Everyday Mom's Meals: April 2014

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Another Re-do

I'm trying really hard to go back to the early days of the blog and find the dishes that are fantastic recipes, but with the readership I used to have, didn't really get the exposure they deserved. It's not an easy job, but they are such yummy things I want to make sure they get to as many of you as possible, so I'm happy to do it.

This is another example of that. So, if you're a long time reader, you might recognize it. I had this for the first time at my sister-in-law's bridal shower a few years ago, and since then it's become one of our favorites for summer time barbecues and picnics.

If you can't find the seasoning blend it uses, I wish I could tell you a great substitute, but it has such a distinct flavor, I really wouldn't know where to start. But I will tell you that I've seen it in multiple grocery stores, in multiple cities, so I'm hoping you can find some near you. Plus, like pretty much everything else these days...you can order it online as well!

The fresh veggies in this really give it a crunch I love. It's satisfying while still being very light. Serve it on the side with your favorite grilled chicken or steak. Or on those summer nights when it's too hot to cook or eat (they are right around the corner) serve it as a light, refreshing salad supper.

These re-do recipes are like finding little four leaf clovers in a field of weeds. They are scrumptious dishes I know ya'll will love, even if you're seeing them for second time.

Supreme Pasta Salad From McCormick
1 lb. rotini pasta, cooked, rinsed and drained
1 medium cucumber, peeled and finely chopped
3 Roma tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped
4 TBS McCormick Perfect Pinch® Salad Supreme Seasoning
2 tsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. dried parsley, extra for garnish
1 c. Italian salad dressing

Place pasta in a large bowl. Add cucumber and tomatoes. Toss well. In a small bowl combine salad dressing, oregano parsley and Mccormick's seasoning. Whisk well. Pour over pasta and veggies. Stir well. Chill at least 1 hour before serving.


Shared on The Country Cook May 2, 2014

Pasta at Very Good Recipes



Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Smoothies At Home With D'Vida {A Review}

Do you love a thick, flavorful smoothie? Are you always hitting your local smoothie shop after working out, or just for a sweet treat you don't have to feel guilty about? We sure do. After my boys are done with an intense workout at Taekwondo, their favorite thing is to hit the drive through and refuel with their favorite smoothies. But now, we can do that same thing at home thanks to D'Vida Pre-Made Smoothies, the 100% natural and low calorie meal replacement/ snack.



If you're looking for a post workout drink, trying to slim down, or simply in need of a healthy breakfast, lunch or snack on the go...then D'Vida is the answer! These pre-made smoothies are LOW GI, HIGH Protein, NON GMO! They are the perfect addition to your pantry and now available online at Amazon!

Oh, and let's not forget they are SUPER simple to make too! For a 16 oz. smoothie, simply add 1 cup of cold water, 1 packet of D'Vida and 1 cup of ice (preferably crushed) to a blender. Blend for up to 1 minute for a natural, creamy and delicious smoothie. To adjust the thickness of your smoothie, change the ratio of ice to water.


So, if your family is addicted to smoothies like we are, be sure to get some D'vida in your kitchen today! Quick and delicious are two things we can never get enough of! 

Disclaimer: I was given product samples in exchange for this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Monday, April 28, 2014

Free Beans, Now What?

Are you completely done with soup weather? Did you eat so much over that long, freezing winter you will be happy if you don't see another soup until next December? If you answered yes, I don't blame you. I completely understand where you are coming from. And if I wasn't such a soup fanatic, and we still didn't have some chilly days here in northern Indiana, I would feel the exact same way. But both of those are true, so today is a soup recipe.

I guess I should be honest and say there was another reason for why this recipe came to be. My mom's friend gave me this huge bag of dried Lima beans. I can't even remember why she had them and decided she didn't want them, but her loss was my gain. I actually didn't even know what I was going to do with them when I accepted her generous offer, but I figured being beans, I could find something yummy to turn them into.

Well in my mind, beans, almost every kind, mean soup. I've made enough batches of Ham & Beans that it's just the place my head goes first. So even thought I never would have thought of putting this particular bean into a soup, I thought "how bad could it be?" So this is what I came up with. It's very similar to other bean soups I make, but this one has a little something extra with the addition of parsnip. It gives it an extra luscious texture and amazing flavor.

If you still have some chilly days in your forecast, or like me can eat soup year round, this should definitely be the next one you try. Simple and satisfying....exactly what you what in a meal!

Lima Bean Soup
1 lb. dry Lima bean
4 c. water
4 large carrots, peeled and finely chopped
1 medium white onion, finely chopped
1 large parsnip, peeled and finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 (32 oz.) boxes chicken broth
2 TBS butter
1 TBS corn starch
Dried Parsley

In a large stock pot bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Add beans. Boil for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat. Leave covered and sit for 1-2 hours until beans are tender. Drain and rinse well. Rinse out pot. Melt butter over medium heat. Add carrots, onion, parsnip, and celery. Saute' for 5-7 minutes until soft. Add beans and saute' 2 minutes more. Add broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 hour. Remove about 1 c. of liquid and mix with corn starch. Whisk well. Add back to soup. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low and continue cooking for 30-45 minutes until slightly thickened. Garnish with parsley.


Shared on The Country Cook May 2, 2014

Lima Beans at Very Good Recipes

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Soul Food Saturday


Today we are celebrating the birthday of Soul Food Saturday. That’s right. One year ago, (April 27, 2013) I shared the first recipe with you, and haven’t looked back. Along with Mrs. Everyday by my side we've celebrated, shared memories, and toasted along the way. So I wanted to celebrate our first big milestone with a quick dessert you're going to love. So, let's toast SFS and to another yummy year!

Cinnamon Apple Chocolate Cake in a Flash!
1 box devils food cake mix
1¼ c. water
½ c. unsweetened apple sauce
3 eggs
½ tbs. ground cinnamon
Butter spray for pans

In a large bowl add cake mix, apple sauce, water, cinnamon and eggs. With an electric mixer beat on low for 30 seconds to combine, and then a few minutes to get everything completely incorporated. Batter will be lumpy. Coat two 9 inch pie plates with butter spray. Divide batter between both. Microwave on high power for 7 minutes, test with toothpick for doneness.
Remove from the microwave. Allow to cool on a rack before adding topping. Repeat with 2nd pie pan.

Chocolate Whipped Topping
1 tub whipped topping
2 tbs. cocoa powder
1 tsp Vanilla

In a medium bowl add whipped topping, cocoa and vanilla. Mix until combined.
*Note: We enjoyed the sweetness that the whipped topping already had without adding additional sugar. If you prefer sweeter whipped topping, add powdered sugar by the teaspoon until desired sweetness is acquired.

Our favorite way to enjoy this cake is warm, minutes from being done. Top with whipped topping and your favorite fruit. We love strawberries so that’s how we enjoyed it here.





Meal Plan April 27- May 2

*New Recipes
Links to Recipes on Blog
^ Recipes being re-blogged

Sunday
Crock Pot Cabbage Rolls*
Rolls

Monday
Copycat Olive Garden Salad^
Pineapple
Breadsticks

Tuesday
Italian Sausage Pasta*
Cottage Cheese

Wednesday
Grilled Pork Chops
Stuffing
Green Beans
Applesauce

Thursday
BLTs
Marinated Cucumbers
Ranch Bacon Pasta Salad

Friday
Tomato Soup
Grilled Cheese
Fruit Cocktail



Friday, April 25, 2014

Sneak It In Where You Can

All of you moms and dads out there know exactly what I meant when you read that title. There are certain foods that you sneak into your kids' diets whenever and wherever you can. You don't feel bad about being just a little deceitful because let's face it, when it comes to those veggies or other things they turn their noses up at every single time, you will get sneak them in no matter what.

In our house, there aren't many things my big or little boy won't eat. Yes, I know how lucky I am. And for those hating me right now, believe me I feel your pain. I watch parents and spouses struggle with the notion of having to not cook certain things because they will not go over well. So for me, it's more sneaking in substitutes trying to make things a little healthier here and there.

One way I do this is by using ground turkey in place of ground beef in many of my recipes. If you have never tried this, I highly recommend it. I'm not exaggerating when I say it was probably 2 years of me doing this before my husband ever caught on; and to this day I don't know if they boy has. Ground turkey works fabulously in tacos, sloppy joes, casseroles...really for the most part any place ground beef is called for. 

This recipe was one I had been thinking of trying for a while, and with our freezer beef running low, I knew it would be a great place to perform my magical trick. If you have made traditional tater tot casserole before, this will be a tasty twist on it. If you haven't, then it's a great place to start. 

It makes a fantastic weeknight meal, especially on those nights when the family is starving and dinner is something you're just ready to put a lot of effort into. Plus, you can sneak something a little more healthy onto the dinner table without them even suspecting. All they will know is it's delicious!

Sloppy Joe Tater Tot Casserole

32 oz. bag frozen tater tots
1.5 lbs. ground turkey
8 oz. can tomato sauce
1/2 c. ketchup
1 TBS Worcestershire sauce
3 TBS brown sugar
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
2 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 medium onion, finely chopped, reserve some for garnish
Salt and Pepper to taste
Finely chopped dill pickle, for garnish, optional
Cooking Spray

Preheat oven to 425. Grease a 9x13 pan. Place tater tots in pan. Bake for 12 minutes. While cooking, in a large skillet, sprayed with cooking spray, brown ground turkey until no longer pink. When almost done, add onion and saute together. In a medium bowl whisk together tomato sauce, ketchup, brown sugar, garlic powder, Worcestershire, salt and pepper. Add to ground turkey. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5-7 minutes until slightly thickened. Remove tater tots from oven. Add ground turkey mixture to pan. Top with cheese. Bake for 15 additional minutes until heated through and cheese melted. Allow to stand 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with extra onion and chopped pickle, if desired. 


Shared on The Country Cook April 25, 2014


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Simple Decision with SIMPLY RIGHT™

This post brought to you by Sam’s Club. All opinions are 100% mine.

As moms, we all want to make sure we give our kids what is absolutely best for them. But unfortunately many times, what is best can also be the most expensive. And in today's world our budgets just can't handle that. Plus, when new babies come into the world, they bring with them so many extra costs; those of us who have to rely on formula see our grocery bills go up exponentially. 

I remember when my son was a baby and we discovered I was not able to nurse as planned. Choosing a formula I trusted to give him the nutrients he needed, while still being able to afford it, was not an easy decision. In fact, it was one that we agonized over. 
But now, parents have a great and affordable formula for their infants with SIMPLY RIGHT™ Infant Formula at Sam’s Club. SIMPLY RIGHT™ Infant Formula is available at your local Sam’s Club and comes in three options so your baby gets what he/she needs. Choose from  Baby Care Gentle®, Baby Care Complete®, or Baby Care Sensitivity®. Clinically proven to support growth and development, now with Lutein for brain and eye health, SIMPLY RIGHT™ has the nutrients your baby needs every single day.

Sam's Club know busy moms have so much to worry about, so they've made it even easier by including a savings calculator online to see just how much you could be saving versus other brands. On average, Sam's Club customers see a savings of $617 per year! So you can give your baby the best without breaking the bank! 


So if you are constantly trying to balance giving your precious baby what is best, while still saving money, be sure to check out Sam's Club and SIMPLY RIGHT™ today!

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Sam’s Club. All opinions are 100% mine.



Visit Sponsor's Site

Can't Resist A Bargain

Sometimes I can have absolutely no intentions of making something, but one simple thing can change my mind, therefore changing my menu plan for the night. It could be a request from my son, an unexpected time constraint, or in this case, a great deal at the store.

I can't even tell you now what I was planning on making when these came to be. All I remember is I had breakfast for supper on the menu, and as I was doing my weekly shopping, I found an excellent deal on red potatoes at Aldi's...a 5 lb. bag of red potatoes for $.99!! Now I'm sorry, but no mom on a budget could walk away from that. So I stood there in the produce section thinking to myself  "What could I do with these and where can I include them in my week's meals?" And then it hit me. I was having breakfast, and they would make scrumptious home fries.

But don't think you can only serve these with eggs and bacon! They make a tasty side dish with any meal really, especially if your family is like mine and love them some taters. I'm always looking for ways to branch out from baked, mashed and roasted!

These should remind you of the home fries you can get at your favorite diner. They are simple to make, letting the oven do all the work. In fact, you could easily chop your potatoes in the morning, leave them in cold water all day (so they don't brown), drain them well when you get home, and then go from there! They cook beautifully in the oven while you are preparing the rest of the meal, or relaxing.

These days, good bargains are hard to come by, but the best ones are those that come when you are least expecting them and leave you with a couple extra dollars in your pocket when you need them the most.

Oven Baked Home Fries
5-6 large red potatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes
1/4 c. vegetable oil
2 tsp. all purpose seasoning
2 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. dried parsley
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400. In a 8x11 baking dish, combine all ingredients. Toss to coat well. Bake for 1 hour, stirring half way through.


Shared on The Country Cook April 25, 2014



Potatoes at Very Good Recipes

Monday, April 21, 2014

Take Out Casserole

I hope you all had a very nice Easter yesterday, surrounded by those you love, celebrating everything Spring and new life among us has to offer. And I guess my only question is "Are you tired of ham yet?" Did you get your fill or are you planning a week of leftovers? If you don't care to see another ham for quite a while, then you are going to be so happy you logged on today!

Sometimes I just get a craving and I get can't it out of my head until I satisfy it. Do you ever have that happen? And what do you do when there is no way you can "scratch the itch" so to speak? Do you simply try to ignore it, (which almost never works) or do you find another way? I'm more likely to find another way, and that's exactly how this recipe came to be.

See, I was craving Chinese take out...B.A.D. Like, it was the only thing I could think about. I have no idea why, but I do have my suspicions. If you read this post  back in March, then you know we aren't having very good luck with our favorite Chinese restaurants here in town. One closed and one burnt to the ground. So I believe my cravings came from a subliminal place. My brain knew I couldn't have the dishes I loved from those two places, so it decided to make them all I could think about. You know, tell someone they can't have something, and it only makes them want it more.

So I looked at what I had in the pantry, fridge and freezer. I looked at the time I had to give into my craving, and I thought "Why not take all the elements of this loved take out dish...and turn it into a casserole?" And that's exactly what I did. This would make a simple supper any night of the week. Prep the chicken in the morning, let it marinade all day, and then dinner can be on the table in almost no time at all that night. Oh, and it's very budget friendly too, especially if wait until the store is running specials on chicken and frozen veggies!

We all deserve to satisfy our cravings now and again. But if you can do it in a way that brings your family around the table to a new meal they love, well than that's just icing on the cake. Oh great...now I want cake...

Teriyaki Chicken Casserole
1.5 lbs. boneless chicken tenders, cut into bite size pieces
3 TBS vegetable oil
2 heaping TBS Asian seasoning blend*
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 c. chicken broth
3 1/3 c. instant white rice
1 (16 oz.) bag frozen broccoli, thawed and drained well
1 (12 oz.) bag peas and carrots, thawed and drained well
1 green pepper, sliced thin
1 1/3 c. teriyaki sauce, divided
1/3 c. water
Black Pepper to taste

In a medium bowl combine chicken, seasoning blend and garlic. Stir well. Marinade in fridge for at least 4 hours.

Preheat oven to 375. In a large skillet heat oil over medium heat. Brown chicken until golden on all sides. Add pepper, broccoli, peas and carrots. Saute until veggies are crisp tender. Add rice, chicken broth, water, 1 cup teriyaki sauce and black pepper. Stir to combine. Transfer to a greased 9x13 pan. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven. Add 1/3 c. teriyaki sauce and stir. Bake for an additional 10 minutes. Allow to sit 5 minutes before serving. *NOTE* You can find an Asian seasoning blend with the regular dried herbs and spices, or on the international aisle. The one I prefer is a sesame ginger blend.


Shared on The Country Cook April 25, 2014



Chicken at Very Good Recipes

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Soul Food Saturday


Looking for something a little different for breakfast? Why not add chorizo to your morning scramble to add a little twist? And a jalapeno or two to kick up the heat? Now that I have your full attention lets get to it! This one has all that plus cheese, a few veggies and more cheese! Grab a fork your gonna love this one.

Chorizo and Egg Scramble 
2 tbs. Olive oil
1lb. ground fresh chorizo
1 small onion chopped
2 jalapenos, diced
1 medium zucchini, chopped
8 eggs
1 c. Mexican blend cheese, plus extra for topping optional
Mexican Crema
Salt to taste

In a medium skillet add oil along with onion, jalapeƱos, and zucchini. Stir to combine, and cook 2-3 minutes or just until onions have slightly softened. Add chorizo. Be sure to break up while in the pan so it cooks evenly. Stirring frequently. Cook until chorizo is nearly done. Crack eggs into a bowl and beat. Add Salt to taste.  Add eggs to the chorizo mixture, and stir to combine. Cook until chorizo is done and eggs are desired doneness. Remove from heat and add cheese. Stir to combine, and allowed to melt slightly. Serve hot with extra cheese and Mexican Crema Enjoy!



Meal Plan April 20-25

*New Recipe
Links to Recipes on Blog

Sunday
Happy Easter!
I'm taking Deviled Eggs to my in-laws.

Monday Leftover from last week's menu
Lobster Rolls
Corn on the Cob
Pineapple

Tuesday
Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole
Sliced Peaches
Bread

Wednesday
Grilled Steak
Loaded Baked Potatoes
Edamame

Thursday
Bean and Cheese Burrito Casserole*
Chips n Cheese

Friday
Sausage McMuffin Sandwiches*
Hashbrown Cakes
Fried Apples



Friday, April 18, 2014

Another One Pot Meal

So, I'm talking to my friend a few weeks back. The topic? Food of course. (I know it probably seems like I talk about nothing else. But I do. I promise.) We were swapping ideas for one pot meals because both of us are dealing with these extended school days; and to be quite honest they are monotonous, especially when trying to meal plan. 

Anyway, she told me about this new recipe she had just come across, and couldn't wait to try. Then she went one to tell me it just so happened to be for something I had been meaning to make for me boys anyway, red beans and rice. You mean I can score points with my family with something super easy that only dirties one pan? That's a double bonus to this mama! 

Well, you can imagine the little smile that I got when she shared the recipe with me, and I discovered that it was actually from a good foodie buddy, and someone I've already introduced you to before, Stacey from Southern Bite. Yep, I got to be one of those cool people who says "Oh, I know him. Yeah, we're friends." My friend was very impressed. Or at least she pretended to be to make me feel good. 

If you're always on the lookout for easy weeknight meals, you're going to love this one! Not to mention if you have no desire to use every pot and pan you have in the house. One skillet and dinner is on the table! I'm sure there are more complicated ways to make this dish, but for our family, this was perfect. The boys absolutely loved the flavors, and I enjoyed not having to work too hard after a busy day. In this house, that's what we call a yummy win-win!

One Skillet Red Beans, Rice & Sausage From Southern Bite
1 lb. smoked sausage, cut into 1/2 inch rounds
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 celery rib, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, grated or minced
2 1/2 c. chicken broth
2 (15.5 oz.) cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained well
2 c. instant white rice
2 TBS Cajun seasoning
1 TBS vegetable oil

In a large skillet or dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Add sausage and cook 4-5 minutes, until edges being to brown. Add onion, green pepper and celery. Saute' until veggies are tender, about 7 minutes. Add garlic and cook another 1 minute. Increase heat to medium-high. Add broth and bring to a boil. Stir in the rice and beans. Add Cajun seasoning, stir to combine. Reduce heat to simmer and cook about 15 minutes until rice is tender. 


Shared on The Country Cook April 18, 2014

Beans at Very Good Recipes

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Your Cooking Inspriation withTuttorosso Tomatoes

Do you have someone special in your life that has inspired your culinary adventures in the kitchen? Do you have childhood memories at the foot of your mother or grandmother learning their ways; beginning your foodie loves at an early age? Well, right now Tuttorosso Tomatoes is holding a special Facebook promotion where you can share that inspiration, with a chance to win a $250 prize pack that includes a serving plate, sauce ladle, pasta pot set and heirloom wooden spoon, plus $300 to a dinner celebration of the winner’s choosing. Plus, each entrant will receive a Meal-occasion themed digital recipe flip-book with a $1.00/4 coupon, recipes, and cooking tips.

Tuttorosso Tomatoes is an 85 year old tomato brand that takes pride in educating home cooks on when to use certain types of canned tomatoes: crushed, paste, diced, pureed, whole, sauce, plum, etc. For example, crushed tomatoes are perfect for a delicious pasta sauce while paste can be used to thicken recipes. 



To participate in the promotion-- which started April 16 and runs through May 7--1.) Like the Tuttorosso Facebook page, and 2.) Post who has been an inspiration in your family cooking tradition and how you would celebrate in their honor. 

It's that easy! A chance to sing the praises of your culinary inspiration; and a chance to win a fantastic prize. Not to mention learning more about canned tomatoes and exactly which ones to use when. So be sure to head over to the Tuttorosso Facebook page today! 


Disclaimer: I received free samples in exchange for promotion. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Panda Express At Home

I know I shouldn't, but I can't get enough of Panda Express food. Let's face it, on the list of things we should be eating on a regular basis, it's more than likely not at the top; but I can't help it, I'm addicted. And it's not like we don't have plenty of authentic Chinese restaurants around us. We do. But there is just something about the mall food court staple (Or if you are lucky to have a free standing one like we do!) that will always hold a special place in my heart...and stomach.

I always get pretty much the same meal every time I do, and even if the main dishes might vary a little, my side dish never does. I want their lo mein...and lots of it. Pile it up! I've been known to ask for a double helping. I've been known to get it and nothing else. Yes, I know I have a problem; but hey, admitting it is the first step! Sure, their rice is just as yummy, but for me there is just something about those noodles... with the veggies...in that sauce...okay, now I'm drooling.

Good thing I came up with this recipe so I can make it at home any time I want. It's a super easy, and economical side dish for any night of the week. Take some help from the store with some egg rolls, whip this up as a side and dinner is served. (Which is exactly favorite way to go.) Or bump it up with some additional veggies, making it a main dish. Either way, it's delicious and this way you know exactly what goes into it, so healthier too.

We all have to treat ourselves with "naughty" food choices now and again. After all, I live to eat, I don't eat to live. Food is meant to be enjoyed and craved. It is supposed to make us feel better after eating it. Maybe even brighten our day. But when I'm trying to be a little more responsible, or just plain don't feel like leaving the house for the drive thru, now I can have my treat any time I want!

Quick Vegetable Lo Mein
16 oz. spaghetti, cooked to al dente and drained
1/4 c. teriyaki sauce
3 TBS vegetable oil
1 garlic clove,  minced
1/2 c. soy sauce
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 c. match stick carrots
1/2 c. snow pea pods
1 bunch green onions, chopped
Black Pepper to taste

In a large skillet heat oil on high heat. Add carrots, pea pods, green onions, red pepper flakes, and garlic. Saute and stir until veggies are crisp tender, about 5 minutes. When pasta is cooked and drained, add to skillet. Toss with veggies. Add soy sauce and teriyaki. Stir to coat. Season with black pepper. Reduce heat to medium and cook about 5-7 minutes to allow flavors to develop.


Shared on The Country Cook April 18, 2014

Chinese at Very Good Recipes

Monday, April 14, 2014

Easter Side Dish

Less than a week people. That's right, in case you haven't been paying attention to the calender, we have less than 7 days until Easter. So, if you are finishing up your menu plan, or maybe just beginning, I've got a great idea for you today.

Now, I realize that when most people think of sweet potatoes for a holiday they immediately go to Thanksgiving and images of turkeys and pilgrims. But I say that's not fair. Why should Turkey Day get all the sweet potato love? After all, most of us eat them year round, so why can't they be included in another holiday? Maybe a springtime one. Maybe one that has a different woodland creature as its mascot. That's right! I think the sweet potato needs to be included in more Easter meals. 

For our family, Easter means ham, and to us, no other side dish goes with ham as well as a sweet potato. Many times when I make ham steaks, baked sweet potatoes are sitting on the plate too. I'm not sure why my brain works that way, but it does. In fact, the night I tested this recipe I served them will some ham steaks. 

These are great because you can easily adapt the amount depending on the amount of people sitting down to your Easter meal; and the are done completely stove top, saving room in your already packed full oven! Sweet and savory, they please all the taste buds. In fact, if you think your kids won't eat sweet potatoes, try these. Anything "candy" related is usually a lot easier to convince them with.

If you are still planning your Easter meal, be sure to jot this one down, especially if ham is on the menu. But if you don't need an idea for Sunday, just remember it for a simple side dish any night of the week too!

Skillet Candied Sweet Potatoes
3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
6 TBS. butter, divided
1/4 c. brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a large skillet heat 2 TBS butter over medium heat. Add sweet potatoes. Season with salt and pepper.  Saute until fork tender, about 15 minutes, stirring often. Will brown around edges a little. Scoot potatoes to edges of pan, add remaining 4 TBS butter to center and melt. Add brown sugar to melted butter. Gently toss potatoes to coat in sugar mixture. Lower heat to low. Allow to simmer in sauce about 7 minutes. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Stir to combine. Transfer to serving dish and pour extra sauce on top.


Shared on The Country Cook April 18, 2014

Sweet Potatoes at Very Good Recipes

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Soul Food Saturday

There's something wonderful about those quick breakfast sandwiches that make me wanna run through several drive thrus in a hurry. Do you ever feel that way, but really would rather stay in your pjs during breakfast? I sure did when I thought of this quick breakfast idea. Bagels and breakfast sandwiches were the perfect match for this morning treat. All topped your way!

Grab some coffee, breakfast is coming right up!

Your Way Breakfast Sandwich
4 bagels, sliced in half ( I used Parmesan)
8 eggs, fried to desired doneness
8 slices (your favorite cheese) I used cheddar
4 tbs. Mayo or melted butter
8 slices (your favorite sliced meat) I used turkey


On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper place bagel slices bottom faced down, and tops face up. Place in 350 oven and toast to desired brownness.
Carefully remove toasted bagel pieces off of the baking sheet to assemble your sandwich. Add mayo or butter to eat half. Top with a slice of cheese. Then egg. Then your favorite meat. Another egg, another slice of meat, then one more slice of cheese. Finally the top. Enjoy right away or wrap it up to have later with your favorite breakfast drink. Whether it's coffee or O.J. You'll love this one on any morning!




Meal Plan April 13-18

*New Recipe
Links to Recipes on Blog

Sunday
Kansas City Pork Chops
Crock Pot Potato Salad*
Pineapple

Monday
Spaghetti
Garlic Bread

Tuesday
"Lobster" Rolls
Corn on the Cob
Jello Parfait Salad

Wednesday
Lemon Pepper Chicken*
Wild Rice
Sauteed White Button Mushrooms

Thursday
I'm having dinner with my mom.
The boys will have leftovers.

Friday
Happy Good Friday
We are celebrating Easter with my parents.
I'm taking Brownie Cake*


Friday, April 11, 2014

A Re-Do From Grammy

If you read this blog on a regular basis, you know one of my cooking idols who had the most influence on me was my dad's mother...my Grammy. Many of the recipes I've shared with you have originally been hers, and they are always hits! 

This one is something I first remember her making when I was a teenager, and also one of my earliest cooking memories as a newlywed. It's a great side dish with any meal, and something that can be on the table quickly after a long day.

Every time I've shared this on my Facebook page, I get many comments about it being of Polish origin. I have no idea, but it sounds reasonable. I also get many readers that say they also make it, but add in either smoked sausage or bacon. That sounds delicious, but in our family, if Grammy made it one way...you don't mess with it. If you do...you are liable to get a riot on your hands. So, while I think they are both great ideas, and encourage you to try them if you do too, I must stick to the original to ensure my safety! 

If you are always on the lookout for new side dishes, be sure to jot this one down. And if you're having ham for Easter, keep this in the back of your mind. Not so much for your holiday meal itself, but for the week after when you have all that leftover ham to eat. It goes amazingly well with ham. In fact, it's what I usually serve it with. So when you are on day number three of eating the extra ham, switch it up with this on the side!

I'm so thankful to have all these recipes from my Grammy to enjoy for years to come, pass down to more generations, and share with all of you!

Fried Cabbage and Noodles
1 lb. egg noodles, cooked according to package directions
1 medium head cabbage, chopped
1/4 c. vegetable oil
Salt and Pepper (lots of pepper)

While noodles are cooking, heat oil over medium high heat in a large skillet. Add cabbage. Season with salt and pepper. Saute, stirring often, until edges are golden brown, and cabbage has wilted down, about 15 minutes. When noodles are cooked, drain well. Add to skillet. Season with salt and pepper. Toss with cabbage to combine. Lower heat to medium. Saute until noodles are just starting to brown. 


Shared on The Country Cook April 11, 2014

Cabbage at Very Good Recipes

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Fun Recipes With Post Pebbles {A Feature}

As we begin to thaw out and gear up for warmer weather, are you on the lookout for fun, yummy recipes your kids will not only love eating, but also be able to help make? Maybe this summer during vacation from school when they are "bored" by day 3 of being home? If the answer is yes, then I've got some great ones to share!

Post Pebbles recently created two new whoopie pie recipes and two new smoothie recipes. (Is there anything more refreshing on a warm day than a smoothie?) 


I can't wait to try these as soon as little man is out of school for the year (only 8 more weeks to go!) He's going to love getting in the kitchen transforming some of his favorite cereals into these yummy treats. 



Peanut Butter and Cocoa Pebbles Chocolate Whoopie Pies

Cookies:
2 cups all-purpose flour 1/4 cup ground Cocoa Pebbles cereal
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
 
Peanut Butter Filling:
1/2 cup softened butter
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup marshmallow fluff
1 cup powdered sugar
 
Garnish:
1/3 cup Cocoa Pebbles, lightly crushed
1/3 cup chopped peanuts
 
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, or use ungreased whoopie pie pans.  
 
In a medium bowl stir together flour, ground cereal and cocoa powder; set aside.
 
In a large mixing bowl of electric mixer, beat shortening on medium-high speed for 30 seconds.  Add sugar, baking soda, and salt.  Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally.  Beat in egg, buttermilk, and vanilla until combined.  Beat in the flour mixture.
 
Drop dough by rounded tablespoons into the wells of the whoopie pie pan or 2 1/2 inches apart onto cookie sheet.  Bake about 10 minutes or until edges are firm. Cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack; cool completely. 
 
While cookies are cooling, prepare filling.  In large bowl of electric mixer, beat butter, peanut butter, marshmallow fluff, and powdered sugar until combined.  Refrigerate until ready to assemble cookies. 
 
Evenly distribute the filling on bottoms of half of the cookies. Top with the remaining cookies, bottom sides down.  
 
In a small bowl, combine Cocoa Pebbles and peanuts.  Roll sides of cookies in mixture.
 
Store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
 
Prep time:  1 hour
Total time:  1 hour 30 minutes




Coconut-Lime Fruity Pebbles Whoopie Pies 

Coconut-Lime Cookies:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1 1/2 teaspoons lime zest (about 1 lime)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup buttermilk
 
Rainbow Fruity Pebbles Filling:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup ground Fruity Pebbles cereal
1/2 cup marshmallow fluff
1 teaspoon vanilla
 
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, or use ungreased whoopie pie pans.  
 
In a large bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter on medium to high speed for 30 seconds.  Add sugar, baking soda, and salt.  Beat until combined, scraping bowl occasionally.  Beat in egg, coconut extract and lime zest until combined.
 
Alternately add flour and buttermilk, beating on low speed after each addition just until mixture is combined. Drop dough by rounded tablespoons into the wells of the whoopie pie pan or 2 1/2 inches apart onto cookie sheet.  Sprinkle Fruity Pebbles cereal in the center of half of the cookies.  (The cookies without the cereal will be the bottom half of the whoopie pies, the cookies with the cereal will be the tops.)
 
Bake about 7-8 minutes or until edges are firm. Cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack; cool completely. 
 
While the cookies are cooling, prepare filling.  In a large mixing bowl of electric mixer, combine butter, powdered sugar, crushed cereal, marshmallow fluff, and vanilla.  Beat on medium speed until smooth.  Refrigerate until ready to assemble cookies. 
 
Spread the bottom of one of the cookies with the filling.  Place another cookie on top of the filling, bottom side down.  (Use the cookies with the Fruity Pebbles as the tops of the whoopie pies.)    
 
Makes 16 whoopie pies.  Store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
 
Prep time:  1 hour
Total time:  1 hour 30 minutes



Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cocoa Pebbles Smoothie

Garnish:
1 strawberry
1 teaspoon Cocoa Pebbles, lightly crushed

Smoothie:  
6 oz container Strawberry yogurt
1/4 cup Cocoa Pebbles
1/2 cup sliced fresh strawberries
1/4 cup chocolate milk
1/2 cup or 4 cubes ice

Directions:
Open container of strawberry yogurt and dip whole strawberry into yogurt.  Roll in crushed Cocoa Pebbles.  Place in freezer until ready to serve.  

In a blender, add strawberry yogurt, Cocoa Pebbles, strawberries, chocolate milk and ice.  Blend until combined.  

Pour into serving glass and garnish the edge of the glass with the cereal coated whole strawberry.  

Makes 1 glass.  12 ounce serving.    

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes




Fruity Pebbles Tropical Crunch Smoothie

Topping:
1 teaspoon Fruity Pebbles Cereal
1 teaspoon coconut flakes

Smoothie:  
1/4 cup Fruity Pebbles Cereal
6 oz container pineapple, coconut or banana yogurt
1 cup frozen pineapple
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup coconut milk beverage

Directions: 
In a small pan, toast cereal and coconut over medium heat until lightly golden.  Remove from heat and set aside until ready to serve.  

In a blender, add cereal, yogurt, pineapple, orange juice and coconut milk.  Blend to combine. 

Pour into serving glass and top with toasted cereal-coconut mixture.  Serve with an umbrella.  Makes 1 glass.  12 ounce serving.    

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes


Disclaimer: I received free samples in exchange for this feature. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Childhood Lunchbox Treat

When I was a kid, I preferred a packed school lunch to a cafeteria one. I wasn't a picky eater, and some days I would eat what they were serving, I simply enjoyed things my mom would send for me more. And one of the things she would treat me with, which to this day I still love, were Twinkies.

The spongy cake, the sweet creamy center. Oh, I can taste them now. Yes, we were those people when they stopped making them last year. A phone call of desperation went out to my husband, he stopped at the store, and when he came home that night he had 7 boxes in tow to last us until the crisis was over.

I love these snack cakes so much my brother even got me a Twinkie baking set for Christmas so I can make my own any time I want! So, I might be a little obsessed...no judging!

So when I came across this cake I knew it would be one we would gobble up! Sure, the base is made with a pre-made cake, but don't let that fool you into thinking it's not pretty enough for guests. In fact, if you are looking for something for Easter dessert, I think this would be perfect. It's rich, so it can really stretch to feed a crowd because every one will only want a small piece! But on a holiday when the sweet tooth is taking over, it will certainly satisfy!

Who knew a lunchbox treat from my child hood could be transformed into a decadent dessert my whole family would love. And since there is fruit on the top, that means I can feel less guilty about eating a whole box, right??!!

Blueberries n Cream Cake  Inspired by Mr. Food
1 box Twinkies (see note below), sliced lengthwise
1 (21 oz.) can blueberry pie filling
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 (8 oz.) containers Cool Whip
1/4 c. almonds, finely diced

In the bottom of a 9x11 baking dish, place enough sliced Twinkies to cover and fit. Cut to fill entire bottom if necessary. Combine cream cheese and powdered sugar in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer, on low speed, until creamy. Fold in 1 container Cool Whip. Spread over Twinkies. Pour pie filling over cream cheese layer. Spread evenly. Sprinkle with almond chips. Chill 2 hours. When serving, garnish with extra Cool Whip and more almond chips. *NOTE* You will more than likely not use the entire box of Twinkies, so slice as you go. I used 6 total.


Shared on The Country Cook April 11, 2014

Cake at Very Good Recipes

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Our Spring Break with Frito Lay #FritoSpringBreak

Whew...what a busy week it was in our house last week for our spring vacation, and we never even left Fort Wayne! I am a firm believer that you don't have to go on vacation to have one! I think you can find plenty of fun things to do right in your hometown, or heck, even without leaving the house. No break from school is complete without what we like to call a "Mommy and Monkey Day of Fun"...and this year was no exception, but this time we were able to include Frito Lay in our fun! 



How you might ask? Well, because of the great folks at Frito Lay, I had a beautiful new camera to capture some of our fun moments. A gift card to help "fund the fun" and plenty of snack to enjoy and refuel us!

My awesome fan pack...


First up I treated my boy to one of his favorite meals...brunch! He was able to enjoy eggs, toast, breakfast meats and all the extras while we spent some quality time together. 


In our house, Spring Break isn't complete without a trip to the arcade. Luckily we have so many in the city, we were actually able to visit one the boy never had before. It's actually some place his Daddy and I used to hang out in back when we were dating, so it was nice to share that little piece of history with him. 


And yes, we even got a couple games of Air Hockey together...him winning both and then declaring "Mommy, I just schooled you." He's lucky he is so cute! 


After the arcade we headed to the library so he could stock up on some reading material for the rest of the week. My little book worm was in 7th heaven. 


After such a fun day, it was time to come home, relax a little and have a snack. Lucky for us, thanks to Frito Lay, he had plenty to choose from!


So, with snack in hand, he sat down to enjoy a good book and get ready for whatever our next adventure was. 

We love taking family vacations to the beach, or exploring different tourist attractions. But sometimes the most fun we have is simply exploring our own backyard, finding ways to have inexpensive fun; and most of all spending time together, loving every minute!

A big thanks to Frito Lay for providing me with this amazing Spring Break fan pack. Be sure to show them some love by liking them on Facebook and following on Twitter!

Oh, and did I mention YOU have a chance to win that same fabulous fan pack?? It's a prize package value at $280!! 

(1) Lucky winner will receive: 

1 Sony - DSC-H300 20.1-Megapixel Digital Camera – Black
1 $50 Visa Gift Card for games or other activities
 1 pack of Classic Mix multi-pack
 4 Frito-Lay branded cold drink holders
4 pairs of Frito-Lay branded sunglasses

To Enter: Simply leave me a comment on this post telling me your favorite "staycation" activity. Be sure to leave an email address where I can find you! 

Contest Ends: Friday April 18, 2014

Disclaimer: I received a fun pack for myself and one to giveaway from Frito Lay for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

My Southern Friends

Have you ever had the feeling you might have been born in the wrong time, the wrong place? For me, I'm pretty sure in my past life, I was friends with Scarlett O'Hara and spent my summers at barbecues at Twelve Oaks and Tara. (If you aren't a Gone With The Wind fan, those are plantations in the south during the Civil War.)

That's right. As much as I love my hometown, and the fact I live 20 minutes from where I grew up, there are parts of me that are totally southern and I have absolutely no idea where they come from. Both of my parents were born and raised in Pennsylvania, before migrating to Indiana before I was born. And it doesn't get much more Yankee than that! But when "ya'll" slips out of my mouth on a regular occasion, and I can eat greens and grits with the best of them, there must be some Southern in me some where. So, thank goodness I have fantastic foodie friends south of the Mason Dixie line that I can live vicariously through!

Today I'm introducing you to my buddy Mandy from South Your Mouth. If you have never read her blog, or followed her Facebook page....go NOW! Seriously. This broad (and I can call her that because she will love it) is one of the funniest people I've ever had the pleasure of knowing. And while we have never met in person, she is one of those people that as soon as you talk to her, you feel like you've known her all your life. Not to mention I adore somebody that can make me laugh until I cry.

As soon as she posted this recipe I knew I had to try it. After all, I am kind of a casserole addict. This one is sure to become a classic hit in your house as soon as it did mine. It kind of reminds me of dirty rice, but is oh so much more, making a fantastic supper on a night when you have almost no time!

Simple, delicious recipes is what makes southern food loved by people all over the world; and this dish is no exception. Maybe I did spend some time down south in my past life, who knows. But either way, this Yankee girl is happy to have ties to the south any way she can!

Sausage and Rice Casserole From South Your Mouth
1 lb. mild pork sausage
1 (10 3/4 oz.) can cream of celery soup
1 (14 oz.) can chicken broth
1 medium white onion, finely chopped
3 celery hearts, finely chopped
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 c. medium grain white rice, uncooked
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a medium casserole dish. In a large skillet brown sausage until no longer pink. Drain off extra grease. In drippings, saute onions and celery until soft. Add sausage back in. In a medium bowl whisk together broth and soup until combined. Pour into sausage mixture. Add rice. Stir together well. Transfer to casserole dish and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake for 1 hour. Remove and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir before serving.


Shared on The Country Cook April 11, 2014

Sausage at Very Good Recipes