Everyday Mom's Meals

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Yes, I Bake

I have never hidden the fact that I am not one of those home cooks who pride themselves in their baking skills. Not once have I pretended it's my thing. Can I do it? Sure, to a degree. Do I enjoy it as much as others do? Not at all. But that's okay. We all have our strengths!

So when I decide to, and really put forth an effort, you can imagine how excited I get when something turns out as yummy as I hoped. In fact, this was my second baked dessert in less than 3 weeks, so I felt like I was on a roll! (If you didn't catch my Tropical Orange Cake, be sure to check it out!)

A few weeks ago, my parents were coming over to help us with a few things around the house, and I was "paying" them will grilled steak, roasted red potatoes, fresh Indiana sweet corn, and decided THIS would be dessert. It was such a hit, my daddy even asked for seconds!

I had actually just found the recipe that same morning, while looking for ways to use up the strawberries in the fridge before they had a chance to go bad. I had stocked up at Aldi's when they were $.99/pound, and the boys hadn't finished them yet, so I had extra.

For someone who shutters at the thought of making a pie crust...this was calling my name. Crustless pie? Yes, please!

If you can cut, stir and pour you can make this! Believe me, if I can, you can too! Just look how pretty it is too! A great way to take full advantage of summer berries before it's too late; and the pumpkin/apple flood begins!

Crustless Strawberry Pie
1 c. plus 2 TBS white sugar, divided
1 c. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 stick butter, melted and cooled a little
2 tsp. vanilla 
2 eggs
2 1/4 c. strawberries, quartered

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9 inch pie plate. In a large bowl mix together flour, 1 c. sugar and salt. In a medium bowl whisk together butter, eggs  and vanilla. Pour into dry ingredients. Stir to combine. Fold in strawberries. (Batter will be thick) Transfer to pie plate. Add remaining 1/4 cup strawberries to top, pressing in a bit. Sprinkle top with remaining sugar. Bake for 35-40 minutes until toothpick in center comes out clean. (It can have crumbs on it, but NO liquid batter.) Transfer to wire rack to cool. 

Inspired by Averie Cooks

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Rice Loving 8th Grader

Actually, that title leaves out a very important detail. It's not just Alex who loves rice, but his dad, and little brother too. Seriously, they will eat the stuff any way they can get it. We even tease Adam he must have been Asian in another lifetime, because it is hands down his favorite cuisine, and it revolves around rice.

But the title came to be because Tuesday is the first day of school. (Insert very sad mommy tears here.) You all know how much I adore having my boy home with us all summer long, and apparently June and July were only scheduled to last 10 minutes this year. I swear it was just Memorial Day and we were gearing up for the last day and awards, and here we are loading up the backpack and pencil pouch again.

With back to school comes even busier schedules. Pick up is at 3:15, and without a doubt he is going to come to the car starving every single day. We'll come home, start homework, get a small snack, I will blink and it will be time for supper. And that will be our lives for the next 9 months...except when basketball starts, and it is even more hectic.

So it is vital I have some hearty, filling, delicious meals in my back pocket to make sure the growing boys are fed and happy. My trusty friend Mr. Slow Cooker can help me with that. A comforting, stick to the ribs meal can cook all day while I'm busy with Max, and come 6:30 I look like a rock star! In this case, make some rice and dinner is done!

I can't believe my first baby boy is an 8th grader this year (and by the way, turns 14 next month, which is a whole other level of mommy trauma I'm in denial about still). It's going to be a busy year, with lots going on, and mommy will make sure really good food too!

Slow Cooker Stewed Beef & Rice
2 lbs. sirloin steak, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 envelopes onion soup mix
1 c. beef broth
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of celery soup
8 oz. white button mushrooms, sliced
Salt and Pepper to taste
Dried Parsley for garnish 
White Rice

Place meat in slow cooker. Season with salt and pepper. Layer mushrooms over meat. In a medium bowl mix together broth, soups, and soup mix. Pour over mushrooms and meat. Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours. About half way through, stir to combine. When ready to eat, cook your favorite white rice. Serve meat mixture over rice and sprinkle with parsley. 

Shared at Meal Plan Monday
Shared at Weekend Potluck

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Downhill From Here

So, believe it or not, but back to school is right around the corner, and I know for some of you, it's already here. Summer will wind down. Fall will be here before we know it, Halloween, the holidays...and oh look it's 2019....Happy New Year!

Okay, so maybe I'm being a little over dramatic, but I know I'm not the only one because a friend on Facebook and I just had this conversation the other day, and I have seen a few memes saying the same thing. Good to know it's not just me that feels like as soon as the school buses run again, it's just a down hill coast until next year, or at least that's how it feels.

It actually makes me so sad because you know how much I love summer, and having the boy home with my all day. Plus, with both of my babies having August and September birthdays, it only adds to mommy's depression. Needless to say I'm not ready for 2 and 14! 

But...in the spirit of taking each day as a gift, and cherishing every stage, let's talk about what the new seasons mean in food! We are going to need simple meals for those busy school nights, and not too long from now, we will need fun stuff to eat during the big game, and tailgating. And that is exactly what I've got for you today!

Sliders are all the rage right now. You probably see as many recipes for them as I do, so you know there are about a million versions; and I'm 100% on the bandwagon. I love coming up with new ones, and this is my latest idea. 

A warm ham and cheese sammy is such a classic, and these take it to a new level with some great flavor and a little kick. Don't worry if you're feeding little mouths though, they aren't too spicy for them, and you can always adjust the recipe to make sure. 

If you feel like time is flying and you're not ready for the "next" of anything either, sit down next to me. We will drown our sorrows in a yummy sandwich!
Kickin' Ham & Swiss Sliders
1 (9oz.) container smoked ham deli meat
8 sliced Swiss cheese
12 count honey slider buns
1 1/2 TBS horseradish sauce
1 TBS spicy brown mustard
1 stick butter, melted
2 TBS brown sugar
1 tsp. onion powder
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce 
1 TBS dried parsley
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
Spray a 9x13 baking dish. Preheat oven to 350. Remove tops of buns, but leave bottoms intact. Carefully spread horseradish sauce across bottoms. (I used a pastry brush) Lay in bottom of baking dish. Top with ham and cheese, overlapping to cover entire area. Replace bun tops. In a medium bowl whisk together butter, mustard, brown sugar, onion powder, Worcestershire, parsley, salt and pepper. Baste sandwiches liberally with sauce, making sure to get it between and along sides. Cover dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake 10 additional minutes. Cut sandwiches apart and serve hot. *NOTE* This is NOT prepared horseradish. Horseradish sauce can be found in the condiment aisle.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Mr. E Turns 44

Today is a BIG deal on the blog. Not only do I have a terrific dessert for you, I actually baked it!

Look, I am the first to admit I am not a baker. It just doesn't make me as happy as "regular" cooking. Now, yes I can make a mean muffin, and I will bake every once in a while, but if there is a dessert served in this house my family knows it's going to be something no baked, a fluff, or store bought. Oh, okay, I'm pretty good at those pre-sliced cookies too.

But for a special day, and a special request from my special someone, I threw on my big girl apron and made it happen!

Here is the scene. We were driving home from FL. Oh, and for those who don't know, we drive straight through...all night...which usually ends up being about 22 hours in the car, with stops for gas and food. We have been blessed with 2 boys who are amazing travelers, and Mr. E doesn't mind staying up all night. I will drive if he needs me to, but usually he does it all, with my co-piloting and helping to keep him awake...until I snooze a bit.

Anyway, we were in about hour 17...the boys were sleeping and it was just him and I. I have to be honest, I actually enjoy those times. We talk. We enjoy the scenery. We make fun of other drivers. And usually we get a little slap happy and end up making each other laugh so hard we cry.

That's when I asked him what kind of dessert he wanted for his birthday. In our house, you can have anything you want for your special day. It doesn't have to be cake. Alex and I have both been known to ask my mom for her pumpkin pie. And one year Alex requested root beer floats.

I had already asked his parents to come over for a cookout since his birthday was on a Saturday this year, and planned the menu, all he needed to do was decide which sweet treat he wanted. It didn't take him long to tell me..."I want a cold, orange cake, that is creamy and has mandarin oranges on top."

"Okay....sure...I will get right on that." That was my first thought. But with the rest of the drive I brainstormed and by the time we got home I had a plan.

Well, I have to admit, I hit a home run with this one. He said it was EXACTLY what he wanted and everyone thought it was delicious! I was pretty proud of myself. It is a pretty tasty, cool end to any summer meal!

Tropical Orange Cake
1 (15.25) oz. white cake mix
1 (11 oz.) can mandarin oranges, reserve juice, save a few for top
Water, combined with juice- enough to make 1 cup total
1/3 c. vegetable oil
3 egg whites
1 (8 oz.) tub Cool Whip
1 (3.4 oz.) box instant vanilla pudding
1 (16 oz.) can crushed pineapple
1 1/2 c. sweetened shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 325. Grease and flour a 9x13 pan. In a large bowl combine cake mix, egg whites, oil and 1 cup juice/water mix. Beat with electric mixer on medium speed until combined. Turn to high speed and beat 2 minutes more until creamy. Fold in oranges. Transfer to dish. Bake for 35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Place on wire racks to cool. In a medium bowl combine pineapple and pudding mix. Fold in Cool Whip. Add 1/2 c. coconut. Stir well and chill until ready to use. When cake cool, top with frosting, spreading evenly. Sprinkle with remaining coconut and  garnish with oranges. Cover and refrigerate 24 hours before serving. *NOTE* READ the directions on the box for your type of pan and cake mix. I used a glass pan, hence more cooking time. You want 1 cup TOTAL liquid between the reserved juice and water. Measure how much juice you have and add enough water to make 1 cup. 

Shared at Weekend Potluck

Sunday, July 22, 2018

They Will Grow

For years we attempted to grow a garden in our backyard. And by we, I mean Adam, and then Alex too. We always got a few things that were edible and usable, but never anything like we hoped. Finally after so much time, money, and water wasted, we gave up.

But the one thing that they can get to grow? Blackberries! Adam planted bushes back when Alex was just a baby, and each year they've gotten a little bigger, and produced a little more. Well, this year, they have gone crazy! They are picking from them every single day...and trying to make sure they get to them before the birds do. Our little feathered friends enjoy them as much as my boys do.

Oh, and this summer Max has gotten in on the fun. You know, picking them and eating straight from the bush? Yeah, he's an expert. "Back-berr-ies Mommy!" He will even sneak them from the bowl in the fridge. (His face always gives him away though!)

So last week when they were out picking in the evening, there were too many to just keep to snack on, so I ended up making muffins at 8:30 at night. Something simple, but oh so yummy to treat my little berry growers.

They loved these. Couldn't get enough. They ate them right out of the oven, for breakfast the next morning, snacks and dessert after supper. Needless to say, they didn't last long.

You can easily swap out the blackberries for raspberries or even black raspberries, (Adam's favorites... and yes there is a difference....he will tell you!) if you happen to have those on hand.

We might not have fresh tomatoes, cucumbers or corn in our backyard, but luckily we have friends who share and terrific farm stands. But we do have berries....so we will make the most of those!

Blackberry Muffins
2 c. all purpose flour
1/2 c. white sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 egg, beaten
1/4 c. butter, melted
2 tsp. vanilla
1 c. milk
1 c. fresh blackberries
Decorating Sugar (I used gold)

Preheat oven to 375. Line muffin tin with papers or grease well. In a large bowl mix together flour, white sugar, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. Add egg, milk, melted butter and vanilla. Stir well. Gently fold in blackberries. Fill each well about 2/3 full. Sprinkle with decorating sugar. Bake for 20-25 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. Transfer to wire rack to cool.
Makes 1 dozen.

Shared at Weekend Potluck