Archive for the ‘ Cookbooks ’ Category

Here Are 4 Tips for a Safe and Delicious Gluten-Free Thanksgiving from Blogger Nicole Hunn (Plus a Breadstick Recipe!)

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

Do you need to go gluten-free this Thanksgiving? Popular blogger Nicole Hunn is here to help. Check out her 4 Tips for a Safe and Delicious Gluten-Free Thanksgiving below. From her new book, Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread, she also shares a breadstick recipe she swears is as good as The Olive Garden’s!

“As the mom of a gluten-free kid, I know stress can come as its own special side dish to family get-togethers and holidays. Double it when you’re talking about Thanksgiving, or as I like to call it, The Food Olympics. But whether you’re hosting your own Thanksgiving this year or you’ll be a guest in someone else’s home, you can (and should!) expect great gluten-free food for your gluten-free kid, with all the trimmings! In fact, since we moms of kids with food intolerances and allergies tend to think about food more than the average person, our allergy-friendly food should be the envy of the table. I can help you with that! Beyond the food, I recommend you stay away from religion and politics at the dinner table, and the holiday should go off without a hitch.

Before I share with you a gluten-free bread recipe from my new book, Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread, here are a Four Tips for a Safe and Delicious Gluten-Free Holiday for yourself and those you love:

1. If you’re hosting the holiday, guests feel uncomfortable showing up empty-handed. Since I keep an entirely gluten-free household, I ask guests to bring wine or fruit. I tell them that this is going to be the most stress-free holiday that they’ve ever had, since they don’t have to lift a finger.

2. Second, if you’re a guest in someone else’s home, don’t expect them to cater to your and your family’s dietary needs. In fact, I much prefer it when they don’t, since then I am free of any worry that their kind attempts to help will end up making my son sick. Did they chop up those vegetables on the same cutting board they use for regular bread? Did they bake those muffins in their regular muffin tin, the one they used the day before to bake regular cupcakes? Instead, I offer to bring as many sides as the hosts will allow. Then, I just serve my son his meal first before everyone else digs in. Otherwise, I basically cater a whole meal for my gluten-free son and bring it, already warm, in an insulated cooler. That’s why I prefer to host. It’s easier! But we do what we have to do for our kids.

3. Make a fabulous dessert. They’ll always remember you for it.

4. Finally, pick a part of the holiday meal that is typically filled with gluten, like breadsticks or rolls, and knock one out of the park with an amazing gluten-free version. Like these Soft Olive Garden-Style Garlic Butter Breadsticks, from my new Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Cookbook:

Soft Olive Garden–Style Garlic Butter Breadsticks

Makes 12 breadsticks

Bread Dough

4 1/4 cups (595 g) Gluten-Free Bread Flour (recipe included below), plus more for sprinkling
2 teaspoons (6 g) instant yeast
2 tablespoons (24 g) sugar
2 teaspoons (12 g) kosher salt
6 tablespoons (84 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons warm water (about 95°F)
Garlic butter
3 tablespoons (42 g) unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon garlic salt

First make the bread dough. (more…)

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The Casserole Queens Release Their New Book and Share Their Tater Tot Casserole Recipe

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

The Casserole Queens have taken over my blog! Best-selling authors and frequent TV guest chefs Crystal Cook and Sandy Pollock tell you all about their new cookbook, getting kids to eat casseroles and even give you a super-easy and delicious recipe involving tater tots. Read on:

“Mealtime can become a battle between kids wanting their favorite foods and your desire to keep them healthy. We try to offer up menu items that can create some peace at the dinner table! For example, in our first book, The Casserole Queens Cookbook: Put Some Lovin’ in Your Oven, we took a kid favorite (Mac & Cheese) and gave it a unique twist. At first glance, our Lunch Lady Doris’ Spicy Mac and Cheese has all the things kids love, pasta and cheese – yet we sneak in some broccoli and sun-dried tomatoes to help balance out the dish. We Queens are sneaky like that!

We pull the same trick in our new book,The Casserole Queens Make-a-Meal Cookbook, with our Gluten Free Corn Dog Casserole! Just the smell alone will get the kids to the table in time for dinner. Maybe even the neighbor kids. Okay, forget the kids, who are we kidding? We love to eat it too! Casseroles are great for disguising vegetables, as they are layered with in the dish. You kids won’t even know you hit them with some vitamins!

Here are some other suggestions for kid-friendly meals from our Make-A-Meal Cookbook. And keep reading below for our Q&A with resident book reviewer and mom, Kristen Kemp. Then, below that, check out our recipe for Tater Tot Casserole! (more…)

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Mario Batali’s Sons Give Me the Scoop About Their Easy and Delicious Recipes in ‘The Batali Brothers Cookbook’

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

Benno and Leo Batali have grown up eating their dad, Mario’s, fine food. It’s no surprise that these two kids know their way around a kitchen and have already co-written their first food tome, The Batali Brothers Cookbook. I’m sharing it with my first grade twins who love to eat and to help. They can easily make the boys’ recipes such as Cinnamon Swirl French Toast (see the whole thing below), Sloppy Sloppy Joe’s and Blue Cheese Pocket Burgers. Mario steps in for the second half of the book to add signature family dishes like Lamb Shanks with Leeks and Grapes and Apple Fritters.


See what Benno and Leo had to say about having Mario Batali for a dad below. Scroll down a litter further for a recipe you can do with your kids tomorrow morning.

KK: How old were you when your parents let you start cooking in the kitchen? What was/were the very first dish you prepared?
BB: We’ve always cooked withour dad.

KK: A lot of moms (like me!) are hesitant to let their kids start cooking. Why is it important to stop worrying and get our children started? I know mine really want to.
BB: Once you allow kids in the kitchen, then it’s always part of the game. Our living room is our kitchen and our kitchen is our living room. It’s only natural that we help out with the cooking. Keep the knives out of reach, but otherwise, it’s goot to get them involved.

KK: If you had to choose, what’s your absolute favorite recipe in your new book?
BB: Pocket Burgers. Hands down. It’s a simple adaptation of a classic recipe. We change what’s in the pocket depending on what we find at the farmer’s market.

KK: So tell us, what’s it like having a famous chef for a father?
BB: It’s cook that Jimmy Fallon’s been to our house for Super Bowl Sunday.

Cinnamon Swirl French Toast
This is our favorite breakfast dish to eat on the weekend because it reminds us that we should be relaxing and doing what we want. When we were younger we used to eat it every weekend, but now we only have it on special occasions, so it is a real treat for us. Makes 10 slices of French toast

3 eggs
1 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
10 slices cinnamon bread
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, plus more as needed
Maple syrup and butter, for serving 

1. In a bowl, beat together the eggs, milk, cinnamon, vanilla extract and nutmeg.
2. Set a cast-iron or nonstick sauté pan over medium heat.
3. Put a couple of slices of bread in the mix. Coat each side of the bread and let it sit for half a minute to soak up the egg.
4. Put 1 tablespoon of the butter in the pan and let it melt. Put the bread into the pan and cook for 3 minutes on each side or until browned and cooked to your liking.
5. Cook the rest of the bread the same way, adding butter to the pan each time.
6. Serve hot, with maple syrup and butter.


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Do Your Kids Love Noodles? Don’t Miss ‘Noodlemania!’ by Melissa Barlow

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

Thank you to Noodlemania’s author Melissa Barlow for this delectable guest post that ALL ABOUT PASTA! Don’t miss her easy Mighty Mac ‘n Cheese recipe at the bottom.

“Kids like pasta. Or maybe they love it. Yeah, on second thought, they love it. And I mean L-O-V-E, love. At least my kiddos do. We have homemade mac and cheese for lunch at our house at least once or twice a week. Not to mention, there’s typically a couple other “noodle-y” dinners as well. And these always seem to be the meals that the kids literally (well, almost) lick their plates clean.

So, I know Noodlemania! is my book, but I just have say that kids are gonna love it. They can flip through the pages and find any of 50 playful pasta recipes that they can make themselves. The recipes are easy and, in the words of my three-year-old daughter, “Super nummy.”

Kids are pretty keen on comfort food, and that’s what makes Noodlemania! so appealing. Many of the recipes have quirky twists on old classics. One of my kids’ favorites is “Somethin’ Fishy,” which is a simple tuna noodle casserole that features those beloved little cheddar snack fish that seem to be in every child’s repertoire.

My kids also beg me to make them Mighty Mac ‘n’ Cheese (see my recipe below!), as well as Curly Worms—a dish that literally tastes like a ham and cheese sandwich in a bowl. My little boy loves the Green Martian Noodles, and so do I! It is a great healthy choice and is made with whole wheat spaghetti and a creamy avocado, lime and basil sauce.

There are many other healthy options and the kids eat them all! The Mini Spaghetti Pizzas can be topped with favorite veggies and are always a big hit. Toss ’Em Tacos Pasta is also another winner at our house. I’ve found that when the kids help me prepare their meals, the veggies don’t scare them off. They are actually excited to eat what they make.

With all that said, I hope you’ll try out these favorites. My family painstakingly narrowed it down to the following, which was SUPER hard to do!”


Mighty Mac ‘n’ Cheese
2 cups elbow macaroni
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
¾ cup milk
1 ½ cups grated cheddar cheese, plus more for garnish
Salt and pepper, to taste

Cook the noodles according to package directions; drain and set aside.

In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat and then stir in the flour to form a paste. Slowly stir in the milk. Continue stirring until the sauce starts to thicken, about 3 to 5 minutes. Gradually stir in the cheese until melted. Stir the cooked noodles into the cheese sauce until coated. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle more cheese over the top to serve. Makes 4 servings.

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Marina Delio, author of ‘The Yummy Mummy Kitchen’ Cookbook Shares Two Incredible, Kid-Friendly Recipes

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

The new cookbook, The Yummy Mummy Kitchen by popular blogger Marina Delio, will absolutely make you hungry. The elegant photos are luscious–some of the most beautiful I’ve seen. (And I nearly died over the gorgeous tables, dishes, place mats and napkins.) The recipes are geared to families, but they’re not just for kids. Marina cooks for highly varied and sophisticated palettes. Her dishes are easy-ish with a doable number of ingredients. All of them are pretty and flavorful enough to serve to guests. Her children are very lucky–they get grape and rosemary flat bread and sugared blueberry goat cheese crostinis for snacks!

I asked her one important question: How do you get kids to eat such a wide variety of foods–especially veggies? Marina told me: ”I’ve found many ways to get kids to eat their veggies. One tip is simply to expect that your children will eat most vegetables, and serve them frequently. It can take time for children to accept new foods, so keep putting them on their plates and incorporating them as the stars of the meal. Often it helps to cook small vegetables into kid-approved dishes instead of piling them on the side. For example, most kids love a mild chili, cheesy calzone, lasagna, pasta, or enchiladas. All of these dishes are easy to create in a plant-based way. Get excited and say, ‘Isn’t this gorgeous? Look at all the colors!’ The bonus of cooking this way is that you only have to cook one dish at dinnertime, rather than a main dish and a veggie side. It can be hard to switch kids from hot dogs to colorful healthy dinners, but in the long run they will thank you for it. Don’t offer alternatives at dinnertime and your children will eventually accept and enjoy the healthier dinners you’re serving.”

Marina was also kind enough to pick two of her favorites from The Yummy Mummy Kitchen and share them with us. I definitely see her Green Enchiladas and Grilled Shrimp and Corn Salad in our future.

Green Enchiladas
Serves 4 to 6

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
5 ounces fresh baby spinach
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
½ cup cooked brown rice
1 cup sliced cremini mushrooms
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
2 cups mild tomatillo green salsa, fresh or jarred
½ cup half and half
6 (9-inch) flour or brown-rice tortillas
1 cup shredded Mexican cheese, Monterey Jack, cheddar, Colby, or a blend
1 avocado, chopped, for garnish
¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves
1 lime, cut into wedges

Preheat the oven to 375˚F. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the spinach and toss until just wilted. Remove from the heat and transfer the spinach to a medium bowl. To the spinach add the beans, rice, mushrooms, cilantro, and goat cheese. Gently toss to combine.

In another medium bowl, stir together the salsa and half and half. Pour half of the salsa mixture into an
11 × 7-inch baking dish. Fill the tortillas with 1 cup of filling each and roll up. Place the filled tortillas seam side down in the baking dish. Pour the remaining half of the salsa mixture over the enchiladas. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake uncovered for 25 to 30 minutes.

Cool slightly. Garnish with avocado, cilantro, and lime.


Grilled Shrimp and Corn Salad
Serves 4 to 6

1 pound large peeled, deveined shrimp
1 ounce tequila
Juice of 2 limes
3 ears of corn, husks removed
2 heads romaine lettuce, chopped
½ cup black beans, drained and rinsed
½ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 avocado, sliced
¼ cup favorite salad dressing
Chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
Sliced lime, for garnish
Tortilla chips (optional)

Thread the shrimp on skewers and place in a baking dish. Coat with tequila and lime juice and marinate 15 minutes. Oil and preheat a grill or grill pan to medium-high heat. Brush the corn with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the shrimp and corn on the grill and grill about 3 minutes per side until cooked through. Cool slightly. Remove the shrimp from skewers and slice the kernels off the cobs.

In a large bowl, toss the lettuce with the beans, tomatoes, avocado, and dressing. Arrange grilled shrimp and corn on top and garnish with cilantro and lime. Serve with tortilla chips, if desired.

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