Tag: kids & family

How to Make 3 Delicious Dinners Out of 1 Pork Roast

by in Family, Recipes, August 16th, 2016

Pancetta-Wrapped Pork RoastWith a big family at home, making a hearty dinner — and doing it quickly — is one of my biggest tasks of the day. It’s also relentless. That’s why I love cooking one big meal early in the week and transforming the leftovers into two more dinners, each with totally different flavors. It’s fast and efficient, and guess what: There’s even less food wasted, which is good for the planet and my budget, too.

That leads to another important point: In order to stretch your pork roast as far as possible, focus on adding sides. No matter if you opt for fresh or frozen, this is the time to load up on vegetables. Add starches like bread, rice and potatoes, and not only will you be consuming less meat, but you’ll also be buying less meat — a win all around.

Dinner #1: Giada De Laurentiis’ Pancetta-Wrapped Pork Roast (pictured above)

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12 Retro Food Fads (and Modernized Recipes for 2016)

by in Family, Recipes, August 8th, 2016

Chinese Chicken Salad“We didn’t have kiwi when I was little,” I explained to my kids; they were baffled. “I’m sure it existed somewhere, but, uh, just not where I was.” Then, bam! Kiwi burst onto the scene for Americans in the ’80s, and talk about a runaway hit. Remember life before baby carrots? Extra virgin olive oil? Some food fads have such a great flavor, neat technique, or interesting and new presentation that they just never fade. These are my family’s favorites.

Chinese Chicken Salad (pictured above)
One thing I love so much about watching Barefoot Contessa is listening to Ina Garten casually mention how she’s been making some particularly delectable dish for 20 years. Her Chinese Chicken Salad is one of those throwback recipes with a perfectly updated spin. Crunchy asparagus and bell peppers mingle with juicy roasted chicken before the whole thing gets doused with a simple ginger dressing.

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One Recipe, Two Ways: Spice-Rubbed Chicken

by in Family, Recipes, August 2nd, 2016

One Recipe, Two Ways: Spice-Rubbed ChickenI’m going crazy over this recipe. Mostly because it’s perfect for summer suppers when you don’t really want to overthink it. Or spend too much time in the kitchen. Or have too much to clean up. This meal hits the summer nail on the summer head.

So, we’re spicing some chicken cubes, but going a milder route for your kiddies. Just some Italian seasoning mixed with a little bit of garlic powder and a pinch of salt. It’s basically perfect. Tossed in a pan until browned on both sides. Done. Serve it with buttery corn on the cob. Even more done. Don’t you love this already?

And for you — gosh, it gets so good. You’ll start the same way you did for your kiddos, but then you’ll add cumin, smoked paprika and cayenne. Almost can’t deal with the greatness here. Toss it back in the pan to get some browning, and serve it with corn on the cob (add hot sauce!) and a crisp green salad. And a little bit of lemon. Gah.

It’s so simple and so summery and so freaking tasty you’ll lose your mind. I want to make it again but maybe put it on top of some silky lemony pasta!

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11 Cold Snacks for Hot Summer Days

by in Family, Recipes, July 18th, 2016

Frozen Fruit CupsFor my money, nothing beats a piece of fresh fruit for an instant snack this time of year. But when I want to kick it up a little, add a new flavor or incorporate a few veggies into a meal other than dinner, these are my go-to summer snacks. Each one is cool, refreshing and kid-tested to boot.

Make-Ahead

The Pioneer Woman’s Frozen Fruit Cups (pictured above)
This is my kind of recipe: Chop up a little fruit, throw it in a freezer-proof cup, freeze and serve. I love Ree Drummond’s idea so much that I’m already planning to whip out my muffin pan just so I can make more of them! An even dozen should do it, right?

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Cooking with Kids for Connection

by in Family, Food Network Chef, July 13th, 2016

Melissa d'ArabianAs a mom of four, I’m a big fan of cooking with my kiddos. It demystifies ingredients (particularly healthy ones), teaches them an important skill (cooking our own food) and encourages a more adventurous palate. Perhaps my favorite part of cooking with my daughters, though, is the quality time I get with them, either as a group or one-on-one. Cooking requires just enough concentration to keep us all engaged, while leaving enough space for those open-ended conversations that turn into special mom-daughter moments I treasure. If you are looking for your child to open up about school or life in general, cook with him or her and watch the magic happen.

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One Recipe, Two Meals: Summery Pasta Salad

by in Family, Recipes, July 11th, 2016

One Recipe, Two Meals: Summery Pasta SaladThere’s something so satisfying about a good ol’ pasta salad. First of all, it’s pasta. Second of all, you can load it up with really anything, serve it chilled and people will love you for it.

I remember eating pasta salad as a kid in the summer ALL THE TIME. Picnics, lunches, family gatherings, church banquets — like, constantly. It’s basically the perfect food, because while it’s relaxed, it also encompasses comfort. You can flavor it any which way you want, but somehow it never feels pretentious. It’s an ego-less food. It’s not a jerk. It’s humble and nice.

You can just ignore me.

I’ve come up with a super-easy pasta salad recipe that’s perfect for your kids and you, with only a few minor differences. I’m keeping the kids’ version creamy with ranch dressing, baby. And for the adults, there’s a simple garlic vinaigrette and millions of sauteed veggies. It’s so delicious. Can’t deal. Won’t deal. Except for the eating part. I can most certainly deal with that.

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10 Special Summer Breakfasts to Make Your Kids’ Day

by in Family, Recipes, July 6th, 2016

Egg-in-a-HoleSummertime means two things at my house: constantly slathering four little bodies in numbers of SPF so high they didn’t exist when I was a kid; and a slower, more forgiving morning routine. With no lunches to pack, no folders to tuck into backpacks and no need to cook breakfast at breakneck speed, we have a little more time to indulge. These are some of my favorite ways to set the pace for a sunny day ahead.

Ree Drummond’s Egg-in-a-Hole
Even though the whole thing takes only five minutes from start to finish, it still feels like lots of work for busy school days. That’s what makes this top-rated dish ideal for a slower summer morning.

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10 Speedy Dinners to Make Now That School’s Out

by in Family, Recipes, June 21st, 2016

10 Speedy Dinners Now that School’s OutThe first few weeks of summer break are really just back-to-school time in reverse; everyone’s learning a new routine and breaking in a new rhythm. With all the new comings, goings, camp dates, don’t-forget-your-water-bottle reminders and spray cans of SPF 1 million to keep track of, I’ll just admit it: Cooking elaborate meals is last on my list right now. That’s why I love these go-to quick dinners, perfect for this time of year. And it gets even easier. I recently learned a new tip for simplifying menu planning during the week: Pick a theme for each day (think sandwiches on Mondays, pasta on Tuesdays, etc.) and rotate recipes every week. Here are a few kid-approved ideas to get you started.

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One Recipe, Two Meals: Stuffed Burgers with So. Much. Cheese.

by in Family, Recipes, June 7th, 2016

One Recipe, Two Meals: Stuffed BurgersWell, hey, summer! Take off your shoes and stay awhile.

We’ve had the rainiest spring, you guys. Like, record rainfall amounts. And while I completely love and adore thunderstorm-y days, I’m actually excited to feel the yard start to dry out and not be so dang squishy. It’s finally warm enough for the kids to play in the sprinklers and kiddie pool whilst taking down 13 ice pops at once. And it’s finally sunny enough for me to sit out on a blanket with a bottle of rosé and watch them gallivant for hours and hours.

Oh, wait. I do that year-round. Never mind.

BUT! What I don’t normally do is stuff burgers. As in, stuff enormous beefy burgers with fabulous cheeses: white cheddar for the littles and my homemade pimento cheese for the adults! If you’ve never made pimento cheese from scratch, I mourn for you. It is WONDERFUL. And when you wrap a mound of meat around it, gah. It’s even better. Can’t deal. Won’t.

Except I totally do deal.

Let’s make some before I weep myself into next season.

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8 Delicious Ways to Use Up a Bag of Chia Seeds

by in Recipes, May 24th, 2016

Chocolate-Chip PuddingIf you’ve got leftover chia seeds from an experimental recipe of the past, pull them out of the pantry, because believe it or not, you can put them to work in kid-friendly recipes. All six of these kid-tested options deliver tried-and-true results, for meals and treats from breakfast until dessert.

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