All Posts In Family

Kitchen Safety: How to Cook Responsibly With Kids

by in Family, Recipes, February 23rd, 2013

Guy and Hunter FieriIt’s no secret that if you want your little ones to enjoy a well-rounded diet and to look forward to mealtime, the key is to let them have a hand in cooking, even just once in a while. When they have a chance to impact — ever so slightly — what they’re making and how it’s prepared, they’ll feel ownership over the meal and be more likely to dig into the final dish. Plus, kids are more apt to take interest in and try a new, healthy ingredient if they’re able to warm up to it before it’s simply scooped onto a plate in front of them.

But at what age is it appropriate to let kids start cooking, and what tasks are most fitting for little chefs to take on? We have the answers below, plus kid-friendly recipes that are easy to make with youngsters and sure to please the whole family.

Julie Negrin, M.S., a nutritionist and speaker dedicated to teaching both children and grownups how to cook, says that there’s no such thing as an incorrect age to start cooking with your kids and letting them have a place in the kitchen. Even toddlers as young as two years old can pitch in during meal prep, but it’s important to give them very specific jobs and of course monitor them at all times. “This age group … needs very close adult supervision, a lot of space and large bowls,” Julie notes, “since their dexterity and motor skills are still developing.” So while your 3-year-old may not be ready to slice broccoli florets off of the stalk, he can surely rinse the entire head under the sink or put the produce into a bowl once you’ve chopped it.

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For the Love of Meatloaf — Comfort Food Feast

by in Family, Recipes, February 20th, 2013

Tangy Meatloaf BurgersForget the cafeteria impression you have of meatloaf — it’s come a long way since its lunch-tray roots. Meatloaf is good nestled beside a mound of mashed potatoes, but it’s better when a little something extra hits the stage.

Go the handheld route with this series of meatloaf sandwiches. Giada De Laurentiis fixes her Pancetta and Turkey Meatloaf Sandwiches on plush Italian rolls with a handful of spicy arugula. Jeff Mauro’s All-American Down-Home Patriotic Meatloaf Sandwich comes with a homemade glaze and loads of crunchy toppings.

Food Network Magazine’s Tangy Meatloaf Burgers (pictured above) and Meatloaf Sliders bring the flavor-rich disposition of the dish into America’s favorite sandwich.

If sandwiches aren’t your thing, try Food Network Magazine’s Mini Skillet Meatloaves and then put the leftovers to use with Meatloaf Quesadillas With Cilantro Cream.

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The Pioneer Woman’s Baked French Toast — The New Girl

by in Family, Recipes, February 19th, 2013

Baked French ToastEvery morning I wake up to my stomach growling. So when planning for the weekend, the first thing I account for is my breakfast lineup. While cereal and toast suffice Monday through Friday, my appetite is slightly more indulgent and demanding on Saturdays and Sundays. The biggest question becomes sweet or savory?

Although I usually opt for recipes involving bacon or eggs, every now and again I need my maple syrup fix. Pancakes and waffles are easy enough to whip together to satiate my a.m. sweet tooth. But for an extra special treat, I like the Pioneer Woman’s Cinnamon Baked French Toast.

Why ditch the skillet and change up a classic? You can do all the work the night before. For a relaxing, mess-free morning, Ree transforms the original into a make-ahead breakfast casserole. After popping the dish into the oven, the smell of cinnamon and nutmeg fill the air and the hardest part becomes waiting.

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Munching Made Simple: Easy Snacks for Kids to Savor

by in Family, Recipes, February 16th, 2013

Homemade Granola BarsNo matter how hearty a lunch they may have had, when the clock strikes 4 pm, it’s hard for kids — and kids at heart — not to want an afternoon snack. Instead of settling for everyday chips or candy on account of convenience, give them homemade versions of traditional munchies like granola bars and crackers or creative takes on classic picks that include fruit and milk and are a cinch to prepare. Check out a few of Food Network’s favorite snack recipes below, then browse Food Network for more ideas on cooking for kids.

While some boxed granola bars are so chock-full of chocolate and cookies that they seem more like desserts than snacks, Ina’s Homemade Granola Bars (pictured above) boast a subtle sweetness without disappointing on flavor. She combines old-fashioned oats, crunchy almonds and coconut with a trio of dried fruits to create a five-star pick that’s deliciously easy to eat with little hands. The key to making Ina’s recipe is prepping the buttery vanilla honey; this simple mixture will help the ingredients stick together and allow the bars to hold their shape.

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Stand-Up Stews — Comfort Food Feast

by in Family, Recipes, February 13th, 2013

Spicy Cajun Seafood StewDust off those slow cookers and Dutch ovens. This week, we’re breaking down the most comforting stew recipes by protein. When simmered low and slow, even the toughest meats transform into soft, no-knife-necessary morsels. In the end, the theme here is gentle cooking, and just about any ingredient will do.

Oftentimes, when a stew hankering hits, it’s of the beef genre. Paula Deen’s Old-Time Beef Stew is deeply rich and ultimately classic. Food Network Magazine’s zesty Slow-Cooker Caribbean Beef Stew is over-the-top with a hit of hot sauce.

Sausage may not necessarily require low-heat cooking for its finer side to emerge, but Food Network Magazine’s Sausage-and-Vegetable Stew and Shrimp and Chorizo Stew are savory and heartening.

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Tough Critics: Kid-Approved Recipes With Vegetables

by in Family, February 10th, 2013

Mini Chicken and Broccoli Pot PiesNo matter whether your child is a wonderfully adventurous eater or has a notorious picky palate, convincing little ones to eat vegetables can be a challenge. After all, you want them to not just tolerate the green things but to enjoy them as well. Instead of “tricking” kids into eating vegetables by hiding them in purees, try simply incorporating them as they are into foods they already know and love. The idea is that over time, they’ll associate veggies with their favorite dishes and realize that they’re not so bad after all. Known kid-friendly picks like pot pies, not-too-spicy chili and pasta are easy vehicles for showcasing new vegetables without becoming overpowered by them. Try Food Network’s favorite kid-approved recipes below, then tell us in the comments: How do you encourage your kids to eat vegetables?

Giada transforms a comfort food favorite — the pot pie — into a kid-friendly staple simply by shrinking its size. Imagine a single big-batch pot pie. Now picture what a scoop of that on a plate looks like to a child. It’s not exactly appealing, even though the flavors are surely top-notch, right? The key to Giada’s top-rated recipe for Mini Chicken and Broccoli Pot Pies (pictured above) is making each pie small enough for kids to eat with their hands in just a few bites. If little ones see a piping-hot pile of vegetables taking up a large portion of their plate, chances are they’ll feel overwhelmed by what’s staring back at them. Thanks to their balance of fresh broccoli florets, tender chopped chicken and a creamy cheese sauce, Giada’s pot pies, however, aren’t intimidating to even the most stubborn veggie-refusers. Best of all, this recipe takes advantage of frozen store-bought pie crust so it’s a cinch for moms and dads to prepare on weeknights.

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50 Things to Make With Pasta Sauce

by in Family, Food Network Magazine, February 9th, 2013

50 Things to Make With Pasta SauceIt happens at least once a year — your favorite jarred tomato sauce goes on sale and you stock up — enough to feed an army sometimes. While nothing beats homemade sauce, sometimes the jarred varieties are a reliable substitute for quick weeknight dinners.

It’s certainly a must-have in the pantry, along with pasta and one of Melissa d’Arabian’s favorites — dried beans. But sometimes you can fall into a rut, using it the same ol’ way. Not anymore. Food Network Magazine has taken a household staple and provided 50 different ways to incorporate it into recipes like Spanish rice, minestrone soup and Italian meatloaf.

Looking for a way to liven up baked potatoes? Try Pizza Potatoes (No. 21). Make a deep slit in baked potatoes, then stuff with some pasta sauce, chopped pepperoni and shredded mozzarella, and bake at 400 degrees F until the cheese melts.

Browse the photo gallery for more ideas

As Quick as Delivery — Comfort Food Feast

by in Family, Recipes, January 23rd, 2013

Rachael Ray's Buffalo PizzaDitch the delivery drama and slice up a pizza of your very own. We’re not talking about taking a box from the freezer. With the help of store-bought dough (available at most grocery stores or pizzerias), these pizza recipes are as quick as ordering in. Simply stretch out the dough, don with your favorite toppings and pop it in the oven.

Sometimes a good pizza comes down to the trilogy: mozzarella, tomato and basil. Giada De Laurentiis creates the classic slice with her Pizza With Fresh Tomatoes and Basil recipe.

Rachael Ray makes a Wingless Buffalo Chicken Pizza (pictured above) that packs all of the heat of the finger-licking favorite. Her Mega Meatball Pizza, on the other hand, has more of that Italian flair.

Sandra Lee’s BBQ Chicken Pizza puts store-bought chicken tenders, shredded Gouda and barbecue sauce to use. On a smaller note, Pizza Pockets come loaded with turkey sausage and arugula and trade the usual large triangle for a dish perfect for parties.

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Easy Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese Croutons — The New Girl

by in Family, Recipes, January 22nd, 2013

Easy Tomato Soup With Grilled Cheese CroutonsWhile I’m not technically a rookie anymore, I often still feel like one. Don’t get me wrong — my culinary skill set improved significantly in 2012. The many hours spent whisking away in the kitchen more often than not resulted in satisfied taste-testers (luckily, my friends happily oblige to free food). But with so many techniques still to master and trendy ingredients out there to try, it’s hard not to feel a step behind.

To shake these self doubts, I go back to the basics. A challenge is good, but cooking should remain, for the most part, fun. And sometimes there’s nothing quite as enjoyable as simple comfort food.

Ina’s Easy Tomato Soup from Food Network Magazine is just as the Barefoot Contessa promises: fool-proof. It’s a recipe that I am confident in getting right each time. Prep work is minimal and cleanup is a cinch, so the whole process is relaxing. As I let everything simmer together, I could almost hear her cheery voice encouraging, “How easy is that?”

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Kid-Friendly Cheese Quesadillas — Meatless Monday

by in Family, Recipes, January 21st, 2013

Cheese Quesadillas
Just when you thought between the late nights at the office, your child’s after-school sports practices and a seemingly never-ending list of errands that you simply don’t have time to cook a from-scratch supper during the week, Paula introduces her recipe for Cheese Quesadillas (pictured above), a family-friendly dinner pick that is ready to eat in only 20 quick minutes. With just a handful of ingredients, she turns kid-approved favorites like cheddar cheese and soft tortillas into warming comfort food that can be finished with any number of Mexican-inspired toppings. If you have salsa, sour cream and guacamole left over from your big game tailgate last weekend, give those dips a second life atop the quesadillas — Paula looks to those tried-and-true favorites to complete this simple supper.

Cooking for adults or perhaps a young eater with an adventurous appetite? Try Rachael’s vegetable-packed quesadilla for another easy weeknight dinner. In her Wild Mushroom Quesadillas With Warm Black Bean Salsa, she flavors both cremini and shiitake mushrooms with fresh thyme and cooks the mixture with sharp white cheddar cheese inside tortillas until the cheese is melted and the tortillas have crisped slightly. A bold topping of warm salsa with hearty black beans, tender corn and barbecue sauce finishes this top-rated meal on a flavorful note.

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