simple pasta with tomatoes, basil & mozzarella

spring pasta with tomatoes, basil and mozzerella, FOODLETS.com

AS PART OF OUR SEMI-DELUDED PLAN to have friends over this weekend, we served homemade rolls along with two pastas. (Our wonderful guests brought veggies and desserts including a chocolate layer caked called “Tall, Dark and Handsome”. And yes, we’re inviting them back again ASAP.) This was one of the pasta dishes–and by far the best… 

Read More »

bread machine whole wheat rolls with yogurt & oats

homemade rolls for kids, oats, whole wheat, flaxseed, yogurt, foodlets.com

WELL, WE DID IT AGAIN. And I actually can’t believe it. After a week that included 1-2-3 then 4 and 5 different household members succumbing to the nastiest little tummy virus in the South, we had another dinner party this weekend. It sounds counterintuitive (and a little crazy) but the house needed a good scrubbing… 

Read More »

cheese ravioli with spinach and bacon

ravioli with spinach and bacon,  foodlets.com

SO, THERE WAS AN ICE STORM. One that I’ve never seen the likes of, though I don’t have a lot of experience in the extreme weather department. This one came on quickly and thoroughly. Overnight, every single tree in our part of North Carolina was neatly encased in ice. Then they started splitting, falling, and… 

Read More »

very green broccoli mac & cheese

broccoli mac & cheese, foodlets.com

YES I PUT BROCCOLI (AND SPINACH) IN THE MAC & CHEESE BUT HEAR ME OUT. When Estelle turned three she actually asked for this dish to be served for her birthday lunch with friends. Despite a pretty serious invasion of vegetables, this stuff is very tasty. Downright company-worthy. Especially when you’re two going on three.

mini mac & cheese cups (with carrots too)

mac & cheese mini muffins, foodlets

LAST WEEK WE HAD A BIRTHDAY PARTY LUNCH for 6 preschoolers to celebrate Estelle’s 3rd birthday–and at the birthday girl’s request, these mac & cheese mini cups were the main course. Like our broccoli & cheese pasta cups, they’re essentially macaroni and cheese (with a built-in veggie) to go. And like our broccoli & cheese pasta… 

Read More »

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,… 

Read More »

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… 

Read More »

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… 

Read More »

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. 

making mac & cheese even kid-friendlier, definitely healthier

cauliflower mac and cheese

MY GOAL IS REAL FOOD. Less boxes, more produce. But all of this only matters if someone’s willing to eat it. And before all the “mmms” and “Thanks Mom”-ing can begin, some brave soul must be willing to make it. This is where I (try to) come in. With the mind of a mad scientist… 

Read More »

10 kid-friendly ways to cook with quinoa: I asked, you answered!

quinoa lasagna on foodlets.com

IT STARTED WITH A DINNER FAIL. I tried to spice up what was a delicious quinoa dish full of sweet potatoes and roasted chicken–except this new version was terrible. Instead of chicken and sweet potatoes, I used pork and apples (you know, pork chops and applesauce?) and tried to combine everything into a handy one-pot… 

Read More »

Linguine with mushroom bacon sauce, a pasta recipe from “American Grown” by Michelle Obama

Linguine wtih Mushroom Bacon Sauce Photo Credit Quentin Bacon Photography

WHEN THEY SERVE PASTA AT THE WHITE HOUSE, this is it. And also, I’d like to come come over next time they do. But for now I’ll have to settle for the most delicious sounding recipe for linguine that I’ve seen since we left Italy. In this excerpt from Michelle Obama’s book, “American Grown”, you’ll… 

Read More »

Easy update: Add a little chopped spinach to your next pot of rice

Spinach and rice on Foodlets.com

WE USUALLY EAT BROWN RICE, BUT NOT THIS TIME. My husband Paul loves the fluffier texture of white rice, and I love him, so for this dinner we used organic basmati rice. But the compromise didn’t end there: I also add added a bit of frozen spinach to the pot while it cooked. Voila, a… 

Read More »

Spaghetti with sausage, Swiss chard and cheese

pasta with chard, sausage and cheese

YOU KNEW IT WAS COMING, but I’m not sure Paul did. Anyone who spends any time on 101 Cookbooks, as I am this month during our cookbook giveaway, will find two things: breathtaking photos, and a lot of greens. As I said earlier, we’re doing recipe makeovers right here from the rental house in NC,… 

Read More »

ravioli with peas and pancetta

ravioli with peas and pancetta

A BOWL OF PASTA DOESN’T ALWAYS MEAN TOMATO SAUCE. One of the easiest ideas I’ve learned from the Italians is to substitute traditional red sauce with something much simpler: extra virgin olive oil, fresh herbs and a sprinkle of freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Dinner’s on the table in 20 minutes, and it’s a really good… 

Read More »

Simple beef, broccoli and carrot stir-fry

Beef and broccoli stir-fry

THEY DON’T REALLY DO TAKE-OUT IN ITALY. They definitely don’t do a lot of ethnic food either. And even if they did, stir-fry is one of those dishes that’s so easy to make at home, plus a million times healthier, why not just whip it up? To make it more kid-friendly I added lots of… 

Read More »

Sausage & spinach with raisins, pine nuts & rice

sausage, spinach and rice

THIS ONE STARTED WITH BUDDY. Do you know the Cake Boss? I’m sure you do but I didn’t. In Rome, we have a bit of American TV but it’s a small selection and always a bit behind. Anyway, it appears that in the time I’ve been away from the States, one Buddy Valastro has become… 

Read More »

Sausage & sour cream pasta with peas…a Stroganoff-ish dinner idea

Stroganoff pasta in the pan

We’re on “vacation” this week, on the southern coast of Italy. It’s our first trip with all three rascals so I’m out of the kitchen. So far, I’d say everything is gorgeous and exhausting, sometimes both at once. Meanwhile, I saved up a couple of fresh ideas to post while we’re gone. Be back soon…trust… 

Read More »