Everyday Mom's Meals: 2019

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Full Holiday House

Last week I gave you a recipe to help you get supper on the table for those holiday house guests that are about to descend! This week? I've got a delicious breakfast or brunch dish to do the same thing!

This is one of those side dishes I make morning, noon or night! It's great for a big holiday breakfast or brunch, but just as delicious for dinner too. We love it with everything from eggs to ham! In fact, I started making it after going to my husband's aunt's holiday party every year...where a huge ham and this were the main attractions!

Sure the big holiday meals are what everyone looks forward to, but you've got to eat other times too! Your full house will love waking up to this, or even coming home to it after that 4am shopping run on Black Friday.

And if you happen to be a planner, this would be amazing on Christmas morning too!

One of the best things about the holidays is having a house full of those people we love most in the world; but it can be one of the most stressful too. It's okay. It doesn't mean we love them any less, it just means we have to be creative when it comes to meal times...and make sure we've got some yummy, simple dishes in our back pocket, just like this!

Hashbrown Casserole
32 oz. bag frozen diced potatoes
2 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 c. sour cream
1 tsp. onion salt
Salt and Pepper
Dried Chives

Preheat oven to 350. Grease 9x13 baking dish. In a large bowl mix frozen potatoes, soup, sour cream, 1 cup cheese, onion salt, salt and pepper. Transfer to baking dish. Bake 40 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and dried chives. Bake 5-7 minutes more until cheese is melted. Allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving. *NOTE* No need to thaw the potatoes. Just break up any large chunks before mixing. 

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Holidays Mean Company

With November upon us, can we finally start talking about the holidays? Look, anyone that knows me knows I am an early Christmas shopper, I wrap presents in October and look forward to the holiday season so, so much.

But honestly, to me, when I think about the "holidays" it starts November 1st and ends January 2nd. After Halloween has come and gone, I am 100% in Thanksgiving and Christmas mode. And while I am totally obsessed with all things Holly Jolly, I do make sure celebrate and enjoy each holiday for it's own.

That being said, let's talk Turkey Day. Okay, not really, but the time surrounding it. No, this isn't a post to inspire something new on your Thanksgiving table, but instead something you can make before and/or after the actual holiday, when you've still got those house guests to feed.

It never fails, every year I get messages from fans asking for simple meals to plan while that holiday company is hanging out for a few days. Let's face it, leftover turkey is only going to go so far. Plus, many times, the host/hostess still has to work while guests are filling up the house, and coming home to a hungry mob isn't very festive!

If this describes what you'll be dealing with in a few weeks, or even a few more weeks after that, how about a delicious pasta bake supper that will feed a crowd easily, and on budget? Plus, you could even prep this before leaving the house for work, or maybe Black Fridays shopping, pop it in the oven when you get home and have supper on the table in under an hour!

I adore the holiday season. The entire holiday season. And while some celebrate for weeks and weeks, and others can't wait for it to be over, the one thing we can all agree on is there is enough to stress about with the hustle and bustle of the season, dinner time shouldn't be on the list too!

Sausage Alfredo Pasta Bake
1 lb. rotini pasta
1 (26 oz.) jar marinara sauce
1 (16 oz.) jar Alfredo sauce
1 lb. pork sausage
1 TBS Italian seasoning
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese, divided use
Dried Parsley
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350. Grease 9x13 baking dish. Cook pasta according to directions for al dente. In a large skillet brown sausage. Drain if necessary. Add Italian seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper, salt and pepper. Add marinara and Alfredo. Stir well. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add 1/2 cup cheese and stir until melted. When pasta is cooked, drain well. Add to sauce mixture and stir. Transfer to baking dish. Top with remaining cheese. Bake for 25 minutes until cheese melted. Sprinkle with parsley. Allow to sit 5 minutes before serving.

Inspired by Big Bear's Wife

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Mexi Night Side Dish

Does you family love Mexican night at home? Yeah, us too. It's a staple in my menu rotation. But the one thing I struggle with when planning those meals, is a great side dish!

 We all have side dishes we make every time we make a certain meal. I'm no exception. Believe me, just because I am a food blogger doesn't mean I don't have staples too.

Sure, there are always the staples of rice and beans. Or even chips and salsa, or queso; but after a while, those become mundane and I want to switch it up.

I love this salad because it can be made from the pantry for the most part. In fact, the night I decided to whip it up, I just ran to the store for the fresh cilantro. And I will tell you, the guys in my house said it was such a nice, refreshing change to the regular dishes we usually have on Mexi night.

Oh, and let me ask you this. Do you entertain with Mexican night? Think about it....a big group of people. A taco bar. Some chips. And a big bowl of this. What a fun way to enjoy a night with friends!

So, be sure to save this for the next Mexican night rolls around on your menu. You won't be sorry! 

Mexican Bean Salad
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 oz.) can dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 oz.) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 (12 oz.) bag frozen corn, thawed
1 (4 oz.) can diced green chilies
 1/4 c. chopped cilantro, chopped

1/2 c. vegetable oil
1/2 c. red wine vinegar
Juice of 2 limes
Juice of 1 lemon
2 TBS sugar
1 TBS salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 TBS ground cumin
1-2 dashes hot sauce
1 tsp. chili powder

In a large bowl combine all salad ingredients, stir well.  In a medium bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients until well combined. Pour over salad. Stir well. Chill for 1-2 hours before serving. Serve with extra lime wedges if desired.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Not My Kid

By now anyone who has been reading this blog for any period of time knows I don't produce picky kids. My boys will eat pretty much anything I put in front of them. They both had sushi at a young age, Alex at 5, Max at barely 2. Alex talked about calamari in Kindergarten. One of Max's favorites is my tuna salad.

And yes, before you say it, I know exactly how lucky I am. I don't have it in me to deal with picky eaters. (props to all the parents who struggle every single day) and I think God was merciful to me.

But everyone has likes and dislikes. And even kids are allowed to genuinely not enjoy the flavor of something. That is being picky. That's being human. From an early age Alex hated ranch, and anything flavored with ranch. He would come home in 1st grade and talk about all the kids dipping their pizza in ranch dressing and tell me "Mommy, that's just gross. They are ruining perfectly good pizza!"

As he grew older, he did find some things with a ranch flavor to enjoy. My Ranch Bacon Pasta Salad and Cool Ranch Doritos at the top of that list. But the creamy white dressing? To this day, and he just turned 15, he will not touch the stuff!

Thank goodness his palate grew with him because had it not, these potatoes would have never come to be. And Oh. My. Word. are they good! Seriously, we were fighting over them. All three boys asked for seconds and told me over and over how I needed to make them again soon!

I love serving them right off the pan, kinda like potato nachos. Perfect for parties or game day! No matter what you serve them with, I guarantee they will be a huge hit at your house too! Plus, if you have kids who do love ranch...they won't complain one bit about dinner that night!

Loaded Ranch Potatoes
3 lbs. red potatoes, quartered
3 TBS vegetable oil
3 tsp. ranch dressing mix
3/4 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1 (2 oz.) package real bacon bits
Dried Chives
Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 450. Lightly grease a large rimmed baking sheet. In a large bowl combine potatoes and oil. Stir well. Sprinkle with ranch mix. Stir well. Transfer to baking sheet and spread into even layer. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for 35-40 minutes until fork tender and lightly browned. Sprinkle with cheese and bacon bits. Roast for 5-7 minutes until cheese melted. Sprinkle with chives. Serve straight from pan.  

Sunday, October 13, 2019

The Easiest EVER

I have a lot of pasta recipes. A. LOT. I've told you before how we say Adam must have lived in Asia in his past life due to his love of their cuisine. If that's true, than I must have been residing in Rome, Venice and Tuscany in all of my past incarnations.

For the most part, the majority of my pasta dishes are baked in the oven. But every once in a while a terrific one will come to be for my slow cooker. Let's see, there is my Crock Pot Creamy Spaghetti, Slow Cooker Bolognese, Crock Pot Marinara and now this simple classic sauce too!

If you're looking for a classic tomato sauce, with just a little meat for your next spaghetti supper, this is it. The best part? You can turn it on in the morning, come home, boil some pasta and dinner is done. Okay, maybe cook some tasty garlic bread too!

I made it with ground beef because that's what I've got in the freezer, but it would be equally tasty with some Italian sausage. I will freely admit, I am not a huge red sauce fan, but this? I couldn't get enough. I had seconds the night I made it, and enjoyed the leftovers all week. We all did!

Save this one for an extra busy day when you know you'll be too exhausted to put much effort into dinner when you get home. You won't regret it!

Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce
1 lb. ground beef
 1 medium white onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
4 (8 oz.) cans tomato sauce
2 (6 oz.) cans tomato paste
2 TBS sugar 
2 c. water
2 cubes beef bouillon
1 TBS Italian seasoning
 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. dried parsley, extra for garnish
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. red pepper flake
Salt and Pepper 

Lightly grease slow cooker. In a large skillet brown beef with onion and garlic until no longer pink. Drain if necessary. Add to slow cooker. Add remaining ingredients. Stir well. Cook on LOW for 6 hours. Reduce heat to warm until serving. Stir well.

Shared at Weekend Potluck
Shared at Meal Plan Monday

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Welcome October

Apparently we blinked and September came and went. What a whirlwind! To welcome in a new month, the first "true" one of autumn, I thought a tasty warm beverage was the perfect way to usher it in.

We are big slow cooker drink lovers. From apple inspired ones in the fall to festive wassail at the holidays and warm hot cocoa on a cold winter's day, they are something I make a lot on the weekends when we are at home hanging out.

Seriously, what tastes better on a chilly day than a big mug of something warm and delicious to soothe your soul? Not to mention most of the time, whatever you've got warming in that slow cooker makes the house smell AH mazing!

Got a long day of raking ahead of you? Come inside to this. Visiting the local pumpkin patch or corn maze? Have this waiting on you when you get home. Having some people over for a big bonfire? This will stay warm all night long!

It would taste just as delicious with apple cider, maybe even more so, but I had juice on hand. (Not to mention, sometimes apple cider is just too darn expensive! Seriously! It can be a tad ridiculous!)

This is one of those drinks that will take you through October, would be great on Halloween night, and terrific for those turkey day guests coming quicker than you think!

We still might have some warm sunny days left, but they are definitely getting fewer and farther between, so when the rain drops are puddling, the leaves are falling and that crisp autumn wind is blowing, a mug of this is certain to warm you from the inside! 

Warm Autumn Apple Punch
4 c. apple juice
1 can frozen orange juice, thawed
2 cinnamon sticks
3/4 tsp. ground ginger
3/4 tsp. ground allspice
1/4 tsp. ground cloves

Combine all ingredients in slow cooker. Stir well to combine, whisk if needed. Cook on LOW 4 hours. Keep on warm and serve all day!

Shared at Weekend Potluck
Shared at Meal Plan Monday

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Dump, Stir and Go!

It's officially autumn. The days are getting shorter and shorter. With day light I mean. But let's face it, the days are always short, no matter what season. I don't know about you, but I think there should be some kind of "buy back" program for hours in the day.

Here's how it would work. For every hour we don't use one day, we get to "bank" it for a day when we need more! That way when it's a random Thursday and we have a bazillion things to do...and before we know it, the clock says 6pm, we can go to the bank and get an extra hour. Genius, right?

Alas, I don't see this happening any time soon, so we need to find other ways to free up some of our minutes and hours. And in the kitchen our slow cookers can do just that!

This chunky, hearty delicious stew can be prepped in the morning, cook all day and be waiting on you when you get home. But you say your mornings are super busy too? Well, about 10 minutes is all you need to brown the sausage and onions, dump the rest of the ingredients, stir and be done! In fact, you could even saute' the sausage and onions the night before, stick them in the fridge and have one less step the next morning. Oh, and those hash browns that need partially thawed? They take almost no time at all, and the ones I used were only thawed about 20 minutes before I dumped them in. So those won't hang you up either.

Talk about an all in one meal! You've got your meat, potatoes and veggies all in one bowl! Okay, I guess corn isn't technically a veggie, but I think most of us think of it that way.

Fall is such a beautiful time, with so many reasons to be busy. From the ordinary day, to the special ones spent at the corn maze, pumpkin patch or apple orchard, make sure you have some great simple recipes to make just one thing a little easier on you!

Crock Pot Sausage & Corn Chowder
1 (14 oz.) package smoke sausage, sliced thin
2 small carrots, diced
1 medium white onion, chopped
2 TBS butter
1 lb. frozen shredded frozen hash brown potatoes, partially thawed
2 (15 oz.) cans corn, undrained
2  (15 oz.) cans cream corn
1 (14 oz.) can chicken broth
2 (12 oz.) cans evaporated milk
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp. lemon pepper seasoning
1 TBS dried parsley
Salt and Pepper to taste
In a large skillet over medium heat melt butter. Saute' sausage until slightly browned. Transfer to Crock Pot.  In same skillet, in leftover butter and sausage drippings, saute' onion for 1-2 minutes.You are just getting a little color on them. Transfer to Crock Pot. Add all other ingredients. Stir very well. Cook on LOW 6 hours.

Shared at Weekend Potluck
Shared at Meal Plan Monday

Inspired by Recipes That Crock

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Hello Fall

If you aren't paying attention, we have arrived at the first day of fall. Sure, some of us have had our autumn decor out since the calendar still said August (*cough cough*...I might resemble that remark) but it's official. Now our husbands can't make fun of our pumpkins and scarecrows anymore.

Autumn brings so many reasons to "party". Between bonfires, those last few warm evening cookouts, Halloween parties, Game Day...the list goes on and on! And if you don't have a reason to party, make one! There are days when we are outside raking or doing jobs around the house, and I have a big pot of chili or soup cooking, plus some snacks for motivation too! So you can't make it to the stadium to tailgate for your favorite team. Have a football day at home in your living room!

My point is a delicious party mix can be appreciated for so many reasons this time of year. This would be great for an after school snack, kids' Halloween party or classroom party (if home made is allowed).

We love Chex Mix, or more specifically Adam's late grandma's Chex Mix recipe. I make it a lot. It's the perfect salty snack. But this time I wanted something a little sweet, and of course autumn inspired.

Oh. My. Gosh. As Alex said, "This stuff is dangerous!" Talk about addicting! We couldn't stay out of it! Sweet, salty...mmmmm. We have a couple days trips planned for this fall, and I think I will make sure we have a bag of this for the car too!

Fall might not be my favorite season, but I do enjoy it and all the fun activities it brings. Add in some yummy snacks and it's a party any day of the week!

Harvest Party Mix
1 (12 oz.) box rice cereal, like Chex
4 c. pretzel twists
1 (7 oz.) bag original Bugles
2 ( 4 oz.) boxes Reece's pieces
2 ( 9 oz.) bags autumn candy mix
3/4 c. margarine, melted
3/4 c. brown sugar, packed
2 TBS vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 275. In a medium bowl whisk together margarine, brown sugar and vanilla until combined. In a very large bowl combine cereal, pretzels and Bugles. Pour sauce over mix. Stir gently, but well. Spread evenly on a baking sheet* and bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 until crisp and brown. Remove and allow to cool. Add candy and stir well. Store in airtight container.  
*NOTE* You will either need to do this in batches, or use 2 cookie sheets at a time. 

Inspired by One Little Project

Sunday, September 15, 2019

My Baby Is 15

September 16, 2004 6:31 p.m. That is the exact moment my world became complete. My life changed forever. I was finally what I had always wanted to be. For in that moment, I became a mommy. From the second they placed Alexander Lee in my arms, he looked into my eyes, and I knew our love was one for the ages. He was my first, and every day since has been finding ways to fill me with happiness, make me laugh and burst with pride.

And now that 8 lb. 15 oz. 21.5 inch bouncing baby boy is a 6 foot tall, 15 year old Freshman in high school. Everyone says it, but I don't think you understand just how fast kids grow up until you are a parent. I heard once "At times the days might be long, but the years will always be short." I think that sums it up perfectly. I truly feel like I blinked and now he's just a few short years away from adulthood, leaving the nest and being on his own. But we aren't there yet, and I refuse to talk about it. Yes, denial is a wonderful thing.

But alas, he is indeed 15, and I couldn't let the day go by without sharing a recipe that was 100% made with him in mind. Like his dad, Alex has a true love for all Asian foods. So anytime I can make a take out quality dish at home, I score major points with them both.

If you've never had Korean food, take it from someone who waited way too long to try it,, if you enjoy other Asian cuisines, you will like Korean too!

This comes together in almost no time, so it's perfect for a busy weeknight! Seriously, you can have this on the table in less time than it would take to pick something up from the drive thru! I also love that it can be adapted to feed a few or a crowd easily!

There are days when I look at Alex and have trouble remembering when he was tiny. But then he smiles or giggles, and it's the same exact smile from that chubby cheeked baby; or the same laugh I would hear after that toddler would make up a silly joke. I have treasured the past 15 years, and know without a doubt he is only going to get more amazing as time goes on!

Korean Beef
2 lbs. ground beef
2/3 c. brown sugar, packed
1/2 c. soy sauce
6 large garlic cloves, minced
2 TBS sesame oil
 1 tsp. spicy Asian chili oil
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
Cooked White Rice
Chopped Green Onions

Brown beef over medium high heat. In a medium bowl, whisk together brown sugar, oils, garlic, ginger, and soy sauce. When beef is browned, drain fat if necessary. Add oil mixture and stir. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat. Cook for 5-10 minutes. Serve over cooked rice and garnish with green onions. *NOTE* If you can't find the chili oil, 1 tsp. red pepper flake can be substituted. 

Shared at Weekend Potluck
Shared at Meal Plan Monday

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Lunch or Game Day

I won't lie. This recipe was supposed to up on the blog weeks ago as an idea for a hot summer night when the thermometer still read 90 at 6pm and you needed something light and refreshing. Well...obviously that didn't happen. Oops.

So when I found the post sitting there in the draft folder, staring back at me, mocking me, knowing my OCD would kick into overdrive and I would be kicking myself for the mistake, I had to adapt.

Honestly, we eat this stuff year round. A couple years ago, I made it for our annual New Year's Eve buffet! Therefore, it wasn't that hard for me to find a way to share it with all of you now that fall is in the air.

This would be fantastic for Game Day! We are a football loving family and there are times we will be watching the game at home, just the 4 of us, and I still put out a party spread. It's fun to eat all day and cheer on our favorite teams. And it would be just as tasty in the parking lot while yo tailgate with your friends! It would easily travel in a cooler.

But if football isn't your thing, make a big batch on the weekend and have something yummy for lunch all week long.

Or if neither of those "trip your trigger" (As grandma used to say!) it would be terrific for any fall party as well! Get the friends around the bonfire and give them something to snack on while the hot dogs roast or the chili stays warm in the Crock Pot.

Delicious food can be enjoyed any time of year, any season you want! Don't box yourself if and think if you like it in July you can't enjoy it in September too!

Seafood Salad
1 lb. imitation crab, chopped
1 c. frozen cooked extra small shrimp, thawed
2 celery ribs, diced
1/2 c. mayonnaise
1 tsp. Chesapeake seasoning
1/2 tsp. dill weed
1 TBS lemon juice
Salt and Pepper

Combine shrimp and crab in a large bowl. In a small bowl whisk together remaining ingredients. Pour over seafood. Stir gently to combine. Chill until ready to serve, at least an hour. Serve with crackers.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Welcome September

Yes, it's hard to believe, but September is upon us. My son looked at me Saturday night and said "Mom, can you believe the 4th of July was almost two months ago?"

Seriously, when you think of it like that the time flies bye even faster than normal. Let's face it, summer lasts about 38 days and the cold months drag on for 904 days, if we are lucky!

I've said it before, but let me reiterate it once more. I actually don't mind autumn. I enjoy the colors, the fun activities, the decor (yes, my pumpkins and scarecrows are already displayed!) and of course, the flavors. And I don't even shun the weather. Here in Indiana, we will still have some truly warm and sunny days through October. But it's what comes after fall I dread. The cold. The snow. The ice. The gray. The blah. But hey, it's not here yet, so let's not dwell on it.

I figured with the beginning of September, and a new season, we would celebrate with a classic fall flavor. Cinnamon. Sure, we can't get enough of apple and pumpkin too, but if you think about it, what is paired with both of those in many, many dishes? Yep, cinnamon.

These are my way of bringing a little of summer with me to fall. See, they are inspired by a summertime country fair staple. The elephant ear. Fried dough sprinkled with cinnamon sugar is something so popular the lines will wind around any junk food alley.

So who says we can't have some of that yumminess as the leaves begin to turn? These are great for a quick breakfast, lunchbox treat or sweet treat after a favorite fall meal. Super easy, moist and oh so good!

I might not be able to stop summer from eventually fading away, but I can make sure to enjoy all the warm days we have left and dream of them once they are gone with some delicious muffins!

Cinnamon Sugar Muffins
1 c. flour
1/2 c. + 1 TBS sugar, divided use
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 TBS + 1 tsp. cinnamon, divided use
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. milk
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1 egg

Preheat oven to 375. Line 8 muffin tin wells with papers or grease well. In a large bowl combine flour, 1/2 c. sugar, baking powder, 1/2 TBS cinnamon, and salt. In a medium bowl whisk together milk, oil, and egg. Add to dry ingredients and stir, just until combined. Divide mixture evenly in muffin tin wells. In a small bowl combine 1 TBS sugar and 1 tsp. cinnamon. Sprinkle over top of batter. Bake for 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Store covered.

Shared at Weekend Potluck
Shared at Meal Plan Monday

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Not Ready to Let Go

We are only a less than a week away from September, and Labor Day. I know many out there are literally counting the days until autumn arrives; and with the arrival of cooler temps this week, we've all been reminded of what is coming.

It's no secret I love summer, and dread when it starts to fade. If I'm being truthful, I don't hate fall. After all, here in Indiana, we usually end up with some warm 80 degree days well into October. The colors are beautiful, the flavors are delicious and I adore getting outside and enjoying all the autumn activities. But see, the problem is what comes after. I know as soon as the leaves begin to turn...in the blink of an eye we will be grabbing the shovel and waiting for school delays.

So, here I am holding onto summer with all my might. I refuse to say goodbye, and still have plenty of fun in the sun planned.

This simple salad would be perfect for your Labor Day cookout, picnic or party. Or, it's just great for weeknight supper too! With all these summer veggies we have to indulge in when we can, it's a great way to use them up!

If you're one of the ones who is holding your breath until it's hoodie and bonfire season, it will be here before you know it. And if you are like me, and not ready to see summer go, let's make the most of the time we have left!

Marinated Cucumber Salad
3 medium cucumbers, peeled, seeded & chopped
1 pint snacking tomato medley, halved
1/4 c. vegetable oil
3 TBS red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. dried parsley
Salt and Pepper

In a large bowl combine cucumbers and tomatoes. In a small bowl whisk together oil, vinegar and seasonings. Pour over veggies. Mix well. Chill for a few hours before serving. *NOTE* If you use English cucumber, no need to peel or seed. The tomatoes are a mixed variety in the produce section. You can also use cherry, grape or a mix of both.

Shared at Weekend Potluck
Shared at Meal Plan Monday

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Only 177 Days to Go

Whew. We did it. We survived the first week of school. HIGH SCHOOL! Okay, so it wasn't a full week, but hey, it still counts! And yes, that countdown above is how mommy is coping! I know exactly how many days until Labor Day, Fall Break, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Spring Break...you get the picture. I miss my boy!

But when the weekends roll around, it's still summer in our house! I'm still going to plan outdoor fun, and soak up every last bit of the warm, sunny days because this is Indiana and the minute the calendar says September, you never know what's going to happen!

There are still plenty of cookouts to have, and you're going to want to take this to your next one! Sure, it makes a terrific no bake, simple dessert, but in this family, it's a side dish. Let me explain. When I was growing up, my Grammy always had at least one "fluff salad" dish at holidays or big gatherings. Why was something so sweet called a salad? Two reasons. 1. Most of the time they contained fruit. 2. If she called it salad, we could eat it with the meal, and still have pie when we were done. It's all about optics!

In that spirit, I almost always serve my fluff dishes as a side dish, including this one. All the flavors of a favorite summer time beverage rolled into a delicious, gorgeous sweet treat that will be a huge hit, no matter how you serve it!

Cherry Limeade Fluff
15 large marshmallows
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 lime, juiced
16 oz. jar maraschino cherries, halved
1 small box cherry Jello
1 (29 oz.) can mandarin oranges, drained
8 oz. tub Cool Whip
 1 1/2 c. Cherry 7-Up

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine soda and marshmallows. Stir until marshmallows are melted and mixture is combined. Set aside. In a separate bowl, use an electric mixer to combine cream cheese, Jello and lime juice until smooth. Stir marshmallow mixture into cream cheese mixture until well combined. Gently fold in cherries and oranges. Cover and chill overnight. When ready to serve, add Cool Whip and stir well. 

Inspired by The Country Cook
Shared at Weekend Potluck

Sunday, August 11, 2019

That Moment

As many of you know, not only do I run the EMM world, I am also a contributor for Parade Magazine's online food site. I have been writing for them for about five years now, and it has opened up a whole new world to me and the blog. Plus, it's another way I am able to help support my family and maintain the blog with free recipes for all of you!

Recipes that I blog here, I then share to Parade for them to publish as well. Or, that is how it normally works. But this month, there was a little hitch in that plan and this recipe was actually shared on their site before I had a chance to blog it here. Now, I will admit, I'm a little OCD and that bothered me a little because I like for my stuff to debut on my site first before I share it elsewhere, but then something happened that made it 100% okay!

Last Monday I woke up and logged onto Parade to find MY recipe was the featured recipe and cover photo of their entire food section. Woo hoo! I was excited, and apparently people were loving it because they left it there for the ENTIRE day!

So, even though this wasn't going to be published on EMM until later in the month, I decided it needed to be moved up pronto! I had to calm those OCD nerves somehow!

Taco Spaghetti is great for your Taco Tuesday, or your pasta supper tonight! Two classic favorites come together in one amazing dish that will be gobbled down! We couldn't stay out of it! Even the leftovers were fought over the next day!

With school starting back up this week for many of us (I HAVE A FRESHMAN!!! HOW DID THAT HAPPEN????) Simple casserole suppers are going to be in high demand. Tell the kids you're taking two of their absolute favorite meals and making them into one...and then watch them run to the table!

Taco Spaghetti
1 lb. thin spaghetti, broke in half
1 lb. ground beef
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (10 oz.) can Rotel
1 packet taco seasoning
2/3 c. chunky salsa
2/3 c. water
1 1/2 c. shredded Mexican blend cheese
Salt and Pepper 

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9x13 baking dish. Cook pasta to al dente. In a large skillet brown beef until no pink. Add taco seasoning and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Add black beans, Rotel and salsa. Stir well. Add 1 c. cheese and combine until melted. When pasta is cooked, drain well and add to skillet. Mix well. Transfer to baking dish. Cover and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover, add 1/2 c. cheese and bake for 5 additional minutes until melted.

Shared at Weekend Potluck
Shared at Meal Plan Monday

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Tater Salad Inspired

Pasta Salad. I know, we all have a hundred recipes for it, but you know what? We never seem to get tired of finding new ones, so here I go again.

This one came to be quite simply. I thought about my Amish Potato Salad that my hubby LOVES and decided we needed to try the same idea for a new side dish.

I actually made this back on Father's Day weekend for a cookout with my parents (Can we pause for a moment and think about the fact that was almost 2 months ago?!?!) and even my daddy enjoyed it; and to be honest, he is kind of a purest when it comes to macaroni salad. He prefer my mom's recipe and it pretty much ends there. But he really liked this for something different.

So, what makes this different than others? The sweet factor. I've learned that many times if a salad like this has "Amish" in the title, it's usually going to be a tad sweeter than others. This also reminds us of a macaroni salad you find at the deli counter. Except one thing, and this is an important note. Mine is a little drier. Be sure to read why at the end of the recipe so you can decide which way your family will enjoy it more!

Summer isn't over yet. I'm hanging on with every fiber in my body. And that means there is plenty more time for cookouts, backyard barbecues, picnics...and of course Labor Day is less than a month away, so we'll be needing some terrific dishes for that too!

Amish Macaroni Salad
1 lb. elbow macaroni
4 hard boiled eggs, chopped
1 red bell pepper, diced
3 celery ribs, diced
2 c. Miracle Whip
2 TBS dill pickle relish
3 TBS yellow mustard
2 tsp. white vinegar
1/4 c. sugar
3/4 tsp. celery seed, extra for garnish
Salt and Pepper. to taste

Boil macaroni. While it cooks, add red pepper, eggs and celery to large bowl. In medium bowl whisk together Miracle Whip, relish, mustard, vinegar, sugar, celery seed, salt and pepper. When macaroni is cooked, rinse with cold water and drain well. Add to large bowl with eggs and veggies. Mix well. Pour dressing over top. Stir very well. Chill for 2 hours or overnight. Garnish with extra egg and celery seed if desired. *NOTE* If you serve this after the minimum chilling, it will be "wetter" than overnight. We prefer our macaroni salad a little more dry, so I opt for overnight.

Inspired by Sweet Little Bluebird
Shared at Weekend Potluck

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Egg Noodles Please

Back in May when I shared my Cajun Chicken Pasta, it was a huge hit with not only my family, but a lot of yours too! (That makes me so happy!) So, if you were one of the many that enjoyed it, you're going to flip for the this new side dish, since it was 100% inspired by those same flavors!

Sometimes when I meal plan, side dishes are my nemesis. I can figure out mains with no problem, and then I have to brainstorm for quite a while before the perfect side comes to me. Now, yes, we have our staples and our favorites, and even some meals that have to have the same things with it every single time (Seriously, these boys will riot if certain things aren't served together. Fish sticks must have mac n cheese. No substitutions.)

Many times when I find myself in this conundrum, egg noodles pop into my head...and then I begin to drool. See, they are one of my favorite things on the planet, can take on great flavor, are super easy  go with almost anything, and can live in the pantry forever.

That is exactly how this dish came to be. We were grilling out, I had a bag just calling my name, and I wanted something different. Then I remembered that Cajun Chicken Pasta and thought "Hey, I could take those basic flavors, leave out the protein and have a pretty killer side dish."

The sauce on these is much lighter than a thicker Alfredo. It lightly coats the noodles, without being too heavy. They tasted great with the chicken I served them with, but would be equally delicious with seafood or steak I think.

If you're like me and always on the hunt for new side dishes, be sure to add these to your "to make" list ASAP!

Creamy Cajun Noodles
1 lb. egg noodles, cooked and drained
3 TBS butter
1 c. heavy cream
1 c. half and half
1 small yellow onion, finely minced
1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
3/4 c. chicken broth
2 1/2 TBS Cajun seasoning
Juice of 1 lemon 
1/3 c. grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste
Dried Parsley

While noodles cook, in a medium sauce pan, melt butter over medium low heat. Saute onions with garlic powder until soft. Add chicken broth and scrape bottom of pan. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Slowly add cream, half and half, Cajun seasoning, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Add cheese and whisk to combine. Simmer for about 10 minutes, until slightly thickened. When noodles are cooked, add sauce and stir well. Garnish with dried parsley. *NOTE* This is NOT a thick sauce life Alfredo, it will be just thick enough to coat a spoon and lightly mix with noodles. 

Shared at Weekend Potluck

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Beach Withdrawal

As many of you know, we spent the last week of June and the first week of July at our favorite beach in the world, New Smyrna Beach, Florida.

We had glorious weather. Seriously. Out of 14 days...it rained for 3 hours. True story. So we soaked up plenty of sun, played in the sand and surf, and spent countless hours in pool. Oh it was wonderful! 

But alas, vacation has to come to an end. We've been back for a couple weeks now, and let me tell you, we are going through major withdrawal. Mostly we talk about all that tasty seafood we enjoyed; and the fact that our backyard doesn't have an ocean. 

When these whining moments come along, I try really hard to remember the memories we made will last a lifetime! I look at the hundreds of photos and I feel better. Then I try to figure out how I can bring some of that fabulous food we gorged ourselves on home to Indiana.

This year I decided to start with dessert. See, our favorite key lime pie in the world can only be found in NBS. We look forward to it every year, and have been known to eat it for breakfast. So I thought why not use those flavors in a simple, no bake, summer sweet treat? 

You might read almonds and think "why?" It is an easy explanation. That pie we fight over? It has almonds along the crust, on top of the whipped cream. So yes, I had to throw some in too! 

I hope you're soaking up all summer as to offer, and like us making some memories to live off for months to come!

Key Lime Parfaits
Graham Crackers
1 (21 oz.) can key lime pie filling
1 (12 oz.) tub Cool Whip
1/2 c. sliced almonds, reserve a few for garnish

In parfait glasses, or a similar dish, begin layers. Break up graham crackers to cover bottom. Add pie filling, and spread evenly. Sprinkle with almonds. Add Cool Whip, spread evenly. Repeat layers, ending with Cool Whip. Garnish with extra almonds. Chill until ready to serve. 

Shared at Weekend Potluck
Shared at Meal Plan Monday

Sunday, July 14, 2019

All That & A Bag Of Chips

Many years ago, my husband had what he proclaimed to be the BEST potato chip of his life. Now, I have actually heard him say this about a couple kinds, but that's okay. In that moment, in his excitement, that's how he felt.

One of those brands/flavors he can still readily find. In fact, I ordered him a case for our 16th anniversary this year. Nothing says love like a spicy potato chip! But the other, the one I started this story with? We haven't been able to find it for years. At least not in our area. And that makes him sad. To the point that he talks about it quite a bit.

What is this magical chip you ask? It was a Steak & Worcestershire flavor, and for him it was love at first bite. For years, it has been the one he mentions any time we try a new one. The one he longs for. So, how many wife points do you think I scored when I found a way to recreate that for him, kind of?

The minute I saw a new dip by buddy Mandy over at South Your Mouth debuted, I knew I could take that idea, build on it, and recreate those flavors for him!

I couldn't wait to make it for him; and it didn't disappoint. He said it is "spot on" and could not stop eating. Woo hoo!

Need another snack for around the pool? A big bowl of this and a couple bag of chips. Done! I bet it would be super tasty with a big veggie platter too!

Making things for my boys they love gives me so much joy. But nailing something he loved and has been missing? That's just the icing on the cake, or the dip on the chip in this case!

Steak & Worcestershire Dip
16 oz. sour cream
2 1/2 TBS steak seasoning (like Montreal)
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1 TBS Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. dried parsley

Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl. Chill a few hours before serving. Serve with chips, veggies, crackers, etc.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Gnocchi Fans

Anyone that knows us knows we are a family of pasta lovers. From mac n cheese to baked pasta casseroles, we can't get enough. I think I might have been Italian in another life.

And now I can honestly say, we are quickly becoming fanatics about pasta's little cousin gnocchi. I've mentioned before how my local Dollar Tree store has really decent packages of them, 1 pound for $1. What a deal...and you know I can't pass that up! So on those weeks when the budget might be a little tighter than normal, I like to keep those little gems in my back pocket!

This actually came to be because of another great deal when Kroger had spaghetti sauce dirt cheap. I actually bought a couple jars and then had to think "great, now what can I do with it?" Well, I had to run into DT anyway, so why not grab a couple packages of my new friend?

If you're looking for an economical, hearty, feed a hungry crowd meal, this is it! Terrific Italian flavors with soft, pillowy gnocchi are sure to please every single time!

Cheesy Gnocchi Casserole
2 lbs. gnocchi, cooked to package directions & drained
2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
3/4 c. heavy cream
2 (24 oz.) jars spaghetti sauce
Salt and Pepper to taste 
Dried Parsley

Preheat oven to 350. In a large skillet heat 1 1/2 jars sauce over medium heat. (Save other half jar for other use) Add cream, garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Heat until bubbling and reduce heat to low. When gnocchi are cooked and drained, add to sauce and stir to combine. Grease 9x13 baking dish. Add half gnocchi mixture. Sprinkle with 2 TBS Parmesan cheese and 1 cup mozzarella. Repeat layers once more. Sprinkle top with parsley. Bake for 20-30 minutes. Allow to rest 5 minutes before serving. *NOTE* This does not set up like a normal pasta bake. It will be very saucy. I do this because gnocchi can be very dense and dry. They need extra sauce! 

Shared at Weekend Potluck

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Port A Pit At Home

Here in northern Indiana, we can count on many things during the summer months. Lots of beautiful sweet corn to enjoy, the humidity being oppressive some days, and parking lots filled with the smell of port-a-pit chicken cookers.

I honestly don't know if port-a-pit is a thing everywhere, so I guess I should explain a little. They are portable cookers that come to your event, or many times are hired for fundraisers that make some of the best chicken I've ever had in my life. Seriously. It's drool worthy, and something our family has been crazy about for years. 

How much? Well, when Mr. E started working for his current company almost 5 years ago, the first company picnic we went to we found out the meal was provided by the best port-a-pit business around. All of us were giddy! We just about licked our styrofoam plates. 

It's so unique and amazing, it isn't something you can 100% recreate at home. After all, the cooker is key. But many years back I made this marinade, and after grilling some chicken with it, we all proclaimed "Wow, this tastes almost like port-a-pit!" The flavor was just about the closest thing we can get.

I use chicken quarters because that's what port-a-pit we buy is, but I'm sure this would be just as tasty on any other cut. 

If you are planning a big July 4th bash, give your guests something new, besides the standard barbecue! 

You have to educate me too. Do you have port-a-pit in your area? Do you love it as much as we do?

Tangy Grilled Chicken
1 c. Worcestershire sauce
1 stick butter
1/2 tsp. onion powder
Juice 2 lemons
4 Chicken Quarters, patted dry
Chicken Grill Seasoning
Salt and Pepper to taste
Cooking Spray

In a small sauce pan, melt butter over low heat. Add Worcestershire, onion powder and lemon juice. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil and reduce heat back to medium low. Simmer for 10 minutes. Reserve a small dish of sauce for serving. Allow chicken to come to room temp. Spray with cooking spray. Season liberally with grill seasoning, salt and pepper on both sides. Sear chicken over high heat for 3 minutes on each side. Reduce heat to low. Cook chicken for 45 minutes, turning every 7-10 minutes, basting with sauce with each turn. Cook until internal temp is 165. Serve with extra sauce if desired.

Shared at Weekend Potluck

Sunday, June 23, 2019

BBQ Side Dish

You've planned the entire cookout. The meat is marinading, the salads are chilling and the ice cream is churning. You just need one more side dish. What could it be? 

How about something that takes the barbecue flavors we all love this time of year, and gives them to your guests in a whole new way? On. Potatoes. Wait, what?  Mind blown!!!

These happened by accident at our house...which isn't that uncommon. I had a beef roast for the grill, and red potatoes were on sale at the store. Great. I will throw some in the oven and roast them. I had a plan. Then I woke up and decided I wanted something new. The roast was just simply seasoned with steak seasoning, so I knew I could ramp up the taters' flavor.

Oh my gosh, did I hit this one out of the park! We love great barbecue, so I can't believe I never thought about doing this before, but can guarantee we will again! 

They are perfect with whatever you're grilling up this summer! From chicken, to steak to burgers, throw some of these in the oven and you're meal will go to the next level! If you're planning a big July 4th blowout..wow your guests with these!

Barbecue Roasted Potatoes
3 lbs. red potatoes, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/4 c. vegetable oil
4 tsp. chili powder
4 tsp. brown sugar
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. salt
Black Pepper
Dried Parsley

Preheat oven to 400. Spray a large baking sheet with nonstick spray. In a large bowl combine potatoes and oil. In a small bowl mix brown sugar and all seasonings, except pepper and parsley. Sprinkle over potatoes. Stir and mix well. Transfer to baking sheet. Sprinkle with black pepper. Bake for 45-60 minutes, stirring every 15 until fork tender. Garnish with parsley before serving. 

Sunday, June 16, 2019

A Little Store Help

You will never see me turn down a little help from the store. I know there are plenty of people out there who want to and enjoy making every single thing from scratch; and more power to them! I just don't happen to be one of them!

If I can take something from the freeze section, jazz it up a little and turn it into something I know my boys will love, sign me up every single time!

As I've told you before, Mexican night happens a lot at our house, so I'm always looking for inspiration to keep it new and exciting.

This recipe actually has a funny story behind it that began last year when we were on our annual beach vacation. There is a Dollar General Market (think DG but bigger with a produce and meat section...seriously...so fabulous) right across the street from where we stay. While picking up a few things one day, Alex found some frozen burritos on sale for 2/$1 and wanted a few for lunch.

Something he can throw in the microwave and cook himself? Um....YES please! After all, mommy is on vacay too! Well, he loved them. So much we went back and got more, Mr. E this time too. They became a lunch staple those 2 weeks, and a big joke because mommy loves a deal!

When we got home, I was at Kroger one day...and found the SAME burritos for....wait for it...40 CENTS each! That's right, our amazing deal just got cheaper! And since then, we almost always have them in the freezer.

So when I saw this idea from my blogging buddy Cooking with K, I knew Miss Kay was reading my mind! A easy weeknight meal that starts with something my guys already love.

Needless to say, they were a huge hit and I've been told I can make them again....and soon! No problem boys...it's simple, budget friendly and gives me a little help from the store. Three things this everyday mom can't get enough of!

Smothered Burritos
8 frozen beef and bean burritos
1 (15 oz.) can chili NO beans
3 TBS chopped white onion
7 slices American cheese
1/2 c. shredded Mexican blend cheese
Pickled Jalapenos
Diced Tomatoes

Preheat oven to 350. Grease 9x13 baking dish. Lay burritos in one layer. Top with American cheese, overlapping. Add chili and spread evenly. Sprinkle with onions. Top with shredded cheese. Bake for 40-45 minutes until bubbly. Garnish with diced tomatoes and jalapenos. 

Inspired by Cooking with K

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Put Some Greek Into Your Summer

Summer vacation is finally here! And for many of us, that means loading up the SUV, or hopping on a plane, and heading off for some fun in the sun! But what if I told you it is possible to take a little trip abroad...and never leave Indiana? Well, it is...and The Children's Museum of Indianapolis is our ticket!

Coming Saturday June 15th, you will be able to board a plane right in the middle of the museum and fly away to Greece! On your trip you can learn about the culture through art, food, music, dance, architecture and so much more! Enjoy some authentic Greek dishes in a traditional taverna, fill bottles with olive oil, cast nets to catch fish for local markets, visit an authentic Athens house, and even learn to speak the language! 

Have little animal lovers in your house? They can help save the sea turtles too, care for some rescued loggerheads, and even get the chance to feed them! (My 2 year old is going to FLIP for this!)

In Take Me There: Greece the museum is giving us the change to visit one of the most culturally rich countries in the world, right from the middle of Indianapolis! And we don't even need to pack a suitcase!

To celebrate the opening of this fantastic exhibit, my friends at TCM asked if I could come up with a Greek inspired dish! Well, of course! We love Greek food, and since backyard barbecue season is officially upon us, it was the perfect opportunity to put a little Greek flare in a cookout classic...pasta salad!

This comes together in about the time the pasta cooks, and can hang out in the fridge until your guests arrive! If you've ever had a gyro, the sauce is similar to tzatziki...which for me, I could drink with a straw!

I am so excited to visit Greece just by going to one of our favorite day trip spots! My boys will love learning about all things Greek, and I love the fact I can come home and sleep in my own bed when the day is done!

Be sure to check out all things Children's Museum on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. And come June 15th, get ready to say OPA! 

Greek Pasta Salad
1 lb. rotini pasta
1 c. halved grape tomatoes
1 c. halved kalamata olives
1 English cucumber, chopped
1 c. plain Greek yogurt
1/2 c. mayo
1/2 c. crumbed feta cheese
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
2 TBS red wine vinegar
3 TBS lemon juice
1 tsp. dill weed
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
Salt and Pepper to taste

Cook pasta to package directions. While it cooks, combine tomatoes, olives and cucumber in a large bowl. In a medium bowl whisk together yogurt, mayo, lemon juice, vinegar, garlic powder, dill weed, oregano, salt and pepper. Add cheese. Stir well. When pasta is cooked, rinse with cold water and drain well. Add to veggies and stir. Pour dressing over. Stir well. Chill until ready to serve, at least an hour. Sprinkle with extra dill weed before serving.

Shared at Weekend Potluck

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Tweaked and Tweaked Again

I first debuted this terrific salsa on the blog about 5 or 6 years ago. Since then, it's become a staple in our house and requested by countless family members for parties.

When you make something literally hundreds of times, sometimes a funny thing happens. You end up tweaking it, making it even more your own, and one day you realize you aren't following the original recipe you began with. Sure, the base it still there, and the concept is the same, but it's now one you have memorized and the exact formula that makes it perfect every time.

This comes with a few warnings. One, if it's sitting in your fridge, nobody will be able to stay out of it. Two, if you take it to a party, be sure to take the recipe too. Everyone will want it. Three, make sure you only make it for people you really, really like because they will keep coming around for more!

From Mexican night to snacking around the pool all summer, this will be your go-to. From start to finish, you have about 10 minutes in the whole thing, making it perfect for those impromptu guests too!

Restaurant Style Salsa
1 (28 oz.) can whole tomatoes
2 (10 oz.) cans diced tomatoes with green chilies (like Rotel)
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 garlic clove
1 bunch cilantro, stems removed
1/4 tsp. sugar
Juice of a lemon
Salt to taste

Combine all ingredients in food processor and pulse until fine. (This might require batches) Check for salt and season again if necessary. Transfer to a large bowl and chill. Allow to come to room temperature before serving.

Shared at Weekend Potluck

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Grab The Picnic Basket

It's Memorial Day Weekend! The official gateway to summer! We've waited through a cold winter, a very wet spring, and now we can see the sun and feel the warmth on our face again. 

Summer is the perfect time to grab the picnic basket, pack the cooler and head to a favorite park for a old fashion picnic! I was talking to someone the other day how it's becoming a forgotten tradition; and I for one am on a mission to make sure it doesn't totally go to the wayside.

When I was growing up, we went on too many picnics to count. I know why too. It was cheap entertainment! Sometimes dad would splurge and get a bucket of KFC to take with us, but most of the time it was mom packing some yummy favorites and us heading out on a Sunday afternoon. It is something I've tried hard to continue with my family, and if you ask my boys I think they would say I've done a pretty good job!

This retro recipe would be perfect for eating on a blanket or picnic table. It comes together in almost no time, and  you can easily pack it separate from the buns or bread, and assemble sandwiches on site! 
 If you read it and think it sounds familiar, yes, it is my version of the stuff sold at deli counters when we were kids! At our house, we call it "poor man's ham salad"! 

If you haven't taken a picnic in a while, now is your chance. It doesn't have to be fancy (this recipe proves that) to be fun! Pack up the car. Tell the kids to leave the devices at home and see what adventure awaits you!

Sandwich Spread
1 lb. bologna, chopped
2 hard boiled eggs, halved
1/3 c. sweet relish
1/2 c. mayo
Salt and Pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in food processor. Pulse until fine. Chill until ready to eat. Serve with buns.

Shared at Weekend Potluck

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Give Them Bread

If you are planning a summer cookout, any time over the next few months, you will want to keep the ingredients for this on stand by!

We are bread loving people. We are the ones at a restaurant that are usually half full by the time the entree' comes because we've snacked on so much bread. And if I can find something to put on that bread that makes it even yummier, that's the icing on the cake so to speak.

When I'm entertaining, I try to find ways to have dishes made ahead of time that I can put out and let my guests serve themselves. Appetizers are of course the best way to do this; and keep people from starving before the big meal is ready. Happy guests mean a happy host!

Honestly though, the day I made this it was raining, and we weren't even thinking about grilling. I served it as a side to a pasta supper...and it was perfect that way too. So, you're really getting a double duty recipe!

Summer time is when we want to have people over, spend hours outside in the sun, catching up, having fun, and of course eating some great dishes to share!

Olive Caper Spread
1 (5 oz) jar green olives, drained
1 (3 oz.) jar capers, drained
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 large garlic clove, peeled
Salt and Pepper to taste

Put all ingredients in food processor. Pulse until fine. Chill. Serve with baguette, crackers, pita chips, etc. 

Shared at Weekend Potluck

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Mom & Son Date

My baby boy, my first born, has 3 weeks of school left. I don't know who is more excited. We are SO ready to be done. But there is only one downside. That Friday, at 11:45 when the final bell rings for summer, it will mean I am the mother of a FRESHMAN. Seriously, I can't even say the word without a tear coming to my eye and getting a little choked up.

I'm pretty sure he was just graduating preschool, and now by month's end, he will be standing before his class, family and friends and delivering the Salutatorian address for 2019. Oh yeah, did I mention that? He finished #2 in his class, missing the top spot by less than 1 point! Plus, his school nominated him for an Distinguished Student Award given my a local association. As his principal said "Alex exemplifies what we strive for. Academic Excellence, Spiritual Development, and Being a Service to Others." We could not be more proud of him, and are so excited to have his hard work acknowledged and praised!

So, you can understand why Mommy is a little weepy with the thought of the end of the school year. High school is going to bring a whole new world, and he's just going to keep getting bigger, maturing, growing up, and lots busier.

I am so blessed he still wants to hang out with me, and have special days with Mom. Some quality time, just the two of us. I treasure every minute. And normally those days always include a great meal at a favorite restaurant.

One of our go-to places is Chili's. Mr. E doesn't really enjoy their food, so we reserve it for just the two of us. The last time we went this was what we both chose to order, without even realizing we were eyeing the same dish. We loved it at first bite, and I knew I needed to recreate it at home.

This version takes a little help from the store, but feel free to make a homemade Alfredo if you wish. I love my recipe for it, and would have if I had a little more time.

Going into high school, and turning 15 in the fall. I just can't believe that applies to my baby. Yes, he will always be my baby. And as long as he wants to have "dates" with his old mom...I will jump at the chance.

Cajun Chicken Pasta
2 lb. penne pasta, cooked to al dente, drained
2 (15 oz.) jars Alfredo sauce
1 tsp. lemon zest
2 lbs. fresh chicken tenders
2 TBS plus 1 tsp. Cajun seasoning
4 Roma tomatoes, chopped
Dried Parsley
2 TBS vegetable oil
Salt and Pepper taste

Preheat grill to high. Mix chicken, 2 TBS Cajun seasoning, oil, salt and pepper. Allow to sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes. Spray grill with nonstick spray. Place chicken on grill and cook for about 1 minute. Reduce heat to low, and continue to cook, turning often, for about 15 minutes. Remove and keep warm.

While pasta cooks, place Alfredo sauce in a large sauce pan. Add lemon zest, salt and pepper. Heat over medium heat, stirring often. Add 1 tsp. Cajun seasoning and stir well. When pasta is drained, add to sauce and stir well. Sprinkle with a little extra Cajun seasoning. Place chicken on top of pasta. Sprinkle with tomatoes and parsley. 

Shared at Weekend Potluck