whole wheat penne with sugar snap peas & pork

pasta with pork and sugar snap peas

I DON’T THINK THEY HAVE SUGAR SNAP PEAS IN ITALY. And if they do, I didn’t know how to say it (surprise!) so my kids were new to peas until last week. Now to be clear, my brood is not always interested in new foods. Before a bite of anything unfamiliar ever touches her lips,… 

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a new spin on…brussels sprouts: just add cranberries

brussels sprouts with cranberries

DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE RECIPE FOR BRUSSELS SPROUTS? Let me rephrase that, do your kids have a favorite way that you make Brussels sprouts? Ours is roasted brussels sprouts with olive oil and salt, though I’ve seen tasty ideas for pan cooking too. But when we had a small surplus of cranberries in the… 

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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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one pot dinner: sauteed cabbage & chicken with dried cranberries & toasted almonds

cabbage and chicken

HERE’S THE PINT-SIZED REVIEW FOR THIS ONE: “I like it a little bit.” That would be Phoebe (4) when I served this cabbage dish for dinner the other night. Estelle (2) and George (1) were equally enthusiastic. And you know what? That works for me! A few bites here, a few bites there, and pretty… 

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maple roasted acorn squash

acorn squash

PHOEBE CALLED THIS “THE BEST IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD”. She is also four and when two-year-old Estelle doesn’t share stickers, markers or whatever the hot commodity of the day is, Phoebe declares the incident “the worst in the whole wide world”. The whole wide world is mentioned a lot these days, so take the… 

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little things that work: add a sweet potato to your next pan of potatoes

sweet potatoes and yellow potatoes

WE ALREADY KNOW THE KIDS LIKE ROASTED POTATOES. But spuds, full of potassium as they are, still don’t have the nutritional punch as some of their neighbors in the produce section. Here’s the solution. I’ll use the proven potatoes as a starting point then slip in some sweet potatoes (or carrots) just to add color,… 

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spicy pasta with chicken, spinach and goat cheese

chicken, butternut squash pasta

I’M BREAKING A PRETTY BIG RULE HERE. The idea of making two meals, one for the kids and another for the adults, is just too exhausting for me to even consider on most days. But for our Halloween lunch, I decided to spare the moms those mummy turkey dogs. Instead we adapted a recipe from… 

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easy penne pasta with cauliflower, sausage & parmesan cheese

cauliflower penne pasta with sausage

IT’S NOT ALWAYS EASY TO GET KIDS EATING veggies. Especially those with a funny smell when you cook ‘em. That’s right cauliflower, we’re talking about you. The good news is, we’ve discovered three ways to make cauliflower an easy sell at dinner. Roasted cauliflower, baked into macaroni and cheese, and this way right here. I… 

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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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carrots can be “fries” too

roasted carrots and potatoes

MY KIDS DON’T LIKE CARROTS. Do yours? I’ve made carrots many ways–oven roasted carrots with oil, salt and pepper, sauteed carrots with citrus butter, roasted whole carrots with maple glaze, even heart-shaped carrots–and guess what? They still don’t like them. Sure, the kiddos usually try everything since that’s one of our most basic dinner time… 

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spaghetti nests with bocconcini “eggs”, the perfect leftover (and picky eater) solution

spaghetti nests with eggs, and fork

FOR SOMEONE WHO WAS BORN IN ITALY my four-year-old is very anti-spaghetti these days. She suddenly thinks it’s too hard to eat. This didn’t used to bother her, but I guess it does now. Sigh. But before we swear off the stuff, I thought I’d try something…and it worked. 

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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finally, a chili recipe my kids will eat

chili parfaits, on foodlets.com

THERE ARE A COUPLE OF TRICKS to this one, though they’re both so simple that “tricks” makes these ideas sound more complicated than they are. Simple methods, why-didn’t-I-think-of-this-before moves, that’s more like it. First, make some chili. Don’t put in too much cumin and skip the spicy chiles. Then swap a soup bowl for a… 

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chicken & zucchini casserole castles

castle casserole outside

“THIS IS SO AWESOME!” That’s what Phoebe said when she saw her casserole castle last night. Then she wouldn’t eat it. Instead there was lots of trying to hug it while murmuring, “I just love it so much”. So that was the down side. The good news is, the whole thing couldn’t be easier to… 

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oven roasted broccoli with sea salt

Oven roasted broccoli in a bowl

WE ROAST EVERYTHING. That’s my number one, hands-down secret to getting kids to eat vegetables. Roast them. Because it makes them delicious. We’ve done it with asparagus, carrots, cauliflower and of course potatoes and the result is always the same: the kids love them. The fact that it’s easy doesn’t hurt either. That’s why we tried broccoli last week.

tomato & cheese tart

tomato and cheese tart

THIS WAS THE HARDEST RECIPE I’VE MADE in a long time. But I did it. And it was delicious, at least two parents and one preschooler thought so. Baby George and Estelle who is two, begged to differ. But here’s my theory: Phoebe helped me make it and when you’re a kid in the kitchen,… 

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