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… 

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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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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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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… 

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Ham, cheese and apple melts

Ham, cheese and mustard

I LOVE A GREAT IDEA WHEN I HEAR ONE. A friend shared the concept of “freezer food” with me this weekend. If you aren’t familiar, it goes like this: never make just one batch of something when you can double or triple it. Eat one serving tonight and freeze the others for future meals. That… 

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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… 

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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… 

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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… 

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Homemade skillet pizza with pepperoni, salami and peppers

Pinch the pepperoni to add texture, pizza

BARBARA KINGSOLVER, in the gorgeous memoir, “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle“, says her family eats pizza every Friday. Homemade pizza (her husband whips up the dough), and while toppings always vary, never having to think about “What’s for dinner?” just simplifies their week. I think it’s brilliant.

Mini turkey burgers with rosemary plus the secret to great roasted veggies

Mini turkey burgers

I WAS ON MY OWN for dinner the other night with the kids, so I knew it had to be good. Wary of my two-highchairs-to-one-adult ratio, this wasn’t the time to experiment with exotic flavors. In times like these (or when I’m so tired that I might tip over, not unlike a giant Weeble Wobble… 

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Pizza with asparagus, ricotta and lemon

fresh asparagus

NOTHING SAYS SPRING IS HERE LIKE the arrival of asparagus. And it’s delicious, so I’m in. Actually the little guys did pretty well with the asparagus pizza. They each ate a piece or so, and in this house, that’s a win. (Plus Phoebe loved helping make this simple dish.) Mixed with creamy ricotta full of… 

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Beef & cheese quesadillas (with a secret good-for-you ingredient)

beef and cheese quesadillas

GRATE EVERYTHING, I say. That’s my philosophy for “Taco Night”, which has actually become quesadilla night–the one that’s easier to eat and less likely to fall on the floor wins in my house. And since our ethnic food offerings are spare in Rome, to say the least, these flour tortillas are much easier to find… 

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Saturday scramble: Breakfast for dinner, or lunch or brunch…

Scrambled eggs with spinach and pancetta

CALL IT A VARIATION of green eggs and ham. We do scrambled eggs or a fritatta (baked in the oven for the last 10 minutes to get fluffy) often. It’s easy, inexpensive, healthy and the toddler likes it. Sold! Today’s version included pancetta and spinach (frozen, organic) sauteed in olive oil then whisked eggs, milk,… 

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Balsamic vinegar chicken sandwiches

balsamic vinegar chicken sandwich on foodlets.com

PHOEBE’S NOT EATING ANYTHING with “salad” on top, but minus the offensive greens she tucked into one of these last night with gusto. Thanks to *Jessica Seinfeld’s sneaky trick, this tangy sauce includes freshly steamed and pureed broccoli, which doubled as a baby food side dish for Estelle. Paired with our new family favorite, roasted… 

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Spaghetti with sausage two ways

pasta with sausage

I’M ABOUT TO SAY SOMETHING that gives me a ridiculous sense of pride and satisfaction. Our family loves cauliflower. However, I’m sure it won’t last (See the ever-evolving What Works Now, What Doesn’t Work Now lists to the right… Sigh.) and they’ll really only eat/enjoy it two ways. The first is roasted with olive oil,… 

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Chinese BBQ pork with noodles, carrots and broccoli

BBQ Chinese Noodles with Carrots and Pork

WELL, I REALLY MESSED THIS ONE UP. Let’s just say feeding the toddler two pieces of peanut butter toast 90 minutes before dinner wasn’t a recipe for success. Even when said dinner involved pasta and barbecue sauce, two things she holds dear. It’s a shame though because this was so good! We’ll try again another… 

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