Everyday Mom's Meals: June 2011

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Nana Nana Nana!!!

No, I'm not being a snotty kid teasing anyone. Nor am I running around yelling Grandma's name. Ha! I'm talking "nanners", bananas!!! As a kid, I wasn't the biggest banana fan. As an adult, I am. But more than just the fruit itself, I love banana flavored things. Bread, milkshakes, ice cream, candy, cake--I don't care. If it's banana, sign me up, year round, but especially during these hot summer months. Maybe it's b/c it seems tropical to me (same reason why I'm all about coconut May-September). Maybe it's b/c it is so refreshing. Whatever the reason, when I see a recipe involving bananas it always makes me stop and take notice, especially if it is dessert. I saw someone on tv making a banana pudding dessert and though "Mmmmm, that's what I've been craving and didn't even know it". So off to the store I went. Seriously, from the time the tv chef was saying "join me next me" to the time I was in the car was no more than 10 minutes! I love desserts I can make, chill and we can eat from them for days! Anyway, I get to the store and head to the produce aisle to get bananas and there is a display of "Nilla Wafers". Well, isn't someone a total genius! Talk about grocery stores catering to their customers, and/or subliminal messaging. Whichever it was, I was happy b/c it meant less walking for me. So this is what I came up with after looking at a few recipes and pulling a little of this and that from each. This makes a huge portion and we will be enjoying it for days to come. But that is 100% okay w/ this banana lover----after all, I am the mommy to a little monkey:)

Banana Pudding Dessert

1 large box instant vanilla pudding
1 14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
2 c. cold milk
16 oz Cool Whip, thawed
4 bananas sliced
1 box Vanilla Wafer cookies

In a large bowl, pour pudding mix. Add milk and whisk until thick. (The directions on the box call for 3 cups, so be sure not to follow them. It will be thicker than normal pudding). Add condensed milk and mix until well combined. Fold in Cool Whip. In a 9x13 pan, layer cookies, pudding, bananas in repeating layers, ending w/ pudding. Top w/ crushed cooking. Chill well before serving.

Shared on Chef In Training July 5, 2011
Shared on Around My Family Table July 7, 2011
Shared on Celebrating Family July 12, 2011
Shared on Gooseberry Patch July 13, 2011
Shared on Family Fresh Cooking July 13, 2011

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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Dinner on the Go

Facebook. Who knew when it was created as a forum for college students it would now be controlled by grandmas, stay at home moms, bloggers, and small business owners? I have a fan page for this blog and it has brought more people here to my "home away from home" than I could have ever dreamed. Currently I am sitting at 284 fans on Facebook! That number has kept growing from the minute I launched the page and I couldn't be more grateful. I threw out an idea on Facebook asking people to tell me the recipes they wish they had, or want to make, but don't have time to research, and I would do it for them, and blog about it. Just trying to keep things fresh and new:) The first response I got was from a fan whose husband is on the road traveling a lot and she was looking for microwave meals for him. The minute I read it I thought "wow, I bet a lot of people are in that same boat." Traveling for business, but not wanting to eat out all the time, and certainly not able to plan things you would make in a full kitchen. Plus I bet a tasty microwave meal would be handy for a college student living in a dorm, or a city dweller in a small apartment. So good to my word, I went searching. The first thing I found was an entire website dedicated to this very subject: www.microwaverecipe.net is full of idea of food that can be done in the microwave. This was the first recipe I clicked on simply b/c the picture looked to appetizing. Then I found out in order to make it, you had to click on another one of their recipes, and so I did only to find another great idea. So consider this a 2 for 1 special! Your microwave isn't just for popcorn, steamed veggies and reheating coffee anymore!

Microwave Chicken

1 boneless chicken breast, 4-5 oz.
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp dried rosemary

Rinse chicken breast in water and blot w/ paper towels. Sprinkle w/ seasonings and wrap in microwave safe plastic wrap. Microwave 2- 2 1/2 minutes.

Chicken Lo Mein

2 boneless chicken breasts, prepared as directed above
1 TBS sesame or peanut oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 yellow onion, finely diced
1 TBS soy sauce
1 TBS teryaki sauce
2 tsp dried ground ginger
1 3oz. pkg chicken ramen noodle soup
16 oz frozen oriental vegetable mix
3/4 c. water

Prepared chicken and set aside to cool. In a separate microwave safe bowl combine oil, garlic and onion. Microwave 2-3 minutes until onions soft and set aside. In a larger microwave safe dish add bag of vegetables and 1/2 c. water. Cover loosely w/ plastic wrap and microwave for 3-5 minutes, until veggies are warm throughout. Drain excess water. Prepare ramen noodle mix per microwave instructions w/ 1/4 c. water and without the flavor packet. Drain noodles. Cut chicken into bite sized pieces. In a large microwave safe bowl, combine noodles, vegetables, onion mix, soy sauce, teryaki sauce, and ginger. Stir to combine well and cook 1-3 minutes until heated through.

Photo Courtesy of MicrowaveCooking.net

Chicken Breast on FoodistaChicken Breast

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Not Your Mama's Slaw

There are so many standard dishes out there that I love, but I'm always looking for ways to "spice" them up, or make something old new again. That's how I came to find this new twist on coleslaw. I know some out there like the vinegar based dressed slaw, and the other part of the population is like me and enjoys a cool, creamy slaw. My favorite slaw? My mom's. This is becoming a pattern on here. I bet my mom doesn't even realize how many "favorites" of mine are things she makes better than anyone else on earth, well to me anyway. She shreds cabbage, makes a simple dressing, mixes it and wah-lah---it's the best!! (Note to self, get mom to actually measure ingredients in order to share!) But it's one of those things if I'm hungry for it, I go "home.". It is usually part of my requested birthday dinner; and if mom invites us and wants to know what sounds good, it is always at the top of my list. So since I don't (or I should say haven't yet) make it at home, I find others to make instead. I've shared my recipe for Crunchy Coleslaw, which is amazing, and if you haven't tried it should, b/c it's an updated version for the ages! But this time I was not only looking for something new and easy, but a little "zippier". Adam and I love horseradish and I happen to see on another blog someone talking about using it in coleslaw and a light bulb went off. Of course! So I turned to my trusty friend Epicurious and found one that has 3 ingredients--2 of which I have on hand at all times. The classics will always be classic (especially when they are homemade by mom) but sometimes it's fun to experiment, try something new and add a little spice to your life!

Horseradish Coleslaw

1 c. purchased creamy coleslaw
1 1/2 TBS prepared horseradish
1 1/2 TBS fresh or 1 1/2 tsp dried thyme (I will use dried)

Mix all well. Let chill for flavors to combine.

See, how easier could you get???

*NOTE* I served this w/ grilled burgers and Adam has declared it makes a great condiment for them. He went as far as to say we need to have some each time we grill burgers. So I guess you got a 2 for 1. A great side and a great "topper".

Shared On This Chick Cooks  June, 29, 2011
 Shared on Gooseberry Patch June 29, 2011
Horseradish on FoodistaHorseradish

Monday, June 27, 2011

Beet It

No I'm not looking for a fight. Well, not a literal one anyway. It's time for me to share something w/ all of you, my wonderful blog family. A member of my "real" family is in the battle of his life right now, and that's the fight that is on my mind. My brother in law Matt was diagnosed w/ leukemia the beginning of May. After 4 weeks in the hospital and a strong round of chemo, he was released June 3 to rest and heal at home. Last week some of our prayers were answered when the doctor said he is officially in remission!!! Hallelujah! Now onto part 2 of this journey--a bone marrow transplant. Wednesday morning, Adam gave blood to be tested and we are keeping our fingers crossed that either him, or the 2 other siblings are matches for Matt. His ordeal isn't over yet, and he still has a long road ahead of him, but for now he is doing well, and we are in a waiting pattern and to know he has come this far in such a short amount of time, we couldn't be more thankful. On Father's day my mother in law mentioned to me she heard that beets are really good for your blood system. What?? I love beets--pickled or not--they are tasty. But I had never heard of this, so I went looking. I found out, thanks to Juicing-For- Health beets are not just healthy--they are SUPER healthy. They are packed full of vitamins A, B1, B2, B6 and C. They are also an excellent source of iron, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, calcium, and sodium.The high content of iron in beets regenerates and reactivates the red blood cells and supplies fresh oxygen to the body. The copper content in them help make the iron more available to body, which makes them a great blood builder. Well, no wonder my mother in law was trying to spoon feed them to Matt even though they aren't his favorite. LOL Just kidding. Actually he was fully willing to eat them and now I know why. For a patient dealing w/ a blood disorder these things are like gold! So when I saw this salad on a blog hop I was participating in I knew who I'd share it w/ right away. But I also knew I would be making it for a light summer lunch for Adam and I b/c like me, he loves beets! Thanks to the Winelady Cooks for the inspiration and a new yummy way to enjoy them. For all of you who already knew about Matt, we are so grateful for all the positive thoughts, caring words and prayers you've sent our way. Words can't describe the way you've touched our hearts. We're going to eat this salad, think of our brother Matt and stand beside him ready to fight this thing the whole way!

Cold Beet Salad  Adapted from Winelady Cooks

1 can sliced beets (not pickled)- chilled
1 container crumbled feta cheese
1 bag mixed baby greens
1-2 TBS olive oil
juice of 1/2 a lemon (maybe more to taste)
salt & pepper

Put greens in a bowl. Drizzle w/ lemon juice and olive oil. Sprinkle w/ salt and pepper. Mix gently w/ fingers. Arrange on a platter. Place beets on top, and season w/ salt and pepper.  Sprinkle w/ cheese. Chill at least 30 minutes before serving.

*NOTE* When dressing greens, always add the acid first. If the oil is already on them, it will prevent the acid from seasoning the greens.

*NOTE* While this was absolutely delicious as is, the next time I make it I'm using the dressing from the Celery Salad. I think it would compliment this nicely.

Shared on This Chick Cooks June 29, 2011
Shared on Chef In Training July 5, 2011
Shared on Gooseberry Patch July 13, 2011
Shared on Amee's Savory Dish July 15, 2011

Beet on FoodistaBeet

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Eat Your Veggies

The other day I "introduced" you to Adam's Grandma Joy. I talked about all the great holidays we spent at her house and the great memories we have of yummy mouth watering meals during those family get togethers. But one thing you would have never found on her table was broccoli. Grandma hated it! Raw or cooked, it didn't matter to her. She always said "eating broccoli is like chewing on shrubs." LOL Luckily my child never heard this :) I don't think it would have matter thought. In fact, Alex probably would have thought it was funny but he loves broccoli so much I don't think it would have changed his opinion. I know not all parents are as lucky as I am and their kids turn their noses up at the first sight of anything that resembles a green, or for that matter, yellow, red or orange, vegetable. But when I stumbled upon this while looking through old cook books w/ my mom I knew it was something my little veggie lover would really enjoy. So while Grandma Joy is looking down on me as I type this and I can hear her saying,  "Oh Krista, why....YUCK!!" I know Alex will love it, and if your child is one of those that runs screaming "Noooooooo" every time you reach the produce aisle in the grocery store maybe hiding some of that green under cheese and breadcrumbs might be helpful. See, it's not just kids who hate veggies, Grandmas do too sometimes!!

Broccoli Casserole

2 pkgs. frozen broccoli florets
4 slices bread, crumbled (not dry)
1/2 lb. Velveeta, diced or grated
3 eggs beaten
2 c. milk

Cook broccoli in salted water. Drain and reserve liquid. Starting w/ broccoli, then crumbs, then cheese, layer 1/3 of each in buttered 2 qt. buttered casserole. Continue for 3 layers ending w/ cheese. Mix milk w/ eggs and add enough cooking liquid to make 3 cups. Pour over layers. Cover w/ aluminum foil and bake at 325 for 30 minutes or until set.

Broccoli on FoodistaBroccoli

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Meal Plan June 26-July 1

This week we are extremely busy outside of the house--various activities, commitments and engagements. Therefore, I am flying by the seat of my pants so to speak when it comes to dinners. Don't worry, I'll be back next week w/ an actual meal plan and will share it promptly! Sometimes life just gets in the way!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Rainy Day Take Two

On Monday I shared w/ you a great edible creative outlet for kids on those days the showers won't stop and by noon Mommy is heading towards her "time out" spot just to get away! That idea got me thinking about this one. Last year when Alex was in preschool it was his turn to bring in snack the day of their Halloween party. I thought it was the perfect opportunity to make something really cute and spooky for the kids, but like many other schools these days, they didn't allow homemade treats. So to compromise I took in all the supplies and the kids got to make their own snack. OMGosh, did they have a good time. It was so funny to watch them, watching me demonstrate and see in their little eyes how cool they thought it was to be "cooking" all by themselves. They were a huge hit and I think they would be perfect for an activity for little hands to work on while mom is working in the kitchen or just wants something fun to pass the time. And what a reward--they get to eat their masterpiece. Halloween or a stormy summer day, these spooky spiders are "boo-tifully" delicious.

Peanut Butter Spiders

Ritz Crackers (you need 2 per snack)
creamy peanut butter
pretzel sticks
raisins, currants, craisins or M&Ms (we used raisins for a healthy snack, but M&Ms would be such a treat!)
sprinkles (Halloween colors or other)
plastic knife- so little hands can spread peanut butter

Spread peanut butter on both crackers and put together, peanut butter on inside. Place 2-4 pretzel sticks on each side making legs. (Sometimes only 2 will fit comfortably). Place a small dot of peanut butter on top of cracker and place 2 raisins for eyes. Spread a small amount of peanut butter on top cracker and place a few sprinkles for decorations. Eat and Enjoy!

Photo Courtesy of Kraft

Shared on Celebrating Family July 12, 2011

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Best of Both Worlds

Many times in life we have to choose one over the other. As many parents' lips have uttered "You can't have your cake and eat it too". You want A but B looks just as good but you have to choose. Yep life pulls that fast one on us a lot. I'm a pretty decisive person. Once I make a decision, I'm done. I don't change mind a lot, but anything that allows me to not have to choose, heck yeah, sign me up. I've stated before how I am normally a "white sauce" person when it comes to pasta while Adam & Alex are both "red sauce" boys. But luckily all  of us are willing to step to the other side to please each other. When I saw this recipe on The Country Cook the words I titled this post with popped into my head instantly. It's one of those meals that will have your family saying "Is it__", "No, wait, it's___". That's right keep 'em guessing! All of us struggle to keep meals exciting, fresh & new, but at the same time finding things that are manageable w/ our hectic lives & crazy schedules. So why not something so super easy you won't be stressed at all, but at the same time, so new and interesting you'll have them all saying "Wow, Hmmmmm, & Yum" all in the same sentence!


1 24 oz. jar spaghetti sauce
1 24 oz. jar Garlic Alfredo Sauce ( I bought Ragu)
1 lb. spaghetti
1 lb. ground beef
2 c. shredded mozzarella
1/2 c. milk ( 2% or higher)
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried parsley

Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Rinse noodles under cold water and drain well. Preheat oven to 350. Spray 9x13 pan w/ nonstick spray. In a large bowl, combine alfredo sauce, mozzarella, milk, oregano and parsley. Stir well to combine. Add cooked and drained noodles and toss to coat completely. Place entire mixture into baking dish. Cover w/ foil and bake for about 30 minutes. While that cooks, brown beef in medium pan. Drain well. Add spaghetti sauce and mix. Cover and keep warm. After pasta done cooking, remove foil and cool for 8-10 minutes. Slice into portions and top w/ meat sauce. Sprinkle w/ Parmesan.

*NOTE* If you don't allow pasta to cool a big, it will become runny when sliced.

Ground Beef on FoodistaGround Beef

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Load It Up

In the summer time I am always finding ways to cook outside. If it can be put on the grill, it's going on b/c I will do anything not to heat up the house w/ the oven, and on the really hot days I don't even want to turn the microwave on. Especially since we have an eat in kitchen so when we sit down to dinner we're 2 feet away from the oven that has been setting at 400 for an hour! Eating in a sauna is not my idea of fun. One of my summertime grill treats are baked potatoes. In the winter I love doing them in the oven, but when it turns warm they are going on the grill. If I have a lot of time I will grill them the whole way, but if not I will start them in the microwave and finish them outside. Once they are done, it's time for my favorite way to eat a "tater"-loaded! I was first introduced to this concept when I was a waitress at Bob Evans, and now see them wherever we go. I don't always have everything on hand, so we do eat "plain" potatoes too, but when I think about it a warm fluffy potato w/ all the trimmings is the way to go. There are endless possibilities of toppings, but these are our favorites. So the next time you're tired, hot and hungry, grab a steak and a potato, throw them grill side; and let your imagination take you to new potato heights! I'm telling you, the person who figures out how I can make spaghetti on the grill is going to be my hero forever!

Loaded Baked Potatoes

4 lg. baking potatoes
olive oil
salt and pepper
scallions, chopped
real bacon bits
sour cream
sharp cheddar cheese

Wash and dry potatoes. Poke w/ a/ fork a few times. If cooking entirely on the grill, rub in olive oil, salt and pepper. Wrap each in aluminum foil. Grill time will depend on size, anywhere from 30-60 minutes on medium heat. If starting in microwave, cook for 5-7 minutes and then dress, wrap and grill for additional 10-15 minutes. When a fork is inserted easily into the middle, they are done. Once cooked, top w/ toppings.

*NOTE* Other ideas for toppings: Diced green pepper, olives, salsa, chives, dill, plain yogurt, etc.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Go Ahead, Play w/ Your Food

That's right, I'm going against everything your mother ever taught you. (Don't tell her. Better yet, don't tell mine!!) It's summer vacation, FINALLY, at our house and I am so happy to have Alex here every day to entertain me! It's so funny now that he is a little older b/c we can go about our days, be together, even in the same room, but I don't have to be constantly entertaining him anymore. I don't have to plan my chores around the time he is going to demand my attention. He entertains himself, I do my work and when we're both done we can find something fun to do together. It's really different this summer--much more peaceful. I feel like when we play together or find a project to do it's a joint effort and not just me trying to keep him occupied. But I'm still a creative mom who likes to keep a few tricks up my sleeve for those rainy days when we're stuck inside and by about 2pm everything is checked off the "to do" list and the words "I'm bored" are starting to creep from his brain to his tongue. I found this on I Can Teach My Child.and even though her (Jenae is a teacher and a mom--what a combo!!) site is geared towards slightly younger children I thought this is something Alex would get a huge kick out of--and feel like he is "getting away w/ something". Seriously how many times as he heard me say "don't eat that" now only to have it be okay! I actually think it might be better he's a little older, lessen the confusion b/c when he was 3 he wouldn't have understood why it was okay one time and I was freaking out the next! This site has a ton of ideas, helpful info and creative projects for parents. I love the first line of the welcome page "you are your child's first teacher" :) After all we all need activities to keep those little minds fresh during these summer months before the alarm rings on that first day of school!

Edible Playdough

9 oz. creamy peanut butter
3/4 c. nonfat dry milk
3 TBS honey

Mix all together in a large bowl. Check the consistency. If it is still too sticky to handle, add more dry milk. It should roll in your hands w/ very little sticking. Play away! Use cookie cutters, candies/dried fruits for decorations. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Shared on Celebrating Family July 12, 2011

Peanut Butter on FoodistaPeanut Butter

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day Treat

It's that time of year again, when we honor all dads and all they do for us all year long, not just the 3rd Sunday in June:) I have 3 men I have to plan special days for -my Daddy, my father in law and Alex's Daddy. Whew...this everyday mom has a lot on her plate. (Ha! What a segway, huh?) This year due to my dad's work schedule we celebrated w/ him early on Saturday night, which left today for Adam and his dad. Adam chose to have lunch here at home and go see his dad later in the day, so I let him pick what sounded good. His choice? BLTs, garden pea salad and chips. What a great summer lunch! (and easy for me....extra bonus) But a sweet treat to surprise him with and share w/ his dad was my idea! I found these over at For The Love of Cooking a week ago and knew exactly when I'd be debuting them. I have extra lemons and blueberries in the fridge that need to be used, so why not on something as yummy as these! Adam's dad loves most all things blueberries so I knew I could have them for dessert here and then treat him w/ a few too. And since I had shared the strawberry shortcake w/ my dad, it was only fair, right??!! Thanks to all the dads out there who sacrifice for their children; but none more than my Daddy, my hero, and the best Daddy I could have ever asked for my son- my husband. Both of you light up my life and remind me every day what the love of a father is capable of. "Any man can be a father, but it takes a special man to be a Daddy."

Lemon Blueberry Bars

Coconut Crust:
1 c. flour
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1/2 c. sweetened shredded coconut
1/8 tsp salt
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 tsp vanilla

Lemon Filling:
2 large eggs
1 c. white sugar
2 TBS flour
1/8 tsp salt
2 tsp lemon zest
1/3 c. fresh lemon juice
handful of fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 350. Line 8 inch baking pan w/ parchment paper w/ a little extra on the sides. Spray w/ cooking spray. To make crust, combine flour, powdered sugar and salt in a bowl. Add butter pieces, vanilla and coconut. Mix w/ hands until crumbly. Press evenly into bottom of pan. Bake until lightly golden, about 18-20 minutes. Set aside. To make filing, whisk together eggs, sugar, flour & salt. Add lemon zest and juice. Mix until combined. Pour filling over hot crust and add blueberries evenly on top. Bake 15-18 minutes until filling is set. Cool completely, but into bars and garnish w/ powered sugar.

Blueberry on FoodistaBlueberry

Saturday, June 18, 2011

New Followers, New Friends

I can't even put into words what this blog means to me. I love being a stay at home mom. It is what I always wanted to be, from a very young age. But what a lot of people don't know is I was an accomplished student graduating at the top of both my high school and college classes. What am I by trade? I have an Associates Degree in Surgical Technology. Yep, that's right, this everyday mom was trained for the operating room, not the kitchen:) And as most other "house moms" know sometimes I don't have the sense of accomplishment I did when I was going through school or working afterwards. I used to be assigned tasks, put forth great effort, and finish knowing I did the best I could. I used to problem solve and brain storm. Do I do those things here? Of course, but trying to figure out how to get the latest grass stain out of little man's favorite shirt, or how to retrieve the stray LEGO from behind the couch doesn't quite take the brain power I used to use on a daily basis. Would I trade it? Would I change it? 100%, ABSOLUTELY NOT. Please don't think for one second I'm complaining, I'm just using these as a way to convey the sense of accomplishment, hard work, effort, success and fun this blog, and all of you have given me. Also--it has allowed me to connect w/ people I never would have had the opportunity to meet otherwise. Talking to other home cooks, sharing recipes and ideas, giving/getting feedback--it's a huge world I'm happy to be a part of. One of these new people I've recently "met" is Nikki over at Chef in Training. She found a recipe of mine on a "linky party" and now I'm a fan of her blog too. She shared this recipe the other day and I knew I had to save it for my sister-in-law and mother-in-law. They are both HUGE brie fans, so I texted my sis and said "check this out" and I copied it down for my MIL. I know she's going to flip when she reads it! The sweetness this is going to have mixed w/ the gooey cheese...Ooooo my mouth is watering just thinking of it! I thought it was perfect for a weekend barbecue, pool party, or Father's Day get together.  For more great recipes and another blog to support, head on over to Chef in Training and check out what Nikki is cooking today!

Baked Brie

1 16 oz. round Brie cheese
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. chopped pecans
1/2 cup craisins

3 TBS brown sugar
3 TBS maple syrup

Preheat oven to 350. Place cheese on oven safe dish w/ sides. Sprinkle and lightly pat 1/2 cup brown sugar over it and on sides. Bake 15-20 minutes until cheese is soft. Place pecans on a clean baking sheet and bake until toasted, about 7-10 minutes. Sprinkle nuts and craisins over cheese. In a small sauce pan over medium heat, bring sauce ingredients to a boil. Simmer until foamy, about 1-2 minutes. Pour over cheese, nuts and craisins. Serve w/ baguette or crackers.
Photo Courtesy of Chef in Training

Brie Cheese on FoodistaBrie Cheese

Friday, June 17, 2011

Meal Plan June 19-24

* New Recipe
(Where to find on blog)

Sunday- Father's Day Lunch for Adam
Garden Pea Salad (April 30, 2011)
Lemon Blueberry Bars*

Honey Soy Chicken (July 15, 2010)
Loaded Baked Potatoes
Tossed Salad

Garlic Bread

Pork Burgers
Pasta Salad
Corn on the Cob

Skillet Casserole (May 23, 2010)

Grilled Ham Steaks (August 30, 2010)
Cheesy Potatoes

Mom Tested Kid Approved

Okay moms, how many of you out there have picky eaters? I see the hands shooting up now. I know there are tons of you out there who are dealing w/ "ewwwww, I'm not eating that" on a daily basis. I know I am SO lucky to have a little guy who will not only eat most anything, but enjoys it! How many other 6 year old kids love sushi, request calamari, crave Brussels sprouts and ask for all of them on a regular basis? I know you all hate me now. I'm sorry. I guess he comes by it naturally b/c Adam and I neither one are picky eaters. We just love food. And from a young age we have introduced Alex to different foods, textures and flavors. Our rule is: "you have to try one bite before you decide you don't like something"; and we stick to it. And what do you know, even when he thinks he won't like it, he tries it and "yummy" is the next thing that comes out of his now full mouth. But I feel for all of you that aren't as blessed as I am. I know dinner time becomes a fight and you fall into a rut b/c you just want to get something into your kids w/ too much of a battle. I also understand that moms have to be sneaky! Get those veggies in where you can. I had a Facebook fan (thanks Tracy) ask if I had recipes for vegetables for picky eaters and I recommended my Stuffed Yellow Squash, Pan Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Eggplant Parmesan. But all of those are obvious vegetables. I also suggested she hide some!! LOL This recipe is a good opportunity to do that. With hamburger & tater tots kids will be intrigued enough not to notice the peas in it. And anything topped w/ cheese is usually a hit! Plus you could always add more, or different ones- corn, zucchini, squash, mushrooms, green beans, lima beans! The possibilities are endless!

Tater Tot Casserole

1 lb. frozen tater tots
1 lb. cooked ground buffalo or beef
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 c. frozen peas
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400. In a large bowl, mix meat, soup, and peas. Season w/ salt and pepper. Pour into a greased 9x13 pan. Top mixture w/ a layer of tater tots. Bake for 20 minutes. Add cheese and bake 5 more minutes.
Tater Tots Arranged by Alex :)

Childlike Summers

Remember when we could play all day, and our curfew was "come home when the street lights come on"? I sure do. I grew up in a small town and I could ride my bike everywhere (as long as I didn't cross the "big" highway) and not come home until supper time, then be right out the door again. Hot sunny days spent on my swing set, riding bikes, playing w/ neighborhood kids. Warm evenings spent at the ballpark either playing or watching, playing in the sprinkler, roller skating around town (yes, actual roller skates, not Rollerblades). These are all things I remember about summers gone by. And when I think of these I think of those meals mom always saved or the hot months. Chicken wings on the grill (my dad's are awesome, and so easy), macaroni salad, corn on the cob, and for dessert--one of my dad's favorite things for mom to bake. Home made shortcake. Just thinking of it brings a smile to my face and a growl to my stomach. Honestly, I have never made it-probably b/c those sponge cakes in the produce section are so convenient and usually $.79 in the summer!! But if I want GOOD shortcake, this is it. She was telling me the other day dad was asking for it, and I knew it was time to get the recipe from her and give it a try. I have excepted the fact it will not taste as good as hers, nothing I makes of her ever does, but I'm okay w/ that, as long as it's close. Plus it gave me a reason to take Alex strawberry picking for the first time! He had so much fun and can't wait to go again! With strawberries coming in season, and how beautiful they are this time of the year, I am sure this will show up on our menu multiple times this summer!

Mom's Strawberry Shortcake
2 c. flour
1/4 c. sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 c. shortening
1 egg
1/3 c. milk

Preheat oven to 450. Grease and flour a 8 x 8 cake pan or pie plate. Sift dry ingredients. Cut in shortening until mixture is crumbly. Mix egg with milk and add to mixture. It will still be crumbly. Press down to even out. Bake for 12 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. Serve with macerated berries, whipped cream and/or ice cream.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Miss Threadgoode Would Be Proud

For those of you who haven't gone through a box of tissues while watching "Fried Green Tomatoes", stop what you're doing right now and go rent it. I'm serious. Turn off the computer, get the movie, a big box of Kleenex and see what the rest of us know--it's one of the best movies of our time! My love for these summer treat comes from my grandma and mom. All of the Powell women crave these, but due to diabetes, unfortunately I'm the only one left who can eat them. (If you try these, you'll realize just how sad that is). People have asked me "what do they taste like". Well, describing them to someone who has never had the pleasure is kind of like trying to describe a beautiful sunrise to someone who has never seen one. I can try, but you will never fully understand until you taste them. They are tangy, but sweet at the same time. They are crunchy, but also tender. See, it's not easy and any description I give you won't even come close to how good they truly are. I've brought the love of these into my marriage; and now my husband and child are fans too. Green tomatoes are one of the first things we try to find when we visit a farmer's market; and both of them know they first dozen or so tomatoes they grow in their garden won't make it past the green stage b/c I'm taking them to fry up of a batch of these! There are a lot of good recipes out there, simple to fancy, but this is the one I've always used and it's our favorite. So if you need a snack while watching the tear jerker by the same name, make these, then grab the tissues!

Fried Green Tomatoes

4 large green tomatoes
2 eggs
1/2 c. milk
1 c. all purpose flour
1 c. breadcrumbs
vegetable oil for frying
salt/pepper to taste.

Slice the tomatoes to whatever thickness you like. We like them medium, about 1/2 inch thick. Mix milk w/ egg. Place flour in bowl. Place breadcrumbs in another bowl. Season EACH of these w/ salt and pepper. Dredge slices into flour, then dip into egg mixtures, and then breadcrumbs to completely coat. Fry in 1/2 inch hot oil (I use my electric skillet set at 325) until brown on both sides. Do not crowd them. Drain on a platter w/ paper towel. Season w/ salt.

Green Tomato on FoodistaGreen Tomato

Meatballs Sans Sauce

If you clicked on this recipe after reading only the first word and are looking for another spaghetti & meatballs recipe, I'm sorry to disappoint you. However, if you stick w/ me, I am delivering one for meatballs, and there is pasta involved. To be honest, I'm not a big spaghetti & meatballs fan. Wait, that's a lie. There is one place on this Earth that I not only eat their version, but find myself craving it. It's our favorite Italian restaurant here in Fort Wayne, Casa D'Angelos. Mmmmm just thinking of it makes my mouth water. So I guess I should say I'm not a fan of them at home. I think I love Casa's so much b/c they use veal in theirs and they are the moistest most flavorful meatballs I've ever had. Add that in w/ their sweet tomato sauce (and if you remember I have told you I'm not a huge fan of red sauce, so you know theirs has to be divine) and it's the perfect combination. But I do make meatballs here at home for a main dish. Think mini meatloaves. I put all the same things in them as I do my meatloaf but they are in "ball" form. Something different, quick, and fun for Alex. (Kids will eat anything if you make it a fun shape. Remember that.) I came across this in Rachael Ray Magazine and was immediately excited b/c I've had ground pork in the freezer for a few months now and had no idea what to use it for. Why did I have it then? B/c my loving husband bought it at the butcher thinking it was pork sausage. Oops. So it's been sitting in there just waiting for a recipe and it's day of reckoning is finally here. Since they cook entirely in the oven, I'm excited about the mess free aspect too! Put the jar of sauce away, you won't need it when I'm done w/ you!

Pork, Cheese and Apple Meatballs w/ Egg Noodles

1 lb. ground pork
1 c. coarsely grated sharp cheddar cheese
3/4 c. breadcrumbs
1 small, tart apple, such as granny smith, peeled and grated
1/2 small onion, grated
1/2 c. chopped parsley ( I am omitting this. I don't enjoy the flavor)
1 egg beaten
salt/pepper to taste
One 12 oz package egg noodles
4 TBS butter, cut into pieces

Preheat the broiler. Line a rimmed baking sheet w/ foil & grease w/ butter. In a large mixing bowl, combine the pork, cheese, breadcrumbs, apple, onion, 3 TBS parsley, egg, 1 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Shape into 16 meatballs and arrange on baking sheet. Spray w/ cooking spray. Broil the meatballs until golden & cooked through about 8-10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a pot of boiling, salted water, cook the noodles until al dente. Drain, return to hot pot and toss w/ butter and remaining parsley. Season w/ salt & pepper. Divide noodles among 4 plates and top w/ 4 meatballs each.

*NOTE* Instead of the parsley on the noodles, I added a few scallions chopped. I make another dish that has buttered chive egg noodles; and since chives have a slight onion flavor, I used the scallions for the same effect. I know the picture does not do these justice. The were brown and crisp on the outside and moist inside. The noodles were buttery w/ just a hint of onion flavor. Yum!

Shared on Gooseberry Patch Aug. 3, 2011

Ground Pork on FoodistaGround Pork

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Tangy or Sweet

I've heard it say barbecue lovers fit into 2 categories. Either you love your bbq w/ a red based sauce (sweet) or a vinegar based (tangy) one. Well, for this girl, if it is a slow cooked pork (or beef) product, covered in sauce of any kind chances are I'm going to be a fan. I love good barbecue. But there are definite differences in the types, and technically there are more than 4! (Who knew bbq could be so complex?) According to armadillopeppers.com bbq in American "generally" falls into 1 of 4 categories:
  • Vinegar and Pepper
  • Mustard
  • Light Tomato
  • Heavy Tomato
The light tomato and mustard varieties coming from the Carolinas while the heavy tomato is the most commonly used and includes a sweetener of some sort. Me? I just want something tasty, and depending on my mood either is great for me! This time I wanted to find a more tangy recipe for some pulled beef sandwiches. Why? I don't know it just sounded good:) My mom had given me a beef roast and I thought "why not". I found this over at  A Good Appetite, another blog you should check out if you have time! It was exactly what I had in mind and anything that uses the crock pot so I don't have to heat up the house, that's an added bonus! So put on your cowboy hat, saddle up your horse and join us for some down home southern barbecue. (The hat and horse are optional!)

Crock Pot Shredded Beef

1 TBS Dijon mustard
1/2 c. bbq sauce (I'm using Jack Daniels original)
1 TBS red wine vinegar
6 oz. beer (I'm using Stella Artois)
1 1/4 lb. boneless beef roast (I'm using chuck)

Mix the Dijon, bbq sauce, vinegar in the crockpot. Cut the roast in half so the whole thing fits in the bottom of the crockpot. Put roast in crockpot and turn to coat both sides. Pour beer over top. Cook on low 6-8 hours until beef pulls away easily w/ a fork. Remove beef from sauce and shred w/ forks. Skim any fat from the sauce and mix as much as you like w/ the beef. Serve warm on buns.

*NOTE* I doubled this b/c my roast was about 3.5 lbs.

Mustard on FoodistaMustard

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Summer Bounty

Yay! It's time for fresh veggies from the farmer's market, supermarket, or in our case our very own back yard. Now, me- I have 2 black thumbs. I can't grow anything except little boys. Adam has the green thumbs in this family, and luckily he has passed that gene onto Alex. (Who knew gardening was included in the Y chromosome?) My boys spend many hours "playing" in the dirt during the summer months and the harvest we get out of it is Mommy's treat. And it allows me to have fresh ingredients to test recipes w/ to share w/ all of you. Unfortunately, it's not quite time for Alex to walk out back w/ his favorite plastic bowl to fill up w/ tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, zucchinis, eggplant, etc to present to me, with a huge proud smile on his face. Our favorite farmer's market isn't open quite yet either, but when I saw a picture of this on Foodista I had to click on it to see what all was involved; and hoped I could find good zucchini at the supermarket! This comes to us from The Fit Foodista, a blog I hadn't seen until now, but will definitely go to again! I served them w/ grilled pork chops and applesauce, but they are substantial enough on their own, they would make a great vegetarian meal w/ some crusty bread on the side:) All 3 of us agreed they were delicious. In fact Alex said "These zucchini rock Mommy. Put them on the blog." So here you go! Get out there and enjoy all the wonderful fresh, healthy foods summer has to offer!

Stuffed Zucchini w/ Artichokes Adapted from Fit Foodista
4 slices day-old wheat bread ( I used 1 cup dried bread crumbs)
3 medium zucchini
3/8 tsp. salt, divided
1/2 tsp. black pepper, divided
2 TBS olive oil
1 TBS unsalted butter
1 c. finely chopped onion
1/3 c. canned artichoke hearts, drained & chopped
1 tsp dried thyme
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 TBS chicken broth (could use white wine for vegetarian version)
5 TBS Parmesan cheese
2 tsp. dried basil
2 tsp freshly grated lemon zest

Preheat oven to 350. Place bread in food processor; pulse until fine crumbs form. Set aside. Cut zucchini in half lengthwise; scoop out pulp, leaving a 1/4 inch thick shell. Chop pulp. Place zucchini halves, cut side up, on a baking sheet lined w/ parchment paper; sprinkle w/ 1/8 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Heat oil and butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add zucchini pulp and onions. Saute 5 minutes. Add remaining salt, pepper, artichoke hearts, thyme, and garlic. Cook 45 seconds. Add broth; cook 1 minute or until most of the liquid evaporates. Combine breadcrumbs and onion mixture in a large bowl; stir in cheese and basil. Spoon 1/2 cup breadcrumb mixture into each zucchini shell. Sprinkle w/ extra Parmesan on top. Bake for 45 minutes or until just tender.

Shared on Julie's Eats & Treats July 16, 2011
Shared on Mandy's Recipe Box July 18, 2011
Shared on Everyday Sisters Sept. 11, 2011