Everyday Mom's Meals: February 2011

Monday, February 28, 2011

New Side Dish

I am always looking for new things to serve as side dishes. Potatoes, veggies, fruit, pasta, it's a never ending cycle. "Ok, we're having this, but what to have with it?"  We have our favorites, as I'm sure all of you do, but we also have our "rut" foods as I like to call them. Those dishes that we eat over and over w/o even thinking about it, or those that when all else fails, I turn to. Can't figure anything out? Baked potatoes it is then. Low on time? Heat a veggie in the microwave. So when in my searching I find something that I know we already like, but now includes the word "easy", I am instantly intrigued:) I found this on the Mommy's Kitchen blog as one of her "potluck Sunday" dishes. I am serving it kind of Chinese style--not doing anything differently, but it's a side for pork pot stickers! I think those boxes of rice are a great idea for quick and easy, and we have eaten plenty of them, believe me, but if I can make the same thing, from scratch in the same time as one of the pre-made ones take, then sign me up! It's new recipe night at our house and this time it's a side dish---hopefully one that will become another "rut"......LOL

Easy Rice Pilaf

2 TBS olive oil
1 1/2 c. long grain rice, uncooked
1/4 c. onions, chopped
1/4 c. green bell pepper, chopped
1/4 c. celery, chopped
1/4 c. carrots, finely chopped
1/4 c. sliced mushrooms (optional)
3 cups. chicken broth
1/2 tsp. thyme
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in large sauce pan over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, celery and bell pepper and saute until tender and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add rice and saute 2 minute more. Raise heat to high and add broth, mushrooms, thyme salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook about 20 minutes, until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat, let stand 5 minutes, fluff w/ fork and serve.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Meal Plan February 27- March 4

*Notes New Recipe
(Where you can find recipe on blog)

Happy Birthday to me!!!
Beer Battered Fish (Fresh caught, frozen from last summer)
Baked Potatoes (October 21, 2010)
Green Beans

Pot Stickers
Rice Pilaf*

Broccoli Cheese Soup*
Crescent Rolls

Grilled Steak
Wedge Salads (January 26, 2011)
Dark Bread

Coney Dogs (January 10, 2011)
Mac and Cheese
Cucumber Salad (May 14, 2010)

Hamburger Helper (Alex's Pick for the week)
Asparagus (January 31, 2011)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Just 1 Step

My friend, and fellow blogger, Kara is currently doing a give away on her blog, www.just1step.com. It's a great contest and I'm hoping to win:) And if you want to win too, check out her blog and enter!!


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Alex's Lunch Plan Feb 21-25

So I realized the other day I've really dropped the ball on posting Alex's lunches. I guess I have been concentrating on my goals for our suppers (a new recipe each week and using things 2x) his "plan" has taken a back seat. But only on this blog! Don't worry- he has still been fed every day :) Plus after Christmas Vacation, I implemented a new idea into his lunch plan that probably caused me not to focus on it quite as much. Alex now eats hot lunch at school once per week, if behavior permits it. Yes, we use hot lunch as a tool b/c it's a very big deal to him and it's actually worked great as a bargaining tool. In fact, last week he earned an extra day of hot lunch as a reward and the kid was as excited as if I bought him a toy! We go over the school menu and pick out the healthiest day and that is the day he is allowed to get it. If something happens during the week at school behavior wise, then he knows either the hot lunch day that week, or the next week if the timing calls for it will be taken away and he will pack. I realize some parents might think I'm nuts for trying to bargain w/ school lunch, but to Alex it was something he really wanted to do, and I saw it as a chance to use a want, and a need, as a privilege. We call it creative parenting; and Alex is the type of child that we sometimes need to have creative consequences for. And this way, he still eats, and well I might add, but the idea he doesn't get to do what his friends are doing (eating hot lunch) really seems to resonate w/ him :) So far, it's been a very good way to work w/ Alex on trying to earn something he wants. However, here is what we will be packing this week for the little guy to enjoy.

Lemonade Capri Sun
Ham/Cheese Sandwich
PBJ crackers
Honey Grahams

Strawberry Milk
Cheese Rice Crisps
Vanilla Fish


Apple Juice
PB/Honey Sandwich
String Cheese
Blueberry Yogurt Pretzels
Fruit Roll Up

Wild Cherry Capri Sun
Ham/Cheese Sandwich
Pizza "Goldfish"

2 Ingredient Cookies

Nope, you didn't read that wrong. Yes, it says 2. I too thought it was too good to be true, but my eyes didn't deceive me either. I found this on another site I read, Picky Palate and was so intrigued by it I bought one of the ingredients tonight while getting my regular groceries. We are still enjoying many treats left over from Valentine's Day, but as soon as they are gone, I am going to try these and if they turn out tasting like their description, I am going to have 2 very happy boys in my house. Chocolate and peanut butter--Adam and Alex staples. But for Alex they will be a HUGE treat since I limit his chocolate intake pretty strictly. As soon as I try them, I will report back. like always. But as a side note, these are made for "dirt cheap" prices. I did the math----see below :) And anything that is inexpensive, only tastes better to this thrifty mom!

Reeses Peanut Butter Cup Cookies
24 snack size Reeses peanut butter cups (usually come in a pack of 8- at Walmart for $1.00)
1 large egg

Preheat oven to 350º. Unwrap all peanut butter cups and place in a food processor. Pulse until smooth and combined. Add an egg and pulse until combined. With a medium cookie scoop, scoop dough onto a silpat or parchment lined baking sheet. (I will use a large tablespoon). With the heel of your hand, press each cookie down to about 1/2 inch thick. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until cooked through and edges start to crisp. Let cool for 15 minutes on baking sheet before removing to cooling rack. Makes 12-14 cookies

If the peanut butter cups can be bought for $1.00 and one egg is about $.16 (approx. $1.89 for a dozen/ 12 eggs) That is a total of $1.16, divided by an average of 13 cookies per batch, that is approx. $.09 per cookie!!!!!!!! Sandra Lee would be so proud!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Happy Birthday Mom!!!!!

Yep, that's right 54 years ago today God put a wonderful woman on this earth, a woman who would become the most understanding, caring, thoughtful, supportive and loving wife and mother I would ever know. The baby that would become my mother, my best friend. She is a woman to be admired, the kind of mother I hope I am like and the kind of grandmother I hope to be some day. These recipes are dedicated to her. Mom has many food allergies and has to be careful about what she eats, very careful. And while gluten is actually one thing she doesn't have to be too concerned w/, any time I see recipes that are for those out there who have special dietary needs, I always think of mom. Plus I know so many people these days who have an allergy to gluten, and so many moms having to plan meals around children that do I know how hard it can be. So when I saw these in All You magazine, I was excited to share them for those who need them. Plus, they made me think of mom, and that made me smile :)

Gluten Free Brownies
1/4 c. brown rice flour
1/2 c. almond meal
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
5 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
8 TBS unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3 TBS unsweetened cocoa
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 c. packed light brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350º. Mist a 12 cup muffin tin and 4 cups of a 6 cup tin w/ gluten free spray. In a bowl, whisk rice flour, almond meal, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Place chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl; set over a pan of simmering water. Let stand until chocolate and butter have melted, stirring often. Remove from heat, whisk in cocoa. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat eggs and sugar on medium speed until smooth. Beat in vanilla. Slowly add chocolate mixture; beat on low for 1 minute. Beat in flour mixture. Fill each muffin cup 2/3 full. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Let cool in pans on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then remove to rack to cool completely.

Gluten Free Pizza
Rice flour for dusting hands and rolling
1 13.2 oz. package gluten free pizza dough mix
1 TBS olive oil
2 TBS diced red onion
1/8 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. canned tomato puree
1/4 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
pinch of pepper
8 oz. mozzarella, shredded
2 small bell peppers, 1 red 1 green, seeded and sliced
1/2 c. pitted black olives, halved
10 fresh basil leaves

Preheat oven to 425º; prepare dough as directed on package. Warm oil in a medium pan on medium-high heat. Add onion and salt; saute until onion has softened, about 3 minutes. Reduce heat to low; stir in tomato puree, sugar, oregano and pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes. Mist 2 pizza pans or round baking sheets w/ gluten free cooking spray. Divide dough in half; spread on pans. Pour sauce over each, leaving 1/2 inch border. Sprinkle w/ mozzarella. Top w/ pepper slices and olives. Bake for 15-18 minutes (or as package directs) until crust is light golden and cheese melted. Allow to cool 5 minutes. Top w/ basil leaves before serving.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Simple, Easy, Quick

Those are 3 words every busy wife and mother likes to hear when it comes time to put supper on the table. I don't care if you are working 40 hours in an office or if you are home all day w/ kids, laundry, dirt, dishes, etc, by the time the 6 o'clock hour rolls around, you just want a meal that is satisfying yet not a burden to make. As moms (and wives too) we are exhausted by the end of the day, and while most of us would love to pull a roast turkey out of the oven w/ all the trimmings to the "oohhhs and ahhhhs" of our families, it just isn't practical. This meal is a twist on an old favorite--who doesn't like a good taco. Go to any street fair, sporting event or even a school cafeteria and many times you will find these on the menu. I had them all the time as a kid for school lunch, but Adam never had one until after we were married when he went to a basketball game at the Coliseum. I was shocked when he came home and declared "I had the best thing to eat. I wish you could make them." What was he talking about?? A walking taco!!! I couldn't believe he was a "virgin" to the concept and ever since they have been one of our favorite quick suppers; and Alex loves them too. Traditionally, the idea of a walking taco is to serve everything right in the chip bag--hence, you can walk while you eat it-- but at home I serve them in more of a "salad" style, so while we are eating simply, we are still eating at the table, w/ plates, and forks. :)

Walking Tacos

1 bag corn chips
1 lb. ground beef, turkey, or buffalo
1 packet taco seasoning
1/4 head of lettuce, finely chopped
1 tomato, diced
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
Toppings: Sour Cream, Black Olives, Guacamole, Salsa

In a skillet on medium heat, brown meat and drain fat. Add taco seasoning and water (per packet instructions) and simmer about 10 minutes. On each individual plate, put about a cup of corn chips, and a couple spoonfuls of the meat mixture. Add favorite toppings and enjoy!

Shared on Savannah's Savory Bites Aug. 3, 2011
Shared on This Chic Cooks Aug. 3, 2011
Shared on Lark's Country Heart Aug. 3, 2011
Shared on Lady Behind The Curtain Aug. 3, 2011

Thanks to Amy at Food Corner!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Meal Plan February 20-25

* Notes new recipe
( ) Where you can find the recipe on the blog

Beef Roast
Mashed Potatoes/Gravy
Parsnips (May 21, 2010)

Sausage Quiche (May 15, 2010) I'm adding mushrooms this time
Hashbrown Cakes

Vegetable Soup (September 1, 2010)

Baked Mostaccoli (May 19, 2010)
Olive Cheese Bread* (February 12, 2011)

Buffalo Chicken Sammies (July 12, 2010)
Sweet Potato Fries
Creamed Corn

Going to my mom's for my birthday dinner and she is cooking :)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentines Day!!!

A day dedicated to all things love--I'm all for it. No I don't think you should only tell those you care about how much they mean to you one day on the calendar, but I do think for those who get so busy w/ everyday life, taking a moment to pause to remember why you love someone and reminding him/her of that is very important. Rather that be on February 14th, April 5th or November 12th :) Valentines Day has always been a special day for Adam and I, but since Alex came along it's become a day for the whole family. This weekend we had a family Valentines Day on Saturday going to see Gnomeo and Juliet and then having a fabulous sushi dinner at Asakusa. Alex even got to spend some Valentine money he recieved in the mail at Debrands chocolate shop and buy a Lego set. It was a fabulous day for just the 3 of us! Knowing we were going to celebrate a little early, I wanted to make sure to do something just as nice for supper Monday. I'm making meatloaf, scalloped potatoes and candied carrots--all 3 are some of my boys' favorites. For dessert though I wanted to make something extra special. I found this recipe at about.com and know it will be a sweet treat for the sweet men in my life :) Happy Valentines Day Adam and Alex--you both are what allow me to do what I do, be who I am and feel the love I do every single day!!

Chocolate Chip Pie
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 c. melted butter
3/4 c. chopped pecans or walnuts (I used walnuts)
1 c. semisweet chocolate chips (6 oz)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 9-inch pie shell, unbaked

Combine sugar and flour; stir in eggs and butter. Add copped nuts, chocolate chips, and vanilla. Mix well. Pour mixture into pie shell and bake @ 350º for 40-45 minutes.

Chocolate Chips on FoodistaChocolate Chips

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Traveling Within My Kitchen

We love to travel and visit new places, but aren't able to do it as much as we would like. And one of the places we visit most is Pennsylvania. Why?? Because 90% of my family lives there and we enjoy visiting them :) But what many people don't understand is that since most of them live in Western PA, and while I've traveled to other areas of the state, one city I've never been to is Philadelphia. That's right. After 30 years of trips to the Quaker State, this PA girl at heart, has never been to Philly, but tonight we're going to feel like we have been! That's because one way I enjoy "traveling" is through food and/or travel shows; and one of my favorites is $40 A Day w/ Rachael Ray. I love seeing all the places she visits and what she can find to eat, explore and learn. I recently bought The Best Eats In Town On $40 A Day cookbook ($2 clearance shelf at Half Price Books) and tonight's recipe is from a section dedicated to the city of brotherly love. On this trip she visited the Down Home Diner and chose their corn cakes for breakfast. We used to have a diner here in Fort Wayne that served corn fritters w/ maple syrup for breakfast and we loved them. And as soon as I saw this recipe, I knew I was going to try it in hopes of capturing some of those same flavors. So move over "Rocky" the Marshalls are coming to town!!!

Corn Cakes
1 cup fine ground yellow cornmeal
1 c. self rising flour
4 TBS sugar
2 eggs
2 c. buttermilk
6 TBS corn oil (I am using vegetable b/c I have it)
2 cups fresh corn kernels (I am using thawed frozen ones)

Heat a griddle or large non stick skillet over medium high heat. Place cornmeal, flour & sugar in a large bowl and mix together. In a separate bowl, combine eggs, buttermilk, oil & corn & stir until blended. Fold liquid ingredients into dry, gently stirring just until incorporated; do not over-mix. Spray the griddle w/ cooking spray. Ladle 1/2 cup of corn mixture onto hot griddle. Cook over medium heat for 3-4 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Repeat until no batter remains.

* If you have all purpose flour and want to substitute: Add 1 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder and 1/4 to 1/2 of a teaspoon of salt to every 1 cup of all-purpose flour

*To make buttermilk: Place a Tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice in a liquid measuring cup. Add enough milk to bring the liquid up to the one-cup line.

Down Home Diner
Reading Terminal Market
12th & Filbert Streets
Philadelphia, PA

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Domino Effect

That is how I would describe how I get a lot of my recipes. Somebody else tries it first, and passes it on to someone else, and they pass it on, and eventually it ends up on my supper table. Rather it be word of mouth, blog posts, recommendations, Facebook, etc., many dishes I make are b/c someone else said to. LOL This is a perfect example. I am a dedicated follower of the Mommy's Kitchen blog and according to her, this is her new obsession. I can sympathize w/ that. Something so good, and so new you just can't get enough of it. And where did she get it from? The Pioneer Woman , who while I don't follow as religiously as some of my other sites, but have still heard of and read from time to time. Needless to say, I am so excited to try this, and will let you know how it goes, but w/ olives and cheese, 2 of our favorite things, how bad it could be??

Olive Cheese Bread
1 loaf French bread
6 oz. stuffed green olives, chopped
6 oz. black olives, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
1 stick butter
1/2 c. mayo
12 oz. Monterrey Jack Cheese, shredded

Combine butter, mayo, cheese, olives and green onions in a mixing bowl. Stir together until thoroughly combined. Spread mixture onto French bread that has been sliced lengthwise. Bake @ 325º for 25-30 minutes until cheese is melted and browning.

Olives on FoodistaOlives

Friday, February 11, 2011

New Website

I love the blogging community! Through it, I found this great new website! All of us that meal plan will love it. Head on over to Real Mom's Kitchen for all the details on the new meal planning/shopping list site she is featuring today!


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Meal Plan Feb 13-18

 *New Recipe

Corn Cakes*
Sausage Patties

Meatloaf (Oct 29, 2010)
Scalloped Potatoes (July 6, 2010)
Candied Carrots (September 2, 2010)

Ranch/Bacon Pasta Salad
Sliced Peaches


Thursday (My Mom's birthday dinner!!)
Roasted Whole Chicken Breasts (January 27, 2010)
Winter Squash
Red Potatoes

Walking Tacos

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

New Recipe, Kind of

There are certain recipes, that aren't recipes at all. You know what I'm talking about. Those dishes that aren't created by following a strict blueprint, but instead either come together off the top of your head, or more so in my case dishes people before me have made for so long they don't even think about what they are doing, they just do. That is how this one came to me. Adam made a request long ago for me to make goulash like his late grandma used to. At the time she was still alive and I asked her what was in hers, and it sounded very similar to what my mom used to make. Well.....fast forward about 2 years later and I finally got around to asking my mom "hey, how did you make your goulash?" So from her explanation of "some of this, a little of that" I have come up w/ the following recipe for what I hope is close to what both of us remember from our childhood!

1 lb. ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1 (26oz) traditional spaghetti sauce
1 lb. elbow macaroni
Salt and Pepper to taste

Brown hamburger in skillet w/ chopped onion, seasoned w/ salt and pepper. Drain fat. Meanwhile, boil macaroni and drain well. Put macaroni back in pot. Add in hamburger mixture and sauce. Stir well and heat through.

Pin It

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Super Bowl Baby!!!!

Yes, this is one wife and mother who is so excited for today!! I know there are a lot of women out there who dread Super Bowl Sunday like the plague b/c they know their husbands will be unreachable for the duration of the game, but in our house, it's a family affair! Pregame starts at 10 in the morning, and post game lasts well into the wee hours of the night! We are part of one of the biggest nations in the world---STEELER NATION!!! That's right, we bleed black and gold. Adam has been a fan for years, and when he entered my family, the western Pennsylvania family, they were more welcoming once he dropped names like Chuck Noll, Rod Woodson, and Jerome Bettis. This year we are having a quiet celebration at home b/c of it being a school night for Alex. My mom is coming over to watch the game, and we will be on the phone w/ the PA clan through out the game. Since I'm going to be too busy waving my "Terrible Towel" to be in the kitchen, and b/c my little Steelers fan requested it, I'm doing a party buffet full of our favorite "nibbly bits" (as Alex calls them) for our game time meal. Most of the things are tried and true favorites, but this one is a brand new I found at allrecipes.com. We love mushrooms, and I know the gang will flip for these. So if you are watching the game tomorrow, enjoy good times, good food and great football! If you are a Packers fan, we can still be friends, just so you know where my loyalty lies and always will!

Stuffed Mushrooms
12 whole fresh mushrooms
1 TBS vegetable oil
1 TBS minced garlic (I will be used 1 tsp garlic powder)
1 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp cayenne powder ( I will omit this b/c of Alex)

Preheat oven to 350º. Spray a baking sheet w/ cooking spray. Clean mushrooms with a damp paper towel. Carefully break off stems. Chop stems extremely fine, discarding tough ends. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and stems. Fry until any moisture has disappeared, taking care not to burn garlic. Set aside to cool. When stem mixture is cool, stir in cream cheese, Parmesan cheese, pepper, onion and cayenne powder. Using a little spoon, fill each mushroom cap with a generous amount of stuffing. Arrange the mushroom caps on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or until mushrooms are piping hot and liquid starts to form under caps.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

What I Learned On Facebook

This afternoon I started a conversation on Facebook. Of all things, it was about crescent rolls. And before I knew it, I had comments galore and 2 new recipe suggestions! The one was given to me by a dear friend of my mom's (and mine), and my preschool teacher. She found it in the Journal Gazette newspaper, right before Christmas. The other wasn't an actual recipe, so I looked on the Internet until I found the actual one; and I think they would make a great brunch item, or even a dessert. Both sound so good--but how bad can anything be w/ crescent rolls?? They are SO yummy. See the things you can learn while social networking???

Cherry Christmas Bread (Makes 2 loaves)
 1 10 oz jar maraschino cherries, drained and sliced in half (save 5 for top)
1 8 oz pkg. cream cheese
1/4 c. chopped pecans
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 tsp almond extract
2 cans crescent rolls

1 c. powdered sugar
4 tsp. milk
1/4 tsp almond extract

Chop cherries, except the ones for the top. Mix the cream cheese w/ sugar and extract until smooth. Add nuts and cherries. Lay out each can of dough separately. Spread filling over top. Roll up and place in loaf pan. Mix glaze ingredients until smooth. Bake @ 375º for 30-35 minutes. Pour glaze over top and top w/ 5 cherries (halved).

Pecan Crescent Rolls
1 can crescent rolls
1 jar Nutella
1 egg, beaten w/ a dash of water
1 bag crushed pecans

Separate each individual unbaked triangle and lay on ungreased baking sheet. Take a small scoop of Nutella and place on each roll. Sprinkle a very small number of crushed pecans onto Nutella. Roll up each triangle to filling is completely enclosed. Brush w/ a tiny bit of egg wash on each roll. Bake @ 350º for 11 minutes.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Meal Plan Feb 6- 11

 *New Recipe

I will be posting a new recipe I am trying for our party buffet:)

Corn Beef Hash


Ham Steaks
Pan Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Wild Rice

Greek Salads ( to use left over feta in the freezer, from Greek Burgers January 14th)

With Valentines Day being on a Monday, we are going out this night, using a gift certificate from my parents for Christmas to our favorite sushi restaurant :)

If At First You Don't Succeed

Yep, that's me. The Little Engine That Could. When it comes to what you ask. Homemade mashed potatoes. Yep, one of the most simple things on the face of the earth to cook and each time I try I stink at it. We eat a lot of store bought potatoes (ie Bob Evans) and "smashed" potatoes b/c those are easy & can be left chunky. (There is my confession for the day) But the smooth, silky, fluffy potatoes that I crave, well, for those I get them somewhere else. Every time I've attempted them, it's been a disaster that usually leads to me being frustrated and swearing to never try again. But here I am once again preparing to try. I have decided this time though to not rely on "eye-balling" it. I'm going to follow a recipe, that I found on about.com ( I know, pathetic) Maybe just maybe if I follow someone else's plan they will turn out. I'm crossing my fingers.........

Perfect Mashed Potatoes

2 1/2 lbs. baking potatoes, cut into 1 inch chunks
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup butter
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Place potatoes in 4 qt saucepan or Dutch oven. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Drain potatoes thoroughly. Place back in pot to remove excess water. Add remaining ingredients. With electric hand held mixer, beat potato mixture until light and creamy. 

Potato on FoodistaPotato

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

This Week's New Recipe

As if I don't already use my crock pot enough, it is definitely going to be put to good use now that 2 nights a week my boys are going to be absent at our normal supper time. Adam and Alex are starting a Tae Kwon Do class together! Well, Alex is starting and Adam is picking up where he left off years ago. Alex is so excited to begin learning something new and Adam is thrilled to be able to share in it w/ him. But that means on Tuesday and Thursday evenings I have to be creative on my meal planning (like I wasn't already??). I've figured Alex needs to eat beforehand, but w/ Adam already rushing to get home from work he will more than likely eat when they get home. So I needs meals that are either re-heatable very easily or ones that can be served at different times w/o losing any flavor, consistency, etc. Hence why the crock pot is going to become even more handy in my world! This recipe is one I found on the Internet while looking for things to do w/ beef in the crock pot. I'm curious to see how it turns out; and hoping it achieves my new goal!

Crock Pot Beef Stew
1 lb. beef stew meat, cut in cubes (I will probably use round steak or chuck roast)
1 lb. baby carrots
4-5 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
2 pkgs brown gravy mix
1 pkg. beef stew seasoning ( I bought McCormick)

Place vegetables and meat in crock pot. Cover w/ water and stir in gravy mix and seasoning packet. Cook covered on high for 4-6 hours or low for 8-12. If not thick enough, take out about 1/2 cup of gravy, mix w/ 2 TBS cornstarch and return to crock pot. (I did this w/ about 2 hours left to cook, and it really thickened up nicely.)