Everyday Mom's Meals: 2020
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Sunday, December 27, 2020

Happy (Almost) 2021

 How was your Christmas? I hope it was a day surrounded by those you love most in the world, with magic, joy and peace. (Even if some had to join virtually!)

We had a wonderful holiday, with celebrations over a couple days. According to the mound of presents under our tree Christmas morning, our boys were VERY good this year. (But Mommy could have told Santa that!) 

Now that my most favorite time of year is behind us, I tend to get a little depressed. I won't even lie. December 26th is my least favorite day of the year. But I do have something to look forward to! Our annual New Year's Eve Buffet! 

If you've been following me for a good amount of time, you know our tradition. Every NYE, I make a huge appetizer buffet filled with yummy things. We stay in, my parents come over, we eat, we watch movies, we play games, we eat, we stay up for the ball drop, we eat....you get the picture. 

So while many will be doing an "at home New Year's Eve" for the first time this year, we are experts and it's one of our most fun traditions!

If you're planning some tasty food to welcome 2021, this slow cooker beer braised sausage could definitely be added to the menu! This is a versatile recipe that you can serve as an appetizer (just cut it into smaller pieces) or for a simple weeknight supper. It's delicious right out of the Crock Pot, but we also love putting it on some hoagie buns for a sandwich dripping in yum factor. 

I know many like to serve pork for good luck in the New Year, so this could be a fun twist on that tradition too! 

Without a doubt, 2020 will go down in history as one of the worst years ever, at least in most of our lifetimes. But I think there is a lot to be thankful for as we look back too. Sure, it might not always be the easiest to see, or focus on, but even in the darkest days this year, our family has been so incredibly lucky. So I am trying to focus on that as we say goodbye to another year, but am also ready to welcome 2021 with open arms. I wish you a happy, healthy and delicious New Year...only good things ahead!

 Slow Cooker Beer Braised Sausage

3 (9 oz.) packages smoked sausage

1 large white onion, thinly sliced

1/2 c. brown sugar

2/3 c. light beer

1/4 c. spicy brown mustard

1/4 c. apple cider vinegar

1 TBS water

2 tsp. cornstarch

Slice sausage into 1-2 inch pieces. Spray the slow cooker with nonstick spray. Lay sliced onions in bottom. Lay sausage on top of onions. In a medium bowl, whisk brown sugar, beer, mustard and vinegar. Pour over sausage. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 hours. About 15 minutes before serving, mix water and cornstarch. Add to slow cooker. Stir and cook on HIGH about 10 minutes until thickened. Serve as is or on hoagie buns with sauce drizzled over top.

 Shared at Weekend Potluck


Sunday, December 20, 2020

Post Christmas Soup

While I kind of dropped the ball on a festive holiday recipe for you this week, I do have one that is perfect post Christmas. If you're cooking a big, glazed ham, you will definitely appreciate this on day 3 or 4 of leftovers sitting in the fridge!

This is a recipe I've been making since we were newlyweds almost 18 years ago. It is actually a dish the hubby brought with him, based on one he ate as a kid. He first made it for me before we were married and while I've tweaked it a little over the years, the foundation is still the same. 

Many people see this dish and they instantly want to write it off. They have thoughts of eating pureed peas a baby and are convinced it won't be good. But I plead with you, don't judge a soup by it's cover! I've had so many tell me they have never liked split pea soup in the past, but this one, they can't get enough of. 

A couple things to keep in mind. If you don't have leftover ham, you can easily use store bought, pre-diced. That's what I use year round, and it works great. Also, this soup gets VERY thick, to the point of no longer being soup consistency. So, keep some extra broth on hand to thin it back out before serving if need be, and if you like eating it the next day, be prepared to definitely add some liquid before reheating. 


On a personal note, I want to thank each and every one of you who continue to log on weekly to see what's cooking in my kitchen. To all of my followers on Facebook and Instagram who always send their love to my food, and my family pics, I feel so incredibly blessed to have such a great community to share my life with. 

This year as been rough. In SO many ways. But I am so grateful to be spending another Christmas with those I love most in the world, doing a job I love, and living this beautiful life God has given me. 

I hope your Christmas is filled with the joy, love and peace that came down to Earth on that glorious night so many years ago. May the light that shone from that tiny manger, shine through us all in the coming year. 

From our family to yours, MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup

1 1/2 lbs. dried split peas

4 c. chicken broth

2 c. water

5 medium carrots, diced

1 medium yellow onion, diced

2 c. cooked ham, diced

1/2 tsp. dried thyme

Salt and Pepper

 Add all ingredients to slow cooker. Stir well. Cook on low 5-7 hours. After about 4 hours, use potato masher to mash some of the peas. When finished, if too thick, thin out with some extra broth if needed. 


 

 

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Christmas Planning

 Less than 2 weeks, people! I don't know if anyone else feels like December is flying by and Christmas is going to be here before we know it, but it's so hard me to accept in less than 14 days the presents will be unwrapped, the cookies will have all been eaten (okay, probably not but you get my point) the trash will be overflowing with toy boxes and the anticipation will all be over. 

I tend to get very depressed on December 26th, so let's not think about that. Let's focus on what's coming. There is still plenty of time to enjoy all the joy and magic this season has to offer, and let's not forget about that delicious meal that is on the way too. 

When I planning my holiday 2020 recipes, I knew I wanted to offer a side dish that would pair well with ham (I think it's one of the most popular Christmas meals) and would make it extra easy on the cook with help from the slow cooker. 

Our family has loved glazed carrots forever. I can remember my dad making them when I was little and it's the only way I do it now for my boys. But I will admit, if it's a weeknight meal, I am lazy. Some canned sliced carrots, diced butter, sprinkled with brown sugar, salt and pepper. I cook them in a pan, or sometimes even the microwave and done. 

However, with a little extra time, not prep though, we can have some glazed carrots that are a holiday show stopper! These come out glistening from the amazing glaze and taste soooooo good. A little note about the ceylon cinnamon. It's not a deal breaker. Normal, every day cinnamon will work just fine. I was gifted some of the ceylon variety and love using it in special dishes. Ceylon cinnamon has a stronger flavor and seems a little "hotter" than regular. A little goes a long way, so it's perfect for this dish. If you happen to see some at the store, it's a great thing to have on hand for festive occasions and recipes. 

I hope your Christmas season is shaping up to be magical and filled with joy. These last couple weeks will fly by, and may we all squeeze every last morsel of magic out of them.  

 

Slow Cooker Glazed Carrots

2 lbs. carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces

4 TBS butter, melted

1/3 c. packed brown sugar

1/2 tsp. ceylon cinnamon

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1 tsp. dried parsley

1 TBS corn starch

1 TBS water 

Salt and pepper

Place carrots in slow cooker. In a small bowl whisk together butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Pour over carrots and stir. Cook on HIGH for 3 hours. Remove lid. Whisk together corn starch and water. Push carrots to side of slow cooker. Add corn starch slurry to sauce. Stir well. Cook for 5-10 minutes until thick. Stir carrots back into sauce. Sprinkle with dried parsley and serve. 

 

Inspired by Dinner At The Zoo

Shared at Weekend Potluck


 

 

Sunday, December 6, 2020

A Ham Of A Tradition

 Every family has dishes and recipes that have been passed down between generations. Some of them are easily understood by others, and some don't make sense outside the family. But that's okay because if you love them, and they conjure up happy memories, that's all that matters. 

This is one of those things that I couldn't truly appreciate until I was an adult. I wasn't a picky eater as a kid, so I can't explain why I didn't enjoy it, but as I've gotten older, it's definitely something I can't imagine not serving with every ham I make. 

This comes to you via me of course, but like so many of my treasured recipes, it originated from my Gammy, my dad's mom. And when I say my daddy can NOT eat a beautiful holiday ham without it, I mean it. It's truly one of his favorite combinations in the world. 

If you try it, it won't take long before you realize well. The citrus flavor pairs so well with ham, the raisins turn into plump little bursts of flavor and the hint of cloves give it a true holiday essence. 

I don't mind making this any time I have a big glazed ham on the menu because one of the best things about it is you can make it ahead and simply rewarm it! I have made it up to 2 days before and it's still perfect. It does thicken as it sits, so sometimes it needs thinned back out, but see the note below on how I handle that.

The last time I made this for my dad he said we probably use way more on each piece of ham than what was intended. Oops. We slather our ham in it. I am pretty sure you're supposed to slightly dip, but oh well. We want ton enjoy it! 

If you're planning a Christmas ham, I would love if you included a family tradition of mine with your holiday meal. I would be honored, in fact!

Orange Raisin Sauce

1 c. water

1 c. orange juice

1 c. raisins

1/4 c. sugar

2 TBS flour

1/4 tsp. salt

Dash of cloves

In a small sauce pan, bring 1/2 cup water, juice and raisins to boil. Dissolve flour in other 1/2 cup water. Whisk into juice mixture. Add sugar, salt and cloves. Bring back to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer. Cook until thick, about 15 minutes. Serve immediately or allow to cool and refrigerate. *NOTE* This is a great make ahead. It can be refrigerated up to 2 days before serving and reheated in microwave. It will become thicker as it sits, so simply add some water or juice to thin it back out.


 

 

 

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Turkey Burn Out

 Do you still have some holiday turkey sitting in the fridge? Have you been eating it every day since Thursday? Are you tried of it yet? Looking for something to switch up the menu plan this week? Have you come to the right place! 

For the past few years I have really embraced making baked potatoes in a main dish for simple supper. We top them with yummy things like broccoli and cheese, or even sloppy jo mix, add some simple side dishes and dinner is done. Believe me when I say a stuffed spud with a side salad or cup of soup can make a filling meal after a long day.

These came to be when I had an extra package of store bought pulled pork in the fridge. Have you tried the pre-packaged barbecue pork? I have to admit, it is pretty darn good! I have found some really delicious ones at Kroger, Aldi and Walmart. There is no shame in taking a little help from the store now and again. The only complaint we ever have about the store bought pulled pork is the lack of sauce. We like ours extra saucy, so I always add a cup of our favorite barbecue sauce when heating it up. 

If you have leftover pork, that would certainly work perfectly too. In fact, if you have shred some of that holiday turkey and mix it with barbecue, I bet it would be delicious too! 

The first time I ever made these, my oldest deemed them "cowboy potatoes" because he said they reminded him of a pulled pork nacho he had at a food truck at school, and those were called "Cowboy Nachos". I'm not sure cowboys would approve or not, but a fun name only adds to the appeal! 

After so much cooking last week, put some ease into your menu this week. A simple baked potato can be transformed into something extra special and yummy. Lay out a bunch of toppings and let everyone assemble their own, for even less work for you!  

 

Cowboy Potato Bar

4 large baking potatoes

1/4 c. olive oil

1 lb. barbecued pulled pork, store bought or left over

1 c. barbecue sauce

Butter

Sour Cream

Green Onions

Pickled Jalapenos

Shredded Cheese

Preheat oven to 400. Scrub each potato and dry. Baste each potato with 1 TBS oil and sprinkle with salt. Wrap in foil and cut a slit on the top. Bake for 1-1.5 hours until fork tender. In a large skillet over medium heat, warm pork through, adding the extra barbecue sauce if necessary. When potatoes are cooked, cut open and add pork and toppings. 

 

Shared at Weekend Potluck
 

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Happy Thanksgiving 2020

 We have arrived at the biggest foodie week of the year. My turkey is thawing in the fridge and my menu is set. (If your turkey is still in the deep freezer, consider this your friendly reminder!) 

There is no doubt Thanksgiving is going to look very different this year, for so many of us. But I am determined to make sure it is still a special, and delicious day for my family. A big (all 18 lbs of it!) beautifully roasted bird, green bean casserole, fluffy mashed potatoes, homemade gravy, cranberry sauce, stuffing, and dinner rolls will be hitting our table. Oh, and thanks to a delivery from my mom, her pumpkin pie complete with a tub of Cool Whip! 

No matter if your celebration is scaled back this year, or like me, you are cooking the same amount of food and just thankful for leftovers, if you're still searching for one more side dish, that one last thing to round out your menu, this tasty squash recipe could definitely be what you are looking for! 

We are big squash lovers around here. All kinds, Cooked all ways. But when I saw the addition of cranberries and pecans to this one, I knew it had to be the annual EMM Thanksgiving recipe. Squash, cranberries AND pecans...that screams turkey day to me! Autumn inspired flavors and such a pretty dish too. 

The maple syrup gives this a little extra hint of sweetness, and you can even serves some extra warmed syrup on the side for drizzling if your guests want more. 

However you are choosing to celebrate Thanksgiving this year, there is no doubt it has been a HARD year; but we all still have so much to be thankful for. Sure, there are days when those things are hard to focus on when it seems like the world is on fire. But for this one day, I hope we can all take a breath, look around at all we've been blessed with, tell those we love how much they mean, and eat ourselves into a happy food coma! 

Roasted Butternut Squash with Pecans and Cranberries

1 4-5 lb. butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed

1 c. chopped pecans

1/2 c. dried cranberries

2 TBS olive oil

3 TBS maple syrup, extra for serving

Salt and Pepper

 Preheat oven to 400. In a large bowl combine squash, oil, salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Transfer to large baking sheet.  Roast for 20-30 minutes. Drizzle with syrup and sprinkle with pecans and cranberries. Bake for 10-15 minutes more until squash is fork tender. Serve with extra maple syrup on side if desired. 


 Shared at Weekend Potluck

Inspired by Sue Bee Homemaker


Sunday, November 15, 2020

New Casserole, Old Favorite

When I first made this recipe for my family well over a month ago, I knew I had to wait to post it. We will get to why in a minute, but when I tell you, you will appreciate it so much!

I love a good ol' fashion chicken pot pie. Warm, thick filling, flaky crust...we are talking the epitome of comfort food. A classic recipe that has truly withstood the test of time. 

And while I have a great recipe for the traditional version, I was in the mood for something a little easier. For years we've also enjoyed a short cut recipe that is topped with biscuits for busy weeknights. So I decided to take the pie version, cross it with the casserole one and wah-lah, something brand new and delicious.

 This even comes with a couple short cuts to make dinner time as stress free as possible. You can certainly use a homemade crust you love, but store bought work just fine. Plus, you can prepare the chicken and potatoes earlier in the day, or even the night before to save yourself some time. 

 I love using the boneless chicken thighs because the are inexpensive AND have great flavor, but if you are a fan of white mean, boneless breasts or tenders would work just as well.

Now, to the reason why I've left this sitting in my drafts folder for weeks? Leftovers. See, while I made this will roasted chicken, your leftover Thanksgiving turkey would be a great substitute. And if you bought extra potatoes and extra veggies for your holiday meal, those could be used up to. You could clean out the fridge post Turkey Day and have a terrific casserole supper all in one shot! 

 Chicken Pot Pie Casserole

 2 lbs boneless chicken thighs

2 TBS olive oil

1/4 c. butter

1/4 c. flour

1 c. milk

1 1/2 c. chicken broth

2 potatoes, peeled, cubed

12 oz. bag frozen peas and carrots

2 frozen pie crusts, brought to room temp

1 egg, beaten

1 TBS water 

Dried parsley

Salt and pepper to taste

 Preheat oven to 350. Drizzle chicken with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast on a baking sheet for 30 minutes. Cool and dice. Set aside.  In a medium pot, cover potatoes with cold water. Bring to a boil and cook until just fork tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and set aside. In a large skillet melt butter. Add flour and stir and cook for 1 minute. Add 1/2 cup milk and 1/2 cup broth, whisking continually while it comes to a boil. Add remaining broth and milk. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil again. Lower heat to simmer and cook 5 minutes. Add cooked chicken, potatoes and frozen veggies. Stir well to combine. Grease 9x13 baking dish. Transfer chicken mixture to dish. Roll out pie crust and cut into 1/4 inch strips. Cover chicken with crust in a lattice pattern. Whisk egg and water together and baste top of crust. Sprinkle with dried parsley. Bake for 45 minutes or until top is golden brown.  *NOTE* I cooked both my chicken and potatoes earlier in the day to save steps!


 Shared at Weekend Potluck

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Turkey Day Side Dish

Can you believe Thanksgiving is only a little over 2 weeks away? I swear, as soon as Halloween is over, it's a downward coast to the holiday season and they come, and pass quicker and quicker every year. 

There is no doubt Turkey Day will look different for so many this year, but no matter if you're only cooking for your immediate family, having a few guests over, or going for a traditional family gathering, menus need to be planned. And even if you are only cooking or a few, it is still a holiday, and your meal can still be special, delicious and festive. 

In that spirit, I've got a couple new side dishes coming your way before Thanksgiving, and this is the first. A sweet and savory version of autumns favorite spud, the sweet potato. This is perfect to make for a small gathering, or easily double or triple it! 

Sweet potatoes have been on holiday tables for years, and finding new ways to enjoy them can give your meal a little breath of freshness. Tradition means so much when planning a holiday meal, so it's great when you find ways to enjoy the same dishes you have for years, just in a new way.

 The reason I chose this dish (and a outstanding squash recipe later this month) is because not only would they be perfect alongside that big roasted bird, but a nice glazed ham as well. I wanted to give you double the dishes this time of year. If you are planning turkey now, ham for Christmas, or ham instead of turkey, or both...now you've got some dishes that would be so good with either. 

However you are planning on spending Thanksgiving this year, it is coming fast, and I hope you are looking forward to it. Even if you have find joy in a new way of celebrating. Surround yourself with love, happiness, gratefulness and some yummy food!

 Cinnamon & Honey Roasted Sweet Potatoes

4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed

1/4 c. olive oil

1/4 c. honey

2 tsp. cinnamon

Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 375. Toss all ingredients in a large bowl until well combined. Transfer to a large baking sheet. Roast for 30 minutes until fork tender.

 


 Shared at Weekend Potluck

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Quarantine Discovery

Raise your hand if you gained a little weight during the spring lock down/quarantine. Yes, I am raising mine too. And let's be totally honest, the months that followed that time were filled with reasons to indulge in yummy foods too. And now, the holidays are quickly approaching, with their delicious meals and sweet treats, so we really have no reason to stop now. 

Before March and Covid came to town, Alex and I had never had Chipotle. Yeah, I know, apparently we were living under a rock. I don't even have a good reason why since we have two about 10 minutes from home that we constantly drive by. 

Regardless of the reason, we had never tasted the deliciousness that is their food until we were stuck at home every single day, and lunch time became what we looked forward to every day because I was finding places that would deliver. Literally, we would wake up in the morning and start looking at menus to decide what we wanted. Oh, and I had never ordered delivery (except pizza) from a restaurant until this time too. It was like whole new world opened up! 

Chipotle was hands down the place we ordered from the most, and now 8 months later, I still do once every couple weeks. Alex fell in love with their burritos as big as his head, I can't get enough of their burrito bowls and Max loves a great quesadilla. 

But this mama still has a budget she needs to try to maintain, so I had to find a way to recreate some of their great food at home. This barbacoa beef is so spot on, if I hadn't told Alex I had made it I bet he would have never known! 

I love when dishes fill the house with drool worthy aromatics, and oh boy does this ever do that! It would be delicious in tacos, burritos, or on nachos, but I decided I would make my favorite burrito bowls this time around. You can certainly customize these to include your favorite ingredients, and even make it more fun by letting everyone create their own. This is simply the combo we love the most. 

With the holiday season quickly approaching there will be many nights supper needs to be quick, yummy and effortless. Combine all of those plus a slow cooker meal AND Mexican night into one meal that your family will love. Oh, and if you do have guests coming into town, you're going to need to feed them for a few days too!

 Crock Pot Barbacoa Beef

3 lb. arm chuck roast

3 medium chipotle peppers in adobo sauce 

2 tsp. adobo sauce

1/2 c. chicken broth

2 1/2 tsp. minced garlic

2 TBS apple cider vinegar

Juice of 2 limes

1 TBS dried oregano

2 tsp. cumin

1/2 tsp. ground cloves

2 dried whole bay leaves

2 TBS vegetable oil

Salt and pepper to taste 

1 (12 oz. ) bag frozen corn, thawed

1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 lb. container pico de gallo

1 cup shredded white quesadilla cheese

Cooked White Rice

Spray Crock Pot with nonstick spray. In a large skillet, heat oil on high. Pat roast dry and season with salt and pepper. When oil is hot, brown roast on both sides, about 3-4 minutes each. Place in Crock Pot. In blender or food processor, combine vinegar, broth, peppers, adobo sauce, garlic, lime juice, oregano, cumin, salt and pepper. Blend until combined. Pour over roast. Add bay leaves. Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours. When cooked, carefully shred meat with two forks. Mix into sauce and continue cooking for another hour. Remove bay leaves, stir and serve over rice. Top with beans, corn, pico de gallo and cheese. Serve with limes, sour cream and favorite salsa on side. This recipe is enough to make 4-6 burrito bowls.

Shared at Weekend Potluck

Shared at Meal Plan Monday


Sunday, October 25, 2020

A Campfire Favorite Indoors

 With only a week left in October, have your evenings outside become too cold to handle? Sure a nice bonfire or campfire can keep everyone warm, but that only lasts so long. Heck, by this time of year here in Indiana, sometimes we've seen our first snowflakes. So for all of you who are missing your campfire experience, have I got a treat for you! 

Once again, I am keeping up my reputation as the "fluff dessert queen". Okay, so that might be a title only uttered in our house, but anytime my name and queen are in the same sentence, I will take it. This time around I've got a tasty twist on a classic you won't be able to resist. 

S'mores Fluff takes all the flavors from the classic and mixes them together in yummy harmony in every single spoonful. Be careful, this stuff is addicting. Be sure to only make it for people you really like. They will keep coming back for more.

Have you decided how you will be celebrating Halloween this year? Maybe your at-home party needs one more sweet treat. Your little ghosts and goblins are sure to love something so familiar but in a brand new fun way. 

 S'mores are such an quintessential summer time treat, but I say no more! With this creamy, fluffy, chocolaty dessert, we can satisfy that craving any time of year. Plus, we can stay inside where it's warm and dry, no fire needed!  

S'mores Fluff

1 (3 oz.) box instant chocolate pudding

1 1/2 c. milk

1 (8 oz.) tub Cool Whip

1 c. mini marshmallows

1 (4 oz.) chocolate candy bar, chopped, reserve a couple for garnish

4 graham crackers, chopped, reserve some large pieces for garnish

Chocolate Sauce

In a large bowl whisk together pudding mix and milk. Chill for 5 minutes to soft set. Fold in Cool Whip until well combined. Add chopped chocolate, graham crackers and marshmallows. Chill for 2 hours. Drizzle with chocolate sauce and garnish before serving. 

 

Shared at Weekend Potluck

Shared at Meal Plan Monday
 




Sunday, October 18, 2020

Weeknight Side Dish

How have your days been lately? Super busy? Not enough hours in the day? Feel like your to do list is never ending. You cross one thing out and three more get added? I feel you. Seriously. We are in the same boat. 

Even being home more isn't changing how much I need to do, and I know all you out there who are still working from home, or the kids have remote learning, or both, know exactly what I'm talking about. There are truly days I put Max to bed and wonder what I accomplished in the day even though I know I got things done. It never feels like enough. 

All of you know I am a meal planner from way back. It's the only way I know how to function and I truly don't think there has been one day in our 17 year marriage that dinner time rolled around and I said "I have no earthly idea what to make for supper." Heck, when I still worked outside the home, before Alex was born, I had a dry erase board on the fridge with the meals wrote out so if Adam beat me home from work, he could start cooking. I told you it's always been the way I have done it. 

Sure, I switch things around here and there when life demands it, but for the most part, the meal plan I sat down and made this past Friday will be the way it goes for the next 7 days. 

No matter how much this system works for me, I also know without a doubt there are many out there who have another way. A more "fly by the seat of your pants" approach, and when you need to come up with something quick, and don't want to put too much effort in, these potatoes are for you!

A tasty side dish to really any meal, these roasted potatoes are done just a little different than others I've made. Usually it is season, throw on the pan and bake. But for these, you want to take the couple extra minutes it takes to make sure they are flesh side down. This will allow them to get extra crispy on the outside while still being buttery and delicious on the inside. 

If your daily planner is filled to the brim and you agonize over dinnertime every night, try doing a little meal planning of your own. Maybe not quite as meticulous as me, but a few mental notes of things you could have so a plan is already in the works on those days when you just can't do one more thing.

 Crispy Roasted Potatoes

3 lbs. baby red potatoes, halved

1/4 c. olive oil

1 tsp. dried rosemary

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. black pepper


Preheat a large baking sheet in oven set to 400. In a large bowl mix all ingredients. Stir to coat. Place potatoes flesh side down on hot pan. Roast for 30-40 minutes until tender and crispy.*NOTE* For this recipe you want to look for the "size B" red potatoes.


 

 

 

 

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Home School Halloween

Since deciding to home school Max for preschool, I have found myself constantly on the hunt for activities to have him learn in fun and hands on ways. He actually enjoys sitting and doing worksheets probably more than most kids his age, says he is "doing homework like Bubbie" but when I tell him we have something extra fun to do, his little eyes light up.

Some days it's a fun craft, others he gets time to play with his Play-do sets or paint. And then there are the times I find ways to incorporate life skills like math into a recipe so we can spend some time together in the kitchen. Today's recipe is a perfect example. 

First off, let's be very clear. This isn't a recipe at all. There are 3 ingredients and you assemble. That's it. Max and I literally spent 10 minutes start to finish on this batch. But hey, that was the perfect amount of time for a 4 year old's attention span. 

I used these for a couple different lessons. We talked about what shape the cookies were, what shape we piped the frosting on, and the dollop of jelly on top. "Mommy, we painted squares onto rectangles and then added a tiny circle of jelly." We counted out the number we made and made rows of them in equal amounts. 

It is moments like these I don't even think he realizes we are "doing school" or that he is learning. He's having fun and loves to show me what he knows. Who wouldn't love a math lesson you can eat at the end? 

Max will also tell you these are "spooky but yummy", the perfect Halloween treat. If you're finding ways to celebrate at home this year, they definitely need to be on the menu. Maybe you are letting the kids have a few friends over instead of a big trick or treating group, you could easily have little cookie making kits pre-made for them to create their own. 

I never thought I was cut out to home-school, I realize that preschool is easy in the scheme of things, and know I could never do it full time until college. But for these years when he is still home with me, and I can watch him learn, have fun and enjoy discovering the world around him, I feel very blessed and am thankful to be his favorite teacher! 

 
 
Bloody Band-Aid Cookies
 
 Vanilla Sugar Wafer Cookies

Vanilla Frosting

Strawberry Preserves

Quart Size Plastic Storage Bags

Toothpick

Carefully scoop some of the frosting into a plastic bag. Do the same with the preserves. Close tightly and squeeze air out. Cut the tip of each bag. Pipe the frosting into a square in the center of the cookies. Smooth out with toothpick if necessary. Add a small dot of preserves. Serve immediately. 

 

Shared at Weekend Potluck

Shared at Meal Plan Monday


 

Sunday, October 4, 2020

It is COLD

 With the way I typed that title, I'm sure it appears as if the arctic winter has set in, and we are well below freezing. Well, let me tell you, after a summer of most days being in the 90s and only a week removed from the 80 degree mark, 50 feels like we should be donning parkas and building igloos. 

I had to turn the heat on this weekend. Not for long, just to take the chill off in the morning so the little guy's feet didn't freeze, but come one! We don't get to ease into this? We just got thrown into the deep end of the pool so to speak, and the water is cold!

It's October, chilly, getting darker earlier, rainy...all of these point to on definite thing. It's soup season-and while I am not a fan of the cold, or the wet, I am a huge fan of all things soup and take it as a great challenge every year to find some tasty new ones to share with all of you!

This soup has been one I've been attempting to make for our entire marriage. No joke. See, that year on Christmas family friends had my parents, Adam and I over for a light soup supper on Christmas night. She served a tasty mushroom barley soup and my dad raved about it, as did we. I have literally been trying to recreate that soup ever since. Sure, I could have asked for the recipe, but for some reason, I just wanted to do it on my own. (I have no idea where my children get their stubborn streak by the way.) 

I have made a couple different mushroom barley soups over the years, and while they have come close, they have never hit the nail on the head. That all ended with this. I think I finally conquered it! The reason? Milk. Yep, it was a creamy soup, and for some reason I never remembered that until I took the first bite of this and knew I had unlocked the key. Oh, and my dad and husband agreed. This is as close to that delicious soup as we've had since that Christmas almost two decades ago.

Looking for a hearty, stick to your ribs soup for a cold evening? One that will thaw you out and satisfy a long day's huger? This has got you covered. Serve it with some crusty bread or for something different, my Cranberry Turkey Bites (we love these on soup nights) and you've got a meal that make the cold outside disappear with the first spoonful!

Here's to a tasty soup season! I promise there are more new ones to come!


 Creamy Mushroom Barley Soup

1 lb. baby bella mushrooms, sliced

3 carrots, diced

3 celery stalks, diced

1 small yellow onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

4 c. beef broth

4 c. milk

2 TBS cornstarch

2 tsp. dried thyme 

1 tsp. lemon pepper

2 beef bouillon cubes

1/4 c. butter 

1 c. quick cooking barley

Salt and Pepper 

 In a large stock pot, heat butter over medium heat. Add mushrooms, onions, carrots and celery. Saute' for about 7 minutes, until tender. Add beef broth, bouillon, thyme, barley and black pepper. Stir to combine. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook for about 15 minutes until barley is tender. In a large bowl whisk together cornstarch and milk. Add milk mixture, lemon pepper and salt to soup. Increase heat back to boiling. Stirring constantly, boil for a few minutes until slightly thickened. Reduce heat to low and cook for 10 more minutes to allow flavors to develop. 


Shared at Weekend Potluck

Shared at Meal Plan Monday



Sunday, September 27, 2020

Welcome October(ish)

With posting new recipes on Mondays, the timing of something I want to say doesn't always line up perfectly with the calendar. Thus is the case this week. I wanted to welcome the new month with this simple, fun, autumn inspired snack...but October doesn't begin until Thursday. Oh well. I think you appreciate my effort. 

By now, you have seen quite a few snack mixes from me like my Sweet n Salty Snack Mix, Halloween Snack Mix, and Harvest Party Mix. I try to come up with a new one every fall, and my boys always look forward to my yearly creation.

I don't know what it is about autumn that makes me want to dig into a big bowl of salty, sweet goodness, but it never fails- the minute the temps drop a bit and pumpkins are on the porch, I find myself walking up and down the grocery store aisles waiting for inspiration.

 This year's is especially simple because there is no baking. No sauce. No cooking. You literally dump, stir and eat. It will last forever (okay, not really, but a long time) in an airtight container at room temp, so it's perfect to enjoy all season long. My boys love it for an afternoon snack, road trip treat or movie night! With Halloween just around the corner, you're going to need plenty of spooky movie snacks and this will satisfy both the popcorn and candy taste buds, all in one handful! 

Get the little ones in the kitchen and have them help make a big batch of this, get out side and enjoy some crisp, sunny days, visit a pumpkin patch or U pick apple orchard...soak up all October has to offer!

 

Scarecrow Crunch

2 (6 oz.) boxes butter toffee popcorn

2 c. buttered popcorn

1 (16 oz.) bag candy corn

1 (16 oz.) bag candy pumpkins

2 c. Cheerio cereal

1 (5 oz.) box Whopper candy

1 (4 oz.) box Reece's pieces candy

In a very large bowl combine all ingredients. Gently stir. Store in an airtight container at room temperature. Stir before each serving, as some of the smaller pieces will fall to the bottom.  



 Shared at Weekend Potluck

Shared at Meal Plan Monday

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Social Distance Fall

With the state of the world as it is right now, so many of us have been missing out on favorite activities for several months now. From pools being closed all summer, to some restaurants still being closed, concerts cancelled, sports seasons postponed...the list goes on and on. But when I sat down to write this post, I realized something amazing. Many of the autumn festivities we enjoy so much were made for social distancing, so right now is the time to feel a little slice of normal! 

Which ones you ask? Because all you can think of are the fall festivals that have been cancelled, football stands are empty and everyone wondering what Halloween will bring. Well, let me tell you! 

We have many pumpkin patches around here where you can spread out while you find your favorite ones. Or, better yet, farmers are setting out huge wagons full of them and a "honor system" for paying so you never even see another person. 

Do you have huge corn mazes where you are? We have quite a few around us, and they are so much fun to explore, and maybe get lost a little, on a sunny fall afternoon. Again, you might not come into contact with anyone while you're there! Some of the ones here are even limiting the number of people they are allowing into the maze at one time to ensure safety even more.

Been missing friends and would love to have a get together? Grab some lawn chairs and spread out around a bonfire on a chilly evening. Just like all those cookouts we did during summer that were deemed relatively safe since we were outside, the fall version of that can include good times and great food too! 

 Have you ever been to an orchard for U Pick apples? Here's another fun fall tradition that is outside and you can easily avoid other people. Okay, so you probably have to visit a worker to get that cool thing you can reach up into a tree with, and then pay for your apples of course, but mask up and for the most part, it's another social distanced activity.  

My point with all of this is I for one, am ready to look past all that we are missing out on and try to find ways, safely of course, to enjoy some of our favorite seasonal traditions, and many of them are already made for the guidelines we need to follow right now! 

If you do pick yourself a bushel of apples, or want something yummy to enjoy while sitting around that bonfire, here is your next delicious inspiration!

My latest fluff salad screams fall! We love caramel apples, but let's face it, they are messy and with a little guy, just more trouble than they are worth!  But this way, we get all those same flavors in one spoonful! 

With a new season, we have so many reasons to get outside and make some family memories. Let's not allow this crazy pandemic to take away any more than it already has!

 Caramel Apple Fluff 

2 gala apples, finely chopped, peel on

1 (8 oz.) can crushed pineapple, with juice

1 (3 oz.) box instant butterscotch pudding, dry

1 c. sour cream

3/4 c. chopped pecans 

1 1/2 c. mini marshmallows

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 (8 oz.) tub Cool Whip

Carmel Sauce 

In a large bowl combine dry pudding mix and pineapple. Stir well. Add sour cream and cinnamon. Stir again. Fold in Cool Whip, apples, pecans and marshmallows. Chill until ready to serve, at least 2 hours. Drizzle with caramel before serving. *NOTE* I leave the peel on my apples because I think they last longer. Feel free to peel yours if you want. 

 


 

 

Inspired by Mr. Food 

Shared at Weekend Potluck 

Shared at Meal Plan Monday

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Autumn Traditions

 Anyone who knows me, even a little, knows I am a summer for life kinda girl. It could be 85 and sunny 365 days a year, and I would be thrilled. In fact, the hotter the better. In our family, you never hear complaints about hot summers because as my husband says "You don't have to shovel sunshine!" 

And while I'm not one of those people who welcome fall with open arms, I do in fact, love fall decor, activities, food, football, pumpkins, apples, and so many other things it brings with it. For example, these super simple apple dumplings that have been a staple in our family for decades. 

Like so many other of our favorite recipes, these come from my Grammy. She has made these for so long, I can't remember an autumn without them. When I was growing up, her and my Popeye would come to Indiana to visit for a few days. Since both of my parents worked, and I had school, Grammy had the kitchen to herself for the day. We would come home to the best smells, and tons of yummy things she spent the day baking. These were always what I looked forward to most. 

As the years went by and those visits weren't possible anymore, Grammy will celebrate her 96th birthday in a few months, we were blessed with apple dumpling care packages. Yep, she found a way to make them, freeze them and send them home with mom and dad when they visited to share with us. (I of course shared the tip about freezing below.)

These couldn't be simpler, even if you're not like me and can pull a batch from the freezer, thaw, add the sauce and bake. To make them from scratch is still pretty darn easy. If you have a favorite pie crust recipe, go for it, but I've used the ones from the freezer section many times and they work just fine. The star of these for me, is definitely the sauce. If I could have it in an IV injected into my veins, I would!

Oh, and if we're talking about Grammy's apple dumplings, I have to tell this funny story too. All my life, I have eaten these warm with some cold milk poured down over the top. I learned from my dad, and he learned from Popeye. It was years before I learned why we do this. See, one morning years ago, Grammy caught Popeye having an apple dumpling for breakfast. She couldn't believe it. He quickly explained to her "If I pour milk on top, it is a breakfast food." And so the tradition began. (We also eat strawberry shortcake this way, for the same reason!) My husband thinks we are crazy, but I've passed the tradition onto my kids, so it will live on! 

If you're planning on apple picking this fall, be sure to add these to your baking list when you bring your bushel home. I hope they become a part of other families' fall time traditions for years to come.  

Easy Apple Dumplings 

4 Golden Delicious Apples
4 TBS butter
Brown Sugar
Cinnamon
2-3 ready to bake pie crusts (or your favorite)
Sauce:
1 c. brown sugar
1 1/2- 2 c. water
1/2 tsp vanilla
dash cinnamon
dash nutmeg
2 TBS butter


Preheat oven to 375. Core and peel apples. Cut in half. Cut 4 circles out of each pie crust.  Place each apple on a dough circle and add 1 TBS butter, sprinkle w/ brown sugar and cinnamon. Fold edges up over apple and pinch to assure they are sealed. Place in a baking dish. To prepare sauce, combine first 5 sauce ingredients and boil over medium-low heat. Once boiling, add the butter and keep boiling until melted. Pour over dumplings and bake at 375 for 45 minutes. Sauce will thicken as it cools. *NOTES* After the dumplings are made, you can wrap them individually in plastic wrap and freeze. Thaw out and proceed with sauce and baking when ready. This recipes makes eight, but can easily be adapted for more, as seen in the photo.


Shared at Weekend Potluck 

Shared at Meal Plan Monday

Sunday, August 30, 2020

No Tomatoes? No Problem!

 A few weeks ago, I shared my Copycat Chili's Queso with you, and today, we are rounding out the perfect Chili's experience with a tasty make at home version of their salsa. 

I could literally drink Chili's salsa with a straw, so I am super excited to be able to have it in my own kitchen any time I want, without having to order take out!

You want to know the biggest recipe I love salsa recipes like this so much? The use of canned tomatoes. My go-to Restaurant Style Salsa recipe is the same way, and it is always a hit no matter what time of year I serve it. 

I know so many of you are enjoying your summer garden's bounty of tomatoes, but some of us aren't as lucky. Okay, so Max actually did grow a couple of tomato plants in pots this summer, and is oh so proud every time one ripens, but they are tiny, and few and far between. (We won't tell him though. Mommy is always super excited when he brings me one!) It would just take a ton to make a batch of salsa. 

But the beauty of this recipe is with canned tomatoes, you aren't at the mercy of mother nature, and you can whip it up for any Mexican night supper, even if the snow is falling! (Shudder...I don't even want to think about that yet!) 

I actually learned years ago many restaurants use canned tomatoes for their salsa, and ever since, it has become easier and easier to recreate their recipes at home. Thank goodness too, because I am a chips and salsa fanatic, and have passed that addiction onto both of my sons.

 The biggest difference in flavor in this one from others is the addition of cumin. That little hint of smokiness really sets it apart from not only other restaurant recipes, but my own. 

With the Labor Day holiday weekend coming up, and football/tailgating season (no matter how different it might look) just around the corner, this is sure to become a favorite in your house too!

 Copycat Chili's Salsa

1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes with chilies, with juice

1 (14.5 oz.) can whole tomatoes, with juice

1 small yellow onion, coarsely chopped

1/2 jalapeno pepper, coarsely chopped 

1 tsp. garlic salt

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. cumin

1/4 tsp. sugar

Place all ingredients in food processor and pulse until well combined. Stir, checking for large pieces. Pulse again. Transfer to a bowl. Chill, covered, for at least 4 hours before serving. Serve with limes if desired.

 


 

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Don't Let The Name Scare You

 When I told my boys I was making this recipe, I got some weird looks, to say the least! Frog Eye Salad? They really thought mom had lost her mind, and were very relieved to learn no actual frogs were harmed in the making of this dish! 

By now all of you know I have enough fluff salad recipes we could eat them all summer long, and maybe never repeat! From classic and retro ones like Ambrosia to new and fun creations like my Cookies & Cream Fluff, we love them all! 

This would definitely fall into the retro category, and I bet if you asked your parents, or grandparents, they remember if fondly from back in the day. I know my dad certainly did! 

There is nothing to be scared of, the little round bits that give it such a fun/unique name are simply small pasta. Acini de Pepe pasta to be exact. You can find it in the same aisle as all the other dry pasta, usually in a small box on a top shelf. 

I will be honest, when first heard about this salad, I though the "eyes" were actually tapioca. So I was a little shocked to learn it is made with pasta. Pasta, in a sweet , creamy dessert? Might sound strange, but I promise it works! 

In these crazy times we find ourselves, sometimes going back in time with retro recipes can be comforting. Plus, if you tell the kids their dessert has "frog eyes" in it, they might be even more inclined to eat it. Let's face it, kids love gross things. 

If you're still planning your Labor Day Cookout menu, save room for this! I promise you will hear "Oh, my grandma used to make this" more times than you can count!

 Frog Eye Salad

1 c. Acini de Pepe Pasta

1 (8 oz.) tub Cool Whip

1 (8 oz.) can crushed pineapple, drained

1 (20 oz.) can pineapple tidbits, juice reserved

2 (11 oz.) cans mandarin oranges, drained

3/4 c. sweetened shredded coconut

1 c. pineapple juice, from canned pineapple

1/2 c. sugar

1 TBS flour

1/4 tsp. salt

1 egg, beaten

1/2 TBS lemon juice

1 (10 oz.) bag mini marshmallows

 Cook pasta according to pasta directions. Rinse with cold water and drain well. Let pasta cool while preparing rest of recipe. In a medium saucepan, over medium high heat, combine pineapple juice, sugar, flour, salt and egg. Cook and stir constantly until mixture is smooth and thickens. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice. Let cool.When pasta and sauce mixture are cool, mix together in a large bowl. Add pineapple tidbits, crushed pineapple and oranges, marshmallows and coconut. Mix well. Fold in Cool Whip. Chill until ready to serve, several hours. 

 

Shared at Weekend Potluck

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Back To School in 2020

No matter how your back to school routine looks this year, one thing remains the same. Days are about to be busier, more hectic and simple meals for dinner are an even bigger priority! 

As I mentioned before, our oldest is doing in person learning at his private high school. We are two days in, and he said they are doing their absolute best to keep everyone separated, safe and healthy. LOTS of hand sanitizer and teachers reminding students to use it often. (I have images of these teachers chasing around 15-18 year olds with the bottle of sanitizer and it makes me giggle.) Masks are required the entire day except if they can social distance (thanks to a smaller student body and plexiglass screens, this is possible in a few classes), lunch and gym. (Yay for nice weather and gym outside!)

When the mask mandate first came down the pipeline, which for our school was announced back in June, long before it was a state wide rule, I had one angry teenager. I can't blame him. I hate wearing a mask too, soaked in sweat the whole time, and sitting in one for the entire school day does not sound fun. But over the next weeks he accepted the fact if he wanted to be with his friends, and have some sense of normalcy, it wasn't up for debate. 

I can honestly say he hasn't complained one bit about it either. Okay, there was a classroom that still doesn't have AC (it's supposed to be coming soon) and by the end of the first day, it was about 100 in there even with fans, and he said that was kind of miserable, but that would have been the case even without a mask. 

My point? Our kids are more adaptable than we give them credit for sometimes. I see these kids coming out of school every day and they are smiling. They are laughing. They are more than accepting of the rules knowing it's how they get a piece of their lives back. Who knew it would take a pandemic to get teens excited about school again? 
 
Their attitudes towards this entire crappy situation will be formed at home. I've seen so many parents say "Oh who cares. I'm not buying school supplies or clothes. They will be back home again in a few weeks." Well, no offense, but teachers and school administrators have enough to worry about without parents letting their bad attitudes seep into their kids. They certainly don't need kids coming every day with a "who cares" outlook. It all starts at home, and the biggest way we can all support our schools is to have a optimistic attitude, even when we don't want to.  

Some sports are back in session around here too. Of course not in the same way they have been other falls, but they are practicing and playing. I just told a friend the other day how amazing it is to see kids being kids again. 

Some of you I'm sure are freaking out just reading those words. Sports? School? Now? I just can't. I don't feel it's safe. And that is okay too. Every single family has to decide what is best for them, and that is the right choice--the one you make. The end. Don't let anyone allow yourself to second guess that. We are all swimming in murky waters, and have no idea what is going to change day to day. 

Yes, we sent Alex back to school and supported his school's choice of in person only. But we are very thankful Max is only 4, not old enough for school, and we had long ago decided to home school him for preschool at least another year. I just don't think I could send him off for the first time, away from mommy, plus all the new restrictions added onto it. But I know other parents aren't as fortunate as me and have to do just that, and I don't judge them. 

I've actually been holding onto this recipe for a while now because I knew I wanted to debut it for back to school. A simple, slow cooker meal, that is pure comfort on a plate, perfect after a long day of school. No matter if it took place inside a school or at the kitchen table, everyone is still tired and worn out at the end of the day. 

We love this with some white rice, but it would be so delicious with mashed potatoes too! I even think it would be great with some egg noodles on the side and the gravy over top. 

2020 has brought so many challenges to the world, and at the top of that list is what to do about schools, our kids, learning and their well being. No answer is 100% perfect, but every choice should be supported and parents should be lifting one another up. So when a friend says "We chose ___ for our kids" the only response needed is "That's great. I know it wasn't easy and I'm glad you made the right one for your family."

Crock Pot Salisbury Steak
2 lbs. ground beef
1/3 c. panko breadcrumbs
3 TBS milk
1 egg, beaten
1 1/2 TBS dried minced onion
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
8 oz. white mushrooms, sliced
1 white onion, sliced
1 packet brown gravy mix
1 1/2 c. beef broth
1 TBS ketchup
1 TBS Dijon mustard
1 1/2 TBS dried parsley, extra for garnish
2 TBS cornstarch
1/4 c. water
2 TBS vegetable oil
Salt and Pepper 


In a large bowl mix together ground beef, breadcrumbs, milk, egg, dried onion, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Mix well with hands and form 6 patties. Heat vegetable oil over medium high heat in a large skillet. Brown patties for 2 minutes on each side. Place sliced white onion and mushrooms in bottom of Crock Pot. Add beef patties. Combine beef broth, gravy mix, ketchup and mustard. Pour over patties. Cook on LOW for 5 hours. Remove patties and set aside. Combine water and cornstarch. Add to Crock Pot and turn temp to HIGH. Cook for a few minutes until thickened. Add beef patties back to mixture. Coat with sauce and serve.



Inspired By Spend With Pennies
 

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Where Did Summer Go

For many of us, our kids have been home since March; and while I know many households struggled to juggle working from home, virtual learning, and extra time with the kids home 24/7, our house relished in the fact that we got Alex home for an extended period of time.

I can not put into words what a blessing it's been to have him home for almost 5 months. It was a gift I didn't know I needed, but one I am so grateful for. I didn't think the bond he shares with his baby brother could get any stronger, but over these past few months, oh it has. 

But now, it's the second week of August, and our world, that means back to school. And while yes, it's going to look very different this year, Alex's high school is only offering an in person option, and we support it. We feel confident in their ability to follow the protocols they have laid out, and do their best to keep this kids safe. We feel very fortunate to have him enrolled in a smaller, private high school where they can implement things and hopefully control the "new ways" in a way the kids and teachers will feel comfortable and everyone healthy. 

This is one teenager who is READY to go back to school too. He is looking forward to seeing his friends again, being in an actual classroom and something feeling somewhat normal. But we are going to miss him. Oh so much. 

This week just so happens to also be Max's 4th birthday. (For those of you who've been long time followers, you might recall, I went into labor on Alex's first day of 6th grade and Max was born the next day!) So we've got lots of celebrating to do, and then we will be sending Bubbie off to his sophomore year. 

Alex and I had quite a few mom/son lunch dates over the summer, and one of our favorite places to go is always Chili's. We love their food, and one of Alex's most requested items is their chips, salsa and queso. So, you can imagine the mom points I earned when I learned to make this cheesy goodness at home.

Oh, and I decided a slow cooker recipe would be even better because fall game days are coming fast, hopefully of course, and we love a great dip kept all day in the Crock Pot. 

For your next Mexican Night, Taco Tuesday or sitting around watching football Sunday, you will love this simple, delicious dip. 

I can't believe it's back to school time already. It is definitely bitter sweet this year. I pray it goes well, and they can stay in school. But I also know if the day comes he has to come back home, what a treat that would be too!

Crock Pot Copycat Chili's Queso
16 oz. Velveeta cheese, cubed
1 (15 oz.) can chili without beans
1 c. milk
1/2 tsp. dried cayenne pepper
3 tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. salt
Juice of 1 lime

Put all ingredients in Crock Pot. Cook on LOW 2 hours stirring occasionally. Keep on warm while serving. 

 


Sunday, August 2, 2020

Roadhouse At Home

Raise your hand if you immediately start to drool when I say "Texas Roadhouse rolls and butter." Yeah, me too. Hold on a sec, the keyboard is a little wet.

If your family is anything like ours, it's always a free for all when the basket of warm, fluffy rolls gets put on the table. And by the time your entree comes, you are usually half full from all the rolls you just gobbled up.

As if the rolls themselves weren't decadent enough, they always come with a ramekin of their famous cinnamon butter! This stuff truly puts them over the top.

If you haven't heard, it's one of the most simple copycat recipes around too! Literally 3 ingredients, in the food processor and bam you're done!

This sweet and savory butter is of course delicious on dinner rolls, but we love it on biscuits, bagels, English muffins, toast, sandwich bread...who are we kidding? Just pass us a spoon!

Once you mix this up, it's the perfect consistency, soft and spreadable. I like to keep my leftovers in the fridge and just let it come back to room temp again before using. Usually though, this is the perfect amount for one "sitting" and there aren't any leftovers.

Oh, and if you have never figured it out, this is the same butter they serve with their baked sweet potatoes too, so now you have two inspirations for the price of one.

I bet you have the ingredients on hand to make this tasty copycat recipe right now! You know you want to go check!

Copycat Texas Roadhouse Butter
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 c. honey

Place all ingredients in food processor and mix until well combined and smooth. Serve immediately. Store leftovers in fridge.


 
Shared at Weekend Potluck

Sunday, July 26, 2020

A Comforting Casserole


Don't let he name of this dish turn you away. I promise it isn't as sad as it sounds!

Funeral Potatoes got their name for a simple reason. This casserole was created as a comforting dish to take to a family after a loss, or served at the dinner following the funeral. A mix of potatoes, cheese, a creamy sauce and crunchy topping to say "please let us offer some comfort in anyway we can."

I had actually never heard of them until a few years ago when I saw them popping up on other blogs I follow. It wasn't that I wasn't intrigued, but I already have a hashbrown casserole the boys love, so I didn't feel like I needed to add another one to the recipe box.

Well, that all changed when my editor for Parade Magazine asked me if I had a recipe for them I could share with their readers. It was time for me to discover this classic casserole for myself.

I can see why all of our grandmas probably knew about it, and added it to every church supper or funeral dinner menu they planned. It is the definition of comfort food.

I did put a new little twist on the classic by using kettle chips in place of the regular variety. I love the extra crunch they give, and honestly, it's what I always have on hand for snacking.

If you don't like to use condensed soups, please check out one of my articles on Parade for a terrific recipe to make your own! You can click here to see the roundup- It's #7 in the gallery!

But don't worry, you don't have to wait for a sad day to make this. It's perfect for a lazy weekend brunch, breakfast for supper, or even a ham dinner. (I grilled some ham steaks with ours and it was so tasty!)

If you do find yourself needing a dish to share with someone I know they will love it too. Food is comfort, best when shared. Thank goodness that is one tradition that doesn't seem to be going out of style anytime soon.

Funeral Potatoes
1 (28 oz.) bag frozen potatoes O'Brien, thawed
1 can cream of celery soup
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 cups sour cream
1 tsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. minced dried onion
1 TBS dried chives
1 (8 oz.) bag kettle cooked potato chips
1 TBS dried parsley
3 TBS butter, melted
Black Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375. Grease a 9x13 baking dish. In a large bowl combine thawed potatoes, garlic salt, pepper, chives, dried onion and cheese. Mix well. Add sour cream and soup. Stir well. Transfer to baking dish. Cover with foil. Bake for 45 minutes. In a large plastic storage bag, crush potato chips. Add parsley to chips and mix. After 45 minutes, uncover the potatoes, top with potato chip mixture. Pour melted butter on top. Cook 10 more minutes, and broil for 5 for extra crispy top.