Children

Recipe: The Best Chicken Zoodle Soup — Quick and Easy Weeknight Dinners

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman/The Kitchn)

Chicken soup is my not-so secret weapon to fighting the fatigue that comes with the change of seasons and the return to school. In this version, we're swapping pasta noodles for toothsome zucchini noodles (or zoodles), for a lighter, fresher take on the original. With a little help from the grocery store and a spin of the spiralizer, you'll have a bowl of chicken zoodle soup that's infinitely better than what you find in a can.

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A Week of Dinners: Jessica Merchant — A Week of Dinners

(Image credit: Erin Alvarez)

Welcome to Kitchn's new series A Week of Dinners, where we show you how people put dinner on the table for their family, thanks to the five weeknight recipes they rely on.

Jessica Merchant lives with her husband, Ed, and 2 1/2-year-old son, Max, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where she writes and develops recipes. "I'm madly, outrageously, inexplicably in love with food," Merchant explains enthusiastically. She is the author of bestselling cookbook Seriously Delish and upcoming cookbook The Pretty Dish. Since 2009 she's been the blogger behind How Sweet Eats, a wildly popular food blog with the most gorgeous photos. (Do yourself a favor and follow her on Instagram immediately. I'm serious.)

Today Jessica shares how she gets food on the table for her family (even when she's 9 months pregnant right now!) and what weeknight dinners look like for them.

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Recipe: Butter-Roasted Sweet Potatoes — Quick and Easy Weeknight Sides

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman/The Kitchn)

You've had roasted sweet potatoes before, so you've had them all, right? I used to think the exact same thing until I learned a technique for butter-roasting thick slices of sweet potato until they turned from hard tubers to almost butter themselves.

Popularized by the blog Dessert for Two, this technique for butter-roasted sweet potatoes — dubbed melting sweet potatoes by Christina over at Dessert for Two — roasts the potatoes until they are a dark amber on the outside, creating a layer of deeply caramelized sweet potato that just barely holds the soft, buttery insides together. She serves this with an incredible maple pecan sauce, but we think they are perfection all on their own with a fat pinch of salt to finish them off. This recipe won't let you think of roasted sweet potatoes the same way ever again.

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Yes, You Can Have Dinner Conversation with a Toddler. Here’s How. — Table Talk

With all the press around the importance of dining as a family, we've been making an effort to sit down most nights and eat together. But honestly, it's pretty thankless. By the time dinner's ready, my girls (almost 3 and 5) have been whining and asking for snacks for at least a half-hour, and inevitably about a minute after we sit down, I'm back up again fetching some crucial item (a grown-up fork instead of a baby one, bubbles water instead of regular, a pat of butter or the right kind of salt). We're not having one of those made-for-TV moments and we're not exactly connecting with each other. Occasionally I wonder if I'm doing it wrong — or if there's a better way.

So I spoke Julie King, who along with Joanna Farber wrote How to Talk So Little Kids Will Listen. The book addresses all sorts of frustration points parents have with their little ones — and dinnertime is among them. Here's what I learned.

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Recipe: Tomato Tortellini Soup — Quick and Easy Vegetarian Dinners

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman/The Kitchn)

When it comes to comfort food, tortellini is a classic. What's not to love about bite-sized nuggets of pasta filled with cheese? Skip the usual sauce, though, in favor of cooking up a rich and creamy tomato soup that comes together in 20 minutes — perfect for busy weeknights!

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How To Make Oatmeal on the Stovetop — Cooking Lessons from The Kitchn

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman/The Kitchn)

Among the recipes that friends and family ask about most frequently, including how to make a proper pot of rice or how to cook perfect chicken breast every time, how to make a decent pot of oatmeal is always up there on the list. It seems that every home cook is chasing that elusive ideal pot of oatmeal: thick but not mushy, and fluffy but not chewy. Making good oatmeal can happen without much brain power (even while you're still waiting for the coffee to brew) — this recipe will show you just how to do it.

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