Everyday Mom's Meals: August 2023

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.