Everyday Mom's Meals

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Barbecue Season IS Coming

When spring has sprung one day, and the next there are snowflakes are falling from the sky I keep telling myself over and over warmer weather is on the way. 

It has to be! The first official day of spring is this week, it is staying light out until 7:30 or later, and I am starting to crave all things dubbed "warm weather" food. ALL of these are signs my favorite time of year is right around the corner. 

So this past weekend when the sun was shining and the thermometer went above 50, it was time to grill! I had my Barbecue Burgers on the menu, with some roasted asparagus and wanted a summer side dish too! Obviously the first two things that came to mind were either potato or pasta salad. Well, we had just had potato salad so pasta salad it was. Macaroni to be exact; and it was time for something new. We all adore Mom's Macaroni Salad, but I wanted to try something new. 

I didn't know for sure what it would have in it, but I knew it would have LOTS of hard boiled eggs in it. A little brainstorming and taste testing later, I had complete success. In fact, Mr. E tasted it when it was still half warm and said "I don't even care it's warm. We need lots of that. Lots and lots." I knew it was a winner! 

With all those backyard barbecues and cookouts that are coming our way, one more macaroni/pasta salad recipe is sure to come in handy. Not to mention the graduation parties, bridal, baby showers and picnics, there will be so many times to eat this I can't wait! But if you don't want to wait...I think it would be super tasty with your Easter ham too!

Country Macaroni Salad
1 lb. elbow macaroni
6 hard boiled eggs, chopped
2 celery ribs, diced
1 1/2 cups mayo
2 tsp. yellow mustard
2 TBS sweet relish
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1 TBS Worcestershire sauce
1 TBS dried parsley
1/2 tsp. celery seed 
Salt and Pepper to taste

Cook macaroni, rinse and drain. Place in large bowl in fridge for 20-30 minutes to chill. In a medium bowl mix mayo, mustard, relish, onion powder, Worcestershire, parsley, celery seed, salt and pepper. When macaroni is chilled, add chopped eggs and celery. Stir combine. Pour dressing over mixture. Stir well. Chill in fridge until ready to serve. Stir before serving.*NOTE* Allowing the macaroni to chill not only cools it, but it also prevents the salad from becoming watery.

Shared at Weekend Potluck
Shared at Meal Plan Monday

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Be Adventerous

Before my husband came long, I wasn't the adventurous eater I am today. I was always a good eater, mom and dad made sure of that, but I just didn't have the opportunity to try so many new things until Adam shared them with me. He loved all different cuisines and forced me to try things I had never dreamt of. And for the most part, I discovered I loved them too. Sushi, Calamari, Raw Tuna, just to name a few. Oh, and of course Korean food, which is where today's recipe comes in.

We have this little Korean restaurant here in town, a little "hole in the wall" if you will, and the first time he took me there I was not impressed. That will teach me not to judge a book by its cover! I had NO idea what to order, but he guided me to something he was pretty sure he knew I would love, and he was right! 

If you've never had Bibimbap, it literally means "mixed rice." It is this huge rice, meat, veggie mixture, and then...here is my favorite part...it has an ooey gooey fried egg served on top. Why? Because the minute you cut into it, the warm yolk covers everything making it's own sauce. I know it might sound weird, but you have to take my word for it...one bite and you will be hooked. 

Every time we go, I order the same thing, savor each and every bite and am always sad when it's gone. So it was about time I made a version at home we could enjoy any time. 

You can easily adapt this to include veggies you love, these are what I had on hand. You can also add some sriracha or garlic chili paste if you like it hot! 
And don't get overwhelmed! It really isn't a complicated recipe, it just has a lot of steps. But you can prep the veggies, and even pre-cook the rice too! Then all you have to worry about is the beef and frying up some eggs. Just take your time and take it one step at a time. No lie- I made this on a Monday night, with 1 hour until dinner had to be ready for Alex to eat before Tae Kwon Do, and Max was at my feet the whole time! My point? If I can do it, YOU can too! 
If you aren't a very adventurous eater, or maybe your kids won't touch anything that isn't a chicken nugget or hot dog, I urge you to start small. Try something like this that has things that are familiar, and then go from there!

Korean Beef Bowl
2 lbs. ground beef
6 garlic cloves, minced or grated
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. low sodium soy sauce
4 tsp. sesame oil
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4-1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
Black Pepper to taste
1 medium cucumber, sliced thin
3 medium carrots, grated*
1 bunch green onions, chopped*
6 cups cooked white rice*
4 eggs, cooked over easy or sunny side up
Sesame Seeds for garnish 

Prep ALL veggies, and set aside. In a large skillet brown beef with garlic until no longer pink. Drain well, return to skillet.  In a medium bowl whisk together brown sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, red pepper and black pepper. Pour over beef. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer about 5 minutes until sauce reduces a little. To assemble, place rice in bottom of bowl. Top with beef, cucumber, carrots and green onions. Place 1 cooked egg on each bowl. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. *NOTES* When grating carrots, use the large hole on a box grater. You only want the dark green parts of the green onions. Don't stress over using "fancy" rice. Save yourself some time and energy and use minute rice! Brown can be substituted too. 

Inspired by The Recipe Critic  

 Shared at Weekend Potluck
Shared at Meal Plan Monday

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