All Posts In Family

13 Spring Picnic Ideas

by in Family, April 29th, 2014

13 Spring Picnic IdeasWhen the weather’s just right — not too hot, not too cold, not too buggy — there’s only one way to describe it: It’s picnic season. From kid-friendly fare to portable desserts and spicy dishes for all, these are our favorite dishes to bring to a blanket near you.

Warm Picnic Burritos: What travels better than tortillas rolled up around simple pulled pork with extra-zesty flavors? Put this recipe at the top of your list.

Cold Classic Potato Salad: Picnic purists, this one is for you. Alton Brown’s masterpiece is destined to become a family favorite for you too.

Sandwiches on a Stick: Just say “no” to messy mayo. Instead, spear the kids’ favorite sandwich foods onto a skewer and snip in half if it can’t fit in your container.

Layered Picnic in a Jar (pictured above): Who said picnics had to be so much fuss? For a simple meal on the go, try Melissa d’Arabian’s brilliant idea for layering rotisserie chicken, green olives and more — all in individual servings ready the moment you twist off the lid.

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10 Festive Kid-Approved Eats for Spring Birthday Parties

by in Entertaining, Family, April 21st, 2014

10 Festive Kid-Approved Eats for Spring Birthday PartiesWhen it comes to children’s birthday parties, the name of the game is fun, festive and kid-friendly. That’s why FN Dish loves these miniaturized versions of everything ,from personal mac-and-cheese cups to baked corn dogs, to tiny burgers and Giada’s mini Italian subs — all perfect for small hands to dig into. And don’t forget the sweets. Ina’s sharing chocolate-dipped goodies like strawberries, pretzels and graham crackers. These recipes are decadent but never too complicated for the cook — Mom and Dad will still enjoy the party too. Here’s to hosting a happy spring birthday bash near you.

1. Lasagna Cupcakes

2. Baked Mozzarella Sticks (pictured above)

3. Mini Mac and Cheese Cups (with Carrots)

4. Chocolate Dipped Delights

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12 Easter Ideas for Kids

by in Family, Holidays, April 15th, 2014

12 Easter Ideas for KidsWith just enough spring sun to warm their little cheeks, Easter is one of the sweetest days of the year for kids — and these are some of our favorite ways to celebrate. We’ve got surprisingly simple cookies, cupcakes, brownies and even a few sugar-free options. Here’s to a happy Easter ahead!

1. Easter Bunny Cake: Complete with coconut “fur,” this bunny cake is surprisingly simple to make (hint: It starts with a boxed cake mix!)

2. Little Lamb Pull-Apart Cupcakes: As a busy mom of three small fries, I love the idea of a specially shaped dessert I can actually make. Starting with a simple batch of 24 cupcakes, this recipe lays out exactly how to do it.

3. Giant Easter Egg Cookie: Another crowd-pleaser for busy cooks, this awesome egg can be as easy as baking a batch of store-bought cookie dough.

4. Hard-Boiled-Egg Chicken Family (pictured above): The lengthiest step in this easy creation is boiling the eggs. If you’ve got the eggs, a carrot and a few chia seeds, you can do this one in minutes.

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Side Dishes Your Kids Will Love — Sensational Sides

by in Family, Recipes, April 10th, 2014

Side Dishes Your Kids Will LoveWhen it comes to growing your kiddos into the best eaters they can be, it’s all about baby steps. And, if you’re asking us, your side dishes are perhaps the best place to start. With sides come the veggies, the strange textures and the other tough sells. But don’t you fret. These winning kid-friendly sides expose your little ones to new tastes without throwing the baby out with the bathwater. That way, your kids will go from full-on picky eaters to budding food connoisseurs in no time.

Little morsels of toasted orzo are so easy to eat, your kids won’t even realize all of the big-kid, Mediterranean ingredients they’re devouring. Rest assured that the “big kids” (cough, cough) will love Toasted Orzo Salad (pictured above) on their plates too.

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10 Kid-Friendly Dinners Done in 30 Minutes or Less

by in Family, March 31st, 2014

10 Kid-Friendly Dinners Done in 30 Minutes or LessI have three kids under the age of 5 at home, so speed in the kitchen isn’t just nice, it’s a necessity. If your house goes a little crazy around 5 pm the way mine does, these fast, easy and kid-friendly recipes are just for you. A combination of Food Network’s best dishes and our own family favorites, these are all recipes you need to feed a crew fast, and stay sane while doing it.

1. Stovetop Lasagna: Did you know it’s possible to make lasagna from scratch in 30 minutes — sauce and all? This speedy version of a classic family favorite has fast (and delicious) dinner written all over it.

2. Pepperoni and Cheese Scrambled Eggs: What’s faster than breakfast for dinner? Robert Irvine revamps a universally beloved dish in minutes for Food Network Magazine (pictured above).

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5 Steps to a Family-Friendly St. Patrick’s Day

by in Family, Holidays, March 6th, 2014

5 Steps to a Family-Friendly St. Patrick's DayDespite my last name (which is Armenian thanks to a distant relative somewhere in my French husband’s family), I’m actually an Irish gal (my maiden name is Donovan). So I’ve celebrated St. Patrick’s Day with the gusto of an Irish lassie my whole life.

St. Patrick’s Day is a religious holiday, and the shamrock was originally a symbol for the Holy Trinity. According to tradition, the rules of Lent were lifted on St. Patrick’s Day, which meant Catholics could eat and drink relatively freely for one day in the midst of Lenten fasting. And somehow that morphed into rowdy visits to Irish pubs, drinking green beer and singing “Seven Drunken Nights” (who could see that coming?). So St. Patrick’s has become a cultural celebration, and for our family, St. Patrick’s Day is a day of wearing green, playing fun leprechaun tricks for the kids, and eating green foods and traditional Irish fare. Want to join us? Here is our five-step approach to celebrating St. Patty’s Day in style:

1. We wear green. I almost didn’t even write this one. Because duh. (Plus, I have green eyes, so this really only makes sense.)

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In Defense of Bean Night: Save Big and Eat Well (Plus 6 Ways to Get Started)

by in Family, Food Network Chef, February 20th, 2014

Pasta with Salsa CrudaEvery budget shopper knows that dried beans are downright cheap. So when I’m thinking about inexpensive, but healthful, meals to feed my family (and let’s face it, I spend a lot of time thinking about just that), it’s impossible not to place this versatile little nutritional gem front and center on the menu. Thus, I created “Bean Night.”

It started 10 years ago when Philippe went back to graduate school and we transitioned from having two steady incomes to having suddenly none (plus a very expensive tuition bill and a baby on the way). I watched every penny, so I created a handful of uber-cheap dinners that I could feel good about eating — meals that cost about $5 to make. My plan was to rotate these extra-cheap meals into our weekly menu plan to save money.

It worked.

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White Bean Dip: The Key to Getting More Veggies Into Your Kids

by in Family, February 18th, 2014

White Bean Dip: The Key to Getting More Veggies Into Your KidsTwo of my three small kids love hummus and I know many, many more who do. But hummus at the store usually has lots of mysterious ingredients in it — things I can’t pronounce — and having tahini on hand to make it myself is something my pantry just can’t seem to do. Enter the easiest, healthiest dip of 2014. If you want to get your kids excited about eating a few more veggies with lunch or as a snack, this is the way to go.

All you need to do is rinse a can of white beans and add a slug of olive oil, a dash of salt and pepper, the juice of one lemon and, if you dare, mince half a clove of garlic and throw that in too (it’ll make the whole thing a little spicy so be careful with delicate palates). Then fire up the food processor — blend, eat and enjoy with your vegetables of choice.

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How I Got My Kids to Try — and Love — Sugar Snap Peas

by in Family, February 3rd, 2014

How I Got My Kids to Try and Love Sugar Snap PeasThis year I’ve figured something out. Raising kids who eat healthy, whole foods seems to be half recipes, half behavior. While I’ve been focused on the healthy recipes for the last couple of years, I’ve also read tons of great books, and my new favorite piece of advice comes from, It’s Not About the Broccoli. When trying new things, let kids be critics, says author Dina Rose, Ph. D. So when I made a new dish with a new ingredient, sugar snap peas, I told my 4 and 2-year-olds that I wanted their opinions. Thumbs-up, thumbs in the middle or thumbs down — and if it’s either of the latter options, that’s OK because we’ll try this dish again another time and maybe they’ll like it better.

Call me an amateur psychologist, but releasing the pressure and allowing them to like or not like a new food seemed to yield just the results I was looking for. Not only did they give this one a thumbs-up, they stood up on their booster seats to stretch their arms even higher in the air — like two tiny Statues of Liberty at my kitchen table. That’s what I like to see.

Get the recipe for Ginger Pork Over Pasta with Sugar Snap Peas at Foodlets.com.

Marking the Joy of Another Year — How the d’Arabians Do Birthday Season

by in Family, Food Network Chef, January 24th, 2014

Zucchini Muffins with Orange-Maple GlazeIt’s officially birthday season in the d’Arabian household: Two of my daughters, my husband, my brother-in-law and two nephews (who live a few houses away) all have birthdays within a three-week period. (Come to think of it, maybe we just have a big family?)

Birthdays are a celebration of another year — a year filled with loving one another, laughing, good times, tough times and being connected. The candles on the cake remind us that life is in session and we are participating. And the number of candles isn’t the only reminder (“Mom, your cake has so many candles it’s going to catch fire!”). How we celebrate also speaks to the passage of time. It seems like just yesterday we were lighting a “1″ candle on a cupcake that my daughter couldn’t have cared less about and giving her gifts that she lacked the dexterity to open. The princess party years breezed by, although if you had asked me as I stood in line, yet again, at Disney Store for the latest sparkly costume, I was sure they wouldn’t. Last week, a new milestone: our first “real” boy/girl party. Valentine turned 9 and wanted an evening party, including dinner and a dance area on our patio.

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