Everyday Mom's Meals

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Soup Weather

I had a friend tell me the other day "I would make soup every day if I could." You know what? That's not a bad idea, especially this time of year.

A couple weeks ago when the Polar Vortex hit and we had windchills down to -50 degrees, the big pot of soup cooking all day on the counter was truly the only thing that made it okay. Mr. E was starting cars every 2 hours in the overnight to make sure they didn't freeze; and even though Alex was home from school, I still had to go out and start the car during the day too. It was the kind of cold that immediately hurt your face, and your soul!

And while those temps are gone, we still have cold weather ahead, in fact, snow is once again in the forecast, so plenty more time to put some great soup recipes to good use.

Plus, let's face it, while we all look forward to spring, the weather is brings isn't always the sunny, warm beautiful variety we have in our heads. Here in Indiana, those days are mixed with chilly, rainy, wet, miserable ones that also call for soup!

This is a terrific veggie soup with the addition of a favorite around here, cabbage!  In fact, you could make it totally meat free by swapping out the chicken broth. Perfect for your Meat Free Monday!

If you are tired of the cold, the snow, the wind, the slush, the ice, and pretty much winter all together, have a seat next to me. We can lament together; and whine over a big bowl of soup!

Crock Pot Cabbage Soup
1 medium head cabbage, chopped
3 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 medium carrots, finely chopped
1 medium white onion, chopped
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 (12 oz.) bag frozen green beans
1 1/4 c. frozen corn
1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes, with juice
2 TBS tomato paste
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 (32 oz.) box chicken broth
2 c. water
2 cubes chicken bouillon
Salt and Pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in Crock Pot. Stir well. Cook on HIGH for 1 hour. Reduce heat to LOW and cook for 6-8 additional hours. 

Shared at Weekend Potluck

Monday, February 4, 2019

Dollar Store Delight

A couple weeks back there was a convo on Facebook about buying food at Dollar Tree and how 99% of what they sell is pre-packaged, processed junk. Now, I will no dispute that much of it is exactly that, but I also know there are some things I can find at me that not only are exactly what I would find at my major super market, but a whole lot cheaper, helping me stay on budget.

One of the things I mentioned in the thread was gnocchi. I discovered my local Dollar Trees (yes, we have 4 within just minutes of our house) carry 1 lb. packages of gnocchi. They are a fine quality, and taste the same as the $4 packs I can find elsewhere. I can honestly say every single gnocchi recipe you can find on this blog was made with $1 gnocchi.

So the next time I was in there I decided to create a new recipe around those; and see what else I could find too. In this recipe alone, the gnocchi, Italian seasoning, and pepperoni came from DT. I would have been able to get the marinara sauce there too, they just happened to be out of it the day I went. But...and here is the funny part...I got the sauce at Kroger...for $1 and the 2 cans of mushrooms at Aldi for $1 total. The only thing in the recipe that cost me more than a buck was the bag of mozzarella cheese, and I actually had a coupon for that too!

I guess this is my point. Do I want my family eating cheap, processed food every night of the week? Absolutely not. But there are some things to be found at the dollar store that you can turn into something delicious, yummy and stay on a pretty strict budget. This casserole fed our family of 4 (and I've got big eaters) plus enough for a lunch the next day, for around $7. That is less than $2 per person!

In my opinion, there just needs to be less judgment all around when it comes to where we buy our food, and what we are buying. We all do what we can, in the way we can, and I refuse to turn my nose up at something just because it came from a discount store! After all, look what you can do with it!

Pizza Gnocchi Bake
2 (1 lb.) packages potato gnocchi, cooked to directions
1 (24 oz.) jar marinara sauce
2 (4 oz.) cans mushrooms
1 (4 oz.) package pepperoni, chopped, reserve a few whole for top
2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
Italian Seasoning

Preheat oven to 400. Grease a 9x13 baking dish. When gnocchi are cooked, drain and return to warm pan. Add chopped pepperoni, mushrooms, sauce and 1 cup cheese. Stir well to combine. Transfer to baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove foil, sprinkle with remaining cheese, top with pepperoni slices, sprinkle with Italian seasoning. Bake for 10 minutes more until cheese melted and bubbly. Rest for 5 minutes before serving. 

Shared at Weekend Potluck

Sunday, January 27, 2019

I Don't Even Know How Cold That Is

Here in the Midwest, we are being told to brace for some of the coldest temps we've experienced in years; and for some of us the coldest in our life time. And as my grandma used to say, it's not so much the temperature, it's the WIND.

Yes, that's right, while the high temps for the day aren't supposed to reach 0 for about 36 hours, you add in that dreaded windchill, and it's going to feel like it's -40 outside. Brrrrrr! I think at some point your body doesn't even know how cold that is, but it knows it does NOT like it!

We are already being warned of the dangers, and I can foresee the school delays/closings coming in now. But let's face it, for most of us, no matter how cold it is our life keeps going. As much as we would like to curl up under a blanket, grab a cup of cocoa and stay inside, 90% of the time being an adult means that doesn't happen. Not even for me. Yes, I could stay inside with Max, but if Alex has school, that means the mommy bus has to do pickup, so off we go.

There isn't much I can do to soothe pain of that cold when all of us get to come home, but I can make sure supper is warm and ready to thaw us out while it fills us up. Soup, anyone?

I have so many bean soup recipes, and they never get old. They are some of the heartiest, warm you to the core, dinners I can make this time of year; and this one is no exception

One of the ingredients might make you say "what" so be sure to read the note as to why I used it, and the alternative you can.

If you are preparing for the deep freeze like we are, run to the grocery store before it hits so you can have all the ingredients for this delicious meal on hand!

Tuscan Bean Soup
1 (2.5) oz package real bacon bits
2 TBS vegetable oil
1 medium white onion, diced
2 large carrots, diced
3 stalks celery, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. dried red pepper
6 c. chicken broth
2 (14.5 oz.) cans great northern beans, DO NOT drain
1 dried bay leaf
1/2 c. heavy cream
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1 TBS corn starch
2 TBS water
1/2 TBS dried parsley
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a large stock pot over medium high heat, cook bacon bits until they start to crisp and give off some flavor, about 5 minutes. Remove and save. Add onions, carrots and celery. Saute for a few minutes. Add garlic, red pepper, and continue cooking, stirring often, until vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add chicken broth, beans with their liquid, and bay leaf. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove bay leaf. Turn off heat. Using a potato masher, smash some of the beans to add thickness. In a small bowl, combine corn starch and water. Add corn starch mixture, cream and cheese to soup. Stir well. Turn heat back to high. Once it starts to boil again, reduce heat back to low. Simmer for 15 minutes until thickened. Add bacon and parsley and serve. *NOTE* I used bacon bit because I had them on hand. If you want to use bacon, about 6 strips. Dice, saute and continue. You don't want to drain the beans because their liquid will help thicken the soup. 

Shared at Weekend Potluck

Recipe Inspired From No Spoon Necessary 

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Frigid Temps

Has the deep freeze found you? If not, consider yourself lucky. In our neck of the woods, it is below freezing. It is hurt your face when you walk outside cold. Mr. E. had icicles in his beard while he cleared the drive way today.

There isn't much I hate as much as the cold. And the snow. And winter. As we like to say, "You don't have to shovel sunshine." We count the minutes until warm weather comes back. Yes, we know we live in Indiana, but it doesn't stop us from whining every year.

Now we are lucky because besides walking to and from vehicles we don't really have to be out in it. I feel SO bad for those who work out in this type of cold. The lady working the drive through window, the barista making your coffee, the mail carrier, UPS driver, construction worker, police officer...the list is endless and they all do their jobs in the kinda cold I can't stomach.

But for me, even being out in it a little is too much; and when I finally get to come inside where it's warm, all I want is to get into my pjs, warm slippers and eat a warm meal to thaw me from the inside out. A thick chili or stew, a piping hot bowl of soup, or a stick to the ribs, hearty, comfort food.

The last is what we have today. A flavorful and tender meat cooked in the Crock Pot all day long that is perfect next to a pile of fluffy mashed potatoes. Now that will warm us up!

It's only January and we have so much winter in front of us. Hopefully we can all find some tasty meals to make it a little more bearable!

Crock Pot Sirloin Tips
2-3 lbs. sirloin steak, cut into 1 inch piece cubes
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
2 tsp. steak seasoning
1 can cream mushroom soup
1 (15 oz.) can beef broth
1 envelope onion soup mix
1 c. + 2 TBS water, divided use
1/2 TBS Worcestershire sauce 
1 TBS cornstarch
Salt and Pepper to taste
Parsley for garnish

Place steak in slow cooker. Sprinkle with garlic powder, onion powder, steak seasoning, salt and pepper. In a medium bowl combine soup, broth, onion soup mix, 1 cup water, and Worcestershire. Pour over meat. Cook on LOW 6 hours. In a small bowl combine cornstarch and 2 TBS water. Pour into beef mixture and stir well. Increase heat to HIGH and cook for 30 minutes until slightly thickened. Serve with mashed potatoes and garnish with parsley. 

Shared at Weekend Potluck

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Taco Tuesday

This would have normally went live yesterday, but I just had to wait until today. Why? Because if you do Taco Tuesday at your house, but want to switch it up a bit...THIS is for you!

Not only are you going to get all the flavor of your favorite taco bar, but this is the ultimate "dump and go" or "set it and forget" it supper.

See, we are smack dab in the middle of basketball season at our house. After the 2 week holiday break, last week we were back at in in full force. With 3 practices and 2 games...it was a little hectic. (You gotta remember, with a 2 year old, most things seem more hectic than they actually are. Oh, and I forgot to mention we are also potty training!)

The times of the games vary, and sometimes we can eat before we leave, but for the most part, I need to make sure there is a warm, tasty, hearty meal waiting for us when we get home because I'm going to have some starving boys on my hands. Not Max. He gets a packed supper and eats in the stands while he watches Bruh Bruh do his thing. But the husband and the teenager are quite ravenous by the time they hit the door.

 So, I have been turning to my slow cooker A LOT. I can make sure it's cooking all day and then when we get home and they are chewing on their arms, supper is ready. Last week, it was this. Seriously, if you can brown beef and dump cans...you can look like a rock star with this!

I garnished it simply, but I think it would be terrific with some shredded cheese and other taco toppings too. Lettuce, diced tomato, cilantro...the possibilities are endless!

The boy loves to get the rebound!

I am so proud to be a basketball mom. He has improved so much and absolutely LOVES being on the team. We only have a few more weeks left on the season, so if they are a little hectic and kinda stressful for mom, that is okay...after all, I have my trusty slow cooker on my side!

Crock Pot Taco Soup
1 lb. ground beef, browned
1 (15 oz.) can beef broth
1 (15 oz.) can corn, undrained
1 (15 oz.) can petite diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (10 oz.) can Rotel, undrained
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 oz.) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 (1 oz.) packet taco seasoning
1 (1 oz.) packet ranch dip mix 
1 TBS dried minced onion
Salt and Pepper to taste 

Combine all ingredients in Crock Pot. Cook on LOW 4 hours. Garnish with sour cream, pickled jalapenos, corn chips, green onions, etc. 

Shared at Weekend Potluck