Everyday Mom's Meals: February 2023

Sunday, February 26, 2023

A Little Mexican With Your Pasta

When I can combine two of our favorite foods, or cuisines, into one dish, I feel like a complete genius. I want to stand in front of the dinner table and declare "Look at what I have created, family!" Of course I don't, but it definitely gives me joy to find new ways to give my boys meals I know they already love, in a brand new way.

Back when I first made Taco Spaghetti, man they thought I was a rock star, so a few weeks ago when I was trying to think of a new pasta, or maybe even a new macaroni and cheese recipe, I could have easily said forget it, made taco spaghetti and called it a day. But of course I couldn't turn off my brain, went to Google to see what others were doing and didn't stop until I had inspiration for a brand new dish.

How can I describe this? Think Hamburger Helper, but on a whole new level. Think macaroni and cheese, but delicious Mexican flavors. It's super cheesy, has a little kick and can be on the table in about 30 minutes. Win. Win. Win.

Queso Chili Mac is sure to become a regular on our weekly meal rotation, and I am guessing after one bite, you will decide the same!

What Can Of Pasta To Use

I like small shells for this recipe, but any short cut pasta would work: elbows, rotini or orecchiette.

Where To Find Fajita Seasoning

You will find this seasoning packet in one of two places in the grocery store. Either in the Latin foods section with the other taco shells and sauces, or in the seasoning packet section with the gravy mixes. You can also use taco seasoning instead.

What Kind Of Queso To Use

You can use your favorite salsa con queso in this recipe, and switch it up for different varieties. I want to try white queso next!

Can I Add Other Ingredients

Absolutely! Instead of using pickled jalapeños for a toppings, dice some up instead. Or for extra heat, fresh peppers! Sliced black olives or black beans would be great too.

Queso Chili Mac

 Best Tips

Ground turkey could easily be swapped out for ground beef.

Taco seasoning can be used in place of fajita seasoning.

Don't over cook the pasta, it will cook a little more once added to the beef mixture.

You could take this mixture, transfer to a casserole dish, top with shredded cheese and have a brand new pasta bake!

Any short cut pasta will work.

Queso Chili Mac

Queso Chili Mac

1 lb. shell pasta

1 lb. ground beef

1 (15 oz.) can petite diced tomatoes, drained

1 (4 oz.) can diced green chilies

1 packet fajita seasoning

1/2 cup water

1 (15 oz.) jar salsa con queso

Salt and Pepper 

Shredded Cheese

Pickled Jalapeño Peppers

Cook shells according to package directions. While they cook, brown beef in a large skillet until no longer pink. Drain if needed. Mix in seasoning and water. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer. Cook 5-7 minutes until thickened. Add tomatoes, chilies, salt and pepper. Stir well. When pasta is cooked, drain well. Add to skillet. Pour queso over shells and beef. Stir to combine. Serve immediately with shredded cheese and pickled jalapeños if desired.

Queso Chili Mac

 Inspired by Sweet Little Bluebird


More Pasta Recipes To Try Next 

Philly Cheesesteak Pasta Skillet 

Sheet Pan Macaroni and Cheese 

Spinach and Mushroom Tortellini Bake 

Easy Baked Ziti 

Cheese Tortellini Alfredo

Meatball Pasta Bake 

Baked Spaghetti

Copycat Pizza Hut Cavatini 


Shared at Weekend Potluck



Sunday, February 19, 2023

Side Dish Search

 If you've been reading this blog for a while, something you've heard me mention numerous times is that when I meal plan, side dishes are usually the thing I struggle with the most. That category is where I find myself falling into a rut more than any. 

Now, like most families, we have certain meals that the same sides have to go with it, no matter what. These boys like what they like, and there are certain combos I can't stray from or they will riot. For example, if fish sticks are on the menu, a blue box of mac and cheese is a must. No questions asked. If I am making a meatloaf, there better be some mashed taters on the plate too. 

But for other meals, I can switch it up, try new things and create new meal combinations, especially if I make something we already love, just in a new way.

A friend gave me this recipe years ago and I forgot all about it, until this past week. I wanted rice to go with some oven-roasted barbecued chicken, but was tired of wild rice and rice pilaf. Somehow I remembered this easy, five ingredient, pantry friendly dish she had shared. 

Souper rice has been around forever, but was 100% new to us. The best way to describe it is a "poor man's risotto." It's creamy and flavorful like risotto, but takes about 1/10 of the work. (If you are making risotto from scratch on a busy weeknight, my sincere respect!) Once you learn the method you can flavor it any way you like and have a tasty side that goes with so many main dishes. 

If you're looking for some new side dish inspo too, I hope you will try this soon and share with your friends!

What Is Souper Rice

This is an easy side dish made from instant white rice, cream of celery soup, chicken broth and some seasonings. It has a similar creamy texture of risotto, but is easier and cheaper to make.

What Kind Of Soup To Use 

I used cream of celery, but any condensed cream soup would work too. Cream of chicken, mushroom or broccoli would be my choices.

What Kind Of Rice To Use

This is a quick cooking recipe that uses instant rice. Using a rice that requires longer cooking will not work the same way.  

What To Serve Souper Rice With

Here are some great dishes this rice would be perfect with!   

Air Fryer Salmon 

Oven Roasted Whole Chicken   

Crock Pot London Broil   

Oven Roasted Lemon Pepper Chicken  

Crock Pot Salisbury Steak


Souper Rice

Souper Rice 

1 1/2 cups instant white rice

1 1/2 cups chicken broth

1 can cream of celery soup

1/4 cup grated Parmesan/Romano cheese

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

2 tsp. dried parsley

Salt and pepper, to taste

In a medium pot, whisk together broth and soup over medium high heat. Add garlic powder and stir well. Bring to a boil. Add rice, cheese, salt and pepper. Stir well. Remove from heat and cover. Let sit for 5-7 minutes until liquid is absorbed. Add parsley. Stir well and serve immediately.

Souper Rice

Best Tips

This recipe is made for instant rice. Regular medium or long grain will not work the same.

Swap out any condensed cream soup you want. I think I will try cream of broccoli next.

Use chicken stock for even more flavor.

You won't need as much salt as pepper. Start with a pinch and add more if needed. 

If the rice sits too long, it will become very thick. Simply add extra broth over low heat to thin out.

More Side Dish Recipes To Try Next

Loaded Pierogi Skillet

Pub Mac & Cheese

Creamy Cajun Noodles 

Garlic Parmesan Roasted Potatoes

Broccoli & Grape Salad 

French Onion & Parmesan Rice 

Lemon Roasted Potatoes

Slow Cooker Glazed Carrots 

Praline Roasted Acorn Squash




Sunday, February 12, 2023

Game Day Coincidence

When I tested this recipe a few weeks ago, I had no idea how the stars would align for the timing of it being posted; but the stars aligned and here we are. 

It's Super Bowl Sunday and by the time we go to bed tonight, either the Kansas City Chiefs or the Philadelphia Eagles will have another Vince Lombardy Trophy to add to their case. 

How ironic is it then that this week's new recipe is a simple one pot pasta supper inspired by one of America's favorite sandwiches, the Philly Cheesesteak? 

Are you drooling yet? All the flavors in that beloved sandwich from Philadelphia, but in a pasta supper that is on the table in about 30 minutes and only leaves one skillet behind. 

No matter who you're rooting for in today's game, we can all cheer for an easy weeknight meal that is budget-friendly but packed with flavor! 

What Is A Philly Cheesesteak 

If you've never had one, let's start there. A Philadelphia Cheesesteak sandwich is made with thinly sliced beef, stuffed into a long hoagie roll and then topped with ooey gooey melted cheese.  There is some debate on which cheese is best, but Cheez Whiz and provolone are the most popular. Many people enjoy sauteed peppers, onions and even mushrooms on theirs. 

What Kind Of Pasta For Philly Cheesesteak Pasta Skillet

You can use any short cut pasta you have on hand: elbows, shells, rotini, or cavatini. I don't recommend bowties for this since they tend to fall apart too easily. 

What Kind Of Cheese for Philly Cheesesteak Pasta Skillet

I had to include some provolone to keep is traditional, and would definitely use it. Instead of the Italian blend, you could use mozzarella or even white cheddar. 


Philly Cheesesteak Pasta Skillet

Philly Cheesesteak Pasta Skillet

1 lb. ground beef

2 cups rotini pasta

1 green bell pepper, finely chopped

1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped

2 tsp. minced garlic

3 TBS flour

3 TBS Worcestershire sauce

1 TBS ketchup

1 cup milk

3 cups beef broth

8 slices provolone cheese, chopped

1 cup shredded Italian blend cheese

Salt and pepper, to taste

Dried parsley, for garnish

In a large skillet, brown beef with onion, garlic and green pepper. Drain if necessary. Stir in flour and cook 2 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk together Worcestershire sauce and ketchup. Add to skillet and stir well, scraping bottom of pan. Slowly pour in beef broth and milk, mixing well. Bring to a boil. Add pasta and stir. Reduce heat and partially cover. Cook 15-18 minutes until pasta tender. Season with salt and pepper. Add provolone cheese and half Italian cheese. Stir constantly until cheese is melted. Top with remaining Italian cheese, remove from heat and cover. Let sit until cheese has melted. Sprinkle with dried parsley and serve.

Philly Cheesesteak Pasta Skillet

Inspired by I Wash You Dry


Best Tips

Ground turkey could be swapped for the ground beef.

Chop the provolone in small pieces so they melt easily.

When stirring in the cheeses, use a figure 8 motion for even melting.

Use any short cut pasta you want. I think elbows and shells would work well.

Green bell pepper is most traditional, but red would be delicious too.

Add some sauteed mushrooms for even more flavor.


More Pasta Recipes To Try Next