Everyday Mom's Meals: January 2020

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Flavor Tip

If you're making a homemade chicken and ___ soup, how do you prepare the chicken? I bet many of you are thinking, "I boil it, then shred it...how else am I supposed to be making it?"

There is nothing wrong with that method. Not one bit. It is the traditional way all of our moms and grandmas used, and it's worked for this many years, so why change it? Let me explain!

I have a ton of chicken soup recipes, and in 99% of them, I choose to roast the chicken instead. Even recipes that call for that old school method have been adapted in my recipe box.

I started doing this years ago, for a few reasons. First off, I find roasting the meat gives it an extra flavor boost that really adds another level to whatever soup it's going into. Secondly, I like to "work ahead" on meals, even if I'm home all day. I can easily roast the chicken earlier in the day, shred it, and stick in the fridge where it's waiting on me when dinner time rolls around. You could even roast it the night before, or on the weekend and freeze it until you're ready for it later in the week. It really frees up some time. And finally, roasting the chicken also lets me double up on recipes. I can prepare extra, use some for today's soup and then freeze some for another soup or casserole later on.

This soup is a perfect example of how cooking the chicken like this will free up some extra time. If the chicken is done ahead of time, you can throw everything (well, almost) in the slow cooker and it's going to take care of itself without you having to come back and deal with the chicken mid-cooking.

The hubby loves the chicken and rice soup they serve at his work, so I was simply trying to treat him to something at home, and boy did I earn some wife points with this one! It's one of those that you can't wait to come home to on a cold day, and tastes great the next day too. (Be sure to add some extra liquid when reheating thought because that rice is going to soak up every last drop!)

Oh, and to anyone reading this who has the sniffles, or that nasty yuck that is going around, EVERY WHERE, this would taste so good!

If you are willing to think outside the box and trust me, switching out some roast chicken for the classic boiled/simmered version might just be the new kitchen hack you've been looking for!

Crock Pot Chicken & Rice Soup
2 lbs. boneless chicken tenders
2 TBS vegetable oil
2 (32-oz) boxes chicken broth
3 carrots, peeled & diced
3 celery ribs, diced
1 medium white onion, diced
1 c. white rice
3 cups water
3 cubes chicken bouillon
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried parsley
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400. Baste chicken with oil, and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 30-40 minutes until juices run clear. Let cool. Shred. 
To Crock Pot add chicken, broth, vegetables, water, bouillon, garlic powder, thyme, parsley salt and pepper. Cook on LOW 5 hours. Add rice, increase heat to HIGH and cook 1-1.5 hours until rice is tender. 
*NOTE* Want to save even more time? You could easily use a rotisserie chicken for this. Discard the skin, shred it and you're good to go! 

Shared at Weekend Potluck
Shared at Meal Plan Monday

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Winter Has Arrived

If you read that title and are saying "Um, Krista, it has been here for a while now, officially since last month!" You are absolutely correct. But see, here in Indiana we have been spoiled for most of the winter thus far. It's been pretty mild. It was over 60 on Christmas day! We've had unseasonably warm temps, rain instead of snow, and even a few thunderstorms!

However, Old Man Winter found us this weekend, and with a vengeance! Friday night it snowed, then turned to ice, then it got warm for a few hours, rained, and then....the brutal wind and bitter temps showed up. Seriously. I got up this morning and there was ice on the inside of our living room windows!

When it is cold like this, you know the kind...it takes your breath away the minute you step outside, and makes your face hurt, about the only comforting thing we can rely on is a piping hot bowl of soup, stew, or chowder!

In our house, if it's got a creamy base, and bigger chunks of meat and veg, that's chowder. It's not a true science, but it makes sense to us! I actually made this with leftover holiday ham in mind. I know there are some out there with some ham hanging out in the freezer. How do I know this? Because any time I've made a big ham, we were sure to have extra so I could freeze it for later use in soups and chowders!

This is s full meal deal with your meat, veg and potatoes all in one bowl. It is sure to fill you up and thaw you out after a long day in the cold. A warm, delicious hug to cure all that ails you!

Winter is here to stay, no matter how many mild days we are spoiled with. While we all wait for spring, at least we can have some yummy meals to ease the pain!

Crock Pot Potato & Ham Chowder
8-10 medium russet potatoes, cubed
2 carrots, peeled & diced
2 celery ribs, diced
1 medium white onion, diced
1 lb. ham, cubed
1 (32 oz.) box chicken broth
2 c. water
2 cubes chicken bouillon
1 TBS dried parsley
1 1/2 c. heavy cream
1/4 c. flour
Salt and Pepper

Combine everything except cream and flour in Crock Pot. Stir well. Cook on high 6-8 hours, until potatoes are tender. Using a potato masher, slightly mash the potatoes. In a bowl whisk together cream and flour. Add to soup. Cook another 15-20 minutes until slightly thicken. Reduce to warm until serving. *NOTE* Check your potatoes. If they are tender before cooking time is up, finish cooking on low. When you mash the potatoes, you still want lots of big chunks left behind, so don't over mash.

Shared at Weekend Potluck
Shared at Meal Plan Monday

Sunday, January 12, 2020

All In A Name

I often wonder how recipes get their name, because I know as a food writer I sometimes struggle to give food a name that is accurate and eye catching. Sure, sometimes it's obvious, I mean you can't do much with "Roasted Broccoli", but when you want to describe something, and maybe be a little catchy, it can be a little more difficult.

So, right off, let me honest. I have NO idea why this casserole is considered "Amish." I simply have it, and made it, because a friend gave it to me, knowing how much we love egg noodles; and of course casseroles.

Now, I have a couple theories as to why it's "Amish." See, my family comes from Pennsylvania, and there things are deep rooted in simplicity. No frill ingredients like noodles, ground beef and some pantry staples might just be the key to how this delicious meal got its name. I get you have most of what this recipe calls for in the kitchen cupboard and fridge right now.

However it was names, quite frankly, it doesn't matter to me! For me, it's a simple casserole that is as hearty as it is yummy, and quickly became a favorite in our house.

If you're looking to make dinner time more simple in 2020, or maybe even stay on budget more, this Amish Casserole is a terrific place to start!

Amish Casserole
1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. egg noodles
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can tomato soup
1 c. milk
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
2 TBS dried minced onion
Salt and Pepper
Dried Parsley

Preheat oven to 375. Cook noodles according to package directions. Brown beef over medium high heat. Drain if necessary. In a medium bowl combine soups, milk, Worcestershire, garlic powder, onion, salt and pepper.  Whisk well. Drain noodles. Add to beef. Add soup mixture. Stir well. Transfer to a greased 9x13 baking dish. Sprinkle with parsley and paprika. Bake for 25 minutes until browned on top.

 Shared at Weekend Potluck
Shared at Meal Plan Monday

Inspired by Mr. Food

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Mexican Night Ease

Well, 2020 is upon us. I hope you rang in the New Year with those who love most in the world.

Do you make resolutions? I have to admit, they aren't really my thing. To me, they kind of set me up for failure. Writing out a list of things to achieve is fine, but I find myself beating myself up when I fail; and let's face it, we will all fail, we are only human.

So, instead of making specific resolutions that can maybe put too much pressure on myself, and add to my already high anxiety level, I make a promise to just be a better person overall. I know what my weaknesses are (I'm not the most patient person in the world) and I try to consciously work on those. In my own time, in my own way, without letting the universe dictate what a successful resolution is.

That being said, I know many of you are writing out your 2020 goals, and that is awesome! Just because it isn't my thing, doesn't mean I can't support those who do!

Do you happen to have an "foodie" goals? Maybe you want to learn to use that Instant Pot you got for Christmas? Or you want to take the stress out of dinner time so you can enjoy sitting down with your family every night? Or maybe you just want to find more simple recipes to get supper on the table for your busy family, that is only going to get busier in the new year.

I decided my first new recipe of 2020 would be a fantastic slow cooker dish that combines two of our favorites. A tasty meal in the Crock Pot perfect for Mexican night at home!

Serve this up over a big bowl of rice, or with some tortillas on the side like I did. It's great for a crowd, or when everyone is eating at separate times!

I hope whatever resolutions or goals you have for 2020 are off to a good start. And if they don't happen exactly that way you planned, don't be too hard on yourself! We are all trying to navigate this thing called life, and it isn't easy. We will all fall down, but it is the getting back up again part we can be proud of no matter what!

Crock Pot Green Chile Chicken
5 boneless chicken breasts
1 (10 oz.) can Rotel
1 (4 oz.) can green chilies
2 TBS minced dried onion
3 (10 oz.) cans green enchilada sauce
1 tsp. garlic salt
Salt and Pepper

Spray Crock Pot insert with nonstick spray. Place chicken inside. Season with garlic salt, salt and pepper. Add Rotel, green chilies, dried onion and sauce. Cook on HIGH 6 hours or until chicken cooked through. Remove chicken and shred. Return to Crock Pot. Cook on LOW for 2 hours or until ready to serve. Serve with tortillas if desired.