Everyday Mom's Meals

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Side Dish Or The Star

I love when a recipe can wear different hats. Having something that is both delicious and versatile means I can make it again and again, and utilize it in different ways.

Case in point? Today's recipe. If you're doing Meat Free Monday, this could easily be your main dish tonight. (See note below!) Or, if you are like me and are always on the lookout for new side dishes, this could totally rock that too! It would be SO tasty with anything you're grilling up this summer. Oh, if your kids turn their noses up at anything green...this has so much cheese, they might not even notice!

Broccoli and Cheese are such classic flavors and this really lets them shine! You might not think it is hearty enough to be the center of a meal, but I assure you, it is! I served it with some fruit and crunch bread on the side and we were plenty full. Plus, the leftovers made a great lunch for the hubby the next day.

If your recipe box is in need of some dishes that you can pull out for different reasons, and enjoy them any way you serve them, start with this!

Cheesy Broccoli & Rice Casserole
2 TBS butter
2 c. instant rice, uncooked
2 (12 oz.) bags frozen chopped broccoli, thawed
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
2 celery ribs, finely chopped
1 (10 oz.) can cream of mushroom soup
1 (10 oz.) can cream of chicken soup
1 (16 oz.) jar cheese sauce
1/4 c. sour cream
3/4 c. milk
1/2 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9x13 baking dish and a piece of aluminum foil big enough to cover it. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Saute onion and celery until soft, about 5-7 minutes. Add broccoli and cook another 5 minutes. In a medium bowl whisk together cheese sauce, soups, milk and sour cream. Add rice. Stir to combine. Add mixture to skillet. Stir well. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to baking dish. Cover. Bake for 30 minutes, until rice is tender. Uncover. Sprinkle with shredded cheese and extra pepper. Cook 10-15 additional minutes. Stir well before serving.*NOTE* If you want to make this 100% meat free, swap out the cream of chicken for cream of celery soup. I think it would be delicious!

Sunday, June 10, 2018

How Does Your Garden Grow?

One of the things some people look forward to the most this time of year is planting their summer time garden. If you're one of them, my hat is off to you!

It's not that we don't want one, our backyard just isn't very conducive for growing, and after trying to no avail more years than I care to remember, we've given up. But thankfully we are surrounded by many farmers markets and road side stands; and even have some friends with really big thumbs, so we still enjoy fresh garden veggies all summer long!

I can eat tomatoes like apples. Bring them in, wash them off, a little salt and bite! Cucumbers picked on a warm day always taste better than anything you can buy in the produce aisle.

With all of these beautiful summer veggies, salads are sure to be on the menu. On one of those nights that it is still sweltering at supper time, but you're starving, a light, crisp, cool salad can really hit the spot.

My inspiration for this one was the traditional cucumber and tomato salad we've all eaten a hundred times. But this time I added a little Greek flare. Why? Because the teenager loves feta cheese, and asked me to come up with a reason for him to eat it. No joke. This entire recipe came to be because of the boy's love of cheese.

This would be perfect with anything you've got coming off the grill, and really nice for a cookout or picnic outdoors since there is no "creamy" factor. Plus, the leftovers can be a great lunch the next day. Just ask Mr. E. That's exactly what he did!

If you are a master summer gardener, I am impressed! It really is an art, and the rest of us are so lucky there are so many out there who are willing to share with those of us who aren't as skilled!

Greek Garden Salad
3 large cucumbers peeled and sliced thin
3 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 (6 oz.) jar pitted kalamata olives, drained
1/4 c. feta cheese crumbles
1/3 c. Greek salad dressing
Salt and Pepper to taste
Dried Parsley, for garnish

In a large bowl combine cucumbers, tomatoes and olives. Season with salt and pepper. Mix gently. Pour dressing over and mix again. Sprinkle with feta and parsley. Chill for an hour before serving. 

Shared at Weekend Potluck

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Summer Time Snacking

School is out! Hooray!!! Seriously, those last couple weeks were rough! And then the fact we had to go back after Memorial Day for 1.5 days was almost torture. But we persevered and don't have to set an alarm or pack a lunch until August!

I adore summer vacation. I realize it is different for me because I am at home, and don't have the stress of additional child care, but I cherish every minute he's home with me. And now that Max is old enough to understand "Bruh Bruh" is home with us, well let's just say it even more special.

One of the things that I do recognize has being harder during these months is the fact I have to feed the teenager that extra meal every day, every week! I find myself going to make Max's lunch and saying "Oh that's right. Alex might want something too." Now, to be fair we are only a few days into summer vacation, so I'm still getting into my groove. But it isn't just lunch! He wants snacks too! I swear, these kids...they think they need fed 24/7. LOL

I love making trail mixes because we can all enjoy them. Even Max now! (Sure he likes to pick out the M&Ms, but he does like the pretzels and cheese crackers too) And in the summer, they are perfect for snacking in the car, at the park, beside the pool, or just hanging out in the back yard. True story, if you would have seen us last weekend in our back yard, Max was in his baby pool, and the three of us were sitting around it, watching him, and passing around a huge bowl of this!

Sweet and salty together are one of my favorite things. Even flavor combos you think might not work do. Mr. E made the comment he didn't know how the candy and cheese crackers would taste, but they were really good!

You can always add some other ingredients your family loves too. Make it your own! Let the kids get in on the action too--they could come up with some interesting combos!

Summer break is something I look forward to all school year long. My boys, with me, adventures to be found, and yummy snacking on the way!

Sweet n Salty Trail Mix
4 c. twist pretzels
3 c. cheese crackers
2 c. honey roasted peanuts
1 1/2 c. roasted almonds
1/2 c. M&Ms
1/2 c. Reece's Pieces
1/2 c. raisins

Mix all together in a large bowl and store in an airtight container. 

Shared at Weekend Potluck

Disclaimer: I received free samples from Kroger and MyMagazine Sharing Network for use in this post.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Taco Tuesday

Do you do "Taco Tuesday" at your house? I have to admit, I really don't. Yes, I'm sure at some point in the annals of history I have served tacos at some point on a Tuesday night, but it wasn't intentional or planned. 

But today, I am jumping on the bandwagon...sort of. I'm offering up something for you to switch up your routine, even thought I'm almost positive I served this on a Thursday! 

Mexican food is one of my Top 5 cuisines. Seriously, I can't get enough of the stuff. It is one of the things I choose to eat out the most, and never tire of. I've heard it said "You think you have self restraint, until they sit the free chips n salsa down in front of you at a Mexican restaurant." That is our family summed up in one sentence! We are the ones getting to-go boxes at the end of our meal because by the time the entrees came, we had stuffed ourselves with so many chips n salsa, we are full. 

So when I get the chance to add some Mexican food to our meal plan, it's something new, and includes our favorites flavors, win...win...win! 

This simple, budget friendly and super yummy supper is like an entire Mexican meal in one dish! Each bite tastes like a taco with a little rice on the side. Plus, it has one of my favorite ingredients of all time too...green chilies! 

If you were already planning on tacos tonight, you might have a lot of these ingredients on hand, so you're half way to a new meal, but still familiar and oh so good!

Fiesta Taco Rice Bake
1 lb. ground beef
1 1/4 c. long grain rice
1 (14 oz.) can diced tomatoes, with juice
1 (4 oz.) diced green chilies
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 oz.) corn, drained
1 c. chunky salsa
1 c. chicken  broth
1 package taco seasoning
1 c. Mexican style shredded cheese, divided use
2 green onions, chopped

Preheat oven to 375. Grease a 9x13 baking dish. In a large skillet brown beef and drain if needed. Add salsa, taco seasoning, corn, beans, green chilies, rice, broth, tomatoes and 1/2 cup cheese. Stir well. Transfer to baking dish. Cover. Bake for 50 minutes until rice tender. Uncover, add remaining cheese and bake for 5 additional minutes. Garnish with green onions. 

Shared at Weekend Potluck

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Last Minute Idea

Usually about twice a month I plan a potato bar for dinner. I baked off some big ol' taters, lay out a bunch of toppings and let everyone make their own. It's a fun, simple meal I don't have to think much about and everyone enjoys.

Well, a couple weeks ago, when I had planned this, I'm not sure what happened, but I forgot a few of the toppings I needed. Never even brought them home from the grocery store. I'm sure I got distracted by a free sample, or apparently couldn't read my shopping list, but either way, my "bar" was a little empty.

No fear. I looked at what I did have on hand and decided to do things a little differently. I would just make everyone the same kind, and act like I planned it all along.

My uh-oh ended up being a big success! We all loved these and they were the perfect Meat Free Monday main dish! I served them with some cottage cheese and fresh fruit on the side, but they would also be yummy at your next cook out too. Bake off a whole bunch and serve them alongside some steak or chicken hot off the grill!

Sometimes the best things come out of our screw ups!

Broccoli Stuffed Potatoes
3 large russet potatoes 
1/4 c. sour cream
1 1/2 c. finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 (12 oz.) bag frozen broccoli florets, thawed and woody stems removed
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400. Clean potatoes and pierce with fork. Lay directly on oven rack. Bake for 50-60 minutes until fork tender. Turn oven down to 350. Once cooked, allow to cool until you can handle them. About 20 minutes. Carefully slice potatoes in half and scoop out potato leaving about 1/8 inch around edges. Place cooked potato in a large bowl. Add sour cream, 1 cup of cheese, broccoli, salt and pepper. Mix well. Place empty potatoes in a greased baking dish. Fill each with potato mixture. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Add a little extra pepper to top. Bake for 20-25 minutes until cheese is melted and heated through. *NOTES* To scoop the potato, I find a melon baller works great. To speed up the cooling process, place potatoes in the fridge for 5-7 minutes. You want 1 potato per person, or 2 halves.