Everyday Mom's Meals: January 2016

Monday, January 11, 2016

He Eats THAT?? {A Post for Earth Fare}

So, we've talked before about how lucky we are that our 11 year old boy loves food. All food. Seriously, he is probably one of the least picky eaters on the face of the planet. He has always been that way. This is the kid who was eating sushi and fried calamari at the age of 5.

How did we do this? Did we put some spell on him? Brain wash him? Nope. We just never allowed him to be a picky eater. Now, I'm not here to judge or tell others how to parent their children. But I do think that many times when children turn their noses up at foods, it is a learned behavior, or one that is condoned so much, it's normal. So, in a way, I think sometimes parents inadvertently create their own picky eaters, without realizing it.

However, I also believe that every person, including kids, are allowed to have certain foods they simply don't care for. We all do, and as long as the boy tries it once, if he determines it is truly something that doesn't agree with his palate, I'm okay with that. But those things are few and far between in our house. But when he does discover one, I will respect that.

When I made this pasta dish and was telling it to a friend her first response was "And Alex will eat that? With mushrooms and spinach in it?" You can imagine her shock when I explained it was actually he who requested me to make a new pasta with spinach in it. He loves the stuff! She of course was bewildered because she happens to have a picky eater on her hands, and it is getting to be quite frustrating for her.

I feel for her. It must be a daily struggle when it comes to meal time, and kids like hers are missing out on so many yummy food experiences. I encouraged her to keep trying. Maybe give her child new things in a different way. Doesn't like cooked broccoli? Try it raw. Maybe find ways to sneak more veggies into the dishes she will eat. And of course, try to stay strong. Don't become a short order cook. As my mama always said "You don't like it? It's a long time until breakfast."

This pasta supper is hearty and filled with so many fresh ingredients you can actually feel good about it! Plus, it's super hearty and filling, perfect after a long, cold day! And if you can trick your picky eaters into liking it, think what a victory it will be!

Sausage & Spinach Rigatoni Bake
1 lb. mild Italian sausage
1 lg. rigatoni pasta
2 TBS olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
 3 c. fresh spinach
8 oz. baby bella mushrooms, sliced
2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
2 (14 oz.) cans diced tomatoes, drained with a little juice left behind
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375. Grease a 9 x 13 baking dish. Cook rigatoni to package directions for al dente. In a large skillet heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and stir for two minutes. Add sausage. Cook until no longer pink. Add mushrooms and cook until browned. Add tomatoes, seasonings and spinach. Stir to combine. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook until spinach is wilted, about 10 minutes. Check for salt and pepper, and season again if necessary. When pasta is cooked, drain well. Add to sauce mixture and mix well. Add half sausage mixture to baking dish. Sprinkle with 1 cup mozzarella. Add other half of sauce mixture. Top with 1 cup mozzarella and Parmesan. Bake uncovered 20-25 minutes until slightly browned.

Recipe from Wine & Glue

Monday, January 4, 2016

Pork in the New Year

Do you have any traditions when it comes to food on New Year's Day? Black Eyed Peas or Collard Greens maybe? My grandma always served pork and cabbage to begin a new year, and while I might not do it every year, or even on the exact day, every time the calendar flips to January 1st, I think about ways I can keep the tradition alive.

We love any and all Asian food. We can't get enough. I would venture a guess and say it is the cuisine we eat the most of in this house. But let's face it, sometimes it can be a tad less than healthy. Now, yes I do pride myself on being able to make take-out favorites in my own kitchen and leave out all the "extra" ingredients that might come in the little white box, so that does help.

If you are trying to lighten things up in 2016, and love egg rolls, this is going to quickly become a go-to in your meal rotation. All the same flavors, and textures, but no fried wrapper. Yep, all the yummy inside stuff, in a simple to make, one skillet dinner. Oh, did I forget to mention that? Not only are you getting a meal that is a tad healthier, but yes, it is also a one pot wonder!

If your new Year foodie resolutions include finding ways to make your favorites a little more guilt-free; or if you are determined to make dinner as stress-free as possible, this should definitely be your first new recipe of 2016!

Pork Egg Roll Skillet
1 1/2 lbs. ground pork*
8 oz. white button mushrooms, sliced
1 (14 oz.) bag coleslaw mix
1/4 c. soy sauce
2 tsp. Asian ginger garlic spice blend*
Chopped green onions
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a large skillet brown pork. Season with salt and pepper. When browned, add mushrooms, coleslaw mix and Asian seasoning. Cook and stir over medium heat until mushrooms browned. Add soy sauce. Stir to combine. Let cook a few minutes to reduce. Garnish with green onions before serving. *NOTE* You don't want sausage for this. You want ground pork, usually near the pork chops. You could also use ground chicken. The spice blend I use is found on the regular spice aisle in the grocery store. I like the Simply Asia brand.