Lasagna Bolognese


 I've been gone for a long time.  What have I been up to?  We went to California, my husband won a golf tournament...

Also I made lasagna!   

You can find the recipe HERE.  Now listen up, people, I DID NOT MAKE MY OWN LASAGNA NOODLES like the recipe calls for.  I bought the kind in a box, and boiled them for 4 minutes and then rinsed them under cold water.  I baked the lasagna for about 40 minutes (the first 20 lightly covered with foil).  Maybe I'll make my own noodles the next time I make this, OR, in...oh...16 years when I'm an empty nester and actually have time.  Probably the latter, because did you know kids totally and utterly consume your life?  At least they're cute and worth it.  Do you know what else is worth consuming?  (That makes it sound like I eat my kids.)  THIS LASAGNA.  Yum.  

Check back next week for some Oscar-worthy appetizers!  Also, tune into Kathie Lee and Hoda on Tuesday for some yummy casserole recipes :)

Green Chile Chicken Enchilada Casserole


Taco Tuesday used to be such a thing in our house.  When we moved to New York, it seemed we kept the tradition alive for awhile but it has slowly faded and now, it's not a thing.  I want it to be a thing!  I like having "things"... sigh.  I think part of the problem is that we start to get bored of the same old tacos, so in search of something new the other day I made this Green Chile Chicken Enchilada Casserole!  That's a mouthful, in more ways than one (chuckle, chuckle, knee slap).    

I followed this recipe but threw in some butternut squash when I added the chicken (that I first diced into cubes and sautéed with some finely chopped onions in butter for 8-10 minutes).  I will make this again and again and by the way, it's even better the next day.  Make it a THING in your house!

Mini Sour Cream Bran Muffins


I'm on a mini muffin kick.  First these perfect banana ones, and now these yummy, moist (I know, you hate that word) sour cream bran muffins.  Now, bran muffins probably aren't the first thing you think of when you see the word "yummy" but I, for one, am a fan.  Warmed with a little butter and a drizzle of honey, or smeared with some peanut butter, I've always loved a good bran muffin.  If made properly, it's slightly sweet, slightly spiced and yes, moist.  These are all of those things and most importantly, a good source of fiber for my kids (who desperately need it).     

Recipe HERE.

CPK Chopped Salad


When I moved to California after college, my roommates and I went to California Pizza Kitchen, a lot.  We were creatures of habit, and went to the same places (that we could afford) over, and over.  If I wasn't with my roommates, I was picking up food for all of the writers at the TV show Frasier, where I worked as a production assistant.  It was always fun stumbling out of there with 8 giant bag cutting off the circulation in my arms.  

I really don't miss the pizza (especially now that I live near some of the greatest pizza in the world), but there was a salad that we would ALWAYS get.  It was a basic chopped, with uniform-sized strips of crunchy lettuce, sweet basil, salty salami, creamy mozzarella, buttery garbanzo beans and THE most perfect, tangy dressing.  My friend (and old roommate) found a copycat recipe so I made it at home and it was a PERFECT match to the real thing.  I will make it again, and again (because I am still a creature of habit).    

Recipe HERE.

Spaghetti Aglio E Olio with Kale


Anyone else feel like comfort eating today?  Make this for dinner and don't look back.  It's simple, hearty and delicious.  Plus, it's full of kale, so it's practically like eating a green smoothie.  One bummer when I made it last night: I forgot to reserve some pasta water that would have aided in making the sauce all thick and creamy.  In fact, I almost threw myself down the garbage disposal to retrieve the starchy water.  But then I didn't do that, and I moved on with my life.  It was still superb, and I highly recommend it.  Happy, healthy, SAFE weekends, my friends.

Recipe HERE

Glowing Skin Green Smoothie


Did you know we are old?  I don't mean to collectively group "us" together, because I know "we" are all different ages.  But whatever that age is, it's older than you used to be (what up, Debbie Downer!!?).  I'll never forget the day I realized that I was older than the fictional characters in The Baby-sitters Club books.  It was mind blowing.  There was just no way I could be as cool and mature as Kristy, Mary Anne, Claudia and Stacey, and don't get me started on Dawn from Cali (sigh).

That sudden awareness of my age still happens as I get even older.  Like when college students suddenly look like babies (and it's even possible you could be the incoming freshmen's mother).  The day you realize professional athletes are actually much, MUCH younger than you.  Or even that mom friend you see every day and you just assume you were born on the exact same day because you both have kids and then you realize she's not even in her 30's yet.  And so on, and so forth.

My point is, I feel young, which is good I guess!  But sometimes I'll have those long, stare-at-your-face in the mirror, somber moments and it will again occur to me... I'm older than I used to be.  One of my new year's resolutions was to take better care (or ANY care) of my skin.  I'm usually so tired by the end of the day that I'm lucky if I brush my teeth.  But I keep vowing to wear some masks, exfoliate, put on night cream, I don't know, something.  Anything!  Enter, this smoothie.

I have to admit something: I am not a smoothie person.  Or a juice person.  I like to chew my food.  I like to chew it reeeeeal good.  It has always seemed like a lot of work to make a smoothie in the mornings when toasting a bagel requires little to no effort.  Alas, as I slowly become a Golden Girl, I've decided I need to embrace all of the different ways of the world, like the smoothie ways.  And I'm glad I did!  This took me MINUTES to make, using mostly frozen fruit, fresh avocado (which we always have on hand), a handful of spinach and coconut water.  Best part?  It's supposed to make my skin glow, so my goal is to try one for breakfast every day this week.  Check out my Instagram for the before pic... and next week I'll post a transformed photo in which I look exactly like Dawn from The Baby-Sitters Club.      

You can find the recipe HERE.

p.s. This kept me full for HOURS, which is Breaking News in my world.  

Perfect Mini Banana Muffins


The other day, my two-year-old came across a package of Little Bites Banana Muffins, and by "came across" I mean I bought them to keep her quiet at Target so I could shop in peace.  Did it work?  Yes.  I bought the few things I actually needed and 13 other things I did not in complete and utter serenity.  Anyway, she LOVED them and would not stop asking for more.  Between the three of my kids, we polished off the box the next day and of course, they were hooked.  However, I felt torn between giving them something they actually enjoy eating and feeding them a snack with ingredients I can't pronounce.  The solution presented itself when we came home from a long weekend away to dark bananas.  I made my own!  I wanted to make them mini, perfectly moist and just sweet enough.  They were fantastic... two-year-old approved.  Best part?  Only took a matter of minutes to prepare the batter IN ONE BOWL and made 50 mini muffins... plenty to eat and plenty to freeze for future snacks.  That's more than one best part, sorry not sorry.       

Perfect Mini Banana Muffins
Makes 50 mini muffins

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 cup mashed bananas (about 3 small ripe bananas)
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, add the sugar and vegetable oil and stir until smooth.  Add the eggs, vanilla and lemon juice and stir again until smooth.  Add the mashed bananas and stir to combine all ingredients.  Add the flour, baking powder and salt and stir until just combined.  Add the milk and stir once more until just combined.  You don't want to over-stir or you'll have dense muffins.  Spray a mini muffin tin with baking spray.  Add a tablespoon or so of batter into each cup (about 3/4 of the way full).  Bake for 10 minutes.  Let cool and then remove onto a wire baking rack.  Enjoy!  

For more breakfast inspiration, check out my segment on the Today Show this morning here.


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