Everyday Mom's Meals: April 2018

Sunday, April 29, 2018

A Spring Saturday at Home

Are Saturdays a day of relaxing in your house? Lucky you! At our house, they don't turn out that way very often. Saturdays are sometimes grocery day. Others we have plans with family. And most of the time, we have church in the evening, followed my dinner out. 

I'm not complaining. I love getting out and about on the weekends since I'm home a lot during the week. I feel blessed we have the option of a Saturday casual church service so Sunday mornings aren't rushed and hectic. But sometimes, once in a blue moon, we find ourselves with a Saturday with no plans, and that is a nice change of pace. 

This past weekend was one of those. We had taken a mini road trip on Friday, headed to Indianapolis and The Children's Museum (a post sharing our adventure will be coming soon) and didn't get home until after 9pm Friday night. (That's late for us!) We had a super fun day, soaking up family time. In preparation for this, I had gotten groceries on Thursday, and purposely made sure our Saturday was open on the calendar. I knew we would be tired from our big day, and I would need a day to catch up on all the chores I had left behind. 

So, Saturday rolled around, and yes, we were all a little tired, and very thankful we didn't have to be anywhere. I caught up on laundry, worked on a couple other projects around the house, and we grilled out. Hog dogs, potato salad, sliced veggies and I wanted one more thing. Fruit. More specifically, fruit salad. 

A friend had just told me about this amazing fruit salad she had made with a really easy dressing, that included lime...one of my boys' favorite flavors. I had plenty of fruit on hand (thanks to Aldi's great prices) and I decided to throw it together for our simple supper.

So fresh. So tasty. So easy! You can easily switch out whatever fruits you have on hand, or whatever is in season. I can't wait to make it again once we go strawberry picking, and maybe add in some blackberries or raspberries, another of my boys' favorites. 

We are all so busy days at home have become a welcomed treat. I hope we get more of them this summer, so I can make this over and over!

Honey Lime Fruit Salad
1 lb. strawberries, sliced
1 pint blueberries
1 cup green grapes, halved
1 (11 oz.) can mandarin oranges, drained
1 banana, sliced
3 TBS honey
1 lime, juiced and zested

In a large bowl, combine all fruit. In a separate small bowl whisk together honey, lime juice and zest. Pour over fruit. Chill for 2 hours before serving. Stir before serving. *NOTE* To measure honey easily, spray measuring spoon with cooking spray or dip in warm water. Honey will slide right off!

Shared at Weekend Potluck

Sunday, April 22, 2018

One Bite Winner

After so many years of doing this, sometimes it is hard to get the reaction to a new recipe I'm hoping for from my boys. The teenager is usually easier to sell than Mr. E, because let's face it, he would pretty much eat the tongue of his shoe if Mommy took the time to heat it up, and maybe covered it in cheese.

It isn't that the hubby isn't thankful or enjoys my cooking or effort, I think it is simply the fact new recipes are such a normal around here, he is used to it. While other husbands might find themselves in a rut with what is for supper every night (and believe me, we fall into those too), my job is to make sure I have new things to share with all of you, so he reaps the benefits.

So last week when I decided to give this one a go, I certainly wasn't prepared for the reaction I got. Let me set the scene for you. Mr. E was actually late getting home from work, not much, but enough that the boys and I had already finished supper by the time he walked in the door.

After tweaking it a bit, cooking it, photographing it and finally sitting down to eat it, Alex and I had declared it to be really yummy. "Oh Mom, this is really good", and I agreed. (Max had eaten earlier and was happily munching on some toddler puff snacks, but he did have a couple macaronis, and even he was happy.)

Then it was daddy's turn. He came home. Said hi to the boys and sat down to eat. He had asked me earlier in the day what was for supper, so he knew it was a new casserole. And that's when it happened. From the other room, after about only 20 seconds, enough time he could have taken one or two bites, I hear, "Wow. This is really good. Mmmm. Yeah, I would eat more of this."

Was I hearing things? Was he actually making a big deal out of a new recipe? Excited even? Yes, yes he was. That's when I knew I had a winner. Something that could be put on the dinner rotation permanently. Yay!!

So there you have it. The 100% endorsement from my house to yours. I hope if you try it, you get as much warm and fuzzy feedback as I did! After all, the cook always likes to be complimented, no matter how long we've been doing it!

Nacho Beef Casserole
1 lb. elbow macaroni
1 lb. ground beef
1 (7 oz.) can diced green chilies, reserve 2 TBS
1 TBS taco seasoning
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. chili powder
1 (10 oz.) can cheddar cheese soup
2/3 cup milk
1 cup finely shredded Colby Jack cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste
Pickled jalapenos  

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9x13 baking dish. Boil pasta to al dente. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, brown beef. Drain if necessary. Add green chilies. Stir well. In a medium bowl whisk soup and milk. Add chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, taco seasoning, salt and pepper. Mix well.  When pasta is cooked, drain well. Add to skillet with beef. Pour sauce in. Gently stir to combine. Transfer to baking dish. Top with shredded cheese and extra green chilies. Bake for 20 minutes until set and cheese has melted. Garnish with jalapenos. 

Monday, April 16, 2018

Yes, I Know It's Fake

Have you noticed more and more people are becoming very brave online? And by that I mean they know they can sit behind their keyboards and spew out opinions and hide from the person they are saying it to. Yep, cyber bullying is a term that has invaded our culture and our homes. 

Well, me and my friends, aka food bloggers, know all too well how these comments flow freely and without much remorse from many. From the use of Minute Rice, to cake mixes, to condensed soups (the list could really go on and on) folks have opinions on all of them and they basically want to tar and feather any of us who use them. 

Now I will be honest, I haven't had near as many of the nasty comments on these said foods as many other bloggers. I don't know if it's because EMM fans are more polite, or like me, my followers are all for taking a short cut here and there to make sure dinner is tasty and still on budget. 

Today's recipe includes one of those "evil" foods a lot of people love to hate on. Imitation Crab. Oh my. Yes I said it. And before we go any further, yes I know it's fake. I know it doesn't have an ounce of real crab in it. And yes, I think it tastes good and I'm okay with it! If it isn't your thing, please move on, or heck spend the big $$$ on the real if you want. Whatever floats your boat. For us, the fake stuff works just fine, and leaves my wallet a little fatter. 

This is going to become a huge hit this summer to every party, cookout, picnic, and backyard barbecue you take it to. Everyone is going to want the recipe (sorry if when you tell them you get the crab hate too) and ask you to bring it again!

I actually served this as a main dish with some crusty bread and fresh cantaloupe on the side; and I know that is how we will enjoy many times this summer, on those hot nights when it's too hot to eat but you're starving! 

I love what I do, and I know there are downsides to every job. But maybe, if we all just take a step back and remember there is someone on the other side of the screen, and make sure we aren't typing anything we wouldn't say to some one's face this whole online world can be just a little bit happier.

Crab Pasta Salad
1 lb. salad shells
1 lb. imitation crab
2 large celery ribs, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 (3 oz.) can sliced black olives, drained
1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
1/4 cup mayo
1/4 cup zesty Italian salad dressing
1 TBS Chesapeake seasoning
1 tsp. celery seed
1 TBS mustard
1/2 TBS soy sauce
Salt and Pepper to taste
Dried Chives for garnish

Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, place crab in a large bowl. Using two forks, tear it apart to separate it. Add celery, peppers and olives. In a medium bowl combine yogurt, mayo, salad dressing, Chesapeake seasoning, celery seed, mustard, soy sauce, salt and pepper. Stir well. When pasta is cooked, rinse with cold water and drain well. Add to bowl. Pour dressing over. Mix gently to combine. Chill for a couple hours. Garnish with dried chives. 

Shared at Weekend Potluck

Inspired by Wine and Glue

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Upping Your Frozen Food Game

I am so blessed to have so many connections because of what I do here. One of my favorite communities I've been working with lately is MyMagazine Sharing Network through the Kroger family of stores. 

I receive free samples or coupons for free items and get to try them and let the powers that be know what I think of them. Plus, share my thoughts on social media too! 

My latest campaign came at a perfect time. They sent me coupons for various items from the frozen food section of my local Kroger store, and asked I try to elevate one or more of them to something new. 

Mission accomplished! I knew exactly which one I was going to play around with first too. The oldest was home for Spring Break and it was time to come up with a fun, tasty lunch for him using Farm Rich Mozzarella Cheese Sticks.

I looked in the pantry to see what I had on hand, and about 30 minutes later I had a dish he loved and I knew would be a big hit with your kids too! Rather it be lunch, after school snack or a kids' party these will be the star! I can just see a bunch of littles around the pool, soaking up the sun, scarfing these down!

Oh, and if you wonder why there is no sauce on this pizza? I was afraid it would make it too wet, but some on the side to dip might be good. I just didn't have any on hand! 

If you want to learn more about MyMagazine Sharing Network, click here & maybe you can start to receive yummy free samples too!

Cheese Stick Pizza 
15 frozen mozzarella sticks*
Sliced Pepperoni
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Sliced Black Olives
Canned Mushrooms
Dried Oregano

Cook cheese sticks according to package directions. When finished, allow to cool for just a couple minutes. Reduce oven temp to 350. Transfer to a 9 inch pie plate. Top with cheese, pepperoni, olives and mushrooms.  Bake for 5-7 minutes until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with oregano. *NOTES* 15 cheese sticks fit in my pie plate perfectly, be sure to check yours. Some marinara on the side for dipping would be fun too, I just didn't have any on hand. 

Disclaimer: I received a free sample I used in this recipe. The blog post and recipe were all my ideas.