Tag Archives: Recipes

10 Cookbooks for Kids

Cooking with your children isn’t only about teaching them a valuable skill—it’s also about spending time with them and making them feel included as equal contributors in the family. When your child is old enough to go it alone, cooking can help build confidence, self-esteem, and problem-solving skills. And following recipes can also improve reading comprehension. Here are 10 great cookbooks just for kids, filled with simple, easy-to-follow recipes that your little one (and you!) will love.

Little Kitchen: 40 Delicious and Simple Things That Children Can Really Make

At the Farmers’ Market with Kids: Recipes and Projects for Little Hands

Twist It Up: More Than 60 Delicious Recipes from an Inspiring Young Chef

Betty Crocker Kids Cook!

Children’s Quick and Easy Cookbook

Baby Love: Healthy, Easy, Delicious Meals for Your Baby and Toddler

The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook

Weelicious: 140 Fast, Fresh, and Easy Recipes

The Kid’s Cookbook: A Great Book for Kids Who Love to Cook!

We Can Cook: Introduce Your Child to the Joy of Cooking with 75 Simple Recipes and Activities


Green Treats for St. Patty’s Day

Bring a little luck of the Irish to your kitchen this Sunday with one of these fun green recipes!

Kale Pesto White Bean Dip from Annie’s Eats

Sneaky Healthy Mint Chip Milkshake from Yummy Mummy Kitchen

Pasta with Basil, Arugula, and Walnut Pesto from Cooking Light

Chocolate Mint Icebox Cupcakes from Two Peas and Their Pod

Honeydew-Cucumber Mojito from Marth Stewart

Edamame Hummus from Babble

Green Velvet Cupcakes from Love from the Oven


Best Breakfast Casserole. Ever.

In this age of Pinterest, I have pinned and tried a LOT of breakfast casseroles, most of which have been abysmal disasters. I once tried making this tater tot casserole that had been repinned a gazillion times. It was the greasiest, most disgusting thing … we couldn’t even eat it. It kills me to throw food away but that one went straight in the bin and we went straight to McDonald’s (yes, the casserole was greasier than McDonald’s, it was that bad!).

So this past Christmas, I really tried to research recipes and read reviews before choosing our breakfast dish for Christmas morning. I finally decided on this Easy Breakfast Casserole recipe from Food.com, with a few changes. Instead of ham, I used sausage, and I also added a bunch of veggies. Everyone raved about this casserole, even going so far as to say it was the best one they’d ever had!

I’ve since made it a few more times, swapping out sausage for turkey bacon and using whatever seasonal veggies were on sale at the store. You can really make it whatever you want, but the combo below is my fav so far. The success of this casserole is all down to one unexpected ingredient—Stove Top stuffing! Strange, yes, but it holds everything together while injecting some killer flavor.

Best Breakfast Casserole
Adapted from Food.com 

2 cups Stove Top Chicken Stuffing mix
2 cups milk
6 eggs, beaten
½ tsp salt
6 slices bacon, cooked and chopped (I used Hormel Fully Cooked Bacon—easier and less calories)
1 cup shredded gouda cheese
1 small tomato, diced
½ bunch of asparagus, chopped
4 oz sliced portabella mushrooms
½ red pepper, diced
½ cup diced onion
1 tsp minced garlic
Olive oil

1. Preheat your oven to 350°. Grease a 9 x 12 casserole dish with cooking spray.

2. Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and sauté for one minute. Add asparagus, mushrooms, red pepper, and onion and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Remove the vegetables from the pan and set them aside to cool slightly.

3. In a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Slowly add in the cooked vegetables and mix well.

4. Pour the mixture into the casserole dish, and bake for 45 to 50 minutes.


Southwestern Mac and Cheese

It’s no secret that kids love mac and cheese, but it’s not exactly a well-balanced, healthy meal on its own. So I’m always looking for ways to sneak in the good stuff under cover of cheesy goodness. I recently used the sun-dried tomato mozzarella Laughing Cow Light cheese in pasta and added spinach and chicken to make it a meal.

Below, I use the Queso Chipotle variety to make a yummy southwestern mac and cheese. You can use whatever veggies and/or meat you want to really make this a meal your family will love!

Southwestern Mac and Cheese

12 oz veggie pasta
4 wedges of Laughing Cow Light Queso Chipotle cheese
¼ cup skim milk
1 cup corn
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup canned or fresh chopped tomatoes
2 chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
Olive oil

1. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the box. Drain and set aside.

2.  In a large sauté pan, heat about a ½ tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until nearly done. Stir in the mushrooms and continue cooking until the chicken is done all the way through.

3. Turn the heat to medium-low and add in the pasta, corn, black beans, tomatoes, cheese, and milk. Combine all the ingredients and continue stirring until the cheese has melted and everything is heated through.

Note: You can save a bit of time by using frozen, cooked grilled chicken strips, such as Tyson Grilled and Ready Chicken. You will still need to sauté it until it’s heated through, but it should only take 2-3 minutes.


What’s for {Christmas} dinner?

This is my first year hosting Christmas, and I am feeling the (purely self-imposed) pressure to make it perfect. I’ve been thinking about Christmas dinner and what I will serve for about two months now, trying to figure out how I’ll get it all made and when. After a lot of rough drafts, I have narrowed down my ideas to arrive at my final menu. . . TA DA!

*Yes, I’m totally going to print this out and have it at each place setting. I did all the work to create it after all!

And now for the real magic. . . I only really have to worry about making TWO of these dishes on the day (and one of those can be made ahead of time if I really want to)! So not only will my Christmas feast be delicious, I will actually get to ENJOY it.

The festive  cocktail, which is really a sangria made with champagne, can be made the day before- all the better to let the flavors really meld together. The fig and goat cheese angels are my take on the Cooking Light recipe for Apricot-Blue Cheese Angels from the November 2012 issue. Considering these are a puff pastry, I’m going to make them the day of for the best result. I’ll make the fresh cranberry bruschetta (a mash up of several different recipes) a day or two ahead to help cut the tartness of the cranberries.

I decided to go with ham for dinner since I can buy one completely cooked and ready from the grocery store. BOOM. Done. The stuffing recipe belongs to my friend Dori. Her mom makes this every year, and when she blogged about it a few weeks ago, I was sold. Plus, she said you can make it ahead of time and freeze it if you want to. I think I’ll make it the day of only because I’ll have the time. For my brussels, I drizzle them with olive oil and sprinkle them with salt and pepper before popping them into the oven at 400° for 30-40 minutes. Easiest thing ever. I’m even going easy for my rolls and getting Parkerhouse rolls or just buying some from the bakery.

The real genius of this meal is the dessert. Seriously, how amazing does it sound?! It’s even more amazing when you find out it’s made in the crock pot! My friend Brooke made this for New Year’s Eve last year, and I couldn’t get enough. She used this recipe as a base but, instead of following the cooking instructions, she just threw everything in a crock pot and let it do all the work. Brilliant!

So there you have it, my Christmas menu. What are YOU making for the holidays this year?


Supermarket Shortcuts and Speedy Desserts from Cooking Light

I’ve been getting Cooking Light magazine for years, and I always find great recipes, healthy eating tips and inspiration in its pages. The April 2012 issue, however, seemed almost as if it were written just for me. The focus this month was on fast and easy meals, shortcuts and quick desserts. I always fold down the corner of the page when I find a recipe I want to try, but this time nearly all of the corners were tabbed!

The article “Supermarket Shortcut Solutions” recommended using fresh or canned pizza dough, fresh pasta, hummus, precooked brown rice, and rotisserie chicken to get dinner on the table in a flash, and there are 20 different recipes using these ingredients. With the exception of the fresh pasta (I usually just use the wheat pasta in the box), I am an old pro at using these shortcuts. I also love using jarred roasted red peppers, frozen veggies, Tyson® Grilled & Ready Chicken Strips, fish sticks for fish tacos (don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it), frozen shrimp, and whole grain couscous (throw in some rotisserie chicken and steam-in-the-bag veggies and you have a full meal in less than 10 minutes)!

Photo: Nigel Cox; Styling: Tiziana Agnello

But what caught my eye more than any other recipe was the one for the Limoncello Freeze. My husband and I were introduced to limoncello during a trip to Italy several years ago, and I’ve loved it ever since. My mom has even perfected a limoncello cheesecake (which, come to think of it, I’ll have to share here later). This Limoncello Freeze sounds so quick and easy, I will definitely be giving it a try as soon as I am over this stinking sinus infection and can taste food properly again!

Limoncello Freeze
From Cooking Light, April 2012
Makes four

1/4 cup lemon curd

2 1/2 tbsp limoncello

2 cups vanilla low-fat ice cream

12 mini vanilla meringue cookies

Combine the curd and limoncello in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk to blend. Add ice cream to curd mixture; stir gently to swirl. Spoon 1/2 cup ice cream mixture into each of 4 bowls; top each with 3 meringue cookies.

Now tell me that doesn’t look like it would hit the spot on a hot summer day?!