Everyday Mom's Meals: 2017
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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Hurry Up Picnic Weather

Summer time picnics are one of life's most simple pleasures, and something our family has been enjoying for a few generations now. They are part of some of my best memories as a kid, both with my grandparents, and with my mom and dad; and now I've carried on the tradition with Alex.

This year we are looking forward to introducing Max to the tradition, and we can't wait! Sure he won't be able to enjoy most of what is packed in the picnic basket, (And yes, for those wondering, I own an actual picnic basket!) but that's okay. It is more about the experience than the food. Well, kind of. The food is super important too.

We have our favorites. The stuff the boys always want me to pack, but I try to keep it fresh and new too. After all, we go on so many picnics every summer, I don't want it to become boring!

Pasta salads are a must, so it's a good thing I have a thousand versions, or so it seems. This is our first new one of the season, and it's a doozy! Super simple, but packed with flavor. If you can boil pasta and chop veggies, you can whip this up. It makes a great light supper on a warm night too. Just add some fresh fruit and crusty bread on the side. Or, make a batch on the weekend, and you have lunch for the week.

I can't wait until the sporadic warm days are more consistent, the rainy spring days subside, and we are loading up the SUV with coolers, that trusty picnic basket and head off to make more family memories!

Greek Pasta Salad
2 (12 oz.) boxes bowtie pasta
1 seedless cucumber, chopped
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 (6 oz.) jar kalamata olives, halved 
1 (4 oz.) container feta cheese, reserve a little for top
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 c. Greek Salad Dressing

Cook pasta according to package directions. Rinse with cold water and drain well. In a large bowl combine pasta and rest of ingredients. Stir well to combine. Chill a few hours before serving. Garnish with extra cheese. 





Monday, April 3, 2017

Middle of the Night Hunger

We've all heard the saying "It's a stick to your ribs kinda meal." Most of the time it is usually in reference to a big meal at supper time, or when talking about sending the kids off to school, a hearty breakfast that will keep them going. But what happens when those worlds collide? This is what happens.

See, we are big breakfast for supper fans. I plan it at least a few times a month. And the meals vary. Eggs, potatoes, meat, pancakes, waffles, quiche, toast, biscuits n gravy...I come up with all sorts of combos to indulge our preference for morning food at night.

But the one thing I find myself having an issue with is ending up hungry later in the night. Now, I know it's not the meal itself because I've got two "boys" with big appetites eating the same thing, and they don't end up with grumbling tummies, so it must just be me. Many times when we have these types of meal, I find myself waking up in the middle of the night starving. Or at least I think I'm starving.

When I saw this recipe, my first thought was "Wow. What a stick to your ribs kinda breakfast." What? Wait a minute...that means if I made it for supper, it would have the same effect and maybe I wouldn't wake up chewing on my pillow!

I was right! This will stay with you! It's perfect for a hearty breakfast to get your day started right, or a weekend brunch. Maybe even Easter Sunday after sunrise service. It makes a pretty good dinner too. I served it with some sausage links on the side, and we were all full and satisfied. And I stayed that way all night long!

This tastes just like a warm oatmeal cookie straight from the oven. And I can tell you, neither me or Alex are huge oatmeal fans, and we gobbled this down. This was the perfect amount for the 3 of us, so if you're making it for a bigger crowd, be sure to double the recipe. (See note below)

Waking up in the middle of the night feeling like you haven't eaten in hours is no fun. Laying awake counting cows instead of sheep, just so you can think about steak isn't normal. But now I've found a way to enjoy our little tradition and keep those pangs of starvation away!

Amish Baked Oatmeal
3 c. quick cooking oats
1 c. brown sugar, slightly packed
2 eggs
1 c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. baking powder
1 large apple, peeled and chopped
1 stick butter, melted
1 1/2 tsp. salt
Extra Milk
Toppings: Fresh berries, nuts, dried fruit, etc

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a 8x8 baking dish. In a large bowl combine first 10 ingredients. Stir well until mixed. Pour out into baking dish. Bake for 30-45 minutes until edges are brown and middle is set. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with milk and toppings. *NOTE* If you double this recipe, switch to a 9x13 pan, and increase cooking time a little, but start checking at the 30 minute mark.




Disclaimer: Recipe adapted from Taste of Home. As a field editor, and not a paid employee, I share this with no compensation.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

It's A Rut...Or Is It?

We all get into cooking ruts. Been there done that. But sometimes it isn't even a rut. It is just something you like so much, you crave it; and when you get the chance you are going to eat it.

We have found ourselves in one of these "ruts", but not when it comes to what I am cooking at home. This rut is when we go out to eat. Saturday evenings are when we usually go to church, and if the budget (and the baby's mood) allows it, we grab a bite to eat afterward. It is our little tradition.

Lately we have found ourselves gravitating towards one cuisine...Chinese. Well, and buffets. Let's see, in the last month we have visited our favorite Chinese sit down restaurant, our favorite Chinese buffet, and this past week a KFC buffet. But that's not all. We've also had some Chinese take out at home, and homemade too. 

So this past weekend when the trend continued we all made the comment "Max is going to think all we ever eat is Asian food....and at buffets." LOL It's kinda true at this point in our lives. 

When we were at the Chinese buffet last week, they had a new creamy fruit salad I fell in love with, and I had to recreate it at home. Luckily it was super easy to figure out.

This would be perfect for your Easter meal, and pretty too! The colors remind me of springtime. And what's Easter without a tasty fluff on the table?  Or it's so easy, you can whip up a batch for supper later too. 

Ruts are sometimes hard to climb out of. But there are times when we are perfectly happy in our rut, and that's okay too! 

Rainbow Fruit Fluff
1 (11 oz.) can mandarin oranges, drained
1 (20 oz.) can crushed pineapple, with juice
1 (15 oz.) can fruit cocktail
1 (3.4 oz) box instant pistachio pudding, dry
1 tub Cool Whip
2 1/2 c. fruit flavored mini marshmallows, extra for top

In a large bowl combine crushed pineapple and dry pudding mix. Mix well. Fold in Cool Whip. Add oranges and fruit cocktail. Stir well. Gently fold in marshmallows. Chill for at least an hour before serving. Add extra marshmallows to top.



Sunday, March 12, 2017

36 Isn't So Bad

So....I'm now closer to 40 than I am to 30. That's right, I had a birthday. Back at the end of February, actually. But you know what? Who cares! Age is just a number. I have never dwelled on it, and I refuse to start now.

Like I told someone when I was turning 30, "If I can do half the stuff in my 30s as I did in my 20s, I'll be incredibly luckily. After all, in that decade I graduated college, began my career, became a wife, became a mother and started to build a life. And now? Well, I'm a mommy all over again, so I have a lot to celebrate!

This year I was lucky enough to not just get a one day celebration. It so Alex was off school the Friday before and the actual day of, so we made it a 4 day celebration!! Mr. E even took the day off Friday as well, and the 4 of us were able to have lunch at my favorite sushi place. Then Saturday my little man treated me to a movie with his gift card from Christmas (I know. How sweet is that?!), Sunday my parents came over (more on that in a minute) and then on my actual birthday I had lunch with my mom and the boys, and then presents here at home. Whew....it was a fun filled few days.

On Sunday when mom and dad came over, I actually cooked. A lot. But that's okay. See, when my dad heard everything we were having on our buffet back on New Year's Eve, he made the comment he would love to have one of those, on a slightly smaller scale, on some Sunday. So...I immediately knew the Sunday before my special day would be perfect. I only had one request. Mom and dad bring the birthday cake...and oh it was delicious!

I put out a decent sized spread, and we just sat around and ate all evening. This was actually our "main" dish, and it was a last minute addition. Alex LOVES brisket and I had only ever done them on the grill in the summer, but we have so many in the freezer I wanted to use one now. Boy am I glad I did!

This is the best shredded beef I've ever made. So much flavor. Juicy. Tender. Perfect for piling high on buns and sinking your teeth into. Great for a Sunday supper, weeknight meal or crowd.

36 isn't so bad. I have a loving husband, two beautiful sons, parents I adore and still spoil me rotten, friends whom I cherish and a pretty darn good life. So I will just thank God for all of it and feel blessed I get to spend another year with them.

Slow Cooker BBQ Brisket
1 (2-3 lb.) beef brisket, trimmed
1 tsp. coarse salt
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. celery seed
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 c. ketchup
1/2 c. chili sauce
1/4 c. packed brown sugar
2 TBS cider vinegar
2 TBS steak sauce
1/2 tsp. ground mustard

In a small bowl combine salt, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, celery seed and black pepper. Rub generously on all sides of brisket. Wrap in plastic wrap and foil. Chill overnight. In a medium bowl combine ketchup, chili sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, steak sauce and ground mustard. Mix well. Uncover brisket and place in slow cooker, sprayed with nonstick spray. Pour sauce over top. Cook on LOW 6-8 hours. Shred meat and return to slow cooker. Mix with sauce. Reduce to WARM until ready to serve. Serve on buns if desired. 


Monday, February 27, 2017

Cabbage People

We love cabbage. There I said it. We are some cabbage lovin' people. We can't get enough of the stuff. In fact, we love it so much I was able to do an entire collection of cabbage recipes for my friends over at Community Table. (You can find that awesome round up here.)

I do so many things with it, and I'm still always on the lookout for more. It's one of the cheapest veggies in the produce section, and a little goes a long way, so that's nice for our budge too.

This came about because in February, in the Midwest, soup is a must. Well, normally, but we're experiencing some crazy warm, spring-like temps lately. Seriously, it was 70 last week. I was in flip flops. IN FEBRUARY! But, Mother Nature didn't let us forget about winter, because the following day? Yeah, it was 25 with howling wind and snow. Welcome to Indiana. Where you can experience all 4 seasons in 24 hours!

Even with the warmer weather, my brain is still in soup mode though. This one is a great "set it and forget it" meal. You can literally put it on before you leave in the morning, and come home to supper. Add some crusty bread and you're done. Plus, it has a little kick to it that will wake up your tired taste buds.

With Lent beginning this week, this would be a great meat-free option as well. Just swap out the beef broth for veggie and you're good to go.

If you love cabbage as much as we do, this will definitely become a favorite in your house. If you're looking for a new soup recipe, this works for that too. Whatever reason you've got for trying it, you, and your tummy, will be glad you did! 

Slow Cooker Fiesta Cabbage Soup
1 medium head cabbage, chopped
1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (10 oz.) can Rotel 
1 (10 3/4 oz.) can cheddar cheese soup, undiluted
1 (32 oz.) box beef broth
1 (15 oz.) can northern beans, rinsed and drained
Salt and Pepper to taste
Dried Parsley, for garnish

Combine all ingredients, except parsley in slow cooker. Cook on LOW 7-8 hours. Garnish with parsley. 




Recipe Adapted from Southern Lady Cooks

Friday, February 10, 2017

An All New Brunch with Sam Adams {A Feature}


I love brunch. I love all the foods that come with it. I love the time of day it is. It's one of my favorite meals. And if that brunch can come with a tasty cocktail? Even better! 

Now, we all think of Bloody Marys or Mimosas when we think of brunch, but what about beer? I know, I know. Not the first thing that comes to mind, but that is all about to change.

Sam Adams has just released a mango-infused IPA, Rebel Juiced, with tropical juicy flavors mix so well in a brunch time cocktail! Doesn't that sound amazing? Not convinced yet? Just take a look at some of these yummy recipes!

Rebel Rumba
Ingredients:
1/4oz orgeat
3/4oz lime juice
1/2oz Dry CuraƧao
1/2oz dark rum
1/2oz white rum
3oz Sam Adam's Rebel Juiced IPA
Method: Combine all ingredients into a shaker and shake. Strain into wine glass, add ice and garnish with fresh mango or pineapple and mint.


Juicy Fruit
Ingredients:
3oz Sam Adam's Rebel Juiced IPA
2oz Aperol
1oz Grapefruit juice
Method: Build in wine glass, add ice, garnish with half Grapefruit wheel.

Gin & Juiced
Ingredients:
3oz Sam Adams Rebel Juiced IPA
1oz Bulldog gin
3/4oz lemon juice
1/2oz honey syrup (2:1)
Method: Add ingredients, except beer, to cocktail shaker. Shake with ice, strain into Collins glass and top with beer. Add ice, garnish with lemon wheel.

Don't those look amazing? Talk about a way to step up your brunch game! Your guests will be so impressed! 
Be sure to check your local stores for Sam Adams Rebel Juiced today! 



Disclaimer: I received free samples in exchange for this feature & sharing these recipes on EMM. 

Monday, February 6, 2017

Lunch Break Recreation

Most days of the work week I am at home with Max, all day. Well, besides having to pick Alex up from school. And that is exactly how I like it. It's what I signed up for. In fact, during these cold and dreary months, I LOVE not having to go anywhere. Comfy clothes, no make up, and me and my baby boy hanging out all day. I was the same way when Alex was a baby too. My favorite days were when we had no where to be and could just enjoy the day.

However, some days there is one thing that becomes a tad difficult; and I'm sure other stay at home parents would agree with me. Lunch. First off, most of the time I have to plan when I eat around when Max sleeps, so I'm usually eating lunch around 10:30 or 11:00 am. And that's fine. I'm up so early I'm starving by then. But then you have the days when it just doesn't happen because he doesn't nap, or he is fussy, or he wants to play or be rocked. And pretty soon it's 3pm and I'm sucking peanut butter off spoon! 

But even when I am able to eat, it's nothing exciting, believe me. We're talking either leftovers or a sandwich and chips. Simple. Fast. Again, that's fine...but here is where Mr. E comes in.

See, he works in the real world; and thank God for that. Better yet, he works in the medical field; and as I or anyone else who has ever worked in that field can tell you, depending on the job, there is usually some pretty yummy food around. Drug reps and companies are always having meals catered in, and he comes home telling us about what he had. All. The. Time. Sure, I'm happy he is so well fed, but when he's going on about his sushi lunch, or how one of my favorite restaurants brought in huge pans of pasta, and the highlight of my day was my peanut butter and jelly sandwich, well, let's just say it doesn't always go over well. Ha! 

Plus, even on days when there isn't any food brought it, which are few and far between, they have an excellent cafeteria where he can also go for some delicious lunch. And that is what inspired this recipe. He came home a few times raving about a chicken and rice soup, which sounded so good to me too, so I had to try to recreate it. 

This isn't your typical chicken and rice soup. This one is creamy, and thick. It's a stick to your ribs, come home to after a long cold day and thaw out kinda soup.

I love being a mommy, and all the perks that come with it. Even when I'm starving or having to eat fruit snacks and call it a meal; but if anyone out there wants to bring me a catered lunch, feel free to ask for my address!

Creamy Chicken & Rice Soup
2 TBS vegetable oil
4 boneless chicken breasts
2/3 c. long grain white rice
2 (32 oz. ) boxes chicken broth
1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk
2 medium carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
6 white button mushrooms, diced
1 medium white onion, diced
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp. dried basil
6 TBS flour
Salt and Pepper to taste
Cooking Spray

Preheat oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with foil. Place chicken on it. Spray with cooking spray and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 30-45 minutes until juices run clear. Allow to cool enough to handle, then shred. Set aside. In a large stock pot  heat oil over medium heat. Add carrots, onions, celery and mushrooms. Saute until tender, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, basil, salt, pepper, rice and broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook about 15 minutes until rice is tender. In a small bowl, whisk together evaporated milk and flour until smooth. Add to soup. Bring back to a boil and cook until thickened, about 2-3 minutes. Add in chicken, stir and heat until warmed through. 



Wednesday, January 11, 2017

BBQ In The Snow

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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