Everyday Mom's Meals: April 2022

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Comfort Food For A Busy Day

Spring has definitely arrived in Indiana. Well, some days. This weekend it's been sunny, windy and 80. Beautiful! Last week it was rainy and cold. The forecast tells us by Tuesday it is only a high of 49. Yep, every season within one week, that's how we roll.

So if I am meal planning based on the weather, it can get quite interesting. Grilling out when it feels like summer, and then craving soup when we are chilled to the bone from being out in the rain. There are many days my attempts to be "seasonally correct" with supper fail; but one thing I can always depend on tasting so good at the end of a long day is some old fashion comfort food. 

Crock Pot Swedish Meatballs are a perfect example of this. Creamy, flavorful and perfect piled on some buttery egg noodles, it's a hearty, delicious meal we can enjoy no matter what Mother Nature throws at us. 

One reason why my boys love this supper so much is the close resemblance to my Crock Pot Beef Stroganoff, one of my husband's favorite dishes ever. Slow cooked beef mixed with rich sour cream, they share very similar flavor notes.

Let's talk frozen meatballs for a bit. If you haven't used them in a while, in my opinion they have come a long way in the last few years. Even the store brands (which are always cheaper) have great flavor and cook up perfectly in the slow cooker every time I use them. I love the fact they come in both Italian and homestyle varieties for different dishes. I've even found some "flame broiled" ones that I keep in the freezer and heat up for little man for a quick lunch!

We love these served over wide egg noodles, just like stroganoff, but they would be really yummy with some cooked rice or mashed potatoes too! Add some steamed broccoli on the side and dinner is done!

I am so happy spring is here! Now if it would only stick around for more than two days at a time. Thank goodness comfort food tastes great in the sun....rain...wind...flurries...whatever it decides to do this week!

 Crock Pot Swedish Meatballs

2 lb. frozen homestyle meatballs

1 (14 oz) can beef broth

1 can cream of mushroom soup

8 oz. sour cream

1 tsp garlic powder

2 TBS Worcestershire sauce 

1 pouch onion soup mix

1 lb. extra wide egg noodles

3 TBS butter

2 TBS dried parsley 

In a bowl whisk together soup, broth, garlic powder, Worcestershire and onion soup mix. Place meatballs in Crock Pot. Pour soup mixture over. Stir well. Cook on LOW 6-8 hours. 30 minutes before finished, add sour cream, stir well and cook to heat through. Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain well. Add butter and parsley. Serve meatballs over buttered egg noodles.


Shared at Weekend Potluck

Sunday, April 10, 2022

50 Cent Inspiration

 I have never been one of those people who complain about grocery shopping. It's actually something I've always enjoyed. Sure, part of it is the fact that since 2004 when I became a full time SAHM, the weekly trip to the grocery store was a little bit of "me" time and many times included a drive-thru sandwich or Starbucks stop! 

But I truly do find happiness in meal planning and making my grocery list every week. New recipes, old recipes, finding the best price on things we need, saving money...all of these things make me smile.

 Lately though, my joy has been taken from me. With all the empty shelves, and every single thing on my list being more expensive, I tend to get a little grumpy while shopping. I grumble under my breath and get annoyed because I have to replan meals or my budget is blown. 

I know we are all in the same boat when it comes to the state of the world today, so I'm not looking for sympathy...just typing it allows me to vent a little! But this story also comes with a silver lining and a moment of joy!

A couple weeks ago as I was walking through Walmart, a sign reading "2 for $1" caught my eye. A deal like that I had to check out and was so glad I did. Pepperidge Farm bagged stuffing mix!? Seriously? Those are usually almost $3! I guess they had gobs of them leftover from Thanksgiving, but the expiration date wasn't until June, so score! 

I immediately knew what I was going to do with this 50 cent bargain. I have been wanting to make chicken and stuffing casserole for eons, but just never got around to it. No more. Now was the time! 

So, the stuffing was dirt cheap, but the chicken, not so much. But in today's world it's a give and take. Since the rest of the ingredients for this are mostly inexpensive pantry items, it ended up being rather budget friendly. 

We DEVOURED this! Seriously, one of the Top 5 casseroles I have ever made. Simple flavors but so, so delicious. Comfort food at its very best. Perfect for a simple weeknight meal! (Especially since you can make the chicken ahead of time!)

I know many, many families are like ours and will be enjoying a big glazed ham on Easter, but if you are making chicken or turkey...remember this for the leftovers. Or, if by the middle of the next week when you've eaten as many ham leftovers as you can stand, this would be a great way to mix it up. 

Oh, and if you can't find the awesome deal on stuffing like I did- any brand will do- just make sure you have the correct amount. I think a box is 6 ounces, so this is how I would handle it. I would buy 2 boxes and use a full and half for 9 ounces or if you don't want to waste, only use the 6 ounce box and I bet you won't miss the other 2 ounces. But still use the entire stick of butter! 

Grocery shopping is very interesting these days. I hope having a meal with simple ingredients, that you might even find on sale, helps to take just a little stress out of your weekly trip and meal planning!

Chicken and Stuffing Casserole

2 lbs. boneless chicken breasts, about 3-4

8 oz. dry stuffing mix 

2 celery stalks

1 small yellow onion, quartered

4 chicken bouillon cubes

1 cup milk

1 stick butter, melted

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 can cream of chicken soup

Salt and Pepper

Fresh Parsley

Place chicken in a large pot with celery, onion, salt and pepper. Cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium for a gentle boil and cook about 20 minutes until cooked through. Remove chicken and celery. Discard onion. Save broth for another use, if desired. 

Allow chicken to cool to handle. Shred with hands, two forks or mixer with paddle attachment. Chop cooked celery. 

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a 9x13 baking dish. In a large bowl whisk together both soups and milk. Add shredded chicken and celery. Season with salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Transfer to baking dish. 

In another bowl mix dry stuffing mix with melted butter until moist. Top chicken mixture with stuffing mix. Cover and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and cook for additional 15 minutes, or browned on top. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve.

Shared at Weekend Potluck

Sunday, April 3, 2022

It's All In The Sauce

When I am thinking about a copycat recipe from a favorite restaurant the brainstorming and research that goes into what gives the dish the "it factor" can sometimes take a while to gather and perfect before I am ready to recreate it. 

I want to make sure it tastes as close to the original as possible. I love the look on my boys' faces when they bite into a dish and immediately say "This tastes just like it!" It gives me a great sense of accomplishment and fills my foodie heart with joy.

Years ago I tried to make an at home version of McDonald's Filet-O-Fish and I will 100% admit I was lazy. It looked pretty simple from the outside. Fish. Cheese. Tartar. Bun. Done. Well, I wasn't quite into the details as I am now (at the time I think Alex was maybe 3-4 and I was just trying to get people fed). 

This time around I decided it was time to do a little research to see what I could do to get them spot on. I knew 3 things for sure going into it. The fish has to be breaded not battered, the cheese has to be American and finally, that tartar sauce. Oh, the sauce. Let's face it, to make a copycat of this famous sandwich, the secret is in the sauce! That is where the flavor comes from and what needs to be perfected to make sure it tastes like you stopped at the drive-thru.

After reading some recipes online and articles speculating what was in the sauce, one ingredient stood out that I would have never guessed. Capers! I love capers and they give McD's tartar sauce that little something extra that makes you crave a filet-o-fish at 10 o'clock at night. Oh, that's just me? Oops.

The fish fillets I found were just the "normal" ones and I used 2 per sandwich because they are kind of skinny. Sometimes you can find ones labeled "for sandwiches" and they are more square shaped-and would be perfect for these! 

With many of us needed weekly meat-free meals during Lent, this was the perfect time to share this fishy secret recipe with you! Grab some fries and dinner is done!

 Copycat McDonald's Filet-O-Fish 

8 frozen breaded fish fillets, cooked 

8 slices American cheese

Hamburger Buns

Tartar Sauce:

1/2 c. mayonnaise

1/4 c. dill pickle relish

1 tsp. lemon juice

1/8 tsp. sugar

1 TBS capers, chopped

2 tsp. dried onions, chopped

2 tsp. milk

1 tsp. dried parsley

In a small bowl, whisk ingredients for tartar sauce. Chill for 1 hour. Bake fish according to directions, adding a few minutes for extra crispiness. When finished assemble the sandwiches: Add the fish fillets, cheese slice and a big dollop of tartar sauce. Serve immediately.


Shared at Weekend Potluck