No child can resist the classic comfort of spaghetti and meatballs! I present to you a super easy pasta dish paired with the most amazing meatballs you’ve ever had! Cacio e Pepe with ricotta meatballs is a twist on the classic favorite!
½ lb 85% lean beef
½ lb 85% lean veal
½ lb 77% lamb
¼ cup of light cream
½ cup of ricotta
½ cup of planko bread crumbs
1/3 cup of grated parmigian cheese
1 ½ tsp salt
1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
Preheat the oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with wax paper.
In a medium sized bowl mix together planko bread crumbs, grated parm, salt, fresh basil and fresh parsley. Set aside.
In a large bowl mix together beef, veal, lamb, ricotta, light cream and egg.
Add the bread crumb mixture to the meat mixture and mix well.
Clean your hand and roll the meat mixture into balls. Space evenly on the baking sheet.
Bake for 20 minutes
Let cool and enjoy!!
EASY CACIO & PEPE PASTA RECIPE - Pecorino Romano cheese can have a bit too much bite for my children’s taste, so I’ve altered the cheese ratio of this recipe slightly.
1 cup of finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
½ cup of Pecorino-Romano
½ tbsp of crushed black pepper
¾ lbs of whole wheat spaghetti or tonnarelli
Boil a large pot of salted water.
Combine the Parm Reggiano, Pecorino Romano and pepper in a large glass bowl.
Add at least 2 tbsp of cold water and mash into a thick paste. Add more cold water if necessary. Spread paste evenly and set aside.
Add your pasta to the boiling water and cook to aldente
Use tongs to transfer the pasta to the bowl with the cheese paste.
Stir the pasta quickly in the glass bowl.
Add a bit of starchy pasta water if the sauce looks to thick.
My 5 year-old son approached me after dinner the other night and in the softest, sweetest voice EVER said, “Mom, you know what we haven’t had in lowng (long) time? We haven’t had gnocchi (pronounced perfectly).” This only affirmed that my real title in the home is not “mom”, but rather “personal chef”….a title I should loathe, but instead I’m actually quite proud of.
My response to this sweet boy’s request was a delicious bowl of pistachio pesto gnocchi with peas, edamame and avocado….that’s how ya add a little color to gnocchi! I hope you enjoy it as much as he did. Spring has sprung!
Pistachio Pesto Ingredients:
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup shelled pistachios
3 cups loosely packed basil
1 lemon zested and juiced
1 orange zested and juiced
2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
1/2 Avocado (DO NOT ADD AVOCADO IF YOU PLAN ON STORING THE SAUCE FOR LATER )
1/2 cup of thawed organic frozen peas
1/2 cup of thawed organic frozen edamame
Just like you, I’m a home cook learning the deets of healthy family cooking one day at a time so I borrowed the following gnocchi recipe from Geoffrey Zakarian of Food Network. It is SUPER simple. These fluffy and light gnocchi take about 5 minutes to make.
What to do with all that leftover Panettone from Christmas???? Turn it into a delightfully warm and gooey bread pudding. My recipe takes it to another level by adding limoncello and lemon curd!! This is my husband’s all-time favorite dessert.
Ingredients for Bread Pudding :
1 loaf of Panettone broken into small pieces (break apart by hand so that it looks more rustic)
1 1/2 cups of Milk
2 1/2 cups of Heavy Cream
1/2 cups of Sugar
1 cup of Limoncello
1/4 cup of Lemon Curd
Ingredients for Whipped Cream:
3 Tbsp of Sugar
1 cup of Whipping Cream
2 Tbsp Limoncello
Let’s Get Baking!
Preheat oven to 350.
Grease a 1.8 quart rectangular baking dish with butter.
layer the bottom of the pan with the pieces of Panettone.
In a large bowl whisk together ingredients 2 through 7.
Pour wet ingredients into the pan.
Let sit for 15 minutes.
Bake on middle rack for 35-45 minutes. Pudding should be lightly brown and a toothpick, when inserted, should come out clean.
Let cool (slightly) then top with gelato or limoncello whipped Cream (see recipe below)
Whipped Cream Directions:
Place your mixing bowl in the freezer for 10 minutes.
Add 2 Tbsp of sugar and 1 cup of whipping cream to the bowl.
Whisk until you begin to see stiff peaks. Whisking with an electric mixer will work best.
Pasta e Fagioli is a comforting classic Italian soup that I loved as a kid. My mother always served it with a large piece of crusty bread that went down before I even picked up my spoon.
As a mom, I love Pasta e Fagioli because it’s a great way to get even the most “Veggie Averse” child to eat their vegetable and legumes. Below is my family recipe along with ideas for how you can get even your most picky eater to gobble it up.
1/2 lb orcchiette pasta (swap with your kids favorite pasta)
2 cans of cannellini beans rinsed
1 can of pinto beans rinsed
2 stalks of celery chopped
3 medium carrots chopped
1 medium onion diced
2 garlic cloves diced
3 rosemary sprigs
2 tsp of sea salt
1 tsp of ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
3 cups of chicken Stock
3/4 cup of your favorite pasta sauce (preferably homemade)
grated parmigiana to top each bowl
CRUSTY BREAD to dip!
Time To Cook!
Cook your pasta al dente, drain and set aside.
In a blender, blend together 2 cups of chicken stock and one can of cannellini beans.
In a deep pot saute the carrots, onion, garlic and celery in 1/4 cup of olive oil until tender. Add the rosemary sprigs to the veggies while they cook. (NOTE: feel free to add pancetta or sausage to make heartier meal)
Add 1 tsp of salt.
Once the veggies are tender add the chicken stock/cannellini bean puree from blender to the pot with the veggies. (NOTE: IF YOUR CHILD IS VEGGIE AVERSE; 1. remove the rosemary sprigs, 2. to the blender with the chicken stock/bean puree, add the veggies, 3. blend thoroughly. Return the mixture to the pot.)
Add 1 can of rinsed cannellini beans and 1 can of rinsed pinto beans.
Add 1 cup of chicken stock.
Add 3/4 cup of pasta sauce.
Add cooked pasta.
Add 1 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of ground pepper.
Simmer for 15 minutes.
Remove the rosemary sprigs.
Ladle into a soup bowl, top with grated cheese and serve with a big hunk of crusty bread!
Be sure to encourage your kids to break up the bread and dunk it into the veggie rich sauce!
I’m on a mission to convert my youngest child, my little carnivore, into a part-time fruitivore. My four year-old son Harris loves his animal protein. He has no problem putting down lamb chops, burgers, salmon, mahi mahi or shrimp when prepared to his liking and dipped in massive amounts of ketchup (not complaining). But when it comes to fruit, he won’t bite.
So this summer I decided I was up for the challenge. I realized that my child’s long term health was more important than my short term sanity and so I devised a plan.
1. I starved him. I’m kidding! But seriously I made sure that come snack time he was hungry. Over-snacking is an epidemic in this country. All of those delish crunchy prepackaged foods work wonders on curbing our children’s appetite for whole foods. So yeah, we nipped that in the bud. Click here to read a fab article from the Chicago Tribune which discusses America’s “culture for snackism” and its effect on our children.
2. I cut the convenience food & made it mandatory. In the same way that I taught my son to share, not to hit when he is frustrated, to say “excuse me” and “thank you,” I also decided to teach him how to eat well. Teaching our children healthy eating habits should be a priority. We owe it to them. The new rule effective immediately was that all snacks had to be fruit. Done and done. We got rid of the chips, crackers and snack bars and replaced them with fruit (mostly in season). The result:my kids ate more of their actual lunch/dinner and you’ll see what happened next.
3. I found a”Gateway Food.” The “polite one bite” wasn’t working for us. There were tears, foot stopping, irrational conversations. I knew I needed a vehicle to get the juicy, in-season fruit into his adorable little mouth. I needed a Gateway Food.
The tricky part was finding a Gateway Food that was just as healthy as the fruit. He loves anything covered in whipped cream (who doesn’t?), but that would defeat the purpose. Then it hit me his Gateway Food is yogurt! The kid cannot go a single morning without a yogurt.
Introducing Yogurt Fruit Fondue*!
Mix Greek yogurt with cinnamon and honey (alternatives: orange zest, applesauce, agave, peanut butter, maple syrup)
Finely crushed walnuts
Finely crushed granola
Finely crushed graham crackers
Skewer the fruit with toothpicks and let your kids dip the fruit into the yogurt then into a crunchy topping of choice.
*to all the foodies out there…I know that fondue traditionally uses a HOT cooking medium
How did it go you ask? Check it out for yourself!
Homemade yogurt fruit pops, parfaits and shakes are all great ways to introduce fruit into your kids diets. I’ll be posting a few of my favorite fruit pop recipes next week!
Follow me on Twitter @finicky2foodie for more tips on how to convert your finicky eater into a full-fledged foodie!
U.S. student Mackenzie Pearson may have made squishy male physiques or what she coined #DadBods sexy (click here for full blog post), but this Father’s Day we’re gonna help dads everywhere show boys 20 years their junior how to swap a beer gut for a different kind of six pack. #TheNewDadBod.
Put down the beer and slowly back away from the bacon!Here is my heart healthy Father’s Day gift guide that will help keep dads motivated, healthy and fit this summer!
1. For the commitment phobe-
Many men shy away from traditional gyms and gym classes….something about the commitment makes them skittish (cough cough). No more excuses! Peloton Bike brings the class to him! This bike offers live steaming spin classes as well as on-demand classes in the privacy or your own home. Click here for more info.
2. We are going to pump you up!
It’s hard to find space for a full set of dumbbells which is why Power Blocks are genius. Replace racks of dumbbells with ONE set of Power Blocks….the ultimate home dumbbells.
3. If your hubby is anything like mine then he hates to be hot and sweaty. Mission Athleticare Cooling Hat and Towels are the perfect gifts. The hats and towelshave proprietary technology that works by absorbing moisture and perspiration into the fabric core where the unique radiator-like fiber construction circulates water molecules and regulates the rate of evaporation to create a prolonged cooling effect.
4. For the gear guy-Music motivate and well we know how much Dads like their gear.Beats Wirelessheadset is the ultimate wireless headset. It’s got a 6 hour rechargeable battery, awesome sound, lightweight design, flexible earhooks and it’s sweat resistant.
5 Hike it off- Gift dad a great pair of hiking boots and a light weight backpack then head to Alltrails.com to find a local kid friendly hike for the whole family to enjoy!
Click on all of the hyperlinks for more info and pricing!