Everyday Mom's Meals: October 2018

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Pumpkin Fun

It is no secret to anyone that knows me that I am not a huge fan of fall. Sure, there are a few things I enjoy about it. but to me it is quite simply a gateway to cold and yuck for several months.

But when I'm trying to look on the bright side, and talk about the parts of autumn I do enjoy, I always mention trips to the pumpkin patch, picking apples, fall festivals, and the one thing these all have in common in our house. The fact that when we get home, there will be a big pot of soup, that has cooked all day, waiting on us.

One of the simplest pleasures in life is walking in the house, after being outside on crisp day, and instantly being greeted by the smell of a delicious meal, and the warmth it brings. 

To show you I don't just talk the talk, but I walk the walk too, this was the recipe I made the day we made our annual trip to Neptune, Ohio for some of the cutest painted pumpkins around! About an hour away, Karen's Painted Pumpkins is a stand we discovered a few years back, and ever since we pick a day in fall, and make it a fun trip. This year's even included a snack at the ice cream stand, and some shopping too. 
Aren't those just the cutest? And yes, Mommy scored major points by asking ahead for her to make a "Melmo" one!

This tasted SO good after our fun trip. It was a delicious end to a beautiful, fun filled day! I served some crusty bread on the side and it was simply perfect.

Soup season isn't going anywhere, so having some new ones to add to your rotation is a must! Hopefully this one makes its way to your table soon!

Crock Pot Cheesy Sausage Chowder
1 lb. smoked sausage, diced
3 large baking potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1 inch cubes
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 medium white onion, chopped
2 (14 oz.) cans chicken broth
1 1/2 c. heavy cream
2 TBS cornstarch 
2 tsp. all purpose seasoning, use your favorite
1 tsp. garlic powder
3 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste

Add sausage, potatoes, onion and peppers to slow cooker. In a medium bowl whisk together broth, cream, corn starch, seasoning, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Pour over sausage mixture. Stir well to combine. Cook on LOW 5-6 hours. Stir well. (Don't worry if it separates a bit while cooking, just stir until it incorporates again) Turn heat to HIGH. Add cheese and stir until creamy and melted. Cook for about 10 minutes to thicken. Turn heat to warm until serving time. Garnish with extra cheese if desired. 

Crock Pot Cheesy Sausage Chowder

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Asian Saturdays

That title actually comes from something Mr. E says all the time. Why? Because he loves Asian food, and on the weekends when lunch rolls around, he is usually in the kitchen making some for himself. Could be as simple as a pack of ramen noodles, or a really tasty dish filled with exotic ingredients. And every time he sits down at the table to eat he will declare "Oh look, it's Asian Saturday!"

It is no secret how much we love Asian cuisine in our house. All of us. Heck, Max would be happy if I gave him rice for every meal, every day. We can't get enough of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai...all of it.

Most of the time when we reach for a take out menu, you can bet it is going to be Chinese. We have a few different places in town we love, and we tend to rotate our trips to them. Oh, and let's not forget the buffets too! That is actually where Alex had this dish for the first time. On the Asian buffet we've been going to for years, but this was a "new" dish to him.

So the next time we were getting take out, he said to me, "Mom can I see if they have that dish I had at the buffet last time?" Sure enough they did and this was even better than the first.

Well, we can't be ordering take out or visiting the buffet all the time, after all private school and diapers aren't cheap! So it was time for mommy to come up with a make at home version he could enjoy just as much, anytime!

Black Pepper Chicken
2 lbs. boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch pieces
5-6 stalks celery, chopped (about 2 cups)
1 medium white onion, chopped
1 TBS corn starch, divided use
3 1/2 tsp. black pepper, divided use
3/4 c. chicken broth
1/4 c. soy sauce
4 TBS vegetable oil, divided use
3 TBS white vinegar
Salt to taste
Cooked White Rice 

In a large bowl, combine chicken, 1/2 TBS corn starch, sat and 2 tsp. black pepper. Mix to coat. In a medium bowl, whisk together broth, soy sauce, vinegar, 2 TBS oil, 1/2 TBS corn starch and 1 1/2 tsp. black pepper.  Heat 2 TBS oil over medium high heat. Saute onions and celery until soft, about 5 minutes. Add chicken and saute', stirring often for 5-7 minutes. Add sauce into the pan. Stir well. Bring to a simmer, and reduce heat to medium low. Cook for additional 10-15 minutes until chicken is cooked through and slightly thickened. Serve over cooked rice and extra pepper.

Shared at Weekend Potluck

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Tailgate at Home

It is football season! And while nobody plays in our house, we are avid fans! Between watching the games on tv, following stats online (that would be the teenager), cheering for our favorite teams, and yes even yelling at the refs, we are definitely a football family.

Here is a little secret though. We don't share the love of any one team. There is some overlap though. Let's see, Mr. E and I are avid Steelers fan. Alex is Seahawks all the way. My love for Notre Dame is DEEP, and I've passed that onto Alex, but his dad is Purdue all the way. And Max, well, we still have time to brain wash him!

Let me tell you about that Notre Dame love though. See, as a kid all I wanted to do was go to Notre Dame and march in their band. It was my DREAM. To have a degree with that gold emblem and to play my flute in the greatest half time show ever. I had the grades in high school. In fact, I got accepted my junior year! But, another local university offered me a full ride, and I'm not going to turn down free money. But I will tell you what, I still have that acceptance letter, as a reminder that all my hard work paid off.

Fast forward to after Adam and I were married, and I finally got to attend my first home Notre Dame football game. I got to walk the campus, see the band practice, visit the bookstore, be inside the stadium, see "Touchdown Jesus", watch as they ran onto the field, and yes enjoy that half time show I had dreamed about. I' won't lie. I spent most of that day crying. Seriously, ND campus and the entire experience is one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen.

And those football Saturdays in South Bend all include on thing. Tailgating. Those fellow ND fanatics take their pre-game food very seriously!

It has been years since we've been to a game, but we can still have some tailgating fun, right in our own living room. Just minus the tailgate!

To me, a party or gathering has to have a great veggie tray. I know everyone always teases me, but I love fresh, crunchy veggies in a creamy, cool flavorful dip. Plus all the other stuff too! Oh, and this is super tasty on chips, pretzels, and crackers too!

This has been my go-to dip for years now. Every time I make it, I get rave reviews, and requests for the recipe. With only 5 ingredients, and a lot of help from the store, it can be your new favorite too! 

Irresistible Veggie Dip
16 oz. sour cream
16 oz. French onion dip
1 envelope Ranch Dressing Mix
1 envelope Knorr Vegetable Mix
1 TBS Dried Parsley, extra for garnish

In a medium bowl combine all ingredients. Chill a few hours or overnight before serving. Stir well. Garnish with parsley. Serve with veggies, chips, crackers, etc. 

Shared at Weekend Potluck

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Autumn Inspired Recipe Challenge

Ya'll know how much I love a good recipe contest/challenge! Creating something new to share with all of you, and a chance to win...sign me up!

Today's contest comes from my new friends at Lang's Chocolates. If you've never heard of them, let me introduce you a little. Located in central Pennsylvania (which you know is near and dear to my heart), they are a family operated business focused on strong values. Their chocolates are made in small batches, almost "to order", and I'm guessing you might recognize their signature red boxes!

Everything about them is what I look for in a company I want to work with. So when they offered to send me some of their Keystone Pantry Allulose to experiment with in my kitchen, for a chance to win some cash, I was immediately on board!

 Lang’s Chocolates Keystone Pantry Allulose natural rare sugar sweetener, is Non-GMO, Gluten Free and Vegan friendly! It can easily be swapped out for sugar in any of your favorite recipes.
Allulose is a rare sugar, meaning it naturally occurs in natural products! It is an ultra low calorie sugar with only 1- calorie per teaspoon. It has browning characteristics as white sugar but almost none of the calories. (However, when used in baking it will brown faster than sugar so may require a slightly lower cooking temperature.)

Oh, what to make, what to make? Since we are officially into October now, I've got all things autumn on the brain. And what is more autumn-esque than a delicious apple dessert? This one happens to be easy enough for any weeknight too! 

Be sure to check out Lang's Chocolates online, where you can also purchase some Allulose to try in your own recipes! Oh and follow them on Facebook and Instagram too to see all of the recipe submissions! Wish me luck!

Baked Apple Delight
4 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced
1/4 c. apple juice
1 stick butter, cubed
3/4 c. allulose natural sugar sweetener
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
3 tsp. cinnamon, extra for garnish
1/2 c. chopped pecans
1/3 c. golden raisins
Angel Food Cake
Whipped Cream

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 1 quart baking dish. Placed sliced apples in dish. In a medium bowl mix together apple juice, sweetener, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Pour over apples and stir lightly. Dot with butter. Sprinkle with raisins and pecans. Bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes- 1 hour until browned and apples are tender. Stir before serving. Serve warm over sliced angel food cake with whipped cream and cinnamon on top. *NOTE* The golden raisins can get dark in the baking process. Don't worry, they taste just fine!

Disclaimer: I received a free product to use in my entry in the contest. The thoughts & recipe are all mine. 

Shared at Weekend Potluck