Cultured Cuisine Brought Home
One of our favorite things to do after a long week is to spend time in the kitchen together, cooking one of our favorite dishes. What do you do with your little ones to connect after a crazy week?
If your family loves cooking, then this page is perfect for all of you. Foods found here often won us over at first taste, so we were motivated to try our own spin when we returned home. Dishes are quick, easy, relatively healthy and can be modified simply. We hope you’re inspired to create your own culinary art and if so, tag us on Instagram @sightseeingwithsandy and by using #kidstraveltoo.
Spaghetti Squash Boats
So thanks to my really good friend Carman, I found a really quick and easy way to have a pass tonight without all the carbs. It’s pretty simple actually: Turkey meatballs, spaghetti squash, your favorite tomato sauce, fresh parsley and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (I swear it’s better than regular Parmesan).
Now, I love to cook and I don’t mind spending time doing it, but since COVID-19 has set in, I don’t have that type of time while I’m working and teaching class to a precocious 6 year old Queen. When I need to cheat, I buy a jar of Newman’s Own tomato basil organic sauce and I will also get some freshly prepared meatballs from the deli at Whole Foods or Central Market because they’re already seasoned and shaped. When I get home I’ll pop the meatballs in the oven and I’ll throw the sauce on top the stove and cook it on low for the last 30 minutes the meatballs and squash are cooking in the oven. If you’re lucky, the squash is already cut in half, but if not, follow this recipe for prepping. WARNING: You need a great knife. If you are in doubt about your cutting skills or your knife’s ability to cut, I suggest you cook the squash midway and then cut it straight down the middle. Season it accordingly and then throw it back in the oven, face down until it’s browned. We are not trying to have anybody go to the hospital! After everything is done, use a fork to separate the squash from the rind until it looks like spaghetti noodles. Season with a little salt and pepper, add the meatballs and then top with your sauce and parsley. Grate some fresh cheese and enjoy! Depending upon how long the day was, have some wine, too!
Portobello Mushroom Open-Faced Tacos
Not many kids like mushrooms, but when it comes to my kid she could eat them every day. You can only imagine how surprised I was when she insisted we had mushroom tacos. I actually thought that sounded gross, but I didn’t really feel like arguing that night. Turns out it was actually pretty tasty, but I would rather stick to my soft shells at the end of the day. Overall, the recipe was pretty healthy. We used 1 pound of lean turkey meat, two medium tomatoes (diced), one pack of taco seasoning (I use McCormick Organics), 1/2 Vidalia onion (sautéed), 1 tablespoon of beef broth, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, a dash of salt and pepper and of course, Portobello mushrooms (2-pack). While the oven preheated to 350, we brownEd the turkey meat and in a separate skillet, with a tablespoon of olive oil, we brownEd the mushrooms (2 minutes on each side) as well. We then removed them from the heat and once the oven reached 350, we covered the mushrooms with foil (leaving a side open to vent) and placed them in the oven for 15 minutes. After the meat cooked, we added the tomatoes, sautéed onions and seasonings. I followed the amount of water suggested on the back of the taco seasoning packet. If your mixture becomes too thick during the process, feel free to add a tablespoon or two of water. If you choose to do this, remember to re-season your food to your preference. We brought the mixture to a boil (stirring frequently) and then allowed it to simmer while covered with a top. After the mixture and the mushrooms cooked for 15 minutes, we plated our dinner! We used a spatula to remove each mushroom and placed them face up. We added 3-4 scoops of the taco mixture to each mushroom and as well as cheese and sour cream and we couldn’t have been happier! Hope you like it, too! Bon Appetite!
This is one of our favorite sides and if I’m feeling like a light dinner, I’ll grill fish or chicken to go with the salad. Sandy loves this because I let her put her favorite fruits and toppings in the salad, which makes it a joy for her to eat her own creation. We simply use an organic mixed bag of kale and cabbage -chopped, a half cup of strawberries, a half cup of blueberries, 1/4 cup of shredded carrots, shredded cheese and pumpkin seeds. Sandy loves poppyseed dressing, balsamic vinaigrette or even olive oil and garlic for the dressing, but if your kids prefer something sweeter, I would suggest going for a fruit-based dressing. FYI: Since she fired me from video productions, I was not allowed input during the filming nor could I suggest changes to the script😒. Enjoy the salad!
While in California, we enjoyed dinner at L’ Opera Italian Restaurant. Sandy had the lasagna and I opted for a house favorite – the butternut squash raviolis served with a brown butter sage sauce. I loved this dish because it was simple, but very filling. When we made it at home we added allspice, brown sugar and nutmeg to warm it up a bit. It was awesome and Sandy loved it! We enjoyed this as a main dish, but if you have a house full of carnivores, this is a wonderful option for a side. Bon Appetite!
- 1 package prepared butternut squash raviolis (I grab Rana Butternut Squash from Target)
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, refrigerated
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- ¼ cup pecans, chopped (for texture, optional)
- 10 leaves fresh sage, diced
- 10 drops olive oil
- Pinch of salt
- 1 lemon, juiced
- Parmesan cheese (for topping)
- Pour the oil and empty the raviolis into boiling, salted water and cook until the pasta floats and firms up. I find this to be around 3 min, but directions are provided on the package. Drain the water off the pasta and place to the side.
- In a medium-sized heated pan, add the pecans and let them toast for 1-2 min before adding 3 tablespoons of the butter and sage leaves. Cook until the butter browns, the nuts are heated through, and the sage is a deeper green. Add the remaining spices and cook on low. Toss intermittently so the pasta and sauce do not stick. Add the lemon juice.
- Swirl in the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter to thicken the sauce. Add the cooked raviolis back in and toss gently to coat the pasta. Remove from heat.
- Top the pasta with the Parmesan cheese and sage leaves for garnish. Enjoy!
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