Tag: kids & family

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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One Recipe, Two Meals: Cheesy Calzones

by in Family, Recipes, May 10th, 2016

One Recipe, Two Meals: Cheesy CalzonesWhen was the last time you had a calzone? Like, the ’90s.

Welllll, I’ve come up with a super-easy and crazy-DELEESH version for your littles, with tiny pepperoni and loads of cheese. And for you? A lovely vegetarian version (with loads of cheese, natch).

If the thought of making calzones makes you nervous, check this out: Just hit up a local pizzeria and buy some dough from them! If you can, ask for 8-ounce balls of dough and you’re good as gold. Dough gold. Or something.

After that, you’ll simply saute some veggies while the oven preheats, then roll out each dough ball; layer each one with sauce, cheese, pepperoni for them and veggies for you; fold over the flap; crimp, crimp; brush with an egg wash and BOOM. You let the oven work its magic and you’re enjoying insanely yummy pockets of mouth bliss 30 minutes later.

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12 Less-Spicy, Still-Tasty Ways to Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with Kids

by in Family, Holidays, Recipes, May 2nd, 2016

12 Less-Spicy, Still-Tasty Ways to Celebrate Cinco De Mayo with KidsIt’s never a problem convincing my kids to celebrate. They’re even pretty game for trying new foods. But the non-negotiable part about feeding most small fry is heat: They just don’t like anything spicy. You see where I’m going with this, right? It’s time for a made-over Cinco de Mayo party, one with kids in mind. This collection of delicious recipes is perfect for introducing a flavor blast of fun, without turning your first grader off salsa for life. Check out my tips below for kid-friendly party starters, new twists on taco night and even make-ahead meals you’ll thank yourself for later.

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8 Snacks You Can Make with Peanut Butter

by in Family, Recipes, April 28th, 2016

Peanut Butter Granola BarsIs there an ingredient that’s more universally loved among kids than peanut butter? Add that it’s affordable, easy to find and packed with protein, and you’ll be turning to these eight simple ideas constantly, including a few big-batch recipes you’ll thank yourself for making ahead of time. (And of course, anyone with peanut allergies could easily substitute any other nut butter.)

Peanut Butter Granola Bars
Leave it to Giada De Laurentiis to come up with a homemade granola bar swirled with brown sugar, honey and melted butter, and kissed with slivered almonds and mini chocolate chips.

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