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

asparagus lemon and ricotta pizza

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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Toddler-friendly Asian noodles with vegetables

Easy Asian noodles with vegetables

IF I’VE LEARNED ONE THING SO FAR, it’s this: figure out what works and do more of it. We’re all about spin-offs here, and this dinner is the Laverne & Shirley of pasta. We know Phoebe devours spaghetti with red sauce, white sauce, cheese, or really any topping. Today’s challenge: introducing Asian flavors. It sounds… 

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Chicken with plum sauce and roasted vegetables

chicken with plum sauce

IT’S THE TAIL END OF PLUM SEASON IN ROME. With so many to eat in so little time (namely, before a fruit fly colony invades our kitchen) plums got upgraded from snack item to dessert to dinner. These sweet little beauties are a great source of fiber plus vitamins C, A and K. To be… 

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Straccetti, arugula salad with sizzling strips of steak and Parmesan cheese


THIS IS A CLASSIC ITALIAN MEAL, so naturally I’d never heard of it. That was before I moved to Rome and discovered that Italian food is more than pasta, tomatoes and cheese. (But they do that very well.) One of my favorite summer meals has turned out to be a version of the Big Salad… 

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Easy pasta primavera

MY COOKING CONFIDENCE TOOK A BEATING this week. First, Phoebe and I prepared Italian Style Pasta & Cheese Cups for a post-play date lunch yesterday. There was a pan-melting incident but sadly that wasn’t the worst of our lunch woes. Sufficed to say the only people who ate said cups were me, the other mom… 

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Pesto shrimp pasta

Pesto Shrimp Pasta

I WAS EXHAUSTED. It turns out that having a toddler and a baby (plus a husband, house and job) is tiring. I just needed a quick dinner but it had to be healthy. We’d been relying too heavily on pizza around here, being Rome you can imagine how often this possibility comes up, and I was craving something more fresh. That’s when I saw these giant shrimp at the store. Sold!