Everyday Mom's Meals

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Lemons In The Winter

Okay, was it just me or did January last 215 days? Seriously! I know winter months can drag on and on, but that was especially painful. Yes, it had 5 Mondays, which in itself should be outlawed, but I think there were 9 Tuesday and 17 Thursdays in there somewhere too.

Regardless, we onto February, and while for our family it is a very busy month, I realize for many it can drag on too.

Now is about the time of year my taste buds start to crave brighter, spring like flavors. They are ready to come out of winter hibernation and live again. Sure, we eat really well during these cold, drab months...soup, stew, casseroles...and there is nothing wrong with that. But they are always way ahead of the calendar and the weather, and wanting more.

One way I can wake them up a little is lemon! I will take lemon pretty much any way I can get it. Savory dishes, desserts, main dishes, sides, and everything in between.

This recipe is extra special, because it gives you pasta as a side dish. I don't know about you, but 99% of the time if I'm boiling pasta, it is going to be the star of the meal. Either on it's own, or in a casserole. But not with this. It is perfect alongside some chicken, or maybe some fish since we are entering Lent!

If you feel like this winter is never going to end, I assure you it will. Just maybe not as quick as we would like. In the meantime though we can have a burst of springtime on our plate!

Baked Lemon Noodles
1 lb. rotini pasta
16 oz. sour cream
1 stick butter
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp. lemon zest
2 TBS dried parsley
2 TBS grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400. Grease a 2 1/2 quart casserole dish. Cook noodles to al dente. Meanwhile in a medium sauce pan melt butter. Add lemon juice and zest. Slowly whisk sour cream until well blended. Add parsley, salt and pepper. Keep on warm. When pasta is done, drain well. Return to hot pot. Add sauce. Stir well. Transfer to casserole dish. Sprinkle with cheese and extra parsley. Bake for 25 minutes until heated through.

Inspired by Montana Happy

Monday, January 22, 2018

This Could Be Meat Free Monday

So many people are doing the whole "theme" meals every day of the week. Meat Free Monday, Taco Thursday, Pizza Friday...just to name a few. And if that works in your family, I say go for it. 

For me, while meal planning is a must, those certain constraints on days don't work. Sometimes our meal plans end up with a few of them here and there, but it isn't something I set out to do. For us, having the same theme on certain nights is almost like getting into a rut, and believe me, I find myself in enough food ruts on my own without planning them on purpose. But like I said, if it is something that works in your life, I am all for it. 

So today for a lot of you is Meat Free Monday, and I am here with something new and yummy that you could use. As long as you change one tiny thing. Swap out one can of soup. That's it. Do that and you are home! And maybe if you aren't all about following the rules exactly, that one little can of chicken soup would be okay...be a rebel! Rules were meant to be broken!

Either way, or whatever day of the week you decide to make this, you are getting a tasty casserole that is hearty and filling too. Perfect after a long day when you just want to sit down, eat and warm up because oh, by the way, it is still freezing outside. 

I hear from so many fans they would love to meal plan, but don't know where to start. If you fall into that group, maybe these theme days would be an easy way for you to begin. At least if you have a category to work with, you can come up with ideas easier. Meat Free Monday it is.

Creamy Vegetable Noodle Casserole
1 lb. egg noodles, cooked and drained
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of broccoli soup
1 1/2 c. milk
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
12 oz. frozen California blend vegetables, thawed
12 oz. frozen corn, thawed
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 TBS dried parsley
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350. Grease 9x13 baking dish. In a large bowl combine soups and milk. Add in rest of ingredients, reserving 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Stir well to combine. Transfer to baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes, or until heated through. 


Monday, January 8, 2018

Christmas, New Years, Snow, Ice, and COLD

Wow. I can't believe it's been almost a month since my last post. I apologize. What can I say? The almost 17 month old and the 13 year old keep me jumping! Plus there is the husband, and the house, and well, life. 

That title pretty much sums up the last 4 weeks though. We had a magical Christmas with plenty of love and presents to go around! Max is really old enough to enjoy it this year, and it was extra special because of him. His "Bruh Bruh" adores Christmas time, but to share it with him takes that love to a whole new level. Max spent the entire season pointing out every "Danta" (Santa) he saw, nibbling on sweet treats, finding our Elf, Winslow, every morning, shrieking with delight, and totally getting into ripping presents open! 

We had a nice quiet New Year's here at home. I made our annual appetizer buffet, my parents came over and we ate until we couldn't eat another bite. 

During this time we also had an Arctic blast, like so much of this country. Here in Fort Wayne we went 13 straight days of never hitting 20, most of them staying in the below zero windchill range. Last Tuesday it was -31 with the windchill when I got up. Yeah, we didn't go anywhere that day! 

But with all the snow and cold, soup has been our BFF. Something has to warm you up after you make the 30 feet trek from the car to the door and are FROZEN!

I love this for a busy day. You can literally throw it all together in the morning, it cooks all day and you come home to dinner. Add some crusty bread on the side like I did and it's time to eat! You could easily add some of your favorite veggies too! 

It's warming up to 30, 40 and even 50 this week! (I know, tropical!) But those cold temps are sure to come back anytime, so I think this will be showing up on our table again and again! 

Slow Cooker Veggie Bean Soup
1 1/2 cups dry navy beans
1 lb. diced ham
3 large carrots, diced
2 ribs celery, diced
1 medium white onion, chopped
1 envelope Onion Soup Mix
1 envelope Knorr Vegetable Mix
1 dry bay leaf
8 cups water
Salt and Pepper to taste
Dried Parsley 

Mix all ingredients except parsley in slow cooker. Stir well.  Cook on LOW for 9-10 hours until beans are tender. Remove bay leaf. Garnish with parsley.  

Shared at Weekend Potluck

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Skyline At Home

The first time Alex tasted Skyline Chili it was love at first bite. His dad and him were actually driving back from a field trip in Indianapolis and from that moment on he was obsessed. There was only one problem. We didn't have one here in Fort Wayne. He knew any time that craving hit, the nearest one was 2 hours away. (Yes, he did try the freezer version, and while he liked it, it just wasn't the same.)

Well, that all changed back at the end of this summer. They finally opened one here. Only about 10 minutes from our house. So, in September when he turned 13 and I gave him the choice of any place to out to eat, you know exactly what he chose!!
Just look how happy it makes him! 

But let's face it, with a teenager and a toddler, it really isn't economical to be going out to eat as much as we would like, so once again it was up to me to find a way for him to enjoy it at home. I started researching exactly what made Cincinnati Chili what it is, looked at a ton of different recipes and came up with one that I thought would perfect for us.

If you love this style of chili as much as we do, I think you will be pleased just how close it is to the famous one. If you've never had it, be prepared for a little different style of chili, but still oh so tasty. And yes, to make sure you get the full effect, be sure to serve it over spaghetti...insert drool here!

Crock Pot Cincinnati Chili
2 lbs. ground beef
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
2 TBS chili powder
1-2 tsp. hot sauce
2 TBS Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. ground allspice
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. cumin
2 TBS brown sugar
1 c. beef broth
2 dried bay leaves
Salt and Pepper to taste
Cooked Spaghetti
Diced Onion
Shredded Cheese
Oyster Crackers

In a large skillet brown beef with garlic. Drain if necessary. Add to Crock Pot. Add tomatoes, vinegar, Worcestershire,  seasonings, brown sugar, beef broth. Stir well. Add bay leaves. Cook on LOW 4-5 hours. Remove bay leaves. Serve over pasta with toppings. 

Shared at Weekend Potluck

Monday, December 4, 2017

Southern Inspiration

Today's recipe is going to begin with a disclaimer. I am NOT a Southern cook. I have never nor would I ever claim to be. Sure, I say ya'll and love me some greens, but alas, I am born and bread in Indiana. So, if you consider yourself one, or have been eating your granny from Mississippi's food all your life and know Southern food, and read this and think "that's not Southern"...please keep the hate mail to yourself. This is an interpretation of mine, a born and raised Yankee, just trying to make something new and yummy. 

 I don't care what the weather is doing outside, sometimes I just want foods that are not considered to be "in season." It can be 80 and sunny and I crave a certain soup, or it can be 30 and snowing and I want a big helping of potato salad, which was the inspiration for this. Well, except the weather part. It was actually unseasonably warm the day I made this. 60 in Indiana the last week of November? Yeah, that is odd, but we'll take it. 

When I sat down to plan my menu for the week, I couldn't get the words potato salad out of my head. I just wanted it. Now. And I wanted a new kind. I love the various recipes I have for it. From my Amish style to my Classic to the Loaded filled with bacon, they are all delicious. But I was just in the mood for a new kind. So I started reading, researching and of course Googling. 

After about a thousand recipes I came across a few I wanted to combine into my own creation, with this being the result; and to me it is Southern.

I know a lot of people are gearing up for that big holiday ham, and many serve potato salad with it. See, it's just not for summer! Lots of families are going to sit down next to the twinkling Christmas tree with some sliced ham and big ol' pile of tater salad next to it. If you're one of them, this would be a great version to include!

Southern Potato Salad
32 oz. bag frozen diced potatoes
3 hard boiled eggs, chopped
1 c. mayo
2/3 c. minced sweet pickles*
1/3 c. pickle juice
1 tsp. onion powder
1 1/2 tsp. yellow mustard
1 TBS dried parsley
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a large pot cover frozen potatoes with cold water. Bring to a boil and cook until tender, about 7-10 minutes. While potatoes cook whisk together mayo, pickle juice, onion powder, parsley, salt and pepper. Set aside. Once potatoes are cooked, drain well and add to a large bowl. DO NOT RINSE Mash slightly with a potato masher, leaving some chunks. Mix in pickles and eggs. Add dressing and mix well. Chill several hours before serving. *NOTE* The BEST way to get the pickles minced is to chop and then add to a food processor and pulse a couple times. You want them fine. Also, the potatoes will be warm when you mix everything, so when you add the dressing, it might look too wet and "soupy". That's okay. It will set up in the fridge. You want the potatoes warm because it absorbs the dressing.

Inspired by Southern Plate