Everyday Mom's Meals: August 2015

Monday, August 31, 2015

Fresh Family Meals {A Gooseberry Patch Review & Giveaway]

It's that time again! Oh, so many things could be applied to that statement, but in EMM land right now, it refers to another awesome Gooseberry Patch cookbook; and the chance for one of you to walk away with a copy for yourself!

Fresh and Easy Family Meals is filled with over 200 yummy recipes your family is sure to love. Plus, like so many of their cookbooks, a ton of helpful kitchen tips!

Page after page has something else you will want to try. Take it from me, don't dog ear the pages with ones you want to make. Why? Because every single page will be marked!!

From main dishes, to sides to desserts, you could feed your family for months just from this cookbook! I had to really narrow it down to one I wanted to feature, and boy did I pick a winner!

This is a simple side dish for any meal that you can feel really good about serving! The bright, fresh lemon flavor takes it from simple to scrumptious. Plus, any chance I have to use fresh spinach, I'm happy. We love the stuff, and it's filled with so many vitamins and minerals! The person who submitted the recipe to Gooseberry suggested serving it with baked chicken, so that's exactly what I did; and it was fan-freakin-tastic!

I adapted this just a little bit to fit our tastes, but I've included the page number so you can see the original recipe. I can't wait to make this again during those looonngggg winter months when we crave something fresh and bright to remind us of summer time flavors. There are so many ways I can think to serve it, and maybe even add some sauteed shrimp for full meal deal!

If you're looking for something new, that's also pretty healthy you've come to the right place. Oh, and don't forget to enter to win a copy of Fresh and Easy Family Meals for yourself. Just scroll down under the recipe to see how!

Lemony Spinach Orzo
Original Recipe found on page 72
1 lb. orzo pasta
8 oz. fresh spinach, chopped
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. lemon zest
Juice of 1/2 lemon
4 TBS butter 
Salt and Pepper to taste

Cook orzo according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet melt butter over medium heat. Add spinach, in batches, until starting to wilt. Add garlic powder and stir. When pasta is cooked, drain very well. Add to skillet. Toss to combine. Add lemon zest, juice, salt and pepper. Stir well. 



To Enter: Leave a comment telling me you want to win. That's it. Easy!! Just be sure to leave an email address so I can notify the winner.

Bonus Entry: Become a Fan of Gooseberry Patch on Facebook. Leave a comment telling me you have.

(1) Winner will win a copy of Fresh and Easy Family Meals.

Open to US Residents 18 and over only.

Contest Ends: Sept. 16, 2015

Disclaimer: I received a cookbook in exchange for this review. And one to give away. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Shared at Weekend Potluck

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Meal Plan Aug. 30- Sept. 4

*New Recipes
Links to Recipes on Blog

Garlic Bread

Sliced Pears

Crock Pot Chicken n Dumplings*


 Taco Rice Skillet*
Chips n Cheese


Friday, August 28, 2015

Soup Weather

It's coming folks. In fact, with the cooler temps we've been having this week, I thought it was here earlier than expected, but according to the forecast, we should see 90 again next week, so not quite yet. What do I speak about? Soup season!

Now, we enjoy soup year round, but let's face it, when it is the middle of summer, and you've spent all day at the pool, or in the sun, it isn't going to show up on the weekly menu as much. But the minute the leaves begin to turn, and that autumn chill is in the air, that all changes.

We will eat more soup in the upcoming months than any other dish. I guarantee it. From slow cooker ones to the stove top variety, I will find as many as I can to warm us up and fill us up at the same time.

To get ready for this, I actually did make soup on a 90 degree day! Ha! I wanted to be prepared for a recipe for ya'll to go live right about now, so to test it, compromises had to be made!

If you love bean soup like we do, but aren't in the mood for a heavy one with ham or other meat, this is a great option for you! Beans, veggies, and seasonings. That's it! Cooked for hours, with a deep flavor you won't miss the meat at all! Serve a grilled cheese for dipping, and dinner is done!

Grab your slow cooker and put it to good use this soup season! I'll have many more ideas to share as we head into autumn and beyond!

Crock Pot Confetti Bean Soup
1 lb. 15 bean soup mix*
3 (32 oz.) boxes chicken broth
4 medium carrots, diced
1 large white onion, diced
2 TBS tomato paste
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 (14 oz.) can diced tomatoes, with juice
Salt and Pepper to taste
Shredded Parmesan Cheese

Rinse and sort beans. Add all ingredients, except tomatoes and cheese to Crock Pot. Stir well. Cook on LOW for 8-10 hours. Add tomatoes with juice. Cook on HIGH for 15 minutes. Garnish with cheese. *NOTE* If your soup mix comes with a flavor packet, add it with the rest of the ingredients.

Shared at Weekend Potluck

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Not Too Much Spice

By now most of you know while Mr. E loves his spicy food, the hotter the better, I am the wimp in the family and can't take the heat. And to top it off, Little E. has inherited his father's love of all things spicy, so I am out numbered 2:1.

So, in that spirit, I am trying to find more dishes that do indeed have some spice to them. But not too much. Just enough the boys can taste it and I'm not in misery while eating, for while my husband might not care to sweat and/or cry while he chews, it really isn't my cup of tea.

So far I've found that Asian dishes seem to be where I can add some heat, and not burn my tongue off. I'm guessing it's because the slightly sweet tones of other flavors included in the dishes help to subdue the heat.

For me, Asian noodles are some of the best ones around. But then again, I just like noodles. I just think there are so many things you can do with them, so many veggies you can add and so many flavors you can use.

Take a little help from the store with some egg rolls, serve these on the side and you have a simple dinner! Plus, the leftovers make a fantastic lunch the next day. The flavors only intensify with sitting. And if you have a spice lover in your house, you can easily add more sriracha, or serve it on the side so they can.

I will never be the heat connoisseur my husband is, but I am trying to ease my palate into more dangerous territory...one spicy bite at a time.

Spicy Thai Noodles
1 lb. linguine
1 1/2 TBS olive oil
8 oz. white button mushrooms, sliced
1 medium zucchini, sliced into half circles
1/3 c. soy sauce
2 TBS brown sugar
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1-2 TBS sriracha*
4 green onions, chopped
1/4 c. peanuts, chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, heat oil in large skillet over medium high heat. Saute' mushrooms and zucchini until browned, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. When pasta is cooked, drain well. Add to skillet. Toss well. In a medium bowl combine soy sauce, garlic powder, sriracha and brown sugar. Whisk well. Pour over noodles. Stir to combine until pasta is coated. Garnish with green onions and peanuts. *NOTE* I used 1 TBS of sriracha because I can't handle heat. If you like it spicy, add the 2 TBS or more!


Shared at Weekend Potluck

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Breakfast For Dinner Done Differently with Grainful™ {A Feature}

We are huge breakfast for dinner fans (or "brinner") around here. Any long time reader of EMM knows that. And I know so many of you out there are the same way! Not only is it a fun way to enjoy traditionally morning dishes after a long day, but it can also give us more nutrition too! In that spirit, my friends at Grainful™ have introduced a line of savory sides made with steel cut oatmeal! 

The Steel Cut Sides provide more fiber and heart healthy nutrients than quinoa and take a traditional breakfast food from morning to the dinner table with some sass! 

 “These sides mix up your dinnertime routine beyond the same old rice or potato and give oatmeal a facelift,” said Chef Jeannine Sacco, Grainful co-founder and chief recipe developer. “Steel cut oats, mixed with a colorful palette of spices and fresh ingredients, bring a hearty and nutty flavor to any meal.”

 Steel Cut Sides are also certified gluten-free and non-GMO, plus packed with protein as well! Each package contains steel cut oats, vegetables, a seasoning packet and preparation suggestions, as well as detailed cooking instructions that stress convenience. Steel Cut Sides are 100% all natural with no preservatives, artificial colors or flavors, and are packaged in 8 oz. pouches that serve four. Available in four mouth-watering varieties, the sides retail for a suggested $4.99 – $5.99; and will be on grocery store shelves by this fall!

Cheesy Oats: A comfort food classic, made with creamy cheddar cheese and buttermilk
Tomato Risotto: Authentic Mediterranean flavor meets Italian-style flare
Madras Curry: A sweet and spicy companion to any meal, made with Indian spices, raisins and veggies
Jambalaya: A Creole classic for a Louisiana-inspired meal
Why not take a morning time tradition and give it a little dinner time flare? To learn more, and stay up on everything new from Grainful™, be sure to like them on Facebook and follow on Twitter

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

Monday, August 24, 2015

So Many One Pots

One pot meals, or "wonders" as we foodies call them. Can you get enough? I know I can't. Any time a recipe includes those magic words, or I figure out a way I can transform one to include them, I am ecstatic!

I'm pretty sure our schedule is busier and busier every single day. I can't remember the last time I literally had nothing to do. Sure there are times when I don't have to be anywhere, per say; but if it's through the week, I still have to take and retrieve little man from school, and usually to and from Tae kwon do. Seriously, I can not tell you the last time I did not the leave the house for an entire day.

It's funny because when Monkey was a baby there were days on end I wouldn't leave the house and long or just a trip to the post office; and now I look forward to days like that!

With so much going on when I can feed the family and not spend a lot of time doing it, I'm a happy mama. This meal is also perfect for those of you who are trying to eat less carbs. Me? I'm a die hard carb lover, but even I like to lighten it up a bit now and then. Ya'll know Fried Cabbage and Noodles is one of our favorites, but this has swapped out the pasta for protein, and with a boy who is getting ready to head back into TKD tournament season, the lighter the better.

Not only is this a one pot meal, it's a under 30 minute meal. From start to finish, you can be sitting down to dinner in almost no time. I served this with some fresh cantaloupe and crusty rolls on the side and it was a filling, satisfying, and delicious meal.

If your calendar is getting fuller by the minute, take a break when it comes to dinner time and trust your everyday mom to lend a hand!

Cabbage and Beef Skillet
1 lb. ground beef
1 medium head cabbage, chopped
1 medium white onion, chopped
1 (14 oz.) can diced tomatoes, with juice
1/2 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
1 TBS cider vinegar
1/2 TBS chili powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
Pinch red pepper flakes
Salt and Pepper taste
Dried Parsley for garnish

In a large skillet, brown beef and onion until no longer pink. Drain if necessary. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, vinegar, chili powder, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Add cabbage and stir. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and cook, until cabbage is tender, about 15-20 minutes. Garnish with parsley. *NOTE* If your tomatoes aren't very juicy like mine, add about 1/4 cup water with cabbage to make boiling possible.

Shared at Weekend Potluck

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Meal Plan Aug. 23- 28

*New Recipe
Links to Recipes on Blog

Grilled Chicken
Lemony Orzo and Spinach*

Leftover from previous menu
Garlic Bread

Crock Pot Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork*
 Classic Potato Salad
Crackers and Cheese

Meatloaf Muffins*

 Biscuits and Gravy
Baked Home Fries
Sliced Peaches

Tomato Soup 
Grilled Cheese


Friday, August 21, 2015

Back To School Rush

We are two weeks in folks, and I'm already counting down the days until Christmas break. Okay, so maybe it isn't quite that bad, but I can say for sure I know when Labor Day is...and every other day off is circled on the calendar in red! 

Not only do I want my boy back home with me, but I'm just tired. Exhausted. We both are. I know we will get back into the swing of things and it won't always seem so overwhelming, but I don't know if we will ever welcome that early morning alarm. What can I say? We like our sleep. 

Once again I'm trying to find ways for supper to be easy and stress free. By the end of the day, after homework is done (and there is A LOT of it this year) I'm simply too fried to have to think too hard about what I'm making for dinner; and I know so many parents out there feel the same way. 

On days like this we need all the help we can get, and our slow cookers can be our best friend. I love these because if you have a programmable Crock Pot, you can put them on in the morning so they can cook and shut off while you're gone at work, or busy at home. Or, the other option for folks like me, who don't have one that fancy, they only have to cook a couple hours, so you can put them on when you get home and still be eating at a decent time. Or, the third option, cook them when you are home, chill and then reheat the next day! 

Anyway you decide to do it, you will be a rock star to your family. These are cheesy goodness on a bun. Think sloppy joe, but with melted, ooey gooey cheese! Liquid gold right there! Add your favorite burger toppings, some fries and dinner is served! 

School days are a blur sometimes, but we still need to eat. Make it as easy on yourself as possible. Don't stress. Just sit down with your family, hear about their day and enjoy a meal!

Crock Pot Cheeseburgers
Originally Developed for The Children's Museum
2 lbs. ground beef
2 tsp. onion powder
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 c. dill pickle slices, finely chopped
2 TBS Worcestershire sauce
3 TBS yellow mustard
8 oz. Velveeta cheese, cubed
Salt and Pepper to taste
Pretzel Buns
Sliced Tomatoes

In a large skillet over medium heat, brown ground beef until no longer pink. Drain if necessary. Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. Add mustard and Worcestershire sauce. Stir to combine. Spray Crock Pot with nonstick spray. Add beef mixture. Add cheese and pickles. Stir well. Cook on LOW for 2 hours until cheese melted. Serve on buns with toppings, or add your own!
*NOTE* I like to put the lettuce on the bottom of the bun to act as a barrier as to avoid squishy buns. And I use a little dollop of ketchup as “glue” for the tomato!

Shared at Weekend Potluck

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Little Sandwich Supper

Well folks, school is in full swing. Only 6 days in and I am E.X.H.A.U.S.T.E.D I'm not kidding! I took a nap this past Sunday! I haven't taken a nap in I don't know how long. But there I was at 4 in the afternoon laying on our bed, fast asleep.

I'm sure my sleep schedule is totally whacked out and when it's back on track I won't feel like I am asleep on my feet 24/7, but until that happens, I am finding ways to ease my life any way I can.

Supper is always one way I look to shave a little time off my oh so busy day. If there is a way I can feed my family, but spend a little less energy doing so, sign me up!

On nights when I need simple, yet scrumptious, quick yet satisfying, many times I turned to my friend the sandwich. Rather it be soup and sammies, salad and sammies, fruit and sammies....I have so many different ways I serve them up, but each gives us a supper that is easy on me, and filling for my family.

These little tasty gems will certainly become part of our regular sandwich rotation, and I'm guessing if you try them, yours too. Think hot ham and cheese taken to the next level. If you've never had a Cuban Sandwich, or "Cubano", it's filled with ham, roasted pork, pickles, Swiss cheese, mustard and then pressed until it's thin and crispy. Well, minus the roast pork, these have all of that! And the sauce on the top? Well, I could drink that stuff with a straw!

If you're looking to switch up your sandwich routine because your schedule is as busy as mine, and you too find yourself struggling to keep going at the end of the day, these are exactly what you're looking for.

Cuban Sliders
12 Hawaiian Slider Buns or Dinner Rolls
24 thin slices ham (I like the small round ones)
Sliced Swiss Cheese, cut into fourths
Dill Pickle Chips
1 stick butter, melted
2 TBS Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. onion powder

Preheat oven to 350. Lay bottoms of buns in 9 x 13 baking dish. Add two slices of ham, two fourths of cheese and two pickles to each. Put tops on. In a large bowl, combine butter, mustard and onion powder. Whisk well. Baste tops of sandwiches liberally with sauce. Cover with foil. Bake for 10 minutes. Uncover and bake 10 additional minutes until golden brown on top.  

Shared at Weekend Potluck

Inspired by Taste of Home
As a Field Editor of Taste of Home, I share this recipe as a volunteer, NOT a paid employee. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

General Mills® Box Tops™ Spirit Week

So you've went to the store. You've bought Box Tops™ products. You cut them out, send them to school with your child and you're done. Right? Not so fast! 

With the BONUS Box Tops™ you can earn right now at Walmart, it got me thinking about how we could get parents and kids at our school to really step up their Box Tops™ game! 

Little Man and I started brainstorming and thought what if the school dedicated an entire week to Box Tops™? A Spirit Week, let's call it. But one that doubles as a Box Tops™ drive? Each day, kids that bring in Box Tops™ get something a little extra! It's all about motivation! Our school has actually done these kinds of things for other charities and they are always a huge success!

So this is the Spirit Week we came up with for our school, but you could easily adapt them for things you know would work well at yours!

1. Hat Day
Kids love to be able to wear things at school they don't normally get to. If you bring in Box Tops , you then get to wear a hat at school all day long! This one is always a big hit for kids at our school.

2. Extra Milk At Lunch
Extra thirsty at lunchtime? Your Box Tops™ get you a coupon for an extra milk! Our school always has extra milks for kids to purchase anyway, so this way they are actually getting paid instead! 

3. Extra 10 Minutes of Recess
YAY!! Every child who brings in Box Tops™ on this day get to stay outside for an extra 10 minutes and run off a little more energy. That's a win win for both teachers and students! 

4. Popcorn Day
Once a month our school has popcorn the students can buy for $.50 per bag. Our thought was Box Tops™ could be traded for one of those bags of popcorn instead! 

5. Movie Day
At the end of the week, any child who has brought in Box Tops™ during Spirit Week are invited to watch a movie in the gym. Pop in a DVD and reward these kids for all their hard Box Tops™ work! 

I know if we gave these incentives to kids at our school, they would be dragging their parents to Walmart to look for all those BONUS Box Tops™ products! Giving back makes us parents feel so good, so why not make sure the kids are having fun participating as well? It's a terrific way for them to learn about charity, school spirit and the importance of appreciating everything our schools do for them every single day. 

Getting into the Box Tops™ spirit is easier than ever with the BONUS Box Tops™ at Walmart. So get out there and find a way to get even more Box Tops™ into your school! I would love to hear what spirit days you think would be a hit at your school. Leave me comments with your ideas!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of General Mills®. The opinions and text are all mine.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Helping Your School with General Mills ® and Box Tops™

Do you want to give back to your child's school and help support it, but don't think you have time? I am very blessed to be able to volunteer at my son's elementary school whenever they need me. From being in his classroom, to making copies for teachers, chaperoning field trips and more, I am there any chance I get. And I know many parents who would love to volunteer their time but simply can't due to work schedules, but there is a super simple way we can all help, just by buying products we already do. 

I am sure you have heard of Box Tops™ for Education from General Mills®. But if you haven't, or need a little refresher course, let me tell you more! Since it's launch in 1996, Box Tops™ for Education has contributed over $525 million to participating schools! Each Box Top is worth $.10 for your school and is one of America's largest school earnings loyalty programs. With over 80,000 K-8 schools participating, chances are your child's does too! 

The greatest part in my opinion is that schools can then use the money earned to buy whatever they need. That's right. The school chooses how the money is used, so it can truly be used in the best way possible. At our school I can think of 10 things off the top of my head that money could be used for to better the school day. So many teachers are buying supplies for their classroom out of their own pocket, and with Box Top money, that burden could be taken off their shoulders...just to name one. 

I am always looking for ways to give back to our school, and knowing I can do so in a way that helps them get the money they need to use exactly how they need it is a great feeling. Plus, right now at Walmart you can find General Mills® products that have BONUS Box Tops! 

Just by looking for BONUS tag, you will get 5 extra Box Tops™ on one product. See, they are so easy to find even kids can spot them! 

I love buying products with Box Tops™ because not only do they let me give back to a school that gives my son so much, but they are found on products that we love too. Go-gurt? I'm already by those by the truck load for packed lunches and after school snacks!!

Even when our family budget has been tight, I always made sure I was looking for Box Top™ products when I was doing my weekly shopping. And now with BONUS ones, I can take my budget and stretch it farther because the school gets extra, but I spend the same!

It feels so great to be checking out, knowing some of that money is going to go directly back to our school, so they can get the things they need, when they need them. 

Something so small can have such a big impact on our child's education! Giving back to and being involved at our schools is one of the most important things we as parents can do for our child's academic success. And with Box Tops™ and now BONUS Box Tops™ it is easier than ever!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of General Mills®. The opinions and text are all mine.

Bubbles For Supper

Yuck, right? Ha Ha. Well, I'm not talking about the soapy ones. Thank goodness! But have you seen the big trend for "bubble up" casseroles all over the blogosphere? The concept is quite simple. You use canned biscuits to top a dish of goodness, and the whole thing "bubbles up" while it cooks.

I've been wanting to try this concept for a while now, but I wanted just the right recipe to be our first. I had a few ideas on what I wanted to do, and then my little man became my inspiration. He informed me he was hungry for my Chili Dog Casserole, and that's when it hit me. I could take the same flavors, tweak them a bit, and have our first bubble up experience.

With it being our first week of school, I wanted to give Monkey a fun, yummy "last night of summer vacation" supper that he would gobble down...and this did not disappoint!

If your little ones (or big ones too) enjoy chili dogs, and even better, cheesy chili dogs, they are going to flip for this as much as we did! All the same flavors, in an easy to make, quick, weeknight meal! Add a salad or some fresh fruit on the side and dinner is done!

I'm starting to think about all the different bubble up creations there are yet to be made! I guess I'm on a mission now! 

Cheesy Chili Dog Bubble Up Bake
1 (8 ct.) can refrigerated jumbo biscuits
2 TBS butter, melted
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. dried parsley
8 hot dogs, cut into 1/4ths
2 (15 oz.) cans chili with beans
1 small white onion, finely chopped
2 c. finely shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 375. Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with nonstick spray. Pour chili into bottom of dish. Place hot dogs in chili. Stir gently. Sprinkle with onion and top with cheese. In a medium bowl combine melted butter, onion powder and parsley. Cut each biscuit into 4 pieces. Dip each piece into butter mixture, coating thoroughly. Top casserole with biscuits, leaving a little space between each piece. Bake for 25 minutes until browned. *NOTE* The chopped onion is not going to be cooked all the way. It will still be crisp. We like this because we also have fresh diced onion on our chili dogs.


Shared at Weekend Potluck

Recipe inspired by Pillsbury

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Meal Plan Aug. 16-21

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

Grilled Steak
Baked Sweet Potatoes

Cuban Sliders*

Egg Rolls
Crunchy Noodle Salad*

Cabbage Goulash^
Dinner Rolls

Breakfast Sandwiches

Garlic Bread

Friday, August 14, 2015

Busy School Days { A Post For Earth Fare}

Well, summer is over. Okay, not really, but this was our first week back to school; and let me tell you, I am stinkin' exhausted! Oh my gosh. Who knew starting 35 minutes earlier every day could mean mommy needs coffee...lots of coffee. Stat. From an IV drip!

When school is back in session, it seems like our already super busy lives get busier and busier by the day. So many things to do, running here and there, homework, after school activities, sports...you name it, our plates are F.U.L.L.

So when the craziness sets in, that's when I really start to rely on recipes that can be used for more than one thing, more than one meal. And one of my favorite things that fall into the category are muffins!

I love having something for little man to nibble on when he comes home starving. (They all do, right??) But I don't want it to be junk. Something he can enjoy and I can feel good about. Plus, if I can then use it the next morning for breakfast, or pack it in his lunch, or even have as an after supper sweet treat, even better! One recipe, and already I've found 4 times I can serve them. That's what I'm talking about.

A friend gave me this recipe and I was so thrilled to see the reduction of sugar and addition of applesauce. I've baked with it before, and it keeps things moist while adding to the sweetness too!

If you need something quick and easy for the school day rush, look no further. Heck, the kids could even eat these in the car if you're running late! Not that any of us ever do that....right??!!

Applesauce Mini Muffins
1 stick butter, room temp
1/2 c. sugar
1 3/4 c. flour
2 eggs
3/4 c. applesauce
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

4 TBS butter, melted
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 TBS. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl cream together sugar and butter until smooth. In a medium bowl combine flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Stir. Add eggs, applesauce and vanilla to butter mixture. Mix well. Slowly add flour mixture in batches, stirring in between each. When batter is combine, scoop into paper lined mini muffin tray. Bake for 15 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. Remove to wire rack to cool. Allow to cool 10-15 minutes. Mix sugar and cinnamon together for topping. Brush tops of muffins with melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. 

Shared at Weekend Potluck

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

One Extra Pot

So, I wish I could "advertise" this as a one pot wonder, but I can't tell a lie. It would be false advertising and I just can't do that. However, it only takes one extra pot, so it's like a very close cousin! That's all. Just one more, and it is barely going to get dirty, so it only half counts. 

I think one of the reason why when searching for recipes we all seem to stop at the ones labeled "one pot" or "one skillet" is because life demands meals be quick, both for cooking time, and clean up. Let's face it, those huge meals taste great and are so satisfying, but the after math? I for one always wish for the dish fairy to show up...and she never does....lazy witch. You know the ones I'm talking about. Where it seems like every single dish/pan/pot/utensil in the kitchen is dirty and piled up in the sink. Even with the added blessing of a dishwasher, the amount of work can seem daunting. So when I can give my family, and all of you, a dish this delicious, and make the promise of only two pans...it's a successful food blogger day. 

This is another way to really stretch the budget when it comes to seafood. If you haven't seen me sing the praises of the frozen options in the stores today, you are now. The 12 oz. bag I used in this recipe cost me about $5, and easily fed our family of three. Oh, and if you're wondering if you have to buy the ones with tail left on per the recipe, it's a personal choice. I like to use them in dishes like this because they shrink less. But if you don't mind that, and don't want to mess with the tails when chowing down, feel free to use tail off. 

Between the garlic and lemon, this is bursting with flavor, and even with the cheese and milk, I think it's still super light. Add a veggie and maybe some bread on the side and supper is on the table in under 30 minutes! And your clean up will be even less than that!

Lemon Garlic Shrimp and Rice Skillet
Inspired by Diethood
2 c. instant white rice
2 c. water
2 chicken bouillon cubes 
6 TBS butter
5 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
12 oz. frozen medium shrimp, tail on, thawed
6 TBS milk
1/2 c. shredded Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 TBS dried parsley, extra for garnish
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt and Pepper to taste 

In a medium pot, bring water and bouillon cubes to boil. Add rice. Stir. Cover. Remove from heat. Let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with fork. Set aside. (These were my directions. Check your box!) In a large skillet, heat butter over low heat. Add garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes until fragrant, stirring constantly. Add shrimp, salt and pepper. Cook and stir, until shrimp are pink, about 5 minutes. Move shrimp to sides of pan, add rice. Stir well. Add milk, cheese and parsley. Stir to combine and cook for 1-2 minutes more until thickened. Remove from heat. Squeeze lemon over. Sprinkle with extra parsley. 


Shared at Weekend Potluck

Monday, August 10, 2015

Hands Friendly Favorite

We are mac n cheese lovers from way back. We've had a very love love relationship with America's favorite side dish for a lifetime now. To the point in our house, it's not just a side dish. I make a big pan of my grandma's NO Boil Mac n Cheese, add a veg and some fruit on the side, and it's magically a main dish! We can't get enough of the stuff. I know so many of you share in this adoration, so I'm about to knock your socks off!!! Now you can have mac n cheese....that is hands friendly...no fork needed! Got your attention, didn't I?!

Your muffin in is about to become your best friend because it's the key to this phenomenon.  You are going to utilize it to turn regular every day mac n cheese into a finger food, perfect for a fun weeknight meal or party appetizer. How? Wait for it...let me introduce you to the mac n cheese cupcake!!

 Seriously, how cool are you going to be when your guests see these sitting out? Oh, and if you happen to be throwing a kids' party of any sorts, bust out the mac n cheese cupcakes and you will instantly be the rock start mom. But really, I serve these alongside a veggie or a tossed salad and we call it a meal. They are so fun and so yummy, it doesn't matter how or when you serve them up, they will be a huge hit!

I love taking something we love so much and finding a way to make it new again. And when it can come in such a cute package, I can eat with my hands...well, that's just icing on my mac n cheese cupcake!

Mac n Cheese Cupcakes
Originally posted on Indiana Dairy
2 c. elbow macaroni
4 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
1/2 c. plain breadcrumbs
1 egg, beaten
1 c. milk
2 tsp. olive oil
1 TBS dried parsley
1 TBS butter
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray. In a small bowl, combine bread crumbs, oil, parsley and some salt. Mix well. Boil macaroni in salted water until al dente. Drain well. Return to hot pot, off heat. Add milk, butter and egg. Stir well to coat. Add 3 1/2 cups cheese. Stir well. Spoon into prepared muffin tin. Sprinkle with extra cheese and breadcrumb mixture. Bake for 30-40 minutes until golden brown and set. Allow to cool 5 minutes before removing from pan. *NOTE* These are great made ahead of time and reheated; and they freeze beautifully too! 

Shared at Weekend Potluck

Friday, August 7, 2015

Don't Lose the Easy

Do you love Mexican night at home as much as we do? Of course you do. It seems these days most families are planning one night a week dedicated to one of our favorite cuisines.

I think one of the reasons most of us busy home cooks enjoy it so much is because for the most part, the dishes are some of the easiest we make during the course of a week. Brown meat. Add taco seasoning. Lay out a bunch of toppings. Dinner is served. When we can give our families something they love, and save a ton of time doing it, it's a no brainer why we do it so much.

But what if I told you there is a way you can switch up your Mexican night routine, but not lose the easy one bit? Yep, you're excited. I knew it. Plus, this handy recipe utilizes one of my favorite "Use it in a different way" ingredients...crescent rolls!

All the flavors of a big fat burrito, in a simple to make, less messy to eat casserole the whole family will love. I served this with some chips and nacho cheese for dipping and it was a full meal! I think it would be terrific for a kids' sleepover, or even cut it into smaller portions for a party finger food!

Changing up our meal routines can sometimes be intimidating because we don't know what we're getting into. But with this tasty supper I guarantee you can do something new and not lose the easy!

Crescent Roll Burrito Bake
1 can refrigerated crescent rolls
1 lb. ground beef
 1 packet burrito seasoning 
1 TBS dried minced onions
1 (15 oz.) can refried beans
1 c. shredded Colby Jack cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste
Diced tomatoes
Chopped Lettuce
Sliced Black Olives
Sour Cream

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 8x11 baking dish with nonstick spray. Lay crescent roll dough out in greased dish. Seal perforations and crimp around edges. You want a solid "crust" on the bottom and up edges a bit. In a large skillet brown beef over medium heat. Drain if necessary. Add dried onions, seasoning packet, beans, salt and pepper. Stir until well combined. Spread over crust. Top with cheese. Bake for 30 minutes, uncovered. Garnish with toppings. *NOTE* I find the burrito seasoning with the other packaged seasoning mixes. If you can't find it, taco works just as well.

Shared at Weekend Potluck

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Dining Out With Table8 {A Feature}

Do you love to eat out? Do you love to hit the new and "in" places before anyone else? Or maybe you would love to try the best restaurant in your area, but can never get in?  Do you get frustrated when you can't get reservations? Well, the restaurant game has changed people, thanks to my new friends at Table8

At Table8 they believe that dining out at the best restaurants shouldn't require weeks or months of planning. But many times, unless you know the chef or another insider, that is exactly what you run into. So they made it their mission to bring access and spontaneity back to eating out! 

They have teamed up with top restaurants to offer tables at peak, sold-out times, just days in advance, without waiting list or any hassle. All you get is reservations at the most popular restaurants in your city!

So how does it work? It's super easy! All you do is reserve the table you want through their website or mobile apps. (Available on iPhone and Android!)

Technology has changed the way we dine out so, so much in the past couple years; and now Table8 is changing it even more, allowing all of us the chance to eat at the most sought out restaurants any time we want. To stay up on all the latest news from Table8, including the cities it is currently available in, be sure to follow them on Facebook and Twitter!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Birthday Supper

 I am a firm believer that everyone should be able to pick whatever he/she wants to eat on his/her birthday. Weather it means they have someone special cook a yummy dinner or go out to a favorite place, we all deserve that on our special day.

And every year on Mr. E's birthday I know exactly what he is going to request for me to make him his beef stroganoff.  Something from his childhood, his mom used to make, that to this day he still loves every bite. Now, I don't have the recipe she used, but years ago I found one that was very similar and simple for me...using one of my best friends in kitchen my crock pot.

 Oh, and it just so happens to be super economical too. It takes an inexpensive cut of beef like round steak and stretches it as far as possible, feeding your entire family on the cheap!

If you have a birthday coming up, be sure  you get exactly what you want for your special birthday supper. Or, if you know someone who loves stroganoff, maybe you could surprise them on their "day all about me" with a big plate of this!
Crock Pot Beef Stroganoff
2 lbs. round steak, cubed into 1/2 inch pieces
1 (6oz.) can sliced mushrooms, drained
1 medium white onion, chopped
1 envelope onion soup mix
1 (10 3/4 oz.) can cream of celery soup
1 (10 3/4 oz.) can cream of mushroom soup
1 c. sour cream
1 lb. wide egg noodles
2 TBS dried parsley
2 TBS butter
Salt and Pepper to taste

Combine beef, soups, onion, soup mix, mushrooms, salt and pepper in slow cooker. Stir well. Cook on LOW for 8 hours. Stir in sour cream and 1 TBS parsley. Reduce to warm. Cook noodles and drain well. Return to hot pan. Add butter, 1 TBS parsley, salt and pepper. Stir until butter melts. Serve beef mixture over noodles.

Shared at Weekend Potluck