Everyday Mom's Meals: May 2021

Monday, May 31, 2021

Got Beer?

 We are a house of mac and cheese lovers. From the blue box to homemade, if it's pasta covered in cheese you can count us in! And in our family, one of the reasons why we love macaroni and cheese so much is the versatility. It can go from side dish to main dish, depending on the type it is. I know there are strong feelings about if it's a side or main, and it depends on where you're from, or how you grew up, which side of the debate you land on. But one thing is for sure, no matter how you decide to eat it, macaroni and cheese is a beloved comfort food most of us can't get enough of. 

This macaroni and cheese has a little something that takes it over the top. BEER! Yep, as if a simple weeknight meal couldn't get any better, we find a way! This version is one I serve as a main dish with a salad on the side and it's a meal that disappears as quick as I can spoon it up. 

Oh, and this one comes with a homemade cheese sauce that is as creamy as it is delicious. If you read the directions and think it might be too complicated with the roux...don't stress! I promise if you follow it step by step, it's as easy as can be! If I can do it, so can you! 

If you enjoy the flavor of a darker beer, go ahead and try it. I used the light so it didn't overpower the cheese sauce, and if I'm being honest, I'm not a huge beer fan, so I didn't want a ton of that distinct flavor. Just a little in the background to enhance an already amazing recipe. 

With summer time cookout season upon us as well, this would be a great addition to any backyard spread. Serve it with some grilled burgers and dogs for a new twist on a classic meal. I guarantee it will make you a rock star at your next "bring a dish to share" party too! 

Pub style mac and cheese is now on our favorites list and not just because it has beer in it...but hey, it doesn't hurt either!  


Pub Mac and Cheese

1 lb. elbow macaroni

1 cup evaporated milk

1 cup light beer

2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1 cup shredded monterey jack cheese

1/4 tsp. paprika

1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs

1/4 cup butter

1/4 cup flour

2 tsp. dried parsley

Salt and Pepper 

Preheat oven to 375. Grease 9x13 baking dish. Boil macaroni in salted water according to directions. In a medium pot melt butter over low heat. Whisk in flour and cook for 2-3 minutes until no lumps remain and a light brown roux has formed. Slowly whisk in milk and beer. Increase heat to medium and bring to a slight boil. Reduce heat down to low and cook for 5-7 minutes until thickened, stirring often. Add both cheeses, stirring constantly until melted and smooth. Cook 3-5 minutes until thick and incorporated. Season with paprika, salt and pepper. When macaroni is cooked, drain well. Add to cheese sauce and mix well. In a small bowl combine breadcrumbs and parsley. Transfer pasta to baking dish and top with breadcrumbs. Bake for 30 minutes until browned and bubbly. 

Shared at Weekend Potluck

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Thank You Teachers

 The time has finally come. The day we have been waiting for since August. THE LAST DAY OF SCHOOL!!!!

Well, almost. The teen has 3 days of finals this week, and then he will officially be a Junior. (Yes, I teared up a little even typing that word. Mom isn't handling the transition well.) In fact, as I write this he is studying for finals, trying to finish the year strong. 

Everyone who knows me knows I am not one of those moms who dread summer break, but instead I count down the days almost as much as my kid. Having my boys home with me is my happy place. In fact, I am sad that this summer will be a little different since the boy has a job and is hoping to get some extra hours. But I know there will still be plenty of time for the fun things we look forward to so much.

This year has definitely been one for the history books. Our school was in person, with no online option, and we supported that decision from the beginning. Alex needed to be in the classroom and after being home from March-August last year, he was SO ready to get back to his friends and classmates. 

His high school handled the entire Covid crisis the best way they could. When cases were on the rise back in the fall, they shut down for a couple weeks to try to curb the problem before it started. Then after Christmas break, they kept the kids home for a week to prevent a post holiday surge. They had planned Zoom days in the calendar to promote extra cleaning and rest for the staff. So while the past 8 months might not have been "normal" we truly feel like the school year was a success! 

One of the classes Alex took that he enjoyed the most was Nutrition and Wellness. So much so that he actually got an award for being one of the top students of the sophomore class! Among other lessons about food and nutrition, there were many cooking labs...and we all know how much my kid loves to be in the kitchen. He would get so excited to tell me what they were making; and I adored the days when he would text me from school with pictures of what he was cooking. He baked some righteous Snickerdoodles and made a drool-worthy omelet, even getting the skillet flip just right! Needless to say, his food blogger mama was super proud.

This recipe is one of the dishes they made that he was sure to bring the recipe home for because he wanted me to try it. So I saved it until now, as my way to say a BIG thank you to not only his teacher, and all the CLHS teachers, but every single teacher every where. All of you are true heroes and you deserve a huge round of applause for keeping the train on the tracks this school year. Our kids needed to keep learning, weather it be in the classroom or at home, and you all adapted and made sure they got what they needed most. 

If you're planning a Memorial Day picnic, cookout or backyard barbecue, this potato salad would make a great addition to your menu. It's a little different than any other tater salad I make, so it was a nice change up for us, and will definitely be on our summer time menu rotation. 

Thank you teachers, from all of us students and parents for all that you do. Enjoy your summer vacation, and we hope when we see you again in the fall, it's the beginning of tad less stressful school year!

Picnic Potato Salad

6 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed

5 hard boiled eggs, chopped

5 stalks celery, chopped

3 green onions, chopped

1 cup mayonnaise

1 TBS yellow mustard

1 TBS apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup dill pickle relish

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. sugar


Salt and Pepper 

Cover the potatoes with cold water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 10-12 minutes until fork tender. Drain and allow to cool completely. In a medium bowl whisk together mayo, mustard, vinegar, relish, garlic powder, sugar, salt and pepper. When potatoes are cool, add to a large bowl with eggs, celery and onions. Pour dressing over and gently mix. Allow to chill an hour before serving. Garnish with paprika.  


Inspired by Center Cut Cook

Sunday, May 16, 2021

A 18 Year Tropical Twist

 How did we get to the middle of May already? I'm not complaining, but it just proves the point that warm weather days and months go by ten times faster than their cold counterparts. Seriously! We are going to blink and it will be July 4th. But before we bust out the fireworks, we've still got Memorial Day to plan for! 

Memorial Day weekend is the gateway to summer. Especially this year since the holiday is literally the last day of the month. Are you planning a cookout or backyard barbecue to celebrate? Many of us are gathering once again, but even if it's just your household or pod, fire up the grill and make your kickoff to summer menu delicious! 

Coleslaw is such an American classic for summer time parties, picnics, and gatherings. From graduation parties to burgers on the grill and picnic baskets over flowing, coleslaw is definitely a go-to dish. But this version? It's going to put a little tropical twist on this warm weather staple. 

Plus, it gives me a reason to gush about my hubby for a minute. See, he loves mangoes and we happen to be celebrating our 18th wedding anniversary on May 17th. However, 18 years is only the marriage part. We've actually been together for 24 years; and feel very blessed to be celebrating another year. I have loved him from the time I was a 16 year old girl, and I am so proud of the time we have built. He's given me two amazing boys and our family is not only my biggest blessings, but also what I am most proud of. 

So when I saw this recipe in Food Network Magazine I knew it would score me major wife points. A creamy coleslaw with bites of mango was right up his alley. The dressing has sweet and sour notes in it with coconut milk and lime. And he loved the added crunch from the peanuts too. It really is a unique version that screams summer time and lets you take a little tropical beach vacation without leaving your backyard. 

If you are looking for new dish for your Memorial Day bash, be sure to save this one! If you take it with you to share, carry the recipe too because everyone is going to want it!

 Mango Coleslaw

1 (14 oz.) bag coleslaw mix

3/4 c. canned coconut milk

Juice of 3 limes

1 mango, peeled and diced

3/4 c. roasted salted peanuts

Salt and Pepper 

In a small bowl whisk together coconut milk, lime juice, salt and pepper. In a large bowl pour dressing over coleslaw mix. Mix well. Add mango and peanuts. Stir again. Chill until serving. Garnish with a few extra peanuts before serving.  


Shared at Weekend Potluck

Sunday, May 9, 2021

Dippy Eggs The Easy Way

What does your family call over easy eggs? I bet many of you just uttered "dippy" under your breath. Yep, our too. In fact, I grew up thinking it was just our family who referred to fried eggs with a runny yolk like that. It wasn't until I was a teenager, working at Bob Evans, that I learned just how many people know what dippy eggs are. In fact, I had lots of customers relieved when they would order and I knew exactly what they were talking about. 

Cooking the perfect dippy eggs in a skillet can sometimes be tricky. While I've almost mastered it over the years, I'm always up for an easier hack. Or in our case, a way for me to actually eat with the boys instead of cooking in batches, and being the last one to sit down. 

While I've made baked omelets and egg bites for a while, these were definitely a game changer! An entire dozen eggs, all cooked at the same time without grabbing the spatula! 

You want to start checking these about 10 minutes in. The whites need to be set, but the yolk still runny. Mine were perfectly cooked about 12 minutes in. The closer you get to 20 minutes, the more like hard boiled they will be. You can absolutely cook them longer if you prefer a yolk that is cooked through. 

I love baking up a batch of yummy muffins, but I also love that my muffin tin can do so much more! Now it can let us all have those dippy eggs we love with no flip needed!

 Baked Muffin Tin Eggs

1 dozen eggs

Canola Cooking Spray

Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Spray muffin tin liberally with nonstick spray. Crack eggs into a separate bowl and transfer to muffin tin. Season with salt and pepper. Bake for 10-15 minutes and check. You want the whites set, but the yolks still runny. Around 20 minutes they will be more like hard boiled. Use a butter knife around each egg to remove from tin. 



Shared at Weekend Potluck


Sunday, May 2, 2021

An EMM Update

If you have been an EMM fan for a while now, you will remember a cucumber recipe I posted years ago. Like before I understood how food photos should look! I've shared that recipe numerous times over the life of this blog, but have always wanted to go back to not only update the photo, but also rewrite the recipe to match the tweaks I've added over time. Well, today is the day! 

First, let's talk about lemon extract. Every time I share this recipe, be it online or in person, I always get the "I don't have lemon extract, can't I just use lemon juice?" To be short and sweet, no. 

Believe me, I know how annoying it is to read a recipe and realize you are going to have to buy a "special" ingredient for it. It's one thing to have to add things to your grocery list, but it is a whole other to have to purchase something you are only going to use for one recipe. I try very hard not to write recipes that require specialty ingredients; but there is no way around it this time. 

However, it's not that bad. See, lemon extract is easily found in the same baking aisle at most grocery stores. It will be right there next to the vanilla and almond extracts. Plus, it's not the expensive. I think the last bottle I bought was around $3. Last, your bottle is probably going to last for quite a while, if this is the only recipe you use it for. Since each batch only takes 1 teaspoon, my bottle usually takes me a year to use and I make these a lot during the summer months. 

The extract is made from the lemon rind, where the essential oils are. The flavor is more intense than any amount of juice. You will notice it right away when you take the lid off! Smell that lemon goodness! 

These are a copycat recipe from a Chinese restaurant we used to love. Unfortunately that restaurant has been gone for a while now, but these cucumbers live on! They used to serve these with their lunch specials, along with a chicken wing, egg roll and crab rangoon. Seriously- by the time your entree came, you were almost full from the appetziers. Oh, I miss that place so much! 

These are Alex's favorite way to enjoy cucumbers in the summer, and when gardens are overflowing with them, they are so inexpensive to make too! Our local farmers' market usually has beautiful cukes for less than a buck each. 

I love these for summer too because they can go anywhere, staying fresh in a cooler. Plus, no mayo or sour cream means easier for fun in the sun! They are perfect for picnics, cookouts, backyard barbecues, graduation parties or a burger night on the deck! 

If you enjoy lemon flavored anything, as much as I do, especially in the hot summer months, this recipe needs to be on repeat from now until September!

 Lemon Marinated Cucumbers

3 large cucumbers, peeled and sliced into semicircles

2/3 c. white vinegar

6 TBS sugar

1 tsp. lemon extract

Salt and Pepper

 In a small bowl whisk together vinegar, sugar, lemon extract, salt and pepper. In a large bowl pour dressing over sliced cucumbers. Stir well. Add extra salt and pepper if needed. Cover and chill several hours before serving.  

Shared at Weekend Potluck