Everyday Mom's Meals: January 2023

Sunday, January 29, 2023

Elementary School Throwback

    I am not a huge TikTok fan. I don't have the app, and we don't let our teenage son have it either. No hate to those who enjoy it, just a personal choice. 

    But here is the reality: I see a LOT of TikTok videos on my other socials, and doing what I do for a living, that's a good thing. Viral TikTok recipes are some of the most popular ones out there right now, so if I'm going to keep up on all things "cool" in food, I need to accept TikTok into my world. 

    I first saw this recipe back in the fall, and then found out I was late to the game because it had already gone viral on TikTok. So, what caught my attention? Two things actually. First off, any recipe that uses egg noodles will immediately have my allegiance, because I can't get enough of them. Secondly, any dish that only involves one pot is going to the top of my must-make list.

    These saucy, flavorful noodles make a terrific side dish to any weeknight meal, but you could also double the recipe, add some protein and have a simple supper. (I have also been known to make them for lunch...for myself...and then eat the leftovers all week. Yes, they are that good!)

    Be sure to read the recipe and tips carefully so you can have 100% noodle success. TikTok recipes are here to stay, so I promise when I see one I think you will love, I will try it, share it and hopefully be allowed to sit at the cool kids table for some time to come.

What Are Cafeteria Noodles

    This easy dish is a throwback to a noodle dish many school cafeterias and cafeteria-style restaurants used to serve. It is a one-pot wonder with egg noodles, chicken stock, butter and cream of chicken soup. The result is a bowl of creamy, saucy noodles that are so flavorful and comforting. 

Do I Have To Use Cream of Chicken Soup

    I realize many people don't like using condensed soups in cooking, and while I respect that and normally try to find a suitable substitute, for this recipe there really isn't one. You need the soup to help thicken the sauce and add a creamy factor. If you make these and use something else that works, please drop a comment and let me know!

What Kind Of Egg Noodles To Use

    Egg noodles come in all sorts of sizes and varieties from dried to frozen. I love to use different kinds in different recipes. For Cafeteria Noodles, you will want every day, wide egg noodles from the pasta aisle. I wouldn't suggest using a smaller medium noodle that might fall apart during the longer cooking time.

Cafeteria Noodles (TikTok Recipe)

Cafeteria Noodles

1 lb. wide egg noodles

1 qt. chicken broth

1 stick unsalted butter

1 chicken bouillon cube with herbs and spices

1 can cream of chicken soup

Salt and Pepper

Dried Parsley, for garnish

In a Dutch Oven or large pot, bring chicken stock and bouillon cute to a boil over medium heat. Add egg noodles and stir well. Bring back to a boil. Add soup and stir well. Bring up to a boil and cook 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat, add butter and stir well to combine. Cover with lid (make sure it fights tight) and allow to sit for 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with parsley and serve. 

Cafeteria Noodles (TikTok Recipe)

Best Tips:

Don't worry if the noodles aren't completely covered with stock. They will still cook perfectly.

Be sure to stir well at each step to avoid noodles sticking and becoming mushy.

I like the bouillon cubes with herbs and spices for extra flavor, but regular work too. 

Make this a complete meal by adding shredded chicken, turkey or even grilled shrimp.Other add ins: Fresh herbs, Parmesan cheese, cooked mushrooms or other veggies.

Be sure your pot's lid fits tightly. The heat must be trapped inside for the noodles to cook.

 More Egg Noodle Recipes To Try:

Parmesan Herbed Noodles

Creamy Cajun Noodles

Crock Pot Swedish Meatballs 

Chicken Noodle Casserole 

Mom's Chicken Paprikash

 Amish Casserole 

Lemon Chicken & Noodles 

Ground Beef Stroganoff 

Fried Cabbage & Noodles 

Sunday, January 22, 2023

If It Has Hot Sauce, He Will Like It

 Anyone that knows my husband even a little bit knows he is a hot sauce fanatic. A connoisseur really. For him, the hotter the better; and it doesn't stop with hot sauce. He loves all spicy food, and if it makes him sweat and cry while eating it, he is in heat heaven. 

He's tolerance for heat knows no bounds. It's kinda freaky, really. Foods that others are doubled over in pain from, he shrugs off like he's popping potato chips. 

So when I saw a recipe over at Taste of Home for a cabbage and bean stew that had hot sauce in it, I was totally intrigued. I don't know if I've ever made a soup that included it. Now, many soups that I cook end up with hot sauce in them, because he adds them at the table, but not in the actual cooking process.

Now, before you stop reading because like me, you have kids and you think there is no way mine ate it. Both of my boys have been conditioned to heat and inherited that gene from their daddy. So the amount used in the recipe wasn't a problem for them. BUT, I am a wimp when it comes to heat, and I could eat this no problem at all as well. 

We also happen to be big cabbage and bean lovers too, so this soup was filled with many favorite flavors. It's hearty and filling-perfect for a cold winter's evening meal. 

Soup recipes never get old this time of year, but this one includes a little kick from the hot sauce bottle that will wake your taste buds up! Grab some crusty brown bread and supper is served! 

What Kind Of Cabbage For Cabbage and Bean Soup

For this recipe, and any other soup I make with cabbage in it I prefer everyday green cabbage. It stands up to cooking/boiling well and gives a nice texture to any soup or stew.

What Kind Of Beans For Cabbage and Bean Soup

I used great northern beans for this soup, but any white bean would work. I think cannellini beans could be great! In this recipe you want canned beans, not dry. First off, they will obviously cook quicker and also- they help to slightly thicken the soup because you only drain and rinse them a little bit. 

What Kind Of Hot Sauce For Cabbage and Bean Soup

I used "everyday" hot sauce in this recipe, similar to Frank's Red Hot. Tabasco would also work. You want something with a mild heat level, but good flavor because as it cooks in the soup, the flavor really comes through. If you like extra heat, by all means, use something with a higher heat level.

Is Cabbage Good For You

YES! Cabbage is highly nutritious and rich in vitamins C and K, plus fiber. It is believed it can support digestion, improve heart health and decrease inflammation.

Cabbage and Bean Soup

Cabbage and Bean Soup 

1 lb. ground beef

1 TBS olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped

3 large carrots, finely chopped

1 medium head cabbage, chopped

1 (32 oz.) box beef broth

2 (14.5 oz.) cans petite diced tomatoes, drained

2 (14.5 oz.) cans great northern beans, drained and lightly rinsed

1 TBS white vinegar

1 TBS brown sugar

1/2 tsp. dried thyme

1/2 tsp. paprika

1/2-1 tsp. hot sauce

Salt and Pepper  

Dried Parsley

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium high heat. Brown beef with onions and carrots until no longer pink. Add cabbage and sauté for 3-5 minutes. Add broth, scraping the bottom of the pot. Add vinegar, brown sugar, thyme, paprika, salt and pepper. Add hot sauce to taste. Stir well. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook 45 minutes-1 hour until veggies are soft. Taste for seasoning. Add more salt, pepper and hot sauce if desired. Garnish with parsley and serve.

Cabbage and Bean Soup

Best Tips 

Have all veggies chopped before starting to cook

When adding broth, be sure to scrape the bottom of the pot- this adds flavor!

Start with a little hot sauce and add more to taste. 

Only drain and rinse the beans a little, you want some of the juice to help thicken the soup.

I like petite diced tomatoes in soup because of the smaller size, but regular diced work too.

Brown sugar and vinegar in soup? YES! They add a depth of flavor you won't believe. 

Ground pork or sausage could be swapped for the ground beef.


More Tasty Soup Recipes To Try Next 

Slow Cooker Fiesta Cabbage Soup 

Crock Pot Cabbage Soup  

Cabbage and Sausage Stew 

Slow Cooker Cabbage Roll Soup  

Cream of Broccoli Soup  

Creamy Sausage and Tortellini Soup 

Copycat Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup  

Crock Pot Broccoli Cheese Soup

Sunday, January 15, 2023

Air Fryer Novice

 So, who  got a new air fryer for Christmas? *Raises hand*

Yep, I have joined the cool kids club!

Want to hear the funny part? 

I actually had an air fryer given to me through the blog. It was a very nice one, but on the larger side. It was very intimidating, at least to me. Plus, we don't have a lot of extra counter space in the kitchen and when I decided I wanted an ice maker, I decided the air fryer had to go. I found it a very lovely home with a friend, and she was super excited. (And that ice maker? One of the best purchases ever!)

Fast forward to this past fall and I had the opportunity to have another air fryer given to me for work purposes. I did learn from the last time and asked for it to be a smaller model. We still didn't have the counter space for it, so a new microwave cart was promptly ordered and it now resides happily on the bottom shelf. 

I will fully admit I am having fun playing around with it, finding all sorts of things to make in it. From frozen taquitos and jalapeño poppers for our New Year's Eve appetizer buffet, to tasty weeknight meals. 

One of the first dishes I knew I wanted to try was salmon-for my boys. I don't eat salmon (thanks to a nasty food poisoning over 20 years ago) but oh my they love it. So, I knew I would score major wife/mom points with this one! 

This is the easiest fish recipe ever, and it comes out with immense flavor. Since I don't eat it, I will share what the hubby said after the first bite. "Oh my gosh. It's moist. Falling apart tender. I taste sweet, savory and a little tang too." Both he and the teenager agreed it was 100% delicious and I had their "permission" to make it again and again. I would say that is a rave review!

If you're experimenting with your new air fryer, or even a seasoned pro, I hope this simple but oh so flavorful salmon makes it way to your table soon. And be on the lookout for more air fryer recipes as I get more comfortable with my new toy!

What Temperature To Cook Salmon In The Air Fryer

Various recipes will say temps between 350 and 400. I did 400 because my filets were a little thicker than 6 ounces. 

How Long Do I Cook Salmon In The Air Fryer

Again, different recipes have different cook times. Some say it's done as quick as 7-9 minutes. This one takes a little longer. The size of your air fryer will determine cook time.

Can I Use Oil In The Air Fryer

When you want to use oil on something in the air fryer, be sure to put it directly on the food. Brushing or spraying oil on the food itself helps to protect the air fryer surface.

Should I Use Salmon With or Without Skin

You can use either in this recipe, but I will tell you while I prefer skin off, it would help to keep the salmon together once cooked. This was super fragile and fell apart very easily-having the skin on would have helped to prevent that. Salmon skin is absolutely edible, and would nice and crisp in the air fryer.

 How Do You Know Salmon Is Cooked In The Air Fryer

Salmon turns opaque when cooked and becomes very flaky. But the only sure way to know it has reached that 145 degree temp is with an internal meat thermometer.

Easy Air Fryer Salmon


Easy Air Fryer Salmon

2 salmon fillets, 6-8 ounces each

1 TBS stone ground mustard

1 TBS brown sugar

1/2 TBS olive oil

1/2 TBS soy sauce

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

Salt and pepper

Fresh parsley


Preheat air fryer to 400. (Check your manual- mine needs about 5 minutes) In a small bowl combine mustard, soy, brown sugar, olive oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper.  Using paper towels, dab salmon dry on both sides. Brush mustard mixture on salmon, on both sides. Sprinkle with extra salt and pepper. Place in air fryer basket. Cook for 10-15 minutes, until internal temp of 145. Carefully remove and garnish with parsley. Serve with lemon and tartar sauce if desired. 

Easy Air Fryer Salmon

Best Tips

You can use salmon with or without skin. I prefer without.

Air fryer size will alter cooking times. Mine is an 8 quart. 

Start checking salmon after 10 minutes and continue cooking until a meat thermometer reaches 145 degrees.

The salmon will be very fragile. Use a sturdy, flat spatula to remove. It might still fall apart. 

Dijon or spicy brown mustard would also be delicious.

You can substitute honey for brown sugar. 

Want a great homemade tartar sauce? Here is my recipe

Shared at Weekend Potluck

Sunday, January 8, 2023

A Kitchen Gadget Worth Having

 Like most of you, I have my favorite kitchen gadgets. Some I use weekly, others almost daily, and then some I might not use a lot, but when I want it, it is waiting to make my life just a little easier. 

And like many of you there have been ones I swore I didn't need in my kitchen. I didn't see the point because I didn't think I would use it enough to excuse the cost. An immersion, or stick, blender fell into that category for many years. 

Do I Need An Immersion Blender

Well, I was wrong. Completely. First off, this trusty kitchen gadget has become so popular you can find nice ones that are that expensive, so no more excuse there. Secondly, once I used it in a new recipe, I understood what I had been missing out on. 

Were there recipes I avoided because I didn't have one? Yep. Could I use my standard blender, and just work in batches? Sure. Did the immersion blender give me better results with less mess? Absolutely! 

Cream Of Broccoli Soup Recipe

This Cream of Broccoli Soup is super creamy and smooth because of the way it was blended, no doubt. It is done right in the cooking pot, so fewer dishes too. It has simple ingredients and can be on the table in under an hour.

 Why Should I Use Fresh Broccoli

The use of fresh broccoli really takes the flavor in this soup to the next level. When you chop it, be sure to remove the big, woody stems, but use the smaller, more tender ones for great flavor. Since the soup will be blended after cooking, nobody will ever know. 

How To Store Cream Of Broccoli Soup

If you have leftovers, let them cool completely and then store in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days. If you want to freeze for later, pour into plastic containers or bags and freeze for up to 2 months. 

How To Reheat Cream Of Broccoli Soup

If coming from the fridge, pour into a pot on the stove and reheat over medium heat, stirring often until heated through, about 10-15 minutes. If frozen, thaw in the fridge overnight and then heat on the stove top, whisking it often to reincorporate the dairy that might have separated in the freezer.


If you are on the fence about buying an immersion blender, I hope my story has convinced you it really is something you will find so helpful in your kitchen. Sure, it might not get used as much as my slow cooker or air fryer, but it would definitely be the new MVP of soup season.

Cream of Broccoli Soup

 Cream of Broccoli Soup

2 large broccoli crowns, rough chopped 

2 stalks celery, chopped

2 potatoes, peeled and chopped

2 large carrots, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

6 cups chicken broth

3/4 cup half and half

1 TBS olive oil

2 TBS butter

1/2 tsp. dried rosemary

1/2 tsp. dried thyme

Salt and Pepper

Shredded cheese for garnish, if desired

In a large Dutch oven or stock pot, melt butter into oil over medium high heat.  Sauté onions, celery, carrots and garlic until soft, about 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add potatoes, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper. Continue to sauté for a few minutes. Add chopped broccoli and cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add broth, stirring and scraping bottom of the pot to deglaze. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, partially cover and simmer for 20 minutes until vegetables are soft. Remove from heat and blend using an immersion blender. Once smooth, add half and half, stir well and serve immediately. Top with shredded cheese if desired.

Cream of Broccoli Soup


Sunday, January 1, 2023

Happy New Year

 Welcome to 2023! I hope your holiday season was magical, filled with love, laughter and some yummy food! 

It's hard to believe it is all over. All the planning, decorating, wrapping, baking, and anticipation were 100% worth it though. Our family has been very blessed. 

When I was deciding what the first recipe I wanted to share with you this year would be, it really was no contest. 

Maybe you've seen this all over your social media feeds lately. I know the Pioneer Woman has a version, so you know if Ree is making it, its gonna be good! 

If you're feeding a crowd, this is the mac and cheese recipe you need to be using! It's only a pound of pasta, but it makes enough to feed an army!

Let's stop here for a minute and talk baking/cookie sheets. I only use large, rimmed baking sheets in my kitchen. You might have heard them called "jellyroll pans." Mine are commercial grade,  half sheet 13x18. No matter if I'm baking cookies, roasting veggies or now mac and cheese, this size can do it all. 

This macaroni and cheese comes with a thick, homemade cheese sauce and a crunchy panko topping too. In our house we have both creamy and baked mac lovers, and this one satisfies both!  

I hope nothing but wonderful things for you and your family in 2023. And if this happens to be the first new recipe you try this year, that makes me smile so big!


Sheet Pan Macaroni & Cheese


Sheet Pan Macaroni & Cheese

1 lb. elbow macaroni, with ridges

4 cups shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

1 stick butter

2 TBS olive oil

1/4/ cup flour

1/4 cup grated Parmesan/Romano cheese

1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs

4 cups milk

2 tsp. dried parsley

Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375. Combine breadcrumbs, Parmesan and olive oil in a small bowl. Season with a little salt and pepper and set aside. Cook pasta according to directions for al dente. When pasta is cooked, drain well. In the same pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add flour and whisk constantly until smooth. Cook for 2-3 minutes until golden. Slowly add milk and whisk until smooth. Bring to a simmer and cook 5 minutes until thickened. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat. Add both shredded cheeses in batches, whisking constantly until smooth and thick. Add drained pasta to cheese sauce and stir to combine. Transfer to a large rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with breadcrumb mixture. Bake 25 minutes until set and golden brown. Let sit 5 minutes. Garnish with parsley and serve.  

Sheet Pan Macaroni & Cheese