We’re really working on enjoying family dinner, but some nights it’s still easier to toss the tot a bowl of boiled noodles topped with butter and call it a night. Spring zucchini are seriously cheap at the grocery store right now, so I couldn’t resist bagging up a ton and bringing it home. And this easy and seriously healthy dish is so simple, my daughter basically made it.
2 cups tomato sauce
1 cup shredded provolone cheese
1/4 cup Italian breadcrumbs
Slice the fresh green zucchinis in half and then cut a bit off the rounded sides so they’d lay flat in your big pan. Coat the pan with a bit of olive oil and then create an even layer of the zucchini. Preheat your oven to 400˚F.
Now top the sliced zucchini with the tomato sauce — your favorite kind is perfect. And you can use as little or as much as you’d like. After my daughter got tired of dolloping the sauce, she layered on the cheese (after a bit of taste testing), and then sprinkled the breadcrumbs over the top.
Pop the zucchini casserole into the hot oven and let it bake and bubble for 25 minutes. Your baked zucchini Parmesan is ready! Serve with seared chicken breasts or enjoy as is for a delicious vegetarian dinner.
There’s nothing like the soft sweet crunch of cornbread muffins. One of my favorite things while growing up where muffins from that little box of mix that only required an egg, a bit of oil, and a splash of milk to make. The other day I had an abundance of fresh spring zucchini and knew they would taste divine paired with cornmeal. I baked a batch of muffins and totally admit to winging the recipe. But after they were eaten within hours, I decided it was a good idea to whip up another batch — making sure to write the ingredients down. And with the Shine Supper Club all about revisiting our favorite childhood eats, this recipe mixes classic cornbread with healthy and fresh zucchini.
1 1/2 cup cornmeal
1 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 pound shredded zucchini
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup oil
Preheat your oven to 350˚F and get out a big mixing bowl. Measure and add the cornmeal, flour, sugar, and salt to the bowl and give a stir to break up any lump. You can also add the ingredients to a blender and pulse on low to create a really smooth and delicate cornbread muffin.
Now add the baking powder, baking soda, and shredded zucchini. Crack in the eggs, add the milk and oil, and stir to incorporate. That’s it — really.
Line your muffin tin with liners or slightly grease and then ladle in the batter. Pop in the hot oven and bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until the tops are lightly golden.
Remove the muffins and let cool for 10 minutes before eating. They’re wonderful topped with a bit of butter, drizzled with honey, or slathered with cream cheese.
It’s been a busy week, so there hasn’t been time for doing anything fun and crafty. A freelance job that I’ve really enjoyed for the last several months has turned into an actual position (YAY!), so instead of hanging out in my house being anti-social I enjoyed a bit of actual interaction with creative and smart ladies that I’ll hopefully be working with for a very long time. So if things seem a bit quiet over here, head over to POPSUGAR Pets and POPSUGAR Smart Living to see what I’ve been up to.
After the busy week, cookies were in order. I love cookies and am always trying to put a fun spin on things. I was craving carrot cake, but was feeling a bit too lazy for baking and had a demanding daughter that wanted something sweet that didn’t require any waiting. After gathering the ingredients, we were ready for making sweet and tasty cookies.
And you can put a healthy spin on these cookies by using whole wheat flour, which would also give them a bit more crunch.
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon maple syrup (optional)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup shredded carrot
1 cup oats
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Preheat your oven to 350˚F then measure and add the butter, sugars, maple syrup (which is really delicious in these cookies, but if you don’t have any, they’ll still be yum-o), salt, and vanilla. Use a hand mixer to cream the butter and sugar together.
Now add the egg and give the ingredients another mixing. Now measure and add the shredded carrot, flour, and oats. Sprinkle in the baking soda and powder and then stir until incorporated.
Line your baking tray with parchment paper and scoop large spoonfuls of the cookie batter onto the tray leaving an inch or so between cookies to allow for spreading while baking. Gently press with your fingers to create rounds.
Pop the cookies into the hot oven and set the timer for 15 minutes.
Remove from the oven and enjoy!
*Makes around 24 cookies, depending on how big you make them….
Thank you Country Crock for sponsoring this post.
There’s nothing like fresh veggies this time of year, which makes tossing together a quick, easy, and healthy casserole just about the best thing at the end of a long day. With my daughter really excited about helping to make dinner, and doing the grocery shopping, I ended up with a few more than the three fresh zucchinis that I had selected in my shopping basket the other day. Instead of putting them back, we happily brought them home for making this delicious and low-fat casserole, which is the perfect thing for celebrating spring. Instead of being heavy and covered with loads of cheese, you can enjoy this casserole as a side or on its own. Swapping butter for Country Crock cuts down on extra calories and you’ll never taste the difference when using low-fat cheeses and milk.
This recipe is seriously easy, so invite your little one into the kitchen to help make this light casserole. And if you love creating tasty concoctions as much as I do, head over to Country Crock Stars, enter a picture of your latest casserole, and share in 100 words how you demonstrate creativity and resourcefulness in the kitchen for a chance to win $5,000.
Now that the days are getting longer, we’re making a big attempt at eating family dinner. Yeah, I’ve made two dinners a night for the last few years, but it’s (amazingly) worked out just fine. I make something fun and healthy with the tot and then something a bit more sophisticated for the adults once she goes to bed. Over the last few weeks it’s quickly become apparent this schedule will no longer work. This means a big adjustment to my recipes, creating kid-friendly and adult faire that’s delicious for everyone.
This recipe is wonderfully easy, can even be prepped ahead of time, and is a perfect diner to make with your kids. And it’s easily adjustable to your family’s liking. Swap prosciutto or sliced roast chicken for the turkey, sprinkle in some pepper jack, or layer on a few roasted red peppers. The results are delicious, healthy, and on the table in less than an hour.
4 slices whole wheat bread
1/2 pound roast turkey
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/4 cup pesto
1 cup fresh spinach leaves
1 tablespoon water
1/4 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon grainy mustard
Hot sauce (optional)
Place the pesto, water, and fresh spinach and pulse until it’s nice and smooth. Place in a small bowl for your child to use later. Now offer your child a lightly greased (with butter) 8 x 11-inch casserole dish and invite her to layer the bottom with two slices of bread. Sure, you can use white bread, but whole wheat is just a bit healthier. Artisan bread would be absolutely delicious, or mix it up with rye or sourdough. Go ahead and preheat your oven to 375˚F so it’s nice and hot when you’re ready.
Offer your child the pesto along with a small spoon and invite her to scoop and spread the sauce evenly over the slices. Try to reserve half of the pesto sauce for use later…
Next, it’s time for the cheese and turkey. Once again, try to reserve half for later… And it’s okay to taste test along the way.
Top with the remaining slices of bread, and another layer of the pesto sauce, turkey, and shredded cheese. In a small mixing bowl, add the eggs, milk, grainy mustard, and a touch of hot sauce. You can also add a few sprinkles of salt and pepper. Give things a good whisking and then pour over the casserole, pressing the tops of the bread with a spatula as needed to coat the slices.
Place in the hot oven for 30 minutes or until the tops of the slices are nicely browned. It’s as simple as slicing and serving! Finish the meal with a side salad and you’re good to go.
So it was Easter over the weekend and I don’t know about you, but we’ve got leftover eggs. We also had leftover (gasp) bacon — how it wasn’t all gobbled up, I have no idea. There’s nothing better than bacon and eggs, and with a healthy sauce, this leftover egg sandwich is just about the tastiest lunch around. And it’s as easy as shelling a couple of eggs and layering on the goodness.
2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
2 slices of bacon cut in half
1 tablespoon plain Greek-style yogurt
1 teaspoon grainy mustard
1 leaf romaine or lettuce
2 slices whole wheat bread, toasted
Gather the ingredients for making the sandwich. We had a great time naturally dying our Easter eggs this year, with really pretty results. You can use any type of mustard, but I love a strong grainy mustard for this sandwich.
Mix together the spread, which is wonderfully low-fat and seriously delicious.
Toss two slices of whole wheat bread in the toaster and thinly slice the eggs while they are toasting. Once they pop, spread each with equal amounts of the sauce and then begin layering on the ingredients. Give each side a sprinkle of salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lemon.
Press the sandwich together and cut in half. You’re ready for lunch!
I was really craving something deliciously chocolate-y the other day but didn’t want all that butter, sugar, and fat. And I wasn’t sure if I wanted cookies or brownies (yeah, I’m indecisive) so decided to combine the two with an egg-free and semi-healthy recipe that totally took care of my chocolate craving. And this recipe is so easy your kid can make it. Really. Mine basically did.
1 tablespoon applesauce
1 tablespoon plain yogurt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup sugar
Dash of salt
1/2 cup flour (you could use whole wheat or half white and half wheat)
1/4 cup Dutch process cocoa
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips (optional – or you can swap with carob chips)
Measure and add all the ingredients to a mixing bowl and stir until incorporated. While you are getting things ready, preheat your oven to 350˚ F and line an 8×8 inch baking pan with parchment.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread, creating a nice and even layer of goodness. When your oven is ready toss the brownie cookie bites into the oven. For really fudgy bites, bake for 12 minutes. For a crisper crust, and a nicely set brownie cookie, leave in the oven for around 18 minutes, which what I did. Remove and let come to room temperature before even touching them.
These bake wonderfully, but if you try to cut them right now, they’ll be a big melty mess. Yes, a big melty mess is still wonderfully tasty, but your brownie cookie bites will resemble a warm baked pudding more than a crisp and gooey brownie cookie bite if you cut them fresh from the oven. After around 30 minutes, remove from the pan with the help of the parchment paper and cut into small squares.
Depending on how big you like your brownie cookies will decide how many you get from the pan. I think we cut around 20, but ate at least four right away. I’ve experimented with healthy brownies in the past, and these totally won out on flavor and gooey factor. And you can make them even healthier by using whole wheat flour and swapping a banana for the veggie oil (they just might be a bit denser with a touch of a nana tang).
I love cooking with my tot and have been exploring the wonders of the kitchen with her by my side for quite some time now. But there are times that I would love for her to get out of my kitchen and do some pretend cooking on her own. But the other day, when she was insistent on making some sort of treat, I caved. Well, yeah, I kinda wanted some sort of treat too.
We didn’t have much for tossing together something super sweet, but did have a few basics that, once expertly mixed together by my tot, would be just fine. And I’ve discovered that it doesn’t really matter what we make, or how it tastes, she usually eats it if she made it. There are a few things I’ve learned from inviting my youngster into the kitchen:
-The first, and most important, is to NOT worry about the mess. Really. You’ve got to let it go. By containing the potential disaster, you’re able to make clean up less time consuming. I try to have all ingredients, mixing spoons, bowls, measuring cups and spoons, and damp paper towels at the ready so I don’t have to leave my tot while she’s mixing.
-It’s probably not going to taste amazing. Even if you measure everything exactly, when cooking with kids, stuff just happens. Your tot may give the salt shaker an extra sprinkle, the oil may be drizzled too long, or something may be forgotten in the chaos. Guess what? Your kid won’t care — she’s excited about the process, and doing some actual cooking. So try not to wrinkle up your nose and dig in, which will show your child that you are impressed with her budding culinary skills.
-Keep it simple. Please. Now is not the time to try making perfectly cooked macaroons or something you’ve never attempted before. Stick with things you’re comfortable cooking and baking so your little one isn’t overwhelmed with the idea of getting in the kitchen.
We made these super easy and wonderfully adjustable peanut butter cookies the other day, and not only are they tasty, they are healthy. So grab your little one and get in the kitchen!
1 cup peanut butter
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup oats
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Dash of salt
1 cup flour
(You could add chocolate chips, a dash of cinnamon, raisins……)
Preheat your oven to 350˚F.
It’s as easy as helping your child measure and add the ingredients as they are listed to a mixing bowl. Our rule is that there is no taste testing after the egg has been added to any recipe, and to HOLD the BOWL while stirring. I try to stand back and let her at it. Yes, sometimes I need to give a helping hand when measuring and adding ingredients, but letting your child figure it out makes cooking together really special.
The dough holds together really well, making it perfect for rolling in balls and then pressing flat with your fingers, which is why we decided to call them finger cookies.
For extra sweetness, sprinkle the tops of the cookies with sugar or drizzle with a bit more honey. Pop in the hot oven for 12 minutes, let cool, and enjoy.
What’s your favorite kid-friendly recipe? Leave a link in the comments below!
Valentine’s Day is this week and there’s no denying that along with the giving and receiving of hundreds of cheesy and impersonal cards, lots of lovebirds are heading out for special dinners, giving small blingy tokens of appreciation, and trying to figure out last minute ways to show some love. What I find absolutely and wonderfully sexy is a great homemade breakfast that you can eat in the comfort of your own home (especially now that I’ve got a small thing running amok in the house as early as 6 am). The idea of eating a velvety, luxurious breakfast on a special morning (Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Birthday, Christmas, Child’s Birthday, Saturday…) is the perfect way of showing true adoration.
My husband is known to toss together amazing slow-cooked scrambled eggs that melt in your mouth.
And, thus, why he is my husband.
But this Valentine’s Day, I had plans for making a special breakfast that would fill my sweetheart’s tummy with savory goodness. And the Shine Supper Club’s challenge this month is all about sharing sexy dishes, making this breakfast recipe wonderfully fitting.
Crisp crust topped with thinly sliced prosciutto, slivers of fresh Parmesan, and topped with soft eggs that spill and run all over the whole shebang. How perfect is that? And you can use store purchased pizza dough, which makes this recipe wonderfully easy for any home chef.
Pizza dough (homemade or store bought)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated mozzarella cheese
1/8 pound thinly sliced prosciutto
Fresh spinach leaves
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
Fresh cracked pepper
Preheat your oven to 425F so it’s really hot when you’re ready. Having your oven temperature just right ensures those eggs will set properly on the breakfast pizza.
Lightly grease your pizza pan and then press out the dough to create a nice even thickness. Top with the olive oil, Italian seasoning, and the spinach leaves.
Now layer on the prosciutto and sprinkle half of the shredded cheeses over the pizza. Carefully crack and add the eggs to the pizza and then toss the rest of the cheese over the eggs.
Carefully place in the hot oven for 10 to 13-minutes, or until the eggs are just set.
Give the finished pizza a light covering of fresh cracked pepper, slice, and serve alongside fresh strawberries, hot coffee, a big kiss, and you’ve got the perfect sexy breakfast. And the longer you let the pizza sit before cutting, the eggs will set to your liking.
*Just so you know, this recipe is also wonderfully delicious as a late-night snack…
The other day I was hanging out with a good friend and we were chatting about how she’s not super excited about getting in the kitchen. I love to cook so am always a little befuddled when I discover someone who just isn’t into it. While we were having a lovely time hanging out, and watching out tots playing, I decided it was the perfect opportunity for a spontaneous “How to Use Your Slow Cooker” creation. We tossed a few things together that she had hiding in her fridge and freezer, I added a bit of seasoning, and hoped it would be delicious.
Yeah, I guess the final result was a bit spicy.
I own a slow cooker but have to admit to not using it very often. I love slowly braise big cuts of meat in Dutch ovens, baking chicken until it has a crispy skin, and quickly searing tasty meats. The slow cooker seems like a gooey-ooey mess of shredded and over cooked ingredients. But I was determined to figure it out and put together a wonderfully delicious recipe for my friend.
This is seriously easy, takes only a few minutes of morning prep, which makes things wonderfully simple.
1 pound chicken breasts
1 garlic clove
1 small onion
2 cups whole mushrooms
1 10-ounce can of cream of mushroom soup
1 1/2 cup chicken stock
1 cup frozen spinach
Slice the onion and mushrooms, and chop the garlic, adding them to the slow cooker. Doesn’t matter how you chop or slice the ingredients — the way you do it totally fine.
Now you can add the chicken and cover with the soup and chicken stock. That’s really it. Cover and set on low for eight hours. Go to work or do whatever you do.
After several hours of simmering away, you’ll have something that looks like this. Give things a stir and let simmer while you relax after your long day until you’re ready to eat dinner.
Boil some pasta and add the frozen spinach to the chicken Florentine.
By the time your pasta is ready, the spinach will be nice and hot. Place some pasta in the bottom of a bowl, cover with a big ladle of the yummy chicken, and cover with a grating of fresh Parmesan cheese. Dinner is served!