Everyday Mom's Meals: April 2021

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Springtime Lemon Lovers

 Spring has arrived! Okay, last week old man winter reared his ugly head again and gave us 4 inches of unwanted snow, but it melted quickly and this week we have 70s and even 80 in our forecast, so thankfully spring time might just be here to stay!

For me, no other flavor in the world screams spring and warmer temps more than lemon. I love it year round, but this time of year my taste buds crave the freshness and brightness of it in everything from drinks, side dishes, main dishes and of course desserts! 

For this recipe I was looking for a simple noodle side dish for a chicken supper I was having and wanted to cook from my pantry/fridge. I think a lot of us learned to do that more over the past year in the pandemic. Using what we had on hand meant we didn't have to venture to the grocery store, and let us experiment too. 

I would bet many of us have lemon pepper in the back of our spice rack and need more ways to use it! I always have it on hand for an extra flavor boost in dishes, but a little goes a long way so it lasts forever.

In this dish mixing the lemon pepper with fresh lemon juice really takes the flavor to a whole new lemony level. The sauce clings to every single noodle making each one burst with bright, bold flavor. 

These noodles are a terrific side dish with any protein you're making, but we really love them with chicken and fish. The recipe could also be doubled easily for a main dish pasta supper. 

If one of your favorite spring time flavors is lemon too, be sure to save this recipe to add to your menu plan soon! Your taste buds are sure to thank you! 

Lemon Pepper Noodles

1 lb. angel hair pasta

6 oz. cream cheese, cubed

3 TBS sour cream

6 TBS milk

1/4 tsp. onion powder

1 1/2 tsp. lemon pepper

1 TBS fresh lemon juice

2 tsp. dried parsley, extra for garnish

1/4 c. pasta cooking water

3 TBS butter

2-3 cloves garlic, minced 

1/4 c. grated Parmesan/Romano cheese blend

Salt and Pepper 

Cook pasta according to directions. While pasta cooks, in a large skillet melt butter over low heat. Saute garlic in butter for about a minute. Add sour cream and milk. Stir well. Add cream cheese a little at a time, stirring constantly. Season with lemon pepper, onion powder, salt and pepper. Continue stirring until smooth. Add parsley and lemon juice. When smooth, add Parmesan cheese and stir until melted. When pasta is cooked, reserve 1/4 c. cooking water and add to cheese sauce. Mix well. Drain pasta well and add to sauce, mixing well with tongs. Garnish with extra parsley. 

Sunday, April 18, 2021

April Snow

 Spring Break 2021 was beautiful. There were sunny, warm days with temps in the 70s and 80s...and we didn't leave Indiana! We had one of the nicest Easters and Spring Breaks I can remember. We had warmer temperatures than some who traveled for the vacation. I should have known it was too good to be true, or at least too good to stick around.

Two weeks later and we have snow in the forecast. Not just flurries, but from Tuesday night to Wednesday morning they are saying we could get about 3-5 inches. *Insert sobbing sounds here* 

Even saying that out loud makes my heart hurt. I know we live in the Midwest and April can be a tricky month, but come on!

The only good thing about this cold spell coming is it gives me a chance to share this recipe. One that I had made back when it was actually supposed to be cold, saved and thought I would just wait until fall to post it. I know many eat soup year round, but in the blogging world, recipes for it don't perform well in the hot summer months. 

But oh look, Mother Nature has decided to be fickle once again and a super easy, set it and forget it Crock Pot soup is the perfect way to combat her mood swings.

This soup has deep, rich flavor, but only has cook a few hours to achieve it! Be sure to have some crusty bread for dipping too. The broth was made for a chewy baguette.

 Anyone who is rejoicing we have snow coming again better not speak to me. I am beyond ready for warm weather, every day. In fact, if it was up to me, we could actually skip over spring and go right to 85 and HOT...but at this point I would just be happy with not having to dig the snow shovel out of the shed!

 Crock Pot Italian Sausage and Bean Soup

1 lb. mild Italian sausage

2 (15 oz.) cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

2 (14 oz.) cans diced tomatoes with basil and garlic, drained

8 cups chicken broth

1 medium white onion, diced

4-5 garlic cloves, minced

2 tsp. Italian seasoning

1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper 

1/4 c. grated Parmesan/Romano cheese blend

6 oz. spinach, large stems removed

Salt and Pepper 

In a large skillet brown sausage with onion and garlic. Transfer to Crock Pot. Add broth, tomatoes, beans, Italian seasoning, red pepper, salt and pepper. Stir well. Cook on low for 3-4 hours. Add cheese and spinach and stir. Cook until spinach is wilted, about 10 minutes. 

Shared at Weekend Potluck

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Steaks On The Grill Potatoes In The Oven

When you're grilling what do you plan for side dishes? Do you try to cook everything on the grill? Do you plan some make ahead things waiting on you in the fridge? Do you let the master griller in your house take care of the main dish while you cook the sides inside? 

I would say I am definitely a mix of all three, depending on the situation and how many I am cooking for. If we are doing a big cookout I will make sure some tasty sides can be prepared earlier in the day so we are only waiting on the burgers and dogs come supper time. But if we are just grilling for the four of us, I am happy to let Mr. E take stand over the hot grill while I am in the comfortable AC taking care of the rest of the meal.

Roasted potatoes are a classic side dish for steak night, and I have many different varieties we enjoy! Crispy Roasted Reds, Garlic Roasted, Fingerlings, Barbecue Roasted....so many more! And now we have one more that I am totally obsessed with! 

These only have 4 ingredients, one of them being optional, and the star is Montreal Steak Seasoning. I always have a bottle on hand because I use it on steaks, chicken, burgers and even in a fantastic dip that is addictive!

For this recipe I chose the baby creamer potatoes. They can be cooked whole, with the skin on, and the seasoning clings to every inch of it while it crisps up on the oven, all while the inside takes tender and buttery. 

If you can't find the creamer variety (or if they aren't in the budget--they can be a little pricey at times) red or gold baby potatoes, quartered would work well too.

We are celebrating the arrival of grilling and cookout season. These simple, but flavorful potatoes will definitely be making an appearance over and over all summer long! 

 Montreal Roasted Potatoes

3 lbs. creamer potatoes

3 TBS olive oil

2 TBS Montreal Steak Seasoning

Dried Parsley

Preheat oven to 400. In a large bowl combine potatoes, oil and seasoning. Toss to coat. Transfer to a large baking pan. Roast for 30-40 minutes until fork tender. Sprinkle with dried parsley before serving.

 Shared at Weekend Potluck


Sunday, April 4, 2021

The Teenager Had A Brainstorm


 Have you seen the tortilla boats they have now? I realize I am probably late to the party, but they are a recent discovery in our house and they have been life changing! Seriously. Whoever came up with the idea deserves a big high five!

If you're like me and have been living under a rock, let me explain. Right there in the aisle next to the hard taco shells there are now these soft tortilla "boats" or bowls. They come in regular size (used in this recipe) and mini ones too. They also come in different flavors- corn, flour, or a mix of both. 

I don't know about you but tacos, hard or soft, are my little guy's nemesis. He loves them, but gets so frustrated when all the yummy insides fall out onto the plate, or mommy's favorite, his lap. These solve that problem completely. The meat, cheese, lettuce, and tomato all stay put while his little hands hold it. 

So, you're probably wondering where this story is going if you've looked at the picture and saw breakfast foods. It's actually brilliant. I had made tacos one night, and had mini boats leftover the next day. (For regular beef tacos, I like the mini size. For these breakfast boats I used the bigger ones.) Big brother was home doing school remotely, so I took the mini boats, filled them with scrambled eggs and cheese and he was thrilled. And that's when it happened. "Hey, mom! I bet these would be good if you made them into a breakfast burrito boat. Eggs, potatoes, gravy, cheese, bacon. Do you think you could do that?"

Challenge accepted! These might look like a lot of steps, but don't worry, they are super easy. While the potatoes cook you can whip up the gravy and scrambled eggs. Then it's just assembly. I like the flat tater tots for this because they line the bottom of each boat and act like a barrier. But diced or shredded hash browns would work too. I also used real bacon bits because I also have those on hand, but crumbed crispy bacon would be delicious. Anything you love in a breakfast burrito can easily be a passenger in your tortilla boat!

 I love that my kids are such foodies they can look at one dish and brainstorm what else we could do with it and use it in whole new creative way. If you've never tried to let your kids help you plan new meals, try it! It's a fantastic way to get them to try new things and become more adventurous eaters!

 Breakfast Burrito Boats

1 (8 count) package tortilla bowls/boats

7 eggs

2 1/2 c. milk, divided use

1 lb. pork sausage

1/4 c. flour

8 oz. shredded sharp cheddar cheese

2 packages real bacon bits

1 (30 oz.) bag frozen tater rounds, baked per bag directions

Salt and Pepper

Dried Chives 

Begin by baking tater rounds according to package directions. To make the sausage gravy. In a large skillet brown the pork sausage. Do not drain. Sprinkle with flour and cook for 1 minute. Slowly add 2 cups milk, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10-15 minutes until thickened. Keep on warm burner. Whisk together eggs and 1/2 c. milk with salt and pepper. In a another skillet, sprayed with non stick spray, scramble eggs until cooked through. In each boat, layer tater rounds, top with scrambled eggs, bacon bits, sausage gravy and cheese. Garnish with chives. 


Shared at Weekend Potluck