21st, 2012

chocolate drizzled pretzelsSam Kass, a White House chef and Michelle Obama’s adviser for her Let’s Move! program, says that the White House is always stocked with fruit in case Sasha or Malia needs a bite. But Sam knows that kids don’t always come home from school begging fora healthy snack, so he offered up these smart swaps for some favorite after-school treats.

Instead of a candy bar, drizzle chocolate on pretzels or apples (pictured left).

Chop 1/2 pound dark chocolate. Microwave three quarters of the chocolate in 30-second intervals, stirring, until mostly melted. Stir in the remaining chocolate until smooth. Drizzle over mini pretzels or apple slices and let harden.

“There is no substitution for chocolate!” Sam says. “The key is moderation.”

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Breakfast of Champions: Olympic Ring Pancakes

by in Events, Family, July 26th, 2012

olympic pancakes
I love the idea of using food to help teach my kids about life and culture.

My family recently learned about the history of the Olympics. The symbol of the rings, which is five interlocking rings on a white background, represent the “Five parts of the world, which were won over to Olympism and willing to accept healthy competition” in 1914.

According to Baron Pierre de Coubertin, who designed the infamous Olympic symbol, “The ring colors with the white background stand for those colors that appeared on all the national flags of the world at that time.”

I also stressed to my children the importance of eating foods that are good for you and provide energy. After asking my kids what their favorite event was, we talked about how athletes need the best possible “fuel” for their bodies. Wanting to create a special breakfast for them in honor of the Olympic games, I thought all-natural whole-wheat pancakes was a great way to kick off these summer games.

For this recipe, I used an all-natural pure maple syrup and found it to be a great way to talk about the gold, silver and bronze medals.

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Kid-Friendly Burgers — Weekend Cookout

by in Family, Recipes, June 23rd, 2012

This summer, Food Network’s Grilling Central is packed with recipes for the entire family’s taste buds, boasting the best in burgers, dogs, chicken and more all season long. But with so many recipes, where do you start? Each Friday, FN Dish is giving you a complete menu that is stress-free, and this weekend’s dishes are sure to please your youngest eaters.

Though picky eaters may not yet be fans of Asian-style ribs or sausage kebabs, they’ll flip for juicy, pint-sized Smashed Sliders made just for them. The key to searing these five-star burgers is to press down on them with a spatula while they’re cooking; this will make the patties thinner than traditional burgers, but because they’re not cooked for as long a time, they’ll still be moist and tender. Nestle these easy-to-eat burgers inside slider-style buns and let your kids dress them up with their favorite toppings — ketchup, mustard and pickle slices are no-fail classics.

Main Course: Smashed Sliders
Side Dish: Mix and Match Pasta Salad
Dessert: Praline Ice Cream Sandwiches
Drink: Berry-Guava Lemonade

Planning on making one of these dishes? Snap a photo and post it on Food Network’s Facebook wall.

Family Dinner With Marvel’s Kelly Sue DeConnick and Matt Fraction

by in Family, June 6th, 2012

marvel's kelly sue deconnick and matt fraction
If you were to bump into Kelly Sue DeConnick and her husband, Matt Fraction, at the grocery store with their children, Henry Leo and Tallulah, you probably wouldn’t immediately guess that the fate of a universe rests in their creatively capable hands.

You might think that they were simply shopping for produce, or cruising for new breakfast cereal, but don’t let their clever disguise as a normal, happy family fool you. Kelly Sue DeConnick and Matt Fraction are two of the most celebrated and influential creative forces fueling the Marvel Universe, and we got the inside scoop on how creativity in comic books can translate in the kitchen.

FN Dish: In the comic world, you both write. In the kitchen, do you divvy up the roles?

Kelly Sue: You know, I don’t think we have a strict division of either interest or expertise. I was going to say that I tend to do the baking — and that’s true — but it’s also often a team effort.

For everyday dinners, I’m usually the one keeping track of what dishes are at what place in the process and we rotate around the tasks trying to get them all to come together at roughly the same time — and to keep the kids engaged, too.

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The Case for Canned Beans — Simple Scratch Cooking

by in Family, March 29th, 2012

breakfast burrito
I love a perfectly cooked bean — tender to the bite, yet toothsome. I’m also the first to admit that taste-wise, nothing compares to cooking up a pot of dried beans from scratch. My ideal strategy is to cook double the amount I need, and store leftovers in the fridge for the week ahead, or the freezer; I like to call this my secret stash.

This doesn’t mean I rule out recipes that call for beans when I find my fridge and freezer with nary a cooked one in sight. That’s when I dip into my other secret stash. Yes, that’s right, I keep canned beans in the pantry, too. First and foremost, beans are an inexpensive source of protein. They’re also high in iron, which is especially important for vegetarians since meat is the other main source of this necessary nutrient.

The trick is to test out different brands until you find one that isn’t mushy and overcooked. I usually keep a backup can or two of pintos, black beans and red kidney beans. They all help get a quick vegetarian meal ready in less than 30 minutes, add an extra boost of protein to breakfast or serve as a hearty side dish.

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A Blast From the Past — Simple Scratch Cooking

by in Family, March 22nd, 2012

strawberries and mango over crushed ice
I’m a hoarder and until recently I didn’t see this as being a problem. My habit is under the guise of eating locally and seasonally. You won’t see piles of junk around my apartment, but open the freezer and you’re likely to get pelted with frozen fruit spilling from the shelves. Freezing fruit to last beyond its normal season is a way to enjoy summer’s bounty all year long. Learning to use it all up is not my strong suit. I get nervous about dipping into it too soon, so I dole it out sparingly in smoothies to perk up gray winter days.

Suddenly, daylight-saving time snuck up on me and a look at the calendar reminded me the official start of spring is here, too. The days are getting longer, temperatures getting a little warmer, and that means in just about two months, the growing season will be here. Farmers’ markets will once again welcome old friends. And then the panic sets in: Come December I worry about using up my stock of frozen berries, cherries and peaches too fast. Right about now, I start wondering how I’ll manage to use it all up before the cycle of preserving starts all over again.

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Everyday Banana Bread — Simple Scratch Cooking

by in Family, March 6th, 2012

banana bread
Every week I find myself flooded with overripe bananas since everyone in the house prefers to eat firm, barely ripe ones. The first sign of a brown spot, and they’re left to languish on the counter, eventually becoming so ripe the only purpose they serve is as incentive to bake some banana bread. I know, this doesn’t seem like a problem. Banana bread has a lot going for it. It’s easy to make because it’s a quick bread — it uses baking powder to rise, not yeast. It’s also the ultimate “waste not, want not” use of ingredients past their prime. But best of all, it can be a breakfast on the go, a tasty snack for school lunch and even play a pinch hitter come dessert time.

The real problem with having too many overripe bananas is I feel guilty making my favorite banana bread recipe twice a week. The recipe is great, but with one stick of butter in it, I decided my weekly banana bread infatuation needed some lightening up. The Brown Butter Bourbon Pecan Banana Bread has been relegated to a once a month treat. What I needed was an “everyday” banana bread recipe, one I could feel better about making, and eating on a regular basis.

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Little Bites for Little Appetites — Simple Scratch Cooking

by in Family, February 28th, 2012

grilled corn and bacon crostini
I love the ritual behind a big meal, but some nights I want to make dinner fun and less structured. A well-balanced meal doesn’t always mean serving an entrée, vegetable and a side dish. On those nights when I want something in between yet filling, I go with small bites like tapas or crostini. It’s a great option for picky eaters, as you can make a few of everyone’s favorite. By making a variety, you can also get a good amount of protein, vegetables and even fruit into your kids’ diets, too.

Make it interactive and set the toppings out family-style: Serve them with a basket of toasted bread for a build-your-own crostini bar. Put a Mexican twist on the theme and create a taco bar spread, swapping in mini tortilla chips for the toasted bread. To make your own homemade tortilla chips, cut flour tortillas into triangles or use a cookie cutter to form them into fun shapes. Place the shapes onto an ungreased, rimmed baking sheet and bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven until golden, 12 to 15 minutes, turning once halfway through.

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Bringing Up Baby — Simple Scratch Cooking

by in Family, February 21st, 2012

three bean and beef chili
The early days of becoming a new parent felt like a blur. Life was on fast-forward, and faced with sleep deprivation, well, it’s no wonder my memories are far from vivid regarding that “breaking in” period. What I do clearly remember, though, is that by the end of the first month, I craved a home-cooked meal. No kidding — my husband and I ate takeout for the first four weeks as Mom and Dad.

Even ordering the healthiest to-go meals took its toll on me mentally. I missed the scent of onions browning in a skillet and marinara sauce bubbling away on the stovetop. By the time our second daughter was born five years later, I had a better idea of what to expect and easily jumped back into my normal cooking routines.

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Sweet Potatoes — Simple Scratch Cooking

by in Family, Recipes, February 15th, 2012

sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes get lots of love during the holidays, but there’s good reason to be thankful for them year round: They’re an excellent source of vitamin C, beta carotene and fiber. Their naturally sweet, candy-like flavor also makes them a favorite among kids — or so I hear. Truth be told, my oldest is potato-phobic. I recently tried making oven-fried sweet potatoes and even those garnered thumbs down. I didn’t take this personally. It’s not me, it’s her — but that doesn’t mean I’m ready to give sweet potatoes a pink slip.

One thing I’ve always believed in is not dumbing down dinner just to get my daughters to eat it. I cook for my own enjoyment as much as their nourishment, which is why we have a one-bite policy: You can’t have an opinion about what’s served unless you actually taste it. That rule is usually my wild card and gives me license to keep playing with different sweet potato recipes in hopes I’ll come across one she eventually likes. Bacon being among her favorite foods, this recipe for Sweet Potato and Beet Hash is one I can’t wait to try. And since she loves guacamole, maybe there’s hope for Sweet Potato Fries With Avocado Dip, too.

More sweet potato recipes »