Cooking and Bonding: Recipes to Make as a Family
Family time is a great time to cook together. You teach kids valuable skills, while also sharing and making memories together. Whether you're making a family-favorite recipe or trying something new, cooking and baking as a family is a worthy endeavor. We've put together a collection of recipes that are especially great for groups. Either they make plenty to share, or the steps allow for chefs of all skill levels to be a part.
First up is our top-rated Pecan-Topped Pumpkin Bread. This much-loved recipe was the subject of a recipe makeover that earned rave reviews. With a few low-fat baking tricks, our healthy pumpkin bread recipe shaved 33 percent of the calories and more than half the fat from the original recipe. "I love this recipe because it makes two loaves. Many quick breads only make one, but with very little effort, you can double your results," Kimberly Holland says. "I usually take a loaf to work, or I'll cut the second loaf and freeze individually wrapped slices for quick desserts when I'm too busy to bake later."
Several hours of cooking over low, steady heat renders apple slices juicy, tender, and oh so flavorful. Like reader Morgan Hartlage, we enjoy making this fall favorite when temps start to drop. Our Overnight Apple Butter is a sweet, rich apple spread that goes perfectly on a toasted English muffin or served over pork chops. One taste and you'll never believe it's fat free.
Sweet and Sour Turkey Meatballs with Polenta
Time: 30 minutes
Mix It Up: Rice may be more traditional here, but we love the contrast of creamy polenta with the sweet heat of the sauce.
Serve with Sesame Sautéed Spinach
Family-Style Chicken Spaghetti
A family favorite swaps jarred sauce for fresh—which requires just a few ingredients and less than 10 minutes.
Peanut Butter Cup Blondies
If you're a fan of the classic flavor combination of chocolate and peanut butter, you'll love these bars.
Individual White Chicken Pizzas
Cook up as many pizzas as you want tonight, and freeze the rest. The key to the deliciousness (and believe us, these cheesy pizzas are amazing) is to make fresh ricotta cheese, which is more moist and creamy than store-bought.
To Freeze: Bake pizzas on preheated stone for only 5 minutes. Cool; wrap individually in heavy-duty foil, stack, and freeze up to 2 months.
To Reheat: No thawing: Place frozen pizzas on a baking sheet that's not preheated; bake at 450° for 13 minutes or until cheese browns.
Carrot Cake Sandwich Cookies
Based on the classic whoopie pie, these soft sandwich cookies provide all the pleasures of traditional carrot cake in a fun-to-eat package, including the thick, tangy cream cheese frosting—especially the cream cheese frosting.
Fish Tacos with Sweet Pickle Sauce
The creamy sauce offers a cool counterpoint to the bold blackening spices. Not in the mood for tilapia? The recipe is also great with chicken, sliced flank steak, or shrimp. Toss some avocado, tomato, and cilantro into the mix, and you're ready to knock Taco Tuesday out of the park.
Classic Lasagna with Meat Sauce
We stick to part-skim mozzarella for our lasagna and add just a touch of Parm-Regg to the top so its salty flavor is prominent. In the filling, we use fat-free ricotta but stir in a bit of melted butter to enrich it—it tastes great and still has less fat and sat fat than part-skim ricotta.
Roll-Out Holiday Cookies
Crispy Vegetable Quesadillas
A sparing amount of cooking spray is key to perfectly crisp quesadillas—too much and the fat absorbs into the tortilla. Plus, spreading mashed beans onto each tortilla forms a protective layer that keeps the veggie juices contained (and the tortillas crisp).
Loaded Twice-Baked Potato
For a main dish, split the potatoes from the top, and open slightly; pile on more toppings, and enjoy the entire potato.
Turn regular pancakes into something way more fun: Flip them inside out so they become a portable, handheld breakfast on the go with hot, gooey interior. Here we place a filling of brown sugar, toasted pine nuts, and cinnamon inside regular whole-wheat pancake batter. The results are irresistible: The brown sugar melts to a yummy molten syrup as the cakes cook.
Beef and Broccoli Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
Overstuffed spuds are fun and fast. Make extra of these Mexican-inspired Beef and Broccoli Stuffed Sweet Potatoes and take for lunch the next day. Besides a stuffer, frozen broccoli florets make a second appearance as part of the sauce in creamy Broccoli and Cheddar Chicken Pasta.
The New Essentials:
Frozen Steam-In-Bag Broccoli Florets - These store much longer than fresh, adding green veggie heft to any main dish or acting as a simple, ready-to-go side.
Preshredded 2% Reduced-Fat Mexican-Blend Cheese - No need to overstock your dairy drawer-this mild, slightly salty four-cheese blend is all you need.
Mozza Fruit Skewers
The Very Hungry Caterpillar eats holes through the middle of lots of foods. You can keep the authenticity without the bug by skewering your young readers' favorite healthy snacks. These skewers are an easy and portable way to get a pick-me-up with fruit and cheese without the fork and bowl, making it easy for you to keep going with your busy reading schedule.
Cinnamon Roll Muffins
We transform the cinnamon roll into a portable muffin that's packed with whole grains, ribboned with nutty streusel, and topped with a tart-sweet yogurt glaze. Yeasted cinnamon rolls take hours. These speedy muffins are done in just 30 minutes. Keep leftovers in an airtight container up to 4 days, or freeze up to 1 month.
Chocolate-Peanut Butter Energy Balls
The chia seed has stolen the limelight lately on the nutrition red carpet. Packed with omega-3 fatty acids, carbohydrates, protein, dietary fiber, antioxidants, and calcium, these tiny black and white seeds provide a boost of energy and regulate blood sugar to help you feel full longer.
Speed up your breakfast tomorrow when you roll a batch of these energy balls tonight. Snacking on-the-go has never been easier or more delicious—and when chocolate cravings hit, you can pop one between meals all week long! What’s not to love?
Old-Fashioned Popcorn Balls
Guess what? This is a whole-grain dessert. To keep the stickiness at bay, wear latex gloves coated with cooking spray as you shape the popcorn balls.
Waffle Iron Turkey Melt Panini
This playful turkey melt's abundant crisp crevices and gooey interior will have the whole family wondering, "What can we waffle next?"
Roasted Zucchini and Black Bean Tostadas with Crisp Radish Relish
The radish relish gives a hit of bright crunch to the tostada; sour cream adds a cool, creamy finish.
Grilled Chicken Skewers with Asian Pear Slaw
Marjorie Meek-Bradley of Ripple relies on fish sauce to bring a new dimension to marinades and vinaigrettes. She finds that this salty pantry stape is especially appealing in crisp salads. "Fish sauce creates this exotic Thai flavor without being overpowering," she says.
French Toast Soldiers
French toast doesn’t have to be a junky breakfast. In fact, with the protein from the eggs and some fresh strawberries, it can be an energizing start to the day. Serve a small amount of syrup on the side if you want to control how much sugar your kids are getting. They’ll love dipping the “soldiers” into the syrup.
Build Your Own Bagel
Kids love having some control over what they’re eating. You just need to make sure you give them smart ingredients to choose from. Any of these are good choices. Whether your kids prefer sweet or savory, one of these 4 are sure to hit the spot.
Zucchini and Bean Burritos
The bean mixture acts as a barrier between the tortilla and the zucchini, so the burritos stay crisp.
Avocado Sushi Snack
Such an easy and nutritious snack. Truly the simplest roll and once you master this one, feel free to add any additional ingredients you think would pair well such as crunchy cucumber and cooked shrimp.