Link: Italian berry pizzas

I picture eating this dessert under string lights on the patio on a hot summer evening. Berry pizzas sound like just the right thing for a warm day (that is if you opt for grilling these on the BBQ rather than roasting in the oven). BUT, I am tempted to use mascarpone instead of ricotta to up the creaminess and increase the chance my toddler will enjoy this treat. I especially love the idea of getting kids involved in placing the berries on top!

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Made-from-scratch garlic and parmesan focaccia

There is something amazing about freshly baked bread.

The soft, chewy texture. The sweet smell wafting out of the kitchen. The golden brown crust.

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Add garlic and parmesan to the equation and well, you have yourself a wonderful dinner. Especially a nice surprise for your family when they may only expect traditional spaghetti and marinara.

But you’re thinking. Oh no, I can’t make bread. Don’t worry. Making focaccia is very easy and very forgiving. The only need is for some warmth (something we have an abundance of in a California summer) to let the bread rise.

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Link: baked eggplant parmesan

Looking to get out of the pasta and red sauce routine?

Check out this easy and delicious Martha Stewart recipe for baked eggplant parmesan that will make you abandon your local Italian eatery.

This dish does take a little bit of time to make – what with the preparing of the eggplant, baking it, flipping each piece halfway through baking and then layering with sauce and cheese. But it is SO worth it.

It’s a great activity to take on while your tot is napping. The dish makes enough that it’ll provide a few meals, making it time and money efficient.

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Tried & loved: Baked lemon pasta

Pasta is the perfect answer when looking for a hearty dinner that is easy on the pocket book.

But noodles (or nee-curdles as my lovely niece used to say) plain or with tomato sauce can get boring pretty fast.

Cue lemons. And parmesan. Such a lovely combination. And add in some sour cream to make the pasta super creamy with a slight tang? I’m in.

Get the baked lemon pasta from the Pioneer Woman herself >> HERE.

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