Everyday Mom's Meals: December 2015

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Our New Year's Eve Tradition

If you've been reading EMM for any length of time now, you are well aware of how the Marshall family likes to ring in the New Year every December 31st. For those of you who have joined our little blogging family since last NYE, let me explain.

Ever since Little E was about 6, our annual tradition is to stay home, inside where it is warm, and safe off the roads, wear our pjs, watch movies, and eat ALL night long. I put out a huge buffet of appetizers (or nibbly bits as the boy calls them) and we make an entire meal out of them, for hours. And when I say huge, I'm talking enough to feed an entire house full of party guests, but just for the 3 of us. It's become such a special little tradition for us, and we look forward to it so much. It's a terrific way to finish out the holiday season.

So every year I try to come up with at least one new dish to add to the menu, and start testing them out in about mid November. This is the new addition for 2015.

No party is complete without a tasty dip, and this one combines that notion with another favorite of ours, crab! Perfect for a platter of crackers or even some pita chips! Plus you can make it ahead of time and keep it in the fridge until party time.

However you are welcoming in 2016, I hope it's in a fun, safe and of course yummy way! May the New Year bring you all the happiness and joy you can hope for!

Creamy Crab Dip
1 (6 oz.) can crab meat, drained and cartilage removed
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
2 TBS mayo
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. lemon pepper seasoning
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. paprika, extra for garnish
1-3 tsp. horseradish, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste
Dried chives, for garnish

In a medium bowl combine cream cheese, crab, mayo, mustard, lemon pepper seasoning, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Beat with electric mixer on LOW for 1-2 minutes, just until combined. Stir in horseradish. Chill for 1-2 hours. Add paprika and stir to combine. When ready to serve, sprinkle with extra paprika & chives. Serve with crackers or veggies. 

Friday, December 18, 2015

From Our Family to Yours...

I can't believe we only have one week left. That's right, only 7 more days until the most magical day of the year is upon us. Are you caught up in the holiday hustle and bustle? Are you done and able to take a minute and enjoy the sights and the sounds of the season? Either way, this next week will no doubt go by in the blink of an eye. 

Since we begin Christmas vacation from school today, I will be taking next week off to spend with little man and get every last drop out of our holiday as I can. I will be back the week of New Year's to share a great appetizer for your New Year's Eve bash; but until then, I thought it would be best to leave you with a simple, yet totally inspired Christmas dessert. 

Candy canes at Christmas are like jellybeans at Easter. They are truly this season's mascot candy. And now you can have the same flavor, in a super simple, yummy sweet treat you can easily add to your holiday menu! It could easily be made for a few or a lot, and your guests will love it! 

I hope this is your most magical holiday season to date, and you get to spend it with those whom you love most in the world. From our family to yours...

Merry Christmas!!!

Candy Cane Fluff
24 large marshmallows
1/2 c. half and half
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. peppermint extract
1 (8 oz.) tub Cool Whip
Red Food Coloring
Crushed Candy Canes

Combine half and half and marshmallows in a medium saucepan over low heat. Cook, stir constantly, until marshmallows melted and mixture is combined and smooth. Remove from heat. Add vanilla, peppermint and food coloring. Chill for 10 minutes. Fold in Cool Whip. Top with crushed candy. Chill until serving.

Shared at Weekend Potluck

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Unique Christmas

I actually tested this recipe few weeks ago, and wasn't even sure when I was going to share it with all of you. During this time of year, we food bloggers try really hard to provide you with terrific, tasty ideas for Christmas, so when we test recipes that don't necessarily fall into the category, they sometimes have to wait to be posted, or at least that's how it works for this food blogger.

But then last night a friend of mine posted on Facebook that her family was looking for something new for their Christmas day feast. They are growing tired of the traditional ham or turkey, and she was looking for ideas to start a new tradition. As I was reading the comments, I was shocked at how many responded with "We do Mexican for Christmas." Some said it's what they have on Christmas Eve after church, others said they've made a big Latin inspired spread on Christmas day, and a few said they too were looking for something new this year, and Mexican is what they had decided on.

Well, I'm not going to lie, my mind was blown a little. Don't get me wrong, we've enjoyed some not so traditional meals as well, I just didn't realize how many out there turned to tacos and enchiladas after opening gifts, that's all. So it was at that moment I decided this recipe did indeed need to be share now, in the holiday spirit, or to be saved until after!

If your gang loves cheese, these will become a new favorite. If your gang loves green chilies, these will become a new favorite. If your gang loves beef burritos, these will become a new favorite. If you love super simple meals that fill them up without too much effort, these will become a new favorite. Yep, they will do all that and so much more!

Seriously though, the cheese sauce? I might make it again, by itself, and just put a straw in the pan! No joke, that's how good it is!

If you are looking to switch up your holiday routine, and are giving into your Mexican cravings, but still want something new, here you go! Or if you're going to be enjoying the standard ham or turkey, but definitely want something new and tasty to ring in 2016, that is what the save button is for!

Cheesy Beef Burritos
1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk
1 (4 oz.) can diced green chilies, undrained
8 oz. shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
1 lb. ground beef
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 orange bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
10 8" flour tortillas, slightly warmed
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
2 TBS butter
Salt and Pepper to taste
Dried Chives

Preheat oven to 350. Heat butter in large skillet over medium high heat. Add peppers and onion. Saute until tender. Add beef. Cook until no longer pink. Season with cumin, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Add black beans. Stir to combine. In a small sauce pan combine evaporated milk, chilies and 1 c. cheese. Heat over medium heat until cheese melted and well combined. Season with salt. Fill each tortilla with beef mixture. Add shredded cheese. Roll up, tucking in sides. Place in a lightly greased 9 x 13 pan. Pour cheese sauce down over burritos. Sprinkle with chives. Bake for 20-30 minutes until set and slightly browned. *NOTE* When you are rolling burritos, don't feel bad if they fall apart a little bit, the cheese sauce will cover it up! 

Monday, December 14, 2015

Red Potato Facelift

Are you potatoed out? Yeah, me either. I can't help it. We love us some taters and we will take them any time any way. Now, that's not to say I don't enjoy finding new ways and switching up our tater routine!

With the holiday season in full swing, (If you haven't looked at the calendar lately, there are only 11 days until Christmas.) you might be desperate for an easy side dish for a weeknight meal. Or maybe you have your own version of Cousin Eddie and already have house guests to feed, who won't be leaving until the New Year! Or maybe you want potatoes on your holiday feast menu, maybe with some ham, and you are looking for something new to try. If any, or all of those apply, you're going to be so happy you logged on today!

The flavors of lemon and rosemary are so classic, I can't believe I never thought to use them on potatoes before. So bright. So unique. They really brighten up an every day dish and bring your taste buds back to life.

These are as pretty as they are tasty and would look terrific on your Christmas table! They might be the one thing your guests all say "hmm...what is that" when they take the first bite! Oh, and if you're feeding a crowd, they would be easy to adapt (This amount would feed 4-6) and still stay on budget, being so economical!

So many of us turn to the classics during the holiday entertaining season, but we can also take those tried and true favorites, give them a little face lift and create something new to become a tasty tradition.

Lemon & Rosemary Roasted Potatoes
12 red potatoes, quartered
5 TBS lemon juice
8 teaspoons olive oil
1 tsp. dried rosemary
1 tsp. garlic salt
1/4 tsp. pepper 
Salt to taste
Dried Parsley

Preheat oven to 450. Spray a large rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray. Place potatoes in a large bowl. In a medium bowl combine 4 TBS lemon juice, olive oil, rosemary, garlic salt and pepper. Whisk to combine. Pour over potatoes. Stir well to coat. Transfer to baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and extra pepper, if desired. Add dried parsley. Bake for 45 minutes-1 hour until fork tender and golden, stirring a couple times. Remove to serving bowl and drizzle with 1 TBS lemon juice. 

Friday, December 11, 2015

Christmas Baking

So what do you do when you aren't much of a baker, and the biggest baking season of the year rolls around? Well, you suck it up, find some simple recipes you know even you can't screw up and get into the ho-ho-ho, fa-la-la-la spirit! 

Yes, that's right, even after over 5 years of doing this blog (Hard to believe!) I still do not consider myself much of a baker. Sure, I can do it, but it just isn't "my thing". There are just things I enjoy more in the kitchen. But if you've been following me for a while now, you know the one thing I do enjoy baking, and have become kind of an expert at, are muffins

This time of year I have some favorite flavors and favorite smells. For flavor, I can't get enough peppermint. It just makes my tongue feel Christmas-y. And for smells? Ginger, cinnamon...basically gingerbread. Oh, the house just smells like a holiday when you've got some gingerbread baking in the oven. So when a friend, who knows my love of all things "spicy" this time of year, passed these on, I couldn't wait to make them!

They are so much more simple than old fashion gingerbread, are ready in almost no time, and still give you all those same festive flavors. Oh, and they just happen to be the perfect dessert, breakfast, snack, or even teacher/neighbor gift!

What are your favorite things to bake this time of year? Do you go the easy route or maybe you have some tried and true recipes that are a little more labor intensive? Either way, make sure you are doing things you love, with those whom you love the most, for it truly is the most wonderful time of year.

Gingerbread Muffins
2 c. all purpose flour
1/2 c. molasses
1/4 c. packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/3 c. vegetable oil
1/3 c. milk
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. allspice
Decorating Sugar Crystals, I like gold

 Preheat oven to 400. Line a muffin tin with papers, or grease bottoms only. In a large bowl using a wooden spoon, beat together molasses, brown sugar, egg, milk and oil until well combined. Add flour, ginger, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and allspice. Stir until mixture is combined, but do NOT over stir. Divide mixture among 12 wells evenly. (I used a cookie scoop and it was 2 scoops each.) Sprinkle with sugar crystals. Bake for 18-20 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely on wire rack. Makes 1 dozen.

Shared at Weekend Potluck
Recipe from Betty Crocker

Wednesday, December 9, 2015


For those of you who didn't know, my poor mom has been in the hospital for over a month now. What started as a simple foot surgery back in July ended with her in the ER on November 8th with a serious infection and sepsis. We were very lucky they caught it when they did, and are very thankful to the wonderful doctors, nurses and hospital staff who worked so hard to get her into the healing process.

Needless to say, it's been a long month in our family, and for me, it has meant running back and forth to the hospital at least once per day, sometimes more. Don't get me wrong, I am more than happy to do it. She's my mom. I love her. I adore her. I want her better. But that doesn't take the fact away that between the running around, the extra work, the mental fatigue....I'm exhausted. Again, happy to do it; just sleepy most days.

So when it comes to meals these days, my "it needs to be quick and yummy" mentality is in over drive. We need them now more than ever. I want to be with her as much as I can, but I also have to make sure my family is fed. It has become quite the balancing act, let me tell you. But when I come up with delicious meals like this one, it makes it worth it!

We love cabbage. Can't get enough of the stuff. I probably incorporate it into our menu plan at least once per week, or once every other. This is a new twist on my classic Cabbage Roll Casserole. A lot of the same element, but still different enough to taste like something new.

If you're in the holiday rush, you are probably exhausted too. Or maybe you are already thinking ahead to how you are going to feed those house guests in a couple weeks. This would work perfectly for either of those scenarios.

And if you have an extra minute, and an extra prayer or well wish laying around, please lift my mama up...we are keeping our fingers crossed the progress she has made continues and we will get to have her home by Christmas.

Sausage & Cabbage Bake
1 lb. mild Italian sausage*
2 c. cooked long grain white rice, NOT instant
1 medium head of cabbage, thinly sliced
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 TBS brown sugar
1 TBS lemon juice
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. seasoned salt
Salt and Pepper to taste
Dried Parsley

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9 x 13 baking dish. In a large skillet brown sausage and onion until no longer pink. Drain if necessary. Add cabbage and cook until slightly wilted. Add rice and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to baking dish. In a medium bowl whisk together tomato sauce, brown sugar, lemon juice, Worcestershire, seasoned salt and pepper. Pour over casserole. Spread evenly. Sprinkle with parsley. Bake uncovered for 1 hour until cabbage tender. Stir before serving. Garnish with extra parsley. *NOTE* You can add spice by using hot Italian sausage. 

Shared at Weekend Potluck

Monday, December 7, 2015

Smaller Holiday {A Post for Earth Fare}

All of your family members gathered around a huge table of food. House guests filling your home from December 20th until after the New Year. Holidays spent with those whom you love most in the world. For many of us, these are the images that come to mind when we think about Christmas...even if it isn't the reality. Sure, we would all love to be with every single family member at some point over the holiday season, but for most of us, it just isn't practical.

Many of our families are spread all over the country, and getting everyone in the same place to celebrate can't happen. I know many families who will only have a few people at their Christmas table. In fact, mine is kind of like that. We spend Christmas Day with my parents, just the 3 of us. So that makes 5. It is normal for us, and our little group is perfect to us, but so many out there will have that or even less. Now, for us, we still make a huge spread, but if you aren't in the mood to roast a 15 pound turkey for just a few people, I think this would be an incredibly delicious alternative.

There were a few years when it was just my mom, dad and I, and we had a roast chicken on our table. About 4 pounds, just enough for the three of us, but juicy, flavorful and just as festive. If only mom would have had a Crock Pot. She could have done this instead, and totally cut down on the stress of "If the chicken cooks at this temp, but this ____ cooks at that temp, how do I make it work."

This is some of the most tender and moist chicken I've ever made at home. And yes, before you ask it really does taste like those store bought rotisserie chickens we all enjoy so much. With this, some mashed potatoes, a veggie, cranberry sauce, rolls and dessert, and your smaller holiday meal can be complete and just as holly jolly its huge counterpart.

Not having a house full of people might be a little different than what some are accustomed to this time of year, but the smaller, more intimate holidays can be just as fun, special and of course, yummy!

Crock Pot Rotisserie Style Chicken
1 (4-5 lb.) roasting chicken, patted dry
3 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. paprika, plus extra for sprinkling
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. black pepper
Dried Parsley

Spray 6 quart crock pot with nonstick spray. In a small bowl combine all ingredients except chicken and parsley. Rub chicken thoroughly with mixture, including inside cavity. Using string or metal prongs, attach legs and wings to body of chicken to ensure it staying together. Place in crock pot. Sprinkle with extra paprika. ADD NO EXTRA LIQUID. Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours. When done, baste with juices and sprinkle with dried parsley. *NOTE* Mine came out perfectly golden brown and crispy, but if yours does not, just transfer to a baking dish and broil for 5-7 minutes.

Shared at Weekend Potluck

Friday, December 4, 2015

Christmas Memories

Growing up, until about the age of 13, we spent every single Christmas in the snowy hills of Pennsylvania. We would pack up the car and spend 2 weeks with our family, enjoying every last festive minute the holiday had to offer. Both sets of my grandparents lived there, and those Christmases were some of the best memories I have. To this day I can't hear "No Place Like Home for the Holidays" and the line "I met a man in Tennessee, and he was looking for Pennsylvania and some homemade pumpkin pie...." without tearing up remembering them.

Both of my grandmas were exceptional cooks and each one had their own special dishes they always made for Christmas. I had my favorites from each of them, and these were always at top of my list from Grammy. She made them every single year, only at Christmas, and I always looked forward to them. In fact, to this day, even at the age of 90, she still makes them and makes sure I have some in my fridge this time of year.

They are one of the easiest holiday treats you can make, but also one of the most festive looking and flavored too. It doesn't get much more Christmas-y than red and cinnamon!

Memories of Christmases gone by are so special to me. Of course we are always making new ones with our little boy, and I'm always looking for ways to share some of what I had with him. Food is one of the easiest way to do that, so of course, these are one of his favorites too!

Cinnamon Apples
As many apples as you want to make, peeled, cored and quartered
1/4- 1/3 cup cinnamon candies (use more or less depending on how "hot" you want them)
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups water
Mix together candies, sugar and water. Bring to a boil and add apples a few at at time boiling for 1-1 1/2 minutes. When all done cooking apples, pour liquid over apples and add a dash of red food coloring. Store in a air tight container in the fridge.

Shared at Weekend Potluck

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Christmas at Grandma's Day 2

Did you catch Monday's post? It was a terrific festive veggie salad that would be beautiful on your holiday table. And today I'm sharing what would be a tasty main dish alongside it!

I'm kind of a chicken addict. I love it any and all ways, and if it weren't for husband I wold more than likely cook it multiple times per week. But as it is, he isn't the biggest chicken fan in the world, so I try to limit myself to once every week, or even every other. And when I do make it, I know he will be more likely to enjoy it if it's white meat. While I love the flavor of the dark, he is the exact opposite.

So when I saw this recipe in Christmas at Grandma's, I knew it could be a happy compromise for us both. Now, I will admit I'm not a fan of breaded baked chicken. It's not my first choice because I am always afraid of it coming out mushy or bland or both, but with this recipe neither is a worry!

This comes out with a crispy outside, tender and juicy inside and flavor galore! If you're going to be entertaining holiday guests, this would be a great choice. Simple and quick for the host and delicious for your guests.

We can all use more chicken options, rather it be for the holidays or a weeknight meal. Oh, and you can have a chance to win a copy of this new Gooseberry Patch cookbook too! Just click here to enter!

Zesty Baked Chicken
3-4 boneless chicken breasts, patted dry
1/4 c. butter, melted
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 c. bread crumbs
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. paprika
2 tsp. dried parsley
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350. Season chicken with salt and pepper. In one shallow dish combine butter and garlic powder. In another mix together bread crumbs, cheese, oregano, paprika, parsley, salt and pepper. Lightly grease a 9 x 13 baking dish. Dip each piece of chicken in butter and then cover in bread crumbs. Shake off excess. Place in baking dish. Cover. Bake for 45-60 minutes. Uncover and bake for 15 more minutes. 

Shared at Weekend Potluck

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Gift Idea with Fairytale Brownies {A Feature}

Happy December! How did that happen? Wasn't it just Halloween? Regardless, the most wonderful time of year is upon us, in full swing! 

Today I'm sharing with you a terrific idea for anyone with a sweet tooth on your gift list from my friends at Fairytake Brownies.

Fairytale Brownies mail order company has been baking brownies since 1992. Every batch is made by hand using a secret family recipe. The brownies, cookies and bars are all natural, baked with the finest ingredients, individually wrapped and certified kosher dairy. 

For this holiday season the folks at Fairytale have chosen bright, beautiful colors for their festive packaging, with snowflake, holly branches, berries and garland for accents.

I can tell you first hand these boxes are as beautiful as the sweet treats are tasty. There are a ton of various flavors to please every palate, each one more delicious than the last. 

Imagine this gorgeous gift showing up on your loved one's front step this holiday season. What a scrumptious way to brighten their holiday season! I think it would be a perfect "go together" gift if you and siblings, or cousins are looking to treat a special parent or grandparent. 

For more info, and ordering, visit Fairytale Brownies today!