Skillet Rigatoni: Weeknight Dinner Recipe

The cooler weather finally has come to Alabama, and on Halloween it is supposed to be pretty chilly. We have a super busy week ahead with my daughter’s dance, Halloween and my youngest son is his little league football’s Super Bowl (which means practicing almost every night). This Skillet Rigatoni Recipe is the perfect weeknight dinner recipe. It’s easy, fast and a crowd pleaser, and my kids absolutely love it. Feel free to use ground turkey if you want.  I may just make this on Halloween night to make my life a little simpler.

Kale Lasagna

Lately, lasagna has been on my brain. Since my three kids eat kale, I thought I would create a Kale Lasagna which turned out to be an absolute hit. Kale is so healthy for you, being called “the new beef”, full of vitamin K, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Calcium, Iron and antioxidants. Cook it like spinach, or you can always make my kid’s favorite, Kale Chips. Enjoy this recipe as the temperatures get cooler for a healthy and hearty weekend or weeknight dinner. It would also be fun to serve on Halloween night.

5 Easy Back to School Recipes

My 3 kids start back to school tomorrow, and it’s hard to believe. Where did the summer go? If you’re like me, you are in search for some no fail back to school recipes. This Tuna Checkerboard Sandwich has been a hit with my kids, and it comes from my recent cookbook “400 Best Sandwich Recipes”. Here are 4 other of our household favorites back to school recipes. If you’re looking for some other back to school recipes and ideas or some help doing the planning for you, see Momables by my incredibly talented friend, Laura. Momables” streamlines the lunch making process with a weekly menu and shopping list. Check out some of her sample menus at Momables. It is such a fabulous idea and so helpful.

Healthy Trail Mix via Ingredients Inc. 

Lunchbox Sushi via Ingredients, Inc.

Bistro Pasta Salad via Ingredients, Inc.

No Bake Nutella Oatmeal Bites via Ingredients, Inc.

 

Homemade Tomato Sauce

Ripe tomatoes are too good this time of year, so it’s a fabulous time to make fresh Homemade Tomato Sauce. My kids love pasta for dinner, and I feel great giving them a homemade sauce filled with no preservatives, sodium or additives. Two out of three of my children will eat raw tomatoes, but all three of them will devour this. Tomatoes are a great source of lycopene, a carotenoid associated with tomatoes’ red color. Lycopene is full of antioxidants which are wonderful for bone health, protection against heart disease, inflammation and cancers. Tomatoes are also a great source of potassium, folic acid, Vitamin C and Vitamin E, so dig in!

Lazy Lasagna and “Substitute Yourself Skinny” Cookbook Giveaway

This summer, I was lucky enough to travel through Italy with several journalists from around the U.S. One of them, whom I hit it off with immediately, was Susan Irby. Susan is known as the “Bikini Chef”, the host of the well-loved Bikini Lifestyles on 790 KABC in Los Angeles, CA. This radio station actually spans the globe with listeners in Italy, France, Germany, Australia, Canada and many other countries worldwide. She was a blast to be with on the trip, and I’m so excited to share her current cookbook with you, Substitute Yourself Skinny. Susan is a 7-time author who helps people obtain their healthy bikini goals by focusing on lifestyle changes rather than a short term diet.

Her recipe for “Lazy Lasagna” really caught my eye. It’s perfect for when the weather is cool, and kids love it. For only 308 calories and 3 grams of fat per serving, everyone can feel good about eating a hearty slice of this family favorite. This is just one of many delicious low-fat and beautiful recipes in her book. I am excited to give away one copy of her book. Just follow the steps below for a chance to win a copy. Winner will be chosen Sunday, October 30th at 8 a.m.

1. Leave a comment below telling me your favorite healthy pasta recipe.

2. Follow Alison Lewis on Twitter

3. Like Ingredients, Inc. on Facebook

4. Follow Susan Irby, The Bikini Chef on Twitter

5. Like The Bikini Chef on Facebook

Lightened Up Chicken Tetrazzini

Lately, I’ve had so many requests for an easy, healthy fall weeknight dinner recipe that kids will love too. This recipe for Lightened Up Chicken Tetrazzini is one that really sticks out in my mind. I purchase a rotisserie chicken for the chopped, cooked chicken which makes my life easier. I also used light cream cheese, low sodium chicken broth and whole wheat noodles to make this dish healthier. The panko breadcrumb topping is probably my favorite part, giving it a toasty crunch and pretty golden color. This is a great make-ahead recipe or wonderful to take to someone who is ill or just had a baby. Feel free to make this recipe ahead of time and freeze. To thaw, place in the refrigerator overnight and let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before baking as directed.

Bistro Pasta Salad

As you know, for the past month I have been working with CanolaInfo on its World Heart Day 2011 campaign. To help encourage families to take their health into their own hands, I developed the “Home is Where the Heart Is” Recipe Collection, which is filled with delicious, healthy and easy-to-prepare recipes that both kids and parents will enjoy.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death in the U.S for men and women as well as something that has affected my family directly. Unfortunately, childhood obesity has continued to grow at an alarming rate. The reason this is so disturbing is because research has shown that children who are overweight or obese are more likely to be overweight or obese as adults. Obesity is a huge risk factor for CVD but one that is preventable with diet and exercise. That is why teaching my children healthy eating habits is so important to me – and something that can start right here at home.

As a mother of three, I wholly understand the challenges of being a busy, working mom and getting healthy meals on the table – not to mention making something the kids will eat! When developing this recipe collection, I really tried to consider what would be fast, economical, healthy and delicious for the entire family, and I think I accomplished just that.

As a common ingredient in all these recipes, I chose to use canola oil. It has the least amount of saturated fat and most omega-3 fat of all cooking oils. Its versatility in cooking and baking simplify my life even more, and it’s inexpensive! This coming Thursday, Sept. 29, is World Heart Day. To celebrate, I will be hosting a Facebook Party on CanolaInfo’s Facebook page from 7-8 PM CST! I will be discussing ways to be heart-smart at home by getting your whole family involved. I hope you will share your own tips and stories as well. Ten of you will be chosen at random to receive a CanolaInfo Heart Health Toolkit. You can RSVP here.

Sausage and Fresh Spinach Lasagna

When I think of comfort food this time of year, I think lasagna. My 3 kids love it, and it sure makes my life easier when I prepare a one-dish meal. This Sausage and Fresh Spinach Lasagna recipe is one of my favorites because it combines all of my favorite ingredients. I lightened this recipe using part-skim ricotta, egg white and less cheese, and it came out fantastic. Serve with a salad or side vegetable, and that’s all you’ll need.

Bistro Chicken Pasta Salad

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I have been so fortunate to have made so many new friends lately that have been so helpful with my upcoming cookbook. A few weeks ago, I met Nancy Bynon, through a publisher friend of mine (thank you Sheila), and it was truly my lucky day. Nancy was one of the Editors of the “Tables of Content” cookbook for the Junior League of Birmingham. It’s an amazing cookbook-one of my all-time favorites, and many talented women of Birmingham worked hard to develop such a fabulous book. Nancy has been so wonderful to me by helping me test recipes and offering great suggestions. The night I met her, she was making a version of this recipe. It was delicious, and I told her my kids would love it. When I made it the other night, everyone was fighting over it. It is truly great and a perfect weeknight or weekend main-dish pasta salad. Thanks to all of you (you know who you are) who are have helped me out. One more month to go.