Everyday Mom's Meals: January 2015

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Meal Plan Feb. 1-6

*New Recipes
Links to Recipes on Blog

Happy Super Bowl Day!
We are going to a party at my in-laws.
I'm taking Deviled Eggs and Mexi Party Dip*

Ham Steaks
Baked Sweet Potatoes

Meatball Casserole*
Sliced Peaches

Sloppy Joes
Tater Tots
Cottage Cheese
Sliced Beets

Crock Pot Chicken Stew with Biscuit Toppers*
Mandarin Oranges

Nacho Grande Casserole*
Chips and Cheese

Friday, January 30, 2015

Are You Ready For Some Football??? {A Post For Earth Fare}

It's finally here people! Super Bowl weekend is upon us. Okay, so maybe I'm a little more excited than I should be. But let's face it. Even if you aren't a football fan. Even if you don't know what teams are playing. Even if you don't care about the commercials or the half time show...we can all unite behind one aspect of Sunday's game. One important, universal tradition near and dear to all our hearts...the FOOD!

Sure, I love the game. I love the excitement. I love to watch all 4 quarters of football. But I realize in the world of women, I'm part of the exception group. (And yes, I remind my husband often how lucky he is to have a wife who not only likes the game, but understands it as well!) Many of you ladies out there could care less about those 4 hours Sunday night, but you still put on the happy face, fire up the ovens and make sure all the pigskin fans in your life have a great time.

Here is a dish that is as simple as chopping, stirring and pouring; and in about a half hour, you have something creamy, delicious and perfect for dipping! In fact, this one is so good, you might want to make two batches because it's going to go fast! Especially when you are eating the first before you can set it out for the others!

If you love spinach artichoke dip, this is very similar. And it's not missing the spinach because we don't like the green stuff. We love it! I just felt like something a little different this time. Plus, if you've got kids at your Super Bowl party, the spinach might turn them off a little, but this cheesy goodness won't! But feel free to add some spinach for extra flavor. I'm sure it would be delicious!

Sunday will be one of the biggest foodie days of the year. Be sure to have yummy things for everyone to nibble on, as they root for their favorite team. Or in our case, with our team sitting this one out, yummy things to nibble on while we watch the commercials and scream at the refs! 

Hot Artichoke Dip
1/2 c. sour cream
1/2 c. mayo
1 (14 oz.) can artichokes in water, drained and chopped
1 tsp. Tabasco
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 c. grated Parmesan cheese
Salt to taste

Preheat oven to 350. In a medium bowl combine sour cream, mayo, artichokes, hot sauce, lemon juice, garlic powder, cheese and salt. Stir to combine. Spread into a 9 inch pie plate or a quiche plate. Bake for 25 minutes. Increase heat to 375 and bake 5-10 minutes more until browned on top. Let stand 15 minutes before serving. Serve with crackers, pita chips, etc. (Or seriously....eat it with a spoon!)

Shared on The Country Cook Jan.30, 2015

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Just A Little Extra Effort

Welcome to day two of what appears to be Super Bowl week on EMM. I didn't plan it that way, but after I shared the Mini Enchilada Cups Monday, it only seemed natural to share the side dish I served with them, and then I realized both would be perfect for any Super Bowl party, so a theme was created.

If you serve refried beans at home, let me ask you this. Do you enhance them in any way, or do you simple take out of the can and heat up? Don't feel bad if you fall into the second category. That's where I usually hang out too. You can buy so many varieties that come pre-seasoned, why not! Well, this recipe is why not!

A friend gave me this a while back, and I'm so happy she did! Seriously, these take maybe an extra 10 minutes of prep time and taste oh so yummy!! Truly like something you find at your favorite Mexican restaurant.

If you saw the recipe on Monday, and are planning on making them, I just gave you a great side dish. Or, if you are looking for something else for your game day menu, grab a bag of tortilla chips, put them next to this, and watch them disappear! See, what you we can do with just a little extra effort? 

Baked Refried Beans
1 (16 oz.) can refried beans
4 oz. cream cheese
1/4 c. finely chopped white onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 TBS butter
1/2 c. shredded Colby jack cheese
Chopped green onions for garnish

Preheat oven to 350. In a medium sauce pan, melt better over medium heat. Saute onions and garlic until translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add beans. Stir well to combine and cook until heated through. Remove from heat. Add cream cheese and stir until melted. Spread into 9 inch pie plate. Top with cheese. Bake for 20 minutes until hot and bubbly. *NOTE* If you like spice, get the spicy variety!

Shared on The Country Cook Jan.30, 2015

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Golden Girl Granola {A Feature and Giveaway}

Do you love granola as much as I do? Seriously, I can't get enough. And when I have it, I want delicious, unique flavors that make my taste buds sing; but I can still feel good about. Thanks to my new friends at Golden Girl Granola, I get just that! 

This family created granola is made out of love. They began by making small batches in their kitchen and selling it at farmer's markets in their hometown in Massachusetts. Today they still use the finest ingredients and hand stir each small batch to create a lightly crunchy, whole grain treat. It's excellent as a cereal (my favorite way to eat it), a topping for yogurt, ice cream and desserts, or a snack right out of the bag! 

I can tell you first hand just how delicious this granola is. I was lucky enough to try Bluesberry, Forest Maple, Creative Cranberry and Home Sweet Honey. One being even more delicious than the next. If you want to see all the flavors available or even order some for yourself, click here

And now you have a chance to win some for yourself! Golden Girl is generously giving (1) lucky EMM winner 4 bags of granola to enjoy in your home! 

To Enter: 

Like Golden Girl Granola on Facebook. Leave a comment when you have.

Follow Golden Girl Granola on Twitter. Leave a comment when you have. 

(1) Winner will receive:
(4) bags of Golden Girl Granola in their choice of flavors.

US Residents Only Please

Contest Ends: Jan. 30, 2015

Monday, January 26, 2015

Pigskin Friendly

Happy Super Bowl Week! Yep, that's right people, we have less than 7 days until the big game. I realize there are many, many of you out there in EMM land that could give less about the game on Sunday, but we are a football family, and I am excited and therefore, all week I'm going to be sharing ideas for your Super Bowl party ! (And if you aren't having one, they can all be used for easy meal ideas too!)

Like I said, I know many of you probably can't even tell me who is playing in the game Sunday. Well, maybe less now that we've all been inundated with #Deflateglate for a week now, but still, I'm sure there are those who have no clue. That's okay. Or maybe, like us, your favorite team didn't make it this year, and you are lamenting. That's okay too. I understand, I really do. But I'm here to help. Super Bowl XLIX will be held in Arizona between the New England Patriots (THE CHEATERS...oops, did I say that??!!) and the Seattle Seahawks.

Now as most of you know, Mr. E and I (and 99% of our family) bleed black and gold and if the Steelers aren't in it, we show up for the food and the commercials. Well, and the game too because we really do enjoy football that much. But "The Hawks" just happen to be Monkey's favorite team (Why? I have no idea. He started liking them about 3 1/2 years ago, and after their win last year, that love only grew.) and he is super excited to watch them go for two in a row. So, this year, I will be on Team Alex and root for them also. Well, that and I can't root for anybody that cheat. Oops, did I say that again?

Anyway, these little Mexican treats are perfect for watching the game, because they are hands friendly! Your guests can munch away while shouting at the tv, and you don't have to worry about them throwing knives and forks at the screen.

Set out a ton of toppings and let everyone customize them. So fun. So easy. So yummy. But as I mentioned, they aren't just football food. They make a simple weeknight meal the kids will love too. Add some rice and beans on the side and your meal is done. Oh, speaking of beans, come back Wednesday because I've got a great recipe for those too! 

If you aren't looking forward to the Super Bowl on Sunday, please bare with me this week because we are, and it's going to be #1 on the discussion list. But don't worry, we will return to your normal scheduled programming February 2nd. 

Mini Enchilada Cups
12 small flour tortillas
1 lb. ground beef
1 packet enchilada seasoning
2/3 c. picante sauce
3/4 c. shredded Colby jack cheese
Salt and Pepper taste
Shredded Lettuce
Diced Tomatoes
Diced Green Onions
Sour Cream

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a muffin tin with nonstick spray. Warm tortillas in microwave 2 at a time, for 15 seconds. Line each well with one tortilla. In a large skillet brown beef, seasoned with salt and pepper. Drain if necessary. Increase heat to high. Add seasoning packet and picante sauce. Stir well. Bring to a boil. Decrease heat to low and simmer until thickened. Sprinkle each tortillas cup with a little cheese in the bottom. Place a heaping TBS of beef mixture into each cup. Sprinkle each with more cheese. Bake for 20 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before removing from tin. Add lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream and green onions to top. 

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Meal Plan Jan. 25-30

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

Mom's Coleslaw^

Pork Chops

Slow Cooker Barley Veggie Soup*
Artichoke Dip*

Sliced Pears
Garlic Bread


Fish Sticks
Mac n Cheese

Friday, January 23, 2015

Winter Time Salad

During the winter months, when the snow is falling, the temps are frigid and the days are almost as dark as the night, not only do I miss the warmth of summer, but the foods of summer. The fresh fruits and veggies we get from our garden or fro a roadside stand. The bright colors and perfect flavor they get from the sunny days and rainy nights. My taste buds begin to long for a nice fresh salad, but all the things I love to put into one aren't always readily available in middle of January. So, what's a girl to do?

Well, what about if we take a few veggies that we can find, even in the winter months here in Indiana, and add some extra nutrients, extra flavor and extra texture by incorporating a whole grain! I love the "bite" a perfectly cooked grain can add to a salad. It really gives your teeth something to sink into to, making the mixture even more hearty and filling.

Plus, if you are trying to eat better in 2015, adding whole grains to your diet is a simple and economical way to do it! Let's face it, sometimes eating healthier, isn't very easy on the wallet, but with only a cup of barley, this recipe makes a ton and can feed you for days!

I chose the veggies listed for one simple reason, I had them on hand. But add what you love. I really wish I would have had some cucumber in the crisper drawer that day, because it would have been perfect with this.

Make it for a side dish with a sandwich supper. Pack it in your lunch for work. Any way you serve it up, it's easy, yummy and absolutely doable in these cold winter months when fresh isn't at our fingertips. 

Veggie Barley Salad
1 1/4 c. chicken broth
3/4 c. water
1 c. quick cooking barley
1/2 c. olive oil and vinegar salad dressing
2 tsp. dried chopped chives
1 TBS dried parsley
1 yellow pepper, finely chopped
1 c. chopped cauliflower
1/4 c. sliced black olives
15 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/3 c. sliced almonds, reserve a few for garnish
Salt and Pepper to taste

Shared on The Country Cook Jan. 23. 2015

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Game Time Food

The teams are set. The fans are gearing up. Super Bowl Sunday is less than two weeks ago. In our house, Mr. E. and I bleed black and gold (GO STEELERS!!!); but little man is a huge Seattle Seahawks fan, so he is especially excited this year! His team is headed back to the "big dance" for the 2nd year in a row, and he can't wait.

I think for most Americans, even if you don't have a team in the game, the Super Bowl is just a great excuse to get together with family and friends, have some laughs at the commercials, and pig out on delicious food all afternoon and evening.

In fact, the hubby and I both said without our favorite team in the game, it's a little less nerve racking. We can actually just sit back, relax, eat and know at the end of it, we don't have to worry about being disappointed.

When you plan your big day menu is it mainly a lot of appetizers you turn into a meal? Or do you try to have some main dishes in the mix too, for a more filling option? Either way, I think this recipe will work for you.

When you see the word casserole, don't be fooled. This is not your traditional oven baked, in a 9 x 13 pan, dish. See, this is going into your slow cooker, so the consistency is going to be a tad different. But, on the other hand, this is going in your slow cooker, so that means you can keep it warm, all game long, and have your guests going back again and again.

To serve this, I put out a mini nacho bar of sorts. We had chips, diced onion, cheese, salsa, etc. Sure, it's more filling than just a dip (after all, there is rice in there) but the flavors are the perfect mix of chili and nacho, everyone's favorite toppings just seemed natural. 

Even if you aren't a football fan, I think you can get behind the Super Bowl. It's a fun time to make memories and eat something yummy....maybe this??

Slow Cooker Chili Casserole
1 lb. ground beef, browned and drained
2 c. water
1 (15.5 oz.) can chili beans, mild or hot
1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes, undrained
3/4 c. brown rice, NOT instant
1/4 c. chopped white onion
1 TBS chili powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. yellow mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
1 c. Monterrey Jack shredded cheese, plus extra for top
Finely diced white onion for top

Combine all ingredients, except those marked for top, in slow cooker. Stir well. Cook on LOW for 7 hours until rice is tender. Stir in cheese in last 10 minutes of cooking. Top individual portions with extra cheese and diced white onion. Serve with tortilla chips if desired. 

Shared on The Country Cook Jan. 23. 2015

Monday, January 19, 2015

Snow Days

Winter time in Indiana means many things. Snow on the ground, bitterly cold temps, sunset at 5 pm...you get the picture. And two of those add up to one other guaranteed thing about wintertime in the Hoosier state...School Cancellations!

I know for many parents snow delays/cancellations cause a major headache with work schedules and daycare arrangements, and I respect that. But for me, since I have the complete blessing of being a SAHM, they mean I get extra days at home with my little man. When they announce our school system as being CLOSED, I don't know who gets more excited, me or Alex.

Two weeks ago, it wasn't so much the snow on the ground that called schools all over Indiana to close, but the -30 wind chills. Yep, with so many kids walking and/or waiting at bus stops, that is just too darn cold for school, so for two days straight, my little man was at home with me, all nice and warm.

One of the activities we love to do the most on snow days is get into the kitchen and bake together. It's never anything major, but it's always something yummy and usually I even get to throw in a math lesson in there somewhere too. After all, there have been times when these snow days go on for 3-5 days at a time, and we have to have some sort of learning!

This recipe came to be because we love cinnamon raisin bread. It's a treat for us, and I usually head to our local bread outlet to buy it on the cheap. Well, when it is snowy, bitter cold and yucky, I don't head anywhere, so we haven't had any in about a month. So my craving got the best of me, I discovered I had everything in the house to make these, (After all, I wasn't going anywhere!), and we got to baking!

If you get the joy of living in an area where the winter weather can get you down, take some comfort in the fact you might get a snow day with your kids. Get into the kitchen and have some fun with them. Enjoy these times, for they will pass way too quickly!

Cinnamon Raisin Muffins
1 c. sifted flour (sift flour first, and then measure out 1 cup)
1/4 c. sugar 
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. old fashion oats
1/2 c. raisins
3 TBS vegetable oil
1 egg, beaten
1 c. milk
1/4 tsp. cinnamon

2 TBS brown sugar
2 tsp. flour
1 TBS cinnamon
1 TBS butter, melted

In a small bowl, combine ingredients for topping. Mix well with a fork until crumbly. Set aside. Preheat oven to 425. Line muffin tin with papers or grease well. Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon into a large bowl. Stir in oats and raisins. In a small bowl combine egg, milk and oil. Pour into dry mix. Stir until just combined. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full. Sprinkle with topping. Bake for 15 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on wire racks. 

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Meal Plan Jan 18- 23

*New Recipe
Links to Recipes on Blog

We are celebrating a birthday at my in-laws. 

Grilled Cheese

Mini Enchilada Cups*
Mexican Rice
Baked Refried Beans*

Roast Chicken
Cranberry Sauce

Baked Spaghetti*
Garlic Bread


Friday, January 16, 2015

A Meaty Addtion

If you are a long time reader of EMM, you've probably seen my recipe for Fried Cabbage and Noodles a hundred times, especially if you follow me on Facebook too. It's one of those recipes that is not only a family favorite, but always a hit with my fans too. And so many of you have commented that you make it, but add meat, I thought it was about time I tried it too, sort of.

For us, the cabbage and noodles are a side dish we always look forward to eating. From the first time my Grammy made them, now through three generations, they are a classic. So, while I agree meat would taste great with them, I just couldn't do it. I had to find a way to make something new without changing the classic too much. It's just how my brain works.

I got to thinking about how much we love sausage and sauerkraut, so I decided to simply do cabbage and sausage instead...same idea, different application. Plus, I figured I'd leave out the noodles to change up the flavor just a bit. And this way, without the extra step of boiling pasta, I could call it a one pot meal! But if you love my original recipe and simply want to add the meat, go right ahead. I'm sure it would be delish!

This is one of those meals you can throw together in almost no time at the end of a long day. And if you have to stop at the store for ingredients, there are probably only 2 you don't have on hand, so express land here you come!

One Skillet Fried Cabbage and Sausage
1 large head cabbage, chopped
2 (12 oz.) packages smoked sausage, sliced on a bias
3-4 TBS vegetable oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Heat large skillet over medium heat. Place sausage in an cook until browned on all sides, about 7 minutes. Remove from skillet to a paper towel lined plate. Depending on how much fat the sausage renders out, add vegetable oil to skillet and increase heat to medium high. Add cabbage and saute until well browned and tender. Season with salt and pepper. Remove cabbage with slotted spoon to serving platter. Add sausage on top, or mix in, either is yummy! *NOTE* We like this seasoned simply, but I think it would be great with garlic powder or even Cajun seasoning too. Also, I would have loved to fry up some thinly sliced white onion with this but Mr. E can't do the onions. But I think the flavors would be really nice.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Gourmet Lasagna Made Simple with Red Gold

Easy. Gourmet. Lasagna. Three words you might not have thought went together! But now, thanks to my friends at Red Gold, they do!!

That's right, you can have restaurant quality lasagna, made at home, so easily your family will think you've slaved away over the stove all day! How easy you ask? Well, I have two words for you. NO BOIL! Yep, this recipe uses dry lasagna noodles and the oven does 99% of the work! If I didn't have your attention, I do now! 

And let me add... These aren't the actual no boil variety. This recipe uses the regular every day kind-- and makes them into NO boil!

Plus, Red Gold is helping people with their "eating better" resolutions in 2015 with the help of Laura's Lean Beef, debuting their Skinny Lasagna Recipe too! 

And right now, on their Facebook Page, Red Gold is giving away a Le Creuset Lasagna Pan, a Simple Gourmet Lasagna Kit, Red Gold spatula, Garfield Toy, coupons and an apron. Click here to enter! 

But you actually have two chances to win from Red Gold. You can enter the Facebook contest, and they have offered up a special prize pack for EMM readers! One lucky winner will receive:

*A gift pack of Red Gold canned tomatoes
*Lasagna Noodles
*A Red Gold Reusable Tote
Just scroll down after the recipe to see how you can enter to win!

Now, more about this delicious recipe. This is Sunday supper from the old Italian quality on a busy working mom's schedule! You can really have lasagna any night of the week!!

Oh, and I have a little secret. This was the first time I ever made lasagna at home; and I'm so happy I waited for this recipe to find me before I did!

So be sure to enter both contests today and check out everything Red Gold has to offer online, on Facebook and on Twitter too!

All-in-One Lasagna 
From Red Gold
1/2 c. water
1 (28 oz.) can Red Gold Crushed Tomatoes
1 (14.5 oz) cans Red Gold Diced Tomatoes with Basil, Garlic and Oregano
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 (16 oz.) box traditional lasagna noodles, uncooked
1 lb. ground beef, browned and drained
1 (15 oz.) carton low fat ricotta cheese
3 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
Salt an Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350. In a large mixing bowl combine water, crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, cooked beef, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Cover the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish with 1 1/2 c. sauce mixture. Arrange 1/3 of noodles on top of sauce, slightly overlapped. Top with 1/2 of ricotta cheese, 1 c. mozzarella and 1 c. sauce. Repeat layers, ending with sauce. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 1-1 1/2 hours until noodles are cooked. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. 

Shared on The Country Cook Jan. 16, 2015

To Enter: 
Simply leave me a comment telling me if you've ever tried no boil lasagna before and what your opinion was. 

Extra Entry: Like Red Gold on Facebook. Leave me an additional comment when you have. 

Contest Ends: Monday Jan. 19, 2015

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Game Day Ready with NatureSweet®

Are you a tomato lover? Do you want a chance to win some extra cash? I know, DUH!! Well, now you have a chance from my good friends over at NatureSweet Tomatoes

From now to February 1, NatureSweet® Tomatoes is offering customers a chance to win daily prizes of $200 and weekly prizes of $1,000. Customers can text the unique code on their packages of Sunbursts tomatoes to see if they have won a prize.

We love these little tasty gems on salads, I pack them in my son's lunch and they make a yummy, healthy after school snack too! Plus, living in Indiana, it's wonderful to get fresh tomatoes in the middle of the winter! 

NatureSweet® Tomatoes is kicking off the New Year with the return of the popular NatureSweet SunBursts™ MVP promotion in retailers across the United States. Designed to aid shoppers in planning the perfect game day party, NatureSweet will give away one daily $200 prize and one weekly $1,000 prize from January 5th to February 1st for a total of $6,800.
Along with the cash giveaways, NatureSweet has created the ultimate MVP Party Playbook, complete with delicious recipes, healthy game day snack ideas and money saving coupons.

Packages of SunBursts tomatoes with unique on-pack codes can be found with the Party Playbook at the NatureSweet MVP display in produce sections of participating retailers. 

So, get game day ready with some great recipes from NatureSweet and don't forget to enter to win one of these awesome prizes as well! 

Disclaimer: I received coupons for product in exchange for this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Favorite Sandwich

One of my favorite sandwiches of all time is the all American Philly Cheese Steak. Those that know me really well assume this is because my parents hail form Pennsylvania, and most of my family is still back there. And it's a good guess, and makes for a very nice story, but here is my secret. For the hundreds of times I've been to the Quaker State in my life...I have never been to Philadelphia! 

Does that seem crazy to you? Maybe not so much once I explain. See, we live about 30 minutes from the Ohio state line. And where we visit in Pa, is about the same distance on the other side. It's about a 6 hour drive; but to then visit the City of Brotherly Love, it's another almost 6 hours! Yes, it's a huge state, and we've just never ventured that south into it. 

So while I have never had a traditional cheese steak, in the city where it was born, I have had lots of others. And before purists send me emails telling me this recipe is missing some things, and adding others, I'm aware. When I have a cheese steak, it has peppers, onions, and Provolone. I know. I know. Others are made differently. It's okay. Variety is a good thing. 

I love taking flavors of one favorite dish and using them in another application, especially when it's another favorite. So, a #1 sandwich in my world turned into an easy to make, weeknight friendly, casserole is a match made in heaven. 

Be sure to read the note in the recipe so you know your options when it comes to the biscuits, and my reasoning for baking them the way I do. 

Do you have a favorite sandwich you think might make a great casserole? Tell me about it in the comments!

Philly Cheese Steak Casserole
1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
8 oz. button mushrooms, sliced
8 slices provolone cheese
2 TBS butter
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 green peppers, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (16.3 oz.) Grands biscuits
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9 x 13 baking dish. In a large skillet, cook beef and mushrooms, seasoned with salt and pepper until browned. Drain if necessary. Place in baking dish. Arrange cheese over beef mixture. In same skillet, melt better and saute onions and peppers until tender-crisp. Stir in garlic. Cook 1-2 minutes more. Spoon over cheese. Cover and bake for 35-40 minutes. Bake biscuits according to package directions. When ready to serve, spoon beef and pepper mixture over bottoms of biscuits and top with other half. *NOTE* You can also top the beef mixture with the uncooked biscuits, do NOT cover, and bake for same amount of time, but the bottoms can become a little soft, which we don't enjoy, so I bake them separately. 

Shared on The Country Cook Jan. 16, 2015

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Meal Plan Jan. 10- 16

*New Recipe
Links to Recipes on Blog

Jello Parfait Salad

Sliced Peaches


Mushroom Alfredo Pasta Bake*
Garlic Bread

Barley Veggie Salad*
Fruit Cocktail

I'm going to my dad's company dinner with him.
The boys will have leftovers. 

Friday, January 9, 2015

A Little Boxed Help

Has your life slowed down some since the holiday rush is behind us? If so...lucky you! Because ours seem to be just as busy, and I don't see any end in sight. So much to do, so little time. It seems this is just the way of life these days, and if you're like me, you need any help you can get to save some time, even if it's just a few minutes here and there.

Now, if you are a purest, and don't use any boxed or convenience foods in your cooking, I can respect that, but please don't send any hate mail because I do. Believe me, there are many out there like me, Some might not have the courage to admit it, because they don't want to be judged or ridiculed, but they are out there, crouching in the corners, with their cans of condensed soup and prepackaged rice mixes. And today is liberation day. Today is the day we all stand united and say "Yes, we take a little help from the store, where we can, and we won't apologize for it. We won't feel guilty anymore."

When a friend gave me this recipe I will admit I was a little hesitant. Not because it uses the boxed mix, but because I just couldn't believe adding just a couple extra ingredients could really make that big of a difference. Well, was I ever wrong! Because oh, they do!

Want some comfort food in almost no time at all? This is it! This tastes like the mac n cheese grandma used to take hours to make, but you can have the family flocking to the table to gobble it down in about 45 minutes! It's crazy good and it's going to be one of those dishes they ask for again and again!

Don't feel bad if you are willing to take some help when you can. We are all struggling to just get through the day, with only 24 hours, and still put a meal on the table at the end of it. And believe me, unless someone sees the blue box sitting on the counter, they are never going to guess it's in there!

Double Cheese Mac n Cheese 
1 (14 oz.) box Kraft Deluxe mac n cheese
1/2 c. sour cream
1 c. finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 375. Grease a 8 x 8 baking dish. Prepare boxed mac n cheese according to package directions. Add sour cream and 1/2 c. cheese. Stir well until blended. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to baking dish. Sprinkle with rest of cheese. Bake for 20 minutes until heated through and golden on top. 

Shared on The Country Cook Jan. 9, 2015

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Something Other Than Rice

Do you love making Asian food at home? Getting the same tasty dinner as you could if you reached for that take out menu, but made by you, fresh in your own kitchen? If so, then we are in the same boat and you are going to love this idea as much as I did!

I try to make an Asian inspired meal once every couple weeks, but I always seems to fall into the same rut. The side dish. Rice or Noodles. That's what it comes down to every single time. So it was time to find something else to serve with those egg rolls. Sure, rice and noodles are favorites in this carb loving house, but veggies are friends too, so this was sure to be a crowd pleaser.

We also happen to be mushroom lovers, so this was a double win with us. If you're not, I'm guessing you could find another vegetable that would be just as delicious with the snow peas.

If you're looking for something else to add to your Asian arsenal, to make those take out favorites your way, with only ingredients you can pronounce...this has to be next on your list. Don't totally turn your back on the rice and noodles though, this could easily go with them too!

Snow Pea and Mushroom Stir Fry
8 oz. button mushrooms, sliced
8 oz. snow peas, ends trimmed if tough
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 TBS vegetable oil
2 tsp. sesame seeds, extra for garnish
2-3 TBS soy sauce
Black Pepper to taste

Heat oil in large skillet, or wok, over high heat. Add mushrooms and peas. Cook and stir, about 7 minutes until mushrooms are browned. Add black pepper and garlic. Cook and stir for another 3 minutes. Add soy sauce, reduce heat. Cook for 4-5 minutes until peas are vibrant green and crisp-tender. (I like them pretty crunchy.)  Add sesame seeds. Stir to combine. Garnish with extra sesame seeds, if desired. 

Shared on The Country Cook Jan. 9, 2015

Monday, January 5, 2015

Conquer Fears in 2015

It's the new year folks. I hope it's treating you well thus far. How do you feel about new year's resolutions? I don't really believe in them. I think they actually set us up to fail. I think there is enough pressure in day to day life, adding to it only makes things harder. Instead, simply try to be a better person than I was the day before, all the time knowing some days I will fail. I will fall down. But thankfully, God gives me the opportunity to start over the next day and try again. 

That being said, I do try to come up with some foodie goals each January. A few years back, my goal for myself and this blog was to try at least one new recipe every week. Well, I am happy to report not only did I achieve that goal that year, but I have continued to follow that plan for over 3 years now! That's a lot of new recipes!! 

Last year my foodie resolution was to provide ya'll with both more casseroles and slow cooker dinners, because that's what you asked for. I hope I did a great job with that request because I tried really hard to bring you as many new ones as I could. 

This year, I don't really have such a specific recipe goal in mind. I am thinking in broader strokes this time. I've decided I'm going to attempt to conquer those dishes that still intimidate me in the kitchen. Or, find a way to make them that fits into my world a little better...and this recipe is the first example of that.

Risotto...have you ever made it? I've watched it be made on television a thousand times. I've heard all of my favorite chefs say "It's time consuming, but easy if you pay attention and have patience. Well, I've got news for you. I'm not the most patient person in the world. I can be when I have to be, (After all, I am the mother to a very active 10 year old boy!) but I only have so many patience to go around every day and sometimes there just isn't any left to use while cooking. 

So imagine my joy when I found this recipe while thumbing through a new holiday cookbook I got a couple weeks ago. Yep. Risotto...baked in the oven. Some stirring and pouring, and the oven does the rest of the work. Hallelujah!

Now, a couple things. First, when it says to stir a couple times during cooking, don't skip this step. Yes, I know I said the oven does all of the work, but believe me, you're going to be happy you took the 20 seconds it takes. Secondly, don't be scared if most of the cooking time passes and you see a lot of liquid left. The rice is going to cook, and then absorb it, it just takes a while. You just have to be patient. Gee, where have I heard that before? 

I promise you're going to love this dish. It makes a great side to any meal you are serving, and it's pretty enough you can entertain with it too.

No matter what your 2015 goals are, I'm so thankful you are joining me for another year of my family's food, and look forward to sharing my conquering tales with you.

Baked Risotto
3 1/4 c. water
1 (10 3/4 oz.) can cream of celery soup
1 1/4 c. medium grain rice (NOT instant)
1/3 c. matchstick carrots
1/2 c. frozen peas, thawed
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 tsp. dried parsley

Preheat oven to 375. In a medium bowl combine uncooked rice, water, soup, carrots, salt and pepper. Transfer to an ungreased casserole dish. Bake covered for 55-60 minutes, stirring twice during cooking, or until rice is tender. Remove and stir in peas, Parmesan and parsley. Let stand for about 10 minutes before serving. 

Shared on The Country Cook Jan. 9, 2015

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Meal Plan Jan.4- Jan. 9

*New Recipes
Links to Recipes on Blog

Corn Muffins

Extra Cheesy Mac n Cheese*
Green Beans

Slow Cooker Chili Casserole*
Chips n Salsa

Beef Roast
Baked Sweet Potatoes

Hashbrown Cakes

Fried Cabbage and Sausage*
Sliced Pears

Friday, January 2, 2015

Happy New Year!!

Well, it's officially over. Christmas has come and gone. We've watched the ball drop and welcomed in 2015, and now there is nothing left to look forward to until summer. Okay, that's not true at all, but I always tend to get a little down after the holidays. 

But now, it's time to focus on the new year. I hope to be bringing you lots of yummy things this year, so you know I had to start out right away...and with something fantastic.

Last year when I asked folks what they would like to see more of on EMM, two things were said more than any other. Casseroles and Slow Cooker recipes. Well, I didn't ask this year, but I'm guessing those two would once again be at the top of the list. So many of us are super busy, and both of those categories hold meals that we can fit into our jammed schedules. 

That being said,  I figured having my first post of 2015 being a casserole would be a safe bet. Not to mention, this is a seafood supper that takes some help from the store, but is still very budget friendly. You can feed a crowd with this without spending a fortune. 

I'm so happy you've decided to join me in the new year. I am so thankful for all of your love and support, year after year. I wish many things for my 2015, and I look forward to sharing all of them with you, along with some tasty recipes to share with your family too! 

Creamy Shrimp and Wild Rice Casserole
1 (12 oz.) bag cooked, medium shrimp, thawed (I like the ones with tail left one)
3 (4 oz.) boxes wild rice mix, cooked according to package directions
8 oz. white mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp. hot sauce
1 c. heavy cream
1/2 c. sliced almonds
2 TBS butter
1 TBS dried parsley, extra for garnish
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9x13 baking dish. Saute mushrooms in butter until brown. Remove to a bowl and add rice. Allow to cool slightly. Add hot sauce, shrimp, cream, salt, pepper and parsley. Stir well to combine. Transfer to baking dish. Top with almonds. Bake, uncovered for 30-45 minutes. Garnish with extra parsley.