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Grilled Cheese “Pull-Aparts”

19 Jul

Alright, this is definitely not the healthiest recipe, nor is it made from whole foods, but I have to admit it’s one of my proudest creations of late. I’m unapologetic about the use of American cheese and squishy packaged bread here. This recent article from the New York Times sums it up–this is my comfort food, and, on occasion, I still love it. Everything in moderation, right?

This invention came about after a recent party where I served pulled pork on these Martin’s mini “party roll” buns. They come in a pack of 24–two sheets of 12 rolls meant to be pulled apart and split in half to make tiny “sliders.” I had a surplus of buns after the party and needed something to do with them.

Use a serrated knife to carefully cut the sheet of rolls in half.

On a particularly crazy evening when I didn’t have much to make for dinner, I had this idea: Cut the entire sheet of buns in half, leaving them connected to each other, flip them inside out, and make a giant grilled cheese that can be pulled apart into little sandwiches! Ta-da!

Brush cut sides with butter; stack a double-layer of American cheese and optional toppings on the “bun” side.

Since, I’ve learned that this is a perfect playdate recipe. (We all know that other people’s kids don’t like our “healthy” cooking, right?) Serve this with some soup or fruit, and you’ll practically have a wholesome meal. And at least they’ll eat!

Bon Appetit!

Just a note: be sure to use a moderately hot griddle when cooking the grilled cheese. The thick, dense bread needs time to heat up enough to melt the cheese. You don’t want the exterior to get too dark before the cheese is melted!

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Picky, Picky

21 Apr

I was recently interviewed for this piece about picky eating on the Huffington Post. (For those of you who don’t know, I’m Regan.) I’m lucky in that my kids aren’t all that picky. I mean, they’re still little kids–they don’t always eat whatever I put in front of them, and they often drive me nuts at dinnertime, but I’m proud to say that I very, very rarely make something extra for them to eat. (My husband and I always say that we don’t win every battle, but we’re winning the war!)

There’s a lot of information and tips on the Web about how to get your kids to eat better. For us, it’s just cooking from scratch, serving a reasonable variety of foods, eating at the table (even snacks), and not making a big deal about the kids’ refusal to eat something (but they do need to try it!). I, in turn, try to make the food taste good, and sometimes that includes the use of a little (gasp!) butter, white flour, or sugar. In my opinion, if your kids are gobbling down bowls of kale chowder, who really cares if there’s a tiny bit of heavy cream or bacon in there? Not me! It’s better than a diet of vanilla milk and Goldfish! (Yes, I know a family whose kids ate that way!).

We’re also lucky that I enjoy cooking and have a decent amount of time to prepare and plan meals, but I can tell you that even when I was working full time at Martha Stewart and commuting over an hour each way to New York City, I still made homemade meals and baby food about every day. How, you ask? Well, a little planning helps (though as my husband will assure you, I am NOT a great planner or scheduler!) But if you take a few minutes at the end of each day to think about dinner the next—maybe even marinate a piece of meat for tomorrow–you’ll be in a good place when you get home. Another big help–learn to cook some dishes from memory! Following recipes–all that measuring and timing–can make cooking tedious. When you’re making savory dinner foods, once you know the basic method and ratios, you won’t need to follow a recipe. (But stick to recipes for desserts, always!).

How about you? Are you winning the dinner wars?

Roasted Carrot Pizza with Black Olives and Feta

1 Apr

I know what you’re thinking–carrot pizza? Sounds like someone’s trying a little too hard to be creative, right? But the story behind this is that my three year-old son has been getting interested in what I’m cooking–and getting involved, too. He loves carrots and kept asking me to make him a carrot pizza. So this is what I came up with… Continue reading

Chocolate-Peppermint Playdough

19 Dec

I was so inspired by the lovely-smelling recipe for gingerbread playdough that I found on Sugarbelle’s blog, I decided to try out a version of my own–Chocolate-Peppermint. What a perfect (and easy) holiday activity to do with kids! In fact, I’m bringing a tub of each to preschool tomorrow along with an assortment of cutters, rollers, and other baking equipment. Read on for the recipe: Continue reading

Chocolate-Chip Cupcakes

8 Nov

What do you serve a bunch of toddlers? Today was my son’s second birthday, so I made these chocolate-chip cupcakes for his class. The cake recipe is from Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes. Nice and light, it uses cake flour and whipped egg whites and is reminiscent of white cake mix, except much tastier. I needed a foolproof frosting that I could make the night before, so I chose cream cheese. Before school, I re-whipped the frosting and studded it with mini chocolate chips before piping piles on top of the cupcakes. (I used mini chips in the frosting so I could pipe it and also because I figured regular chips could pose a choking hazard.) They finished cupcakes were so cute and everyone loved them. Click through for the recipes…

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