For this week's Cheat Day Friday, Sheinelle Jones and her amazing three kiddos — Kayin, Clara and Uche — challenged me to put a joyful twist on a few of their favorite dishes: cheesy lasagna and caramel popcorn. After experimenting in my food lab (aka my home kitchen), I came up with these look-and-taste-alike renditions that you can feel really good about feeding your family. Hoping you'll try them — and devour them!
This ooey-gooey, cheesy lasagna will hit the spot. It's perfect for a simple weeknight supper, yet elegant enough for serving company. Plus, there's no need to precook the noodles, which makes preparation a snap. You can also get your little ones involved; have them decorate the tops using sliced bell peppers and tomatoes to create funny faces, hearts or even write their initials. And thanks to the heaps of frozen spinach, there's a whole lot of feel-good nutrition in every luscious bite.
Full disclosure: I'm a huge, plain-Jane popcorn gal, but with the addition of this rich and velvety caramel coating … well, let's just say it makes me not want to share. It's sugary sweet, subtly salty and totally addictive. This recipe calls for a large batch of premade light popcorn so feel free to either pop your own or use any store-bought brand on sale (you'll need about 14 cups). To achieve an authentic flavor and sticky caramel texture, I use a combo of pureed dates, vanilla and maple extracts and maple syrup. In fact, the sauce is so good it can also be used as a standalone caramel dip for sliced apples and bananas — or you can drizzle it on just about anything. Finger-licking is most definitely encouraged!
Get the recipe here.
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