Everyday Mom's Meals: May 2018

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Taco Tuesday

Do you do "Taco Tuesday" at your house? I have to admit, I really don't. Yes, I'm sure at some point in the annals of history I have served tacos at some point on a Tuesday night, but it wasn't intentional or planned. 

But today, I am jumping on the bandwagon...sort of. I'm offering up something for you to switch up your routine, even thought I'm almost positive I served this on a Thursday! 

Mexican food is one of my Top 5 cuisines. Seriously, I can't get enough of the stuff. It is one of the things I choose to eat out the most, and never tire of. I've heard it said "You think you have self restraint, until they sit the free chips n salsa down in front of you at a Mexican restaurant." That is our family summed up in one sentence! We are the ones getting to-go boxes at the end of our meal because by the time the entrees came, we had stuffed ourselves with so many chips n salsa, we are full. 

So when I get the chance to add some Mexican food to our meal plan, it's something new, and includes our favorites flavors, win...win...win! 

This simple, budget friendly and super yummy supper is like an entire Mexican meal in one dish! Each bite tastes like a taco with a little rice on the side. Plus, it has one of my favorite ingredients of all time too...green chilies! 

If you were already planning on tacos tonight, you might have a lot of these ingredients on hand, so you're half way to a new meal, but still familiar and oh so good!

Fiesta Taco Rice Bake
1 lb. ground beef
1 1/4 c. long grain rice
1 (14 oz.) can diced tomatoes, with juice
1 (4 oz.) diced green chilies
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 oz.) corn, drained
1 c. chunky salsa
1 c. chicken  broth
1 package taco seasoning
1 c. Mexican style shredded cheese, divided use
2 green onions, chopped

Preheat oven to 375. Grease a 9x13 baking dish. In a large skillet brown beef and drain if needed. Add salsa, taco seasoning, corn, beans, green chilies, rice, broth, tomatoes and 1/2 cup cheese. Stir well. Transfer to baking dish. Cover. Bake for 50 minutes until rice tender. Uncover, add remaining cheese and bake for 5 additional minutes. Garnish with green onions. 

Shared at Weekend Potluck

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Last Minute Idea

Usually about twice a month I plan a potato bar for dinner. I baked off some big ol' taters, lay out a bunch of toppings and let everyone make their own. It's a fun, simple meal I don't have to think much about and everyone enjoys.

Well, a couple weeks ago, when I had planned this, I'm not sure what happened, but I forgot a few of the toppings I needed. Never even brought them home from the grocery store. I'm sure I got distracted by a free sample, or apparently couldn't read my shopping list, but either way, my "bar" was a little empty.

No fear. I looked at what I did have on hand and decided to do things a little differently. I would just make everyone the same kind, and act like I planned it all along.

My uh-oh ended up being a big success! We all loved these and they were the perfect Meat Free Monday main dish! I served them with some cottage cheese and fresh fruit on the side, but they would also be yummy at your next cook out too. Bake off a whole bunch and serve them alongside some steak or chicken hot off the grill!

Sometimes the best things come out of our screw ups!

Broccoli Stuffed Potatoes
3 large russet potatoes 
1/4 c. sour cream
1 1/2 c. finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 (12 oz.) bag frozen broccoli florets, thawed and woody stems removed
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400. Clean potatoes and pierce with fork. Lay directly on oven rack. Bake for 50-60 minutes until fork tender. Turn oven down to 350. Once cooked, allow to cool until you can handle them. About 20 minutes. Carefully slice potatoes in half and scoop out potato leaving about 1/8 inch around edges. Place cooked potato in a large bowl. Add sour cream, 1 cup of cheese, broccoli, salt and pepper. Mix well. Place empty potatoes in a greased baking dish. Fill each with potato mixture. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Add a little extra pepper to top. Bake for 20-25 minutes until cheese is melted and heated through. *NOTES* To scoop the potato, I find a melon baller works great. To speed up the cooling process, place potatoes in the fridge for 5-7 minutes. You want 1 potato per person, or 2 halves. 

Sunday, May 13, 2018

New Sides Please

When I am meal planning, sometimes the hardest part is finding new side dishes. Sure, we have certain things we have together all the time, those tried and true go-to's we love; but I like to add new things to the rotation too. Try to keep it fresh!

Meal ruts are something we all deal with (Yes, even us food bloggers who are always trying new things!) but we don't have to let them get the best of us! We can enjoy the classics we love, the things we grew up on, our fall backs that are so comforting. But we can also find new ways to enjoy dishes we love anyway.

We love mushrooms. We love rice. So a dish that has both in one place...well that's a taste bud party! I served this with a beef roast, but it would be perfect with pork or chicken too. Really, anything you've got coming off the grill this summer!

New sides are always welcome at our house. If they are at yours too, maybe this is your next one!

Mushroom Rice Bake
1 1/2 cups long grain white rice, dry
1 (10 oz.) can cream of mushroom soup
1 (10 oz.) can condensed beef broth 
4 TBS butter, melted
8 oz. button mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp. onion powder
Salt and Pepper to taste
Dried Parsley, for garnish

Preheat oven to 375. Grease a 2 quart casserole dish. In a medium bowl combine all ingredients except parsley. Stir well. Pour out into dish. Bake for 50-55 minutes until rice is tender. Sprinkle with parsley and stir before serving. *NOTE* We like the crispy edges this has, but if you don't, cover dish before cooking. 

Shared at Weekend Potluck

Sunday, May 6, 2018

My Asian Boys

No, I don't have children ya'll don't know about. I'm referring to my husband and oldest son. Well, and I guess with his love of all things rice, my baby too. They love Asian cuisine. I can't say much, so do I, but there is no doubt Mr. E could eat it every day and never tire of it. It is by far his favorite, and he has even mastered some dishes on his own that are, shall we say, exotic? 

With warmer weather here, and the hot summer just around the corner, (YAY!!!) our menu is adjusting accordingly. We are those people who like lighter meals on hot days, and even things that aren't necessarily hot when eaten. A lot of salads, fresh veggies and fruit, cold meat sandwiches, etc. are what we live on during the summer. 

There is no doubt this will be showing up on our dinner table over and over this year. Sure, it has cooked components, but it is served cold, but is still super filling. It would be a terrific take along to that neighbor's barbecue, a light supper like we had, or lunches all week long.

Don't let the number of steps or ingredients intimidate you. Everything can be found at your regular grocery store (I'm talking Aldi, Kroger and Walmart where I shop) and a couple of the steps you can actually do ahead of time to save precious minutes at supper time. 

Oh, and if you want to leave the chicken out, no problem! You could even add more veggies instead. I think mushrooms would be delicious! 

I'm so thankful grilling, mowing, play all day, sunscreen and extra baths season is here. We waited so long! Plus, we get to eat some yummy things too!

Sesame Noodle Salad
1 lb. spaghetti
1 lb. boneless chicken thighs
1 (8 oz.) can sliced water chestnuts, drained
1 lb. tri-color coleslaw mix
2 green onions, chopped
1 cup chow mein noodles, extra for garnish
Garlic Powder, to taste
Salt and Pepper to taste 
Vegetable Oil

1/2 c. sugar
3/4 c. soy sauce
2 TBS sesame seeds
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/4 c. rice wine vinegar
1/2 c. vegetable oil
3 TBS sesame oil

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray.  Lay chicken on sheet, baste with vegetable oil. Season with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes until juices run clear. Remove to plate and allow to cool. When cooled, chop into bite sized pieces.

For dressing, combine sugar, soy sauce, sesame seeds, allspice and vinegar in a glass jar. Shake well for 2 minutes. Add both oils. Shake for 3 minutes more. Chill at least 2 hours. 

When ready to assemble salad, cook spaghetti until al dente. Rinse with cold water and drain well. In a large bowl combine pasta, chicken, coleslaw, water chestnuts and chow mein noodles. Mix well. Pour dressing over and mix again. Garnish with green onions and extra chow mein noodles. 
*NOTE* The chicken can be made the night before or earlier in the day. Just keep it in the fridge until you're ready to use. I made the chicken and dressing in the morning and chilled until supper time. If you want to make the salad and take it somewhere, add the chow mein noodles right before serving. 

Shared at Weekend Potluck

Inspired by Lil' Luna 

Saturday, May 5, 2018

A Spring Road Trip

For anyone that has been reading my blog from the beginning, you are well aware of our love of The Children's Museum of Indianapolis. Between our trips down for some family time, to the 6 months I spent being a blog ambassador for them, we have a long standing amazing relationship with one of the best attractions Indiana has to offer.

And now, they have even more to offer kids, adults and even teens. In their biggest expansion in 40 years, the Riley Children's Health Sports Legends Experience is now open and ready to show your family some fun! A combination of sports history, physical fitness and health education, in both indoor and outdoor exhibits, there is a little something for everyone! 

Good news too! The Sports Experience is included with the price of admission to the museum, so now along with the 5 floors of fun you already had, you get 12 outdoor sports activities, featuring basketball, football, tennis, baseball, and MORE! Plus, 3 indoor exhibits, including the History of Hoops and The World of Sports. Oh, and let's not forget the massive Tree of Sports where you can climb 25 feet high and see all the action! (The tree was closed for maintenance the day we visited, so we are looking forward to seeing it when we go back!)

I was so happy when my friends at TCM invited us down to check out the new Sports Experience. Last week, we let Alex take a day off school, and we hopped in the car for a mini road trip. Since I've shared so many of our trips with all of you, this time we will focus on the Sports, of course, and a few exhibits we had actually never seen before. 

When we arrived, my sports fanatic, aka Alex, wanted to head right outside. He could NOT believe his eyes! He was in heaven! I have to admit it is really nice for him to have not only something new at the museum (He's been there so many times) but also fun that is more suitable for someone his age. The whole museum has always been appropriate for all ages, kids and adults, but so many hands on sports activities are really up a teen's alley.

The indoor portion of the Sports Experience is just as hands on, with some history thrown in too! We Hoosiers are known for our love of basketball, and it shows in the History of Hoops. But there are also sports featured too. Sure my basketball enthusiast enjoyed the carnival style game, but he also "row row rowed" his boat with the best of them!

When we made our way back to the museum itself, Dinosphere was our first stop.

Max loves to look at "ninos" so he was in awe. As we were walking out, I spotted a machine I have literally seen 100 times before, and apparently never paid enough attention. It is a double press mold, that if you pop $3 into it, you can watch a plastic dinosaur be made before your eyes! It's the perfect souvenir and the toddler didn't put his down all day!

Another of our favorites, since it opened a few years ago, is Take me to China. But this year it was a must see for a whole new reason. The toddler's favorite animal is pandas. He has a stuffed one he calls "baby" (That actually used to be Alex's and came from the museum years ago) and he carries him everywhere. Well, you can imagine his reaction when there were literally pandas every where he turned. "Baby! Baby! Baby!" It was pretty adorable!

Max also got to experience Playscape for the first time. On the 3rd floor, there is an entire area for 5 years and younger! It is the perfect place to get the little ones out of the stroller and let them run around and play, safely. There are a ton of hands on things for them to touch, push, turn on and off, play with...everything they are usually told "no" for!

While you're exploring the museum, don't forget to take a trip down the Chocolate Slide! You're never to old to squeal "weeee" with delight! And be sure to stop underneath for a super cute photo op too!

As you can see, The Children's Museum of Indianapolis has SO much to offer every member of your family, from the youngest to the oldest. We are so blessed to live so close, but even if we were a little father away, it would totally be worth the drive! To stay up on all the latest exhibits and fun they are having down there, including the new Sports Legends Experience, be sure to follow them on Facebook, Twitter and IG!