Everyday Mom's Meals: March 2020

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Our New Normal

Every day when I wake up these days, I find myself holding my breath as I reach for my phone to read the latest headlines and see what latest development has occurred.

We are living in uncertain, and for many, scary times. Being told to stay in place, shelter at home, quarantine ourselves. Restaurants are closed. Businesses have sent workers home. Grocery store shelves are empty. I could go on and on about so many things that are causing anxiety of every single minute of the day.

As I was going through the few recipes I have to choose from to post this week, I chose this for one reason. It is filled with ingredients that you could maybe have on hand already or hopefully find easily at the store, and not spend a fortune.

The thing I notice when I venture out to buy groceries, besides the vast amount of empty shelves, is that fact that for many like me who shop on a budget, and know the brands to buy every week to stretch a buck...that is out the window. We are all in survival mode, and buying whatever we can find, no matter what brand, and in many cases, no matter what the cost. I know I spent more money at the store yesterday than I normally would because I had to substitute pricier brands for the generics I usually buy. Don't get me wrong, I was happy to find what I did and felt blessed to be able to buy every single item on my list (okay, I couldn't find any tomato soup, but that is very minor) but it got me thinking about how much extra money we might have to spend on groceries over the next few weeks.

Don't worry when you see the amount of ingredients on the list. They are simple. They are pretty inexpensive. And many of them might be in your pantry or fridge right now. We are heading into the end of March, and I wish I could say it's warming up so stew doesn't really sound that good, but as I type this, snow is falling outside, so soups and stews are definitely still on the menu.

The other great thing about this? Make it for supper one night, and have leftovers for lunch for a few days! You know with the kids home from school, lunches need to be easy too!

I wish I had some encouraging words for all of us to make our new normal actually seem normal. I will leave you with something our pastor said during our virtual church service today.

"Asking why is okay in times of trouble. Rest assured, while we might not have the answer, God is doing is work all the time, and we can have peace knowing His plan is always right." 

Smoked Sausage Stew
3 TBS butter
1 lb. smoked sausage, chopped
4 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
2 ribs celery, finely chopped  
1 (32 oz.) box beef broth
3 c. water
3 beef bouillon cubes
1 (12 oz.) bag frozen mixed veggies
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. dried parsley, extra for garnish
1 1/2 c. heavy cream
4 TBS cornstarch
Salt and Pepper

In a large stock pot over medium high heat, melt butter. Saute sausage, onion, celery, carrots and potatoes for 5-7 minutes until vegetables begin to soften. Add frozen veggies, broth, water, bouillon, thyme, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 15 minutes. Whisk cornstarch into cream until smooth. Increase heat high. Add cream mixture. Stir constantly. Boil for 1 minute. Reduce heat to low and cook 10 minutes until desired consistency. Garnish with extra parsley.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

My Boy Is Home

Like so many of you, we are facing a month off school. Welcome to the world of Covid19. I am NOT dedicating an entire post to this scary time, the cause, the hysteria, the fear. We are all getting inundated with that 24/7. But I am offering what I do best (at least in the blogosphere)...food!

For those of you who follow me on Facebook, I announced yesterday that for the next few weeks (Monday-Friday) every day at 9am EST, I will be sharing a kid friendly recipe to help get your kids into the kitchen and engaged. I love using food to teach things like math, and kids get such a great sense of accomplishment when their little hands help make something they get to eat.

My son's high school is actually doing remote learning every day from 8:30-1, which is different from e learning. Many are utilizing that method, and our biggest school corp in the city is unable to do any of that (too many kids without devices or access to internet). So while many of our kids are still learning during this mass shut down, others won't. So I thought maybe cooking would be a fun way to get them learning, and they might not even notice.

I've actually been waiting to share this recipe until closer to spring and warm weather, but I decided it would be a fantastic one to post now. Only 3 ingredients, it's a great one for the kids to help with. Don't worry about making them as pretty as mine! Let them measure, mix, assemble. If they are too little for any that, they love to watch and taste test!

I am very blessed to be in the position to be home with my kids; and having the oldest home for the next month makes me smile (not the circumstances, of course, but getting to hug his neck more) My heart goes out to all of you scrambling to figure out childcare.

There isn't much I can do to help, but I thought maybe a simple, fun and yummy activity to fill some of the day might put a smile on faces when we need it most.

Easy Strawberry Mousse
12.5 oz. frozen sliced strawberries, thawed or fresh
1/2 c. white sugar
1 (8 oz.) tub Cool Whip, 1/4 cup reserved

Place berries and sugar in food processor. Pulse into a puree, with small pieces remaining. Pour into large bowl. Reserve 1/2 cup. Fold in Cool Whip. Divide 1/2 cup puree evenly among 4 dessert cups. Divide mousse mixture into cups. Chill several hours to set. Top with extra Cool Whip.

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Breakfast, Brunch or Supper

Many of you are planning those Easter brunch menus. Others might be wanting an idea for breakfast for supper this week. Or maybe you like to make a big family breakfast every weekend. If you fall into any of these categories, today's recipe is going to the top of your grocery list!

Imagine tater tots mixed with all the things we love about tasty loaded baked potato, baked together in one simple casserole Are you drooling yet?

Perfect with eggs and bacon, or as a side dish for your next burger night, this is as versatile as it is yummy. Plus, it's pretty wallet friendly too, so if you've got a big Easter guest list, this will help you stay on budget.

 Come home from sunrise Easter service, pop this in the oven and it can be done by the time the kids find all the eggs! Whip up some scrambled eggs, a fresh fruit salad and toast...and you've got a holiday brunch that is easy on you and delicious for your guests.

Loaded Tater Tot Casserole is the potato dish the kids will gobble up and the adults will want the recipe for.

Loaded Tater Tot Casserole
2 lb. frozen tater tots
16 oz. sour cream
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 envelope ranch dressing mix
2 (2.5 oz.) pouches real bacon bits
2 c. shredded mild shredded cheese
1/2 c. shredded fiesta blend cheese
1 TBS chopped green onions (green only)
1 tsp. dried parsley

Preheat oven to 350. Grease 9x13 baking dish. In a large bowl combine soup, sour cream, bacon bits, 2 cups mild cheddar, and ranch mix. Stir to combine. Add frozen tater tots. Stir gently, to coat evenly. Transfer to baking dish. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup fiesta cheese and parsley. Bake for 45 minutes until bubbly and heated through. Garnish with green onions. 

Shared at Weekend Potluck
Shared at Meal Plan Monday

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Another One From Amish Country

When I posted my Amish Casserole back at the beginning of the year, it was a huge hit. Both here, and on the Parade site, people couldn't get enough of it. With such success, my editor suggested I try my hand at a breakfast version as well. Challenge accepted!

If you tried the dinner variety and loved how simple it is, with on-hand ingredients, you will feel the same about the morning time one too! Nothing fancy here, just a hearty all in one meal perfect morning, noon or night!

I love having my eggs, sausage, and potatoes all in one bite! Add in some cheese and it's a bite made in heaven! Plus, this recipe is a great stepping off point. Maybe you have frozen shredded potatoes instead. Great. Feel like bacon instead of sausage? I think that would be delicious! Family doesn't groove on cottage cheese? Swap it out for some mozzarella, Swiss for even white cheddar! Got extra veggies in the fridge that need used? Throw those in too! See...the possibilities are endless!

With Easter coming next month, brunch is going to be a hot button topic! This would be fantastic to come home to after church, as the kids dig into their baskets! I would serve it with a fresh fruit salad, toast and call it a meal!

Oh, and those of you who love "brinner" like we do? (You know, breakfast for supper!) That's exactly when I made this, and the boys loved it! A great comfort casserole after a long day!

If you're looking for simple ideas for any breakfast, brunch or dinner, Easter or any other day, this definitely needs to go to the top of your list!

Amish Breakfast Casserole
6 large eggs, beaten
1 medium white onion, diced
4 c. frozen diced potatoes, thawed
2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1 1/4 c. monterey jack cheese
1 1/2 c. large curd cottage cheese
1 lb. pork sausage
2 tsp. dried parsley
Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9x13 baking dish. In a skillet on medium high heat, brown sausage and onion until no longer pink, breaking meat up into small pieces. Drain well. In a large bowl whisk eggs. Add potatoes, 3 cheeses, sausage mixture, salt and pepper. Mix well. Transfer to baking dish. Sprinkle with parsley. Bake for 40-50 minutes until toothpick in center comes out clean. Let sit 10 minutes before cutting.  

Shared at Weekend Potluck
Shared at Meal Plan Monday