Author Archives: Chris

My long time passion for food and nutrition lead me to Nestlé, the world’s largest food company, where I develop recipes for major magazines and online resources. I follow food trends and translate them into everyday recipes for busy families. While I put taste first, healthy options are always top of mind. I’m a mother of triplets, so my specialty includes simple, nutritious recipes.

Cooking with Fennel: Crispy Roasted Fennel with Three Cheese Asparagus Ravioli Recipe

Crispy Roasted Fennel w Asparagus Ravioli resized

Most often associated with Italian cooking, fennel is a wonderfully versatile vegetable with a crunchy texture and slightly sweet licorice-like flavor. Whether roasted, sautéed or raw, fennel makes a great addition to so many different types of recipes. It’s in season autumn through early spring, so load up!

In this recipe, we are using BUITONI® Three Cheese Asparagus Ravioli. The ravioli is filled with a blend of ricotta, Grana Padano, and Parmesan cheeses, along with tender asparagus. You might notice its rich green color. That’s spinach. It was mixed right into the dough!

Since the ravioli has such a delicious, delicate flavor, we paired it with fresh lemon, olive oil, garlic and a few fresh herbs. And of course, fennel. But the fennel serves more as a crispy topping, kind of like adding toasted breadcrumbs to finish (top) a dish.

Crispy Roasted Fennel w Asparagus Ravioli new crop

Here’s the recipe for Crispy Roasted Fennel with Three Cheese Asparagus Ravioli.


2 large fennel bulbs

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided

1 large clove garlic, finely chopped

A few tablespoons of fresh herbs such as thyme, oregano and basil

4 tablespoons BUITONI® Refrigerated Freshly Shredded Parmesan Cheese, divided

1 package BUITONI® Refrigerated Three Cheese Asparagus Ravioli (18 oz.)

Juice and grated peel from 1 lemon


Preheat your oven to 425° F.

Cut stalks off of the fennel, reserving some of the fronds (this makes a great garnish!). Trim off the bottom, leaving the core. Holding fennel bulb upright, slice into ¼-inch slices vertically from top to bottom. Place on rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil; season with salt and ground black pepper. Stir to coat evenly and arrange in single layer.

Roast for 20 minutes, stirring once, until fork tender. Remove from oven; sprinkle with garlic, about a teaspoon of thyme leaves and 1 tablespoon cheese. Return to oven; roast for an additional 10 minutes or until fennel is golden and crisp. Roast a little longer if needed – you want the fennel crisp, kind of like chips! Meanwhile, prepare pasta according to package directions, omitting the oil that the directions call for.

Whisk together the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, lemon juice and grated lemon peel in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Place the pasta in a large bowl; add the oil mixture and herbs and toss gently to coat. Add the roasted fennel; sprinkle with the remaining 3 tablespoons cheese. Season with pepper. Chop the reserved fennel fronds and sprinkle over the pasta. Enjoy!!

Makes about 6 servings, 1 cup per serving.

Nutrition Facts for a 1 cup serving (numbers are based on a 2,000 calorie diet):

Calories: 330, Calories from Fat: 130, Total Fat: 14g (22% of DV), Saturated Fat: 4.5g (23% of DV), Cholesterol: 40mg (13% of DV), Sodium: 520mg (22% of DV), Carbohydrates: 40g (13% of DV), Dietary Fiber: 4g (16% of DV), Sugars: 3g, Protein: 11g, Vitamin A: 6% of DV, Vitamin C: 20% of DV, Calcium: 20% of DV, Iron: 10% of DV

If you like this recipe, hop over to BUITONI® for additional inspiration.



All trademarks are owned by Société des Produits Nestlé S.A., Vevey, Switzerland.

5 Frightfully Fun and SIMPLE Recipes for Halloween

Avoid the tricks and bring on the treats! Make Halloween extra sweet this year with simple homemade treats. Below are our favorite quick and easy recipes that are sure to delight your guests (and maybe the occasional ghost too).

Spooktacular Pretzels

Spook-tacular Chocolate-Dipped Pretzels are fantastically easy and fun to make! Dip, dunk and sprinkle as you please. Here we are using NESTLÉ BUTTERFINGER and NESTLÉ CRUNCH candy bars plus Spooky NERDS.


Creepy yet delightful, these Pretzel Mummies make a great treat for the haunted night ahead.

Spooky Dentures

Keep your kids smiling with these Spooky Dentures. Perfect for Halloween parties!

Halloween Broomsticks

Too cute to pass up, these Halloween Broomsticks made with NESTLÉ BUTTERFINGER Peanut Butter Cups Mini’s are sure to be swept away in no time!

Banana Ghosts

Universally liked by kids and adults alike, these Banana Ghosts couldn’t be any easier to make.

Happy October!


All trademarks are owned by Société des Produits Nestlé S.A., Vevey, Switzerland.

How to Make a Smoothie Bowl

Smoothie Bowls-001

Cold, creamy and thick enough to be eaten with a spoon, this nutrient-dense smoothie bowl packs a powerful punch into your morning routine. But don’t limit it to just breakfast. Smoothie bowls make great snacks and desserts, too!

If you aren’t familiar with smoothie bowls, the basic idea is to make a thicker smoothie and then top it with nutritious, game-changing ingredients like hemp seed, cacao nibs, goji berries, chopped nuts, sliced fruit/berries and whole grain cereals.

The options are truly endless so go with what YOU like! Below are some suggestions to get you started.

Fruit/Vegetables: Frozen fruits work best but you can also use fresh (just add a bit of ice).  Spinach, kale, beets, zucchini and pumpkin are great options! One ½ cup serving of LIBBY’S® 100% Pure Pumpkin gives you more than 100% of daily value of Vitamin A – which may protect the body from free radicals and help support vision, heart and lung health. Good to know, right?

Liquids: Smoothie bowls don’t require a lot of liquid, just enough to make it easy enough to blend. Think evaporated milk, almond milk, soy milk and coconut milk – all great options!

Protein/Good Fats: Flax meal, avocado, nuts, nut butters, coconut oil and protein powder add nutrition and consistency to smoothie bowls.

Toppings: Toasted nuts,whole grain cereals, hemp seeds and chia seeds add a nice crunch. Fresh and dried fruits add a pop of color and touch of sweetness. Be mindful about how many toppings you use – the calories can add up! One to two tablespoons (total) per serving is plenty.

Get ready to fuel your body and satisfy those taste buds!

Mixed Berry Smoothie Bowl

Ingredients for 3 servings (about ¾ cup per serving):

2/3 cup (5 fluid-ounce can) NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Fat Free Milk

1/2 banana, sliced and frozen

1 cup frozen mixed berries

2 cups fresh spinach

1 cup fresh kale

1 tablespoon flax meal

Topping suggestions: lowfat granola, toasted coconut, hemp seeds, chia seeds, toasted almonds

Smoothie Bowls-process-001 400

The base for this recipe consists of mixed berries, banana, fat free evaporated milk, spinach, kale and flax meal (pictured above).

Smoothie Bowls-process-002 400

Place evaporated milk, banana, berries, spinach, kale and flax meal in food processor or heavy-duty blender; cover.

Smoothie Bowls-process-003 cropped

Process until thick and creamy.

Smoothie Bowls-001 cropped 400

Divide between bowls. Top each with desired toppings.

Here’s a quick tip about the greens: freeze your fresh spinach and kale, and then just crumble into your food processor or blender container. I usually purchase bagged prewashed spinach and kale and put the entire bag in the freezer. If you are short on freezer space, divide the greens into smaller, single-serve portions and freeze in zip-top bags or covered containers.

Nutrition Facts per serving (about 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon of topping):

Calories: 130, Calories from Fat: 15, Total Fat: 1.5g (3% of DV), Saturated Fat: 0g (0% of DV), Cholesterol: 0mg (0% of DV), Sodium: 130mg (5% of DV), Carbohydrates: 25g (8% of DV), Dietary Fiber: 4g (16% of DV), Sugars: 14g, Protein: 7g, Vitamin A: 110% of DV, Vitamin C: 80% of DV, Calcium: 20% of DV, Iron: 8% of DV

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Have a great week!


All trademarks are owned by Société des Produits Nestlé S.A., Vevey, Switzerland.

Warm-Weather Favorites: Finger Fare at its Best

Summer is in full swing, so that means cookouts, outdoor parties and weekends packed with activities. Time spent in the kitchen is minimal. Effortless entertaining and finger fare are essential.

When thinking about recipes, those with few ingredients that incorporate seasonal produce always top my list. Throw in finger fare and the ability to make in advance… that’s a recipe for success!

Mini Caprese Skewers-001 (1)

For an instant appetizer, thread sweet summer tomatoes, fresh basil and mozzarella onto small skewers. Or, make in advance! Before serving, season the skewers with a cracked black pepper and drizzle with a little basil pesto.

Mini Caprese Skewers

Ingredients for 32 skewers:

2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes, cut in half

Large bunch fresh basil leaves

10 to 14 (14 to 16 ounces total) fresh small mozzarella cheese balls (bocconcini), cut into thirds

32 (4- to 6-inch) wooden skewers

Ground black pepper

1/4 cup BUITONI Refrigerated All Natural Pesto with Basil


THREAD 1 tomato half, 1 basil leaf, 1 piece of cheese, 1 basil leaf and 1 tomato half onto each skewer.

PLACE skewers on serving dish; season with pepper. Drizzle with pesto.

Nutrition facts per skewer: Calories: 45, Calories from Fat: 30, Total Fat: 3.5g (5% of DV), Saturated Fat: 1.5g (8% of DV), Cholesterol: 5mg (2% of DV), Sodium: 75mg (3% of DV), Carbohydrates: 1g (0% of DV), Dietary Fiber: 0g (0% of DV), Sugars: 0g, Protein: 3g

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Pesto Hummus-001

Pesto Hummus makes for a delicious, no-cook dip that’s a snap to put together. Simply combine prepared hummus with a little basil pesto and serve with fresh crudité. Take advantage of summer-fresh sugar snap peas and bell peppers for dipping!

Smore Ice Cream Sandwiches-001

S’mores Ice Cream Sandwiches are finger fare at its best! And what is summer without S’mores? Create your own ice cream sandwiches using honey graham cracker squares and S’mores Flavor DREYER’S or EDY’S SLOW CHURNED Light Ice Cream. Simply sandwich one scoop (about ¼ cups worth) of ice cream between two honey graham cracker squares.

Raspberry and Sweet Cream Pops-001

Ice pops are a great make-ahead treat and the best way to cool off! Homemade (microwave) simple syrup and summer fresh raspberries are blended together and then divided between ice pop molds. Sweet Cream Flavored NESTLÉ® COFFEE-MATE® natural bliss® All-Natural Coffee Creamer is swirled into each pop creating a marbled look (and adds the perfect touch of cream!).

Raspberry Cream Pops

Ingredients for 10 ice pops:

1/3 cup water

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 pound (about 4 cups) fresh raspberries

10 to 20 tablespoons Sweet Cream Flavored NESTLÉ® COFFEE-MATE® natural bliss® All-Natural Coffee Creamer


COMBINE water and sugar in small, microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on HIGH (100%) power for 90 seconds; stir until sugar is dissolved. Let cool.

PLACE raspberries and cooled sugar mixture in blender; cover. Blend until smooth.

DIVIDE mixture evenly between 10 ice pop molds. Top each with about 1 to 2 tablespoons Coffee-mate. Gently stir with end of spoon to create marbling.

INSERT sticks. Freeze for several hours or overnight.

Nutrition Facts per pop: Calories: 80, Calories from Fat: 15, Total Fat: 2g (3% of DV), Saturated Fat: 1g (5% of DV), Cholesterol: 10mg (3% of DV), Sodium: 5mg (0% of DV), Carbohydrates: 17g (6% of DV), Dietary Fiber: 3g (12% of DV), Sugars: 14g, Protein: 1g

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Savor every last minute of summer!


All trademarks are owned by Société des Produits Nestlé S.A., Vevey, Switzerland.

Berry Goodness: Two New Recipes

Written by: Chris

Chocolate Filled Raspberries

Let the goodness of berries speak for themselves in these simple and delicious desserts. They are sure to be a hit with kids as well!

While strawberries are available year-round, they are actually in-season April through June. Nothing beats in-season berries! Raspberries are best during the summer months, but available now and tasting pretty spectacular!

Chocolate Filled Raspberries

For this Chocolate-Filled Raspberry recipe, all you need are NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® morsels and fresh raspberries.

For one serving, which is 10 filled raspberries, you need 10 NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate or Dark Chocolate Morsels and 10 fresh raspberries.

Chocolate Filled Morsels

Simply place one morsel inside of each raspberry. It’s that easy!

Chocolate-Stuffed Berries

For Chocolate-Stuffed Strawberries, all you need are fresh strawberries and NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® morsels. Both semi-sweet chocolate and dark chocolate morsels work great!

Chocolate-Stuffed Berries

Here’s the recipe.

Ingredients for 1 serving (3 stuffed strawberries):

3 fresh strawberries

6 to 9 NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate or Dark Chocolate Morsels

Chocolate-Stuffed Berries

Cut stem and leaves of strawberries off. To hull, push a fat straw through the bottom of strawberries to the top, removing center portion.

Chocolate-Stuffed Berries

Fill each strawberry with 2 to 3 morsels.

Sometimes simple really is best! I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as we do!

All trademarks are owned by Société des Produits Nestlé S.A., Vevey, Switzerland.

One Skillet Tortellini Marinara

Written by : Chris

One Skillet Tortellini Marinara

This weeknight-friendly meal is easy to prepare and even easier to clean up.  There’s no precooking. No long cook times. And dinner will be on your table in less than 20 minutes. Guaranteed!


Just add marinara sauce, water and uncooked tortellini directly to your skillet. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and cook for 9 to 11 minutes. Bam! It’s really that easy!  To boost nutrition, stir in 2 cups of fresh spinach. I do this to nearly all my pasta dishes!

Here’s the recipe for One Skillet Tortellini Marinara.

Ingredients for 4 servings, about 1 cup each:

1 container (15 ounces) BUITONI® Refrigerated Marinara Sauce 

1 package (9 ounces) BUITONI® Refrigerated Three Cheese Tortellini 

1 ¼ cups water (can substitute ¼ cup white wine for ¼ cup of water)

2 cups fresh spinach leaves


PLACE sauce, pasta and water in large skillet. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low. Cover; cook for 9 to 11 minutes or until pasta is tender.


STIR in spinach. Serve with Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Now if you want to kick it up a little, here’s an additional take on this one-skillet wonder.


In this One Skillet Sausage & Marinara Tortelloni recipe, turkey sausage is browned first, and then we added marinara sauce, water, a little wine and tortelloni. Same concept as above, with just a couple additional ingredients…and it’s still on your table in just about 20 minutes.

Bon Appetit!


All trademarks are owned by Société des Produits Nestlé S.A., Vevey, Switzerland.

Related Recipes:

White Bean Soup Warm Chicken Tortellini Salad
White Bean Soup with Cheese & Roasted Garlic Tortelloni
Warm Chicken Tortellini Salad with Arugula & Pecorino Cheese

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