Easy to Cook, Hearty and Delicious: BLT Pasta

Pasta is quite the satisfying meal, and nothing quite compares to it. It serves as the perfect backdrop for various ingredients ranging from vegetables and meats to tomato sauce and cheese, and far beyond!

I think my younger daughter may have been Italian in a previous life. She would eat pasta for all three meals if she could. Pasta/noodles have been around for thousands of years so a food with that much longevity has got to be popular and delicious!

I served this BLT pasta as one dish for dinner, with no other sides, since there are both tomatoes and greens within the dish. The dish was easy to cook, hearty, and delicious.

We used yellow cherry tomatoes because they tend to be slightly sweeter than red tomatoes. My kids love bacon so this is incredibly popular in our house. After cooking the bacon, my younger daughter loved crumbling the bacon in a Ziploc bag with the bottom of a stainless steel small bowl.

Enjoy!

Ingredients:

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Matching Christmas Pajamas, Happy Holidays & Grinch Popcorn from Imperial Sugar

When I was a kid, my mom would fill a big brown paper bag with popcorn, drizzle with a hot brown sugar mixture… and shake! She has an old hand written recipe from my kindergarten teacher, and has always made caramel corn this way.

So, when our sponsor, Imperial Sugar, asked me to make a recipe from Kids in the Kitchen, I chose Grinch Popcorn… but said I was going to do it my mom’s way.

imperial-sugar-grinch-popcorn-bowl
On Kids in the Kitchen, Grinch Popcorn is made on the stove in a Dutch oven. That is way too wild for this cook, so we used the air popper and then used all the same ingredients and mixed it all in a brown paper bag.

imperial-sugar-grinch-popcorn-supplies
The ingredients are:
Vegetable oil
Popcorn kernels
Imperial Sugar Extra Fine Granulated Sugar
Green Food coloring
Sea salt
Red candy hearts
Red, green, and white nonpareils

Find the full recipe HERE.

The funny thing about making it our “easy” way was that we still had a wild time making it. We burned some sugar, we had some color mishaps and we tripped a breaker in the kitchen.

Just imaging us in the kitchen with windows wide open to the neighborhood. We were all in matching red Christmas pajamas (something that had never happened before), with a baby over one arm and kids with bags of popcorn and sugar sprinkles in containers that were less like salt shakers and more like wide mouth pitchers.

imperial-sugar-grinch-popcorn-mixing
So my 5 year old popped the popcorn, my 7 year old mixed the oil, sugar and coloring, and I burned the topping on the stove. We tried it again and did a little better. (And let me tell you that if you try to make this Grinch Popcorn into caramel corn with brown sugar… the green is a terrible brown… and the kids will squeal.)

imperial-sugar-grinch-popcorn-bag
I took the green sugar mixture, poured it in the bag with the popcorn, and the kids shook like crazy!

While it was warm, we poured the popcorn onto wax paper and went crazy with the salt and sprinkles. And we ate it as we went.

imperial-sugar-grinch-popcorn-sugar
We spent the morning, mixing, burning, squealing over food color mishaps, losing power in the kitchen, making a big sugar mess… and laughing a lot.

The young woman that lives next door kept on walking by the window.  At first I think she was shocked to see us all in matching pajamas, acting crazy in the kitchen.  By the third trip to her car, she was laughing… and I suspect she wanted to be a part of our holiday family fun.

jarvis-family-christmas


Using that Halloween Candy for Thanksgiving Turkey Cookies from Imperial Sugar!

We had so much candy from Halloween that I each day, while the kids were at school, I would steal a dozen pieces from each loot bag.  Soon the kids were down to no candy and knew something was up.  And since it disappeared slowly, they thought I had just taken a few pieces… and I just had to smile and thank them for sharing with me.

So here I was with a giant bag of candy when our sponsor, Imperial Sugar, asked me to make some Thanksgiving cookies.

imperial-sugar-turkey-cookies
The Kids in the Kitchen section of their website is full of Thanksgiving cookies and projects… but my kids picked the turkey!

For these we needed… Biscoff style cookie dough (or Oreos), Royal Icing, Candy Coating, Peanut Butter Cups, Candy Corn and Malted Milk Balls. So I climbed up on the counter top and quietly grabbed the candy bag hidden at the top of the cabinet.

ingredients-for-imperial-sugar-turkey-cookies

After messing up a few turkeys, we finally figured out how to make these guys. Let gravity help you by laying out the candy corn features in an arch on the table. Take the cookie, cover the back with candy coating and place it on the features. Then add the chocolate tummy and head and details.

Once the turkey is built and the candy coating is dry… run a knife under it to loosen it from the table… and set it upright.

 

imperial-sugar-turkey-cookie-construction
 

We are a little messy in our house, so when you see our little turkeys, just remember that yours could look a lot more like the cookies on the Imperial Sugar website. Still, we don’t let some messy cookies keep us from the fun of making them!

Find the instructions HERE.

imperial-sugar-turkey-cookie-for-thanksgiving
The kids had a good idea of using these as placeholders on Thanksgiving… but we ate them all. We’ll have to have another turkey making day closer to the holiday!


Not So Spooky Spider Cookies and a Scary Scramble Recipe Contest on Imperial Sugar

Happy Halloween!

Kids in the Kitchen, by Imperial Sugar, is full of fun recipes, crafts and printables. The team at Imperial Sugar asked which recipe I could make… to which I laughed and said, “None?”.

Fortunately, Kids in the Kitchen is meant for, well, kids… and my kids are much better in the kitchen than me!

We went through all the Halloween recipes on the website and selected the Not So Spooky Spider Cookies!

imperial-sugar-spider-cookie-finished
I gathered up the ingredients and then let my measurers and mixers get to work.

They quickly made the cookie dough and started rolling the cookies into balls.  Sticking in the pretzel legs was perfect when done by them… and looked a little silly when done by me.  (Good thing I have the little bakers.)

imperial-sugar-and-ingredients-for-spider-cookies
I handled the oven part of the instructions, but then handed over the spiders for the final touches.

The kids added in the candy eyes and candy heads.

For the top, the recipe called for malt balls… but I really don’t like malt balls, so I got “Hershey Drops”.  (They did get a little melted… but were delicious.)

imperial-sugar-rolling-spider-cookies-with-imperial-sugar
When we were done, the kids and I were proud of our silly little spiders.  And when my oldest boy and husband came home, they tried the cookies and were very impressed.  Maybe even shocked.

They said the salty and sweet cookies were really very good and, knowing my usual kitchen performances, asked if I had made them.  I smiled and told them that all credit went to my little kids and the Imperial Sugar recipe page.

imperial-sugar-spider-cookie-eyes
You can find the recipe for Not So Spooky Spider Cookies on Imperial Sugar.

Also, from October 9-19, 2016, participate in the Scary Scramble Recipe Contest.  Just read the daily clue, unscramble the recipe and enter daily to win a KitchenAid stand mixer!

imperial-sugar-finished-cookie-spiders
 


The “Super Awesome” Apple Peeler… & No Crust Apple Pie

I may not be much of a cook… but I am one heck of an apple baker.  And this is because the only thing tricky about baking with apples is peeling them… and this is magically done by the “super awesome” apple peeler (as named by my kids).

Apple Peeler with Apples
This device, which you can get for as low as about $12.00, is easy enough for kids to use and magically peels and cores the apples.  Find it (affiliate)  HERE.

Apple Spiral from Apple Peeler
You just use the suction cup to attach the device to your table, attach the apple to the fork-like side, and turn the handle.  (And if you are like my kids, you eat the peel as it comes off the apple.)

Eat Peel while Peeling Apple
Occasionally the peeler does not want to stick to the table, so we hold it down with our non-turning hand.  And occasionally we will fight over who gets to peel which apple.

Once I had 6 peeled apples (2 for each kid… because no way one would settle for less than their siblings), I was practically done with the No-Crust Apple Pie!

Here’s how to make this easy dessert (which happens to be my husband’s birthday cake this year):

Ingredients for Crustless Apple Pie with Imperial Sugar
Topping Ingredients:
1 Cup Imperial Sugar
1 Stick Butter (Softened)
1 Heaping Cup Flour

Filling Ingredients:
Enough Apples to Fill the Pie Plate (I use Granny Smith for baking)
1 Tbs Flour
1 Tbs Imperial Sugar
1 tsp Cinnamon

Covering Crustless Apple Pie with Imperial Sugar
To make the topping, blend together sugar and butter.  Add the flour and blend with sugar and butter.  Set aside.

To make the filling, in a bowl, slice enough apples to fill your pie plate.  Mix together flour, sugar and cinnamon and add to the apples.

Pour apples into the pie plate.  (I use a deep Corningware dish.)

Make the topping into meatball sized balls, flatten and lay them across the apples.  It does not need to be perfect and the kids can easily do this step.  Just cover up all the apples.

Bake at 350º for 45 minutes.

Crustless Apple Pie with Imperial Sugar
It’s easy… and you get to use the super awesome apple peeler!


Quick and Easy Dinner Ideas: Full O’Beans Chili, Quinoa, and Cucumber & Radish Salad

Hi this is Pranika! One of my longtime favorite things to make is vegetarian chili. I first began making it a few years after college on Sunday night dinners with friends. I would make it during football season and many of my friends didn’t eat meat, so I made it vegetarian.

I have experimented and made many, many different versions of it and I often change up the recipe depending on my mood.  It’s a Super Bowl favorite as well. I know there have been some requests for it, so below is the slow cooker version.

Bite of Full O'Beans Chili
Enjoy and happy eating!

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Greenling Meal Kits Make Cooking So Easy, I Can Do It! (And Local & Organic Dinner Tastes Good.)

Greenling Box at your DoorAs you know, Pranika is the dinner expert at BigKidSmallCity because I am a terrible cook.  I used to have my own weekly dinner post, but it was mostly a joke about how bad things turned out.  I finally found a better person to write the post, but unfortunately, my kids still insisted on eating dinner each night.

Around the same time, I discovered Greenling.  They will deliver local and organic groceries to your door.  I started with the Local Box, because really, no one wants me to only order spinach and serve salads ever single night for dinner.

The Local Box comes with a variety of local fruits and vegetables and recipe suggestions.  It arrives at my doorstep and forces me to make something unique for dinner.  It was a great way to introduce things like sunchokes, radishes, beets and summer squash to my family.

As much as I loved this box, I got into another rut.  Every night, I was making stir-fry.  New vegetables but same dinner.

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Quesadillas, Black Beans, & Lime Cucumber Salad – Quick, Easy and Budget Friendly Dinner Idea!

Hi from Pranika! We are a family of four that enjoys eating and cooking together. My girls, ages 6 and 3, love to help in the kitchen as well.  This is one of our favorite, quickest, and most budget-friendly dinners: quesadillas, black beans, and lime cucumber salad.

The kids love to sprinkle cheese on their tortillas, measure and add spices to the beans, and mix the cucumber salad.

Pranika and Family
 

Happy eating from our family to yours!

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Pea Pasta, Lemon Broccoli, & Cherry Tomato Salad – Quick and Easy Dinner Ideas to Cook with Kids!

HelpersHi from Pranika! We are a family of four that enjoys eating and cooking together. My girls ages 6 and 3 love to help in the kitchen as well.

I honestly think the kids like the food better when they help make it… makes my kitchen a bit more messy, but the cooking is much more fun and the memories are priceless.

Our entire family adores lemons and the flavor they bring to food. The following recipes all have some lemon in them!  Pea Pasta, Lemon Broccoli, & Cherry Tomato Salad.

Hope you enjoy a taste of late summer and the fresh ingredients. Happy eating!

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Lettuce Cups, Roasted Chicken & Chocolate Covered Strawberries – Quick & Easy Dinner Ideas!

Hi from Pranika! We are a family of four that enjoys eating and cooking together. My girls ages 6 and 3 love to help in the kitchen as well.

Lettuce Cups
 

I used to think that lettuce was a total wash. Why eat lettuce when you can eat spinach or arugula and they are much healthier? Then…I ate lettuce cups and I have re-kindled my love with lettuce.

We get a delivery of local produce and vegetables once every two weeks and one of the items that has been included for the last few months is butterhead lettuce.

We would use it sometimes in salads, but then I got the idea to make our own lettuce cups. Throw some stuff in there that you have at home and voila! The lettuce cups are simple, delicious and take about 10-15 minutes to make!

I serve the lettuce cups with a variety of things – pasta, quesadillas, grilled cheese, but this week it was roasted chicken. While the chicken cooks for 45 minutes, I usually make the lettuce cups, help with homework, set the table, play with my kids, or even get inspired for dessert! This week we added dessert to the mix and made some chocolate covered strawberries. Its messy, delicious, and best of all – quick!

Happy cooking & eating!