Everyday Mom's Meals: January 2022

Sunday, January 23, 2022

I Didn't Love Them As A Kid

When I was growing up I did not enjoy some "kid friendly" foods other children my age craved. For example, I was not a fan of tacos or corn dogs. How did this occur? Well, my dad was a meat and potatoes kind of guy, and some of those "fun" foods weren't ones my mom made. But she also raised me right, and every time I was at a friend's house for supper and it was taco night, I ate with a smile and didn't utter a word! 

It wasn't until I was a teenager I learned to enjoy Mexican food and Chinese food, and they quickly became favorites. Ironically, my dad loves Mexican food now too! Once he got a taste for it, he couldn't get enough, and he would be happy to see tacos on his supper table these days. 

I was actually an adult before I tasted a corn dog I truly enjoyed. It was at a local street fair and Alex wanted one, so we shared. Oh my gosh! I ended up getting another one. I had to know why this one tasted different from any other I had every tried. Have you guessed it yet? Honey. The extra bite of sweetness put the flavor over the top for me and since that day, I have loved them as much as my kids, as long as they contain that magic ingredient. 

Imagine my delight when I found boxed, frozen corn dogs at Aldi that declared right on the box "made with honey in the batter!" They have become a staple in our house, so when I saw this new internet craze, I knew they would be perfect for this brilliant idea.

Take frozen corn dogs, take the stick out, add some chili, cheese and onions and ta-da...Chili Cheese Corn Dogs! How genius! 

Looking for a simple supper this week that the kids will love? Done! Trying to plan the menu for your Super Bowl party in a few weeks? Done! 

I wasn't a picky eater as a kid, Lord knows mom wouldn't have allowed that; but how funny is it the few things I didn't enjoy were ones other kids begged for? Thank goodness I grew to love them all so my kids could too! 


Chili Cheese Corn Dogs

2 (6 count) boxes frozen corn dogs

2 (15 oz.) cans chili without beans

2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1 medium white onion, diced

1/4 cup yellow mustard

Preheat oven to 375. Bake corn dogs for 13-15 minutes, or according to package directions. While corn dogs bake, warm chili on stove top. Once corn dogs are cooked through, carefully remove stick. Using a sharp knife, cut down the center of each corn dog. Squeeze or spoon a small amount of mustard into each. Spoon chili into each. Top with shredded cheese. Bake for 10 minutes more until cheese is melted. Top with diced onion.


Sunday, January 16, 2022

I Am Freezing

 It's winter in Indiana. I get it. It's going to be cold. I'm almost 41 years old,  I've lived here all my life and I'm well aware of just how frigid it is going to get. But guess what, that doesn't stop me from complaining about it every. single. year. 

I love the fact I still live 15 minutes from where I grew up. I am thankful we are so close to family and my boys get to grow up with their grandparents and loved ones near by. (My grandparents were 6 hours away in PA when I was little, so I know just how lucky we are.) But there are days, when the cold is so brutal it takes your breath away, I do say to myself "Why do I live in a place where my face hurts?" Then I crank the heat and get on with my day. 

On the days when it's especially cold, do you find yourself even more exhausted when you get home? I don't know if it's a mental thing, or maybe when you finally get home and can put on some fuzzy slippers and cozy clothes you just hit a wall, but if I have been out in the face-hurting cold during the day, I am extra tired by the time supper rolls around.

On these days all I want is something warm, something quick and something delicious. Of course soup is the first thing to mind; and 9 times out of 10 I will have my slow cooker working on something all day long so I have to do almost nothing when it's time to eat, but what if I told you that you can have a tasty bean soup, cooked on the stove top and on the table in about 30 minutes? Think it's impossible? Think again! 

This Butter Bean Soup is one I've been making since we were newlyweds, almost 19 years ago! I saw it in a Taste of Home Magazine and was immediately intrigued because I loved butter beans. Plus, my cooking skills were not up to par yet, and using canned beans sounded so much easier than pre-soaking and slow cooking. Oh, and I worked out side the home at that point, so supper was something I had to do quick when we both got home and starving. 

I love that this soup is so veggie friendly. You can use whatever you have in the crisper drawer and even frozen ones if that's all you have. Sautéing the veggies first really help to develop their sugars, adding the flavor. Boxed broth or stock gives in a depth of flavor you can normally only find in soups that have cooked all day; but I guarantee this one will fake everyone out! 

If you are a planner, you could even chop the veggies the night before so they are ready to go when you get home. This is a great one to have beginner cooks start with too. Maybe the kids are old enough they start supper before you get home. ( I used to do this all the time for my mom when she worked.) Add some crusty bread or cheese and crackers and dinner can be on the table in about a half hour!

I am a very hot blooded person. So if I say I'm freezing, you know it's cold! Wintertime in Indiana means many things to Hoosiers, but for this girl it means whining a little, and cooking soup... a LOT!


Butter Bean Soup 

3 celery ribs, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

1 small onion, chopped

1 medium zucchini, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 (32 oz) boxes chicken broth

3 TBS vegetable oil

2 (15 oz.) cans baby butter beans, drained

3 TBS flour

1 tsp. dried basil

salt and pepper 

In a large pot, heat oil over medium. Add onion, celery, carrot and zucchini. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until soft, about 5-7 minutes, stirring to prevent burning. Add flour, cook and stir for 1 minute. Gradually add broth stirring until smooth. Add butter beans and basil. Adjust seasoning. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 20-25 minutes or until slightly thick.


Shared at Weekend Potluck


Sunday, January 9, 2022

Take The Help When You Can

 You will never hear me being critical of anyone who has a shopping cart with convenience ingredients inside of it. I think we all need to take a little help where we can and if getting supper on the table means using a box rice mix, I say go for it! 

For our house taking some help from the store now and again doesn't bother me because I know my kids are still getting plenty of fresh meat, veggies, fruits....a well balanced diet. So that can of condensed soup, frozen chicken nuggets, box of macaroni and cheese occasionally doesn't haunt me. 

But let's talk about what the real tragedy is. The fact there are people in this country who are limited to processed, boxed foods because that is all they can afford. They would love to buy some fresh meat and produce, but the prices make it so they have to choose between that and paying the heating bill. So, they do what they can with what they have. 

For me, using these types of foods is a choice and that is why I will never judge those that is is a necessity. We have to do a better job in this country of making fresh, healthy food as budget friendly as the stuff we are constantly told isn't good for us. Every single person deserves to have access to better nutrition choices.

Okay, rant over. Let's talk about this recipe. Yes, it uses jarred Alfredo sauce. Can I make homemade? I sure can. I have a very easy, and delicious recipe for it; but for this recipe it's about a convenience factor for those extra busy nights. This flavorful sauce comes together in the time it takes the pasta to cook. We love it with penne, but it would be just as yummy with linguine, angel hair or even bowties. 

If you need a little help from the store to make sure your family is fed and full after a long day, don't apologize for it. In the past 2 years I think we've all learned a little more how scary empty shelves can be, and we can appreciate a meal, in whatever capacity it comes a little more. Use the jarred spaghetti sauce, make the casserole with condensed soup, heat up some frozen fish sticks...and then try to add some extra freshness in the next day's meal! 

 Creamy Marinara Sauce
2 lbs. penne pasta, cooked and drained
2 (14.5 oz) cans petite diced tomatoes, drained well
2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes with basil and oregano, undrained
2 (15 oz.) jars Alfredo sauce
1 cup milk
1 TBS olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. dried parsley
2 tsp. Italian seasoning
salt and pepper to taste

While pasta cooks, in a large skillet over medium heat, sauté garlic in olive oil for 1 minute. Add undrained diced tomatoes. Stir well. After 3 minutes, add Alfredo sauce, milk and petite diced tomatoes. Bring to a bubble. Reduce heat, add seasonings and simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring often. When pasta is cooked, drain well. Return pasta to hot pot. Add about half the sauce to hot pasta and stir well. Top individual portions of pasta with more sauce.

Shared at Weekend Potluck

Sunday, January 2, 2022

20 Minute Side Dish and New Floors

 As of November, we have owned this house for 19 years. What started out as our "starter home" we would only be in for a few years, has become the place we've built our life. We came here as newlyweds after our honeymoon, where both of our boys came home from the hospital to, and the place Adam recovered after PE in both lungs almost took him from us 7 years ago. These four walls have seen countless birthdays, holiday celebrations, special moments, tears from sorrow...the list goes on and on. 

So why did we end up staying here so long? The simple answer is life. I could go deeper, but we will just leave it at that. But we are finally at a place where we can start to do some things we've wanted to for a very long time, as far as fixing things up a little goes. 

Back in September my dad, along with the hubby's help, laid new vinyl flooring down in our kitchen, forever covering the circa 1970's green linoleum. As I told someone, after almost two decades, I finally had a kitchen floor I loved. 

Then in November, just before Thanksgiving, it was the bathroom's turn. My dad spent a week replacing the tile flooring with beautiful vinyl plank wood; and it is beautiful! 

I can't tell you how much I love walking into both of these rooms now, not only because they are gorgeous, but because they are filled with love. They were truly a family project and I am so grateful dad could take the time and execute what I had dreamed of.

So what does new flooring have to do with this recipe? The day I tested this simple side dish, my dad was knee deep in flooring, trim and paint in the bathroom. I offered him some for lunch, and without any words I knew the dish was 100% successful. His eyes and noises as he chewed said it all. 

Take advantage of the frozen pierogies and this delicious side dish can be on your table in about 20 minutes! I served it with smoked sausage, but it would be so tasty with pork chops, ham, chicken, or burgers. 

Pierogies have quickly becomea favorite dish in our house, after I first started making them just a couple years ago. We love them as is, just sautéed in a little butter, in casseroles or finished off with yummy toppings like this dish.

These are inspired by what we all love on a loaded baked potato. Bacon. Cheese. Green onions. Did I mention bacon? Served with a little sour cream on the side and all the flavors are there!

Loaded Pierogies are not only a simple weeknight side dish, but you could absolutely put out a big platter of them at your next party or game day bash. The Super Bowl will be here before you know it and any football fan would love some pierogie nachos! 

My new flooring is beautiful and makes me smile daily. I share this story with you to show even if things take years to get done, keep working towards the goal. Don't lose sight. Try not to get discouraged. Sometimes the best things come to those who wait! 

Loaded Pierogi Skillet 

1 (16 oz.) box frozen cheese pierogi

1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1 (2.5 oz) bag real bacon bits

2 green onions chopped

2-3 TBS butter 

In a large skillet over melt butter over medium high heat. Saute pierogies in butter for 3-4 minutes on each side until golden brown. Sprinkle with cheese, bacon and onions. Cover. Reduce heat to low for 5 minutes until cheese begins to melt. Serve immediately.

Shared at Weekend Potluck