Powernap: Quick Recipes For When Time is Limited!

Steamed Squash & Onion | The Naptime Chef

Steamed Summer Squash with Onion & Pepper

This is one of those quick recipes that I learned from my Mom and eat on a regular basis. It is so simple it is hardly a recipe but I still want to share it in case you are looking for a new way to eat squash. The premise is simple: slice summer squash and vidalia onions very thin. Set in a strainer over a pot of water and steam until cooked through and wilted. Stir in a thin sliver of butter and good sea salt, and enjoy.

Squash Basil & Tomato Frittata

Squash Basil & Tomato Frittata

This summer I planted a TON of squash in our garden. I focused on that because we eat zucchini and summer squash all summer long, plus, we were getting a little tired of jalapeos. The other day I harvested three perfect squash and made it a goal to eat them at every meal. First up, breakfast.

A Delicious & Easy Summer Snack | The Naptime Chef

A Delicious & Easy Summer Snack with Triscuit

I am a big fan of no-cook food in the summer months. I like things I can make without going anywhere near the hot oven. Most of the time this means throwing together cold salads, easy sandwiches, and eating lots of fresh fruits. Another one of my favorite things is topping crackers with delicious bites like bits of cheese, nuts, pestos, and other healthy food. Last month I saw these delectable honey-topped peach Triscuits on Savannah Bee Company. I loved the idea of a salty wheat cracker topped with sweet fruit and honey, and nuts for an added crunch. I couldn’t wait to make my own variation.

Wheatberry Zucchini Salad | The Naptime Chef

Wheatberry & Zucchini Salad with Avocado Dressing

Summer is my favorite cooking season. The produce is abundant, local, and fresh. It is hot enough that a lot of time I don’t even have to turn on the stove, just chop up vegetables and enjoy. The only problem is that my children don’t always see eye to eye with me on this philosophy. They still want their heavier winter meals and are not all that interested in fresh summer vegetables tossed in with their standby carrot sticks. This is when I turn to Hidden Valley Ranch for a little help. One of their newest flavors, Hidden Valley┬« Original Ranch┬« Avocado Dressing, is just what I need to create a meal that the whole family loves.

Rhubarb Soda | The Naptime Chef

Rhubarb Syrup for Everything

It is rhubarb season and I am hear with a great rhubarb syrup recipe for you. It is more like a condiment in the sense that you can use it for all sorts of things. The blushing pink syrup is ideal for stirring into seltzer to make spritzers, adding to prosecco, drizzling over yogurts and ice creams, and much, much more. The recipe is incredibly simple to make during naptime, or just about anytime, and will make your whole kitchen smell like the sweetest fruit farm you’ve ever visited. Pick up some rhubarb at the market today and get cracking. You’ll have a whole summer of rhubarb deliciousness to look forward to.

Homemade Fudgesicles | The Naptime Chef

Homemade Fudgesicles: The Jet Lag Chef

This week I have to call myself the jet lag chef. We returned from Paris over the weekend and I am still operating on Parisian time. Every morning my daughter and I have been up and bopping around the house at 5am. We aren’t a bit tired and are quite happy to chat, make breakfast, and generally take care of everything we want before my husband and son wake up. I can’t say it is all bad! Naturally, I’ve been using some of my free time as a chance to prep food for later in the day. After all, jet lag means I am sound asleep by 8pm, sharp! This week I started off my making homemade fudge pops based on a recipe my mother cut out for me from The New York Times.

Mrs. Wheelbarrow's Practical Pantry | The Naptime Chef

Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce with Mrs. Wheelbarrow + Giveaway!

I’ve been wanting to feature my friend Cathy’s book, Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Practical Pantry: Recipes and Techniques for Year Round Preserving for some time now, but I had to wait until spring. Why? Because I am finally using up my remaining frozen strawberries and rhubarb from last fall and want to feature her amazing Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce. Also, Cathy’s book WON the 2015 IACP Single Subject Cookbook Award so now I can officially brag about that for her. (There is even a new beauty mark on the cover!) Congratulations, Cathy!

Asparagus & Barley Salad

Asparagus Barley Salad with Pine Nuts & Parmesan

This salad is a mash up of the many grain and asparagus salads I’ve seen floating around the web lately. With asparagus season truly getting underway, and a big bag of barley in our pantry, I knew this just had to be made. The general idea is that delicious fresh cooked asparagus is tossed with hot barley, a sharp lemony vinaigrette, and topped with shavings of salty Parmesan. The concept is simple, and so is the recipe, and the result is nothing short of delicious.

Chocolate Guinness Loaf

Chocolate Guinness Loaf

I am not Irish, but I never shy away from a good quick bread recipe and this seemed like a good day to share one made with a strong Irish beer. I assure you, this is also family-friendly. The alcohol from the Guinness burns off while baking so don’t worry, the kids can eat it too. We made this on Sunday while my son napped. It was a quick one-bowl affair that came together quickly and tasted amazing. It even has made an appearance in the lunchbox this week! I hope you enjoy eating it as much as we do. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Blueberry Bread Pudding | The Naptime Chef

Blueberry Breakfast Bread Pudding

This blueberry breakfast bread pudding came about when I had to use up leftovers from the fridge. Eggs, challah, blueberries, you name it, all the ingredients were front and center and just about to outlive their welcome in the kitchen. Since the challah had already been used for other things I decided to break it into chunks and marinate it overnight to absorb the flavor like I do with my overnight French toast. In the morning I popped it in the oven and let it bake and bubble until a gorgeous casserole was ready for us all to enjoy.

Peanut Butter Cookie Pie | The Naptime Chef

Peanut Butter Cookie Pie for Fun

What do you get when you combine flaky pie crust with your favorite cookie recipe? Peanut butter cookie pie, of course. This treat is a super-duper kid favorite recipe that is bound to be a family favorite for years to come. And if you really want to ensure its place in the dessert hall of fame make it into a giant peanut butter cookie pie overload sundae. You’ll be the most popular person in your house and bask in praise for days on end!

Green Beans with Shallots | The Naptime Chef

Green Beans with Frizzled Shallots

We are on the mend at Chez Naptime after last week’s kiddie virus invasion. I am still amazed at how many tissue boxes we went through! I am slowly getting back on the cooking wagon and am sticking to quick, easy meals that can be whipped up in a jiff. I even make them easier on myself with a little naptime food prep. So simple! These green beans with frizzled shallots have become a recent favorite of ours. We love the salty crunch of the shallots with the snappy beans.