Everyday Mom's Meals: August 2010

Monday, August 30, 2010

Monday Night Tip

For those of you that read the meal plan (yesterday's post) you saw that I am making grilled ham steaks tonight. Sometimes I will just grill them "plain", sometimes I will add a little olive oil for taste and sometimes I will glaze them for extra flavor. Tonight is a glaze night:) I came across an awesome site, cookingnook.com (I've never used this site before, but after today i it is bookmarked) that had all different types of glazes to use on ham, and it had exactly what I was looking for. Something easy that I could make from things I have in my pantry. So I will be making the first one listed, but there are many to choose from, so maybe you can find one that suits your tastes; and know I will be trying a different one next time!

Honey and Brown Sugar Ham Glaze
2/3 cup brown sugar
3 TBS honey
1 TBS prepared mustard

Orange Glaze
1 cup orange juice
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 TBS Dijon mustard
1/2 cup honey
2 tsp. soy sauce

Baked Ham Maple Glaze
1 TBS mustard
2/3 cup real maple syrup

Brown Sugar Glaze
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp dry mustard powder
3/4 tsp ground cloves

Marmalade Glaze
1/4 cup orange marmalade
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 TBS flour
add enough pineapple juice to create a thick paste

Pineapple Glaze
1 1/2 tsp dry mustard
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
3/4 cup well drained crushed pineapple

Ginger Glaze
1 tsp dry ginger
1 tsp dry mustard
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
canned pear or peach syrup to make a thick paste
1 tsp lemon juice

Chili Glaze
1/2 cup thick chili sauce
1/4 cup corn syrup

For all glazes above, just mix ingredients together and brush ham. Use extra glaze to baste with.

Mustard and Red Currant Glaze
1/3 cup mustard
1 cup red currant jelly
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 TBS oil
2 TBS soy sauce

Place all ingredients into a saucepan. Stir and warm over medium heat for 2-3 minutes until jelly has melted.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

This Week's Meals

Last week's posting of my meal plan had a really great response, so it will now be a weakly feature. But along w/ it, I thought I would also post Alex's weekly lunch plan. He asked if we could sit down every weekend and figure out what he will be packing in his lunch every day--and w/ Mommy being all about organization, that was okay w/ me! If there are any questions about any recipes, methods, meals. etc, don't hesitate to comment and I'll help wherever I can!

Menu Plan

Tomato Soup
Grilled Cheese Sandwiches (Alex isn't feeling well, so this meal is for him)

Grilled Ham Steaks
Winter Squash

Mini "meatloaf" meatballs
Scalloped Potaotes
Candied Carrots

Grilled Chicken Wings (marinade or rub to be chosen later)
Baked Potatoes

Shell macaroni in homemade Mushroom Cream Sauce

Walking Tacos

Alex's Lunch Plan
*Note Alex takes a Capri Sun Roarin Waters or Horizon Organic Milk each day to drink*

Ham Lunchable
Tuxedo Olives
Granola Bar

Cheese Sandwich
Pretzel "Goldfish" crackers
Mini carrots
Fruit Roll Up

PB & J Dinosaur Sandwiches
Cheese/PB crackers
Danonino yogurt

Bologna Sandwich
Saltine/Strawberry "sandwiches"
Mini Banana
Cinnamon "Goldfish" crackers

Peanut Butter Dinosaur Sandwiches
Yogurt Raisins
Animal Crackers

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Channeling Jamie Oliver

This past spring I was addicted to ABC's "Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution". Each week I watched Jamie fighting for the nutrition and health of the residents of Huntington, WV starting w/ the food served inside their schools' cafeterias. It was sometimes appalling to see what these kids (and other kids across America) are eating every day; and are considered "healthy" by the school nutrition officials. Jamie has revamped the school lunch program in England so much so that he felt that he could bring the same help, ideas and knowledge to the citizens of Huntington. And while met w/ resistance at first, by the end of the series, Jamie had convinced a lot of people that schools need to change the way they are feeding their children and many many people stood up next to him demanding better. I don't know if I would have thought about Alex's school lunch as much as I do know w/o watching Jamie and his revolution. I've seen the menu for Alex's school and while I know they are trying, I can see many things that could use improvement if some of Jamie's ideas were implemented. But until that happens, I will continue to pack my little guy's lunch every day w/ healthy, delicious and fun things that I can be proud to say I'm feeding him.

Nutty Pretzel Wands
Spread peanut butter on top few inches of pretzel rods. Roll in chopped peanuts and/or dried fruit.

Fruit Dip
Mix 1 cup low fat sour cream and 2 TBS each brown sugar and lime juice. Sprinkle w/ cinnamon sugar. Thread fruit onto skewers (pineapple, grapes, strawberries); serve w/ dip.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

More Great Lunch/Snack Ideas

Well, we are now into day 3 and Mommy is handling this "my baby is at school all day" scenario. I've realized that I can survive the 6.5 hours he is gone and actually I get A LOT done! However, by about the 5.5 hour point, I'm counting the minutes until he gets home. Today I happened to drive past the playground while the kids were at recess and I found myself slowing down trying to just catch a glimpse of him. Hopefully he has eaten by now and enjoyed his lunch; and speaking of lunch, here are 2 more great ideas for fun healthy things to pack in a kid's, or adult's for that matter, lunch. Or even to use as a easy and quick after school snack that isn't full of sugar to cause "bouncing off the walls" syndrome.

Tuxedo Olives
Cut cheese sticks (string cheese) into thin strips. Stuff inside large pitted black olives. Toss w/ olive oil, red wine vinegar and parsley.

*I realize I am very lucky that my child likes black olives, so if your child doesn't, maybe something else instead? And I'm actually not going to dress these for Alex; but if I were to make them for a party I definitely would.

Pretzel Melts
Sandwich small slices of cheddar between mini twist pretzels. Put on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake about 10 minutes @ 425º. Serve w/ mustard.

*I actually like this one for me! With the mustard aspect it reminds me of a soft pretzel dipped in mustard...Yum. I might make a big batch of these just to have on hand as snacks around the house!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Kindergarten, Here We Come

This week I am dedicating each day's post to my wonderful son Alex. He is 5 1/2 and yesterday was his first day of school. He started full day Kindergarten, and while it is very hard for Mommy to imagine him not being here all day, every day, w/ me, I'm so happy to see his excitement for school and joy of learning. He is just thrilled about each little thing that goes along w/ the whole experience. I will be packing his lunch every day so that 1. we know he is getting nutritous things and 2. we know he is getting enough. He is used to VERY large meals, w/ many different things and I just don't know if the school lunch is prepared for that...lol. So while looking for new ideas for things to pack for him I turned to an insert that was in the September issue of Food Network magazine. It was actually "50 Great After School Snacks", but I am using it for lunch ideas. Since I was SO overwhelmed w/ the emotions that went w/ yesterday I did not post, I will share 2 today to make up for it:) I'm so proud of my little man and while I miss him like crazy, I am so thankful that he is adjusting so well and if a nice lunch w/ unique things is a little something I can do to make his day better, I'm so honored to do so.

Saltine "Sandwiches"
2 saltine crackers
1 slice of strawberry (usually 1/3 of a berry)
peanut butter

Put peanut butter on each cracker. Put strawberry slice on one cracker w/ a single drop of honey. Put crackers together to form "sandwich".

Apples in the "Mud"
apple slices
peanut butter
rolled oats, granola, or crushed cereal

Put peanut butter on edge of apple slices, about an 1/2 inch wide. Roll in oats, granola or crushed cereal. The recipe did not mention the cereal, but I'm going to crush Captain Crunch and roll the apples in that!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Reader Request

I've had a request for a glimpse into my week of food, so to speak. As many of you know, I make a meal plan 1 week ahead so I know what suppers I'm cooking when I do my weekly grocery shopping. So, here is what my family will be eating this week. Forgive some of the "outs" I've taken. With it being Alex's first week of school, and several things I have going on, I am going to be busy and don't know how much time I will have to cook. And honestly, there is always one night I take A LOT of help from the store. One more thing, I use a lot of pre packaged items, such as rice, veggies, etc, but I always add a little something extra to them so they taste a little more home made; I didn't want anyone to think I was making every single item from scratch!! :-)

Grilled Buffalo Burgers
Baked French Fries
Baked Beans

Garlic Bread

Beef Roast
Mashed Potatoes and Gravy
Turnip Greens

Chicken Pot Pie

Southern Style Baked Mac and Cheese
Steamed Cauliflower
Sliced Cucumbers

Fish Sticks (an Alex favorite)
Rice Pilaf
Winter Squash (has already been oven roasted and frozen,just need to reheat, thanks Grammy!)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Here We Come A Wassailing

During the holidays last year my husband received a phone call from his brother Matt (who enjoys cooking and is even in a dinner club) wondering if I knew how to make wassail. I had an idea, but wasn't for sure, so I found a recipe on the internet and told him what it said. It wasn't the easiest and to be honest I never found out if he even tried it. So imagine my joy upon purchasing Better Home and Gardens Crockery Cookbook, finding a very simple recipe for making wassail in the crockpot! Matt and I have decided that at least one of us is going to try it this year, and I hope it turns out as yummy as it sounds!

Holiday Wassail
6 inches stick cinnamon, broken
12 whole cloves
8 cups water
1/2 of a 12 oz. can frozen cranberry juice concentrate
1/2 of a 12 oz. can frozen raspberry juice blend concentrate
1 6 oz. can frozen apple juice concentrate
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/2- 3/4 cup brandy or rum; or 6 tea bags (optional)

For spice bag, cut a double thickness of 100% cotton cheesecloth into a 6 inch square. Place cinnamon and cloves in center of square. Bring up corners of cheesecloth and tie w/ a clean string.

In a 5 qt. crockpot combine water, juices, sugar and lemon juice. Add spice bag. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours, or high for 2.5-3 hours. Remove spice bag. If desired, about 5 minutes before serving add brandy, rum or tea bags. Allow to stand 5 minutes. Remove tea bags if using.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Let's Take A Dip

Even though I don't entertain a lot, I'm always looking for "party" foods for various occasions through out the year when family gets together or we're just watching a Sunday football game. Food you can eat w/ your hands is so much fun, and in my experience always some of the first things to go at a party. Instead of the run of the mill vegetable tray w/ ranch dip, why not try something a little different, courtesy of Rachael Ray??!!

Lemon-Garlic Chick Pea Dip
1 15 oz. can chick peas, drained
1 clove garlic, cracked from skin
1 lemon, zested and juiced
4-5 sprigs fresh thyme leaves, stripped from stems
coarse salt and pepper
few drops hot sauce, to taste
1/4 c. olive oil

Combine chick peas, garlic, lemon zest and juice, thyme, salt and pepper and hot sauce in food processor. Turn on and stream in olive oil. Transfer to dish and serve w/ assorted raw veggies and/or pita chips.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

What Happens When Adam Visits The Farm Market.....

Here's a little tale about a man named Adam. Two weeks ago he discovered the Saturday morning Barr Street Market in downtown Fort Wayne. Now Adam called his wife at home and asked what she wanted and she said "a red onion and some fresh Brussels Sprouts, if they have them". Well, he got the red onion, they didn't have the sprouts and he also got a TON of other stuff too that he brought home to his wife w/ a look of great joy on his face!! Three of these items being small eggplants, which he didn't know what she would use for but were "Too nice looking not to buy". So here is the wife's solution to the 3 eggplant that are currently residing in her refrigerator, thanks to Allrecipes.com.

Eggplant Parmesan
3 eggplant, peeled and thinly sliced
2 eggs beaten
4 cups Italian bread crumbs
6 cups spaghetti sauce divided
16 oz mozzarella cheese divided
1/2 cup grated Parmesan divided
1/2 tsp dried basil

Preheat oven to 350º. Dip eggplant in egg then in bread crumbs. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 5 mins on each side. In a 9x13 pan spread sauce to cover bottom. Place a layer of eggplant slices in the sauce. Sprinkle w/ mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Repeat with remaining ingredients, ending w/ the cheeses. Sprinkle basil on top. Bake for 35 minutes or until golden brown.

Eggplant on FoodistaEggplant

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Try Something New

When I was a teenager and my Grammy was visiting us, she declared she was going to make me a new side dish for supper. My parents had actually had it before during a visit to PA that I wasn't there for. When she told me what it was I must have gotten a look of disgust on my face b/c I remember my dad saying "Now don't turn your nose up until you try it. It's very very good". I don't know why I would have done that b/c I was never one not to try new things. But being a teenager, I'm sure I was in a mood and it had nothing to do w/ the meal. :-) I should have trusted the fact that I would love it b/c most things Grammy makes are fantastic and crowd pleasers. Well, that "new" side dish is now one I make for my family on a regular basis and everyone I have shared the recipe w/ in the past agrees it's delicious!

Fried Cabbage and Noodles

1 small head of cabbage- chopped
1 lb egg noodles- medium or wide
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook egg noodles according to package directions until just al dente and have just a bit of a bite to them. Drain.

Meanwhile in a large skillet ( I use my electric one) saute cabbage in vegetable oil until tender and brown on the edges, about 10 minutes. Season w/ salt and pepper to taste.

When noodles are drained, add to skillet. Add a little more oil if necessary. Saute w/ cabbage until noodles are finished cooking and flavors are mixed, about 8 minutes. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust accordingly.

Cabbage on FoodistaCabbage

Friday, August 13, 2010

Great Feedback

Last week I posted a recipe for punch and wow, did it get a lot of responses. (Don't look for them on the comment section. These were comments made personally to me.) I didn't realize just how many people love punch as much as I do and are always looking for new ones to serve. So while I was saving this one until closer to the holidays, I thought I would post it now. I know it's technically one to be served at Christmas, but I think it would be a great addition to any get together, summer, winter or fall!

Christmas Punch
2 cups water
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 46 oz. can pineapple juice, chilled
4 cups cran-apple juice, chilled
1 liter ginger ale, chilled

In a saucepan bring water, sugar and cinnamon to boil; stir until sugar is dissolved. Chill. Just before serving combine the syrup mixture, juices and ginger ale. Serve w/ ice.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Retro Recipe

I remember when I was little casseroles were all the rage. It seemed like every mom had their own "speciality" one and all women in the neighborhood would share the recipe for their family's favorite one and 2-3 times a week supper would be a new one. My mom had a few she made and they were some of our favorite meals. For some reason the art of the casserole has gone to the wayside. I don't know why exactly--they are easy, usually cook in under an hour, and most of the time are filled w/ affordable ingredients. This is one I found through the Taste of Home website. Alex would eat spaghetti every night if I let him, not b/c he is picky, but b/c he LOVES it so much. So instead, I was looking for new variations of it, and stumbled across this. I am making it for supper tonight along w/ some garlic bread sticks. I'll be sure to report back on what the verdict was!

Spaghetti Casserole

16 oz. angel hair pasta
1 1/2 lbs ground beef (I am only using 1 lb)
1 26 oz jar spaghetti sauce
2 8 oz cans tomato sauce
1 10 3/4 oz can cream of mushroom soup
8 oz sour cream
8 oz Colby-Monterey Jack cheese

Cook pasta according to directions. Meanwhile in a large skillet, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Stir in spaghetti sauce and tomato sauce. Remove from heat. Drain pasta. Combine soup and sour cream. In a 9 x13 pan, layer half of the meat sauce, pasta, soup mixture and cheese. Repeat layers. Bake @ 350º for 55-65 mins until cheese is melted.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Yet Another Potato Dish

I'm sure daily readers of this blog must think that I make potato dishes almost every night. Well, not quite, but close. Ha Ha. Usually once or twice a week we have potatoes, in some fashion, as one of our "veggies" for supper. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, potatoes are cheap, there are 100 things you can do with them, and they go very far. These are probably why all of moms on a budget w/ kids that want to eat us out of house and home are such big fans! I was looking for something new to do the other night and decided to try my hand at making a galette. I've seen them made on Food Network before, and figured the worst that could happen was I end up breaking it up into hash browns. It actually came out beautiful and was delicious. Definitely something I'll try again and maybe next time add some extra ingredients!

Potato Galette
1 TBS unsalted butter melted
1 large baking potato
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Melt butter in a nonstick skillet. Peel potato and slice very thing, 1/8 of an inch. (If you have a mandolin, this would be perfect). Toss potato w/ melted butter, salt and pepper in a bowl. Layer potato slices, overlapping slightly, in skillet. Cover skillet w/ a lid or foil and cook over moderately low heat until underside is golden brown, about 10 minutes. Slide galette onto a dinner plate. Invert skillet over galette, then, holding plate tightly against skillet, flip galette into skillet. Cook, covered until potato is tender when pierced w/ a paring knife, 10-12 minutes.
Potato on FoodistaPotato

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Final Installment

Sometimes I think one of the hardest things to plan for a party are the drinks. There are so many things to choose from and consider. Alcohol? No alcohol? Soda? Cans? Bottles? Water? Tea? Sigh....it can become very wasteful if you aren't careful. I love when I go to a party and there is punch. I don't know why. Maybe it takes me back to my childhood when my Grammy would make her Christmas punch and I could seriously drink a 5 gallon bucket full :-) We had punch at my bridal shower and then I requested the same kind at Alex's first birthday party when my mother-in-law was helping me. You can imagine how excited I was when the first thing I was offered to drink at the shower was PUNCH!!!! It was delicious and refreshing, and is the final recipe I'm sharing from that day. Congratulations to Charla and Joel--may your years together only be out lived by your love for one another!

Orange Punch
2 pkgs orange Kool Aid
1 small can pineapple juice
5 cups sugar
1 qt. orange or rainbow sherbet
1 large bottle ginger ale
1 can frozen orange juice
18 cups water

Mix all ingredients together except ginger ale, which you add right before serving.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Day 4

There were three different sandwich choices at the shower on Sunday. The cucumber ones, I've already shared with you. The second choice was egg salad, which is what I chose and it was great, but I don't have a recipe for it. The third, was a meat spread, that to me looked very similar to the ham salad or "sandwich spread" you can buy at the deli counter or butcher shop. I love ham salad, but upon receiving the recipe, we discovered it actually had bologna in it. This is a great recipe for a crowd, so it's definitely going into my "party arsenal".

Ground Bologna Sandwiches
1 pkg or 1 lb bologna
4-6 hard boiled eggs
3-4 sweet pickles
1/2 onion
1 tsp sugar
1 TBS vinegar
1 tsp mustard
Miracle Whip to taste

Grind together bologna, eggs, pickles and onion in a meat grinder (I think a food processor would work). Mix sugar, vinegar, mustard and Miracle Whip together. Add meat mixture to sauce. Spread between bread to make sandwiches.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Bridal Shower Continued

Okay, here we go, day three. One of my favorite things at parties is the veggie tray. I don't know why, but there is something really yummy and refreshing about a plate of fresh, crunchy veggies w/ a creamy dip :-) The ladies at the shower, actually made a spinach one instead of the run of the mill ranch or onion--and it was great! I love anything spinach and my grandma makes a great one, and while different, this one actually reminded me of it a little bit.

Creamy Spinach Dip
1 10 oz pkg frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
1 cup Miracle Whip salad dressing
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup green onions, chopped
1 tsp dill weed
1/2 tsp lemon pepper

Combine ingredients, mix well. Chill. Serve w/ assorted veggies.

Makes 2 1/2 cups

Variation: Substitute plain yogurt for sour cream.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Bridal Shower Part 2

Another great recipe today from Char's wonderful shower. Now, I have to be truthful, I actually didn't eat this dish, but it wasn't because it didn't look FABULOUS! The only reason I didn't try it was I was wearing a white shirt, and well, anything w/ tomatoes and me in a white....not a good mix. However, it smelled delicious and others that did eat it said it was fantastic! I'm actually going to make it next week for supper and serve it w/ grilled burgers!

Spaghetti Salad
16 oz vermicelli or spaghetti
16 oz bottle Italian dressing
1 large red onion chopped
2 tomatoes diced
1 large cucumber diced
2 3/4 oz "McCormicks" brand "Salad Supreme"

Cook pasta according to directions. (Break into thirds before adding to boiling water) Drain and rinse well w/ cold water until cool. Put pasta in large bowl. Immediately add remaining ingredients and mix well to avoid pasta from sticking together.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Bridal Shower

Yesterday I was lucky and honored to attend a bridal shower for my soon to be sister-in-law Charla. Adam's youngest brother Joel is getting married Labor Day weekend to a wonderful woman, and we are so happy for them. We traveled to her aunt's house in Ohio and it was a great afternoon meeting her most gracious and friendly family, good food, surprises galore and many memories made. All of the food was AMAZING--all homemade and definitely made w/ love. The ladies in her family did a fantastic job, and at the end were so humble enough to share their recipes w/ us. So the next few days I'm dedicating to the new Marshall woman Char, and her wonderful family and all the posts will be recipes from the beautiful shower they held.
Cucumber Sandwiches
1 cucumber
1/4 package cream cheese, softened
3 TBS prepared horseradish
1/2 tsp onion salt
1/4 lb very soft butter
white and/or wheat bread

Peel cucumber and chop finely. Mix the cucumber w/ the cream cheese, horseradish and onion salt.

Spread some butter on each slice of bread before adding cucumber mix. Use cookie cutters to cut out special shapes for finger sandwiches.