weeknights with Giada

If you're like us, you love to cook but don't always have the time you'd like to prepare meals at home. Lucky for us culinary superstar and natural beauty Giada De Laurentiis is willing to share some of her secrets for managing to put scrumptious meals on the table while juggling family and an outrageously busy career without losing your mind.

We had the wonderful opportunity to meet Giada recently when she was interviewed by the incredibly accomplished and charming Plate Magazine Editor and friend of PoshPorts, Chandra Ram. We got to sample a number of Giada's tasty treats and the two ladies had a revealing and entertaining discussion about how to please both kids and grownups with today's busy lifestyles.

 

 

Giada's latest cookbook, Weeknights with Giada, is loaded with great ideas, from her favorite tips for managing time to go-to recipes for home cooked meals that can be prepared easily and quickly, often in half an hour or less. Giada adds her usual creativity and warmth to some delicious meal ideas while keeping us all in the loop on her secret sauce to life. 

Here are a few of the tips we got from her interview with Chandra:

On getting kids to expand their food options: Giada cooks the kinds of flavors for her daughter Jade that she cooks for her husband Todd and herself. If Jade doesn't want to eat something she doesn't have to, but she doesn't get something else. There's no chicken nuggets, no kids menu. She knows that if Jade won't eat what she's served, she'll be especially hungry for whatever breakfast brings.

On staying trim: Giada's approach is simple and straightforward. Have a little of everything, but not a lot of anything. If you want a cookie, have a cookie. But only one. 

On keeping things fun and interesting in the kitchen: Don't be afraid to change things up. Try to integrate different approaches so that you don't get bored. Try to include Meatless Mondays. Serve breakfast for dinner. Be creative and have fun.

Here's just one of the easy and quick recipes from Weeknights with Giada. We encourage you to check out the book and get all her fabulous recipes and tips for easy weekday meals!

Grilled Cheese With Spinach and Pancetta

Ingredients

Vegetable oil cooking spray
6  ounces pancetta, sliced 1/8 inch thick
4 tablespoons (1/2) stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded mild Cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
2 packed cups (2 ounces) coarsely chopped baby spinach
16 (1/2-inch-thick) slices country-style white or whole wheat bread

Directions

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Spray two baking sheets with vegtable oil. Lay the pancetta in a single layer on the baking sheets and bake for 12 to 14 minutes, until crispy and brown. Drain on paper towels. Cool for 5 minutes and then crumble.

In a food processor, combine the butter, both cheeses, the salt, oil, and 2 tablespoons water. Blend until smooth, adding a little more water, as needed, until the mixture is spreadable. Add the spinach and pulse until just combined.

Preheat a panini presss (see Cook's Note).

Spread the cheese mixture over 8 of the slices of bread. Top with the crumbled pancetta and place the remaining bread slices on top. Grill the sandwiches, 2 at a time, until golden and crispy, 3 to 4 minutes. Cool for 2 minutes.

Cut each sandwich in half and arrange on a platter.

Cook's Note:

If you don't have a panini press or indoor grill, use a grill pan. Preheat it before adding the sandwiches, weighing them down on top with a heavy pan, such as a cast-iron skillet. Be sure to flip the sandwiches halfway through cooking to brown the second side of them.  

 

Save on Weeknights with Giada at Booksamillion.com.