Everyday Mom's Meals: 2023

Sunday, December 3, 2023

Holiday Help

 This time of year your friendly food bloggers are filling your feeds with beautiful holiday desserts, festive cookies and candies, and delicious ideas to make your Christmas dinner the best one yet. Thank goodness for them! But since they have all of us covered on that front, I tend to take another approach. 

I don't have a new cookie technique to share or a secret to making that glazed ham even tastier on Christmas day but what I have to share might just take some stress out of the season. 

I always try to give you a recipe that can be used a couple different ways. Maybe you need a quick weeknight supper before you rush off to the next school holiday concert. Or perhaps you are planning on a houseful of guests this Christmas and you need inspiration on how to keep them fed beyond the main holiday meal. 

This year I have a super easy pasta bake that is a great hack when you are craving lasagna but not all the work that comes with it! Lasagna casserole hits all the same flavor notes, but can be on the table in less than an hour. 

I know how hectic and stressful the holiday season can be. Please remember it doesn't have to be! This time of year is supposed to be filled with joy, love, peace and those people who mean the most in the world to you. 

If you start to feel like you might pull your hair out, take a breath and take solace in the true reason for the season. The promise of a baby who came into this world to save us all. A king who was born in a stable. Love came down at Christmas and may it fill our hearts this year now more than ever. 


Lasagna Casserole

What kind of egg noodles should I use?

I like the wide ones for this casserole since they are boiled and then baked too. Anything smaller sometimes turns to mush in the oven. 

Can I make lasagna casserole ahead? 

While I haven't tried it, I think you could! Prepare recipe as stated and then chill in fridge, covered overnight. When ready to bake, remove from fridge and let come to room temp for about 20 minutes. Bake at 350 but for about 10-15 extra minutes. 

Can I use another meat? 

Sure! Italian sausage, mild or hot, and ground turkey or chicken would all work.

What if I don't like cottage cheese? 

The cottage cheese makes this extra creamy. If you don't want to use it, I would add another cup of ricotta or 1 cup of sour cream. 

Can I freeze lasagna casserole?

I never recommend freezing pasta bakes due to the noodles, but if it is something you do, then go for it!

 Best Tips:

If the chunks in the cottage cheese bother your family, mash it up with a fork or potato masher first.

I prefer whole milk ricotta over skim for a richer, creamier texture. 

An Italian blend shredded cheese would be a great swap for mozzarella. 

Sprinkle Parmesan on each layer for even more cheese. 

If using an Italian sausage, be sure to drain the grease very well. 

Do not over cook the noodles so they don't get mushy. 

Lasagna Casserole


Lasagna Casserole

8 oz. wide egg noodles

1 lb. ground beef

2 cups marinara sauce

1 tsp. Italian seasoning

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 tsp. onion powder

1 cup whole milk ricotta

1 cup small curd cottage cheese

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

1 TBS fresh parsley, chopped, divided use

Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Cook noodles until al dente. Drain well. In a large skillet brown beef. Drain if necessary. Add sauce and seasonings. In a large bowl combine cooked noodles, ricotta and cottage cheese. Mix well. Grease 9x13 baking dish. Add half noodle mixture. Top with half sauce. Sprinkle with half shredded cheese. Repeat layers. Top with rest of shredded cheese. Bake for 20-30 minutes until heated through and browned. Sprinkle with parsley and serve. 

Lasagna Casserole

Sunday, November 12, 2023

Thanksgiving Wishes

 With only TEN days until Thanksgiving, I hope your menus are starting to come together. Mine is planned, the turkey has been purchased and is waiting in the freezer, as are the fresh cranberries. Next Sunday the bird will make its way into the fridge to begin thawing, and before you know it, the parade will be on and Santa will be making his way down 34th Street! 

Twelve years ago the EMM Thanksgiving recipe was for Pumpkin Dump Cake, and when I was trying to decide what this year's would be, I decided it was time for an update, beginning with the name. 

Don't get me wrong, I am not hating on anyone's "dump cake" game. The entire concept is you can dump all the ingredients together and bake. Super easy and the name completely makes sense. I just have this aversion to the word dump. It's one of those that makes me cringe every time I hear it. We all have those words, right? We will get to the new name in a bit.

The next step in this recipe upgrade was decided when I was wandering the baking aisle looking for the yellow cake mix that was on sale that week. That is when I found a spice cake mix and it was like the angels were singing right there in Walmart. 

Pumpkin and spice are a match made in heaven, after all they are the stars of an entire flavor craze every fall. So why not add another layer of flavor to this dessert, knowing it would be perfect for Thanksgiving dessert. 

Now, for the name. I still hadn't decided what I was going to name this 2023 version, until I took it out of the oven. The little guy was walking past and said "Mommy, your cobbler smells so good!" Ta-da! Sure, it's not a traditional cobber, but if it looks close enough for a 7 year old, that's good enough for this food blogger. 

If you have never made this style of "dump" (ugh!) dessert before, the most important things to remember are to use the cake mix dry, you will not need the oil and water on the back of the box, and yes, you truly do need both sticks of butter. This isn't the time to start counting calories! 

I hope your Thanksgiving is filled with bountiful blessings, people you love and memories to last a life time. And if you still need one more dessert, this Pumpkin Cobbler would be a tasty choice. 

Pumpkin Cobbler

What kind of pumpkin do I use?

For this recipe you want a can of pure pumpkin, not pumpkin pie mix. 

What kind of cake mix can I use instead of spice?

You could also use yellow cake mix or even white. I would love to try a gingerbread cake mix too.  

Do I have to use pecans?

You could swap them for chopped walnuts, or omit them completely.

What is Ceylon cinnamon?

Ceylon cinnamon has a lighter, brighter and spicier flavor than the cassia variety, which is what most of us use. I like using Ceylon when baking, but traditional ground cinnamon would work too.

Does this have to be refrigerated? 

Yes! Keep any leftovers in the fridge, covered for 2-3 days. I actually really like how this tastes chilled


Best Tips 

Make sure your 9x13 baking dish is deep enough to prevent spilling over.

The mixture is very wet. Don't be alarmed when it looks like soup before baking.

Be sure to pour the melted butter evenly over the top. This is how the cake mix turns into a crispy topping.

 If you use ground cinnamon instead of Ceylon, you might only want 1 teaspoon.

Ground nutmeg can be swapped for allspice.

Pumpkin Cobbler

1 (15 oz.) can pure pumpkin

1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk

3 eggs

2 tsp. Ceylon cinnamon

1/2 tsp. allspice

1/2 tsp. salt

1 (13.25 oz.) spice cake mix

2 sticks butter, melted

1/3 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350. Grease 9x13 baking dish. In a large bowl combine pumpkin, milk, eggs, cinnamon and salt. Stir well. Transfer to baking dish. Sprinkle with DRY cake mix. Sprinkle with pecans. Pour butter over top. Do NOT mix. Bake for 50-60 minutes until browned and a toothpick inserted into middle comes out mostly clean. If it is still loose in the middle, don't worry. It will continue to set as it cools down. Serve with whipped cream sprinkled with cinnamon. 

Pumpkin Cobbler

More Thanksgiving Recipes To Try:

Easy Corn Casserole

Cranberry Fluff

Praline Roasted Acorn Squash

Autumn Apple Fruit Salad

Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Casserole 

Orange Cranberry Sauce

Slow Cooker Acorn Squash

Autumn Brussels Sprouts Salad 

Skillet Candied Sweet Potatoes 

Slow Cooker Glazed Carrots

Sunday, October 29, 2023

Best Thanksgiving Side Dishes

November is almost here! Sure we are still waiting for the ghosts and goblins to ring the doorbell, but by the end of the week we will set our eyes on the next adventure. The biggest foodie holiday of the year. Thanksgiving is coming, and it is coming fast! 

Like me I know many of you are starting to plan those menus filled with yearly traditions that your table isn't complete without, but also wanting to add a few new things to keep it fresh too. 

So your friendly neighborhood food blogger is here to help! I've collected the best EMM Thanksgiving side dishes all in one spot for you to scroll through, pick your favorites and add them to your list! 


Best Thanksgiving Side Dishes


Crock Pot Creamed Corn

Crock Pot Creamed Corn


 Sheet Pan Macaroni & Cheese

Sheet Pan Macaroni & Cheese


Cranberry Fluff

Cranberry Fluff

Easy Corn Casserole

Easy Corn Casserole


 Praline Roasted Acorn Squash

Praline Roasted Acorn Squash


Autumn Brussels Sprouts Salad

Autumn Brussels Sprouts Salad


Slow Cooker Glazed Carrots

Slow Cooker Glazed Carrots


Green Bean Casserole 

Green Bean Casserole


 Roasted Butternut Squash with Pecans & Cranberries

Roasted Butternut Squash with Pecans & Cranberries


Cinnamon & Honey Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Cinnamon & Honey Roasted Sweet Potatoes


Roasted Acorn Squash

Roasted Acorn Squash


Autumn Apple Fruit Salad

Autumn Apple Fruit Salad


Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Casserole

Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Casserole


Orange Cranberry Sauce 

Orange Cranberry Sauce

 Slow Cooker Acorn Squash

Slow Cooker Acorn Squash


Skillet Candied Sweet Potatoes

Skillet Candied Sweet Potatoes

Green Bean Casserole Stuffed Mushrooms

Green Bean Casserole Stuffed Mushrooms


Butter Roasted Carrots 

Butter Roasted Carrots


 Cran-Apple Pecan Stuffing

Cran-Apple Pecan Stuffing


Roasted Carrots & Mushrooms 

Roasted Carrots & Mushrooms


Autumn Sweet Potato Salad

Autumn Sweet Potato Salad

 Roasted Parsnips & Carrots

Roasted Parsnips & Carrots


 Skillet Creamed Corn

Skillet Creamed Corn


Copycat Texas Roadhouse Green Beans 

Copycat Texas Roadhouse Green Beans


Maple Glazed Carrots 

Maple Glazed Carrots



Sunday, October 15, 2023

Leftovers Are Coming

For several years now I have felt like once Halloween hits, it is a downward coast until the first of the year. Seriously. It seems that as soon as the ghosts and goblins ring that doorbell, the next minute the turkey is coming out of the oven, Santa arrives and then it is time for New Year's Eve fun. 

In no way does that mean we can't enjoy each holiday as it comes, we just have to be ready for how quickly they will arrive. Plus, in the food world, we always have to be thinking ahead to make sure our posts are relevant to what you guys need from us. 

So back in August I took one for the team and roasted a whole turkey. Why? So I could have leftovers to test this recipe and offer up something for when the day after Thanksgiving arrives and everyone is Googling ways to use up all that extra bird sitting in the fridge. 

Enter an easy pot pie recipe that involves NO making a crust, cooks in about 30 minutes and is pure comfort food. It is perfect a simple weeknight supper, or post holiday meal. 

Plus, post Thanksgiving you might be able to use up other leftovers too. Got pie dough? Swap the biscuit mix for it! (Just adjust cooking time!) You can also use up veggies for the filling, and it would be so tasty served with some mashed potatoes and rolls on the side. There is so much you can do with this one easy recipe. 

Planners like me are already thinking ahead for the holidays. Halloween right through the new year are on our radar so we aren't leaving anything to chance!

Shortcut Turkey Pot Pie

Can I use a different meat?

Definitely! Cooked chicken would be just as delicious!  

Do I have to use condensed soup?

I know many prefer not to use canned soup, but for me, they are great for my quick recipes. If I was going to use something different it would be a quick pan gravy using chicken stock.  

What kind of biscuit mix do I use?

Of course Bisquick is everyone's go-to but I used a store brand from Walmart and it worked just fine. 

Do I have to thaw the vegetables first?

Yes! They have to thawed and drained so they don't add extra moisture to the pie.

Best Tips:

Use any all-purpose baking mix you have on hand. A cheddar bay boxed mix would make this extra delicious!

Cooked chicken or turkey both work equally well. 

If your pie plate is very full, place on a baking sheet before cooking to prevent a mess. 

Be sure to let the pie sit about 5 minutes before serving. 

Serve with mashed potatoes, a green salad, fresh fruit, rolls, etc.


Shortcut Turkey Pot Pie

1 1/2 cups cooked turkey, shredded or diced

1 (12 oz.) bag frozen mixed veggies thawed and drained well

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 cup biscuit baking mix

1/2 cup milk

1 egg, beaten

1/4 tsp. dried thyme 

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

Salt and pepper

Dried Parsley

Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl combine turkey, soup, veggies, thyme, salt and pepper. Pour into a lightly greased 9-inch pie plate. In a separate mixing bowl combine baking mix, milk and egg. Pour on top of turkey mixture. Do not stir. Bake for 30 minutes until golden brown. Let stand 5 minutes before cutting. Garnish with parsley for serving.

Shortcut Turkey Pot Pie

More Thanksgiving Recipes To Try

Easy Corn Casserole 

Roasted Butternut Squash with Pecans and Cranberries 

Cranberry Fluff 

Autumn Brussels Sprouts Salad

Cranberry Turkey Bites

Praline Roasted Acorn Squash


Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Thanksgiving with Diestel Turkey Ranch


 I know. I know. October just arrived and you read that title thinking "Stop. Let's enjoy every season." 

I agree. But I am also a planner. I am also the girl who can buy fall decor, Halloween candy and Christmas ornaments all in the same shopping trip. (True story. Happened yesterday!) Our family celebrates each holiday as they come, but I am always looking forward and thinking about what's coming. 

So at the end of summer when my friends at Diestel Turkey Ranch gave me a chance to try one of their organic, all-natural, heirloom turkeys I jumped at the chance. 

Since 1949 the Diestel Family Ranch has been a real family of farmers on a real working farm. They have never compromised their values to bring their customers the most delicious birds money can buy. 

These aren't your run of the mill turkeys either. From their Organic American Heirloom to The Original that started it all to even a Petite variety, and more, there is a bird for everyone and every occasion.

Diestel Turkey Ranch Turkeys

So with all those options, which one did I decide on? I'm all about convenience and since we would be trying ours right during the back to school rush, I opted for the Oven Roasted Whole Turkey. Yep! A delicious, precooked bird arrived on our doorstep! 

Diestel Oven Roasted Whole Turkey

All I had to do was heat and eat! And boy did we eat! This bird came out of the oven perfectly browned, moist, juicy and oh so delicious! It was like Thanksgiving on a random Tuesday night! 

Diestel Turkey Fresh From Oven


If you are hosting this holiday season, wow your guests with the best turkey they have ever tasted! Save yourself time with one that's already cooked, or try something with Pecan Smoked, Lemon-Herb or Mediterranean Brined variety! Having a smaller gathering? The Petite Whole Turkey would be perfect for only a few people! 

Want to learn more? You can find them:





You Tube 

Sunday, October 1, 2023

Cabbage Lovers

I think cabbage gets a bad wrap sometimes. It seems to be one of those love it or hate it vegetables. Even people who will eat coleslaw will hate on cabbage. Um...okay.

Our family can't get enough cabbage and I am always looking for new recipes to utilize it. Now the little guy isn't as big of fan as the rest of us; but he loves Brussels sprouts ( I know, makes no sense) so I don't push the subject. My kids are so NOT picky that when they find something they truly don't enjoy, as long as they express that without whining or complaining, I won't make them eat it. 

My latest cabbage craving came when I was meal planning, in need of side dishes, and I wanted a casserole. I started reading different recipes, but couldn't quite find exactly what I was after, until I stumbled upon this one. 

Amish Cabbage Noodle Casserole has easy ingredients, is perfect with any protein and has similar flavors to my Fried Cabbage & Noodles, our favorite cabbage recipe of all time!

If you are looking for new ways to get more cabbage into your meal plan, this casserole is just what you need. And I won't lie, I think it would be a great recipe to keep in the back of your mind for the holidays too! Something different to add to your table alongside all those traditional dishes we are looking forward to! 

Amish Cabbage & Noodle Casserole

What Kind Of Noodles To Use? 

My pick was medium egg noodles, but any size would work. You really want egg noodles and not a macaroni or dried pasta though.

What Kind Of Cabbage To Use?

Don't get fancy here. Good ol' green cabbage is all you need. As much as I enjoy other varieties I have no idea if/how they would work.

What Kind Of Cheese To Use?

Monterey Jack was my pick because I wanted the marbled coloring and flavor of white and yellow cheese. Mozzarella or Swiss would be great too. 

Do I Have To Use Cream Of Potato Soup?

I know many people don't like using condensed cream soups. However, I use them a lot in cooking, so I can't really provide a good substitution, other than saying cream of celery would be delicious too. 

Best Tips:

If your cream of potato soup has chunks of potato in it, simply use a slotted spoon to remove them. 

Cream of celery or mushroom soup could also be used.

Egg-less egg noodles would work too. 

If you cut recipe in half, still bake in a 9x13 dish.

Store leftovers in a covered dish in the fridge for 2-3 days. 

I have no idea if this would work in a Crock Pot. If you try it, let me know!


Amish Cabbage Noodle Casserole

2 TBS olive oil

1 medium head green cabbage, thinly sliced

1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

3 TBS fresh parsley, chopped

16 oz. medium egg noodles

2 cans cream of potato soup, potato chunks removed

2 cups milk

1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese 

Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9x13 baking dish with nonstick spray. In a large skillet heat oil over medium high heat. Sauté cabbage, onion and garlic until slightly brown and tender. Season with salt, pepper and two tablespoons parsley. Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain well. In a medium bowl whisk together soup and milk until smooth. Combine noodles, cabbage mixture and soup mixture and stir well. Transfer to prepared baking dish. Top with cheese and extra black pepper. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Garnish with remaining parsley before serving. 

Amish Cabbage Noodle Casserole

Inspired By All Free Casserole Recipes


Sunday, August 27, 2023

Long Lost Food Blogger

 Did you think your friendly neighborhood everyday mom abandoned you? I promise I haven't. Life is just crazy busy right now, and while I'm still in the kitchen cooking, most days I am relying on go-to recipes, quick stuff, and not even considering developing anything new for you. 

Let's see, the oldest graduated in May, summer came, we vacationed for 2 weeks on the beach, by the time we got home we had a month left before we had to move him to college. There was dorm shopping, school supply shopping, uniform shopping for the little guy, more dorm room shopping, and of course trips to the zoo, pool and library thrown in for fun. Oh, and a big 7 birthday in there too with three weekends of parties!

Then August came and it was time to pack up the car, set up the college freshman's dorm room and then drive away! Leave my baby! I won't lie, walking out of that room was the hardest thing I've ever done. Part of my heart is now two hours away. For almost 19 years, every moment of every day has been planned around him (and of course his baby brother too). My entire existence has been wrapped up in being his mom. It's a weird feeling to be bursting withe pride, and so excited for him all at the same time as feeling lost and a little heart broken. But you know what helps? His smile in every picture. His voice in every call. He is settling in and we can't wait to see what this year holds for him.

Here at home, we are learning to be a threesome. It still feels weird, and yes there are days when I cry because I miss him, but God knew what He was doing spreading my kids 12 years apart, because I am blessed to have a little boy who depends on and needs me. I have thrown myself into his world...I am  room mom for his 1st grade class, I just took on a Vice President role in PTL at his school, and I will be substituting aide in Kindergarten this year again. 

I am staying as busy as I can so I don't have to focus on missing my boy. I have taken on multiple projects for school and our annual fundraiser auction. Plus, I am busy with my work over on Parade.com as well. 

But guess what? Even with all of this I found time to come up with a little something new to share with all of you and I think you're going to love it!

Easy Orange Chicken only has a short ingredient list, starts with a bag of frozen chicken and is ready in almost no time! It is perfect or a busy weeknight and can easily be doubled for a bigger crowd! 

I am truly sorry I have been so absent lately; and I wish I could tell you things will get back to normal around here soon, but I think we are in a new normal, and I have to figure out exactly what that means. But I promise to keep coming up with yummy stuff to share, even if it comes a little more sporadically than before!

Easy Orange Chicken


What kind of chicken to use?

This recipe is great because it uses a bag of frozen boneless chicken wings. It would be delicious with chicken nuggets or tenders too! 

Do I have to use sesame oil?

I understand not wanting to buy an ingredient you might not use a lot, but if you love cooking Asian food at home, I highly recommend investing in a bottle. It adds so much flavor to so many dishes! 

Can I use orange juice instead of orange marmalade?

No. The marmalade is thick and helps to coat the chicken. Juice will make the sauce way too thin. 

Can I air fry the chicken?

Sure! Check the directions on the bag and any way they recommend to prepare it, go for it!

What kind of barbecue sauce should I use? 

Use whatever you have on hand or is your favorite. I always have a "normal" flavor to use in recipes that I can add other flavors too. With the sweetness of the marmalade something smoky/savory is perfect. 

Can I make this spicy?

You sure can! Add some red pepper flakes or chili crisp for extra heat!

Best Tips:

Cook your chicken for a few extra minutes for extra crispy bites.

Frozen chicken tenders could be baked, cut up and then sauced. 

Be sure to whisk sauce while cooking to avoid scorching.

Serve this with white rice, fried rice, steamed broccoli, edamame, stir-fry veggies, mandarin oranges. 

If you have leftovers, keep in a covered dish in the fridge for 2 days. 

Easy Orange Chicken

1 (24 oz.) bag frozen boneless chicken wings

1/2 cup barbecue sauce

1 1/4 cups orange marmalade

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

2 tsp. sesame oil 

Cook chicken according to package directions, adding a few extra minutes. In a medium sauce pan combine barbecue sauce, marmalade, garlic powder and sesame oil. Whisk well. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes until thick and smooth, whisking often.  When chicken is cooked, transfer to a large bowl. Pour sauce over and toss to coat. Serve immediately with rice, veggies, etc.

Easy Orange Chicken



Busy School Night? Smokey Bones Can Help With Dinner

 Yes, as a food blogger and recipe developer I spend a lot of time in the kitchen. Cooking. Cleaning. Rinse. Repeat. And as much as I love this career I've built for myself, going out to eat is still such a treat for me and something our family truly enjoys. (Sure I love the food, but not having to clean up? Win win!)

I love when a restaurant we already enjoy gives us another reason to want to go and then tell everyone we know! Our friends at Smokey Bones never disappoint when it comes to delicious barbecue, fantastic service and a fun atmosphere; and now through September 30th, they have put the icing on the cake, per say...Kids 10 and younger eat FREE with the purchase of an adult entree! 

Smokey Bones Fort Wayne, Indiana

Your eyes didn't deceive you. I said FREE! Smokey Bones wants to help parents ease into the school new year, with its hectic evenings and crazy schedules, by taking some stress out of dinner time! From chicken to ribs to cheeseburgers, and some of the best mac and cheese around, Smokey Bones has a kids' menu to please all the little foodies in your life.

Smokey Bones Kids Menu

My little guy couldn't wait to dig into his Chicken Bites and Mac and Cheese. Look at that crispy breading, just waiting to be dunked into some tangy honey mustard. Every spoonful of the pasta was ooey gooey goodness! 

Smokey Bones Chicken Bites & Mac and Cheese Kids Meal

What about us adults? My hubby and I both opted for the pulled pork platter, but with different sides. For me potato wedges and fire roasted corn. A big pile of tender, flavorful pulled pork, crispy but butter potatoes and that corn? Oh my gosh! So much flavor and I loved the fact it was cut off the cob. Oh, and you can't forget two slices of Texas toast too!

Smokey Bones Pulled Pork, Potato Wedges & Fire Roasted Corn

Mr. E upgraded one of his sides to a "premium" for only $1 because he wanted some macaroni and cheese himself. Normally up charges annoy me, but this was a very fair price for a generous portion! 

Smokey Bones Pulled Pork, French Fries and Mac and Cheese

One of the things I have always appreciated about Smokey Bones is the variety of sauces available on the table. The pulled pork comes cooked perfectly and seasoned well, but then I can add the flavor and amount of sauce I want as I eat. On our table we had a sweet and smoky barbecue, chipotle pepper barbecue sauce, mustard barbecue and a Carolina sauce too.  I could taste test each one, and decide or even try a couple different ones. For me? The sweet and smoky, what I would call traditional bbq sauce. For the hubby? He loved the Carolina sauce and could add more and more with each bite. 

 If you are rushing around with after school activities, sports, meetings, etc, and find yourself wanting great food, at a great price, find your nearest Smokey Bones location and take a break from cooking! 

Our family has been big fans of Smokey Bones for a while now, and they always find reasons to keep us coming back for more!

Smokey Bones is available for dine-in and online orders for pick-up, as well as delivery
on their site. To make a reservation at your nearest location, visit the link here.

Disclaimer: I received a gift card in exchange for this feature. All thoughts and opinions are all my own.

Sunday, July 16, 2023

Summer Time Comfort Food

 Hello! Did you think I disappeared? Fell off the face of the earth? It's been over a month since my last new recipe, so I wouldn't blame you!

When I posted the last time I mentioned how crazy things were because of the oldest graduating high school. It had been a while since I shared a recipe then too. After the end of school I thought maybe we could get back to our regularly scheduled programming; but guess what? Life just got busier!

However, this hiatus was for a fantastic reason. For the first time in four years, we were able to get away for two weeks to the beach and have tons of family time in the sun, sand and surf. This trip was our graduation gift to Alex and we sucked every last drop of fun out of the 14 days we could. We were blessed with amazing weather, had some fun adventures, including holding a live baby alligator, and we even discovered the wonder that is Buc-ee's travel plazas. (You can read all about our experience here in the article I wrote for Parade.com!)

We've been home for a week now and I am still trying to get back into the swing of things, all while being crazy busy. There is less than a month until Alex heads off to college, we have VBS, Max's birthday and his first day of 1st grade....so much to plan and keep straight. But in all the chaos, I do have a new recipe for all of you.

Chicken Noodle Casserole is pure comfort food for those nights when you need to sink your teeth into something that will feed your soul. It is a great use for leftover chicken and uses my favorite store-bought noodles, Reames brand found in the frozen aisle. (That isn't a paid advertisement. I just love their noodles, and they are the closest thing to homemade I've ever tasted.)

If you are watching summer zoom by like us, wishing you could stop time in its tracks, take a little breather with a delicious casserole supper this week!

Chicken Noodle Casserole

What kind of chicken should I use? 

This recipe is perfect with leftover, shredded chicken, a deli rotisserie chicken or even canned chicken. 

Can I use other vegetables?

Absolutely! I think frozen corn, green beans or even broccoli would be delicious in this as well.

Can I use chicken broth instead of stock?

Sure! I happened to have stock on hand but broth will work just fine.

Do I have to use heavy cream?

This homemade cream sauce really needs the richness of the cream. Half-and-half might work, but I haven't tried it. 

Why the cracker topping?

The buttery crackers give the casserole an extra layer of flavor and texture. If you don't have Ritz on hand, Club crackers would be a great swap.  

 Best Tips:

Save some time and prepare the chicken ahead of time. I roasted some fresh tenders in the oven, shredded the meat, and had it in the fridge waiting on me. 

Reames noodles can be found in the frozen food aisle, usually near the other frozen pastas or breads.

If you need to double the recipe, be sure to use two different baking dishes. This casserole filled my deep dish 9x13. 

Serve with a side salad, fresh fruit or crusty bread.

I haven't tried to freeze this casserole, but I think if you prepared it, without the cracker topping, cooled it completely, then froze it, you could add the crackers and bake off when ready.

Chicken Noodle Casserole 

2 cups cooked, shredded chicken

1 (12 oz.) bag frozen egg noodles, such as Reames

1 (12 oz.) bag frozen peas and carrots

2 cups chicken stock

3/4 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup + 1 TBS butter

1/4 cup flour

15 butter crackers, like Ritz, crushed

 2 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 tsp onion powder

1 tsp. Italian seasoning

Salt and Pepper 

Preheat oven to 350. Cook noodles according to package directions. In a large skillet with high sides or Dutch oven, melt 1/4 cup butter over medium high heat. Cook garlic for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Whisk in flour and cook 2 minutes. Slowly pour in stock and cream, whisking constantly. Add Italian seasoning, onion powder, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook 5-7 minutes until slightly thickened. Add cooked chicken and frozen vegetables. Stir well. Cook until warmed through. When noodles are cooked, drain well. Add to skillet and stir to combine. Transfer to a greased 9x13 baking dish.

Melt 1 TBS butter and mix with crushed crackers. Sprinkle over top of casserole. Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown on top. 

Chicken Noodle Casserole

Inspired by The Recipe Rebel

Sunday, June 11, 2023

Celebrations Galore

So...did you think I fell off the face of the earth? That EMM was on hiatus? I can't say I blame you. I haven't posted a new recipe in a month, which in the 12 years since I've been blogging has only happened one other time. When Max was born. Pretty good reason I would say. And while this break didn't come with a new baby, the reason is still pretty darn great- our oldest Alex graduated from high school with academic honors! We couldn't be more proud of him and it definitely made May and the beginning of June a whirlwind of events and celebrations. 

Along with all the things that come with graduation, it was also the end of Max's first year of Kindergarten which comes with its own set of calendar filling occasions. Yes, that's right, this mommy had both a High School and Kindergarten Graduate. Not many parents get to say that! It has been a very special time and I just had to take a break from work.

But you can rest easy because the streak has been broken. We are now full swing into summer vacation, and while our busy schedule hasn't really slowed down any, I managed to carve out a day when I could cook something new, that we ended up LOVING, and now I can share with all of you. 

You know how much I love making meatballs in the Crock Pot and this version has probably moved to the top of our favorite list. Yes, probably because it is new but the amazing flavor didn't hurt either! 

Crock Pot Korean Meatballs cook in just a few hours and can be a main dish like this or a great appetizer for your next summer party! Just set the slow cooker to warm after they are cooked, put out a bowl of toothpicks and let everyone serve themselves.

I put these alongside some white rice (my boys' favorite) and steamed broccoli. A simple meal for a hectic evening that looks like you put way more effort into that you actually did. 

Our house is still riding on cloud nine from all the celebrations we've had over the past month. Our sons make us proud every single day, but to see your oldest, whom you've spent 18 years dedicating your life to,  cross that stage, receive his diploma and know "I DID THAT" is a feeling I can't even begin to put into words. 

I thank you for your patience as things here have been slow and your support as we move onto this next chapter of parenting...

Crock Pot Korean Meatballs

Why use frozen meatballs?

Anyone who has been reading my posts lately know I have been raving about the quality of frozen meatballs. Coming in different varieties such as Italian, turkey, homestyle and flame broiled, they have great flavor at great prices. Store brands that we've tried taste just as good as the more expensive name brands too.

What is hoisin sauce?

Hoisin sauce is a thick, fragrant Asian sauce used mostly to glaze meats. It has a dark color and a very salty, slightly sweet, flavor. It has been described as "Asian barbecue sauce". It can be found in the Asian foods aisle next to the soy sauce.

Can I use low-sodium soy sauce?

Yes, of course. But let me say this: When I'm using soy sauce in a recipe, I always use the regular. I want that extra salty flavor. Then I put low-sodium on the table for serving.

How long do to cook frozen meatballs in the Crock Pot?

A good rule of thumb for frozen meatballs in the slow cooker is 2-4 hours on low and 1-2 on high. Hence why they make such a great last minute meal idea or party food.

 Best Tips 

Be sure to stir the meatballs a few times while cooking to redistribute the sauce.

Homestyle meatballs have a great neutral flavor. You don't want Italian for this recipe. Turkey meatballs could definitely be substituted. 

These would be delicious served with fried rice as well. Here is my recipe

If you like things spicy, add some crushed red pepper or sriracha to the sauce. 

If serving these as a party food, reduce heat to warm after they have cooked, and set out a bowl of toothpicks and/or a slotted spoon. Let guests serve themselves!

Crock Pot Korean Meatballs 

1 (28 oz.) bag frozen homestyle meatballs

1 TBS brown sugar

2 TBS honey

2 TBS soy sauce

1/2 cup hoisin sauce

1 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 TBS rice wine vinegar

3-4 green onions, chopped

Sesame seeds

Place meatballs in Crock Pot. In a medium bowl stir together hoisin sauce, soy sauce, honey, vinegar, brown sugar and garlic powder.  Pour over meatballs. Cook on LOW 2-4 hours, stirring a few times during cooking to coat meatballs in sauce. Stir well before serving and garnish with green onions and sesame seeds.

Crock Pot Korean Meatballs

Inspired by Tornadough Alli

More Meatball Recipes To Try Next

Crock Pot French Onion Meatballs

Crock Pot Teriyaki Meatballs 

Crock Pot Italian Meatballs 

Crock Pot Swedish Meatballs 

Crock Pot Hawaiian Meatballs

Slow Cooker Meatball Subs 

Meatball Pasta Bake