Everyday Mom's Meals: August 2021

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