Everyday Mom's Meals: October 2019

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Mexi Night Side Dish

Does you family love Mexican night at home? Yeah, us too. It's a staple in my menu rotation. But the one thing I struggle with when planning those meals, is a great side dish!

 We all have side dishes we make every time we make a certain meal. I'm no exception. Believe me, just because I am a food blogger doesn't mean I don't have staples too.

Sure, there are always the staples of rice and beans. Or even chips and salsa, or queso; but after a while, those become mundane and I want to switch it up.

I love this salad because it can be made from the pantry for the most part. In fact, the night I decided to whip it up, I just ran to the store for the fresh cilantro. And I will tell you, the guys in my house said it was such a nice, refreshing change to the regular dishes we usually have on Mexi night.

Oh, and let me ask you this. Do you entertain with Mexican night? Think about it....a big group of people. A taco bar. Some chips. And a big bowl of this. What a fun way to enjoy a night with friends!

So, be sure to save this for the next Mexican night rolls around on your menu. You won't be sorry! 

Mexican Bean Salad
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 oz.) can dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 oz.) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 (12 oz.) bag frozen corn, thawed
1 (4 oz.) can diced green chilies
 1/4 c. chopped cilantro, chopped

1/2 c. vegetable oil
1/2 c. red wine vinegar
Juice of 2 limes
Juice of 1 lemon
2 TBS sugar
1 TBS salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 TBS ground cumin
1-2 dashes hot sauce
1 tsp. chili powder

In a large bowl combine all salad ingredients, stir well.  In a medium bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients until well combined. Pour over salad. Stir well. Chill for 1-2 hours before serving. Serve with extra lime wedges if desired.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Not My Kid

By now anyone who has been reading this blog for any period of time knows I don't produce picky kids. My boys will eat pretty much anything I put in front of them. They both had sushi at a young age, Alex at 5, Max at barely 2. Alex talked about calamari in Kindergarten. One of Max's favorites is my tuna salad.

And yes, before you say it, I know exactly how lucky I am. I don't have it in me to deal with picky eaters. (props to all the parents who struggle every single day) and I think God was merciful to me.

But everyone has likes and dislikes. And even kids are allowed to genuinely not enjoy the flavor of something. That is being picky. That's being human. From an early age Alex hated ranch, and anything flavored with ranch. He would come home in 1st grade and talk about all the kids dipping their pizza in ranch dressing and tell me "Mommy, that's just gross. They are ruining perfectly good pizza!"

As he grew older, he did find some things with a ranch flavor to enjoy. My Ranch Bacon Pasta Salad and Cool Ranch Doritos at the top of that list. But the creamy white dressing? To this day, and he just turned 15, he will not touch the stuff!

Thank goodness his palate grew with him because had it not, these potatoes would have never come to be. And Oh. My. Word. are they good! Seriously, we were fighting over them. All three boys asked for seconds and told me over and over how I needed to make them again soon!

I love serving them right off the pan, kinda like potato nachos. Perfect for parties or game day! No matter what you serve them with, I guarantee they will be a huge hit at your house too! Plus, if you have kids who do love ranch...they won't complain one bit about dinner that night!

Loaded Ranch Potatoes
3 lbs. red potatoes, quartered
3 TBS vegetable oil
3 tsp. ranch dressing mix
3/4 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1 (2 oz.) package real bacon bits
Dried Chives
Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 450. Lightly grease a large rimmed baking sheet. In a large bowl combine potatoes and oil. Stir well. Sprinkle with ranch mix. Stir well. Transfer to baking sheet and spread into even layer. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for 35-40 minutes until fork tender and lightly browned. Sprinkle with cheese and bacon bits. Roast for 5-7 minutes until cheese melted. Sprinkle with chives. Serve straight from pan.  

Sunday, October 13, 2019

The Easiest EVER

I have a lot of pasta recipes. A. LOT. I've told you before how we say Adam must have lived in Asia in his past life due to his love of their cuisine. If that's true, than I must have been residing in Rome, Venice and Tuscany in all of my past incarnations.

For the most part, the majority of my pasta dishes are baked in the oven. But every once in a while a terrific one will come to be for my slow cooker. Let's see, there is my Crock Pot Creamy Spaghetti, Slow Cooker Bolognese, Crock Pot Marinara and now this simple classic sauce too!

If you're looking for a classic tomato sauce, with just a little meat for your next spaghetti supper, this is it. The best part? You can turn it on in the morning, come home, boil some pasta and dinner is done. Okay, maybe cook some tasty garlic bread too!

I made it with ground beef because that's what I've got in the freezer, but it would be equally tasty with some Italian sausage. I will freely admit, I am not a huge red sauce fan, but this? I couldn't get enough. I had seconds the night I made it, and enjoyed the leftovers all week. We all did!

Save this one for an extra busy day when you know you'll be too exhausted to put much effort into dinner when you get home. You won't regret it!

Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce
1 lb. ground beef
 1 medium white onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
4 (8 oz.) cans tomato sauce
2 (6 oz.) cans tomato paste
2 TBS sugar 
2 c. water
2 cubes beef bouillon
1 TBS Italian seasoning
 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. dried parsley, extra for garnish
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. red pepper flake
Salt and Pepper 

Lightly grease slow cooker. In a large skillet brown beef with onion and garlic until no longer pink. Drain if necessary. Add to slow cooker. Add remaining ingredients. Stir well. Cook on LOW for 6 hours. Reduce heat to warm until serving. Stir well.

Shared at Weekend Potluck
Shared at Meal Plan Monday

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Welcome October

Apparently we blinked and September came and went. What a whirlwind! To welcome in a new month, the first "true" one of autumn, I thought a tasty warm beverage was the perfect way to usher it in.

We are big slow cooker drink lovers. From apple inspired ones in the fall to festive wassail at the holidays and warm hot cocoa on a cold winter's day, they are something I make a lot on the weekends when we are at home hanging out.

Seriously, what tastes better on a chilly day than a big mug of something warm and delicious to soothe your soul? Not to mention most of the time, whatever you've got warming in that slow cooker makes the house smell AH mazing!

Got a long day of raking ahead of you? Come inside to this. Visiting the local pumpkin patch or corn maze? Have this waiting on you when you get home. Having some people over for a big bonfire? This will stay warm all night long!

It would taste just as delicious with apple cider, maybe even more so, but I had juice on hand. (Not to mention, sometimes apple cider is just too darn expensive! Seriously! It can be a tad ridiculous!)

This is one of those drinks that will take you through October, would be great on Halloween night, and terrific for those turkey day guests coming quicker than you think!

We still might have some warm sunny days left, but they are definitely getting fewer and farther between, so when the rain drops are puddling, the leaves are falling and that crisp autumn wind is blowing, a mug of this is certain to warm you from the inside! 

Warm Autumn Apple Punch
4 c. apple juice
1 can frozen orange juice, thawed
2 cinnamon sticks
3/4 tsp. ground ginger
3/4 tsp. ground allspice
1/4 tsp. ground cloves

Combine all ingredients in slow cooker. Stir well to combine, whisk if needed. Cook on LOW 4 hours. Keep on warm and serve all day!

Shared at Weekend Potluck
Shared at Meal Plan Monday