Everyday Mom's Meals

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

BBQ In The Snow

Well, we've officially entered the doldrums of winter. The holidays are over, spring is no where in sight and it's frigid outside. Blah.... Yeah, if you can't tell, I'm not a fan. As far as I'm concerned as soon as Christmas is over, we can go back to 75 and sunny!

But alas, I live in Indiana, and we have a lot of days before that happens, so we better make the best of them. One way I've learned to do that is through food. And not just because we love to eat!

I like to take recipes we usually enjoy during the warm, summer months and find a way to make them more cold weather appropriate, as in the case of this recipe.

Now if you know me, or have been following me for a while, you know we are NOT opposed to grilling in the winter. In fact, a few years back we were in the middle of a blizzard...A. Real. Life. Blizzard. (The weather channel said so!) and Mr. E was outside grilling up some juicy t-bone steaks! All the neighbors were out shoveling snow, and we could hear them saying "What smells so good? Where is that coming from?" Yeah, that was us.

However, right now our grill is broke, so there is no using it no matter what the weather is. Luckily it made it to the end of summer before dying, and we decided to just wait until spring to deal with it. So that meant when I got a craving for good barbecue chicken, I needed to find a way to make it happen...indoors.

I will be honest, when I first started to think about how I would make that happen, my slow cooker wasn't the first thing that popped into my head. When I think good barbecue, I think a good sear, some black marks, and maybe even some burnt pieces...all from being cooked over an open flame. But I wasn't going to achieve that no matter how I prepared it, so instead I went for slow cooked, tender, and a great smoky flavor.

Well, let me tell you, this was some of the best barbecue chicken I've ever made, inside or out! Both of my boys (well the two that eat solid food) enjoyed it and couldn't get over the fantastic flavor.

If you need a simple weeknight meal, or maybe are having a football party, this is perfect for both! So much flavor and so little effort, just what we need to get us through these yucky winter days!

Slow Cooker Barbecue Chicken
4 boneless chicken breasts
1 TBS steak seasoning
1 (18 oz.) bottle barbecue sauce, your favorite
1/4 c. white vinegar
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/4-1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
Salt and Pepper to taste
Dried Parsley, for garnish

Pat chicken dry. Season with steak seasoning, salt and pepper. Grease slow cooker. Place chicken inside. In a small bowl whisk together barbecue sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, garlic powder and red pepper flakes. Pour over chicken. Cook on LOW for 4-6 hours. Spoon extra sauce over top and garnish with parsley.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Holiday Blogger Challenge with Cape Cod Select

You know I can't resist a great recipe contest! And when that also includes one of my very favorite holiday flavors, well, that is just icing on the cake, so to speak.

So when my new friends at Cape Cod Select Premium Frozen Cranberries asked me to come up with something festive using their yummy cranberries, I jumped at the chance! 

Cape Cod Select Frozen Cranberries are all natural, farm fresh, contain NO additives or preservatives, and best of all, are recipe READY! They allow you to have fresh cranberries year round, not just when they show up in your produce section! To find out if they are sold in your neck of the woods, check out their store locator. Plus, you can find out more about them, and keep up on all things cranberry by following them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Now when it was time for me to think about what I wanted to make with these festive little berries, that was easy. I was going to bake. And to take it a step further, I had Christmas morning on the brain. I wanted something super easy I could make ahead, and then enjoy while we are opening gifts in those wee hours of the morning. I decided I would combine the classic holiday flavors of cranberry, orange, and add in some nuts too. Well, I think I nailed it. I got exactly what I was looking for; and I know these will be perfect on December 25th.

Thanks to the great folks at Cape Cod Select, now my family will have something delicious to eat, bursting with fresh cranberry flavor! I think your family will love them too!

Cranberry Pecan Muffins 
Orange Glaze 
1 1/2 c. Cape Cod Select Premium Frozen Cranberries
1 1/4 c. white sugar, divided
 3 c. flour
4 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 stick butter, room temperature
2 eggs
1 c. milk
1 c. chopped pecans
1 1/2 tsp. grated orange peel, divided
1 c. powdered sugar
1-2 TBS fresh orange juice

Preheat oven to 400. Place frozen cranberries in food processor. Pulse until coarsely chopped. Place in bowl, add 1/4 c. white sugar. Mix together. Set aside. In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt, and 1 cup white sugar. In a small bowl lightly whisk together eggs and milk. Add to flour mixture and combine until just moistened. Fold in pecans, 1 tsp. orange peel and cranberries. Line muffin tin with papers and fill each well 2/3 way full with batter. Bake for 20-25 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. While baking, combine powdered sugar, 1/2 tsp. orange peel and orange juice, gradually until smooth glaze forms. When muffins done, transfer to wire racks to cool. When completely cooled, spread orange glaze on top with a spatula and allow to sit for 1 hour to set.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Bitter Cold Winter Days

Brrrr....Who turned down the heat? Yep, there is no more denying it. Winter is here. With the extra warm autumn we had here in Indiana, the temperature drop is even more a shock to the system than normal. But I guess it is December, so we better get used to it.

Does anything taste better on a bitter cold day than a bowl of piping hot soup? I don't think so. Well, maybe one thing. A bowl of soup that has been cooking all day while you are busy. That's right, your slow cooker is going to take care of today's recipe while you're at work, or out and about in the wind, and snow, looking forward to coming home to something that will warm you up and fill you up at the same time. 

Now, we aren't just talking about your every day soup here. This. Is. Chili. The ultimate winter food. A meal that will thaw you out from the inside and warm your soul to the core. A classic, made even easier with the help of your Crock Pot.

If you've been following the blog for a while, you will recognize this somewhat. I have had a recipe published for a long time for our favorite Buffalo Chili. (If you've never tried buffalo, do it! So lean, so delicious!) Unfortunately, we don't have any buffalo left in our freezer, so I had to take that recipe and adapt it a little so I could use the ground beef we do have. It still tastes just as great, and is just as easy. 

I love to serve this with some cheese and crackers on the side. And of course all the traditional toppings: diced onion, shredded cheese, sour cream, or even some elbow macaroni for chili mac. In fact, if you're having a party this holiday season, a chili bar would be so fun! Or maybe some house guests you need to feed? A big pot of this will get the job done!

Most people have a favorite chili recipe they rely on all winter long. But if you don't, or maybe you're just looking for a new one, I hope this is it! 

Crock Pot Chili
1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. bulk pork sausage
1 large can Brooks Mild Chili Beans
1 large can tomato juice
1 medium white onion, finely chopped
1 TBS garlic powder
1 TBS chili powder, more if you like it spicy
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a large skillet brown beef. Drain. In same skillet brown sausage and chopped onion. Drain. Add both meats to Crock Pot. Add beans, garlic powder, chili powder, salt and pepper. Pour in juice. Stir to combine. Cook on LOW for 6 hours. Serve with desired toppings. 

Monday, November 28, 2016

Holiday Ham

Okay, so the turkey is so last week. It is time to move on. Now it's time to talk ham.
Well, that might not be totally true, because I know many, many people who will enjoy another bird come Christmas. But in my head, as soon as Thanksgiving is over, it's time to think about that big, beautiful, tasty, holiday ham.

In fact, as you can see from this recipe I actually started thinking about it pre-Turkey Day. I have to. I'm a food blogger, and while holiday recipes are terrific, it means we foodies are developing, testing and re-testing weeks before the big day.

I made this for a simple weeknight meal (Yay for Crock Pot!) but I think it would be terrific for those upcoming holiday parties and family gatherings. Plus, if you make a big ham one day, and need another meal the next, you could usually substitute the deli ham with some leftovers, and make it even more delicious.

I served this family style, with the buns on the side. The ham has a pretty tasty sauce that comes with it, and if it sits on the rolls or buns too long, they will get soggy. So if you're thinking of putting this out for a Christmas party, I suggest doing the same thing; and that way, you can keep the meat on warm in the slow cooker all night long.

I can't believe Christmas is less than a month away. We are super excited at our house of course, with this being Max's first. These boys are by far the two most precious gifts of my life and I'm going to enjoy every single minute of this holiday season.

If you're looking for something new to do with your holiday ham, I think this is just what you've been wanting. A good ham sandwich is a classic, and these have a little something extra to make your guests say YUM!

Slow Cooker Ham Sandwiches
1 1/2 lbs. deli ham, sliced thin
1/2 c. sweet relish
2/3 c. packed brown sugar
2 c. apple juice
2 tsp. yellow mustard
1 tsp. paprika
Extra mustard/relish for serving

Spray slow cooker with nonstick spray. Layer ham in bottom. In a medium bowl whisk together apple juice, relish, brown sugar, mustard and paprika. Pour over ham. Cook on LOW for 4-5 hours. Serve on buns with extra mustard and relish if desired. 

Monday, November 21, 2016

Turkey Day, Made Easy

So, I can't lie, I am not on the hook for hosting Thanksgiving. In fact, most years I'm not. In the 13 years we've been married, I've only had to worry about cooking on Turkey Day twice. Why? Because we live 20 minutes from both my mom and mom in law, and they both have our family over on the holiday.

But just because I am not having a huge crowd over to my house doesn't mean I can't appreciate the need for some easy dishes to fall back on. One because I have hosted and know the stress that can go into preparing the biggest meal of the year. And two, this is what I do. I try to find ways to help your holiday cooking be more simple and less stressful each year.

This recipe is actually something I've made for years now, and we enjoy all autumn long. Seriously, as soon as the calendar says October, you can find me in the grocery store aisle looking for canned pumpkin. (By the way, if you live near an Aldi, their pumpkin is a "seasonal item" they only carry for a few months, but is ONLY $.89 per can! You won't find it cheaper anywhere else!)

So not only can you whip this up quickly, it's also totally adaptable for a few or a house full, plus it's 100% budget friendly!

I love a good pumpkin pie, but if I'm being honest, I don't need the crust. Give me the filling and some Cool Whip and I'm a happy girl. In fact, when I was little my grandma would take the extra filling she had after her pies were made, put it into custard dishes and bake it just for me.

This will be our first Thanksgiving since Grandma passed, and I felt it was time to revamp this recipe a bit, and bring it back to the blog (it's been 5 years since I first shared it) in her honor. Every time I make this, I am transported back into her kitchen with those little glass custard dishes and her saying " Geez Punkin (that's me), do you want a little pumpkin with your Cool Whip?" Yeah, I'm that girl. Pile on the topping!

If you are hosting Turkey Day this year, give yourself a much needed break and add this to your dessert menu. Sure, bake some pies too, by all means, but cross one or two off the list, replaced by the easiest recipe you'll make this holiday!

Pumpkin Fluff
2 (15 oz.) cans pumpkin 
2 small boxes instant vanilla pudding, DRY do NOT add milk
2 (8oz.) containers Cool Whip
1/2 tsp. cinnamon, extra for garnish
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg

In a large bowl whisk together pumpkin and pudding mix. Fold in one container of Cool Whip. Add spices. Stir well. Chill for at least an hour before serving. Garnish with extra Cool Whip and cinnamon.