August 21, 2015

Back-to-School Pasta Dinners with Ragu

The Pasta Sauce Plan | The Naptime Chef

It is hard to believe that summer is almost over. This one felt particularly short for some reason. I am so grateful for all the fun we managed to squeeze into our 10 week break, but I wish we had a couple of more to look forward too before we get back in the school routine. However, since I do not decide the school calendar I have to face back-to-school organization and get to work whether I like it our not. Clothes, school supplies, sports equipment, and more all need to be acquired and organized. Summer clothes can be put away, hair needs to be trimmed, and the pantry needs to be stocked.

The Pasta Sauce Plan | The Naptime Chef

It usually takes me a couple of weeks to get my school rhythm down before things run smoothly. There are always a few late wake-ups when I scramble to get the kids out the door. And there are plenty of evenings when dinner time sneaks up on me no matter how judicious I try to be about homemade meals. These are the nights I rely on my favorite easy peasy pasta dinners.

The Pasta Sauce Plan | The Naptime Chef

August 20, 2015

Peach Pie Crumble Bars + More Peach Recipes

Peach Crumble Bars | The Naptime Chef

We’ve been having such a wonderful time in Cooperstown this month. I look forward to this trip more than anything else all year and this summer did not disappoint. Since my little guy is in the super-active-and-I-always-want-your-attention phase I didn’t get as much fruit canning done as last year. But that’s okay, we’ll save it for another time. At least I managed to get a start on my homemade Christmas gifts and discover a new-to-me craft. (More on that soon!)

Peach Crumble Bars | The Naptime Chef

Though we weren’t preserving our fruits we spent a lot of time eating them. The berries and peaches were incredibly ripe this year and we’ve been eating them like candy. They are so sweet and taste better than any candy bar I’ve ever found!

One afternoon while I was chasing my hooligans around the beach my mother made these delicious peach crumble bars. They are sweet and buttery with a gorgeous soft brown sugar streusel on top. They were straight from Martha Stewart Living which is why I am linking to the recipe instead of reprint it for you. They are honestly as good as they come; the recipe doesn’t need any alterations at all.

We’ve also made a few of our favorite peach treats from years past, a few of which are in my cookbooks!

Roasted Peach Lemonade

Spiced Peach Muffins

Peach Pie for Breakfast

Peach, Tomato & Burrata Salad

Peach Almond Galatte

Are you enjoying any special summer fruits? Please share!

August 18, 2015

Slow-Roasted Tomato, Farro & Pistachio Salad

Slow-Roasted Tomato & Farro Salad | The Naptime Chef

We’ve been cooking up a storm in Cooperstown and having a blast. This salad was a favorite from a dinner last week and I just have to share it. It was inspired by Katie Quinn Davies’s new book, but we gave it our own twist. We used fresh herbs from the garden, cooked farro as the base, tons of slow-roasted tomatoes, and roasted pistachios for crunch. It was every bit as healthy and satisfying as it looks. And, it was a snap to make in advance. Here is a good one for summer and fall. I highly recommend giving it a try while all the good tomatoes are still available!

August 13, 2015

4 Ingredient Cheesy Herbed Biscuits with King Arthur Flour + Giveaway!

4 Ingredient Cheesey Herbed Biscuits | The Naptime Chef

Hot, buttery, flakey biscuits, saturated with a fresh pat of salty butter, are one of my most favorite things to eat. This is precisely the reason that I don’t make them too often. I could easily eat a whole batch myself and outgrow my pants in a flash while doing so. Instead, I do my best to practice restraint and only make them once in a while.  And when I make them, I make them count.

The key to a good biscuit is quality flour and delicious flavorings. Sometimes I make plain biscuits, but I really love biscuits that are a little sweet and used for shortcakes, or biscuits that are a little savory and used for breakfast or as a side dish at meals. Dressing them up with cheese and herbs is a particular favorite of ours because it lands them somewhere between a biscuit and a gourgére. These also make terrific bookends for eggs and bacon if you want to create a killer breakfast sandwich. Or, you can do what we did, and serve them in a bread basket at Sunday lunch.

August 12, 2015

8 Easy Late Summer Dinners on the Grill

We’ve been grilling a lot this summer. For the most part the meals have been really simple so I haven’t been typing them up for individual posts. Instead I’ve been recording them to share with you all at once. Most of the them are so basic they don’t require recipes and can be thrown together with ease. Please share what you’ve been grilling in the comments so we can swap ideas and enjoy the last few weeks of grilling season together!

10 Easy Summer Dinners on the Grill | The Naptime Chef

Grilled Lamb Kebobs: Marinate lamb chunks in lemon, olive oil, and garlic. Place them on a skewer with chunks of pepper and onion and grill. IMG_7005

Citrus Grilled Shrimp with Salad: This simple citrus marinade is from my first cookbook, The Naptime Chef, and it is still a big favorite. I marinate the shrimp during naptime and grill them up in the evening. IMG_7010

Grilled Shrimp with Gazpacho: Make the gazpacho during the day and eat it with last night’s grilled shrimp for lunch!


Steak Chimichurri: Another favorite from The Naptime Chef, a grilled steak with a simple chimichurri is perfect. Serve them with tortillas to make tacos! This is a steak chimichurri we had at a friend’s house.

Lemon Chicken Kebobs | The Naptime Chef

Lemon Rosemary Chicken Kebobs: These easy chicken kebobs are perfect for everyday grilling. The recipe is in my new book, The Family Calendar Cookbook. Marinate the chicken during the day and grill it up for dinner!

Grilled Peppers | The Naptime Chef

Grilled Soy Ginger Peppers: This one of my favorite grilled vegetable dishes. We just marinate the peppers in a soy ginger salad dressing and grill them in a grill basket until softened and charred.

Coffee Rubbed Steak

Quick Coffee Rubbed Steak is a perennial favorite!

Grilled Asparagus

Grilled Parmesan Asparagus has been our favorite go-to grilled vegetable this summer. Sometimes I just top it with an egg and call it dinner.

August 11, 2015

5 Must Have Wine Accessories

Must Have Wine Accessories | The Naptime Chef

Fabulous drink coasters. (August Morgan, $36 set)

Must Have Wine Accessories | The Naptime Chef

A double-hinged corkscrew for easy opening. (Wine Enthusiast, $19.95)

Must Have Wine Accessories | The Naptime Chef

Wine pearls for quick chilling. (Food52, $25)

Must Have Wine Accessories | The Naptime Chef

Shatterproof wine glasses for picnics and such. (via Govino, $22.95 and up)

Must Have Wine Accessories | The Naptime Chef

A champagne cork so the bubbles don’t fade away overnight. (via Amazon, $37.95)

August 6, 2015

Chocolate Malt Frozen Custard

Chocolate Custard Ice Cream

This summer has been a busy one and I haven’t been using the ice cream maker as much as I usually like to. However, last week I did manage to break it out once and whip up this delicious frozen custard to cope with a heat wave. My husband and I love classic malt flavor so I chose to make this because I knew it would be so appreciated while we sweat it out during the day.

The difference between frozen custard and ice cream is that custard contains egg yolks and is thicker and creamier in texture. While make custard-based ice cream is a bit more involved than your regular milk-sugar-cream ice cream, it is really worth it when you are in the mood for a heavy scoop on a cone.