Everyday Mom's Meals: April 2016

Monday, April 25, 2016

All in Moderation

One of the worst things you can do while pregnant is to "Google" anything. Seriously, if you are a fellow expectant mother, please heed my advice. Just don't do it. Now, I will admit, I come from a medical background. I have a degree in the medical field and so when I let my stupid side get the best of me, and decide to "just look something up" I can usually weed out the nonsense. But still, it's just not a good idea. You will find the worst case scenarios, the scariest of things, and drive yourself crazy.

And one of the biggest debates on the net is what moms to be should avoid as far as food wise. Some day "Oh My God, don't eat ___". While others will take that same food and say "Sure, it's okay." It can be maddening. I tend to go by the list my OB gave me and forget the rest.

Canned tuna is one such conundrum. Same experts say a little is absolutely okay, while others say avoid it completely. I tend to fall in the middle. I am not going to eat it every day, but a little here and there is okay with me. (Notice I say "with me." If you disagree, that's completely okay, please just leave the hate mail to yourself.)

The only time this is an issue is when little man starts to ask for one of his favorite meals, Tuna Macaroni Salad. We eat the stuff year round, but especially when temps start to rise. It's a terrific light supper when he has Taekwondo, giving him lots of protein for the workout, while not being too heavy. He could eat it every single week if I let him, but right now I have to keep things in moderation.

So I figured why not take the same idea, but make it with chicken instead? Genius, I know. I'm telling you what. This stuff is the bomb. Make a batch for lunches all week long, take it to your next cookout, or like us, add some bread and fruit on the side, and a light summer time meal is done.

Pregnancy is such an exciting time...but also uber stressful. We all need to do ourselves a favor and listen to our docs and not our trusty friend Wed MD....

Chicken Macaroni Salad
1 (12 oz. ) can chunk chicken breast, drained and flaked
1 lb. elbow macaroni
3 ribs celery, diced
5 hard boiled eggs, chopped
1/2 c. mayo
1/4 c. sweet relish
1 TBS lemon juice
1 1/2 TBS dried parsley
Salt and Pepper to taste

Cook macaroni, rinse with cold water, drain well. In a large bowl combine chicken, macaroni, eggs and celery. Mix well. In a medium bowl combine mayo, relish, lemon juice, parsley, salt and pepper. Whisk well. Pour over macaroni mixture. Chill 1-2 hours before serving.

Shared at Weekend Potluck

Monday, April 18, 2016

Finally, 70+

After this uber cold spring we've been having, I really thought the warm and sunny days were never coming. After all, it was only 8 days ago we had snow showers and a high of 37 with 40+ mph winds making it feel like 25!!

But come they did! That's right, Mother Nature had pity on us, and exactly one week after that loveliness, we had blue skies, the sun was shining and the thermometer read 75...76...77...78...basically, heaven on earth! 

I am a sucker for warm weather. I loathe winter. I can't help it. Like my husband says "You don't have to shovel sunshine." No joke, the minute the weather began to change, I could feel my entire mood improve with it. I was ready to bust out the capri pants, flip flops and get outside. (Okay, I can't like, being naturally hot blooded, plus pregnant, I would have been wearing both of those back in February had I not had to worry about frostbite, since I am heating from the inside out!)

Plus, I felt like cooking again. After all the weeks of nausea, and just being so dog gone tired, I have to admit my time in the kitchen working on new recipes for you guys has been sparse. I just find myself leaning on those tried and true ones that I can make with my eyes closed, making it easier on myself. 

It was time to come up with something new. Something to celebrate the weather. Something that says backyard eating or cooking out. Well, what says that better than a coleslaw? But this isn't your old stand by slaw recipe. This uses one of my favorite veggies out there...Brussels sprouts! If you've never had them raw, you might think I'm crazy, but they are just baby cabbages, so think of it as coleslaw, miniature size! 

This comes together in almost no time. Seriously, the most time consuming part will be slicing the sprouts, I promise. Plus, it has to sit in the fridge for a bit anyway, so you can easily make it ahead and have it waiting on you when you're ready to eat.

If the warm, sunny spring days haven't found your neck of the woods yet, have faith. They will. If they can come to Indiana, they can come anywhere! And now, we can start focusing on all those summer time barbecues, picnics, parties and all the yummy food, like this, that is to come!

Brussels Sprouts Slaw
1 lb. Brussels Sprouts, thinly sliced or shaved
1/2 c. dried cranberries
1/3 c. chopped pecans
1/2 c. mayo
1/2 tsp. celery seed
1 TBS Dijon mustard
2 tsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a large bowl combine sprouts, cranberries and pecans. Toss well. In a small bowl whisk together mayo, mustard, celery seed, lemon juice, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Pour over sprout mixture. Stir well. Chill 2 hours before serving. 

Shared at Weekend Potluck

Monday, April 11, 2016

Supposedly, It Is Spring

Anyone else out there questioning the validity of that statement? If you live in an area where Mother Nature has decided to spit in the face of warmer temps, flowers blooming and birds singing, then you're in the same boat as us. 

Last week was Spring Break for us, but it looked and felt more like Christmas Vacation. I'm not exaggerating. The first week of April and we saw 50 mph winds, freezing temps, and yes, even the dreaded "s" word. Ugh! All of those who ventured south for the week definitely got a shock up on their return! 

Usually by this time my cooking focus is on grilling out, salads, fresh veggies...but not this year, for I found myself looking for a new soup recipe to warm us up after being out in the darn cold all day. 

I found myself so hungry for a great bean soup, the craving needed to be satisfied. Now, at this point we have to get something straight. There is what I call "Ham & Beans" and it's a thicker, heartier dish. I have a terrific recipe, in the slow cooker, you can find here. This time what I wanted was a more traditional soup consistency, that I could throw together stove top; and the first thing I thought of was the Festival Bean Soup they serve at Bob Evans. I've had it a hundred times, both when I worked there, and after. It's got simple ingredients, but intense flavor. That's what I wanted. 

So, here is what I came with. It might not be spot on, but it's pretty close and oh, it's so good! Perfect on a chilly, rainy spring day, with some cornbread on the side!

Oh I hope the warmer, sunnier days on the way. I don't know how much more of this extended winter I can take. But at least in the meantime, we have something tasty to satisfy us!

Copy Cat Bob Evans Bean Soup
1 lb. dried navy beans
1 lb. diced ham
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
4 medium carrots, finely chopped
8 c. water
2 chicken bouillon cubes
4 TBS butter
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a large stock pot over medium heat, melt butter. Saute onions and carrot in butter until soft. Add ham and saute for a minute more. Add water, beans, bouillon, salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Increase heat to high, and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 1-2 hours until beans are tender. Adjust salt and pepper. *NOTE* If you have a ham bone, by all means, add it while the soup simmers. I just don't keep them on hand. 

Monday, April 4, 2016


Oh the things I want to eat! That's right, the pregnancy cravings have set it, in full force! And while some of them I was expecting because they are the same things I couldn't get enough of when I was expecting Alex (Can you say Coney Dogs and Fresh Fruit?) others are a tad surprising.

Now, you all know I am a pasta lover. Can't get enough of the stuff. But this little guy (Yes, for those who haven't heard, we are having another BOY!!) has me wanting one specific kind....egg noodles! Seriously, can't get enough of them! I find myself planning meals around dishes I already make with them, and searching the net for new ways I can use them. And I have to do all of this while day dreaming about eating an entire container of strawberry frosting. Oh yeah...that's another one....

This recipes came to me because I was thinking about tuna noodle casserole. Yes, there are a ton of differing opinions out there about eating canned tuna while pregnant; and I am not about to get into all of them, but for me, a touch of it here and there is okay. So, when I started to plan my weekly menu and once again I found myself staring at the picture of this family favorite, I figured why not switch it up a bit? I could still have my egg noodles, but since we had just had tuna not too long before, leave that behind.

Imagine the flavors of a classic chicken noodle soup, but in a hearty, stick to your ribs, casserole..then you are on your way to understanding why this was an instant hit! Plus, I can't forget to mention how super simple too!

With another half of pregnancy yet to go, I am sure these cravings will change and probably even become more intense. Stay tuned to see what interesting things I come up with next!

Chicken Noodle Casserole
1 1/2 lbs. boneless chicken tenders
Olive Oil
1 (12 oz.) bag frozen mixed veggies, thawed
2 (10 3/4 oz.) cans cream of mushroom soup
1 c. milk
1 lb. egg noodles
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350. Drizzle chicken with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in oven for 30 minutes or until juices run clear. Shred. In a large pot of boiling water, cook noodles to package directions. Drain well. Combine noodles, chicken, veggies, soup, milk, salt and pepper. Transfer to a greased 9 x 13 baking dish. Bake for 25-30 minutes until heated through.