coconut pineapple mini-muffins, a “serious eats” recipe makeover

coconut pineapple mini muffins, healthy muffins for kids, foodlets

WE’VE BEEN MAKING A LOT OF LUNCHES around here. Foodlets Friday Lunch is a teeny, tiny pilot program that we started this spring. Every Friday I make lunch for the kids at Phoebe’s preschool and parents who are keen to buy one simply cover the costs. It’s not catering, not yet, but I hope it… 

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roasted lemon chicken with vegetables, the perfect make-at-nap-time dinner

roasted lemon chicken with vegetables for kids, foodlets

RIGHT AROUND 5PM THINGS GET ROUGH at my house, maybe even 4. There’s too much whining and not nearly enough wine. That’s why I love to make dinner earlier in the day and let it just hang out — or in this case, roast away — until we’re ready. When the cranky hour arrives I… 

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super simple turkey pot pie (and yes, I cheated)

turkey pot pie

WHEN YOU HAVE A FRIDGE FULL OF TURKEY and a house full of guests, the best way to handle both is a big casserole of turkey pot pie, just like this one. It’s a new riff on the Barefoot Contessa’s chicken pot pie recipe we made over once (and still the number one recipe of… 

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tomato, basil & spinach soup with cheese tortellini (and bat croutons)

tomato, basil and spinach soup with cheese tortellini

DEAR INA GARTEN, YOU KNOW I LOVE YOU and your amazing recipes, but I can no longer spend 45 minutes roasting tomatoes BEFORE the soup making process truly begins. That is because there are three small crazy people living in my house now. I can however, make a simpler (and healthier) version of your wonderful… 

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Ina Garten’s gazpacho becomes kid-friendly watermelon gazpacho

watermelon gazpacho, kid-friendly gazpacho on Foodlets.com

SOME RECIPES FOLLOW YOU wherever you go. The Barefoot Contessa’s gazpacho is one of them, and I’ve been making it longer than I’ve been a parent. Maybe even longer than I’ve known Paul. There were big batches blended up in small New York City apartments, at least as many in Rome and now our first… 

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peach crisp so good (and good for you) you’ll eat it for breakfast too

peach crisp cooked on right

IF YOU WANT TO SCORE POINTS WITH THE RASCALS, serve them dessert for breakfast. Make it this dessert and you won’t even have to feel weird about it. It’s basically fresh fruit, oats, nuts, a little honey  and yep, wheat germ.

A little bit green for St. Patrick’s Day: better-for-you shortbread shamrock cookies

shamrock shortbread cookies

OUR KIDS HAVE BEEN MISBEHAVING. I’m sure this never happens at your house, but this has been one of those weeks. We’ve had a whining, crying, tantrum-throwing, Pull-Up-removing time of it for days now. But this morning when Paul and I mentioned working toward a picnic dinner at the playground tonight, as in, we only… 

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Sauteed cabbage

Sauteed cabbage on Foodlets.com

I’VE EATEN CABBAGE QUITE A FEW TIMES, BUT ENJOYED IT EXACTLY TWICE. The first delicious cabbage I ate was many years ago when a friend with Irish roots (and her own Grandma Curley, just like I had) spent a full Saturday making “Boiled Dinner” for St. Patrick’s Day. Despite my own fairly Irish roots, I’d… 

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Lower-sugar, lower-fat golden yam brownies (An Allrecipes.com makeover)

Lower sugar, lower fat yam brownies, sweet potato muffins

THIS REQUEST CAME IN FROM ALASKA. Tricia, who is a mom to three boys living waaay up north, sent me a link via Facebook to these decadent treats with a healthy sounding name, Golden Yam Brownies on Allrecipes. She asked if I could do a healthier makeover. “My family LOVES it but it’s loaded with… 

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Frittata with spinach, pancetta & ricotta (a Barefoot Contessa makeover)

spinach, peppers and pancetta fritatta

MY BIG INDULGENCE IN ITALY, other than one trip to the Gucci outlet and one million bowls of gelato (which was probably more expensive in the long run!), has been an international subscription to the Food Network magazine. I’ve definitely learned a lot from Italians when it comes to food, family and the combination of… 

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Lentil sausage soup with spinach (a Barefoot Contessa lentil soup makeover)

Lentil sausage soup with spinach up close

IT’S HERE! I LOVE SOUP SEASON. Even though the Roman weather keeps playing tricks on us–one day it’s cool and crisp, the next is so hot and humid that everyone is sweating before we leave the house–we’ve started making soup. And even better, we’ve started freezing soup too. This recipe makes more than enough to… 

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Healthy chocolate-zucchini muffins for kids (a Paula Deen zucchini bread makeover)

zucchini muffins up close

STOP EVERYTHING. THESE ARE THE BEST MUFFINS you’ll ever make. And don’t tell Ina Garten because I’ve strayed again and updated another Paula Deen recipe for this one. Right now Paula’s zucchini bread is the most popular thing on the Food Network website; and my remake of her pumpkin cake (now pumpkin spice mini-muffins) is… 

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Individual plum crisps (a Barefoot Contessa recipe makeover)

Individual plum crisps already cooked on the pan

WE’VE DONE SOMETHING LIKE THIS BEFORE. Last summer a friend appeared on our door, bag in hand overflowing with juicy purple plums. We combined them with a few berries for a family-style dessert at a friend’s summer rental. This time we got our own plums and this time they were yellow. And this time, I… 

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Tuna nicoise potato salad, Italian style

tuna nicoise salad

I KNOW WHAT YOU’RE THINKING. What kids eat salad? For dinner? If serving a fresh potato salad isn’t in the cards for your crew, consider using the same ingredients to create a plate that works for everyone, without a lot of extra effort on your part. (Also, French kids eat salad. Really!)

Banana oat muffins

IMG_8920

WE WERE GOING ON VACATION just as the first opportunity to volunteer at our church came my way. We go to Rome Baptist Church here in Italy not because we’re necessarily Baptists (though my husband grew up in the Baptist church) but because the sermon is in English. And they’re nice folks. Anyway, it seems… 

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Grilled lemon chicken with buttered green beans

grilled lemon chicken

THIS WAS A CHILDHOOD FAVORITE OF MINE. Sort of. The 1980s version involved a bottle of lemon juice and a skillet, and I loved it. Now I use the grill pan and a real lemon, but the idea is the same. Marinated chicken is juicy and flavorful, just as perfect for a fresh summer dinner… 

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Sausage rolls…pigs in a blanket all grown up

sausage rolls how-to

I MAKE THESE EVERY TIME I HAVE A PARTY. Everyone loves them. So, when I saw Jamie Oliver make something similar for his family, I broke out one of my favorite Barefoot Contessa recipes. Trying to make it a little healthier, this is sausage with puff pastry after all, I added protein-rich white beans that… 

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mini chicken pot pies with flowers & star crusts

mini chicken pot pie with flowers

I MADE THESE POT PIES TWICE RECENTLY, once big (for the family) and once small (for each person). The second time I used leftovers from Gwyneth Paltrow’s delicious Rotisserie Style Roast Chicken. Estelle LOVED it. Phoebe was sick. Paul liked them both though he did say that more crust on the bigger version was better…. 

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