Everyday Mom's Meals: November 2022

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Welcome Holiday Season

 If it was up to me, the Christmas tree would go up the minute the clock struck midnight on November 1st, but alas, I have a husband who believes it should stay in the shed until after Thanksgiving. But guess what, the turkey leftovers are in the fridge, all of the fall decor is packed away and I am currently typing in the glow of a beautifully lit balsam fir. 

December arrives this week, and before we have a chance to blink Christmas day will be upon us. We need to make sure to enjoy the next 28 days as much as possible. Sure, the hustle and bustle might stress us out a little, and if you're anything like me your to-do list is a mile long; but finding ways to find the magic and joy in the season are a must. 

After spending 12+ hours putting up the indoor decor on Friday, I was completely exhausted and ready to collapse into my recliner. However, the 6 year old had other plans. "Mommy, I want to put on Christmas jammies, watch Frosty and drink peppermint hot chocolate." 

That declaration resulted in him, daddy and mommy all laying on the floor snuggling, watching the movie while he sipped his holiday drink. (The teenager was at work, or there would have been 4 of us sharing that blanket.) As tired as I was, I wanted to soak in every second of this impromptu memory making moment. 

Plus, it reminded me that it was finally time to share a holiday inspired recipe with all of you. Whipped Hot Chocolate takes your hot cocoa game to the next level. It's super easy and the perfect treat to enjoy after building a snowman or while you watch Rudolph or White Christmas. 

The next 4 weeks are going to fly by, but my wish for you are those tiny moments that come out of  nowhere and fill your heart with the Christmas spirit and love. 


Whipped Hot Chocolate

1/4 cup milk chocolate hot chocolate powder mix 

2-3 cups chocolate milk, warmed

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted

Mini Marshmallows

Chocolate Sprinkles

In a large metal bowl that has been chilled, whisk together hot chocolate mix and powdered sugar. Add heavy cream and whisk just until combined. Using an electric mixer, beat until soft peaks form. Transfer mixture to piping bag. Divide chocolate milk between 2 mugs. Pipe whipped mixture onto each. Garnish with marshmallows and sprinkles. 


Shared at Weekend Potluck

Sunday, November 13, 2022

Thanksgiving Leftovers

 With just a little over a week left before the biggest foodie holiday of the year, I hope you are putting the final touches on your menu. I can almost smell the turkey roasting and taste the pumpkin pie. It is officially time to get excited.

With the big meal planned, maybe it is time we start to look past Thanksgiving itself, and begin to brainstorm what we are going to do with all those leftovers. 

Sure there will be turkey sandwiches and other dishes made from what was cooked and enjoyed. But what about leftover ingredients? The stuff you bought too much of and didn't use? This year I decided to focus on those for leftover inspiration.

This copycat soup recipe comes from a dish Panera customers look forward to every fall. Their Autumn Squash Soup is filled with flavor and a menu favorite. 

If you find yourself with an extra butternut squash laying around after all the holiday guests go home, or maybe you need to feed a few lingering ones, this tasty soup would be the perfect way to use it up.

Or if you are serving a multiple course Thanksgiving meal, this could also be a great addition to your menu as a first course. 

Squash soup is a thick, stick to your ribs meals perfect for a cold night. If you are looking for a thinner soup, simply add a little extra broth and/or cream. I garnished with crunchy croutons, but pumpkin seeds or other nuts would be delicious too. 

I hope you and yours have a very Happy Thanksgiving, filled with those you love most, sharing a tasty meal and making memories to last a lifetime. 

Copycat Panera Autumn Squash Soup

1 large butternut squash, peeled and cubed

3 large carrots, peeled and chopped

2 apples, peeled and chopped

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree

3 TBS vegetable oil

3 cups chicken broth, more if desired

1/2 cup heavy cream, more if desired

1 tsp. ground ginger

1 tsp. cinnamon

2 TBS brown sugar

Salt and pepper 

Preheat oven to 425. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Place squash on one baking sheet and onions and carrots on the other. Mix 1 TBS oil with carrots and onions and 2 TBS over squash. Roast for 20-30 minutes until fork tender. While veggies cook, mix apples and garlic with 2 TBS water in a large stock pot or Dutch oven. Cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly until tender. Set aside. When vegetables are cooked, add to pot. Add chicken broth and mix well. Using an immersion blender, puree mixture until smooth. Place pot over medium heat. Add cream, ginger, cinnamon, brown sugar and pumpkin. Stir well. Cook about 15 minutes until heated through. Season with salt and pepper. If too thick, add extra broth or cream to desired consistency. 

Sunday, November 6, 2022

Here Comes Cousin Eddie

Every year during the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, I begin to think about all those families who will be traveling to see loved ones during the holiday season. From Turkey Day right up until Christmas, houses will fill up with holiday guests, and let's be honest, some might just camp out for the month between the two holidays! 

When I think of holiday house guests, thoughts of Cousin Eddie begin to conjure in my head. The infamous character from National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation gives a whole new meaning to "make yourself at home." He shows up uninvited, with the family and the ugliest RV known to man in tow, and declares they will be staying until the New Year. 

Obviously, most holiday company doesn't act like Eddie, but having extra people in the house, no matter how many or for how long, means more mouths to feed; and not just for the big holiday meal. If you're hosting, you will likely need to plan meals for a few days.

In that spirit, I always try to post "normal" meal ideas, making that planning just a little bit easier. Things to feed that crowd once the leftovers run out but don't keep you busy in the kitchen missing out on the fun. 

This Easy Baked Ziti is a pasta casserole that will wow the pickiest of eaters, is filled with layers of flavor, but still super simple to make. Perfect for a weeknight meal, or for those who like to do pasta during the holidays too.

If you have holiday company coming, start planning now so you aren't scrambling when they want to know "what's for supper" every day, for their extended stay!


Easy Baked Ziti

1 lb. ziti

1 lb. Italian sausage

1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 (15 oz.) container whole milk ricotta cheese

1 egg

1/4 cup + 1 TBS grated Parmesan cheese

3 TBS chopped fresh parsley

1 (24 oz.) jar tomato basil pasta sauce

1 (4 oz.) can tomato sauce

1 (14 oz.) can petite diced tomatoes, with juice

2 tsp. Italian seasoning

1/2 cup water

2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese

Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 375. In a large skillet, brown sausage with onion and garlic until no longer pink. Drain if necessary. Add diced tomatoes, water, pasta sauce and tomato sauce. Stir well. Add Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes until thickened. While sauce simmers, cook pasta to al dente and drain well. In a medium bowl combine ricotta, egg, 1 cup mozzarella, 1/4 cup Parmesan, 2 TBS parsley, salt and pepper. Stir well. 

To assemble: Lightly grease 9x13 baking dish. Add 1 cup sauce to bottom of dish and spread evenly. Top with half ziti. Top with all ricotta mixture and spread evenly. Top with half sauce. Sprinkle with 1 TBS Parmesan cheese. Add other half ziti, top with remaining sauce and mozzarella. Bake for 30 minutes. Garnish with fresh parsley. 


Shared at Weekend Potluck