Tag: foodlets

7 Thanksgiving Shortcuts to Be Thankful For

by in Holidays, Recipes, November 13th, 2015

Apple PieWhen you’re hosting a big crowd for the holidays or even cooking for a crew of kids — a pair of daunting tasks if there ever was one — this list is for you. And if you’re doing both like I am this Thanksgiving, this one’s for you. And because many of the dishes can easily be made days in advance (or more), you can knock out most of the cooking well before Thanksgiving Day arrives.

Make and Freeze: Apple Pie 
Prepare an unbaked apple pie, like this one from Food Network Kitchen, then pop it into the freezer until you’re ready to bake. The trick: Wrap the whole thing in three layers of plastic wrap, then place in a gallon-size freezer bag or add another layer of aluminum foil. Tips:

  • Take the pie out of the freezer and put directly into the oven, just add 20 to 30 minutes of baking time.
  • Use a metal or ceramic pie plate; glass may not be sturdy enough to go from the freezer to the oven.
  • Pumpkin (or any other kind of custard) pie won’t work as well, but in that case, you could make the crust and freeze it ahead of time.

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15-Minute Pasta Dinners the Whole Family Will Love

by in Family, Recipes, November 6th, 2015

Garlic Oil-Sauteed Pasta with BroccoliWe have four small kids, and if there’s one thing I love about serving pasta dinners, it’s how popular they are. Who doesn’t like pasta? Less fussing, more enjoying. That’s a dinnertime ratio I can get behind. But if there are two things to love about pasta dinners, the other is this: Pasta cooks in a flash. Each of these dinners will hit the table in 15 minutes, and every one of them is kid-tested, totally approved.

1. Pasta with Garlic and Broccoli (pictured above): Melissa d’Arabian’s super-fast pasta has a secret step at the end: Deglaze the pan with red wine vinegar. Nothing like scraping up all those tasty bits with a whole lot of zing!

2. One-Pot Lemon Orzo with Cod: Orzo is the quickest-cooking pasta, because it’s so small. But that’s not what makes this dish so fast (or delicious). This is: Add the fish and the peas to the same cooking water and everything will be ready at the same time. Drizzle on a bit of olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon, and dinner is served.

3. Chicken Mozzarella Pasta: With a jar of your favorite store-bought sauce plus fresh mozzarella, Parmesan and basil, it’s hard to beat the flavor — or the ease — of this 5-star recipe from Ree Drummond.

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The Busy Parent’s Best Friend: A Slow Cooker (Plus 8 Kid-Friendly Recipes)

by in Family, Recipes, October 28th, 2015

Slow-Cooker Pork TacosThe beauty of a slow cooker is obvious: It does all the work while you ignore the thing for hours at a time! But for those of us with small kids underfoot, there’s an even smarter strategy to take advantage of: If you assemble your ingredients ahead of time (say at night while the rascals are sleeping), you can simply dump it all together in the morning. When the kids are up again, and it’s the end of your day, or soccer practice is over (whichever comes first), one of these kid-friendly dishes will be ready for dinner when you are.

Pulled Pork 3 Ways: With just a few spices, this pork cooks in its own delicious juices all day long. Then it’s ready to become not one but as many as three dinners! Slather on a bit of BBQ sauce and serve it over rolls, scoop it up (along with lots of that juice) and place it on top of rice along with crunchy diced apples or use it for Food Network Magazine’s pork tacos (pictured above) topped with mango, queso fresco and avocado.

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How to Set Up a Waffle Bar in 3 Easy Steps

by in Family, Recipes, October 16th, 2015

How to Set Up a Waffle Bar in 3 Easy StepsWaffle bars aren’t just for breakfast (though they’re great for that). They also make awesome family dinners and serve as the perfect party buffet. Best of all, they’re deceptively simple. Even the most-festive waffle bar can be set up in three easy steps.

1. First, decide on the waffle recipe you’ll use. A few fan-favorite suggestions:

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So, You’ve Been Asked to Bake for the School Bake Sale. Now What?

by in Family, Recipes, October 9th, 2015

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip CookiesBake sales are about appealing to the mini masses, so you want to choose a winning recipe from the start. It should be something simple enough to make without a fuss, familiar-looking (don’t forget that most of your customers are kids) and presented with a little flair. Here’s our best advice for a sold-out sale.

What you’ll need:

  • Get a platter or nice basket to display your goods. Both are universally available at every dollar store in town, so buy it there. (That way, if it never makes its way back to you, there’s no harm done.)
  • Small cellophane bags with twist ties are a great way to display anything from bar cookies to small treats that might come two or three to a serving.
  • Make a sign. Using big, clear letters, write out the name of your dish and, if possible, the main ingredients.

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9 Snacks You Can Make with an Apple

by in Recipes, October 6th, 2015

Apple MuffinsNothing is better at this time of year than a crisp, juicy apple. And no one is hungrier at a certain time of day (say, when they come home from school) than kids. From no-cook options to baked goods that will perfume the whole house, here are nine delicious snacks made with apples.

Apple Muffins
It could be the buttermilk, or all those chopped pecans, but Ellie Krieger’s gorgeous apple muffins have 230 perfect reviews … and counting!

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Prep Once, Use Three Ways: Pot Roast

by in Recipes, September 24th, 2015

Perfect Pot RoastNeed a faster way to get dinner on the table? Give yourself a head start by cooking one hearty pot roast, then transform the leftovers into two more dinners, each with totally different flavors, later in the week.

Dinner #1: Start with Ree Drummond’s Perfect Pot Roast (pictured above). This easy recipe has more than 470 user reviews and a 5-star rating; how can you go wrong? It’ll take a few hours to make, but in that time your house will smell amazing. Bonus: If you tease your family with the delicious scent of dinner for this long, you can practically guarantee excited kids at the table when that roast is finally ready.

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5 School Lunches You Can Make in 5 Minutes

by in Family, Recipes, September 12th, 2015

DIY Cucumber SandwichesSome parents meticulously pack their kids’ lunches the night before, ensuring a smooth start the next day. I am not one of them. My husband takes our kids to school every morning at 7:30 a.m. And every morning at 7:15 a.m. I start making lunch. “OK, we’re in the No Request Zone,” I’ll announce to all four small fry who are still eating breakfast, not yet even starting to wonder where their shoes are. But with a few handy strategies for banging out healthy lunches in a hurry, we rarely have a lunch-related disaster. (Getting all the kids out the door and buckled into their car seats, however, is another matter. See: shoes.) That’s thanks to this list of reliably quick lunch ideas:

DIY Cucumber Sandwiches: Think Lunchables with a fresh twist. Chop up a cucumber and put it in the lunchbox. Then set a small pile of turkey, ham and/or cheese next to it, and let the kids put together their own sandwiches at lunchtime.

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6 Tips for Hosting Your Child’s Birthday Party Without Losing Your Mind

by in Entertaining, Family, September 11th, 2015

6 Tips for Hosting Your Child's Birthday Party Without Losing Your MindWe have four young kids and the oldest turned 6 this year. That means we’ve hosted 14 birthday parties — so far. With many, many more to go, we stick to these guidelines for fun parties without frazzled parents.

1. Invite a small number of kids. No one has fun at a party that feels like a mob. It’s loud. It’s chaotic. See above, it’s no fun. Remember that old rule about inviting as many friends as you are old? It’s perfect. Five, six or eight kids plus a parent each makes for plenty of revelers.

2. Create a simple theme or activity. Host a tea party. Or have everyone come in costume. This year our 4-year-old had a tea party where everyone wore costumes. Put together a scavenger hunt with hidden clues, a karaoke sing-along or outdoor Olympics based on simple games (like relay races, a water balloon shot put and so on). Pretend it’s 1988 and channel your mother; she put a Barbie doll in the middle of your cake and called it a day.

And by all means, put the birthday child to work. That same 6-year-old LOVED creating signs for her party, directing people where to go and telling people what to put where.

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Kid-Approved Smoothies That Aren’t Packed with Sugar

by in Family, Recipes, August 25th, 2015

Orange Banana Smoothie“Healthy smoothies” sounds a little repetitive, right? Smoothies are good for you! They’re loaded with fruit! The truth is, like granola bars, smoothies can sound healthy but sometimes actually have so much added sugar that they’re really more like milkshakes. (And those granola bars are basically candy bars.) But these homemade smoothies are all low in added sugar, full of fruit and some are even full of veggies too.

Orange Banana Smoothie (pictured above): Spring for fresh OJ to make Ina Garten’s recipe once and you’ll be hooked on this healthy smoothie forever.

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