Everyday Mom's Meals

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

$50 Dollar Challenge Month #1 {Indiana Family of Farmers}

I am super excited to bring you this new series from my great friends over at Indiana Family of Farmers. Each month, for the next 4, we are going to explore exactly how many meals we can make for $50. I will share my meal plan, the inspiration behind each one, and a new recipe too! Plus, I want to hear from you and what you can do in the kitchen with $50. Here are the rules (don't worry, there are only 2!) 

1. The meals can be breakfast, lunch, dinner or a combo of all three.

2. Each one must include one meat protein. 

That's it! Easy, right? Well, maybe not so much for some of you, but that's why we are doing this. To learn, to share and to make our hard earned dollars stretch farther. So, without further adieu, let's get to it.

For April, my meal plan is based on one thing. Leftovers. More specifically, Easter Leftovers. See, this is how my brain works. Whenever I know there is a big holiday coming, I buy too much, I make too much, but in the back of my mind, I don't worry about it because I know one way or the other it will all get used. Rather I simply serve the same dishes later in the week, transform them into something new, or use extra ingredients I bought to make new things, in the end it all works out. Plus, I can make my weekly grocery budget stretch if I'm combining the holiday meal with my weekly menu. 

Here is my menu, and my thought process behind each meal.

Meal #1
Double Cheese Mac n Cheese
Fresh Pineapple

** Even though I normally make the sandwiches with deli ham, there is no doubt they would taste even better with some leftover Easter ham! Oh, and the pineapple? It always goes on sale around this time because so many use it with their ham, so it's a great time to use it as a fresh side too! 

Meal #2
Dinner Rolls

**This soup is a great way to use up extra produce you have laying in the crisper drawer. Let's face it, what holiday is complete without a veggie tray? And the extras can easily be turned into a soup the next day. Dinner rolls are always something we have leftover after a holiday too! 

Meal #3

** Can't figure out where the leftovers come into play here? EGGS! I always buy extra for dying and then making deviled eggs too. So when I have an extra dozen...or two...laying around, breakfast for supper is always on the menu! 

Meal #4
Egg and Olive potato salad*
Baked Beans

** This a great time to explain one big way I keep my grocery bill down. We have freezer beef on hands at all times. Sure, the initial cost is a little pricey, but then it saves us $$$ every single week. The potato salad is actually a new recipe (see below) and just like the soup, it's based on those extra veggies I'm going to have laying around. Not to mention the extra potatoes too! Oh, and baked beans? Those will simply be a reheated leftover from the holiday! 

So there you have it. My first $50 challenge! I get such a thrill when I'm able to save money; and when I can feed my family at the same time, well that's just icing on the cake!

Don't forget to comment with how YOU would feed your family for $50. How many meals can you make? Have any great tips? Share them, please!!!

Egg and Olive Potato Salad
4 large Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
4 hard boiled eggs, chopped
1 large rib celery, finely chopped
1 (5.75 oz.) jar green olives, chopped
1 1/4 c. mayo
1 TBS white vinegar
1 heaping TBS yellow mustard
1/2 tsp. onion powder
Salt and Pepper to taste
Paprika for garnish

Place potatoes in large pot and cover with cold water. Add some salt. Bring to a boil and cook until just fork tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Allow to cool. In a large bowl combine potatoes, olives, and celery. Toss to combine. In a medium bowl combine mayo, mustard, vinegar, onion powder, salt and pepper. Mix well. Pour over potato mixture. Stir to combine. Chill until serving. Sprinkle with paprika.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Light and Bright For Spring

By now all of you know how much of a pasta fiend I am. Seriously, it's an addiction. If there were meetings, I would attend. I'd be a leader. Multiple times per week. I have to refrain from eating pasta every meal. Every day. And no, I'm not exaggerating. 

If you're a regular reading, you also know I'm a huge fan of lemon. Anything and everything lemon. Especially in the warm months. Beginning in spring and right through to summer, it's at the top of my favorite flavors. 

So, imagine my excitement, my joy, my utter elation when I saw a recipe combining them!!! Oh. My. Blog. I couldn't even fathom how could this was going to be, but I was ready to find out! 

If you've never tasted a Meyer lemon, it is even more lemony than a regular one. (Is that a word? Well, it is now.) Plus, it has hints of orange in the background. So they give you a double citrus punch in whatever you use them in. 

This is a creamy, filling pasta supper, while still being light. I know that's hard to believe, but it really is! It tricks your brain into thinking it's eating a much heavier cream sauce. Not to mention the fact the hints of lemon are so refreshing and bright! 

If you are looking for ways to enjoy some lighter, but still filling and satisfying meals, for spring, you've come to the right place. Or if you are simply a pasta and/or lemon addict and are looking for an enabler, I've got you covered there too. 

Creamy Lemon Linguine
2 lbs. linguine, cooked according to package directions
5 Meyer lemons, juiced
4 tsp. grated Meyer lemon rind
1 c. park skim ricotta cheese
1/2 c. chopped chives
1/2 c. heavy cream
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 c. plus 6 TBS pasta cooking water
Salt and Pepper to taste

While pasta is cooking in salted water, add ricotta, lemon juice, rind, and cream to a blender. When pasta is finished, BEFORE draining, carefully remove the cooking water to a separate bowl. Add 6 TBS cooking water to blender and blend until smooth. Drain pasta well. Heat a large dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add cream mixture. Heat until warmed through. Add pasta, chives salt and pepper. Stir. Add 1/2 c. cooking water a little at a time until pasta mixture is creamy. Remove from heat, add Parmesan cheese. Garnish with extra chives. *NOTE* If eating leftover, add a splash of cream or water to make creamy again. Also, I don't know how this would work with regular lemons. The Meyer variety can be found at most grocery stores. I got mine at Kroger and have seen them at Meijer too. 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Meal Plan Mar. 29- April 3

*New Recipe
Links to Recipes on Blog

We have a birthday party to go.

Cucumber Chicken Salad Sandwiches*
Pasta Salad

Easy Sausage Gumbo*

I'm having a Spring Break date with my little man! 

Barbecued Beef Roast
Baked Potatoes
Creamy Mushrooms*

Happy Good Friday!
We're having dinner at my parents.

Friday, March 27, 2015

He's Coming...

With only a week left until Easter, the above title could mean a couple things. For most of us in the Christian world, it means we once again get to celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus, and we can shout from the mountain tops, "He is Risen. Risen Indeed! Hallelujah." 

At the same time, those of us with kids know they are anxiously awaiting the return of their favorite bunny, Mr. Peter Cottontail himself, bringing with him their favorite sweet treats of the season. 

For our family, both of these are true. We try really hard to find a happy medium between our faith and the fun of Easter. I'm proud to say yes my 10 year old loves his Easter Basket of candy, toys and books, he also knows the true reason why we celebrate renewed life this time of year. 

In the spirit of the all things yummy, I wanted to share a super easy sweet bite perfect for your Easter table! How can you resist something with only 4 ingredients that looks like a fluffy bunny tail? Not to mention, being filled with one of my favorite spring time flavors...coconut

I was so excited when I saw these because they didn't contain any chocolate. I know. Weird for a woman to say. But for me, I like chocolate, but there is so much of it everywhere this time of year, satisfying my sweet tooth cravings with something else is nice too. Plus, I love easy things the boy can help me with. 

If you are looking for something cute, yummy and simple to add to your Easter menu, these should definitely be it. Make a few, make a lot, and watch them disappear quicker than the Easter Bunny's footprints! 

Coconut Truffles
4 oz. cream cheese
2 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. coconut extract
1 1/4 c. sweetened shredded coconut, divided

Combine cream cheese and coconut extract. Beat well until smooth. Add powdered sugar, 1/2 c. at a time and beat until combined. Add 1/4 c. coconut and beat once more. Form into balls (I used my cookie scoop to make it easier.) and roll into coconut. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and chill for 15-20 minutes until set. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. 

Shared on The Country Cook Mar. 27, 2015

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Let Me Count The Ways

Egg Noodles. How I love thee. Let me count the ways...

What? You don't recite poetry to your food? Um, okay...awkward...

Well, I adore them. Can't get enough of them. Could eat them every single day.

To me, egg noodles are one of the most versatile and simple convenience foods out there. You can do almost anything with them, and they go with pretty much any protein, rounding out a meal perfectly.
Heck, you can just boil them and add a little butter, salt and pepper and your family will think you are a genius! Or add veggies for a one pot meal! Or add protein for even more punch. See...the possibilities are endless.

These are my latest creation. How? Easy. I wanted noodles. I had no idea what to make with them. I started throwing things into the pot until I achieved the flavor I was looking for. Sometimes recipe creation isn't as sexy as chefs/cooks would have you believe. But they are egg noodles. You would have to work pretty hard to screw them up.

If you are looking for a simple side dish for tonight's supper. Here you go. Or maybe a new dish for your Easter table??!! These would be so good with ham! Add your own favorite herbs and spices to make a whole new flavor profile! Have fun with it! Honestly? I think you could make a big batch on Sunday and eat them for lunch all week too! See, I told you they were versatile! 

Parmesan Herbed Noodles
1 lb. egg noodles
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese
4 TBS butter, softened
1 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
3 tsp. dried parsley
Salt and Pepper to taste

Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain very well. Return to pot over warm heat. Add butter, cheese, herbs, salt and pepper. Stir well to combine. Serve with some extra herbs sprinkled on top. 

Shared on The Country Cook Mar. 27, 2015