This Mama Cooks

http://www.thismamacooks.com/

Social Media Consultant and Professional Healthy Food and Lifestyle Blogger. Helping busy moms and their families with healthy recipes and lifestyle tips.

What's one of the first recipes you taught your kids to make?

What's a delicious no cook recipe?

What's a great breakfast for a special occasion?

What's your family's favorite Mexican or (Mexican-inspired) dish? Please share a link to your recipe!

Anne Marie Nichols

This is a hard one since we love fish tacos, carne asada, and taco soup. However, a big favorite for us - and something my husband introduced me to - is Fish Veracruz. It's super simple to make. You just need a mild fish - tilapia or mahi mahi is perfect - some salsa fresca and a little queso fresco and you're ready to go! http://www.thismamacooks.com/2011/08/best-six-ingredient-dinners-fish-veracruz.html
View All Answers

What's your favorite breakfast to be served in bed? Please share a link to the recipe and photo if you have one.

Anne Marie Nichols

Sunshine toast! It's a really cute way to serve eggs and easy enough for the kids to make with a little help from a parent. http://www.thismamacooks.com/2009/12/how-do-you-like-your-eggs-sunshine-toast.html
View All Answers

What's your kids' favorite recipe or meal to make themselves? Please include a link to a recipe with a picture.

Anne Marie Nichols

My son's favorite meal to make himself is Avocado Toast. He has this for either breakfast, lunch or as a snack. Even though he makes a big mess, I don't mind him making it since it's healthy as well as delicious! http://www.thismamacooks.com/2012/04/avocados-from-mexico-help-you-wake-up-a-winner-for-breakfast-iloveavocados.html
View All Answers

What's your go-to cooking shortcut?

Anne Marie Nichols

Making big batches of food, like rice, stir fry, chili or soup, so there are lots of leftovers to be heated up for lunch (or a quick dinner) for the rest of the week. One of my favorite "big batch" recipes is to make pasta with homemade meat sauce. My kids actually thank me every time I make this, which warms my heart.They also like eating leftover pasta and sauce for breakfast! You can see the recipe here: http://www.thismamacooks.com/2010/07/healthy-whole-wheat-spaghetti-with-meat-sauce.html
View All Answers

What's your favorite recipe for a dish that can be made ahead and frozen?

Anne Marie Nichols

Lasagna, of course. I make both traditional lasagna for my family and a dairy free, gluten free, vegan version for me. Theirs gets put in a big freezer pan and I use a smaller Ziploc VersaGlass container.
View All Answers

What is an easy vegetable recipe that your kids love?

Anne Marie Nichols

My kids love sweet potato fries. They always ask for seconds, which is great because sweet potatoes (yams) are full of good stuff like fiber, vitamins and minerals.
View All Answers

What is your favorite quick breakfast recipe?

Anne Marie Nichols

My family's favorite is the Coffee Cup Egg Scramble. It's quick, easy and fun to eat. You can see more breakfast ideas on my blog at http://www.thismamacooks.com/breakfast.
View All Answers

What food would you most like to banish from school cafeterias?

Anne Marie Nichols

I agree with Lexie - healthier options of stuff kids like, for example pizza with low fat cheese, veggies and whole wheat crust. Also, kids love treats and there's got to be a better way of giving kids a healthy alternative to junk. Our school gives the kids apples, and they inevitably end up in the trash. Instead, they could make baked apples. Same with pudding, it can be made wholesome by using stevia instead of sugar and maybe using coconut milk instead of cow's milk for kids who have to avoid dairy.
View All Answers

What's your family's favorite easy crock pot recipe?

Anne Marie Nichols

I'm always challenged to use up what my husband has brought home during hunting season. One of my favorite things to make is venison stew in the crock pot. It's so easy to do and it's a great way to use up extra veggies and potatoes, too.
View All Answers

If you had to get dinner for your family at a fast food restaurant tonight, which would you choose and what would you order?

Anne Marie Nichols

Subway is our go to fast food choice. It's usually a good deal especially when they're doing the $5 footlong specials. I also like that you can choose what goes on the sub and can pick healthy things like olives and tomatoes. Last night since it was just my daughter and me and I already had dinner while she was at karate practice, I took her to Subway for her favorite meatball sandwich. She had half of it last night and will have the second half tonight for dinner before karate. It saves me from having to cook a big meal just for the two of us.
View All Answers

What's your family's favorite recipe for weekend breakfasts?

Anne Marie Nichols

I made this a couple of weekends ago and it was a big hit - Blueberry French Toast Casserole - http://www.thismamacooks.com/2012/02/blueberry-french-toast-casserole.html It's a healthy take on cream cheese stuffed French Toast. Also, the nice thing about the recipe is that it makes a huge portion, so you can reheat servings for breakfast or snacks during the week.
View All Answers

What's your family's favorite recipe for chicken or tofu?

Anne Marie Nichols

I'm just getting my kids to start liking tofu. Usually I use an Asian seasoning mix to cook them up with vegetables so they taste like something we get at our favorite Asian restaurant. Tofu's also a great substitute for meat if you do Meatless Mondays at your house. I've also experimented using tofu in smoothies. I think my kids like those the best!
View All Answers

What's a great treat for spring or Easter? (Please include a link!)

Anne Marie Nichols

My challenge after Easter is what to do with all those hard boiled eggs! Luckily the kids, my husband and I love them plain with a little salt and pepper. We also like to make deviled eggs. My daughter, Lucie, makes excellent ones with mayo and a little bit of relish like her dad showed her to make. For more sophisticated pallets, try these Blue Cheese Deviled Eggs - http://www.thismamacooks.com/2010/09/more-healthy-appetizers-blue-cheese-deviled-eggs.html. They're so delicious that my son ate a dozen (six whole eggs) of them by himself at a party. He didn't smell very pleasant the next day if you get my drift. So now he's only allowed a few at a time.
View All Answers

What's your favorite easy recipe for an Easter or Passover meal?

Anne Marie Nichols

I love eating seasonal vegetables and this time of year is best for asparagus. I've found that kids like eating asparagus if you tell them that their pee will smell funny if they try it. Kids think that's hilarious - and you've gotten to eat a green vegetable. A win-win combination!
View All Answers

What's your favorite muffin recipe?

Anne Marie Nichols

I love moist muffins that use fruit in them to make them super nutritious. One of my faves is from Jillian Michaels - Blueberry Banana Muffins. They're delicious and so good for you! The banana adds moistness and sweetness - naturally. And the blueberries are filled with anti-oxidants. It's a treat that's good for you!
View All Answers

What's a delicious meal you can make using your microwave? Please share a link to the recipe on your blog.

Anne Marie Nichols

Have you ever made Mug Cake in the microwave? It's easy, fun and yummy!
View All Answers

What's a great recipe using ground beef?

Anne Marie Nichols

There's always a lot of ground venison in our freezer. I use it like ground beef in everything from taco soup to meat sauce for spaghetti. Once of my favorite ground meat dishes is Picadillo, a dish that's made in Cuba, Mexico, the Philippines, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. It's sweet, spicy and delicious. Here's a version using Mexican chorizo: http://www.thismamacooks.com/2011/04/venison-chorizo-picadillo-secretrecipeclub.html
View All Answers

What's an easy recipe a babysitter can make?

Anne Marie Nichols

I usually don't want the babysitter cooking and instead prepare something that's easy to heat up like lasagna or spaghetti and sauce. But if I was too busy, the easiest thing that a babysitter could fix would be grilled cheese. My kids are pretty "fancy" at times and would enjoy adding jams and sprouts to their grilled cheese, like in my recipe at http://www.thismamacooks.cn om/2012/04/tropical-grilled-cheese-sandwich-glutenfree-gfcommunity.html. Other ideas would be thin apple slices, spinach leaves, ham or roast beef slices, or even pieces of avocado.
View All Answers

What's a great spring or summer recipe that uses corn?

Anne Marie Nichols

Of course there's corn on the cob, but one way I love using corn is in soups. This recipe comes my friend, cookbook author, and monthly guest poster, Holly Clegg. As she says, "Everyone has a shrimp and corn soup recipe, but this recipe is only 6 ingredients and it is TRIM & TERRIFIC!! Just open cans of corn and tomatoes, toss in shrimp for this simple yet superb soup." http://www.thismamacooks.com/2010/02/quick-shrimp-and-corn-soup-from-holly-cleggs-trim-terrific-gulf-coast-favorites.html
View All Answers

Please share a link to a photo of a great birthday cake you made or bought.

Anne Marie Nichols

Here's the golf cake I made for my son's 5th birthday - http://www.thismamacooks.com/2006/02/nathans_golf_ca.html. I think the adults were more impressed than the kids. Even so, I was proud that I made such a nice cake without having to buy a special cake pan for it!
View All Answers

From peach pies and berry cobbler to lemon shortcake and watermelon popsicles, fruity desserts are perfect for summer. Please share your favorite fruit-based dessert, and include a link to the recipe and photo.

Anne Marie Nichols

I love making fruit pops in the summer. I especially like them, since they're a great way to encourage my kids to have a healthy snack.
View All Answers

What's a family-friendly recipe that would be perfect for a summer or Fourth of July gathering -- whether it's a grilled dish, a simple side or festive treat? (Please share a link to a photo)

Anne Marie Nichols

Have you ever done foil pouch cooking? It's so easy. All you do is wrap up a chicken breast or piece of fish along with some vegetables and seasonings in foil and grill until done. Then slice open the packet and serve. If you're camping, it can be done over an open fire and you can eat right out of the poil packet. Clean up is easy, too!
View All Answers

What's a great finger food that your kids love? Please include a link.

Anne Marie Nichols

My kids loved deviled eggs - a lot. One time my son ate about 12 of them (6 whole eggs) at a party and was rather, shall we say, stinky the next day. In fact, his camp counselors told me to never ever let him eat that many deviled eggs again! I
View All Answers

Do you have a meatloaf recipe (or, for vegetarians, something similar that's meat-free) your family loves? Please share a picture and a link.

Anne Marie Nichols

This year wasn't the only year that Colorado had bad wildfires. Two years ago I made this for my friends' children, who were staying with us while their mom was working 12 to 14 hour shifts in Boulder's emergency management department. I named it Firefighter's Meatloaf in honor of the brave men and women working the fire lines during the Fourmile Canyon Fire.
View All Answers

What's your favorite muffin, scone, or bread recipe? Please share a link to the recipe and a photo if you have one.

Anne Marie Nichols

I used to make these pumpkin cookies when my daughter was allergic to eggs since they're egg free. Even though she's grown out of her egg allergy, she always requests that I make these. They're a big hit with the rest of the family, too!
View All Answers

At what age can kids start trick-or-treating? And by what age should they stop?

Anne Marie Nichols

Kids can start trick or treating (with mom and dad of course) as soon as they can walk and understand what Halloween is all about. As far as stopping, 8th grade seems about right.
View All Answers

What's your favorite pie recipe for fall? Please share a link to a photo!

Anne Marie Nichols

Does a non-dessert pie count? Since we have gluten, sugar and nut sensitivities at my home, sometimes the only pie we can all eat is Shepard's Pie! It's a great dish to use up leftover ground meat and a great way to sneak some veggies into everyone's diet.
View All Answers

Nothing says fall like the flavor of cinnamon! What's one of your favoritie recipes that has cinnamon in it? Please share a link with a photo.

Anne Marie Nichols

Here's a wonderful recipe from Bobby Flay that uses cinnamon in FAGE yogurt as a topper to pumpkin soup - great flavors for fall!
View All Answers

What's a great recipe that uses cranberries?

Anne Marie Nichols

Pumpkin and Cranberry Bread Pudding, of course! You can make it with gluten free or health it up with a whole grain bread. It's also a great way to use bread ends, if your family’s like mine and refuses to eat them. (I freeze bread loaf ends just for this reason.)
View All Answers

What's your family's favorite way to eat cranberries? Please share a link to your recipe!

Anne Marie Nichols

One of our favorite cranberry sauce recipes comes from my friend, Holly Clegg's cookbook, Too Hot in the Kitchen. This is a terrific, spicy sauce that's great on turkey or roast beef.
View All Answers

What's your family's favorite Thanksgiving treat? Please link to your recipe.

Anne Marie Nichols

Pumpkin pie, of course! However, being gluten free, I struggle with the crust. I've tried gluten free mixes with mixed success and find that the premade GF pie crusts you get at the health food store are just OK. So that's why I like this recipe for Crustless Pumpkin Pie.
View All Answers

Can you recommend a great hot lunchbox meal for kids for the cold weather months? Please include a link to your recipe.

Anne Marie Nichols

Since my son just got braces, we've been sending him to school with a small thermos of soup. His recent favorites are the corn soup from Trader Joe's and the Healthy Okra Soup I recently made.
View All Answers

What's a great, freezable dish to bring to a new mom? Please share a link to your recipe.

Anne Marie Nichols

Chili is a very easy dish to freeze. And it's so easy to remove the chili from the container - soak in hot water for a few minutes or give it a quick zap in the microwave. Then put the still mostly frozen chili in a slow cooker on low for 4 hours or until completely heated through. This recipe is from my friend and cookbook author, Holly Clegg. It's good anytime of the year you need something zummy to eat. Even better, you only need one hand to eat chili, so it's easy to hold the baby while you dine. Just be careful not to spill any hot food on the baby!
View All Answers

What's your go-to meal for a romantic dinner at home, after the kids are asleep?

Anne Marie Nichols

Fish! It's something we both love and the kids dislike, so it's perfect to make for a romantic dinner along with a bottle of white wine. Since I don't want to be stuck working over a hot stove with a lot of cleanup, grilling the fish is the easiest.
View All Answers

What's a light, Springtime meal your kids like to eat? Please share a link to your recipe.

Anne Marie Nichols

Real kids DO eat quiche. My son always asks for seconds when we have quiche. It's great heated up for breakfast the next morning, too.
View All Answers