Everyday Mom's Meals: March 2015
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Monday, March 30, 2015

Light and Bright For Spring

By now all of you know how much of a pasta fiend I am. Seriously, it's an addiction. If there were meetings, I would attend. I'd be a leader. Multiple times per week. I have to refrain from eating pasta every meal. Every day. And no, I'm not exaggerating. 

If you're a regular reading, you also know I'm a huge fan of lemon. Anything and everything lemon. Especially in the warm months. Beginning in spring and right through to summer, it's at the top of my favorite flavors. 

So, imagine my excitement, my joy, my utter elation when I saw a recipe combining them!!! Oh. My. Blog. I couldn't even fathom how could this was going to be, but I was ready to find out! 

If you've never tasted a Meyer lemon, it is even more lemony than a regular one. (Is that a word? Well, it is now.) Plus, it has hints of orange in the background. So they give you a double citrus punch in whatever you use them in. 

This is a creamy, filling pasta supper, while still being light. I know that's hard to believe, but it really is! It tricks your brain into thinking it's eating a much heavier cream sauce. Not to mention the fact the hints of lemon are so refreshing and bright! 

If you are looking for ways to enjoy some lighter, but still filling and satisfying meals, for spring, you've come to the right place. Or if you are simply a pasta and/or lemon addict and are looking for an enabler, I've got you covered there too. 

Creamy Lemon Linguine
2 lbs. linguine, cooked according to package directions
5 Meyer lemons, juiced
4 tsp. grated Meyer lemon rind
1 c. park skim ricotta cheese
1/2 c. chopped chives
1/2 c. heavy cream
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 c. plus 6 TBS pasta cooking water
Salt and Pepper to taste

While pasta is cooking in salted water, add ricotta, lemon juice, rind, and cream to a blender. When pasta is finished, BEFORE draining, carefully remove the cooking water to a separate bowl. Add 6 TBS cooking water to blender and blend until smooth. Drain pasta well. Heat a large dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add cream mixture. Heat until warmed through. Add pasta, chives salt and pepper. Stir. Add 1/2 c. cooking water a little at a time until pasta mixture is creamy. Remove from heat, add Parmesan cheese. Garnish with extra chives. *NOTE* If eating leftover, add a splash of cream or water to make creamy again. Also, I don't know how this would work with regular lemons. The Meyer variety can be found at most grocery stores. I got mine at Kroger and have seen them at Meijer too. 




Saturday, March 28, 2015

Meal Plan Mar. 29- April 3

*New Recipe
Links to Recipes on Blog

Sunday
We have a birthday party to go.

Monday
Cucumber Chicken Salad Sandwiches*
Pasta Salad
Cantaloupe

Tuesday
Easy Sausage Gumbo*
Biscuits

Wednesday
I'm having a Spring Break date with my little man! 

Thursday
Barbecued Beef Roast
Baked Potatoes
Creamy Mushrooms*

Friday
Happy Good Friday!
We're having dinner at my parents.



Friday, March 27, 2015

He's Coming...

With only a week left until Easter, the above title could mean a couple things. For most of us in the Christian world, it means we once again get to celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus, and we can shout from the mountain tops, "He is Risen. Risen Indeed! Hallelujah." 

At the same time, those of us with kids know they are anxiously awaiting the return of their favorite bunny, Mr. Peter Cottontail himself, bringing with him their favorite sweet treats of the season. 

For our family, both of these are true. We try really hard to find a happy medium between our faith and the fun of Easter. I'm proud to say yes my 10 year old loves his Easter Basket of candy, toys and books, he also knows the true reason why we celebrate renewed life this time of year. 

In the spirit of the all things yummy, I wanted to share a super easy sweet bite perfect for your Easter table! How can you resist something with only 4 ingredients that looks like a fluffy bunny tail? Not to mention, being filled with one of my favorite spring time flavors...coconut

I was so excited when I saw these because they didn't contain any chocolate. I know. Weird for a woman to say. But for me, I like chocolate, but there is so much of it everywhere this time of year, satisfying my sweet tooth cravings with something else is nice too. Plus, I love easy things the boy can help me with. 

If you are looking for something cute, yummy and simple to add to your Easter menu, these should definitely be it. Make a few, make a lot, and watch them disappear quicker than the Easter Bunny's footprints! 

Coconut Truffles
4 oz. cream cheese
2 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. coconut extract
1 1/4 c. sweetened shredded coconut, divided

Combine cream cheese and coconut extract. Beat well until smooth. Add powdered sugar, 1/2 c. at a time and beat until combined. Add 1/4 c. coconut and beat once more. Form into balls (I used my cookie scoop to make it easier.) and roll into coconut. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and chill for 15-20 minutes until set. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. 





Shared on The Country Cook Mar. 27, 2015


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Let Me Count The Ways

Egg Noodles. How I love thee. Let me count the ways...

What? You don't recite poetry to your food? Um, okay...awkward...

Well, I adore them. Can't get enough of them. Could eat them every single day.

To me, egg noodles are one of the most versatile and simple convenience foods out there. You can do almost anything with them, and they go with pretty much any protein, rounding out a meal perfectly.
Heck, you can just boil them and add a little butter, salt and pepper and your family will think you are a genius! Or add veggies for a one pot meal! Or add protein for even more punch. See...the possibilities are endless.

These are my latest creation. How? Easy. I wanted noodles. I had no idea what to make with them. I started throwing things into the pot until I achieved the flavor I was looking for. Sometimes recipe creation isn't as sexy as chefs/cooks would have you believe. But they are egg noodles. You would have to work pretty hard to screw them up.

If you are looking for a simple side dish for tonight's supper. Here you go. Or maybe a new dish for your Easter table??!! These would be so good with ham! Add your own favorite herbs and spices to make a whole new flavor profile! Have fun with it! Honestly? I think you could make a big batch on Sunday and eat them for lunch all week too! See, I told you they were versatile! 

Parmesan Herbed Noodles
1 lb. egg noodles
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese
4 TBS butter, softened
1 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
3 tsp. dried parsley
Salt and Pepper to taste

Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain very well. Return to pot over warm heat. Add butter, cheese, herbs, salt and pepper. Stir well to combine. Serve with some extra herbs sprinkled on top. 






Shared on The Country Cook Mar. 27, 2015

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Healthy Easter Basket Swaps {A Feature}

In less than two weeks, good ol' Peter Cottontail will be hopping down the bunny trail and kids all over the world will wake up to see what sweet treats he left in their Easter baskets. Sure, the chocolate bunnies, jelly beans and marshmalllow eggs are nice, but if you are like me, and so many other moms, you wouldn't mind if he included something a little healthier in them. And now, he has a couple options to choose from! 

Give a healthy and tasty trick with Easter with Fruttata Crisps. Fruttata Crisps come from carefully selected fruits from the finest regions in the world. Each 1 oz. bag of Fruttata crisps provides a satisfying nutrition that is equivalent to 285 grams of fresh fruit. Snacking while on the go or in the house, has never been healthier. Fruttata Crisps are all natural, gluten free, with no additional sugar added. They make a great mid-day snack, lunchbox treat, or even a snack on the go, perfect for car trips or busy days! 



Give an Easter sweet treat with Bauli's oven baked and ready-to-eat croissants! Rooted in Verona, Italy, all Bauli products are baked in a REAL oven to ensure superior taste and quality.  Perfect for Easter baskets and snacking, they are made with love and naturally leavened dough. The individually wrapped croissants are available in three delicious flavor fillings: chocolate, vanilla custard, and cherry jelly. And, for those watching their figure, Bauli offers mini croissants in chocolate and vanilla that are automatically portion controlled at just 50 calories a pop. They are so butter, flaky and the filling? Oh, I could eat these over and over!



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

Monday, March 23, 2015

So Many Have Asked

It's Monday. For me that means many things. I wake up grumpy. I don't like Monday mornings. After about 9am I am fine, but that initial alarm clock sound just makes me sad. It means the start of another school week. Packed lunches. Homework. Running here and there. And for the food blogger me that means I will get asked at least a dozen times today "Do you have any meat free meals?" 

So many people are doing Meat Free Mondays in their homes, recipes to fit that need are in higher demand than ever. I seriously get asked this question every. single. Monday. I understand. I get it. And while it's not something we follow religiously in our house, I am finding more and more meals that we can still get full on without actual meat in them. Believe me, for this meat and potatoes family, that's an accomplishment in itself.

After answering the question over and over with the same list of dishes, I thought it was time to come up with something new. Something yummy and hearty to satisfy big hungers after a long Monday, but still simple enough for an exhausting one too.

For me, one of the easiest ways to take meat out of a meal, but still convince my boys it will be okay, is to add beans instead. They are a great source of protein, give you something to sink your teeth into, and honestly trick your brain into thinking you are eating something much heavier than you actually are.

I love black beans. I love green chilies. So it was about time for them to be make an appearance in the same recipes, and this is what I came up with. Their flavors go so well together; and the brightness of the salsa verde enhances both. Now, if you prefer a red enchilada sauce, feel free to swap it out. I know Mr. E would have liked if I had. But I enjoy the green,  had two bottles of it sitting in the pantry, and was the one cooking, so they got green.

If you are looking for meat free options, you are not alone. Believe me. There are many out there who join you in your quest. And I promise to try to come up with a few more for you along the way. But in the meantime,  maybe this could be your Meat Free Monday meal tonight!

Black Bean and Green Chile Enchiladas
10-12 small flour tortillas
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 c. sour cream
2 c. shredded Mexican blend cheese, divided
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 (4 oz.) can diced green chilies
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 (16 oz.) salsa verde 
3 green onions, chopped
2 TBS chopped cilantro
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375. Pour 1/2 c. salsa verde in bottom of 9 x 13 baking dish. In a large bowl combine beans, chilies, cumin, garlic powder, sour cream and 1/2 c. shredded cheese. Mix well. Place tortillas in microwave and heat for 30 seconds to soften. Spoon about 2 TBS black bean mixture into each tortillas, roll, and place in baking dish, seam side down. Pour remaining sauce over and spread evenly. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and green onions. Bake for 20-25 minutes until cheese has melted and heated through. Remove from oven. Let stand 2 minutes. Sprinkle with cilantro, spoon some warm sauce from the pan over top and serve.*NOTE* My pan fit 11 enchiladas comfortably. It's okay for them to touch, so fit as many as you can! 


Saturday, March 21, 2015

Meal Plan March 22-27

*New Recipes
Links to Recipes on Blog

Sunday
We're having dinner at my in-laws.

Monday
Creamy Lemon Linguine*
Garlic Bread

Tuesday
Copy Cat Cracker Barrel French Toast
Sausage Links

Wednesday
Mandarin Oranges

Thursday
Sliced Pears
Dinner Rolls

Friday
Sloppy Joes
Oven Baked Steak Fries*
Cottage Cheese
Pickles



Friday, March 20, 2015

A Re-Do From Mom {A Post for Earth Fare}

I first shared this recipe a few years back, and have been wanting to "re-do" it ever since. The picture wasn't pretty at all, and it is so incredibly yummy, it deserved better!

Since today is the first official day of spring, I thought it would be the perfect time to debut it once again. After all, if spring is here, that means grilling season is within reach and barbecues and picnics aren't far behind.

This is mom's recipe, but before it was hers, it was grandma's. No wonder it is so good! Tried and true for three generations, you can't argue with success like that! In our family, no picnic is complete without it, and it doesn't stop there. I have requested this for so many birthday suppers, I've lot count. Even when I was a kid, I wanted mom to make it, in the dead of February, every single year.

This is probably the easiest coleslaw recipe I have, and any time anyone asks for it and tries it, they become instant fans too. Creamy, cool, crunchy, sweet, tangy...it goes with everything from burgers to steak, ribs to hot dogs.

Summer grilling season is just around the corner. After a long horrendous winter, I am so ready! But I'll be honest, I'm not even waiting until summer. It's above freezing which means the grill is getting fired up ASAP! 

Mom's Sweet n Tangy Coleslaw
1 small head cabbage shredded, or 1 (10 oz.) bag pre-shredded cabbage
3/4 c. whipped salad dressing
1 tsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1 TBS dried parsley
Salt and Pepper to taste
Paprika for garnish

In a small bowl mix salad dressing, sugar, vinegar, parsley, salt and pepper. Stir until well combined. Pour over cabbage.  Mix well to combine Sprinkle with paprika. Chill until ready to serve. *NOTE* You are more than welcome to use mayo in place of the salad dressing, but mom never has. I have no idea how it will taste. 





Shared on The Country Cook Mar. 20, 2015

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Celebrate National Nutrition Month with NatureSweet {A Feature}

Did you know March is National Nutrition Month? Yeah, me either. So I'm so happy my good friends at NatureSweet Tomatoes  clued me in! And what a better way to celebrate, than with my favorite tiny tomatoes! 


In the spirit of National Nutrition Month, NatureSweet has launched its signature Glorys with all new packages. They are now 100% recyclable along with a re-sealable lid with ventilation holes in both the top and bottom of the container, making the rinse and storage process a breeze. Not to mention, they are even more sweet and delicious than ever before. 

"NatureSweet is thrilled with the fresh new look and taste of our Glorys tomatoes. The unique packaging provides renewed function, visibility, and protection to ensure unrivaled freshness and taste, making them our tastiest Glorys ever." ~ Michael Joergensen, Vice President of Marketing 

So, head to your local market today, head straight for the produce section and check out the glory that is NatureSweet tomatoes. 

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

Springtime with WOATS {A Sponsored Post}

Last summer when I first introduced you to WOATS Oatsnack, so many of you were as excited as I was to finally have something that satisfied your sweet tooth, without making you feel guilty! Well, now I'm even more excited to introduce you to their newest flavor, Jammin' Strawberry Shortbread, just in time to celebrate spring!


Jammin' Strawberry Shortbread has everything the body needs to hit the ground running. The fruity blend includes the sweetness of strawberries, buttery shortbread, and almonds! It's a healthy alternative for packed lunches and snacks on the go! The chewiness of oats alongside the crunchiness of of nuts creates a mouthwatering texture nothing like your ordinary granola. 

Sold exclusively at Target stores across the nation, this new WOATS flavor is hands down my favorite one thus far. I've tried them all, and while every single one is tasty, the strawberry sensation of this one...let's just say it was love at first bite.

If you are looking for something sweet that you can feel good about giving your kids, or heck, yourself, visit them online, or be sure to check your local Target store today! 

Disclaimer: I received free product in exchange for this feature. The thoughts and opinions are all my own. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Finally...Success

Okay, okay, I realize the snow is melting, the temps are rising, and everyone has spring on the brain. But let's face it. We, more than likely, aren't out of the woods yet. There are probably still some chilly days in our future. And let's face it, if nothing else, we know there are going to be some rainy days coming. So while I meant to post this back in January or February, I'm happy I can still excuse doing so now.

I have tried for year to find a Crock Pot beef stew recipe I actually liked. I've played with different ones I've found in cookbooks and online. I have combined this and that from many to try to find just what I was looking for. And I have been unsuccessful...until now.

I just never liked the consistency, or the flavor, or the texture. I'm not going to lie. I am not the biggest beef stew fan. I love stew in general, just not the beef variety. Have no idea why, but it's just not on my favorite list. But I have two boys who love the stuff, so I have to make it. And while I'm not the biggest fan, even I enjoyed this and can safely say, I finally achieved the beef stew success I've been aiming for.

This has big chunks of meat and potatoes, a rich, flavorful broth, that you can thicken to your perfect stew liking. Oh, and you could easily start this in the morning when you get up, turn it down before you leave and then finish it when you get home!

My success has been a long time coming, but it's just in time for those cool, damp days spring will bring to our doorstep. This would be the perfect way to warm up and wait it out until the sun and warmth return! 

Slow Cooker Beef Stew
2 lbs. round steak, cut into chunks
3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
2 c. frozen peas, thawed
5 medium carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
1 (10 3/4 oz.) can tomato soup
3 c. hot water
4 beef bouillon cubes
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
2 TBS Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. sugar
1/4 c. cornstarch
Salt and Pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in slow cooker, except peas and cornstarch. Stir to combine. Cook on HIGH 1 hour. Reduce heat to LOW and cook 6 hours. Carefully ladle out 1 c. liquid and mix with cornstarch, whisking until smooth. Return to slow cooker. Add peas. Stir well. Cook on HIGH 30 minutes until thickened to desired consistency. 





Shared on The Country Cook Mar. 20, 2015

Monday, March 16, 2015

A St. Patrick's Day Twist

If you haven't been paying attention to the calendar, St. Patrick's Day is tomorrow, and if you are still looking for some inspiration for your "green" dinner, you've come to the right place.

I will admit, St. Paddy's Day isn't really a big deal in our house. Sure, I have a few decorations up, Alex always wants to wear green, but besides that, we don't do much to celebrate. We are way past the age of going out for some green beer, and with a kid, unless gifts are involved, it's not a real holiday.

However, I do try to serve something festive or Irish inspired for dinner. It's a simple way to acknowledge the day, and hey, we gotta eat. And to me, nothing says March 17th more than cabbage. So, you know I was excited when I first saw this recipe! A simple stew perfect for a holiday on a weekday.

If you've never added cabbage to your soups or stews, you are really missing out. It adds such flavor and really keeps its consistency well. If I'm making a stew, I want a dish that we can really sink our teeth into. Big chunks of meat, potatoes and veggies that will fill us up!

This would make a fantastic supper for your St. Patrick's Day tomorrow night. Sure, you can go with something a little more traditional like Corn Beef and Cabbage, or even my Crock Pot Irish Stew, but why not switch things up a bit and put a yummy twist on your holiday this year? 

Cabbage and Sausage Stew
1 lb. smoked sausage, cut into half moons
5 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1 inch pieces
1 small head cabbage, chopped
2 TBS vegetable oil
3 medium carrots, diced
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
6 c. chicken broth
1 (10 3/4 oz.) can cream of celery soup
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
3 TBS butter
Salt and Pepper to taste

Heat oil in a stock pot over medium heat. Add sausage and cook until browned on all sides. Add onion and carrots. Saute' until tender. Add butter, cabbage, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Cook and stir for 5 minutes. Add broth and potatoes. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil Reduce heat to medium low and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. In a medium bowl, ladle out some of the soup liquid. Add condensed soup. Whisk to combine. Add back in soup. Reduce heat to low. Cover. Cook for additional 15 minutes. *NOTE* I actually made this in the afternoon and let it sit on the stove (off) covered, and reheated at supper time. 

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Meal Plan March 15- 20

* New Recipe
Links to Recipes on Blog


Sunday
We're having dinner at my in-laws

Monday
Lemon and Rice Soup*
Hanky Panky Sandwiches*

Tuesday
Polish Sausage Sandwiches
Egg and Olive Potato Salad*
Marinated Cucumbers
   
Wednesday
Pork Chops
Baked Sweet Potatoes
Stuffing
Applesauce

Thursday
Taco Lettuce Wraps*
Chips n Cheese

Friday
Spaghetti 
Garlic Toast




Friday, March 13, 2015

Mom Knows Best Day 2 {A Review and Giveaway from Gooseberry Patch}

If you didn't have time to log on Wednesday, you missed the debut of the newest cookbook from Gooseberry Patch. You can read all about it here, and see the yummy soup I made too!

For the second recipe I wanted to share with all of you, I didn't even have to turn the page from the soup recipe. Yep, they are on the same one in the book. And it was a genius move because they go so well together. When I make soup, we have to have what I call a "dipper" on the side. That can be a sandwich, sliced bread, biscuits, rolls...anything along those lines. So, it was as if the folks at Gooseberry Patch read my mind when they featured this recipe right under that minestrone one I wanted to try.

Plus, both of these were in the section Kids in the Kitchen. Well, ya'll know how much my little man loves to my sous chef! And you've heard me say it 100 times. Get your little ones into the kitchen, cooking, exploring, helping, and learning. It's a great way to curb some of their picky eating habits. Why? Because if they help to prepare dinner, they will be much less likely to complain about it because of the sense of pride they will feel!

Anyway, back to these tasty little biscuits. If you've ever had pull-apart bread, this is very similar. It would be great for parties or holidays too...easy to adapt to feed more. Double the recipe and put them in a 9 x 13 pan. I think they would be very tasty with your Easter ham!

I love finding new ways to serve bread with soup. The combination if such a staple in our house, and I don't like to fall into food ruts! Oh, and you have a chance to win a copy of Mom Knows Best for yourself. Just click here to enter!

Biscuit Buddies
1 (12 oz.) can refrigerated biscuits, each quartered
1/4 c. butter, melted and divided
2 TBS Italian seasoning, divided
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350. Mix half the butter and Italian seasoning together. Pour into bottom of 8 x 8 baking dish. Add biscuit quarters in single layer. Mix other half of butter and Italian seasoning together and pour over biscuits. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 15-18 minutes until golden. *NOTE* I added some dried parsley to the top, after the cheese, for extra color. 







Shared on The Country Cook Mar. 13, 2015


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Mom Knows Best Day 1 {A Gooseberry Patch Review and Giveaway}

Mom knows best. Well, duh!! Of course she does. And if I'm talking to my son, of course I do! It's truly one of those things we can depend on 100% in life. When it comes to cooking, the adage definitely runs true for so many of our favorite dishes and meals. After all, there will always be things that no matter how many times I make them, will forever taste better when mom makes them. So, with that in mind, I'm super excited to share the latest cookbook from my friends at Gooseberry Patch with all of you, Mom Knows Best.



"Easy recipes for modern moms feeding their families well." That pretty much sums it up. This cookbook is filled with super easy recipes busy moms (and dads!) can get on the table fast that their loved ones will not only gobble up, but ask for again and again. This is my kind of cooking! And I know yours too! This book was made for this everyday mom, and all of you who read this blog on a daily basis! Good food fast! Oh, and I just happen to have a recipe in this one too! Check out page 143 for my Slow Cooker (Alex's) Meatball Subs

When I sat down to decide which recipes I would feature, I really wanted to find a stove top soup. So many of my greatest soup recipes are for the slow cooker, and they are fantastic, but I really wanted one I could do completely stove top, but still fast. Well, I found exactly what I was looking for, and even something to go with it too! In fact, I found them on the same page! Talk about making easy even easier! 

If you have some veggies hanging out in the crisper drawer that need to be used before they end up in the trash can, this is the perfect way! You could easily add or subtract depending on what you have. But don't think because it's all veggies, it's not filling. After all, it does have a little bit of bacon and pasta in it too! 

If your mom always knows best when it comes to cooking, and everything else in life, you are not alone! Now we have an entire cookbook of mom approved recipes for your hectic schedule. Feeding your family food they will love shouldn't have to be a hassle, and the folks at Gooseberry Patch understand that very well! 

Stove Top Minestrone 
aka Mmmm- Minestrone
Found on page 186
Submitted by April Jacobs Loveland, CO
3 slices bacon, chopped
1/2 c. onion, chopped
1/2 c. celery, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 3/4 c. water
1 (14.5 oz) can Italian style diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (14.5 oz) can beef broth
1 (10 3/4 oz.) can bean and bacon soup
1 c. zucchini, peeled and diced
1 c. cabbage, chopped
1/2 c. elbow macaroni, uncooked
Salt to Taste

In a soup post over medium heat, cook bacon with onion, celery and garlic until bacon is crisp; drain. Add water, tomatoes and remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Simmer until macaroni is tender, stirring often, about 15 minutes. Serves 6. *NOTE* I used ditalini pasta instead of elbows. I also added 1 tsp. Italian seasoning, 2 tsp. dried parsley and black pepper to taste. I garnished with a little shredded Parmesan cheese. I also left the peel on the zucchini because I think it holds up better in soups.





Shared on The Country Cook Mar. 13, 2015





***Giveaway***

To Enter: Leave a comment telling me your favorite recipe from YOUR mom!

Bonus Entry #1: Become a fan of Gooseberry Patch on Facebook.

Bonus Entry #2: Follow Gooseberry Patch on Twitter.

Be sure to leave an email address so I can find you!

Contest Ends: March 25, 2015


US Residents ONLY please.

(1) winner will receive (1) copy of Mom Knows Best.


Disclaimer: I received 2 cookbooks in exchange for this review. One to keep. One to giveaway. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Monday, March 9, 2015

Chilly Spring Days

According to the weather man, we have a warm up headed our way this week. No offense to him, but I will believe it when I feel it. Don't get me wrong, I will be incredibly thankful if it is indeed true, but after this loooonnngggg, cold frigid winter, I refuse to get my hopes up. But I'm telling you right now, if the thermometer reaches 50 or above, I'm busting out the flip flops!

Regardless of a warm up, we all know even after that first official day of Spring,  (Which is March 20th by the way...not that I'm keeping track or anything) we will still have some chilly days in our future. I wish it could just magically be warm and sunny every day, but I'm told we need rain too. So there will be those days when it's wet, and windy, and there is a chill in the air. And those are the ones that call out for soup on the dinner table.

This is a soup that truly eats like a meal. To me, when you have to chew a soup, it is a extra filling. I served this with just some crusty bread on the side, and we were all so full we could barely move. I love the creamy texture with the big chunks of chicken and bite of the wild rice. (Be sure to read my note below so you get the correct wild rice!) It's got amazing, rich flavor that tastes like you had to put much more effort into it than you actually did.

I'm glad to see winter on its way out, but I'm not naive enough to think we are totally out of the woods. I realize sunny and hot every single day is still very far off. So in the meantime, I will be thankful for any day above freezing, and enjoy a few more weeks of soup weather!

Crock Pot 
Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
2 lbs. boneless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 1 inch cubes
2 (10 3/4 oz.) cans cream of potato soup
2 (10 3/4 oz.) cans cream of chicken soup
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
2 c. chicken broth
1 c. wild rice, uncooked*
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
2 c. half and half
1/2 c. frozen chopped onions
5 medium carrots, peeled and finely chopped
3 ribs celery, finely chopped
1 TBS dried parsley
Salt and Pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in Crock Pot, except half and half. Stir very well. Cook on LOW for 7-8 hours until rice is tender. Stir in half and half. Cook additional 30 minutes until warmed through. *NOTE* This wild rice is not a boxed mix. This is plain, uncooked wild rice. It can usually be found in a small box with the other bags/boxes of  long cooking rice.





Shared on The Country Cook Mar. 13, 2015

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Meal Plan March 8-13


*New Recipes
Links to Recipes on Blog

Sunday
Stove-top Minestrone*
Biscuit Buddies*

Monday
Black Bean and Green Chile Enchiladas*

Tuesday

Wednesday
Dirty Rice*
Sliced Peaches
Dinner Rolls

Thursday
Beef Roast
Loaded Baked Potatoes

Friday
We're having dinner at my parents


Friday, March 6, 2015

Mystery Ingredient

As some of you know already I am lucky enough to be part of the Yum Squad for Peanut Butter & Co., the makers of the best peanut butter I've ever tasted! We squad members had a challenge put to us a couple months ago, and I for one was up for the task! 

It was simple. We were sent some of their delicious peanut butter and a mystery ingredient, and we were to create a recipe using those. Easy right??!!! Well, if I'm being completely honest I was a bit nervous when my box got here, because it could have had anything in it. What the heck was I going to do if I was supposed to mix peanut butter with anchovies? Or pigs feed? Or chocolate covered grasshoppers? Okay...so my imagination kind of got carried away. 

So, can you imagine my pure relief and joy when I opened it up, and there was a bottle of sriaracha? Yep, something I already cook with. Something I have in my cupboard at all times. Something my boys will pretty much put on anything. Whew....how lucky was I? 


The second I thought of the hot of sriaracha and the sweet of peanut butter, my tongue immediately called out for something Asian! It's a flavor combo we have all the time in Asian dishes I make at home, and ones we have at our favorite restaurants. They meld so well together, and taste so great, it's one of those things you would never guess go together, but truly do. 

Need a seafood dish for your Lent meal tonight? This would certainly put a little spice in your step! I love this recipe because it's a great base that you can build from. Take the noodles, add whatever veggies you like, and swap out the shrimp for chicken or pork. You'll still get a tasty, simple meal! 

I'm not always a fan of surprises. I think sometimes life can throw you some doozies, but in this case, it was a fun, and even more importantly, absolutely delicious surprise. Oh, and my friends at Peanut Butter & Co. have some peanut butter they want to give you too! Just scroll down below the recipe to see how to enter to win! 

Spicy Peanut Noodles with Shrimp
2 TBS vegetable oil
1 (13.25 oz.) box whole grain thin spaghetti
1 (12 oz.) back frozen shrimp, thawed 
1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 1/4 c. matchstick carrots
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 c. soy sauce
1/4 c. creamy peanut butter
1/4 c. lemon juice
1/2 c. chicken broth
1-3 tsp. sriracha sauce, to taste
4 green onions, sliced on bias
1/3 c. chopped cashews

Cook pasta according to package directions. In a medium bowl whisk together soy sauce, lemon juice, peanut butter, chicken broth and sriracha until smooth. Set aside. In a large skillet, heat oil over high heat. Add shrimp and garlic. Saute' until shrimp are almost completely pink. Add peppers and carrots. Saute' stirring often until peppers are crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Pour peanut butter sauce into skillet. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, about 5 minutes until sauce is slightly thickened. When pasta is cooked, drain well. Add to a large bowl. Pour shrimp sauce down over. Mix well to coat evenly. Toss until completely combined. Garnish with chopped green onions and cashews. *NOTE* I like to use shrimp with the tail on to decrease shrinking. 






Shared on The Country Cook Mar. 6, 2015



To Enter: Leave a comment telling me what savory dish you love to make with peanut butter! 

(1) Winner Will Receive:




(1) Jar Smooth Operator (creamy) Peanut Butter
(1) Jar of His/Her Choice Peanut Butter 
(See flavors here.)

Disclaimer: I received free product as part of The Yum Squad. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Super Bowl Re-Do

So, yes it's been a month since we witnessed the New England Patriots defeat the Seattle Seahawks in one of the most bizarre football moments I've ever seen. (RUN THE BALL!!!!) Anyway, sometimes time simply gets away from me and I wake up one day and realize I forgot to share a recipe with all of you. Such is the case with today's post.

Our big Super Bowl party with my in-laws actually got postponed due to Mother Nature. When she decided to dump 13 inches of snow on us all day Super Bowl Sunday, we all agreed the party would have to wait. So we actually gathered the following Sunday for a "Post Super Bowl", "Pre Valentine's Day" party. The company was just as fun, and the food was just as tasty. Plus, this way, we could discuss the game as a whole and critique all the mistakes accurately! (Again, RUN THE BALL!!!)

This was one of the things I took to share. I wanted something with a Mexican flare, and remembered I had a spice blend handing out in my pantry that I had barely used. Plus I knew I wanted something spicy but creamy in the same bite. Spice your tongue up, and then cool it down immediately.

This is a great party dip because a little goes a long way! It goes perfectly with tortilla chips, but it would be just as yummy with crackers, veggies or even pita crisps. And don't worry if you are thinking "But I don't have that spice mix." I give you a couple different ideas for substitutions that would be just as yummy!

Creamy Mexi Dip
16 oz. sour cream
2 TBS Tastefully Simple Fiesta Dip Mix*
8 oz. finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 (10 oz.) can Rotel with lime juice and cilantro, well drained
Dried Parsley for garnish

Combine all ingredients except parsley in medium bowl and stir well to combine. Chill for at least an hour before serving. Garnish with extra cheese and dried parsley if desired. Serve with tortilla chips or crackers. *NOTE* I realize not everyone has the seasoning mix sitting in their pantry that I do. For a substitution, either use another Mexican spice blend, taco seasoning or an even amount of garlic powder, onion powder, paprika and chili powder. Use 1/4 tsp of each to make 1 tsp and then 3 tsp to make 1 TBS, and then 2 TBS in the recipe. 








Shared on The Country Cook Mar. 6, 2015

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Don't Burn Yourself

Ya'll know how much I love a good kitchen gadget or utensil! I'm always on the lookout for the newest and best thing. And if I can find something that is cool, and still super functional, that's just icing on the cake...so to speak! This is exactly the case with the new FingerMitt from KMN Home

With the new FingerMitt you can remove HOT dishes from the oven without burning your hands, keep a firm grip on the baking dish, plate or pan, and handle hot food before it cools. 


Just imagine, no more burning your finger prints off! Plus, no more dropping a dish you can't keep steady due to a thick, awkward oven mitt. And now you can even handle the food itself, while it's still steaming hot...like shredding chicken! I don't know about you, but something that gives me some extra grip on my glass baking dishes, is invaluable. I can't tell you how many times, I've removed one from the oven, only to have it slip out of my hand and shatter on the floor, ruining both the meal and the dish! With the FingerMitt I have a great grip, and flexibility, while still protecting my hands!

The FingerMitt protects your hands up to 500°F. Made from 100% food-grade silicone, this 5-finger
mitt...or glove...with its unique grip design suspends heat from hands and is great for use with ovens, grills and stove tops. The 5-finger design adds more dexterity and functionality while safely handling hot items. Oh, and it just happens to be dishwasher safe too, for easy clean up! 

I think this would make a great gift for the cook or baker in your life! Be sure to log onto KMN Home today to order one for yourself, and for a friend! 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Sunday Supper In The Middle of the Week {A Post For Earth Fare}

When I say Sunday Supper, do you get a specific image in your head? I know I do. When I was growing up, Sundays meant a few things at our house. One, rise and shine early for church. Two, Daddy was home all day, and three, we would come home from church and mom would make a huge meal. 

The kind of meal you don't really need to plan on eating again for the rest of the day after. Dad liked to have a big meal in the middle of the day. Not lunch time. Not supper time. But somewhere in between. Usually a meat of some sort, a potato dish, a vegetable dish, and rolls or bread. However, to me, a Sunday type meal can be anything you have to plan on making then because of the time involved. Like maybe a homemade pasta sauce that some one's grandma back in Italy would hover over the stove for hours making. 

What if I told you, you could have a pasta sauce like this but on any night of the week, even when you are super busy, and with a little prep work in the morning before work, you could come home to it? Sounds pretty good, right??!! 

That's exactly what you get with this recipe. A pasta sauce that will change your life. One that takes your ordinary pasta and turns it into something extraordinary. This is hands down, the most delicious pasta sauce I've ever made at home, and with the help of the Crock Pot, one of the easiest too! 

If you love a good meat sauce, this will become a favorite in your house too! Now you can give your family a delicious Sunday Supper of days gone bye, Monday through Friday! 

Slow Cooker Bolognese Sauce
4 slices bacon, diced
1 TBS olive oil
1 medium white onion, diced
3 celery ribs, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 lbs. ground beef
1/4 c. chicken broth
2 (28 oz.) cans crushed tomatoes
3 dried bay leaves
1/2 c. half-and-half
2 TBS dried parsley, extra for garnish
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook bacon until crisp. Remove to a paper towel. Add oil to skillet. Cook onion, celery and carrots until tender, about 5 minutes. Add beef, season with salt and pepper. Cook until beef is browned, about 10 minutes. Drain. Add broth. Cook for 3-4 minutes. Transfer beef mixture to slow cooker. Add tomatoes with juice and bay leaves. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 hours. Discard bay leaves. Stir in half-and-half and parsley just before serving. Serve over favorite pasta. Sprinkle with extra parsley. 








Shared on The Country Cook Mar. 6, 2015