Easy Italian Brunch Ideas (52 New Foods, Around The World)Tue 02 Apr 2013
Story by By Jennifer Tyler Lee
Touring through Italy this month, our 52 New Foods adventure gave us the opportunity to take on some challenging foods for picky eaters, like garlic and eggplant. Here, we bring it all together for you with an Italian inspired brunch – the perfect way to welcome the new season (and new foods) to your family table!
With spring on the horizon, my mind is dreaming of brunch. It is one of my most favorite meals to host because the cooking is easy (and can often be made ahead) and it’s usually during a bright spot in my day when I’m feeling energized and the kids are in a good mood. When it comes to the menu, I find there’s nothing better than an Italian-style one.
Having grown up in a big Italian family, there was always lots of food around when we gathered together. Each of my aunts had their domain – crispelles, ravioli, tomato sauce. The list goes on for miles. But my Gram’s recipes remain my most loved recipes. So with Gram in mind we cooked our way through a few of her tried and true Italian dishes, sampling and savoring lots of new foods along the way. Bring them together, with family and friends, for a simple and delicious Italian style brunch.
Among my Gram’s specialties was a simple Italian frittata, chock-ful of asparagus and ricotta. The smell of this dish simmering always transports me back to her kitchen at Easter time and I find myself longing for a taste of one of her homemade dishes. With a few small tweaks, we created a healthy version of this simple dish and made it perfect for personalizing: Mini Baked Asparagus Frittata.
“The trick to eggplant parmesan? Don’t use eggplant.” This pretty much sums up the reaction I got from most of my friends when I announced our new food of the week: eggplant. But for each vehement opponent, there was a passionate follower who absolutely loves eggplant, like my Gram did. A classic love hate relationship. A few calls to the resident family experts and I discovered the secret to making this easy Italian dish: Eggplant Parmigiana.
When I think of Italian cooking, I think of garlic. In my mind, our 52 New Foods adventure in Italy wouldn’t be complete without a close encounter with this quintessentially Italian ingredient. But for many kids, particularly my picky eaters, the taste of garlic can be overwhelming. The solution? Roasted Garlic.
Italian Chicken Soup
With a fridge full of leftovers, and a drawer packed with veggies, it was time for soup! This easy Italian style homemade chicken soup is easy, delicious, and flexible. Serve it up with a gooey grilled cheese sandwich for a quick dinner, pack it in the kids’ lunchboxes with a few whole grain crackers for crumbling, or serve it up alongside a delicious Italian brunch. No matter which way you serve it, I guarantee there won’t be leftovers: Italian Style Homemade Chicken Soup.
About the author: Jennifer Tyler Lee is a mom of two children and the creator of Crunch a Color – award-winning nutrition games that make healthy eating fun. Like most parents, she struggled to get her kids to eat healthy, balanced meals, so she decided to make it into a healthy eating game and she’s giving back to support non-profit kids’ nutrition programs. Winner of the Dr. Toy and Parent Tested, Parent Approved awards, Crunch a Color and Jennifer’s 52 New Foods adventure has been featured by Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, Rachael Ray’s Yum-O, Laurie David’s Family Dinner, Kiwi Magazine, Dr. Greene, Yum Food & Fun For Kids, and Edible Silicon Valley, among many others, as a simple, fun and playful way to get kids to eat healthy and try new foods. Jennifer’s passion is making mealtime fun and healthy for busy families. Her easy recipes, quick tips, and new food adventures are regularly featured at Pottery Barn Kids, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, The Huffington Post, and on her weekly recipe blog at crunchacolor.com.
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