Everyday Mom's Meals

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Give Them Bread

If you are planning a summer cookout, any time over the next few months, you will want to keep the ingredients for this on stand by!

We are bread loving people. We are the ones at a restaurant that are usually half full by the time the entree' comes because we've snacked on so much bread. And if I can find something to put on that bread that makes it even yummier, that's the icing on the cake so to speak.

When I'm entertaining, I try to find ways to have dishes made ahead of time that I can put out and let my guests serve themselves. Appetizers are of course the best way to do this; and keep people from starving before the big meal is ready. Happy guests mean a happy host!

Honestly though, the day I made this it was raining, and we weren't even thinking about grilling. I served it as a side to a pasta supper...and it was perfect that way too. So, you're really getting a double duty recipe!

Summer time is when we want to have people over, spend hours outside in the sun, catching up, having fun, and of course eating some great dishes to share!

Olive Caper Spread
1 (5 oz) jar green olives, drained
1 (3 oz.) jar capers, drained
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 large garlic clove, peeled
Salt and Pepper to taste

Put all ingredients in food processor. Pulse until fine. Chill. Serve with baguette, crackers, pita chips, etc. 

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Mom & Son Date

My baby boy, my first born, has 3 weeks of school left. I don't know who is more excited. We are SO ready to be done. But there is only one downside. That Friday, at 11:45 when the final bell rings for summer, it will mean I am the mother of a FRESHMAN. Seriously, I can't even say the word without a tear coming to my eye and getting a little choked up.

I'm pretty sure he was just graduating preschool, and now by month's end, he will be standing before his class, family and friends and delivering the Salutatorian address for 2019. Oh yeah, did I mention that? He finished #2 in his class, missing the top spot by less than 1 point! Plus, his school nominated him for an Distinguished Student Award given my a local association. As his principal said "Alex exemplifies what we strive for. Academic Excellence, Spiritual Development, and Being a Service to Others." We could not be more proud of him, and are so excited to have his hard work acknowledged and praised!

So, you can understand why Mommy is a little weepy with the thought of the end of the school year. High school is going to bring a whole new world, and he's just going to keep getting bigger, maturing, growing up, and lots busier.

I am so blessed he still wants to hang out with me, and have special days with Mom. Some quality time, just the two of us. I treasure every minute. And normally those days always include a great meal at a favorite restaurant.

One of our go-to places is Chili's. Mr. E doesn't really enjoy their food, so we reserve it for just the two of us. The last time we went this was what we both chose to order, without even realizing we were eyeing the same dish. We loved it at first bite, and I knew I needed to recreate it at home.

This version takes a little help from the store, but feel free to make a homemade Alfredo if you wish. I love my recipe for it, and would have if I had a little more time.

Going into high school, and turning 15 in the fall. I just can't believe that applies to my baby. Yes, he will always be my baby. And as long as he wants to have "dates" with his old mom...I will jump at the chance.

Cajun Chicken Pasta
2 lb. penne pasta, cooked to al dente, drained
2 (15 oz.) jars Alfredo sauce
1 tsp. lemon zest
2 lbs. fresh chicken tenders
2 TBS plus 1 tsp. Cajun seasoning
4 Roma tomatoes, chopped
Dried Parsley
2 TBS vegetable oil
Salt and Pepper taste

Preheat grill to high. Mix chicken, 2 TBS Cajun seasoning, oil, salt and pepper. Allow to sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes. Spray grill with nonstick spray. Place chicken on grill and cook for about 1 minute. Reduce heat to low, and continue to cook, turning often, for about 15 minutes. Remove and keep warm.

While pasta cooks, place Alfredo sauce in a large sauce pan. Add lemon zest, salt and pepper. Heat over medium heat, stirring often. Add 1 tsp. Cajun seasoning and stir well. When pasta is drained, add to sauce and stir well. Sprinkle with a little extra Cajun seasoning. Place chicken on top of pasta. Sprinkle with tomatoes and parsley. 

Shared at Weekend Potluck

Sunday, May 5, 2019

So Many Reasons to Eat Outside

No joke, we had our first sunny day in 2 weeks this weekend. And not only did the sun not shine, we had rain for all 14 days. Seriously, I was considering building an ark!

Oh, and after a nice day tomorrow, the weather man says we have even more rain coming. Ugh! But whatever, I'm still saying the season of eating outdoors is upon us!

This time of year we've got cookouts, barbecues, family reunions, picnics, graduation parties...so many reason to enjoy a meal on a table in the backyard.

I guarantee you if you make this for any of them, it will be the one dish everyone wants the recipe for. In fact, when I posted a little preview last week, I was bombarded with "Where is the recipe?" comments. So, I had to make sure I hurried and shared!

It's a terrific side for any of the occasions above, but we also enjoyed it with some egg rolls for a fun supper. Oh, and when those hot nights finally do arrive, I think I will add some grilled chicken or shrimp for a light, but filling meal!

I am so happy we have arrived at almost summer! Sure, it's still going to rain, and the temps are dropping back into the 50's this week, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel! Thankfully it is shining on some yummy food too!

Thai Noodle Salad
1 lb. spaghetti, cooked, rinsed with cold water and drained
2 1/4 c. tri color coleslaw mix
5 medium carrots, shredded
1 bunch green onions, white and light green chopped
1 small bunch cilantro, chopped
1/4 c. sesame seeds, extra for garnish
1 c. dry roasted salted peanuts extra for garnish

1/4 c. (heaping) creamy peanut butter
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1/2 c. seasoned rice vinegar
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4-1/2 tsp. sriracha sauce, to taste
Salt to taste

In a large bowl combine all salad ingredients. Toss well. In a microwave safe bowl, heat peanut butter until slightly melted. Add to vinegar, garlic powder, sriracha and salt. Slowly add oil and whisk until combined well and smooth. Pour over salad. Toss well. Chill until ready to serve. Garnish with extra peanuts and sesame seeds. 

Shared at Weekend Potluck

Sunday, April 28, 2019

One Month

One month. 4 weeks. 20 days. Of what? SCHOOL! We have almost made it. We've been checking those 180 days off the calendar and it's almost time to put our Sharpie away.

I know many of you will actually see your school year come to an end before us, but I am okay with going until May 31st. Why? Because come August, we get an extra week of fun!

While we can see the light at the end of the tunnel, we can't shift into coast quite yet. There is SO much to do. Let's see, Adam and Alex just got back from a week in DC for the 8th grade class trip. Next week Alex will be confirmed into our church. There is Mother's Day. Alex's first school dance. An award ceremony for an academic award he's received (YAY!!!) Memorial Day and then finally Graduation. Whew...I'm tired just thinking of it all. And that's not to mention the every day homework, finals to study for, and you know, life.

Time for mommy to bust out some easy meals so supper time doesn't become ham sandwiches every night. And for me, that means casseroles! I have a hundred of them, and would love a hundred more. This one has three of our favorite things included. Sausage. Mushrooms. Rice.

Seriously. These boys I live with could eat rice every single day. From the oldest to the baby, it is basically a food group to them. Hence why I knew this would be a hit; and boy was I right.

If you're winding down the school year, but it is busier than ever, maybe you can use a simple casserole supper too! 

Sausage & Wild Rice Casserole
1 lb. bulk pork sausage
8 oz. white mushrooms, sliced
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 celery ribs, diced
1 medium white onion, diced
1 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 (6 oz.) box wild rice mix
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 3/4 c. chicken broth
1 c. finely shredded cheddar cheese
Black Pepper to taste 
Dried Parsley

Preheat oven to 375. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with nonstick spray. In a large skillet, brown sausage until no longer pink. Drain off excess fat. Add veggies, thyme, garlic powder, seasoning packet from rice and pepper. Cook until veggies are crisp tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add broth, soup, rice and 1/2 cup cheese. Stir well to combine. Transfer to baking dish. (It will be wet!) Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour until rice is tender. Add remaining cheese and parsley. Cook for 5 minutes to melt. Stir well before serving.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Salad Season

When the sun decides to come out and play more, and the temps begin rise, my summer taste beds set in, and fast.

I start to crave all things fresh, light, grilled, from the garden, cookout staples, picnic favorites. ALL. OF. IT.

Last week we had some crazy weather. That's quite common for Indiana in spring. How crazy you ask? On Sunday we had snow. By Tuesday, it was sunny and 75.

Since I am a meal planner, when there is a sudden shift like that, supper doesn't always line up with the weather. Like on a 80 degree day in October, we might be sitting down to a piping hot bowl of soup. But not this time. As luck would have it, I had planned barbecue chicken and this salad.

Oh, how delicious it was. It was the perfect meal to sit down to after a walk outside, with the sun still shining through the windows, and even thought it wasn't quite time to eat outside yet, that's what it put me in mind of. A meal we could enjoy on the patio table, or even at a cookout. I know what I'm taking to the first one we are invited to this summer, and I bet everyone will want the recipe too.

This salad might be simple, but it brings BIG flavors. I think it could even be made into an entire meal if you added some grilled chicken to it, perfect for a hot summer night!

I think we might finally be turning a corner here as far as seasons go. Winter lasted 927 days, spring has been wet and kinda cold, but there just might be light at the end of the tunnel. And with it, more and more fresh dishes like this to enjoy all season long.

Asian Romaine Toss
3 Romaine lettuce hearts, chopped
2 crowns broccoli, chopped
1 package Ramen noodles, broken, seasoning packet discarded
1 c. chopped walnuts
3 TBS butter
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. red wine vinegar
1/2 c. vegetable oil
2 tsp. soy sauce
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a medium bowl whisk together oil, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, salt and pepper until well combined. Set aside. In a large skillet melt butter over medium heat. Saute broken noodles and walnuts until browned, about 5-7 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate to cool.

In a large bowl combine lettuce, broccoli and cooled nut mixture. (Reserve a little nut/noodle mix for top.) Toss well. Pour dressing down over. Toss to coast. Chill for 10-15 minutes before serving. Add extra nuts/noodles to top. 

Inspired by Plain Chicken
Shared at Weekend Potluck