The Future Is Now
Swim Camp By the Numbers

Dinner in Real Life

READERS BEWARE: There' s a ridiculous amount of boring dinner/cooking-type talk ahead. Also an inordinate number of parentheticals, even for me. I tried to make it funny. I tried and I probably failed. In other words, hold onto your butts, and may God have mercy on your souls.

I have to admit I really enjoy rappin' with y'all about the cooking topic — trying to keep a family happy while not losing your mind with boredom over making the same damn recipe over and over and over again, and also trying to expand kids' culinary horizons without a full-on uprising at the dinner table. 

I've had a modest string of successes over the past couple weeks, happily enough. (Interspersed with nights when I was like, fuck it, here's mac-and-cheese and fishsticks; Jason, just pick up some sushi on your way home, okay?)

(Last night was one of those nights. Ezra asked to try some tuna sashimi. I was very impressed until he spat it out half-chewed in disgust because DAMN, THAT WAS MY TUNA SASHIMI.)

(Oh, and I also completely borked up something previously tried-and-true: Smitten Kitchen's most excellent chana masala. I overdid the cayenne and had the bright idea to add some potatoes, but didn't think to up the liquid content, which the potatoes completely absorbed. The result was a dry, too-spicy dud of a curry that NO ONE ate. A winner is me.)

Anyway, here are a couple things that did work. They might work for you, too. Or not. I don't know ur life. I don't even know my own life, most of the time.

So...okay. One of my best go-to crowdpleaser meals is Swedish meatballs over egg noodles. Yeah, I know. These rank appallingly low on the "healthy" scale (they are a retro-riffic bonanza of pork, red meat, butter, cream and carbs), but they are so damn delicious and that I simply cannot give that much of a fuck. The kids love them, Jason inhales them, and it's a recipe I can now basically make in my sleep.

(Not to mention they were MY favorite meal as a child and I used to beg my mom to make them constantly, and I grew up okay. Well, mostly. SHADDUP.)

I love Alton Brown's recipe, which you can find here. I use whole wheat bread instead of white, and I do usually swap out the heavy cream for whole milk or half & half and it works just fine. (Though for some reason Alton's instructions omit the need to RAISE THE HEAT to a low boil when you're trying to get the sauce to thicken. You don't want to scald anything, but if you keep the heat too low after adding the stock and milk you're gonna be standing there weeping 20 minutes later because it will NOT thicken. SCIENCE WILL NOT HAPPEN. YOU ARE A FAILURE WHO DESERVES NOTHING.) This is the recipe that prompted me to finally cave and buy a small digital kitchen scale and thus I now have an even deeper affection for it, because that scale has changed mah life in so many ways. 

(Translation: I don't fuck up my baking recipes nearly as often, which was previously ALL THE TIME.)

But! Here's the thing about the Swedish meatball recipe: It always leaves me with leftover ground pork and beef. Not enough to make a whole separate batch of meatballs with, and not really enough to do...well, much of anything with. We're talking maaaaybe 1/4 pound of each. One wafer-thin hamburger, perhaps? I know I could up the meatball recipe's output and just freeze the extras, but that would require SO MUCH MATH on upping the other ingredients by a third and fractions are hard and dinner is complicated ENOUGH, okay? God. 

So I just end up bagging the remnants up together and shoving them in the freezer. Then I forget I have them, buy two more full packages of ground pork and beef, make Swedish meatballs and then GODDAMNIT. MORE WEIRD RANDOM BAGGIES OF REJECT MEATBLEND. 

I finally figured out what to do with them this week, like some kind of GEEEEENIUS. 

I decided to make a turkey meatloaf, because I had nothing in the house except for ground turkey and a bunch of stale buns and some random aging vegetables that were otherwise headed to the compost bin if I didn't do something with them THAT VERY SECOND. But I have an admittedly crap record when it comes to turkey meatloaf. I make a kick-ass regular meatloaf, but turkey versions come out out too dry or too wet or AT BEST, thoroughly, completely boring. Jason pokes at it and dreams of the bacon-topped, veal-and-pork-tinged versions of olde; the kids all turn up their noses over the texture because too dry, too wet, etc. I think Ezra once declared it not "meatball-y" enough. 

(My kids really, really like meatballs, if you haven't noticed.)

This time, however, I made pretty much the greatest turket meatloaf ever. Or, more accurately, I created it in an underground lab, an unholy union of Alton Brown's Actual Real Non-Turkey Meatloaf combined with a couple turkey meatloaf recipes I randomly Googled. A Frankenloaf, if you well. 

Take Alton Brown's recipe, which is fantastic and you should make it sometime. If you don't have garlic croutons, just use bread crumbs and add a generous dash of garlic and onion powders. Swap ground turkey for most of the listed meat, then add a bag of frozen reject meatblend. (So about a half-pound of pork/beef; you could also use that meatloaf mix some stores sell. Or sausages with the casings removed. Or leftover hamburger patties. Just add something with some damn fat content, is all. Go on! It's mostly turkey anyway. Plus I can see your bones. You're like a little bird. Eat something already.)

Add about four ounces of fresh mushrooms to Alton's bell pepper/carrot/garlic mixture and pulse in the food processor. (I used a portobello cap.) Combine with the listed spice/crouton mix, the meat and an egg. If it seems too wet (i.e. not meatball-y enough) once you get it all mixed, add another ounce or two of breadcrumbs. Do not skimp on the glaze and do not fear the dash of hot sauce (it'll mellow out to a tang). And cook to a slightly higher internal temperature (160-170). 

Serve with a green vegetable and extra ketchup for the children. Bask in the love that can only come from making something deceptively simple that kicks everybody in the face with how awesome it tastes. Microwave for lunch the next day and be like, DAMN I AM GOOD.

Okay, so that's a lot of meat, yes. Time for a break from all the meat. And here's where I'm going to lose about 99% of the two people who are still reading this far.

Last year I bought Mario Batali's Babbo Cookbook for Jason, for kicks. It's one of those books that is so beautiful to look at, so mouthwatering to read, and yet you will never actually make any of the recipes in it. Unless you are the sort who routinely cranks out homemade squid ink pasta on Tuesdays and who always has fresh black truffles and pork cheeks in the fridge. (And no, moldy hot dogs don't count. I checked.)

And yet this week, for whatever reason, I decided to make this:

Photo (22)

That's Ziti with Tuscan-Style Cauliflower. Because...sure. If there's anything that the Kids Today are into, it's Tuscan-Style Cauliflower. Can't get enough of it. Far out. Happening. The hula hoop of weekday dinners.

Whatever. I figured they could pick out the cauliflower and just eat the pasta. Or maybe not, because...


I altered the recipe enough that I think I can get away with typing out my version — love you, Mario, but I do not apparently love chunks of red onion as much as you do, and I do not own a single pan big enough to contain a pound of pasta AND two heads of cauliflower; one head was MORE than sufficient. Also, I think your instructions add the mint way too soon. Also also, sesame oil + cauliflower = the shit, so I added that too.


1/4 cup oil — I highly recommend a blend of olive and sesame oils. Sesame oil brings out a nuttiness in the cauliflower that you will die for and swear by and scream at random people down in the street over

1/2 red onion, diced

1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes

2 garlic cloves, sliced thin

1 head cauliflower, florets cut into whatever size you think won't freak out Teh Children

1/2 bunch fresh mint leaves, chopped

(No, I don't know what a "bunch" technically is — I just went outside and yanked leaves off our mint plant until a mosquito bit me in the face.)

1 box ziti

Pasta cooking water or stock

Grated Pecorino Romano, for serving

Get some water boiling and add some salt.

Heat the oil in a biiiiig saute pan over high heat and sweat the onions. Reduce heat to medium-high and add the hot pepper and garlic, being very careful not to let them burn. Add the cauliflower and the mint and saute until tender and slightly browned, about seven to 10 minutes. 

Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Mario says to drain completely and then add to the saute pan; I'd recommend keeping just a little bit of of the pasta water and adding that as well to finish steaming the cauliflower all the way through. (We didn't do this and ended up adding a ladle or two of chicken stock, which worked fine too.) Toss everything to together for a minute or two and then serve in bowls with a generous helping of cheese on top, plus some extra pepper flakes for the grown-ups, if they so desire. (I very much so desired.)

The WHOLE TIME I was preparing this recipe, my brain was screaming "I'VE MADE A HUGE MISTAKE." The kids were going to freak over the cauliflower and Jason was going to be completely underwhelmed by the lack of 1) sauce and 2) meat. 

None of that happened. This was DELICIOUS. Just...oh my God, so good. Filling and yet light and unusual and familiar, all at the same time. The kids saw a bowl of deceptively plain-looking pasta with cheese and thought all their dreams had come true. I served them strategically so their bites of cauliflower were on the extra-small and crispy side. They ate every bite. Ike had seconds. Jason had thirds. 

*spikes football*


(These were the leftovers. Very beige, unassuming-looking leftovers. Past-tense leftovers, because I ated them already.)

Okay, your turn. What's for dinner? 



My toddler recently became obsessed with baked beans, which are fed to her in a spoon, which has led to her standing in front of the fridge, wailing, "POOOON!!!"

As for the grown-up's I've been making lots of gourmet pizzas, using fresh whole wheat dough from our grocery store. Toppings include BBQ sauce, Sriracha, jalapenos, crumbled Morningstar Farms patties (breakfast sausage, Asian veggie patties), chorizo, bleu cheese, spinach, caramelized onions... basically whatever we have on hand that I can wrangle onto a pie. Sometimes the kiddo will eat some, too!

julie w

Kale with stone fruit. But add in a half-cup dried cherries. and feta cheese. and maybe 2 cups fruit rather than one. Kids didn't spit out the kale when they tried it, albeit they kind of stuck with the fruit... (Also am pretty sure my "bunch" of kale was gigantic?)


OMG! That sounds fabulous. Recipe is printed out and will be dinner soon. We're trying to eat healthier, which translates into less red meat.

Dinner last night was ginger cod. Easy and very good, but probably not kid-friendly. Saute 1 lb cod in a little olive oil, then simmer covered with 2T chopped green onion, 1T soy sauce, 2T sherry (I always use dry vermouth because I never seem to have sherry on hand), and 1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger. Serve with rice and a veggie.

Looking forward to reading other commenters recipes!


It's my tried and trusted kale-and-quinoa again, because I love it, and it's good hot or cold or in between, and it's in the fridge right now. (I don't know, maybe your kids will eat it. Mine won't even look at it, but they don't look at much.)


Dear God why will my child not eat anything with ground beef? Not a meatball, no meatloaf nothing. OMG I cannot even take it anymore.

Maxine Dangerous

I don't cook. Much. Just chiming in to say (1) that cookbook is gorgeous food porn and I want to buy one just to pet the pretty pretty pages and (2) "Frankenloaf" made me actually LOL. :)

Denice Johnson

the mint is good? in this? in pasta? i'm not immediately taken with the idea.

my kids love cauliflower. like, a lot of love it. that's weird, right?


OK, my issue is the meatballs get flat on the bottom, at least on the side they're originally put down on. How do I stop that from happening? I want to stop that from happening (it's like a perfectly good meatball except for this one slightly crunchy side). As for dinner, we're all over the place. This week is sausage and rice with spinach (I add green and red pepper, mushroom, and onion to my plate because I must have a fake stir fry). I'm also searching for a brown basmati rice that does not cost $8.

Tonight is fried catfish (I'm down to one day a week frying anything and olive oil only), baked potatoes and asparagus. Tomorrow is honey bbq chicken, spinach, and...something. I want deviled eggs. I MAKE A MEAN DEVILED EGG.




You should try the "Soft-as-Silk Cauliflower with Crispy Garlic and Anchovy-Caper Mayonnaise" from The Traveler's Lunchbox. It's #1 Ridiculously delicious, #2 All pale colored, #3 Easy to make. Don't be scared by the anchovies, or capers, or mayo... everyone I served it to (including myself, except that I like capers in moderation, and have had a few recent experiences with anchovies and mayo making things delicious where I didn't expect them, so I was willing to try it) would normally think "eww, gross, you're putting WHAT on there?" but since I didn't tell them what it was before-hand gobbled it all up greedily and pronounced it delicious. I don't have any kids, but my little sisters & I loved garlic and pale colored things and things with creamy sauces when I was a kid, so it seems like it might work :). (Plus, did I mention that it's really delicious?)


Long-time reader (I adore your writing and sense of humor), first-time commenter. The turkey meatloaf sounds really good! We make a pretty simple one that I only love because it has cheese Your ziti dish is going on our menu for next week!


Hubby can't eat pasta, but that recipe is so going on the list for the next night the kid and I are on our own. Wow.

Also, for Denice - Mint and Basil are closely related and are much more interchangeable than you'd think. Try it - it will change your cooking world. I have had people beg for 'recipes' that were honestly "make your usual tomato sauce and throw in a handful of mint" or "mix up boxed brownies and toss in some basil."


We're not doing very well on the food front these days - our 4 year old has swimming lessons every day from 5:40 to 6:10 and the 15 month old screams bloody murder unless I'm holding her every second.

I did manage to make pork tankatsu with arugula, yellow cherry tomatoes, and raspberries (normally it's with watermelon). It's easy and delicious, although neither of my children would try it. :(

My favorite line of your post: The hula hoop of weekday dinners.

Will have to try the "Tuscan-style cauliflower ziti" soon. Sounds delicious.


If I served turkey any way except for whole roasted with dressing, there would be a major news event at my household. Soooo, it's red meat and chicken and pork all the time! Tonight, a light version of lasagna, chicken and cheddar and non-Italian to the core. Tomorrow: MEATBALLS AS BIG AS YOUR HEAD! Yes, I am in all boy-family, I'm the only girl allowed because, well, I'm the Mom!

Lovely enjoyable post!


Smitten Kitchen has a tomato-glazed meatloaf in her cookbook that is to die for. The catch? I totally brain bonked and thought it was a turkey meatloaf recipe and came home with 85% ground turkey (dark turkey with a nice amount of fat)to use. Holy Jesus. Holy God. Holy Everything. I don't even like meatloaf but it looked so good in her book and I wanted to put something we never eat (meatloaf!) on the table for dinner. Also, I added in a half cup of crumbled feta to use it up and it was a good decision. Packed with flavor, not dry in the least and the tanginess of the turkey & feta rocked. Highly recommend!


There are very few things I cook that all of my children eat, but I aim for an average of one kid liking the whole meal while the others like at least a few of the components.

Oldest daughter's favorite meal right now is what we call "pizza pasta." Take two pints of grape or cherry tomatoes and either saute them in olive oil or drizzle them with the oil and roast, either one until the soften and split open. Toss with pasta, diced mozzarella cheese (fresh is good, but Polly-o or sargento are also fine) and turkey pepperoni minis. The pepperoni renders the meal "not healthy" but still it's a favorite.

We also like smoked sausage/kielbasa diced, then browned and tossed with sauteed shredded cabbage and egg noodles.


Next time you make meatloaf pick up some chorizo from the deli or the fridge section. Comes in large sausage links...there's a ton of recipes out there and they're fabulous. Nice to eat with a side of sliced bell pepper. It's not too spicy granted my kids won't eat anything that looks like a meatloaf so it's all mine!!! The recipe I use has this carrot, onion, serrano pepper, I put in kale cuz I had it in the fridge and other random veggies, mix and it's just fabulous. Nice and zippy but not too zippy.


Sesame oil in an Italian dish? With cheese? I wouldn't judge until trying it myself but does the sesame flavor shine through?


Can't wait to try this! Tonight we are having steak sandwiches (jus thin cut sirloin marinated in balsamic vinegar, garlic and probably oregano), oven fries and something green, probably salad. I rock the oven fries!! Two large potatoes are the perfect amount for myself, the hubby and my 17 month old:
1) slice potatoes to 1/4 inch thick with the cool crinkle cutter thingy (half lengthwise then 1/4" strips)
2) soak in hot water for at least 20 minutes. Very important step! Do not skip as it is what makes these the perfect amount of crispy
3) drain and pay dry
4) mix a couple tablespoons if olive oil (enough to coat your potatoes, I don't measure) with about a teaspoon each of garlic powder, salt and oregano or any other spice of your choice and toss with the potatoes until they are all coated
5) bake in a single layer (two potatoes require at least two sheet pans) for 20 minutes then flip and 20 more minutes
Make these! They will change your life! :-)


I love this post! Our plum tree is going crazy right now and we have more than we know what to do with, so I've been trying all kinds of plum meals. I made a grilling sauce out of some of the plum jelly we made to put on chicken, which was fantastic. Then I used the chicken in a plum/chicken/jack cheese quesadilla with jalepeno relish. Which was fantastic. Then last night I used the rest of the chicken in a sort of waldorf chicken salad with plums instead of grapes. Also turned out great! Man, I love talking about food!


I dream about the day that my now-13 month old will eat something other than PB&J, blueberry waffles and cheese for dinner. This pasta sounds absolutely delish - my daughter may not eat it but my husband (and I) surely will!


In my rapidly increasing age meal planning has become a hobby. Well, age and the fact that a 3 year old isn't the best for a riveting social life. I've made a meal plan on google docs (with comments on what worked and didn't because I AM a geek), which I share with some friends who don't totally judge me for my hobby. The pasta looks like one to add!

LD's Mom

Mac N Cheese :)


Quiche. It's one of the few ways to get my 2 year old to eat vegetables that aren't pureed or chopped into specks.

Spinach, onion, some cheese and, hell yes, some bacon too. All baked in a Whole Foods frozen pie crust because I am terrible at pie crusts. Also lazy.


Pizza! It's my go to for using up whatever is hanging out in the fridge. My poor kids have been fed random pizza concoctions their entire lives. "Aww, Mom, pizza AGAIN?" Who says that?


Forgot to say bake at 425... That is important!

Kim W.

You're very funny. I just wanted you to know that. And I'll try these things you've written about here. I will!

I also want you to know that I don't laugh out loud very often because I'm a grumpy stick in the effing mud. But this right here made me laugh and I'm still laughing. I don't know why. It was just funny.

(No, I don't know what a "bunch" technically is — I just went outside and yanked leaves off our mint plant until a mosquito bit me in the face.)


I love, love, loved this post. I don't have children, small or otherwise. I do however love cauliflower and pasta together-- it's a genius combination. I've included my cauliflower and spaghetti recipe below. The sauce is a modified puttanesca and goes perfectly with the pasta. The whole show is done in 25 minutes-- quick and easy.

I bring a pot of water to the boil on one burner. On the other burner I fry 3-5 cloves of garlic till brown, then add 1/2 tbsp of chilli flakes and 1 small can of anchovy fillets (skip the anchovies if you're a hater, but you can only taste salty nuttiness at the end and no fishiness). Once the anchovies break down, add two chopped tomatoes, 1 tbsp of ketchup and 1 tbsp of white vinegar. Allow it to breakdown into a sauce. Around this time your water will start to boil, so add 1/2 a box of pasta to the boiling water (Add salt too). Then add chopped cauliflower to that tomato sauce mixture and allow it to cook about 7-10 minutes. Once the pasta is done, add to the cauliflower-tomato glory, toss for 2 minutes on medium heat. Add cheese of choice. The end. Deliciousness ensues.


This recipe is a winner every time.

I just stick blend it in the pan when it is ready, and make it nice and smooth. The lentils add great protein so everyone is full and satisfied.

I know, canned tomatoes, but BAH, quick, easy, and delicious.


I had ground turkey in the fridge and had planned to do meatballs, but when the time came it seemed way more time intensive than I was looking for so I ended up with turkey Florentine meat sauce instead.

Sauteed onions, garlic, italian spice blend & the ground turkey in one pan, while I added a thawed box of frozen spinach to a jar of spaghetti sauce in another. Once the meat was cooked I mixed and then tossed it with some fettuccine and added a few spoonfuls of Parmesan on top.

I turned into a quite yummy, really thick sauce and made enough to freeze some for future lazy nights.

And, I too am looking forward to trying the cauliflower pasta recipe!


Cheeseburger casserole, brown ground beef ( 1lb), and diced onion ( as much as you wish, I use 1/2 med size)
Drain if necessary. Cook pasta. Rotini works well. Abby kind of twisty noodle( gemeli, even ziti in a pinch) make the whole box. Add to the beef and onion one can of diced tomatoes, two table spoons Dijon mustard. Mix well. Add this whole beef and tomato mess to the pasta. Now add half this to a casserole dish, scatter a layer of shredded cheddar, add the rest, more cheddar. Last, and you can omit this for picky kids but it MAKES it, top with diced pickles! This is a glorious crowd pleaser in our house. Really tastes like a cheeseburger.


Sorry, forgot to add, bake at 350 till cheese melts. Can be made ahead. Add an iceberg salad, perfect dinner. I make it with whole wheat pasta and none complains or even notices.


Love your blog! Always cheers me up. Thank you!
Dinner tonight was Mapo Tofu
3 T veg oil
1 T minced garlic
1 T minced ginger
1 T chopped green onion
1 T cooking wine
1 T black bean sauce (in Asian aisle at the grocery store)
2 T soy sauce
1/4 lb - 1 lb ground meat*
1 lb tofu, diced
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 T cornstarch dissolved in 1 T water
2 T shredded fresh garlic or chopped green onion
1/4 teaspoon Schezuan chili powder (optional)
2 cups cooked rice

In wok, heat oil, then stir-fry ingredients through and including meat until meat is browned. Add tofu and water, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 3 minutes. Add cornstarch mixture to thicken. Top with garlic/green onion and chili powder, if desired (i do not because I am a heat wimp). Serve over rice. With whatever frozen vegetable is on hand on the side, tonight, crinkle cut carrots. My 14 mo is a huge garlic nut, so she likes it, though mostly just picks out the tofu and rice. Rarely leftovers.

*recipe calls for 1/4 lb, but I always use the whole package, 1 lb. (Yeah, meat!) Recipe is also flexible on type, pork or beef. I routinely use turkey, so. Sounds perfect for your random freezer meat bags.


Love the recipes...and the humour even more.

My kids are 4 and 6 and their fav food (I hate cooking, so all my meals take less than 10 minutes effort on my part, hence also my children are quite thin) - traffic light noodles.

Usually contains sliced Herta frankfurtas, or sausages, or small bits of salami, three veg corresponding to red, orange and green and wholewheat noodles.

Chuck all non-noodles in a pan, fry in chinese 5 spice and small bit of seasame oil.

When noodles are done, drain and chuck in pan adding a splash of reduced salt soy sauce and honey.

I have yet to find a child that doesn't eat this.


Oh, or this one: Mild sweet potato and chicken curry.


Last night was grilled pork chops: four thick pork chops with salt, pepper, garlic powder and molasses; spread all on pork chops, put in ziploc bag and let sit in fridge for at least an hour.

With that we had homemade mac'n'cheese, which is my kids fav. I use whatever cheese is in the fridge. Last night it was sharp cheddar, swiss, parmesan, and queso fresco. I layer cooked noodles and cheese in an 8x13 baking dish (greased), seasoning with salt, pepper, and garlic powder after each layer. Then pour over the top an egg/milk mixture (usually two eggs, whisked with about 1/4 C milk). Then I top with bread crumbs.

Also, a failed batch of green beans. I can't believe it - how hard are green beans? But I think when they were frozen (I buy fresh, snap them and freeze them), the bag wasn't closed properly because even roasted they tasted like freezer burn. Yuck! So last night's meal was vegetable-less, unless you count the green and orange noodles I used.


Sounds fabulous! One question though; regular sesame oil or toasted sesame oil?


One of my favorite local restaurants has a "fancy" meatloaf. What is awesome about it (beyond the flavor, sauce, mix-ins) is that they make it early in the day, cut it into portions, and then GRILL it to order. FANTASTIC and not your mom's standard meatloaf.

That's probably what is for dinner tonight.


I'm a vegetarian eater cooking for two meat-a-tarians, so the meatloaf would be a pleaser to them. Even my difficult group will eat Pioneer Woman's baked lemon pasta....easy and really good. Re-heats well for leftovers as well. It's become a go-to at my house:

Nancy R

Our family of 5 can put away an entire head of cauliflower if it's roasted with olive oil and sea salt. This makes this dish enticing for me...although the meatless factor gives me pause.

For the extra beef and pork, I would brown it before freezing and use it as a pizza topping.

OR, you could input the recipe at Tasty Kitchen and adjust the serving size until it requires ALL the beef and pork- then it will have the other ingredient amounts changed for you! NO MATH-Hooray!


Okay, so I came back to say I made the Tuscan-style Cauliflower with Fusilli (because that's what I had). I LOVED it; unfortunately, the girls picked through every single piece of cauliflower. How does my 15 month old know to do that already?! Not fair! However, they loved the pasta - it was even better with a little pesto I had made a few days before.


My latest kid friendly go-to is Smitten Kitchen's Cauliflower Fritters. You can use the feta or substitute cream cheese. I tell my kids they are pancakes :)


For all you cauliflower fans out there, you MUST try this sauce! It is so creamy you will not believe there's only 1/4 cup milk in it. If you use whole wheat pasta and add some green veggies it's a deliciously healthy meal.


I'm on my own with the kids for several days so tonight is leftover black beans and rice. Black beans were cooked from dried -- precisely as easy as opening a can provided you can leave them simmering for a few hours. Rice was cooked in broth instead of water. Throw on some cheese and hot sauce, char some corn tortillas on a gas burner, boom. Feta cheese is marvelous on beans and rice if you don't happen to keep some sort of Hispanic cheese on hand.

("What's for dinner?" "Beans and rice." Why yes, I am Mexican.)

Birdy& Bambi

Looks yummy to us!
We wish you a lovely weekend:

Birdy and Bambi


"Plus I can see your bones. You're like a little bird. Eat something already."

Please write a cookbook, please please please. Dying over here.


The Fresh20:

That is all.


Oh I make something similar with cauliflower and if I'm so inclined, I add pasta. Basically blanch your cauliflower and then chop into small pieces. Get some olive oil going add two crushed but intact garlic cloves, chili flakes and a few chopped anchovies, let it go over a low medium heat for a few minutes until it's all fragrant. Remove the garlic cloves, up the heat and add the cauliflower until they get some golden crispy edges. Serve as a side to something or add pasta. Or if you're me, eat the whole pan (aka a whole head of cauliflower) by yourself.

My favorite fast meal is Thai basil stir fry. Make a lot of jasmine rice. Cut chicken breast or pork loin into strips. I usually make 3/4 of a pound for two big eaters with some leftovers. Cut a big onion into strips and one or two sweet bell peppers. Mince two cloves of garlic and two or more (or less for kiddos) thai red chilis. Heat up a wok to screaming, add a tablespoon of oil, the. Your meat in a layer. Add the chili and garlic on top, once the meat is brown on one side mix around until just about cooked through. Remove from the pan, add your bell peppers and onion and stir fry til cooked to your liking. Add back your meat mixture and add about equal amounts of fish sauce and dark soy sauce (Healthy Boy is my preferred brand) - for the amount listed I use about 1-2 T of each. Cook on high another 30 seconds to a minute, take off heat and add a ridiculous amount of Thai basil. Serve with rice. Eat happiness


I scored BIG this week with my new meatball meal - Asian Meatballs, which I served with fried rice. I started with a recipe I found online, then messed with it. To one pound of ground turkey I added finely minced carrots (maybe 1/3 cup) and shallot (one small), then 1/2 cup panko and one beaten egg. Also some sesame oil, hoisin sauce and soy sauce. I used a small cookie/ice cream scoop to get them onto a sheet pan and baked for 20 minutes at 425 degrees. Before serving I made an Asian-y sauce with hoisin, soy sauce, sesame oil, chili oil and some brown sugar (used to mask the too much chili oil I put in). Then I added the meatballs to the sauce to warm them through. Served over fried rice. The only complaint? I didn't make enough.


Alton's Swedish meatball recipe is my go-to because it is so flippin' awesome. I have to double the recipe and yes, I do the thirds in my head because I'm a nerd like that.

Right now, I'm making chicken stock from a rotisserie chicken carcass to make my younger son chicken pot pies (which he calls 'paste'). This is in preparation for his dental work tomorrow. I'm not sure how long he'll be on soft foods. (I actually blogged it

I think there is a bbq pulled pork happening on the grill Wednesday, too. :)


I am absolutely trying your Tuscan cauliflower dish - sounds completely wonderful and perfect for Summer. You inspired me to post a new recipe on my blog tonight (a chicken dish inspired by thyme, and Doctor Who) - a first attempt that turned out lovely. Thanks for that!

Love cauliflower, but never had it with pasta.

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