Everyday Mom's Meals: May 2019

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Grab The Picnic Basket

It's Memorial Day Weekend! The official gateway to summer! We've waited through a cold winter, a very wet spring, and now we can see the sun and feel the warmth on our face again. 

Summer is the perfect time to grab the picnic basket, pack the cooler and head to a favorite park for a old fashion picnic! I was talking to someone the other day how it's becoming a forgotten tradition; and I for one am on a mission to make sure it doesn't totally go to the wayside.

When I was growing up, we went on too many picnics to count. I know why too. It was cheap entertainment! Sometimes dad would splurge and get a bucket of KFC to take with us, but most of the time it was mom packing some yummy favorites and us heading out on a Sunday afternoon. It is something I've tried hard to continue with my family, and if you ask my boys I think they would say I've done a pretty good job!

This retro recipe would be perfect for eating on a blanket or picnic table. It comes together in almost no time, and  you can easily pack it separate from the buns or bread, and assemble sandwiches on site! 
 If you read it and think it sounds familiar, yes, it is my version of the stuff sold at deli counters when we were kids! At our house, we call it "poor man's ham salad"! 

If you haven't taken a picnic in a while, now is your chance. It doesn't have to be fancy (this recipe proves that) to be fun! Pack up the car. Tell the kids to leave the devices at home and see what adventure awaits you!

Sandwich Spread
1 lb. bologna, chopped
2 hard boiled eggs, halved
1/3 c. sweet relish
1/2 c. mayo
Salt and Pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in food processor. Pulse until fine. Chill until ready to eat. Serve with buns.

Shared at Weekend Potluck

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Give Them Bread

If you are planning a summer cookout, any time over the next few months, you will want to keep the ingredients for this on stand by!

We are bread loving people. We are the ones at a restaurant that are usually half full by the time the entree' comes because we've snacked on so much bread. And if I can find something to put on that bread that makes it even yummier, that's the icing on the cake so to speak.

When I'm entertaining, I try to find ways to have dishes made ahead of time that I can put out and let my guests serve themselves. Appetizers are of course the best way to do this; and keep people from starving before the big meal is ready. Happy guests mean a happy host!

Honestly though, the day I made this it was raining, and we weren't even thinking about grilling. I served it as a side to a pasta supper...and it was perfect that way too. So, you're really getting a double duty recipe!

Summer time is when we want to have people over, spend hours outside in the sun, catching up, having fun, and of course eating some great dishes to share!

Olive Caper Spread
1 (5 oz) jar green olives, drained
1 (3 oz.) jar capers, drained
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 large garlic clove, peeled
Salt and Pepper to taste

Put all ingredients in food processor. Pulse until fine. Chill. Serve with baguette, crackers, pita chips, etc. 

Shared at Weekend Potluck

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Mom & Son Date

My baby boy, my first born, has 3 weeks of school left. I don't know who is more excited. We are SO ready to be done. But there is only one downside. That Friday, at 11:45 when the final bell rings for summer, it will mean I am the mother of a FRESHMAN. Seriously, I can't even say the word without a tear coming to my eye and getting a little choked up.

I'm pretty sure he was just graduating preschool, and now by month's end, he will be standing before his class, family and friends and delivering the Salutatorian address for 2019. Oh yeah, did I mention that? He finished #2 in his class, missing the top spot by less than 1 point! Plus, his school nominated him for an Distinguished Student Award given my a local association. As his principal said "Alex exemplifies what we strive for. Academic Excellence, Spiritual Development, and Being a Service to Others." We could not be more proud of him, and are so excited to have his hard work acknowledged and praised!

So, you can understand why Mommy is a little weepy with the thought of the end of the school year. High school is going to bring a whole new world, and he's just going to keep getting bigger, maturing, growing up, and lots busier.

I am so blessed he still wants to hang out with me, and have special days with Mom. Some quality time, just the two of us. I treasure every minute. And normally those days always include a great meal at a favorite restaurant.

One of our go-to places is Chili's. Mr. E doesn't really enjoy their food, so we reserve it for just the two of us. The last time we went this was what we both chose to order, without even realizing we were eyeing the same dish. We loved it at first bite, and I knew I needed to recreate it at home.

This version takes a little help from the store, but feel free to make a homemade Alfredo if you wish. I love my recipe for it, and would have if I had a little more time.

Going into high school, and turning 15 in the fall. I just can't believe that applies to my baby. Yes, he will always be my baby. And as long as he wants to have "dates" with his old mom...I will jump at the chance.

Cajun Chicken Pasta
2 lb. penne pasta, cooked to al dente, drained
2 (15 oz.) jars Alfredo sauce
1 tsp. lemon zest
2 lbs. fresh chicken tenders
2 TBS plus 1 tsp. Cajun seasoning
4 Roma tomatoes, chopped
Dried Parsley
2 TBS vegetable oil
Salt and Pepper taste

Preheat grill to high. Mix chicken, 2 TBS Cajun seasoning, oil, salt and pepper. Allow to sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes. Spray grill with nonstick spray. Place chicken on grill and cook for about 1 minute. Reduce heat to low, and continue to cook, turning often, for about 15 minutes. Remove and keep warm.

While pasta cooks, place Alfredo sauce in a large sauce pan. Add lemon zest, salt and pepper. Heat over medium heat, stirring often. Add 1 tsp. Cajun seasoning and stir well. When pasta is drained, add to sauce and stir well. Sprinkle with a little extra Cajun seasoning. Place chicken on top of pasta. Sprinkle with tomatoes and parsley. 

Shared at Weekend Potluck

Sunday, May 5, 2019

So Many Reasons to Eat Outside

No joke, we had our first sunny day in 2 weeks this weekend. And not only did the sun not shine, we had rain for all 14 days. Seriously, I was considering building an ark!

Oh, and after a nice day tomorrow, the weather man says we have even more rain coming. Ugh! But whatever, I'm still saying the season of eating outdoors is upon us!

This time of year we've got cookouts, barbecues, family reunions, picnics, graduation parties...so many reason to enjoy a meal on a table in the backyard.

I guarantee you if you make this for any of them, it will be the one dish everyone wants the recipe for. In fact, when I posted a little preview last week, I was bombarded with "Where is the recipe?" comments. So, I had to make sure I hurried and shared!

It's a terrific side for any of the occasions above, but we also enjoyed it with some egg rolls for a fun supper. Oh, and when those hot nights finally do arrive, I think I will add some grilled chicken or shrimp for a light, but filling meal!

I am so happy we have arrived at almost summer! Sure, it's still going to rain, and the temps are dropping back into the 50's this week, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel! Thankfully it is shining on some yummy food too!

Thai Noodle Salad
1 lb. spaghetti, cooked, rinsed with cold water and drained
2 1/4 c. tri color coleslaw mix
5 medium carrots, shredded
1 bunch green onions, white and light green chopped
1 small bunch cilantro, chopped
1/4 c. sesame seeds, extra for garnish
1 c. dry roasted salted peanuts extra for garnish

1/4 c. (heaping) creamy peanut butter
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1/2 c. seasoned rice vinegar
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4-1/2 tsp. sriracha sauce, to taste
Salt to taste

In a large bowl combine all salad ingredients. Toss well. In a microwave safe bowl, heat peanut butter until slightly melted. Add to vinegar, garlic powder, sriracha and salt. Slowly add oil and whisk until combined well and smooth. Pour over salad. Toss well. Chill until ready to serve. Garnish with extra peanuts and sesame seeds. 

Shared at Weekend Potluck
Shared at Meal Plan Monday