Everyday Mom's Meals: 2021

Sunday, December 26, 2021

The Week Between

The next 7 days are sure to be a little foggy, kind of run together and always have us saying "What day is it?" For some reason that week between Christmas and New Year's always causes a little confusion. Kids are still out of school, many are off work, holiday guests are still hanging out- all of this is a recipe for not knowing if we are coming or going and having no clue what the date on the calendar is! 

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas filled with love, peace and joy. Our family was very blessed this year to be together, enjoy our traditions and of course have some very lovely gifts. 

If you're anything like me, you've got leftovers in the fridge, presents to put away and housework to catch up on. The weekly meal plan isn't made and heading to the grocery store is the last thing you want to do. However, if you've got family visiting through the new year, you need to come up with something to feed them!

In our house breakfast for supper is a weekly thing; and I'm always looking for ways to keep it new and fresh. I don't want to fall into an eggs or pancakes rut. "Brinner" is a great way to get a filling meal on the table that is also easy and budget friendly. Heck, the week I developed this recipe the boxes of frozen waffles were on sale for $.99! That is like finding money! 

If you've got extra mouths to feed this week, this fun and yummy meal will definitely help with the grocery bill. Or, if you're planning on a New Year's Day brunch, these are a new tradition to start! 

Frozen waffles are used as the tostada base with eggs, ham and white country gravy on top! It's like a great diner breakfast plate all in one bite! Serve them with some fresh fruit and you've got a full meal deal! 

I wish you all very happy and healthy New Year. May we all have good things in 2022; and maybe, just maybe a little extra human kindness can be included in all of our resolutions.


Waffle Tostadas

8 frozen waffles

8 slices cheddar cheese

8 eggs

8 slices deli brown sugar ham

3 TBS flour

3 TBS butter

2 cups milk

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

5 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced 

Preheat oven to 400. Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and whisk until smooth. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Pour in milk, slowly, whisking constantly. Once mixture bubbles, reduce heat to low and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes. Season well with salt and pepper. Keep warm and continue with recipe. 

Bake waffles on rimmed baking sheet for 5-8 minutes. While cooking, prepare eggs how you like. Once waffles are cooked, top each with a slice of cheese and return to oven for 1-2 minutes to melt. Once melted, top each with a slice of ham and egg. Pour gravy over top. Sprinkle with shredded cheese and diced tomatoes. Garnish with chives if desired.


Shared at Weekend Potluck

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Merry Christmas And After

 Full disclosure: I totally dropped the ball on a traditional EMM Christmas post this year. Now, a few weeks ago I did share my Crock Pot London Broil which would be a terrific new Christmas dinner tradition, but I don't have anything holiday inspired for this week like I normally would. 

Time just got away from me. Between the normal hustle and bustle of the holiday season to helping the teenager study for finals (which he rocked by the way) to simply trying to keep up with every day life, I wish I had a fantastic new Christmas dessert or dish to share with you, but alas I don't. 

What I do have is a tasty soup that would be perfect post holiday! Once the leftovers are gone, and you are tired of cooking, this delicious soup can be on your table in about 30 minutes. Perfect for a cold night between Christmas and New Year's. Plus, it will feed a crowd, so if a few holiday house guests are hanging out a bit longer, you've got that covered too.

I love the fact this is doesn't have any meat in it, but if you have some ham in the fridge come December 26th, that would be delicious. Oh, and if you want it 100% meat free, a vegetable stock could be swapped for the chicken broth, no problem! Great if you have some vegetarians coming to stay! 

Slow cooker soups are a go-to for me during the winter months, but some days you need something quick. Stove top soups can taste just as good as the ones that cook all day, you just have to infuse as much flavor as possible in a short amount of time. Sautéing the veggies at the beginning helps to do just that. Plus the chicken broth/stock brings another layer of flavor. 

I felt bad when I went to my draft folder today to choose which recipe to post. I didn't have anything festive; but then I decided it doesn't matter. What I do have to offer is my sincere, heart felt wish for a very Merry Christmas to you and yours. May the love that came down that most precious night, lying in a manger, surround you and fill your heart with joy. From my family to yours, may the Christmas spirit fill your home and your life long after the presents are opened. 



Creamy Corn Soup

1lb. frozen corn

4 ribs celery, finely chopped

1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped

2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed

4 TBS butter

2 TBS flour

1/2 tsp. dried thyme

2 tsp. dried parsley

8 cups chicken broth

3-4 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups half and half 

Dried chives for garnish

Salt and Pepper

In a large stock pot or Dutch oven, melt butter over medium high heat. Sauté celery, onion and garlic in butter until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in thyme and parsley. Sprinkle with flour.  Cook and stir another 2 minutes. Stir in corn and potatoes. Add broth, half and half, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil.Reduce heat to simmer. Cook uncovered for 20 minutes until potatoes are tender. Garnish with dried chives if desired.


Shared at Weekend Potluck

Sunday, December 12, 2021

Holiday Pasta

 If you've been a fan of this blog for more than 5 minutes you know about my deep love affair with pasta. You know I am a carb addict, and will find ways to put a pasta supper on the table any way I can- I don't care what form it is! 

In spite of the fact I could eat pasta every day, it has never been something I have served on a holiday. I know many families who do, and my mother in law served lasagna on Christmas Eve for years. But for me, we eat is so much on a "weeknight basis", I wanted a different meal on the holiday. 

If you do serve pasta as part of your Christmas Eve/Day celebration, today's recipe will make you extra holly jolly. Or maybe the hustle and bustle of the season has you worn out, and you are just trying to get supper on the table during the week and don't want to hear one complaint! This will take care of that too.

Frozen tortellini comes together with Italian sausage, and yes *gasp* jarred Alfredo sauce for a hearty, delicious pasta bake. 

Yes, homemade Alfredo sauce is super easy to make at home, and I stopped buying jarred years ago...if it's the star sauce of the recipe. (Here is my recipe if you've never made it!) What do I mean by that? Simple. If I am making a fettuccine or penne pasta with Alfredo sauce, I'm making it from scratch. But if it's being used inside a recipe, especially a casserole, I find the jarred to be a great help from the store. I especially love the brand they sell at Aldi and it's the only one I buy anymore. 

This is a hearty, filling meal for a cold night or to feed your holiday guests. Especially if you've got Cousin Eddie coming! You know the ones I mean- they come for presents and stay until the New Year! You know you're going to have to feed them 3 meals a day for days!

Pasta can definitely be holiday worthy; and if you're like me and usually don't plan on it, maybe this year it's time for something a little easier, but oh so delectable.


Cheesy Baked Tortellini

1 (32 oz.) bag frozen cheese tortellini

1 lb. mild Italian sausage

1 (24 oz.) jar marinara sauce

1 (15 oz.) Alfredo sauce

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. Italian seasoning

2 cups shredded Italian five cheese blend

Dried Parsley

Salt and Pepper  

Preheat oven to 400. In a large skillet brown sausage until no longer pink. Add both sauces, garlic powder and Italian seasoning well. Stir well. Add frozen tortellini and mix. Grease a 9x13 baking dish. Add half the tortellini mixture. Top with half shredded cheese. Repeat layers. Sprinkle with parsley. Spray a piece of aluminum foil with nonstick spray. Cover dish and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake 10 additional minutes. 


Shared at Weekend Potluck

Sunday, December 5, 2021

A Little Down On The Farm At Home

The days are getting dark before 5pm here in Indiana, which is no doubt one of the things I dislike most about winter. The others being freezing, snow, ice...I don't even try to hide the fact I'm not a fan. Besides Christmas and then my birthday in February, I don't really have many nice things to say about Old Man Winter. 

But I live in northern Indiana, and haven't won the lottery this week, so that beach mansion isn't happening anytime soon, so time to focus on the positive! Winter in our neck of the woods means it is also soup season, stew season, chowder season and comfort food season! Yep, while I don't enjoy the cold days, I do love the food. 

Most of you know I worked at Bob Evans all through high school and college; but what some might not realize is now my oldest is carrying on the family tradition and is now working at the same location for the same general manager that hired me 24 years ago! How cool is that? It has become a true family to us, and we are so thankful he loves his job, and the people he works with/for as much as I did. It warms this mama's heart to see him thriving in the same way as a young person about customer service, food service and how good earning your own money feels! 

To this day one of Bob Evans' most popular recipes continues to be their Chicken and Noodles. It was a favorite back in the day when I was serving tables and it remains so today. After all these years I knew it was time to recreate it at home in my own kitchen.

This is what you want to come home to after a very long, cold day when you've been out in the kind of cold that makes your face hurt. Oh, I forgot to mention, my version happens to be a slow cooker meal too! Talk about putting the icing on the cake! 

If you've never used the frozen Reames noodles they are the closest thing to homemade I've ever had and absolutely perfect in this recipe. They are the thicker, chewy style like my grandma used to make and remind me of the ones they use at the restaurant both in flavor and texture. 

Did you happen to freeze some leftover turkey after Thanksgiving, or maybe you will have some come December 26th? You could easily make this with turkey instead of chicken! Oh, that would be so yummy! 

Winter might not be my favorite time of year, but warm, hearty, comfort food meals help to make it better! Turn on the Christmas tree, grab a blanket, and enjoy a big bowl of this deliciousness!


Copycat Bob Evans Chicken and Noodles

3 boneless chicken breasts, about 2 lbs.

2 (32 oz.) cartons chicken stock

1 (16 oz.) bag frozen home style noodles, like Reames

1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped

4 carrots, finely chopped

3 celery stalks, finely chopped

2 TBS butter

1 tsp. dried thyme

1 tsp. garlic powder

2 tsp. dried parsley 

Salt and pepper 

Place all ingredients, except noodles, in slow cooker. Cook on LOW for 4-6 hours until chicken cooked. Remove chicken and shred. Return to slow cooker and cook 1 hour. Add noodles and cook 30-45 minutes until tender. Serve.

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Tis' The Season

Goodbye turkey! Hello Santa! Yep, all the pumpkins are in the trash can and the house is now a paradise of lights and tinsel. 

Let me back up though. I hope you and yours had a very Happy Thanksgiving. Did you eat yourself into a food coma? Was every bite worth the wait? After so many being separate last year, I know the hugs from family gathered around the table meant so much more. 

I can't like though, by the time the turkey leftovers were in the fridge, I was itching to put up the Christmas tree. Oh, who am I kidding? I was ready to put it up November 1st, but refrained to make sure Thanksgiving got the attention it deserved; but by 6:00 Thursday night, my mom was helping me take down the fall decor and I was humming "It's Beginning To Look Like Christmas" in my head. 

What do you serve for your big Christmas meal? While I know most think of ham as being the most traditional, and what my family is having this year, I think Christmas brings out a little more creativity than Thanksgiving. Many families seem to have their own Christmas dinner traditions, and don't feel as adamant about what it should be like they do with turkey on Thanksgiving. 

If you are one of those who want to think outside of the ham box, have I got the recipe for you! This Crock Pot London Broil is holiday worthy, but SO easy on the cook! It is delicious alternative to ham or turkey for your Christmas dinner! 

I had never cooked the London Broil cut of meat before this, and wanted the help from my slow cooker for almost guaranteed success. Take a piece of meat and cook it all day in its own juices, plus some other ingredients for flavor, and it is almost 100% fool proof! 

Tender, filled with flavor, juicy...this has everything you want in a tasty beef roast. I know lots of people who do some sort of beef for Christmas, so when I made this for a Sunday supper last month, I instantly knew it would be perfect to share for Christmas inspiration.

I hope your holiday season is off to a merry, festive start! Grab some peppermint hot cocoa, find White Christmas on Netflix, sit by the tree and enjoy every single minute!

Crock Pot London Broil

3-4 lb. London broil beef roast

3 TBS vegetable oil

1 medium yellow onion, sliced

5 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tsp. dried thyme

1/4 tsp. dried red pepper

2 dried bay leaves

1/4 cup butter, sliced

2 TBS Worcestershire sauce 

1 (10 oz.) can cream of mushroom soup

3 cups beef broth

Salt and Pepper

Pat roast dry with paper towels. Season well on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large skillet on medium high heat. Brown roast on both sides for about 5 minutes. Spray Crock Pot with non stick spray. Lay sliced onions in bottom. Place roast on top of onions. In a medium bowl whisk together soup, beef broth, garlic, thyme and red pepper. Pour over meat. Top with sliced butter and bay leaves. Cook on LOW for 8-10 hours. Carve roast and serve with sauce spooned over top. Garnish with a little dried parsley if desired.


Shared at Weekend Potluck

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Happy Thanksgiving From The EMM Family

I hope your turkey is in the refrigerator thawing and your shopping list has been conquered. It is almost time! Thanksgiving is only a few days away, and I'm starting to drool! 

After last year's holiday being very different for many of us, I pray your gatherings involve more family, hugs and laughter this year. I know I'm looking forward to hosting again and have my to-do lists made!

What lists you ask? Let me tell you, making lists for every step of the Turkey Day process can save your sanity. Here are the lists I currently have:

  • Things to make ahead
  • Times things need to go into oven
  • Serving dishes I need for every course
  • Order of preparation day of

I'm telling you, out of all of them the oven times is the one I will rely on most! Since my turkey will take up most of my oven space, I need to time other things to fit and then to finish once the turkey is resting. No guess work when it come time for that Green Bean Casserole- just check the list!  

I tested this recipe over a month ago and as soon as I shared the picture with friends they were going nuts over it! "Is that squash with a PRALINE topping??" Yes, yes it is! 

This side dish is as easy as can be, and is a real showstopper coming out of the oven. Now, in full disclosure, if you are serving a huge crowd, making a half for each person would never work, but if you just have a few coming to dinner, I love serving them just like this, giving each person a pretty squash half on their plate. 

If you do need to serve many, the preparation would still be the same, except when they came out of the oven, I would carefully pour the pecan topping from each into a separate bowl, scrape the cooked squash into a large bowl and then top with the reserved praline topping. 

This is the perfect autumn pairing of sweet and savory. We love squash, and the addition of brown sugar and pecans takes it over the top. 

I hope you and yours have a truly Happy Thanksgiving! Take a minute between the cooking and entertaining to look around and thank God for all the blessings you have in your life. And for our family, you, my faithful fans and followers, are definitely on that list!

 Praline Roasted Acorn Squash

2 large acorn squash, halved and cleaned

4 TBS butter, room temp

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup chopped pecans

Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 400. Once the squash is halved, cut a small piece of flesh off bottom of each halve. This makes them more stable to sit without falling over. In a bowl combine softened butter and brown sugar until smooth. Rub mixture over each squash halve, covering edges and middle. Equally divide pecans into each squash. Line a large baking sheet with foil. Place squash on baking sheet. Bake for 1 hour- 1 hour 20 minutes until squash is tender when poked with fork. Serve as is.


Shared at Weekend Potluck

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Try Something New This Turkey Day

 Is your Thanksgiving menu set? Hopefully it's getting close. We are down to less than 2 weeks and with the way the grocery store shelves have been looking lately, I have fears of fights breaking out over the last package of stuffing mix or can of green beans. 

So that menu you're planning...is it more traditional or are you switching it up a bit with some new dishes? A mix of both perhaps? I think most of us fall into that last category. We want all the favorites we look forward to every year (bring on the cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and green bean casserole) but love to incorporate some new things to try too.  

This recipe is one of those that is new, but contains familiar flavors in a new, updated way. If you've never eaten raw Brussels sprouts, it might seem a little strange to you, but I promise they are delicious! We love my Pan Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, and they make a terrific holiday side dish as well, but for this one, I wanted something a little lighter and fresher. 

With the pecans, dried cranberries and golden raisins, this salad really takes on an autumnal flare. The lemony dressing is refreshing and will cleanse your palate after all that heavy Thanksgiving food we love so much!

When using raw Brussels sprouts, you just want to make sure you chop them or shave them as thin as possible. A mandolin works great, but I just use a really sharp chef's knife to achieve the same thing. They are very crunchy, but as the acid in the dressing sets in, they will soften just a bit. 

The only downside to this salad, since I believe in complete transparency, is it doesn't work well left over.  But I guess in the world of Thanksgiving leftovers, that might not be such a bad thing since the fridge will be overflowing with containers of turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and more! 

If you're looking for that one new side dish for your holiday this year, I would be so happy if this was it. I love sharing new ideas with all of you and sharing in your holiday memories! 

Autumn Brussels Sprout Salad

1 lb. Brussels Sprouts, ends trimmed and thinly sliced, raw

2 red delicious apples, finely chopped

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup golden raisins

1/3 cup shaved Parmesan cheese

1/3 cup olive oil

1 garlic clove, minced

1 TBS lemon juice

2 TBS apple cider vinegar

1 TBS maple syrup

2 tsp. Dijon mustard

Salt and Pepper 

In a large bowl mix sprouts, apples, cranberries and golden raisins. In a medium bowl whisk together oil, lemon juice, garlic, vinegar, maple syrup, mustard, salt and pepper until well combined. Pour over salad. Add pecans and mix again. Top with cheese and serve. 


Shared at Weekend Potluck


Sunday, November 7, 2021

Thanksgiving Dessert

 If you aren't paying attention, Thanksgiving is less than 3 weeks away. So, if you haven't started planning that menu yet, NOW is the time! Seriously, don't wait! 

When it comes to Turkey Day dessert, I know the pies are the star of the show. Pumpkin, pecan, apple, sweet potato...traditional favorites are what we look forward to year in and year out. 

I'm right there with you. My mom's pumpkin pie is all I want after that big turkey dinner. I can smell and taste it now! Just the thought of it gets my taste buds excited. 

With all of the desserts that end up on Thanksgiving tables across the country, I know without a doubt there are those out there still looking to try something new. So, it's my job to give you an alternative. Something a little different, that would make a tasty addition to your holiday spread.

These Apple Pie Parfaits are filled with familiar fall flavors, layered in a whole new way! Not to mention, they use cinnamon rolls for extra sweetness and yum factor! 

I came up with this idea based on ingredients you might already have on your Thanksgiving shopping list. If you're making apple pie, grab an extra can of filling (or use homemade). If you have house guests, refrigerated cinnamon rolls make a quick and easy breakfast, so an extra tube of those can easily end up in your shopping cart. 

With the supply chain issues we are all facing, having recipes that use the same ingredients in more than one way is a great way to stretch your budget and cut down on stress when shopping. 

I noticed some of the basics on my holiday menu were wiped clean from shelves a few weeks back, so I started buying things a little at a time each week. I even found my turkey this past week for less than a dollar per pound! I'm down to needing only a few fresh ingredients come November 25th, and it's a big relief. 

If you are looking for a new dessert to add to your Thanksgiving menu, or just want to make sure you have something that contains simple, easy to find ingredients, Apple Pie Parfaits will be a huge win come turkey time!


Apple Pie Parfaits

1 tube refrigerated cinnamon rolls

1 (21 oz.) can apple pie filling

1 small box instant vanilla pudding

2 cups milk

1 tsp. Ceylon cinnamon, extra for garnish

1 (8 oz.) tub Cool Whip

Cinnamon sticks for garnish

Preheat oven according to directions on cinnamon rolls. Bake accordingly. Discard any icing packets. While cinnamon rolls bake, prepare pudding. Once it is soft set, about 10 minutes, add cinnamon and stir well. Return to fridge until ready to use. In a small bowl, add pie filling. Using a sharp knife, cut any large slices into smaller bite size chunks. When cinnamon rolls are baked, allow to cool until you can handle them. Chop cinnamon rolls into bite sized pieces. In 4-6 parfait glasses, layer in the following order: Chopped cinnamon rolls, pudding, cinnamon rolls, pie filling, pudding. Top with Cool Whip and sprinkle with cinnamon. Garnish. Serve immediately or chill until ready. 

Shared at Weekend Potluck

Sunday, October 31, 2021

Slow Cooker Holiday Season

Happy November 1st! Go put that jack-o-lantern on the front porch in the trash before it starts to rot (or before it gets any worse), grab your pilgrim and turkey decorations and start prepping for the biggest foodie holiday of the year! 

It's going to be a whirlwind over the next 2 months and before we know it we will be writing 2022 on all of our checks. But there is so much to plan, do and celebrate between now and then.

Let's talk about holiday season meals; and I don't just mean the Thanksgiving turkey or Christmas ham. I mean all the meals that have to happen between those! From simple weeknight suppers to plan around the school concerts, work parties, holiday shopping, and those that have to be doubled or tripled due to those house guests who are coming soon! No matter if your company will be here for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or the entire time between the two, I've got a meal that is sure to please both in flavor and ease! 

During the holiday rush, slow cooker meals are definitely the way to go! Letting it take care of cooking while you're running around doing the million things on your to-do list will save your sanity over and over. 

This recipe is another one that can be served a few different ways, making it as versatile as it is delicious. I piled these Slow Cooker Italian Sausage and Peppers on top of hoagie buns, added some shredded cheese and my boys devoured them. Well, that is partly true. My big boys ate them that way. For the little guy and myself, I just cut them up on a plate and we enjoyed them just as much. They would also be delicious with a side of pasta too. You can get a couple different meals out of one recipe, or one meal that everyone can customize for themselves. 

I hope these next few weeks don't fly by too quickly for you to take a minute and savor them! We are gearing up for the most magical, wonderful time of year and I for one, can't wait!

 Slow Cooker Italian Sausage and Peppers

2 lbs. mild Italian sausages

2 cups marinara sauce

1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced

1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced

1 orange bell pepper, thinly sliced

1 red onion, thinly sliced

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 tsp. dried oregano

1/2 tsp. dried basil

Hoagie buns

1 cup shredded pizza style cheese

Salt and pepper

Dried parsley, for garnish

Grated Parmesan for serving

Dried Red Pepper for serving 

Grease slow cooker insert. Add sausages. Top with sliced vegetables. Sprinkle with seasonings. Pour marinara over. Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours. Stir well. Serve on hoagie buns topped with cheese, over pasta or as is. 

Shared at Weekend Potluck

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Holiday Casseroles

 I realize we haven't even reached the end of October yet, and everyone has pumpkins, ghosts, vampires and candy on the brain, but my brain has moved on. Sure I'm still celebrating all things Halloween this week, but the inner planner in me is thinking ahead to the holiday rush that is about to descend down up on us. 

I have always said that once we get down trick or treating, and the calendar flips to November 1st, it's a downhill coast, a very fast one, to Happy New Year. The weeks of leading up to Thanksgiving and then Christmas seem to go at supersonic speed. With so much to do, so many fun things to plan, so much good food to eat, so many loved ones to hug...it can be a blur. 

I know most people's brains don't work this way, so planning so far ahead isn't always an option, so let me do it for you! 

When I first made this casserole for a weeknight meal, it was perfect because it came together pretty quickly. But it got me thinking of two things. First, those house guests who will be at your table needing fed beyond the big holiday meal (this image always makes me think of Cousin Eddie's family in Christmas Vacation who come to stay for a month!). Second, as much as we love all those dishes we look forward to this time of year, how we can get burnt out too, since there are so many turkey and ham leftovers to enjoy before you are ready for something completely different. 

This baked gnocchi has the familiar flavors of spinach and artichoke dip, but in a simple, hearty casserole perfect for a crowd! 

Let's talk gnocchi for a minute. My 5 year old always says "Oh these are those little potato dumplings that taste like pasta!" I think that's a great way to describe it. No, they don't really taste like pasta, but they have a similar texture, are boiled in water and work in many of the same dishes, so I can totally see why he thinks that way. 

Whether you're looking for a simple weeknight meal for your family, or something you can serve to that family that might be hanging out from the turkey to the yule log, this gnocchi bake is sure to be a hit. Planning ahead, even if just a little, can really cut down on the stress the holidays seem to bring...take it from me!

 Spinach and Artichoke Gnocchi Bake

2 (1lb.) packages gnocchi

6 oz. baby spinach

1 (14 oz.) can artichoke hearts, rinsed, drained and chopped

1 yellow onion, finely chopped 

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1 cup heavy cream

2 TBS olive oil

1 lemon, juiced

1/2-1 tsp. dried red pepper

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 tsp. dried oregano

Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400. Cook gnocchi in boiling water according to package directions. In a large skillet over medium saute onion in oil until soft. Add spinach and garlic and saute until spinach is wilted, about 5 minutes. Add oregano and red pepper. Stir well. Pour in cream and lemon juice. Stir. Add artichokes. Allow to simmer for 5 minutes until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. Season with salt and pepper. When gnocchi is cooked, drain well. Add to sauce. Stir well to combine. Transfer to a greased 9x13 baking dish. Top with mozzarella and cook for 10-15 minutes or browned and bubbly.


Inspired by Simply Delicious

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Stress Free Sandwich Night

Sandwiches. We all have our favorites. From Philly Cheese Steaks to Reubens and everything in between, there are so many to love. I think for a lot of us, sandwiches are something quick you can grab at lunch time, an on-the-go meal to eat while driving or sitting at your desk. But I am here to tell you when done right, sandwiches can open up a whole new world when it comes to your weeknight menu plan!

 If you aren't planning a sandwich night for one of your weeknight meals, you are missing out on a great opportunity for taking a little stress out of your life. A simple sandwich supper can be filling, delicious but still so easy on the cook after a long day. 

When I do a sandwich supper I am sure to plan a couple side dishes to help round out the meal, so it's a great time for fries, cottage cheese, fresh fruit, salad or a bowl of a favorite soup. But even with the addition of a couple other dishes, sandwich night is still one of the easiest ways to get a meal on the table your family will love and you won't be exhausted with a sink full of dishes to clean up after. 

I've been making these Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches for years. They are easy, inexpensive thanks to using boneless chicken thighs, and can even be prepped ahead of time if you want to save even more effort when supper time rolls around. (See the note below)

Boneless chicken thighs sometimes get a bad wrap. I know the boneless breasts are the most popular, but for certain recipes, thighs can easily be swapped out and save you some major dough! Plus, dark meat has so much flavor too! 

These are great for a weeknight meal when everyone has to eat at different times too! They keep warm on the stove or even in the slow cooker beautifully. Or serve up a big batch for your next Game Day watch party! 

Dinner time can be so incredibly stressful, but it doesn't have to be! Between planning ahead and remembering our good friend, Mr. Sandwich, simple stress-free meals are sure to turn a bad day into a good one!

 Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches

2 lbs. boneless chicken thighs, trimmed

1 (8 oz.) bottle hot sauce, like Franks

4 TBS butter

1/4 c. olive oil

Garlic Powder

Salt and Pepper

Blue cheese dressing, optional

Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with foil. Place chicken on foil. Baste with olive oil. Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Bake for 20-30 minutes until juices run clear. Cool enough to handle and shred with 2 forks. In a large pot melt butter over low heat. Add entire bottle of hot sauce and stir to combine. Add chicken and mix well. Put lid on and allow to warm through, about 15 minutes. Serve on buns with blue cheese dressing, and carrots and celery on side if desired.  *NOTE* The chicken can be baked ahead, cooled, shredded and refrigerated for 1-2 days. When you're ready, continue with rest of recipe.*

 Shared at Weekend Potluck

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Even I Cleaned My Plate

 So I am going to reveal a big secret to you. Are you ready? It is going to rock your world. I'm a food blogger and there are nights when I sit down to supper, and if I've been working all day on new recipes for all of you, I'm not even hungry. No matter how appetizing the food is, even if I've been drooling over it the entire time it has been cooking, it just doesn't taste good. Correction. It tastes wonderful, just not to me. 

This same thing actually happens when I've made a really big meal too, mainly on holidays. I cook Thanksgiving dinner all day and by the time I sit down, I'm hot and exhausted and not in the mood. Now, on those days, I get over it and chow down...I'm not missing out on turkey and stuffing! 

It's funny to look back now because growing up when either of my grandmas would spend the whole day in the kitchen making a huge spread, even at the holidays, I can distinctly remember them sitting down, and watching everyone else dig in and not touch a bite for a while. I always wondered why, and now I 100% understand. 

But this meal? This recipe? Even after working on it all day, and being dog- tired by the time I sat down, I couldn't stop eating. It was so incredibly delicious I cleaned my whole plate! After smelling the mouth watering aromas wafting from the slow cooker all day long, I couldn't wait to dig in. 

I have made meatballs in the Crock Pot before, but I've spent some time tweaking my recipe and through trial and error, I present to you the most delicious Crock Pot Italian Meatballs EVER. Yes. I said it. 

I served these over some penne pasta, but they would be just as delicious in a sub bun for meatball sandwiches, on mini buns or dinner rolls for meatball sliders, or quite frankly, on a plate with a fork. 

Filled with flavor, cooked all day, what more can you ask for? Now before the hate emails start to flood in about using frozen meatballs, if you feel inclined to use homemade, please be my guest. Me? I have found several brands (even store brands) that taste homemade and I feel totally comfortable using them, especially in a recipe like this when I'm adding so much other flavor. 


Those of us who spend a lot of time in the kitchen know what it's like to sit down to a meal we've worked so hard on, only for our appetite to disappear. So the next time you are lucky enough to gather around the table to a home cooked meal, be sure to thank the person who made it a couple extra times!

Crock Pot Italian Meatballs 

2 (14 oz.) bags frozen Italian style meatballs

3 (24 oz.) jars spaghetti sauce with meat

1 (29 oz.) can diced tomatoes, with juice

1 TBS sugar

2 TBS Italian seasoning

2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp. dried red pepper 

Salt to taste 

Dried Parsley

Add meatballs to Crock Pot. Pour sauce over top. Add seasonings.  Stir well. Cook on LOW for 6 hours. Garnish with dried parsley and serve. 

Shared at Weekend Potluck

Sunday, October 3, 2021

Hello October

Welp, I can't deny it any more. With the arrival of October, I guess summer is officially over. Yes, I know the first day of fall was a couple weeks ago, but I was hanging on with all my might! I will admit though, so far it has been an easy transition because we've been having some beautiful weather! Sunny, warm days, with not a cloud in the sky. But just when we were getting cocky about it, the last 2 have been dreary and rainy, 

With the cooler, sometimes wet days, and the fact it is dark by 7:30 (soon to be even earlier!) I have soup on the brain all the time. When I'm making my meal plan I find myself having to make sure I'm not getting into a rut. Soup, chili, chowder, stew...there are SO many I can't wait to enjoy, but let's face it I've got plenty of time since the cold weather months always drag on. 

My go-to chili recipe will forever by my Crock Pot Chili, which is always a hit, and so easy it's one of those recipes you can memorize after making it a few times. 

But as good as my classic chili is, recently I found myself craving something different, and shock of all shocks, a copycat recipe came to mind. I wanted Wendy's chili, but didn't want to leave my house. I knew there would be a copycat recipe on the internet, but who knew there would be so many! So after reading what was probably close to a bazillion....yes it was that many, don't doubt me, I took a little something from many and started cooking.

My oh my! This is so close to the original, if I close my eyes, I would swear I just hit the drive-thru! For me, the things that set Wendy's chili apart from many, mine included, is the two types of beans, peppers and celery. My grandma always used kidney beans in her chili, and while I don't for mine, for this one, they are a must! 

We love this topped with cheese, diced jalapenos and oyster crackers. Sour cream, avocado and diced onions would be wonderful too. If you know anything about Wendy's you know a cup of chili and a baked potato are the perfect combo...so that would be a great use for some of the leftovers the next day. A big scoop of this down over a fluffy baked potato...mmmm good! 

I hope you are enjoying fall thus far. Get out there to the pumpkin patch, apple orchard or fall festival! When you come home know you can have a big bowl of chili to warm you up, and celebrate all that soup season has to offer!

Copycat Wendy's Chili

2 lbs. ground beef

1 (29 oz.) can tomato sauce

3 celery ribs, finely chopped

1 green bell pepper, finely chopped

1 medium white onion, finely chopped

2 (15 oz.) cans kidney beans, drained

2 (14 oz.) cans diced tomatoes, undrained

2 (15 oz.) cans pinto beans, drained

2-4 TBS chili powder

1 TBS cumin

1 TBS sugar

2 c. water

2 beef bouillon cubes 

Salt and Pepper to taste

In a large pot or Dutch oven, brown beef until no longer pink. Remove. In leftover drippings, saute onion, pepper and celery until soft. Return beef to pot. Add beans, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, cumin, chili powder, sugar, water, bouillon, salt and pepper. Stir well and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for for 45 minutes-1 hour covered. Serve with favorite toppings.

 Shared at Weekend Potluck

Sunday, September 26, 2021

The Witching Hour

Raise your hand if the days are busier than ever and supper time seems like the witching hour most nights? Oh good, it's not just me!  

Even on the days when we don't "have anything to do" the hours get away from me and all of a sudden it's time to start prepping supper. Thank goodness for a meal plan! 

I can honestly say I don't know how you "fly by the seat of your pants" people do it. That's not an insult. To the contrary I am in awe of your ability to look in the fridge and pantry and come up with a meal at the last minute. That's just not me. I would have an anxiety attack daily! 

However, I am in a position to help make your life a little easier with this 5 ingredient pasta bake supper. Yes, I said FIVE ingredients! 

Truthfully, planners and non planners alike can appreciate this recipe. If you have these ingredients on hand you're all set. If you make your grocery list based on the menu plan like me, you can easily stay on budget. 

We can't get enough of pasta dinners, and the baked casseroles are definitely my favorites. Anytime I can pop supper in the oven and either concentrate on side dishes or dessert, or finish up my to-do list from the day (you know, the one that multiplies every time you cross something off it) it makes my life so much easier. 

Now, let's talk about frozen meatballs for a second. In my opinion, they have come so far in the last several years! I always have a bag in the freezer to use in recipes like these, or pop into the microwave for a easy protein for the little guy's lunch. 

They come in all sorts of varieties, but I use the Italian and home style the most. You can usually even find a store brand that taste just as good as their more expensive name brand counterparts. 

The next time supper time creeps up on you and it seems hopeless, remember this 5 ingredient, hearty, delicious, pasta supper that can be on the table in less than hour!

 Meatball Pasta Bake

1 lb. penne pasta

1 (24 oz.) jar marinara sauce

1 lb. frozen Italian meatballs

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

2 tsp. Italian Seasoning

Preheat oven to 350. Cook pasta to al dente. Meanwhile, in a large skillet or Dutch oven, heat meatballs with marinara sauce, simmering for about 5 minutes. When pasta is cooked, drained well. Mix with meatball mixture. Transfer to a greased 9x13 baking dish. Top with cheese and sprinkle with Italian seasoning. Bake for 20-30 minutes until cheese melts and casserole is bubbly. 

Shared at Weekend Potluck

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Two Favorites One Simple Game Day Treat

 Every time I post a recipe that mentions "game day" I always get comments about "We don't watch much football, do you think this would work for a supper idea too?" 

Let me clear, 99% of my recipes are absolutely adaptable to your needs. Just because my family is a football watching, pigskin loving group doesn't mean I don't realize not everyone is. Likewise, if I post a recipe that I think would be a terrific game day treat or tailgating fare, chances are it would be just as tasty weeknight meal too! You make it when you want to. How will I ever know? 

In fact, the recipe I'm posting today screams football season to me. Chili. Sliders. Those are game day staples. But I tested this recipe over the summer, and guess what. It was our supper that night! 

If you've never had Cincinnati style chili, you need to prepare yourself for an entirely different experience. It's use of Mediterranean spices give it an unique flavor profile. It can be served as is, but is also served over spaghetti, baked potatoes and of course hot dogs. The restaurant chain Skyline has made it famous, and the day it came to our city, we were thrilled. We love this stuff so much I even created a pretty close copycat recipe I make in the slow cooker all fall/winter long. 

For this recipe I actually used the canned Skyline chili you can find in the grocery store. I had a can of it sitting in the pantry and I was looking for a new way to top some slider burgers. Two favorites came together in a simple burger supper that we loved. Like I said, this was back in the summer so we grilled our sliders, but you could cook them whatever way works for you. We grill year round, but an indoor grill or even baking would work too! 

I know without a doubt I will making these again soon so we can eat them in front of the television while we cheer on our favorites team(s)! But like so many of my recipes, football isn't required to enjoy them, just an extra bonus for us! 


Cincinnati Chili Sliders

2 lbs. ground beef

1 (15 oz.) can Skyline Chili, or 2 cups leftover homemade, warmed

1 medium white onion, finely chopped

1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

3 tsp. seasoning salt

Black Pepper

Slider Buns

Score ground beef with knife or back of your hand into 12 equals portions. (My packages were 1 pound each, so each was scored into 6 sections) Form 2 inch patties, leaving an indention in the middle with your thumb. Sprinkle with seasoning salt and black pepper. Preheat grill to high and grease. Cook patties for 3 minutes on each side to sear. Lower heat to medium low and continue cooking, and flipping until cooked through, 10-12 minutes. Place each slider on a bun. Top with shredded cheese, chili and onion. *NOTE* If using canned chili, remove the extra liquid in a colander before using to avoid extra moisture.

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Welcome Back Football

If you aren't a football fan, you might not even realize or care that the season is officially here! This past weekend was the kickoff to NFL, but high school and college teams have been playing for a couple weeks now. While I never look forward to the end of summer, the return of pigskin fun is something our whole family looks forward to every single year. 

Let's face it, part of the fun of watching football is the food that comes along with it. Even those who don't care about first downs, penalties and the score can get behind some tasty game day eats. 

With stadiums filling up once again, you know there are going to be some outrageous tailgate parties pre-game! But even if you are cheering your favorite team from home, you can enjoy some great snacks! 

If we are going to have an entire day of football watching, I love putting out a mini spread and we graze through every touchdown. From hot dips to sandwiches or a big batch of chili, game days in our house mean something yummy to eat too. 

These pretzels have become our latest addiction. Seriously. You can't eat just one, or just one handful! They are buttery, salty and filled with flavor. I don't drink, but my husband tells me a big handful of these and a cold beer are a perfect match. 

Game days are some of the most fun, and most delicious! Football fans and non-fans alike can always agree on a big plate of tasty dishes.

If you love game day food as much as we do, please be sure to check out some of the fantastic collections I've written for Parade Magazine!

 Everything Pretzels

1 lb. bag mini twist pretzels

2/3 cup butter, melted

6 TBS everything bagel seasoning 

 Preheat oven to 325. In a large bowl combine pretzels and butter. Gently stir to coat. Sprinkle with seasoning. Gently stir well. Transfer to large rimmed baking sheet. Bake 10-120 minutes until butter is absorbed. *NOTE* Some of the seasoning will fall off, you can't help it. The 6 tablespoons allots for that. We like dark pretzels, so I let mine bake for 20 minutes. 

Shared at Weekend Potluck

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Copycat Lunch At Home Or Office

Do you ever think about something you used to eat often, out of nowhere, and wonder why you aren't anymore? You start to drool just thinking about it, and know you must have it ASAP. 

That's exactly what happened with this recipe. Applebee's used to be somewhere I ate lunch at quite a bit; and more times than not their Oriental Chicken Salad was my choice. 

I can't even tell you the last time I ate at Applebee's, let alone for lunch. I have no earthly idea why this salad popped into my head one day and would not leave until I satisfied the craving. 

Sure, I could have driven the 10 minutes down the road, grabbed a curbside to-go order and been happy, but lately I have found myself obsessed with creating these copycat recipes in my own kitchen.

I can't even blame the pandemic or not wanting to eat out, because we have continued to over the last 18 months. I just find it super satisfying to give my family a dish we usually have to go out for at home around our own table. We love comparing them to the original and seeing just how close mom got it. 

I don't want to pay myself on the back, but with this one I NAILED IT! (In the good way, not like the hilarious show we love to laugh with!) The flavors are spot on, and if I closed my eyes I would never be able to guess the difference. 

How did I come up with such a carbon copy? Well, I did a lot of reading online about what was in the dressing most of all. The actual salad ingredients were easy to remember, but that dressing was key! After seeing a slew of recipes online, I took the basic ideas of many and found something that suited my tastes. 

The number one ingredient to give the dressing the signature flavor is sesame oil. You can find it on the Asian aisle in the grocery store. Be careful, a little goes a long way, and it can be very overpowering. The amount in the recipe is perfect for us, but you could always start with less and add more to suit your taste buds. 

Yes, I used frozen breaded chicken tenders to make this a quick and simple meal, but you could certainly make your own. Grilled chicken would be delicious too! 

This salad makes a tasty, filling lunch year round rather you're still working from home or back in the office. You could easily pack the salad, dressing and toppings separately and assemble at lunch time. 

We even love this for a light supper on a busy day! The chicken makes it hearty enough to feed my hungry crowd. I add some crusty bread on the side and I've got some happy campers!


Copycat Applebee's Oriental Chicken Salad

3 romaine hearts, chopped

1 medium head purple cabbage, finely chopped or shredded

1 cup shredded carrots

4 green onions, chopped

1/2 cup crunchy chow mein noodles

1/3 cup slivered almonds

1 (11 oz.) can mandarin oranges, drained

8 frozen extra crispy chicken tenders

1 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup rice vinegar

6 TBS honey

1 TBS dijon mustard

1/2 tsp. sesame oil

Cook the chicken tenders according to package directions, adding a few minutes for extra crispiness. While the chicken cooks, in a large bowl combine lettuce, cabbage, green onions, almonds and carrots. Toss well to mix. In a small bowl whisk mayonnaise, vinegar, honey, sesame oil and mustard. When chicken is cooked, allow to cool until it can be handles. Chop into bite sized chunks. Divide lettuce mixture among 4 large dinner plates. Top with chicken, crunchy noodles and oranges. Serve with dressing.

Shared at Weekend Potluck

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Classic Side To Say Goodbye Summer Or Hello Fall

 Anyone else feel like summer lasted about 3 days? It always goes by too fast, but this year just seemed like lightning speed. I can't believe Labor Day is just around the corner, and I'm already seeing Halloween decorations in the stores. (I won't lie, I've already picked up a few cute autumn decor items myself!)

With the heat index in the 100s all this past week, it makes me want to tell September and fall "pump the brakes" a little because we still have some summer yet to enjoy! 

Today's recipe is one that doesn't really need a season. Being a potato salad, thoughts of summer cookouts come to mind first. But it can be served warm, so it would also work for a sunny, mild fall picnic too.

I am sure many of you have made and probably have a recipe for German Potato Salad, but when I find something we love, I have to share. 

I've tried a few recipes for this classic over the years, but this is the first one that we all truly enjoyed. Plus, it was the easiest one too, so bonus points!

If you've never had German Potato Salad, it is set aside from other traditional tater salads for a couple reasons. First, the tangy and sweet bacon dressing is unique and immediately memorable. Second, most enjoy it served warm, or room temp. You can certainly eat it chilled (we did with the leftovers) but personally I think warm is the best way to go! And for me, when it's warm, it almost becomes more of a potato side dish than a potato salad...hence why I wouldn't feel strange serving it well into fall! I think it would be delicious with a ham supper!

No matter if you are hanging onto summer as long as you can, and planning a big Labor Day bash to prove it, or counting the days until autumn brings some cooler days and evenings made for bonfires, this German Potato Salad should definitely be on your menu ASAP! 

German Potato Salad

2.5 lbs. yellow potatoes, skin left on

8 slices bacon, fried crisp and chopped

1 medium white onion, chopped

1/3 cup white vinegar

1/2 cup water

1 TBS sugar

1 TBS flour

1/2 tsp. dried mustard

2 tsp. dried parsley

Salt and Pepper

Chop potatoes into large bite size pieces. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Boil potatoes until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain well. While potatoes cook, fry bacon in a large skillet. Remove to a paper towel lined plate. Saute onion in bacon fat until soft, about 3-5 minutes. Whisk in flour and cook 1 minute. Add mustard, vinegar, water, sugar, salt and pepper.  Bring to a simmer while whisking.  Simmer for 2-3 minutes until slightly thickened. When potatoes are drained, add to a large bowl. Pour dressing over potatoes. Add bacon and gently stir. Sprinkle with parsley. Serve warm, room temperature or chilled.

 Inspired by Spend With Pennies

Shared at Weekend Potluck

Sunday, August 22, 2021

One Last Lemon Dish

 Summer brings so many flavors that we love so much; and while we might enjoy them year round, they never taste quite as good as they do on a hot, sunny, summer kissed day! At the top of that list for me is lemon! From a tall glass of ice cold lemonade by the pool to some perfectly grilled chicken with a hint of citrus I can't enough.

 I am a lover of all things lemon, and thought it was about time I found a way to combine my obsession with another favorite around here, roasted potatoes. 

When I am making my weekly menu plan, I start with main dishes, move onto side dishes and then extras if needed. For example, if I am a making a big roast, or meatloaf, those will get a starchy side and a vegetable too. But if I'm planning a pasta supper, there is usually salad, garlic bread, or both. Over the years I have developed a so-called template that works for our family and it makes it easy to simply plug things into each category. 

What are the extras you ask? In the summer I add fresh fruit to as many meals as possible, or if we've been given some beautiful garden ripe tomatoes, those get sliced and put on the table. These are things that are seasonal to my template! 

When I'm planning suppers, if I get stumped, 9 times out of 10 it will be for a side dish! I don't like falling into a rut of always having the same things with the same meals. Of course we have favorites that if I tried to deviate from there would be riots, but other times it's okay for me to switch it up a bit. And when these moments happen, many times I turn to roasted potatoes. 

Why? Simple. I can make them a thousand different ways, so while they are yet another potato dish, they are still new because of unique flavors. Hence why I felt it was time to take my beloved summer flavor of lemon and find a way to utilize it in yet another roasted potato recipe. 

These spuds are perfectly crispy on the outside, buttery on the inside and bursting with bright, fresh flavor!By waiting until the end of the cooking time to add the fresh lemon juice, it elevates them to another level just before serving! They are perfect with anything you can think of, but grilled chicken or fish come to mind first! 

Summer might be coming to an end, but I'm hanging on with both hands, sucking every last bit of flavor out while I can, especially when it comes to lemon!

 Lemon Roasted Potatoes

3 lbs. small yellow potatoes, quartered

3 TBS olive oil

1/4 cup lemon juice

2 tsp. dried oregano

6 cloves garlic, minced

1 TBS dried parsley

Salt and pepper 

Preheat oven to 425. Place potatoes, oil, oregano, garlic, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Toss well. Transfer to a greased baking sheet. Cook 45 minutes, stirring once. Pour lemon juice over potatoes and sprinkle with parsley. Roast for 10 more minutes. 


Shared at Weekend Potluck

Sunday, August 15, 2021

The Crazy That Is Weeknight Supper Time

 Have you entered the back to school rush? We are going into our second week, and I can honestly say, thus far it's been a pretty easy transition from summer time lazy days to the school time schedule. Don't get me wrong, that alarm ringing at 6:30 every morning isn't something I am going to welcome any time soon, and not having the teen home during the day is still something I don't enjoy, but for the most part we are easing into the school year without too much groaning. 

I'm not naive to the fact that this time of year is hard on so many. The little ones are exhausted after a long day, homework is a struggle, bedtime brings tears, after school activities have you running around, and on top of it all, everyone still wants fed! Doesn't matter what kind of day it was, come supper time, the one thing we can all agree on is we need a delicious and satisfying meal.

Pasta bakes are one of those things that seem to be universally loved. They are hearty, filling casseroles that can bring a family around the table. I have so many recipes for them, but never tire of finding new ones too! 

This Baked Spaghetti is my latest favorite one. It reminds me of something we could order at our favorite Italian restaurant. Don't freak out when you see in the ingredient list! Everything is easily found in your grocery store, and while it does take a few extra steps than "regular" spaghetti, it's 100% worth it! Plus, once you've prepped, it will be in the oven for about an hour, so that gives you some time to decompress and relax before sitting down to eat.  

If back to school has you pulling your hair out a little bit, please know you aren't alone! Parents everywhere feel your pain and are going through the exact some thing. Rest assured though, having some great meals you can turn to on those days when you just can't handle complicated will let you end any day, good or bad, on a high note!



 Baked Spaghetti

1 lb. thin spaghetti

1 lb. mild Italian sausage

1 medium white onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 (24 oz.) jar pasta sauce with meat

2 eggs

1/2 tsp. seasoned salt

1/3 c. grated Parmesan cheese

5 TBS butter, melted

1 (15 oz.) container ricotta cheese

4 c. shredded mozzarella cheese

Black pepper

Italian seasoning

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9x13 baking dish. Cook pasta according to directions and drain. In a large skillet over medium high heat brown sausage with onions and garlic until no longer pink. Drain if necessary. Add pasta sauce, seasoned salt and pepper. Stir well. In a large bowl whisk together eggs, Parmesan and butter. When pasta is cooked and drained, add to egg mixture and toss to coat. Place half the spaghetti mixture in baking dish. Top with half the ricotta, half of the meat sauce and half of the mozzarella. Repeat layers. Cover with foil and bake 40 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with Italian seasoning and bake 20 additional minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. 

Shared at Weekend Potluck


Sunday, August 8, 2021

Hello School Lunch Boxes

When does the school year begin for you? I know so many that have already stepped back into the classroom and for us, this week is our time. As of Tuesday my first baby will be a JUNIOR in high school, and quite frankly, I am not that comfortable with it. I'm pretty sure we were buying his Kindergarten backpack yesterday. But here we are, another school year upon us. 

Oh, and let's not forget, the little guy also turns FIVE this week....on the second day of school actually, so it's going to be an emotional one for Mommy. Luckily, since he doesn't make the age cutoff, he is going to have another year of homeschool/preschool with Mommy. 

Alex's high school is once again in person this year (they were last year too) and he is ready to get back to more of a normal school day routine. They have been able to go back to a few pre-Covid things while still maintaining safety too. One thing will never change though, yummy lunches are a must! 

This copycat recipe is one I was super excited to share for an easy summer lunch for kids....but time got away from me. That's okay though! Many kids are still remote learning, or like my little guy, home schooled, so lunch time still needs to be easy and kid friendly. Or, maybe you are always looking for ways to jazz up that packed lunch! 

Do you remember when McDonald's value menu included the Chicken Snack Wrap? When Alex was little, it was one of our favorites! For a light lunch or a snack in the car they were absolutely perfect for him and I both! I actually had forgotten all about them, but am so happy to have them back! Made in my own kitchen, super easily with a little help from frozen chicken tenders. 

These would work so well in a packed lunch too since they are just as tasty cold. We actually prefer to let the chicken tenders cool down before assembling the wrap, so added to a lunchbox sounds good to me! 

If you still have some summer left, you're probably running out of fun ideas for the kids' lunch. Copycat McDonald's Chicken Snack Wraps to the rescue! Or grab the lunch box, add some fruit and yogurt on the side and know they are getting a treat in the middle of their school day!

 Copycat McDonald's Chicken Snack Wrap

6 fajita size flour tortillas

1 medium head leaf lettuce, chopped

1 cup finely shredded cheddar Jack cheese

 6 frozen extra crispy chicken tenders

Ranch Dressing

Cook chicken tenders on a baking sheet, according to package directions. Add a few minutes for extra crispiness. Once cooked, allow to cool until you can handle them. On each tortilla, add some lettuce, cheese, and one chicken tender. Drizzle with ranch dressing, wrap and serve!


Shared at Weekend Potluck


Sunday, August 1, 2021

Beep Beep Buses Coming Through


 Happy August! I can't believe I'm saying that. In fact, I do so with a little choke. See, in this house August means a couple things. One, it's officially back to school time (10 days to be exact) AND int he same time, my baby will celebrate his 5th birthday! ("Mommy, I'm going to be a WHOLE hand this year!") 

Neither of these things are events this mama's heart handles well. I love having my kids home with me, and I am never ready for them to be another year older. Sure, I can be excited for them; and be ready to celebrate, but that doesn't mean I don't fight back tears along the way! 

I developed this recipe for an easy "summer lunch for kids" and then realized it was almost time for school before I was posting it. That's okay though. Many kids won't be boarding the bus for a few more weeks, some not until after Labor Day! Others are still learning from home, and could still use a fun, yummy lunch. Also, they work so well for a kid's party or sleepover. Or, as my boys pointed out after eating them for lunch, I could double the recipe, add a salad on the side and have a simple supper for a busy night. Oh, and let's not forget Game Day! Football Sundays are coming soon too, and these would be perfect! So...my easy kids lunch really has so many more possibilities! 

These mini pizzas used a frozen Texas Toast garlic bread for the crust and can be customized by little hands for fun in the kitchen! Any of your favorite toppings work, just make sure if you're using fresh veggies they aren't wet...nobody wants a soggy pizza! Oh, and it's best if you use the garlic bread without cheese. Sounds weird I know, but using "fresh" gets a better melt factor and allows the toppings to stick better! 

Summer lunch time will be winding down soon, but lucky for me you have so many more options with these yummy personal pizzas. But hey, there is still some time! Plan a pizza party lunch this week before those littles are grabbing their backpacks and lunch boxes as they run out the door!

Garlic Bread Pizza

1 (8 count) box Texas toast garlic bread

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

1 cup pizza sauce

2 tsp. Italian Seasoning

Sliced Pepperoni

Sliced Black Olives

Preheat oven to 425. Place garlic bread on a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 5 minutes. Top with pizza sauce and both cheeses. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning. Top with pepperoni, black olives and other desired toppings. Bake for 5-10 minutes more until browned and cheese is melted. Serve with extra pizza sauce for dipping if desired.

 Shared at Weekend Potluck