Everyday Mom's Meals: February 2022

Sunday, February 20, 2022

Silver Linings

 Are there things that changed in your life over the last two years due to the pandemic that you don't see changing soon? Silver linings that came from a horrible shared situation for all of us that you can see the value in and are thankful for? With how hard these past 24 months have been, I know it's hard to see the good sometimes, but I truly believe they can be found if you look.

One of the things that came about because of the pandemic in my world is a new Facebook page for our community that has grown into something nobody could have ever imagined. In March of 2020 when the governor announced all restaurants had to shut their doors to dine-in customers, for hopefully 2 weeks, a group of people in our city immediately started a public page aimed at supporting local restaurants for take out/curbside business. Many were trying to quickly adapt to focus on carry out orders, and some that had never even offered carry out were trying to figure out how to implement it so they could keep the lights on.

The idea of this page was simple. Share pictures and shout outs to local restaurants and spread the word about their food, staff and support this new world of carry out as much as possible. Well, I am here to tell you this page exploded! By the time restaurants could reopen their dining rooms in May, there were thousands of followers and local joints saw their carry out business double or even triple. 

Now here we are almost 2 years later, and the page is still going strong, and has turned into this amazing place for the community to come together to share restaurants recommendations, ask questions, share terrific meals, give shout outs to the servers, staff and owners who are working so hard, and in some ways still struggling. 

Our city has a pretty amazing foodie community, and this Facebook page has shone a light on it in a way I don't think any of could have imagined. There is no doubt it will stick around long after we say good-bye to this pandemic once and for all.

With all that being said, I still love finding ways to enjoy great take out quality recipes at home. This Korean Beef and Cabbage is a quick cooking stir fry with simple ingredients that is full of flavor and can be on your table in almost no time! In about the time it takes to steam some rice to serve it over! 

Oh, that reminds me of another great thing about the last 2 years. If your local grocery store is out of things you need, have you ever stopped by an Asian market? We have quite a few around us, and while we've always shopped them, they became a God send when we couldn't find things in our other stores. In fact, the soy sauce and sesame oil I used in this recipe game from our favorite Asian market! (Hence the total random thought at the end of this post.)

 The world has been put through the ringer over the last two years, but I bet if you look closely, and think really hard you might be able to find a silver lining of your own that was a blessing in disguise. Something you've decided to keep around once you throw your mask away once and for all; and years from now when you look back, you can actually be grateful for. 


Korean Beef and Cabbage

1 lb. ground beef

1/4 cup soy sauce

1 TBS sesame oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tsp. ground ginger

1 cup carrots, shredded

2 cups cabbage, coarsely chopped 

1 (14 oz.) can bean sprouts, drained, rinsed and patted dry

Cooked white rice for serving

In a small bowl whisk together soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic and ginger. Set aside. In a large skillet over medium high heat, brown beef until no longer pink. Add cabbage and carrots and sauté for a few minutes until they just begin to soften. Add bean sprouts and sauce. Stir well and sauté about 5 minutes for flavors to develop. Serve immediately with cooked rice and extra soy if desired.

Monday, February 14, 2022

Mom's Version Will Always Be Our Favorite

 Do you have a recipe, or maybe a few, that no matter how many times you make it, it will never taste as good or "just right" the way mom did? Hers will forever and always taste better and you've just accepted it? 

For me, mom's meatloaf and beef and noodles are at the time of that list. The meatloaf I have come to terms with and mine is SOOOO close I can live with it. The beef and noodles? I don't even try. If we are craving them, mom is inviting us over for the real deal.

Another one that used to be on that list, but over the years I've done a pretty good job at perfecting it, is her goulash. For many years mine was missing something, although I could never put my finger on it. I always used the same recipe as she did, so who knows. Maybe I've just gotten used to mine enough that I don't notice it anymore.

The really funny thing about this recipe is a story from when I was first married, almost 19 years ago. Mr. E asked me if I knew how to make goulash. I told him yes and would do so. He explained that his grandma's was his favorite but he hadn't had it in years. A few nights later I made him mine, learned from my mom (and her mom before her) and before I could say a word he exclaimed "You got Grandma's recipe from her!! This is perfect." 

I just stared at him in astonishment, and then finally revealed it was my family's version, not his. He was gobsmacked because it was exactly how he remembered. I asked his grandma and yep...it was the exact way she had made it when he was growing up. How cool is it that two grandmas, one in Indiana and another in Pennsylvania, made a classic dish the same way, and their grandkids would meet, marry and then carry on that tradition, from both sides of the family?! 

This easy goulash is by far one of my go-to meals. It is quick cooking, budget friendly and always a hit. It feeds a few or a crowd since it can easily be doubled. 

If there is a recipe from your mom you just can't seem to get right, keep trying...one day your kids will thank you and hopefully learn to make it too!

 Easy Goulash

1 lb. ground beef

1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves minced

1 lb. elbow macaroni

1 (26 oz.) jar spaghetti sauce

1 TBS olive oil

Salt and Pepper

Cook macaroni according to package directions. In a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium high heat, sauté onion in oil until soft, about 3 minutes. Add beef and garlic. Continue to cook until no longer pink, about 10 minutes. Season wit salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low. When pasta is cooked, drain well. Add sauce and elbows to beef mixture. Mix well. Allow to cook on low about 10 minutes to let flavors develop. Serve with Parmesan cheese if desired.

Shared at Weekend Potluck






Sunday, February 6, 2022

Snow Days

Old Man Winter decided he wanted to make a dramatic entrance here in Indiana this past week. Dumping over a foot of snow between Wednesday and Thursday, forcing schools to close for 3 days and the city to kind of shut down for a good 24 hours. We are still digging out as of today- If the city plows are reading this-I'm looking at you and would love if my housing addition could be on your list soon!

The minute the forecast threw out words like Winter Storm Warning, the grocery stores became mad houses. Oh, and the gas stations! They were 4 cars deep when I stopped in on Tuesday! But the stores definitely took the brunt of the panic buying. Add that on top of the already bare shelves we've been dealing with for weeks now, and it was definitely a "take what you can get" situation. 

Soup aisles were emptied quickly, and who can blame us? When the flakes are falling, school is cancelled and it's a good ole fashion snow day, nothing tastes better than a big pot of soup! Something warm to come inside to after building that snowman, sledding or just shoveling for the umpteenth time. 

We love broccoli cheese soup and I have a few versions I make, including a terrific copycat of Panera's. This one has quickly become a favorite with it's use of fresh broccoli and the Crock Pot doing it's magic. 

I feel like this is where I need to add a disclaimer to this for you. We all know the price of everything is up these days, and fresh produce is something I've noticed costing more every single week. The 4 crowns of broccoli I used in this cost me close to $8- and that was at Aldi! For someone on a strict grocery budget that can take your breath away. Add in the cream and shredded cheese, I completely understand if you can't just swing this shopping list right now; but maybe watch for sales and treat yourself when you can! 

Crock Pot Broccoli and Cheese Soup is creamy, delicious and makes a great half in a soup and sandwich combo supper on a cold night, especially if you're having a snow day!

Crock Pot Broccoli Cheese Soup

5 cups chopped broccoli, about 4 large crowns, finely chopped

1 medium yellow onion, diced 

2 celery ribs, diced

5 cups chicken broth 

1/4 cup cornstarch

2 TBS butter

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

 1 1/2 cups heavy cream

4 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

salt and pepper

Add chopped broccoli, butter, celery and onion to Crock Pot. Season with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Mix cornstarch with chicken broth and pour into Crock Pot. Stir well. Cook on LOW 4-6 hours. Add cream and stir well. Add cheese in batches, stirring between each. Cook on HIGH for 30 minutes until cheese is melted and incorporated. Garnish with extra cheese if desired.

Shared at Weekend Potluck