Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Rigatoni with Creamy Pepper Sauce

A Pinterest Recipe
Family Circle Magazine's
Rigatoni with Creamy Pepper Sauce
So have you seen this pin (or mag cover)?
Photo via Better Homes and Garden
Me too...and I have been dreaming about it ever since. To end the dream, I tore the article out of March's Family Circle and set off to Wise Way.
You can print off the recipe directly from their website. Family Circle will make you sign up for free to view it, but whatever...it is worth the spam emails! Also, if you aren't already following their many boards on pinterest, click here!
I had to cut up strawberries to keep R busy while I chopped garlic

 Recipe *with alterations
sweet red and yellow peppers, halved, cored and seeded
1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth *vegetable broth

  • cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt *up to 1 tsp, otherwise it is a bit too garlicy & peppery 
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • pound rigatoni
  • 1/3 pound small marinated bocconcini *mini mozzarella balls
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves, thinly sliced


1. Heat broiler. Line a large broiler pan with foil and coat with nonstick cooking spray.*I grilled my peppers cut side down for about 10 minutes with the grill cover on (about 250 degrees). Then I placed them in a tupperware with the lid on for ten minutes in order to soften the peeling.
2. Place peppers on prepared pan, cut side down. Broil for 9 to 10 minutes, about 4 inches from heat source. Place in a paper bag or covered bowl for 5 minutes. Peel skin off peppers and discard; thinly slice peppers.
3. In a large nonstick skillet bring broth to a simmer; add garlic and simmer 2 minutes. Stir in cream, salt and pepper and simmer for an additional 2 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, cook pasta following package directions, about 10 to 14 minutes for al dente. Drain and return to pot. Add cream mixture and sliced peppers; stir to combine.
5. To serve, spoon into a large serving bowl and fold in bocconcini and basil.
Kid approved!

Here are some photos of our cooking adventure...and visual tips!
Our herb garden at home...chives, three kinds of thyme, oregano, mint, lavender, catmint, sage, basil, dill, and cilantro.
1/2 cup of basil...chopped
my peppers are sitting in their own steam
a simple brand of vegetable broth
small mozzarella balls
R heard me taking pictures and gave me a big ol' "cheese"!
This recipe was definitely restaurant quality in deliciousness...about a 9/10 in flavor and a 9/10 in simplicity. A solid 9 for an easy meal to make on days that grilling out just doesn't cut it anymore. You could also add chicken, shrimp, or sausage to this meal to make it more substantial. Well, enjoy the rest of the evening with you and yours...and I will prepare myself for the madness of the bedtime routine. After I pick a couple more bocconcini out of the pot.  Enjoy!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Warm Homemade Strawberry Pie
G, R, & I happened to be at Johnson's right as the buckets of strawberries were loaded onto a cart and ready to go. We bought ourselves the juiciest $11 bucket we could find and then had more strawberries on our hands than we could eat. Let's make a pie.
The Crust.
You can either buy two frozen pie crusts (not pre-baked), or you can make your own the night before so the dough has time to chill in the fridge.  We made this one. Just be sure to chill it as directed, and then let it sit out about 10 minutes before rolling it out the next day. We divided ours into to balls, wrapped them in plastic, and then stuck them in the fridge overnight. Hello future top crust and bottom crust. 
The Filling.
We had made strawberry pie a few times before, so I already had this recipe* bookmarked. The words old fashioned resinate with me when it comes to pie...rustic, scrappy, and traditional. 
*alteration to the original recipe: add 1 tsp cornstarch to the flour mixture to help thicken the filling as the berries release their precious juices.
Be sure to cut some kind of slit or hole into the top crust so air can release while it bakes. Otherwise you will have a bubbly pie...which doesn't sound all THAT bad.

Oh, and check it out. I floured my jammy pants.

If you are a real beginner (i.e. never rolled out dough before) watch this video to calm your nerves and prepare you for a lifetime of pie making!

Enjoy the lovely weather and hopefully some homemade strawberry pie!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Feeding a Picky Toddler- 5 Quick Tips

Oh Joy, They Won't Eat
photo via http://crassparenting.com
4 Quick Tips
(without having to turn a veggie dog into an octopus...although cute-ish)
photo via Parent's Magazine
Mine aren't too picky, however, when they are it drives me temporarily insane.

1. Offer hors d'oeuvres
-apple moons with peanut butter
-egg boats (hard-boiled egg whites)
-avocado canoes (slice along the pit) 
-cheese building blocks
-small trees (steamed broccoli)
2. Peer pressure
-Once your toddler sees their bestie munching on carrots dipped in ranch they may be more apt to try it out. We all know trying is the hardest part (which is the source of my madness during mealtime).
3. Eat it in front of them...when they are hungry.
It never fails...as soon as I sit down with something to eat, I am surrounded. I try to take advantage of these moments, handing out raw spinach pieces, bites of beans, and veggie laden sandwiches...it works!
4. When all else fails, hide it!
Here is a link to the Buddha of hiding healthy food into your kids' favorites...The Sneaky Chef.
-Mac & Cheese with hidden cauliflower and zucchini!
Check out the video for breakfast ice cream (with avocado) and a few other sneaky ways to get your picky toddler to eat.

Check out what Parent's Magazine thinks the best 20 snacks are for your toddlers...including this peanut butter pop. These are some of the cutest ideas I have ever seen!

My Current Go-To Favorites

Goldfish brand whole wheat bread...add peanut butter, cheese, or whatever in between. They fit in ziploc sandwich baggies for on the go.

Canned beans...we eat them hot or cold. Black beans hidden in a cheesy tortilla or cannellini beans as finger food. Chick peas are great to munch on as well.   If I am really creative (sarcasm), I heat these up (do not rinse) with a little taco seasoning, salsa, and corn. Add avocado and all your favorite taco toppings to a hard shell and there is dinner!

Veggie hot dogs-so easy to make when the kids are hungry 5 minutes ago.

Whole Wheat waffles-add a little canola butter spread, strawberries, and sometimes a dot of whipped cream.

Click the link to my Healthy Snacks Board on Pinterest and add more ammo to your mealtime madness!