September 30, 2015

Family Classic: Cheesy Beef Baked Ziti

Cheesy Beef Baked Ziti

Today I am stopping in with a classic, and super easy, casserole recipe for dinner tonight. This has become a staple in our house recently. Both my children eat it readily and it is a nice break from their favorite spaghetti and meatballs. I also find it a snap to pull together in the morning when both (!) my children are at school. I mix it all up and stick it in the fridge to bake that evening.

September 29, 2015

Dinner Solved! with Katie Workman + Book Giveaway

Dinner Solved with Katie Workman | The Naptime Chef

My friend Katie and I are on the same page. We both love to feed our families and we both agree that delicious food doesn’t have to be complicated. This is why I am loving her new book so much, Dinner Solved!: 100 Ingenious Recipes that Make the Whole Family Happy, Including You! In it she shares 100 scrumptious recipes that aren’t overly complicated and are completely family-friendly. Many of the recipes also offer slight variations so you can make something a few different ways when you are in the mood for a change. Today I am thrilled to share a little chat we had recently and give away a copy of the book to one lucky reader!

1) The Mom 100 is already a classic cookbook for many home cooks. How did you come up with this book idea based on your feedback from the first one?
The Fork in the Road idea, which was introduced in The Mom 100 Cookbook, struck a chord with a lot of home cooks.  They really liked the idea that you could make one meal, one recipe, and divide it in someway during the process so that it would please everyone at the table.  So, fried chicken could be spicy or mild, a chicken chili could be made in part vegetarian, burgers could be made simply or super flavorful, but the person at the stove wouldn’t have to feel like a short order cook to make everyone happy.
September 25, 2015

Mexican Eggs-in-a-Mug

Mexican Scrambled Eggs | The Naptime Chef

I am not alone in my quest to get my children to eat quick protein-packed breakfasts for breakfast before school. I share a lot of our favorite breakfast ideas in my books, but we’ve come up with a new one recently that isn’t in there. It is our quick breakfast scramble mug. It is can be made in the microwave (!), features great ingredients, and is a snap to get on the table.

September 22, 2015

Slow-Cooker Marinara Sauce + Giveaway!

Slow Cooker Marinara Sauce | The Naptime Chef

Jamie Oliver’s Eggplant Parmesan made with our Marinara Sauce

When the temperatures begin to dip the slow-cooker comes out. It is just one of the many seasonal cooking rhythms that go on in my house. It is not that I never use the slow-cooker in the summer. It is just so much better suited for fall and winter when we crave piping hot foods and I don’t have as much time to cook during the day.

Slow Cooker Giveaway | The Naptime Chef

This fall I’ve been slow cooking up a new favorite recipe: marinara sauce. My roma tomato plant from last summer seeded itself and is going gangbusters this year. I have so many ripe roma tomatoes on my hands the only thing to do is churn out batch after batch of sauce. Last year I made a batch with just tomatoes, salt, olive oil, and basil and it was delicious. But this year I am taking it up a notch and making more richly flavored sauces using mirepoix, red wine, and plenty of herbs for seasoning.

September 18, 2015

10 Faves: Fall Hostess Gifts

10 Faves Fall Hostess Gifts | The Naptime Chef

Fall parties are in the air and the holidays feel like they are just around the corner. Here are a few of my favorite gifts to give to hosts and hostesses this season. Come take a look!

10 Faves Fall Hostess Gifts | The Naptime Chef

Wine pearls for keeping wine perfectly chilled. ($29.95)

10 Fave Fall Hostess Gifts | The Naptime Chef

A set of pretty candles to save for a special occasion. ($12)

September 17, 2015

Malted Milk Chocolate Tart with Toasted Almond Crust

Malted Milk Chocolate Tart | The Naptime Chef

Happy Birthday to me! This year is like all others and I baked myself a special birthday treat. My husband would have gladly run out to buy me the sweet of my choice, but he knows how much I like to go whole hog once a year and make something truly decadent. This year I chose a malted milk chocolate tart with a toast almond crust. It’s the perfect balance of soda shop nostalgia and French bakery sophistication, and is ideal for a chocoholic like me.

September 15, 2015

I Love Your Kitchen Style: The Bachelor Kitchen

I Love Your Kitchen Style | The Naptime Chef

As you probably noticed last week, I’m starting to changing things up around here and am introducing a few new columns. Today will be my first installment of: I Love Your Kitchen Style. It is dedicated to showcasing some of my favorite interesting kitchens from around the globe.

Starting this column makes sense because I am the worst kind of kitchen snoop. Whenever I visit a new kitchen I open drawers, walk into pantries, and take mental notes of every interesting feature I find. Kitchens are so often the heart of a home and I never cease to be amazed by the variety of kitchen designs out there! Never a visit goes by when I don’t note something I want to add to our kitchen when we re-do it once and for all. I hope you find these spaces as fun and interesting as I do!

Today we are staring with Uncle Will’s kitchen in Rochester, New York. Since he is still a bachelor his kitchen only needs to support one person and a dog. When he moved into his house a few years ago he demolished the old kitchen and started fresh. On a limited budget he was able to transform his kitchen into a user-friendly cooking arena that is comfortable for one person, or four. With both my kids running around it last summer we still had plenty of space to eat and cook! Come take a look:

I Love Your Kitchen Style | The Naptime Chef

This was the kitchen when he moved in. Functional, but not particularly attractive.