Everyday Mom's Meals: November 2018

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Casseroles, Holidays and Company

At first glance those 3 things might not seem like they go together, but if you think about it a second time, you will realize they are like peas in a pod! Why?

Well, let's see. Casseroles are a perfect meal when you're super busy any normal time, but add in the hustle and bustle of the holidays, and now your schedule just tripled. Then you've got the holiday house guests that are going to descend up on your home in just a few weeks...and some might pull a Cousin Eddie and think it's okay to stay through the New Year! So, you've got to feed them! A tasty, budget friendly casserole can help you do that too!

Thanksgiving is over, and now we have our eyes set on Christmas. Okay, I can't lie, Christmas has been on my mind since way before Halloween, but now it's socially acceptable to admit that!

With all the holiday celebrations coming our way, the shopping to do, the wrapping, the baking, the work parties, school programs, (the list could go on and on) our already jammed packed schedules are about to overflow to commitments. This is the supper you want when you're busy and starving! It will feed a crowd and get them back out the door again!

It's so easy to get swept up into the holiday season and have it fly by. Let's slow it down a bit, try to enjoy every minute, sit down with our family to a hearty, delicious casserole and share our day!

Frito Pie Casserole
1 lb. ground beef
1 medium white onion, chopped
1 envelope taco seasoning
2/3 c. water
1 (19 oz.) can enchilada sauce
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (7 oz.) can diced green chilies
1 (9.25 oz.) bag corn chips, divided use
2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend, divided use
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350. Grease 9x13 baking dish. In a large skillet brown beef with onions. Drain if necessary. Stir in water and seasoning. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmering and allow to thicken a little, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in enchilada sauce, black beans and green chilies. Cook 2 minutes to warm through. Place 4 cups corn chips in bottom of dish. Top with 1 cup cheese. Spoon in beef mixture, and top with remaining cheese. Bake 20 minutes until cheese melted and bubbling. Top with remaining chips.

Inspired  by Betty Crocker
Shared at Weekend Potluck

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Foodie Christmas Gifts 2018 {Week 1}

Now that Thanksgiving is over, we can officially begin the MOST wonderful time of year! I can't help it. Christmas is my absolute favorite holiday and I treasure each and every second.

When my good friend Bekki asked me if I could spare some blog time for her to share some fantastic homemade foodie gifts, I said "Absolutely!" 

Homemade gifts are so special, and such a great way your loved ones you really put some effort into their gift, and stay on budget too! So, for the next few weeks Bekki is going to be sharing some of her favorites with us! 

Can you believe we just had Thanksgiving? I can still smell Turkey and all the glorious sides wafting around me. If you’re anything like me, sharing food is a favorite thing to do during the holidays. Whether it’s your neighbors, your child’s teacher, your postal carrier, or even your doctor’s food gifts give a sense of warmth. Like giving someone a basket of muffins, isn’t just the sweet treat but love from your kitchen to them. In this recipe we’re dressing up chocolate muffins. How can you dress up chocolate muffins you ask? Well add more chocolate and peppermint of course. Come with me, as we create this dolled up recipe for the upcoming holiday and turn it into a fun gift as well. 
 Triple Chocolate Peppermint Muffins
1 Fleishmann’s Simply Homemade Double chocolate muffin mix
2/3 c. water
¾ c. vegetable oil
2 eggs
½ c. mini chocolate chips
½ c. peppermint chips
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line 6 large muffin cups with paper liners OR spray with cooking spray, set aside.
Combine mix, water, eggs, and oil in a large mixing bowl with a spoon, stir until blended. Add chips and stir to combine.
Fill prepared cups with batter, to ¾ full.
Bake muffins for 35 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes then remove from pan.
Fill your favorite basket with the cooled muffins and share with someone today! Enjoy! 

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Holiday House Guests

Are you hosting Thanksgiving this year? If so, hopefully you've got your menu planned, that shopping list made and a schedule of cooking times. Now, the next question is, are you holiday guests "meal only" people, or are they extended stay? If your house is about to get really full, you're going to need some extra meals too!

Did you just freak out a little? It's okay. Take a deep breath. If you're going to have extra mouths to feed for the entire week, I am here to help. Sure, you will have the leftovers for Friday, and maybe even Saturday, but you're going to need more than that!

Soup!! What a better way to feed a crowd, and maybe even have some leftover to do it again the next day! Oh, and if you, and/or some of your guests are planning on hitting the stores on Black Friday...this would be wonderful to come home to after standing in those long, sometimes cold lines!

We love stuffed peppers. I have a terrific, simple recipe for them I make whenever green peppers go on sale. But this time of year, that isn't often. So what's great about this is that is has all those same classic flavors, and only 2 peppers, so it's super budget friendly too!

Holiday house guests are what Thanksgiving and the holiday season are all about! (As long as they aren't like Cousin Eddie and camp out until New Years!) And there is nothing wrong with feeling a little stressed about feeding them, showing them a good time, and being a good hostess! So be sure to have some simple, delicious meals ready to go...starting with this soup!

Slow Cooker Stuffed Pepper Soup
1 lb. ground beef
1 medium white onion, chopped
2 medium green bell peppers, chopped
2 (8.8 oz) pouches ready to serve brown rice
3 TBS brown sugar, packed
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
2 (15 oz.) cans tomato sauce
2 (14.5 oz.) cans diced tomatoes, with juice
1 (32 oz.) box + 1 (15 oz.) can beef broth
Salt and Pepper to taste 
Shredded cheese for garnish, if desired

In a large skillet, brown beef with onion. Drain if necessary. Transfer to slow cooker. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cook on LOW 5-6 hours. Serve with shredded cheese on side.

Shared at Weekend Potluck

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Think Outside The Pie Box

I realize the dessert of choice on Thanksgiving is pie. I am not even going to argue that point. Pumpkin, Apple, Mincemeat, Pecan, Sweet Potato... we all have our favorite. And I am not complaining. My mom's pumpkin pie is something I look forward to each and every year.

But maybe you want to include another option. Maybe you want a different option other than pie. Or maybe you are having a smaller holiday and don't need a big pie for only a few people. Or maybe you're going to have house guests for an extended time that week, and you want an idea for dessert other than the big meal. If any of these are true, have I got a treat for you!

A super simple cake, that starts with a little help from the store, that smells and tastes like autumn, and has two of fall's favorite flavors...apple and cinnamon!

This makes the perfect amount for 4-6 people, depending on the size of the pieces, and I'm guessing if you need to feed more, you could easily double the recipe, use a 9x13 pan and have it be just as yummy.

Pies are as much a part of Thanksgiving as turkey and dressing. But that doesn't mean we can't make a little room on our table for another sweet treat!

Apple Cinnamon Cake
1 (7 oz) package apple cinnamon muffin mix
1/4 c. milk
1 egg, beaten
1 1/2 TBS apple butter
1 TBS brown sugar, packed

4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 tsp. apple butter
2 tsp. brown sugar, packed

Preheat oven to 350. Grease 8x8 baking pan. In a large bowl combine first 5 ingredients. Stir well. Pour into pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. In a small bowl combine last three ingredients. Mix until smooth. When cake is done, cool on wire rack. Frost with cream cheese icing. 

Shared at Weekend Potluck

Sunday, November 4, 2018

17 Days

If you haven't looked at a calendar, that's how many days we have until Thanksgiving! In just over 2 weeks we will all be sitting down to the holiday meal we dream about the other 364 days of the year.

Now in the spirit of full transparency, I am not hosting this year. In fact, most years I don't because we are at my in laws and my parents both, but there have been a few Thanksgivings over the years when I have hosted my parents for the holiday, So I full understand all the work that goes into such a fabulous meal.

I've talked a hundred times before about the Thanksgivings of my childhood when we would be in Pennsylvania with my family. The spreads that Grammy would put out are still legendary. They are the holiday meals that every other will always be compared to for me. They are the ones I channel when I am hosting. They are the epitome of Thanksgiving for me.

One of the many things she always had on her Turkey Day table was squash. Her favorite kind, and ours too is buttercup. No, not butternut. This is completely different. And to be honest, I almost never find them in Indiana. I think in my almost 15 years of marriage I have bought them once. That's it. And I don't understand because they are so sweet, so tender and have such amazing flavor.

So to satisfy our squash craving, I turn to acorn most of the time. It is so easy to prepare, and always look so pretty on a plate. There are a hundred different ways to make them, but sometimes the most simple is the best.

I love serving these as a half per person. They look gorgeous on the table and each person can just spoon it out. But if you are having a large crowd over, that really isn't practical, so you can just serve  it family style. In fact, if I were making these for the holiday, I would roast them off the night before, scoop it out, cool and reheat the next day when I was ready. Anything you can make the day before is GENIUS!

I can't believe it's November and the holidays are coming so incredibly fast. We are going to blink and it will be 2019. Let's be sure to enjoy every single moment, and bite, until then!.

Roasted Acorn Squash
2 medium acorn squash, halved and seeded
2 TBS butter, room temperature, cut into 8 pieces
4 tsp. packed brown sugar
Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 400. Carefully slice a small area on bottom of each squash half, to help them sit evenly. Place on a baking sheet. Rub each half with 1 small piece of butter, inside and around the edges. Season with salt and pepper. Place 1 small piece of butter inside each half, and 1 tsp. of brown sugar. (You will use 2 pieces of butter on each half. One to rub, one to cook) Bake for 45 minutes until fork tender. Serve a half to each person, or scoop out into serving dish.