Everyday Mom's Meals: February 2014

Friday, February 28, 2014

Not Just For Muffins

When I was a working girl one of my favorite places to "go to lunch with the girls" was Uno's Pizzeria.  One, because they were close to the office, and offered a 15 minute lunch. From the time you ordered, to the time they brought you the food, it was 15 minutes, or it was FREE! When you only have an hour to spare, that's a pretty great deal. And two, because they had, hands down, two things on their menu that to me, they did better than anyone else.

The first favorite I had was their fish n chips. Oh my word. It was this huge piece of beer battered cod, served with a huge helping of their yummy fries. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water. But the other was an in-house specialty...their deep dish pizza. I'm not really a deep dish fan, but theirs? I could not get enough! They did it better than anyone. After all, they originated in Chicago, and nobody does deep dish like Chi-town! The crust was the absolute best I have ever eaten, and it was the perfect indulgence during a busy work day.

Well, Uno's closed here in Fort Wayne quite a few years back, and I have not had a deep dish pizza since. No joke! But when a friend told me about these cute little appetizer pizzas she had a party, I figured they might just be a great way to get me out of the rut. Not because they would even come close to the one I loved so much, but they were easy, and I love something that can play multiple rolls. Sure, they make a great appetizer, but make enough, add a salad and you've got a meal the kids will love! Oh, and any time I can find a new use for my muffin tin...I'm in!

Add your favorite toppings and make these a fun new pizza party treat! Get the little ones in the kitchen and let them help! If you've got extra tortillas left over from tacos earlier in the week, turn them into something completely new! There are so many reasons these would be a star in your kitchen, and you will be a total rock star for making them!

I miss those deep dish pizzas a lot, and don't know if I'll ever find another I enjoy as much, but until then, I'll munch on these to ease my pain!

Mini Deep Dish Pizzas
4 large flour tortillas
Cooking Spray
1 c. mozzarella cheese
12 turkey pepperoni, cut into 4 pieces each
1 (15 oz.) can pizza sauce
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1 TBS Italian seasoning

Preheat oven to 400. Spray muffin tin with cooking spray. In a small bowl combine pizza sauce, Italian seasoning and Parmesan cheese. Stir well. Using a glass or the empty pizza can, cut 3 rounds from each tortilla. (You want to make sure the rounds are just a little bigger then the wells in your muffin tin.) Place tortilla rounds in muffin tin, so each well is covered on the bottom and up the sides a little. Fill each with about 2 TBS of pizza sauce. Sprinkle with cheese. Top with 4 pieces of pepperoni each. Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden and crispy. Let stand 2 minutes and remove with fork.

Shared on The Country Cook Feb. 28, 2014

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Budget Friendly Chicken

Every week when I am ready to make out my meal plan for the upcoming week, I sit down and decide what meals I want to make, scour the kitchen to see what I have on hand, and check the sale papers to see what great bargains I can take advantage of as well. It's a three step process that I've found leads to us eating the yummiest food, on the best budget. So when I see a great sale on chicken, you can bet I'm going to try find a way to use it, rather it be a tried and true recipe, or something new. And I'm pretty sure I'm not the only penny pinching mom/wife who keeps such a close eye on the sale ads. 

That is exactly how this recipe came about. Well, that and a bit of an "oops" on my part. I was actually planning on making my Garlic Lime Chicken, which is a recipe I wrote using breast meat, but when thighs were on sale for super cheap, I figured there was no reason why they couldn't be substituted. Sure, that was a great plan. Until I forgot that recipe also needs to marinade in the fridge for about 8 hours; and when I was ready to make supper, they were still in the package, with not one ounce of marinade on them. 

I had these beautiful chicken thighs to use, and let's face it, when you get something for a great price, they only taste better! So I needed to come up with a new recipe, that was quick, but still flavorful. Well, let's just say not only was it a complete success, but the "oops" turned out a good thing, leading to yet another delicious chicken recipe, which let's face it, is always a good thing. 

If you can find chicken thighs on sale too, be sure to keep this simple dish in mind. Or maybe for those nights when you have one thing planned, but instead to need to think quickly on your feet to make sure supper is saved and the family is still fed on time, being one the wiser to your mistake!

Crispy Baked Chicken Thighs
8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, extra fat trimmed off
Cooking Spray
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. paprika
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Spray liberally with cooking spray. Lay chicken on sheet. Spray with cooking spray. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Combine other spices and herbs and mix well. Sprinkle liberally over chicken, and under skin directly on meat. Bake for 30 minutes. Open oven and spray chicken again with cooking spray. Continue cooking for 30 minutes (1 hour total) until juices run clear and chicken is crispy. Allow to rest 5 minutes before serving.

Shared on The Country Cook Feb. 28, 2014

Monday, February 24, 2014

Store Brand Proof

Here a few weeks ago there was a story all over the news; one that foodies every where cringed at. Supposedly there was a shortage of  Velveeta; and people were going crazy about it! Did you hear about it? If you didn't, you sure did miss an uproar because folks take their cheese quite seriously, and apparently the thought of there being any type of shortage ranked right up there with famine and war. Okay, so maybe not that dire, but I'm not kidding you, I couldn't go any where I didn't hear about there being a lack of Velveeta on the grocery store shelves.

Honestly...the first thing I thought of when I learned of this mass hysteria? "Why not just buy the store brand? Problem solved." But when I had the audacity to suggest this to someone I was promptly told that it is not the same, and that was not a feasible solution. Well, I got new for you. In this house...if a recipe calls for "processed cheese product", 9 times out of 10 it's going to be the store brand variety. It's more friendly on my budget, and quite frankly, I can't notice the difference. If you can, and you swear by the name brand, I respect that. We all have brands we love and reasons why we won't budge from using them. But I also wanted to take this as an opportunity to "put my money where my mouth is" so to speak, and actually make a recipe using the store brand to show just how much success I have with it in my kitchen, for those who might be a tad skeptical.

My husband adores shells and cheese. It's his favorite type of mac and cheese, and if it were up to him, it would be side dish at every meal. Now me? I like both creamy and baked styles of this American classic, so when I found this combination of both, I figured what a great compromise! With it's creamy texture, but baked consistency, it's truly the best of both worlds. Something all mac and cheese lovers can get behind and enjoy!

And yes, this recipe was made with 100% store brand processed cheese product. I had no trouble what so ever with it melting, or incorporating. I've made cheese sauces with the "real thing" before, and I can honestly say this worked just as well.

So, if you thought your cheesy, liquid gold, days were over, no fear! Look next to that empty spot on the store shelf and I bet there is a store brand equivalent that will work just as well, and this yummy goodness can be on your table tonight!

Creamy Baked Mac n Cheese Adapted from Taste of Home
1 1/2 c. elbow macaroni
4 TBS butter
3 TBS flour
1 1/2 c. milk
2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
6 oz. processed cheese, cubed
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375. Grease a 8 x 11 pan. Cook macaroni according to package directions. In a medium saucepan melt butter. Stir in flour and cook 1 minute. Gradually add milk, stirring until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes until thickened. Reduce heat. Add 1 c. shredded cheese and all of the processed cheese cubes, in small batches; stirring between each one until melted and smooth. When macaroni is cook, drain well. In a large bowl combine macaroni and cheese sauce. Transfer to prepared dish. Top with remaining cup of shredded cheese. Bake, uncovered for 30 minutes until golden brown. Stir before serving.

Shared on The Country Cook Feb. 28, 2014
Disclaimer: As a Field Editor of Taste of Home, I share my own thoughts and opinions of this recipe. I am not a paid employee. 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Take Control of Your Finances

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Kmart Share the Word for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

There is nothing worse than feeling like your household finances are completely out of control. And to be honest, I think we have all felt that way at one time or another; or for many of us, many times in our adult lives. Unexpected expenses can send your entire budget into chaos, causing stress and worry for anyone. That car repair that came out of nowhere (yeah that just happened in our house) the doctor's visit insurance isn't covering, the kids' need new clothes...the list could go on and on.

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Saturday, February 22, 2014

Soul Food Saturday #44

This recipe came about because like I mentioned before I have incorporated paleo friendly things into my cooking. But, just because it's healthy doesn't mean it has to be boring or tasteless. These yummy treats are pack with fudge flavor with a hint of caramel hints in the background. These are one of my newest favorites.

Paleo Perfect Brownies
1/2 c. Ghee or butter
1 c. Coconut sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1/2 c. coconut flour, sifted
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 inch square pan. In a large bowl add melted butter and stir in sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Beat in cocoa, flour, salt, and baking powder. Spread batter into prepared pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Do not over cook.

Meal Plan Feb 23- 28

*New Recipe
Links to Recipes on Blog

Chicken Paprikash*

Coney Dogs
French Fries
Baked Beans

Bread Sticks
Fruit Cocktail

Campfire Skillet Casserole
Dinner Rolls

Beef Roast
Baked Harvest Vegetables*
Sliced Pears

Tomato Soup
Grilled Cheese

Friday, February 21, 2014

Oatmeal On The Go

It seems these days, we can all use more recipes that can be incorporated into our busy schedules. And not just simply made once we are home after a long day. Ones that we can make and take with us, while we are constantly on-the-go.

Today's recipe gives you that option! Make a batch of them over the weekend, and you can have breakfast for the gym bag, or even at your desk at work, all week long. Send them with the kids in their lunch boxes for a sweet, but still healthy treat. Have them waiting on them when they get home, for a snack in the car on your way to your next activity. Or just make them for an almost guilt free dessert. There are so many options with these, you can't go wrong.

I love granola bars, and I really enjoy making my own, but for me, they must be chewy, not crunchy. It's just how I prefer mine. I know there are many tasty crunchy granola bars out there too, but the chewy ones just appeal to me more.

These have a great almost cake like texture, but hold up to travel and are sweet, but not too sweet, and truly taste like a big bowl of oatmeal you can eat with your hands. Plus, there are endless combinations of dried fruit and nuts you can use to change the flavor profile again and again.

If your hectic lives could use more on-the-go goodness, these are just for you! After all, just because we are all busy doesn't mean we have to sacrifice delicious things, we just have to make sure we can multitask!

Chewy Oatmeal Bars Inspired By Kath Eats Read Food
1 3/4 c. old fashioned oats
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. raisins
1/2 c. pecans, chopped
1 1/4 c. milk
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 8 x 8 baking pan. In a medium bowl combine oats, sugar, raisins, nuts, salt and cinnamon. Mix well. In a separate bowl combine egg, milk and vanilla. Whisk well. Pour into oat mixture. Stir to combine well. Mixture will be wet. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 40 minutes until set and edges pull away. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into 9 squares.

Shared on The Country Cook Feb. 21, 2014

Thursday, February 20, 2014

A Whole New Rice {A Review of Rice Select}

We love rice. All types. All flavors. All ways. And it's one of those things that I can feel really good about giving my family. So when something you love is also something that is good for you, you want to make sure you never grow tired of it, and you're always finding new ways to make it exciting. Now, I can do just that with new flavors from Rice Select.

From the folks that brought us Royal Blend®, Arborio,  and Texmati® Rice, Rice Select is excited to unveil (3) new unique and innovative flavors of rice to keep us eating healthy, while enjoying one of our favorite things. 

  • Royal Blend® with Chia is a delicious and nutritious combination of Texmati® Light Brown, Whole Wheat Orzo and the ancient super food Chia Seed. Packed with omegas, protein and fiber, Chia also provides 18% of the recommended daily intake for calcium. Just add chicken, fish or tofu for a complete heart-healthy meal!
  • Arborio Blend™ with Mushrooms is earthy and mellow and makes for a nutritious comfort dish. Referred to as “nature’s little treasures”, mushrooms are naturally low in calories and sodium, both fat and cholesterol-free, and contain Vitamin D, Potassium and Riboflavin. Perfect for a gluten-free risotto!
  • Arborio Blend™ with Jalapeño kicks risotto up a notch with just the right blend of creamy and spicy! The perfect addition to any healthy New Year initiative, jalapeños have been shown to prevent inflammation in the body while also regulating blood pressure and stimulating the metabolism. Great for a gluten-free side dish!
And let's not forget, all of these new flavors are made from all natural, non-GMO, US grown seed! All three new varieties are packed in RiceSelect’s signature reusable, reseal-able and recyclable BPA-free PET jars, for easy storage! Available nationally, you can find these and all the other fabulous Rice Select varieties at your local supermarket. 

Disclaimer: I was given free samples in exchange for this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Extra Egg Noodles

Before I get to the recipe today, I have to take a minute and send out a very special birthday wish. Today is your Everyday Mom's Mom's birthday! That's right, the most special lady in my life turns a young 57 today! If you have been lucky enough to meet my mom, you know just what a genuinely great person she is; and for those of you who haven't, take my word for it. You will never know a more kind, caring, loyal, and loving person. She is the type of person that will go out of her way not only to help someone in need, but just to put a smile on their face. She is truly my best friend, always there when I need her the most; and the one person on this Earth I strive to be more like with every breath I take. Happy Birthday Mom! We love you more than we could ever show you!! 

Okay, now onto the food! This recipe came about because of a very simple reason; and sometimes the inspiration doesn't have to be divine to end up with something absolutely delicious. I made this because I was hungry for lasagna and had an extra bag of egg noodles in the pantry. That's it. That was my brilliant brainstorm! Nothing fancy. Nothing to over think. I decided I wanted all the flavors of lasagna, but in a casserole form so I could use up that extra bag of noodles sitting in my pantry. 

While the inspiration might not have been anything special, this recipe definitely is. Oh. My. Goodness....it is yummmmmmyyyyy! Layers of noodles, cheese and meat sauce all come together in the most most perfect way, so each bite is absolutely scrumptious.

And talk about easy! Perfect for a busy weeknight when the process of making an actual lasagna just isn't in the cards. In fact, this could easily be made the night before, set in the fridge, and then baked off the next night, or even later in the week, for those of you who like to do make ahead meals on the weekends. And I'm guessing it would actually freeze quite well too. And be sure to make the entire recipe, because the leftovers only keep tasting better. And if you have a pot luck, this would be a huge crowd favorite, or if you're taking a meal to new parents...they will adore you for this one! 

Sometimes the best recipes come from the most simple of places. Sometimes staring at what you already have in the house and letting the ideas start to flow can result in something new that quickly becomes a family favorite or even signature dish!

Lasagna Casserole
1 lb. egg noodles
1 lb. ground beef
1/4 c. finely chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (26 oz.) jar spaghetti sauce
1 TBS Italian seasoning
1 (15 oz.) container ricotta cheese
1 c. sour cream
1/2 c. shredded Parmesan cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 c. shredded mozzarella
Dried Oregano
Dried Parsley

Preheat oven to 350. Cook egg noodles according to package directions, to al dente. While they cook, in a large skillet brown beef, onions, garlic, salt and pepper until no longer pink. Drain if neccessary. Add spaghetti sauce and Italian seasoning. Stir well. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer on LOW until pasta is done. In a large bowl combine ricotta, sour cream, Parmesan, salt and pepper. Stir well. Set aside. When noodles are done, drain very well. Add to ricotta mixture and toss to coat. Grease a 9 x 13 pan. Spread half the noodle mixture in bottom. Top with half the sauce mixture. Repeat layers. Top with mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle with oregano and parsley. Cover with foil. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 5 minutes more until cheese melted and golden brown.

Shared on The Country Cook Feb. 21, 2014

Casseroles at Very Good Recipes

Monday, February 17, 2014

Everyone's Favorite, Or So It Seems

A couple weeks ago I posed a question on my Facebook Fan Page asking ya'll if you enjoyed your coleslaw more with a dressing that is creamy or vinegar based. The answers were pretty evenly matched, but the one thing that was mentioned more than anything else was "I love KFC coleslaw the most." So when that many people declared it to be their favorite, I knew it was time to bring my version back to the blog, since it was first posted back before most of you were even reading on a daily basis.

For us, this is the closest thing to the original we've ever had at home. In fact, my husband declared it  to be "dead on", which coming from him and his absolute love for the KFC version, I took as very high praise! Now, I will tell you ahead of time, if you want the cabbage itself to look more like the original, be sure to read the note below. For us, we don't really care about that as much as the flavor itself.

And the best part about this recipe? It's so darn easy! Plus, you can make it at night, and it's even better after it sits in the fridge until the next day for dinner! Perfect with burgers, steak, barbecued pork...and of course fried chicken! Pretty much anything you want to pair it with, it will taste fantastic. Oh, and make this for guests or take it to a get together! I guarantee you will be an instant rock star! Everyone will say "Whoa....this tastes just like KFC slaw!" And you will know it was a complete success.

If KFC is your favorite coleslaw too, I think you will be very pleased with this version. Or if you're just always looking for new ones to try, you will enjoy this too! Either way, I promised it would be back on the blog as soon as possible, so here it is in all it's glory!!!

Copy Cat KFC Coleslaw
1 (1 lb.) package coleslaw mix with cabbage and carrots (see note below)
2 TBS minced onion

1/3 c. sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. pepper

1/4 c. milk
1/2 c. mayo
1/4 c. buttermilk
1 1/2 TBS white vinegar
2 1/2 TBS lemon juice

Dried Parsley

Place coleslaw mix in a large bowl. Add onions. Mix well. In a medium bowl combine buttermilk, milk, mayo, sugar, salt, pepper, vinegar, and lemon juice. Whisk well. Pour over cabbage mix. Stir well. Sprinkle with dried parsley. Chill for at least 2 hours until serving or overnight. *NOTE* If you want the cabbage and carrots to be more the texture of KFC, place mix in a food processor and pulse to cut up finer. For me, it's more about the flavor than the texture.

Shared on The Country Cook Feb. 21, 2014

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Soul Food Saturday #43

Breakfast for dinner? Sure. How about a breakfast burrito with the perfect amount of spice? Now that I have your attention, let's talk. With just a few items to chop these can be made on a busy weeknight, or a late morning breakfast. Bacon, egg, cheese, what could be a better combination? Grab a plate your going to want more than one.

Anytime of day Breakfast Burritos

2 tbs. butter
1 medium onion, diced
2 jalapenos, diced
6 strips bacon, chopped
8 eggs
2 tbs. Half and half
2 tsp. granulated garlic
2 c. Cheddar jack cheese
Salt to taste
4 large flour tortillas (or 8 medium)

In a medium skillet add butter and allow to melt. Add onions and jalapenos. Stir to combine. Cook until onions are clear. Add bacon, stir to combine. Cook until bacon is tender and cook through. In a small bowl add eggs, salt, garlic and half and half. Beat lightly to blend with seasoning. Add beaten eggs and stir gently to combine. Cook until eggs are cooked through. Add half cheese and remove from heat. Stir to combine and melt cheese. Place tortillas in a zip top bag, and seal. Pop in microwave for 30 seconds on 100% power.
Remove carefully, they will be hot. Separate tortillas gently, as to not tear them. In each tortilla add a quarter of eggs and a quarter of extra cheese. Fold up bottom and roll up. Repeat with rest of tortillas. Serve hot. Enjoy!

Meal Plan Feb. 16- 21

*New Recipe
Links to Recipes on Blog

Grilled Steak
Barley Pilaf*
Skillet Cream Corn

Baked Tacos*
Fiesta Rice
Chips/ Cheese

Baked Mac n Cheese
Green Beans
Mandarin Oranges

Happy Birthday Mom!!!
Shrimp Skewers
Roasted Chicken
Pan Roasted Potatoes
Cranberry Sauce

Tavern Sandwiches
Cottage Cheese
Sliced Beets
Tater Tots


Friday, February 14, 2014

A Snow Day and Fractions Lesson

So, yeah, I'm that mom. The one who takes "fun" snow days and turns them into "you can still learn days." But before you chastise me too much, let me explain.

Since the beginning of January, our schools have been closed more than they have been in session. I'm not exaggerating. These kids have barely been in the classroom! Now, I'm not complaining. The weather has been insane this winter, dumping more snow on Indiana than we've seen in almost 30 years. Then add in the days where the temps didn't reach 0 and wind chills were as low as -40, and it has been down right too dangerous for kids to be in school. As much as I don't enjoy having to make up these days off come June when the weather is beautiful and we are ready to begin summer vacation, I am always happy to know my baby is home with me, safe and warm.

But when the snow days start to pile up and you can see the brain cells being withered away from not being in the classroom, a mom has to do what a mom has to do. Sure, we can still have fun and enjoy all the things a snow day was made for, but along the way we can learn a little something too.

One of our favorite things to do on a snow day, of course, is be in the kitchen together. So on this snowy, cold day I figured we could do just that, but at the same time have a little math lesson along with our fun. So I found a recipe that I could easily half and have Monkey work on some fractions while we were having fun baking something yummy. They had just started working on fractions in class, so I figured this was a hands-on lesson he could really benefit from!

These are so simple, making them perfect for little hands to help measure, mix, and make. And they come out sweet, chewy and absolutely yummy! What a perfect snow day treat, lunchbox dessert, after school snack, or weeknight dessert.

Now the recipe I'm sharing with you is the halved one we made. If you wish to make more, simply double it and follow the baking instructions in the note below. And if you do, maybe you can teach your kids about fractions too, especially if they are like my son, and only in school once or twice a week thanks to Mother Nature!

Chewy Peanut Butter Bars From Taste of Home
1/4 c. creamy peanut butter
1/4 c. butter, cubed
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. flour
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a 8 x 8 baking pan. In a microwave safe bowl cook butter and peanut butter for 1 minute, or until melted. Stir until creamy. In another bowl combine flour and sugar. Transfer butter mixture to a medium mixing bowl. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture and stir. Add vanilla to egg. Using an electric mixer, beat egg mixture into flour mixture until smooth. Spread into greased pan and bake for 20 minutes or until lightly golden and edges pull away from pan. Cool on wire rack for 1 hour. Cut into bars. *NOTE* If you choose to double this recipe, use a 9 x 13 pan and bake for about 30 minutes.

Shared on The Country Cook Feb. 14, 2014
Disclaimer: As a Field Editor of Taste of Home, I share my own thoughts and opinions of this recipe. I am not a paid employee. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

State Fair Casserole

With the long, cold, snowy days of winter still torturing us (I'm sorry, but after over 50 inches of snow since the beginning of the year, 11 snow days off school, days of -40 wind chills, cars not starting, cars getting stuck, shoveling and shoveling again...that is how I feel...tortured!) one of the only ways I can find to comfort myself is day dreaming about warm summer days gone bye, or the ones still yet to come...I hope...if this torturous winter ever ends.

So when my son looked at me a couple weeks ago and declared "Mommy, I'm hungry for corn dogs." I couldn't blame him. They are one of our favorite summer time treats because we enjoy them at some of our favorite festivals and fairs through the season. With all the yummy treats that await us at every "junk food alley" we visit, 9 times out of 10 one of us will always choose a corn dog at some point. And for him, it's usually five minutes after we hit the gates of our own Indiana State Fair.

See, we leave our house around mid-morning, so we know after the two hour drive, we will be arriving around lunch time. Now usually, it's very hot on the day we go (After all, it's mid-August, and no matter what day we choose, it always seems to be the hottest of the week!) and Mr. Everyday and I aren't really in the mood to eat when we first get there; but not little man. He wants something. Anything. But he too doesn't want anything too heavy or filling...not when the huge midway and all those fun, twisty turny, upside down, speed filled, rides await him. So many times he will simply want a corn dog, something to drink and he is good for a while.

Well, what does a mommy do when it's the middle of January and her favorite boy says he is hungry for a corn dog? Sure, she could go to all the trouble sticking, dipping and frying them. Or...she could take all the same flavors and turn them into a tasty, time friendly, simple casserole the whole family can enjoy, any night of the week!

If you have corn dog lovers in your house, rather they be young or old, I promise they will flip for this! And you're gonna love the fact it can be on the table in about 45 minutes! So, if you have some winter blues too, and want to dream about all the fun summer will bring, when it finally gets here, this would be a great supper tonight!

Corn Dog Casserole Adapted from Taste of Home
2 (12 oz.) packs hot dogs, cut into 1/2" slices
2 (8.5 oz.) boxes corn muffin mix
1 1/2 c. milk
2 eggs
1 TBS mustard
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1 TBS butter
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400. In a medium skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add onions and saute' until tender and golden, about 5 minutes. Add salt, pepper and hot dogs. Continue cooking until hot dogs are slightly crisp around edges, stirring often, 5 additional minutes. Stir in mustard and reduce heat to low. In a large bowl combine eggs and milk. Whisk until well combined. Add both packages of corn muffin mix. Whisk well. Will still have small lumps. Add 1 c. cheese. Stir well. Add hot dog mixture. Stir to combine. Pour into a greased 9x13 baking dish. Top with remaining cheese. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Serve with ketchup on side.

Shared on The Country Cook

Disclaimer: As a Field Editor of Taste of Home, I share my own thoughts and opinions of this recipe. I am not a paid employee. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

At Home Gourmet with Relished Foods {A Review}

Imagine having everything you needed to create three delicious meals in your kitchen, meals that would both taste great, and help you to improve your cooking skills, delivered right to your front door. Think it sounds too good to be true? Well, thanks to Home Chef it is now a reality! 

So, how exactly does this work? It's quite simple actually. Relished Foods delivers a portioned ingredient kit filled with all of the fresh, local ingredients, to cook three delicious meals every week.

A weekly subscription gets you 3 new meals with 2, 4 or 6 servings for only $9.95 per serving. Each week you preview the menu available online, and if you want it, you sign up for delivery by Friday. If you don't, you can easily skip weeks. Plus, you can cancel at anytime. 

Once your menu is ordered, they shop fresh, local ingredients and deliver your kit every Wednesday, saving you time and curating quality food from top suppliers, perfectly portioned for each dish. Their executive chef creates each recipe, and provides you step by step instructions for cooking them in your kitchen too, having you cooking like a professional chef in no time! 

I was so excited when the folks at Relished ask me to try a week's menu for myself; and I can honestly say when my box arrived, I was like a kid on Christmas morning going through it. When they say they include everything you need to make the three meals, they mean everything. From the proteins and fresh veggies, to the seasonings, garnishes, and everything in between! The only 2 things I had to add from my own pantry were salt and oil. That's it. Everything else was included in my kit. And they even take the time to individually label each ingredient; and then bag each meal separately, and labeled too. So there is no guess work which ingredients go to which dish.

I have to say, as excited as I was to see all the beautiful fresh ingredients included in my kit, my absolute favorite part of the package were the step-by-step photo recipe instruction cards. They took all the guess work out of preparation. They were simple to understand, with clear directions and photos that any novice cook would appreciate.

So, what did I have the chance to cook? My menu included:

Peppercorn Crusted Flat Iron Steak 
With Tangy Bell Pepper Relish and Roasted Green Beans

Vegetable Ramen
With Udon Noodles, Radish Sprouts, Oyster Mushrooms, and Sambal

Blood Orange Topped Mahi-Mahi
With Saffron Rice, Cilantro and Radish Salad

Yep, I had to create this beautiful dishes in my little kitchen. We definitely ate like kings that night! Since there are 3 of us, and each dish had 2 servings, I decided to make it a tasting party and I prepared all three in one sitting and each of us got to sample them. 

Oh my word! Each bite was more delicious than the next. I really appreciate the fact that Sambal sauce (a spicy condiment) was included on the side so we could each add what we could handle. For me, that meant none, since I don't do spice at all; and for my husband, as much as he could eat! We love blood oranges, and having them included in our kit was a real treat. And the flavor only enhanced the freshness and delicate mahi-mahi. The vegetables included for the ramen noodles were so fresh, so crisp, and really brightened the dish. And the steak. Oh, the steak. To be honest, I'm usually only a fan of steak from the outdoor grill, but these were tender, juicy and absolutely delicious. 

The only thing I would change, or suggest, if I had the chance, would be to add a note to the cooking instructions about the garlic. There were 3 cloves included in a couple of our dishes. The instructions simply stated to mince and add them. I think a note about "If you like a little garlic flavor, add  ____ amount but if you love garlic add all of it", might be helpful. We love garlic, but it was sometimes a little over powering. Still yummy, but had I known how strong it was going to be, I would have added a smaller amount. So, maybe an extra tip on the recipe cards so people are aware the flavor can vary. 

If you would love to learn to cook new dishes, using fresh local ingredients, and be a rock star in your own kitchen, check out Home Chef today. Be sure to take a look at this week's menu. I think this would make a great gift for the foodie in your life too; and they have electronic gift cards just for that. To stay up on all the latest menus and information, be sure to check them out on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

**If you decide you would like to order, the fine folks at Relished are offering EMM readers an exclusive discount of 30% off your first order with coupon code "relished30.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Potluck Classic

Around the holiday times I got into a deep discussion with a friend about how we missed the church pot lucks of our childhood. Because you know, that's what you do during the holidays. You sit around and eat, and talk about food while you chew!

We both remembered going to church on Sundays as a kid, and then what the service was over gathering in the church basement for a big meal, that everyone contributed to. All the little old ladies would bring their tried and true dishes everyone raved about, the ones they had brought to every pot luck for years and years. Everyone else would try to find something just as delicious to bring, and while their food was also appreciated and enjoyed, it was those long time favorites people looked forward to the most.

As we were talking she started to tell me about just that. A dish that showed up at every potluck she could remember, always brought by the same sweet lady. Now, the neat thing about this lady was that each time someone complimented her on the dish, and of course asked for the recipe, she was always happy to share it. I love that. Food is love, and sharing the love is half the fun!

 I couldn't wait to try it for myself, and I'm so happy I did! My boys were literally licking their plates! They couldn't get enough. This is the perfect side dish for a busy weeknight because you can throw it together as soon as you get home from work, the oven does all the work and about 45 minutes later a steaming plate of yummy is on your table. It has such incredible flavor, and goes great with pork, chicken, beef or fish.

If you enjoyed potlucks as a child too, you can appreciate what I'm talking about. Or, if you are just looking for a new rice dish, this is something you will want to try asap!

French Onion and Parmesan Rice
1 c. long grain rice
1 (10 3/4 oz.) French Onion soup
1 (10 3/4 oz.) beef consume'
1 stick butter
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350. Place rice in a 8x11 baking dish. Add soup and consume'. Stir to combine. Place stick of butter in center of rice mixture. Bake for 40 minutes until most of the liquid has absorbed and rice is tender. Remove from oven. Stir well. Sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake 5-7 additional minutes until cheese is melted. Remove from oven and stir before serving.

Shared on The Country Cook Feb. 14, 2014

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Soul Food Saturday #42

So many of us start off the New Year with resolutions to eat healthier. So we gather recipes to fit those needs. This recipe is perfect for any occasion, because no one would ever know it's supposed to be a healthier version. And isn't that exactly what we want? To have a dessert you don't feel guilty about eating? Or better yet ones you feel good about giving your children! Grab a spoon and a friend we're having a healthy dessert.

Paleo Apple Crisp
5 medium apples, cored, seeded chopped
1 1/2 cups of almond meal
1 tbs of cinnamon
3 tbs honey, melted
4 tbs coconut oil, melted
Pinch of salt
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tbs coconut sugar

Preheat oven to 300 degrees
In a medium bowl add chopped apples and lemon juice. Toss lightly to combine. In a 8x8 baking dish add apples in a single layer. In a separate bowl mix together the almond meal, cinnamon, melted honey, melted coconut oil and salt. Spread the crumble topping over the apples, then evenly sprinkle the coconut sugar on top. Bake for 50 minutes. Whether you top it with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon or have it plain it's sure to please ones on a Paleo friendly diet or not. Enjoy! *NOTE* Almond meal can be found in the specialty baking aisle at your grocery store. Or sometimes in the gluten free section too.

Meal Plan Feb 9-14

*New Recipe
Links to Recipes on Blog
^Recipe being "re-blogged"

Shrimp Fried Rice^
Hot and Sour Soup
Mandarin Oranges

Barbecue Pulled Pork Sandwiches
Tater Tots
KFC Copy Cat Slaw^

I'm having dinner with a friend.
The boys will have leftovers

Scrambled Eggs
Biscuits and Gravy^

Beef Mushroom Barley Soup*
Sliced Peaches


Happy Valentine's Day
Cappellini con Pomodoro
Garlic Bread

Friday, February 7, 2014

After School Delight

Whenever I hear the words "after school snack" my mind goes to one image. Cookies, fresh from the oven, and a tall glass of milk. Why this picture pops into my head I'm not sure. I can't remember that being my after school snack one time growing up. Ha. Ha. I was more of a fan of salty snacks, and have never been a huge milk drinker. But for whatever reason, that's what pops into my head every single time.

And while we are on the subject of things we can't explain? Why exactly are kids so stinkin' hungry when they get home? The minute, and I mean very second, their feet hit the front door, their stomachs are screaming to be fed. How many moms hear on a daily basis, "Can I have a snack? I'm starving." It doesn't seem to matter when they eat lunch, or even how much they eat, by around 3 o'clock, they act as if they are malnourished and haven't ate for days.

If you were a kid who was treated to warm cookies and cold milk or not, I think we can all agree they are a match made in heaven; and a favorite treat for most of us. In fact, this dessert is a tribute to anybody that has ever taken a cookie, dipped it into their milk, savoring every single bite.

We're talking a no bake dessert. That uses cookies....dipped in milk! Let me say that again for those of you who are now coming too from fainting at just the thought of such bliss. An entire dessert of milk soaked cookies! Oh, and did I mention they are layered with Cool Whip? I know, you need a moment....

Your kids are going to flip for this. But I'm not going to lie, adults can't get enough either. My husband and son were literally fighting over the last piece. They licked the baking dish clean! In fact, this would be a great one to make for Valentine's Day! Something extra sweet for your sweeties!

Cookies and milk...something so simple can be so perfect and delicious. That's exactly how I would describe this recipe too!

Cookies and Milk No Bake Dessert From Gooseberry Patch
1 (13 oz.) package crunchy chocolate chip cookies
3/4 c. milk
1 ( 8 oz.) tub Cool Whip
Chocolate Chips

Dip each cookie in milk, coating whole surface. In a 9x13 pan layer cookies and Cool Whip, ending with Cool Whip. Top with chocolate chips. Cover and chill overnight.

Shared on The Country Cook Feb. 7, 2014

Chocolate at Very Good Recipes

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

A Note To My Teenage Self

It's funny when I look back at some of the moments in my life that seemed so insignificant at the time, but now I realize were glimpses into my future and signs of where I would end up. 

Let me explain. When I was little, one of my favorite things to play was cooking show. My mom would let me stand in the kitchen and concoct these crazy dishes, 99% of which weren't even edible, explaining every step of the way what I was doing as if I were talking to the camera. I think it's especially ironic since we didn't even cable back them, so it's not like I was influenced by the Food Network like I am now. I'm sure it was simply from the few I would watch on PBS

As I grew older, into my teenage years, I still loved being in the kitchen, but obviously it was more for more practical applications than playing. There were many days my mom would leave a note explaining what was for supper, and instructions for starting it. And then there were the things I could make all on my own, and feel so accomplished.

This was one of the first things I can remember making all by myself, and having people actually rave about! In fact, I can distinctly remember my dad telling my mom he only wanted this if it was my version. I honestly can't even remember how I came up with it, but to this day it's how I make it; but this was the first time I took the time to measure things, so I could give you an actual recipe. 

I'm sure most out there have their own recipe for this, but if you don't, or you are looking for another one to try, this makes a great lunch, especially if you pack yours. I also love making it into a simple sandwich supper. We love it served on some toasted bagels, but it's delicious no matter what you put it on, or simply with a fork! 

I wish I  could tell my teenage self, just how much those experiences in the kitchen would later help to shape my life. Who knew making tuna salad for my dad almost 20 years ago would turn into a career as a food blogger? It is definitely something I could have never imagined in my wildest dreams, but am oh so thankful for!

Tuna Salad
2 (12 oz.) cans white tuna in water, drained well
1/2 c. mayo
3 TBS sweet pickle relish
4 hard boiled eggs, chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a large bowl, using a fork, flake tuna to separate. Add mayo, relish, eggs and onion. Stir well to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Mix well. Chill for at least an hour before serving. Serve on toast, bread, bagels, or with crackers. 


 Shared on The Country Cook Feb. 7, 2014

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Great Homemade Soups {A Review}

This time of year, I think we all find ourselves craving soup and lots of it. I know we are soup lovers year round, but on these long, bitterly cold winter days, a good soup is sometimes the only thing that can satisfy and comfort us. In fact, I have to be careful because I could probably cook soup, and soup alone, every single day and not think twice about it. So, today I'm excited to share a brand new cookbook, full of nothing but soups, with all the soup lovers out there.

Great Homemade Soups A Cook's Collection by Paul Gayler offers mouth watering soups from many of the world's top chefs. This beautiful hard cover edition includes 100 recipes from the favorite classics everyone loves to specialty soups from exotic locations.

I think making a tasty, homemade soup can sometimes intimidate home cooks, but Chef Gayler proves that making your own soup is easy, nutritious and satisfying. Not to mention, soups can be a very economical way to cook, using local ingredients that are in season, or even more pricey ones that get stretched farther when used in a soup.

There are broths, cream soups, hearty and wholesome ones, traditional favorites, and many more> Plus, you will also find Chef Gayler's key techniques with step-by-step photographs; and he also invited some of his favorite world-class chefs to share their best loved soup recipes as well.

Farmhouse Soup

If you are always looking for a great new soup to try in your kitchen, this is definitely the cookbook for you. Or maybe you have a foodie in your life that you need a gift for Valentine's Day, birthday, etc. This would be a beautiful addition to their collection! Soup lovers every where will love all of these mouth watering recipes!

Disclaimer: I was provided with a free copy of this cookbook for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.