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Tuesday, November 26th, 2013
Just like many others, my family’s holiday season is all about tradition. Though Thanksgiving is a couple days away, I already know we’ll be having my aunt’s garlic “smashed” potatoes and my gram’s pimento-stuffed celery (even though she’s the only one who likes it). We keep these recipes in the rotation because they’re near and dear to us. But this year, sharing them with others gives bigger benefits to those in need.
Go to Dish Up the Love to submit your favorite recipe and $1 will be donated to Feeding America, a nationwide network of food banks leading the fight against hunger. Each dollar provides nine meals for families who need them.
Partnering with the program is Top Chef alum and mom Antonia Lofaso, whose first book The Busy Mom’s Cookbook was recently released in paperback. A single parent, Antonia relishes her time at home with her daughter, Xea, making memories through food.
“For me the holidays are about making memories with family and friends around the kitchen table and giving back. Dish Up the Love celebrates these special holiday moments,” Antonia says. “I shared the recipe for my grandma’s lasagna because it’s served at all Lofaso family holidays. At Thanksgiving, we have turkey, but there’s always lasagna and tons of other Italian food.”
Serves: 6 to 8
Total time: 85 minutes
• ¼ cup olive oil
• ¼ cup chopped garlic (about 8 cloves)
• 3 (16-ounce) cans of peeled, whole plum tomatoes
• ½ teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon sugar
• ¼ cup olive oil
• 1 ½ pounds ground turkey
• ½ teaspoon salt
• 2 tablespoons dried Italian seasoning, or 4 teaspoons fresh marjoram or oregano
• 1 (9-ounce) package of no-boil, oven-ready lasagna noodles
• Sauce (from above)
• ½ cup shredded or grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
• 2 cups whole-milk ricotta cheese
• 4 cups shredded whole-milk, mozzarella cheese
• 3 Roma tomatoes, sliced into 6 to 8 slices each
• 12 medium to large fresh basil leaves
1. For the sauce, head the olive oil in a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the chopped garlic and just as it starts to brown around the edges, throw in the canned tomatoes. You don’t want the garlic to burn, so have the cans open and ready to go beforehand.
2. Add the salt and sugar and whisk it all together. Let the sauce simmer on medium-low for 40 minutes while you prep the other ingredients. If any foam rises to the top of the sauce, skim it off. That’s the acid from the tomatoes, and your sauce will taste better without it. Using a hand blender or counter top blender, blend on medium until smooth.
3. Preheat oven to 375 F. In a 10-inch sauté pan heat the olive oil on medium-high. Add the ground turkey and the salt. Cook the turkey for about 5 minutes, until it’s browned throughout. Just as it’s finishing the cooking process, stir in the Italian seasoning. Drain any excess fat or liquid from the pan.
4. Cover the bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking pan with 3 sheets of pasta. Ladle 1 cup of sauce over the noodles. You don’t want the sauce to soak through, so you don’t need to overdo it. Layer on half of the meat, followed by half of the Parmigiano-Reggiano, and half of the ricotta cheese. Sprinkle on one-third of the mozzarella and arrange one-third of the fresh tomatoes on top of it. Top with one-third of the basil.
5. Repeat the process for the next layer: 3 sheets of pasta, a cup of sauce, the rest of the meat, the rest of the Parmigiano-Reggiano, the remaining ricotta, a third of the mozzarella, a third of the fresh tomatoes, and another third of the basil. The last layer is your presentation layer, so make it pretty. Add three more sheets of pasta.
6. Top the noodles with the last of the sauce, mozzarella, fresh tomatoes and basil. Bake uncovered for 40 minutes, rotating halfway through. The top should be a crispy golden brown when the lasagna is done, and the pasta sauce around the sides of the dish should be thick, not runny. Let the lasagna stand for 10 to 15 minutes before serving. If you cut into it while it is still piping hot, it will fall apart.
For more information and to share your favorite family recipe, visit worldkitchen.com/dishupthelove. After submitting a recipe, you’ll be entered for weekly sweepstakes to win Pyrex, Baker’s Secret, and CorningWare products.
Get more kid-friendly recipes from Antonia Lofaso.
Recipe and image reprinted from The Busy Mom’s Cookbook with permission from Avery, an imprint of Penguin Group.
Image of Antonia and Xea by Alex Martinez.
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celebrities, Doing Good, Food, GoodyBlog, Holidays
Tuesday, November 12th, 2013
You know Giada De Laurentiis: the Food Network star, author of 10 books, mom, and all-around busy lady who somehow stays thin, healthy, and gorgeous. It’s enough to make us mortals green with envy. But happily, in her new book Giada’s Feel Good Food she is sharing her get-healthy and stay-there secrets with the rest of us. In a recent conversation, Giada revealed some of her tips for eating well on a budget and why she doesn’t believe in diets.
Q: As parents, we focus a lot on good nutrition for kids (which is important of course). But we don’t talk as much about good nutrition for parents. Do you think that’s problematic?
A: I like to say that this is the perfect opportunity to lead by example! My daughter Jade loves asking me questions while I’m cooking, and if I don’t baby-talk her, but rather get on her level and explain what all the yummy things going into my smoothie are and how they are going to fuel my body, then she’s far more likely to try what normally would look to her like a nasty green shake! It’s a great motivator, being an example for anyone.
Q: Why do you think it’s so difficult for many moms to eat well?
A: Two words: busy and tired. The thing is, the best way to help offset those two words is a well-balanced meal plan and some fun exercise. I’m not suggesting a boring diet or some workout that you’re going to dread all day long. Life is short, and we are made to be happy! Take a brisk walk with the kids through the neighborhood. Play hide-and-seek. Or try some nice yoga moves together! Eating healthy can and should be delicious; I think sometimes people just need to have the opportunity to discover an appreciation for fresh foods and natural flavor.
Q: What are three simple things parents can do to improve their diets?
A: Skip sodas, replace refined sugars with natural sugars like those found in fruit, and eat more often in smaller portions. Portion control is truly the key.
Q: Do you have any tips for people on a budget who are trying to eat well?
A: Skip the restaurant and cook at home. It will be easier on your wallet than eating at restaurants night after night. If you don’t consider yourself a cook, start simple and be patient with yourself. Learning to cook for yourself is a great way to be budget-savvy, plus it will taste better because you will learn to make it just how you like it. And if you do have a night out, skip the booze and do dessert at home to skinny up that check!
Q: Why do you say you don’t believe in diets for you?
A: Because I don’t stick to them and I generally resist things that seem like deprivation. I choose to get excited about my health and my body and adjust my meal plan and activities accordingly. Being healthy is a lifestyle and a state of mind, and diets don’t contribute to that in a positive way for me. It’s not sustainable, and I like things I can build on, look forward to, and get excited about. Being healthy is exciting!
Q: Like many moms you are one busy lady! How do you manage to fit exercise and healthy eating into your schedule?
A: For me, the key is good planning. You have to set yourself up for success, you know? I like to cook a few meals in advance to help with the impossible days in the week… there are always a couple!
Q: You mention that when you were younger you were addicted to chocolate and sugar. How did you kick the habit?
A: I got pregnant. Jade changed everything for me. Once I started eating for two, I really started really paying attention to what I was eating and made it a habit. A good one!
Q: If we forced you to choose, what would you say are your favorite three recipes in the book?
A: That’s hard. This book is full of my favorite recipes and feels a little like sharing my diary because a lot of these are what I cook myself… but I would say the Avocado-Chocolate Mousse with Raspberries, the Swiss Chard Rolls with Wild and Brown rice and Indian Spices, and, of course, my go-to Spinach, Ginger, and Apple smoothie [recipe below]!
Q: A lot of moms deal with picky eaters. What do you think is the best way to encourage kids to eat a variety of foods?
A: The best way to encourage them is to involve them in the process! I think the root of picky eaters is that they want control. It’s a power struggle, and I think that’s totally okay. They want to have control of what goes in their bodies, and it’s the perfect opportunity to empower them. Flip through the cookbook with them, see what sounds fun to make, and then cook with them! It will change a picky little eater’s tune just like that.
Q: What are your daughter’s favorite foods?
A: My girl loves her waffles. I’d have to say that’s probably her favorite right now. I’m excited though because she’s adventurous with food and is willing to try new things. She has a strong opinion and knows what she likes, but she’ll give things a shot, which is great.
Q: You’ve also written children’s books. What inspired you?
A: Jade is my ultimate inspiration. I wanted to write something she could enjoy soon, rather than having to wait until she can use my cookbooks. I come from a big Italian family of storytellers and I wanted to have a way to tell about the adventures I had with my own brother when I was a kid. We were fortunate as kids to get to travel a lot but even when we were just playing in our room, it turned into a grand adventure. Our imaginations were limitless, and I really wanted to encourage that curiosity for exploration — exploring the world as well as the kitchen!
Get recipes that will help your baby go start eating solid foods here. Plus, get everything you need for holiday baking from Shop Parents.
Spinach, Ginger, and Apple Smoothie
From Giada’s Feel Good Food
Makes 2 cups; Serves 2
1½ cups ice
½ cup water
1 medium apple, such as Fuji or Honey Crisp, peeled, cored, and cut into ½-inch pieces
1 celery stalk, coarsely chopped
1 (1-inch) piece of fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 cup packed baby spinach leaves
1/3 cup packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
Combine all of the ingredients in the blender and blend on high speed until smooth. Pour into glasses and serve.
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Monday, November 11th, 2013
DIY crafter Alison Caporimo recently released her first book, Instacraft, about fun and simple projects for adorable gifts and décor. We received permission to showcase four crafts from the book on Goodyblog. Come back each Monday (11/4, 11/11, 11/18, 11/25) to see which creations we feature next.
“Create a color scheme that inspires you,” Alison says. “Lay it on the table. Have your hue and eat off of it, too.”
Clear Con-Tact paper (found at Michaels and Amazon)
1. Cut two identical rectangles from Con-Tact paper.
2. Peel one rectangle of Con-Tact paper from the adhesive backing and lay it sticky side up, taping the corners to your workstation surface.
3. Arrange and overlap paint swatches on the Con-Tact paper.
4. Apply a second layer of Con-Tact paper on top of the paint swatches and press along the surface to eliminate air bubbles.
5. Pull the placemat free from the tape and use scissors to cut around the paint swatches.
Alison’s Extra Tips for Parents readers:
- Swap it: Instead of paint swatches, ask your child to create custom artwork, drawings, and paintings for the project.
- Make meal-time fun: Press coloring pages between two sheets of Con-Tact paper and let kids decorate uniquely every time (with washable markers or paint, bits of cereal or fruit).
- Customize placemats to suit the theme of your little one’s birthday—guests can take them to use at home!
- If your child has outgrown placemats, preserve his memorabilia—like baseball cards, concert tickets, sports game flyers, or newspaper clippings—between Con-Tact paper sheets. Hang laminated memories on the fridge or in his room.
For more ideas from Alison Caporimo, follow her on Twitter.
Text adapted from Instacraft, with permission from Ulysses Press. Copyright 2013. All images by Meera Lee Patel.
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Crafts, Food, GoodyBlog, Time for Fun
Friday, November 8th, 2013
“When my daughter wakes up, she opens her eyes and asks ‘What’s for dinner?’”
“I wish I was kidding,” Alex Guarnaschelli laughs. ”By the time she’s eating breakfast, I better have an answer for her.”
Like moms everywhere, this Food Network star faces The Dinner Question. (And thus, trips to the market and food storage tasks.)
Alex, the author of Old-School Comfort Food and mother to a 6-year-old, is the executive chef at Butter in New York City. Last year, she became one of Food Network’s Iron Chefs, and she is a regular judge on Chopped.
Every morning Alex goes to the kitchen to plan her entire day—breakfast, lunch, and dinner included.
Making a plan of attack on your groceries will save time, money, and cut back on waste, she says, which is why she partnered with Glad for the Save It Sunday campaign. The movement, which encourages participants to protect and preserve food, centers on the Sunday ritual of grocery shopping.
“It’s the one day of the week when you can commit to setting aside time: for shopping, cooking ahead meals, and storing other items—it’s about starting the week on the right foot,” she says.
Alex does a lot of her cooking on Sunday, which is why the pledge really speaks to her. But it also goes a step further.
“Ironically, the last thing I want to do when I get home is cook—because I’m doing it all day everyday and by mid-week I’m fried,” she says. “Taking that time on Sunday, and getting joy from it, is wonderful.”
A proponent of reducing waste, Alex is extremely conscious of the issue both at work and at home.
“When I talk to my team about how to prep and store 100 pounds of beans for the restaurant, the same thing applies when I go home and make braised short ribs for my daughter,” she says. “You have to be very proactive.”
According to a 2012 study by the National Resources Defense Council, the average American household throws out 25 percent of the food purchased—roughly $1,500 worth each year.
Try Alex’s tips for saving time, money, and reducing food waste:
• Make a meal plan.
“Figure out what you are going to do with everything you buy,” she says. “It’s a pleasure to have an agenda—you’ll feel like you’re pulling a fast one on everybody because it’s so easy!”
Read the Parents meal-plan guide to get started.
• Stop thinking about leftovers as, well, leftovers.
“Instead of looking at packaging as something that lets you recycle and throw back in the scraps no one ate, think about it as a new beginning,” she says. “And, by making a plan, you’re actually ensuring there aren’t any leftovers.”
Plus, “leftovers” can be better than the first time around: “Growing up my mom would make a big batch of meatballs and sauce and, to me, the sauce tasted better two days later,” she says. “It’s not a leftover—it’s something you created that got better with age or other ingredients.”
• Don’t be hard on yourself.
“Some weeks, I don’t have my act together,” she says. “As a busy working mom, there are nights when I have to say, ‘Guess what kid, it’s fried eggs tonight.’ And that’s okay.”
• Reorganize your fridge.
“The crisper can be the kiss of death. Don’t put your fruits and veggies in there,” she says. “Instead, fill it with club soda and put your produce on display. My favorite thing to do is put herbs in a jar of water on the top shelf, or sometimes right on the kitchen table.”
• Buy different ingredients.
“Challenge yourself to use new items—like a bunch of thyme or mint—by taking one little step each day for a week. In order to use it up, you’ll find creative ways to add the ingredient to dishes.”
To join the #SaveItSunday movement, visit glad.com. If you pledge, you’ll be entered to win a meal prepared by a personal chef.
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alex guarneschelli, cooking, expert advice, family dinner, food storage, food waste, glad, going green, grocery shopping, how-to, meal plan, meal planning, reduce waste, Rheanna O'Neil Bellomo, save it sunday, save money | Categories:
celebrities, Doing Good, Food, GoodyBlog, Green, Solutions, Your Life
Thursday, November 7th, 2013
Rounding up the family together for Thanksgiving (and having them get along) is already hard enough without the added worry of creating dishes to satisfy certain diets and picky eaters. And if you have family members who have certain food allergies and sensitivities (especially to gluten), you might feel even more overwhelmed.
But don’t throw in the towel yet.
Hosting a gluten-free Thanksgiving feast is possible — and Udi’s Gluten Free has simple and delicious recipes that can even convert gluten lovers (like me). Recently, another editor and I were invited to a special Udi’s Thanksgiving luncheon, along with other Meredith editors, to sample gluten-free takes on classic holiday dishes. As a foodie and someone who believed going gluten-free meant eating pale imitations of “real” foods, I was surprised by the versatile spread and even more surprised by the delicious flavors.
On the menu was a whole course that incorporated gluten-free bread, chips, and cookies:
I could definitely see the sweet potato hummus and roasted beet salad on my own Thanksgiving table, which usually has some gluten-free (and dairy-free) dishes made especially for my little nephew, who has a few food allergies. Even if no one in your family has gluten allergies, there are still some benefits to going gluten-free, like taming tummy troubles and maintaining a healthy weight. And some studies have shown a gluten-free diet could possibly help kids with autism, though research results are inconclusive.
Best of all: these gluten-free dishes could easily substitute Thanksgiving mainstays (without sacrificing tastiness) and be worth repeating for Christmas, perhaps served with an additional dessert like ice cream sandwiches made with Udi’s maple pecan chocolate chip cookies. So now that you have some new recipes, I hope this year’s dinner planning will be just a little easier!
More Gluten-Free Foods on Parents.com
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Food, GoodyBlog, Holidays
Wednesday, October 16th, 2013
Blogger Jessica Fisher is a meal-planning and food-prepping guru. On weekends you’ll find her cooking up a storm, making up to 30 dinners to freeze and then reheat as needed throughout the month. This freezer-cooking method inspired her first book, Not Your Mother’s Make-Ahead & Freeze Cookbook, which hit bookstores recently. Fisher also shares tips for managing meals, home, and family on her two websites: LifeasMOM and GoodCheapEats. We asked the mom of six (!) how she gets dinner on the table in a flash so that you can, too.
What inspired you to share your cooking and home-making experiences in a blog?
I have always been a home cook, starting when I was about six or seven years old. My mom let me have free reign in the kitchen, so I was primarily self-taught. Many of my jobs as a teen and in college were food-related, including catering and waiting tables in restaurants. Over time I learned about food, from prepping to eating.
GoodCheapEats is all about food for families: how to get dinner on the table in a timely manner, make it fun for kids, and remain economical. I started it because, at the time, our family was in debt. By cutting back and being smarter about spending and saving, we paid off $18,000 in about a year and a half.
How does freezer-cooking fit in?
When I was pregnant, my friend and I decided to try freezer cooking for the first time. We spent the whole weekend cooking up a bunch of meals, packaging them, and then freezing them. That week, it was incredibly nice to come home and reheat a dish the oven, on the stove, or in the microwave. To have that luxury for a month was totally worth the two days I invested!
That was 17 years ago. Since then, I’ve conducted personal research and it’s been all trial and error. My family is used to my experiments, many of which have led to culinary adventures and memory-making!
You have six children ranging in ages from 5 to 16. How do you manage such a large dinner table while staying on budget?
We typically serve buffet style up at the counter. I will plate for little ones and everyone else serves themselves—it’s so much easier this way.
By planning and cooking everything in advance, the cost-savings are huge. This way, I can buy in bulk and then make a month’s worth of dinners for about $300. That means each meal for eight people costs about $10—that’s a great ratio. Plus, I’ve saved on energy bills from using the stove and other appliances less often.
What other benefits might families see from using the freezer-cooking method?
Saving time, keeping a healthy diet, and having peace of mind. Once I fill my freezer, I don’t have to think about, “What’s for dinner?” until next month. Freezing is my sanity saver. Plus, it saves us from going for fast food when we’re in a pinch—that’s why I always keep burritos or soup in the freezer!
So what exactly can we put in the freezer?
There is so much that can freeze, that it’s more about what can’t: soft cheeses, anything with mayo, deli cheese or meats, and obvious items like salads. The “What Can’t You Freeze?” section of the book goes into more detail.
How does your freezer-cooking method work?
Choose recipes that have common ingredients. When chopping onions for one dish, you’re doing so for multiple dishes—just like a larger commercial kitchen that has a prep cook. Once everything is prepped, you simply put the items together in different ways. This is what cuts down on time and hassle.
To save time, get as many things as you can. I call it getting my “maids” working: my two slow cookers, bread machine, and stock pots on all stove burners. Use the technology at your disposal to help get your timing right.
When you’re ready to freeze, plastic zip-top bags are good options, but I love heavy-duty plastic containers with lids. Just be sure all food cools completely before stowing it away. Chilling dishes in the refrigerator first works well.
Label dates and names clearly, not only for food-safety reasons but also to avoid mistaken identities. One night, my husband thought beef gravy was chocolate ice cream. Yuck! And don’t forget to rotate your stock—all items should be used within two to three months.
So can moms combine pre-made, frozen items with fresh items?
Of course! I highly recommend stir-fries: freeze your choice of protein prepared in a sauce. Then, when you’re reheating, add fresh peppers, onion, and snap peas.
How can moms who’ve never cooked in bulk get started with make-ahead freezer cooking? What are good learning curve tips? What about easy first recipes?
It depends on how comfortable you are with cooking to begin with. If you’re a home cook with a little experience, it can be a smooth transition. If you haven’t cooked from scratch very much, it can be overwhelming.
I always suggest that if you have a favorite meal, start with that. This way, you know your family likes it and you simply make a double or triple batch. If you’re only freezing two meals during your week of cooking, you can experiment with how you package it and how your freezer responds. Then, move on to making short meal plans.
To get started, choose a couple of recipes and just go for it—it takes practice so try, try again. You can’t really lose with the plans in the book, especially because I’ve already made grocery lists for you!
Does this mean mom has to sacrifice her entire weekend cooking to make the weeknights easier?
There are shorter ways to cook in bulk. Sometimes I make several dishes over the course of a few weeknights, after kids are asleep. If you don’t want or need to do a full 30-day prep, it can be as easy as doubling or tripling dinner.
Or try recycling menu plans. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel every week. Try having a meatloaf night on Monday, or tacos on Tuesday. That takes the guesswork out of it. With things like pizza, you can vary the toppings each week and keep it healthy with salad and veggie dippers on the side.
Okay, so you had a crazy weekend and your freezer stock is out. What is your go-to recipe during the week?
If worse comes to worse, I always have red sauce frozen and pasta in the cupboard. Having a back-up plan takes the pressure off—because sometimes, we just don’t have the time or energy!
Interview has been edited and condensed.
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Food, GoodyBlog, Your Life
Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013
Most of us have the best of intentions when it comes to putting a healthy, appealing dinner on the table day in and day out. But, finding no-fail recipes can be a challenge. Moms and food editors Kathleen Brennan and Caroline Campion have come to our rescue with their new cookbook Keepers. A collection of quick and easy (but interesting) recipes, the book is also a friendly guide for the beginning cook that promises to reveal the secrets to happiness in the kitchen.
Q: What is a “keeper”?
A: A keeper is a recipe that you turn to time and again because it’s foolproof, the best of its kind, and a crowd-pleaser. Most people have at least a couple keepers in their repertoire—their mom’s macaroni and cheese, a roast chicken they’ve perfected, a favorite brownie—but we wanted to give families a book filled with weeknight keepers to help them get from Monday to Friday, week after week. And we paired them with lots of tips and advice to help them become better cooks in general, too.
Q: What are some tips for moms who are just starting to cook for families?
A: Start simple. Master the basics first: a balanced vinaigrette that you can use to dress a simple green salad, warm grains, or leftover roasted vegetables; a basic tomato sauce that you can make almost as quickly as opening a jar of tomato sauce (which generally has added sugar, unpronounceable preservatives, and excessive salt); a turkey chili that you can make ahead and keep warm on the stove on those nights when everybody is eating at different times. Mastering these basics will give you an amazing head start to feeding your family!
Q: How can cooking at home help families who are on a budget?
A: This is a no-brainer: if you were to spend a week feeding your family a menu of take-out and frozen dinners and then compared the receipts with those from a supermarket shopping list for home-cooked meals (beef stir-fry, turkey tacos, chicken pot pie, pizza with store-bought dough), you would see how much you save by making dinner. Plus, you know EXACTLY what went into the food and chances are it will be healthier and more delicious. But we’re not saying that you shouldn’t ever order in pizza. In fact, we recommend giving yourself one night off from cooking Monday to Friday, whether that means serving pizza, leftovers, sandwiches, whatever.
Q: I love some of your tips, especially “season like you mean it” and “taste your food first”. Why are these so important?
A: There’s nothing worse than spending a ton of time and effort on a meal and then having it taste like sawdust because you forgot to add the salt—yet a very common mistake! And it’s easily avoidable if you taste the dish before you serve it.
Q: What is your philosophy regarding buying organic?
A: For many families, buying organic is just not in their budget, so we say buy organic when possible, but also when it counts (so organic fruit and vegetables—yes; organic ketchup and Oreos—no). We also think that eating locally can be equally important as eating organically: supporting local farmers and shopping at farmers’ markets.
Q: Is it realistic to think that kids can help cook on a busy weeknight?
A: It depends on a few things: your mood, the kids’ interest, how much time you have. Base it on what works on that particular night. At the very least, maybe they can help set the table, toss the salad, or grate the cheese, so they are involved in the process of getting dinner done but no one is making anyone crazy. But there’s nothing wrong with saving the more involved cooking-together experience for lazy Sundays.
Q: What do you do find is the most challenging part of putting nourishing and appealing meals on the table day in and day out?
A: Probably time and scheduling. We think the best strategy is to try and sketch out a plan of what you’ll be making for the week ahead of time. So if Monday is going to be particularly hectic, plan on making one of our “lay-up” recipes like angel hair pasta with spicy tomato cream sauce, and if on Wednesday you know everyone will be eating at different times—what we call a “staggered” dinnertime—prepare something that holds well on the back of the stove, like our smoky turkey chili or Japanese “meat and potatoes”. If on Thursday night you have a bit more time, then make our roasted chicken breasts with sweet potatoes and kale salad. Another strategy that helps us deal with the week ahead is to try and make a few things on Sunday that you can serve during the week: roasting a few sheet pans of vegetables or making one our “lifesavers”, sauces and dressings such as magic miso-mayo and chimichurri, that keep for several days and make anything taste better, including store-bought rotisserie chicken or leftover grains and veggies.
Q: Picture this: you’ve just made a healthy, from-scratch meal in 30 minutes. SUCCESS! And then your kids won’t touch a bite. What next?
A: Do not stress—children are unpredictable creatures! One day they will devour an entire plate of your homemade fish fingers and the next time you make the exact same dish they will tell you it “looks different” and refuse to take a bite. You can cajole them all you want—cry, beg, bribe—but once they’ve decided they don’t want something, that’s probably it. Rather than going into short-order cook mode (a habit worth avoiding) and not enjoying the meal ourselves, we say, “This is dinner. Mommy is not making anything else, and I would love for you to try it because I think you will like it.” And if this fails, we do what one experienced mom of grown kids taught us and put bread and sandwich fixings on the table and invite them to make their own sandwich.
Q: What is your goal with this cookbook?
A: There are so many resources these days for people looking for help in the kitchen. You can type the word “chicken breast recipe” into the computer and it will come up with a zillion choices. But how to find one that will actually work, not call for an ingredient you probably don’t have, tastes terrific, and can be ready before the kids start to revolt? It’s often a crapshoot. That’s where Keepers comes in: every recipe is tried-and-true, most can be made in about 35 minutes or less and none call for pricey or exotic ingredients. We share lots of advice about how to stock your pantry, how to shop, season your food, and improve leftovers. It’s meant to be your go-to resource for Monday to Friday dinners, and even better, it’s like having a knowledgeable, but fun friend alongside you in the kitchen. Now if the book could also do the dishes, you’d be all set.
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Friday, September 27th, 2013
If you’re like many busy parents across the country (including us), it can be tough to come up with quick meal ideas to keep your family healthy and happy. Enter food blog superstar Stacie Billis. The author of “One Hungry Mama,” a family-friendly food blog with tips, tricks and recipes to encourage healthy eating, is also a child development specialist who produced her own organic family food brand. She believes that keeping an eye on what kids eat is just as important as monitoring what they play with and watch on TV. For the month of October, Billis will be joining the fun over on our Pinterest page and pinning her favorite recipes, parenting tricks and other One Hungry Mama-approved picks.
In addition to being our guest pinner, Billis also lends her voice to the Huffington Post and Cool Mom Picks, where she is a regular contributor. Her work has also been featured in publications including Parents magazine and Every Day with Rachael Ray magazine to name just a few.
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