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


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 pies, foodlets

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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Barefoot Contessa Makeover: Mini meatloaves

barefoot contessa mini meatloaves

WE HAD COMPANY OVER CHRISTMAS, including a 3-year old guest from Amsterdam. Phoebe was thrilled to have another “big girl” around but as you may know (and be reminded daily), it’s not easy to guess what will go over at this age. But when in doubt, I say go for comfort food. This recipe is… 

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Barefoot Contessa Makeover: Peanut butter & jelly bars (PB & J Bars)

peanut butter and jelly bars, foodlets

WE’RE BACK TO TOAST around here. Every morning it starts around 6am. I hear murmurs from the next room, Phoebe’s ready to get out of bed and can I please make her some bekfist? On the plus side, she’s nearly two and a half and stays in her toddler bed until someone comes to help… 

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Barefoot Contessa Makeover: Plum-blackberry crisp

plum blackberry crisp, foodlets

WE WERE HEADED FOR THE BEACH and needed to bring a dessert for lunch afterward. The requirements were simple enough: must be baked ahead of time and also hold up for an hour in the car. (And if it could not involve a 30-pound Le Creuset baking pan, even better.) There would be six adults,… 

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Barefoot Contessa Makeover: Lemon chicken with pesto potato salad

Phoebe at the beach

WE’VE HAD A BREAKTHROUGH in the potato department. Never a fan of them, Phoebe actually said, “I ont aunt tatoes” when I was trying to play up tonight’s dinner—a tough task considering that we were swimming (aka, the most fun activity ever) just before the potato conversation. But potatoes it was. Only I added a… 

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Ina Garten’s Lentil soup with sausage

WE LOVED IT, PHOEBE DIDN’T. Such is life, especially when you’ve got a toddler. This lentil soup, originally inspired by the Barefoot Contessa, is a favorite for Paul and me but this time I added a couple of special ingredients: lentils that Paul got from the Salone Del Gusto food festival plus fresh turkey sausage…. 

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Barefoot Contessa Makeover: Corn muffins with jam filling

Corn  muffins

ANOTHER WEEK, ANOTHER PLAYGROUP, ANOTHER BAKED GOOD. This time we tried something even more healthy…but it didn’t start that way. Barefoot’s corn muffins promise to be moist and delicious, which is easy to believe when you consider the half pound of butter called for in the original recipe. That won’t work for us so we… 

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Ina Garten’s Roasted tomato basil soup


I’VE MADE IT BEFORE BUT THIS TIME, I ADDED A LITTLE MORE OOMPH. By now you know that I love my Barefoot Contessa. But you also might be aware of her delicious yet wildly fattening food, a dilemma for someone who is already 14 pounds heavier than usual, also trying to keep a 17-month old… 

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Barefoot Contessa Makeover: Oatmeal raisin scones

Oatmeal raisin scones plate, foodlets.com

WE’RE ON AN OATMEAL KICK HERE IN ROME. The temperatures are cooling off and Phoebe has recently discovered dried cranberries which means oatmeal every morning, naturally. We’re just doing the quick oats which cook in one minute…except they don’t. It takes several minutes to boil the water, then another couple to cook the oats. I’m… 

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Barefoot Contessa Makeover: Cranberry wheat germ muffins

dried cranberries, Foodlets.com

THEY’RE SO MUCH BETTER THAN THEY SOUND, REALLY. And Phoebe loves them. Every morning this week I’d ask, “do you want a muffin?” She’d nod as emphatically as someone can without being hauled off to an institution, start saying “mmm, mmm, mmm” and jamming her finger into her empty plate so hard I thought it… 

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Ina Garten’s white bean and rosemary soup

white bean and rosemary soup, Foodlets.com

I LOVE THE BAREFOOT CONTESSA. I just do. I always have, I hope I always will. Her recipes are always delicious, they inspire me to try new things and she just seems fun, doesn’t she? With that husky laugh and a button down shirt, there she is making all manner of soups, roasted chicken and… 

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