Everyday Mom's Meals

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Out The Door and On The Go {Indiana Family of Farmers}

Tis the season. No, not that one. Still have a few months before that. I'm talking about"back to school" season. Yep, the kids are back in the classroom, and if your family is anything like ours, that means your already busy schedule just doubled in activities; and hectic days are the name of the game. 

In that spirit, I've teamed up with my good friends at Indiana Family of Farmers to give you some great tips on affordable food options to accommodate your super busy life. Let's not forget, we as Americans spend less of our income on food than most other countries! Shocked? You can read more here. Oh, and worried about nutrition? Read my fantastic tips on finding healthy options at the grocery store here

So, in part three of our series, we wanted to help all of you feed your family on a budget when time is of the essence. I have a few that I think really help our family eat well without my wallet feeling it too much! 

1. Make Leftovers on Purpose  I will be the first to tell you leftovers aren't my favorite thing in the world. And I'm not one to serve them night after night until they are gone. However, I do purposely make more of dishes than what the 3 of us can eat. Why? Because they are great for lunches the next day. I don't mind eating something again for lunch, as long as I get something new for supper. Plus, come the weekend, when all of us are home for lunch, I have things ready to eat in the fridge. If you know a huge pan of pasta or casserole is too much for your family, don't half the recipe until you think about this option.

2. Pack Lunch For Work and/or School  I know many of you take the time to pack your kids' lunches for school, but if you have the change to take your lunch to work, do you? Sure it's so easy to hit the drive-thru, or go out with co-workers and enjoy an hour away from the office, but have you ever added up the amount of money you can spend doing so? Mr E. could eat lunch out every single day if he wanted to, but he chooses to pack one to save money. Or should I say, he chooses to have me pack one for him. So, when I am packing little man's school lunch I do the same for my big man. And this is a great use for those leftovers we were talking about earlier. I would say 4 days out of 5 per week, Mr E.'s lunch consists of things we ate the night before. When I still worked outside the home, I always packed my lunch, and saved going out to once, maybe twice a month for a treat. It really helped to save us money, and honestly was healthier too. 

3. Your Crock Pot Is Your Friend  If you aren't using the words "slow cooker and hectic day" in the same sentence, you are missing out. Do you fantasize about someone cooking the evening meal while you are at work, or busy running around through the day? It's not a dream. Your Crock Pot can do just that! Once you find some tasty, dependable recipes your family loves, you will wonder how you ever survived without it. Imagine coming home after a long day and having dinner almost or sometimes completely ready to eat. Heck, if you need a good place to start, the recipe I'm sharing today would be a great one! 

4. Do Prep Work Ahead of Time  No matter what the recipe is, see if there are steps you can do ahead of time, and split the work up, making it easier in the end. Chop veggies. Brown ground beef. Cook and and shred chicken. All of these are things you can do the night before, or if there is time, in the morning before you rush out the door. I do this in many of the recipes I make, and when dinner time rolls around and I'm dog tired, it doesn't seem so over whelming because some of the work is already done. 

5. It's Okay To Call It A Day  We are all going to have those days when the thought of going into the kitchen and cooking, even if it's just a frozen pizza, makes us want to cry. Don't feel bad. It's okay to say "I'm done" and reach for the take out menu, or even treat the family to a night out. We've all been there, and we will all be there again. Let yourself off the hook, and know nobody is judging you because probably half your neighbors are doing the exact same thing. But you can still try to look for budget friendly coupons or even places that offer "Kids Eat Free" specials when those nights come along. 

The recipe I'm sharing today is sure to become a classic the minute you make it, especially with the cooler fall months approaching. Talk about comfort food in a bowl! I actually made this last week when the little guy had come down with strep throat, and it was just what the doctor ordered. It's a great one to utilize some of those tips I mentioned above too. Cook the chicken the night before so you can throw it all together the next day before you leave. Then when you come home, all you left to do is add the noodles. Be sure to make the whole batch because the leftovers are only tastier the next day, and make great lunches! This is going to be something you find yourself making again and again, just like me! 

Crock Pot Chicken and Noodles
2.5 lbs. chicken tenders
Olive Oil 
2 c. chicken broth
1 (10 3/4 oz.) can cream of chicken soup
3 carrots, diced
1 medium white onion, diced
3 ribs celery, diced
3/4 c. frozen peas
24 oz. bag frozen egg noodles
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375. Drizzle chicken with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Lay on baking sheet. Roast in oven for 30 minutes until juices run clear. Shred with two forks or using stand mixer. In slow cooker, combine shredded chicken, soup, chicken broth, onion, celery, carrots, and peas. Season with salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Cook on HIGH for 1 hour. Reduce heat to LOW and cook 5-6 hours. Increase heat back to high and add frozen noodles. Allow to cook just until noodles are done, about 30 minutes. Do NOT overcook, to avoid mushy noodles.

Disclaimer: I was compensated for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Celebrate Whole Grains Month with Post Great Grains {A Feature}

Welcome to September, and Happy Labor Day! Did you know that September is also National Whole Grains Month? Don't feel bad, I didn't either until my friends over at Post Great Grains filled me in, and I'm more than happy to celebrate with them!

And what a better way to enjoy an entire month dedicated to whole grains than with a new fun recipe including Great Grains cereal? Did you know that each Great Grains variety has at least 30g of whole grains per serving and is an excellent source of fiber? Just what you're looking for in a breakfast to fuel your entire day! Or even better, take what you love from your cereal bowl, and experience it in a whole new, unique way? 

This recipe can be enjoyed for breakfast, a midday snack or even a nutritional dessert. Oh, and did I mention, it's super simple too??!! Give your kids something fun they will gobble down before the school bus comes, or give them something to look forward to after a full day of classes. Packing lunches for school and/or work? These would be great for that too! So versatile, you will find a hundred different ways to use it, each more tasty than the last. 

Whole grains are something we are all looking to add more of into our diets, and with yummy recipes like this, and delicious cereal from Post Great Grains, it's so easy to do just that!

Banana Crunch Parfait
1 cup Great Grains Banana Nut Crunch cereal 
1 cup vanilla low-fat yogurt
1 cup honey
1 medium banana, sliced 
1 can (20 oz.) pineapple chunks, drained

Spoon half of the yogurt evenly into six parfait glasses; top with layers of half each of the bananas, pineapple, cereal and remaining whipped topping. Repeat layers. Drizzle honey over final layer.

Disclaimer: I was provided with free samples in exchange for this feature. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Soul Food Saturday Labor Day Edition

 I can't believe its Labor Day weekend! The last big hurrah of Summer fun before the kids start a new year of school (Or for some of us, our 3rd week of school!)  With that said I thought we all needed a big send off with a nice plate of pork ribs. We've fallen in love with these and couldn't help but share a big plate. Here's to another great Summer, Cheers!

Peppered Pork Ribs
3 1/2 lb. Rack of Pork Ribs
2 TBS Spicy Steak seasoning

Rinse meat under cool water, and pat dry. Season each side with 1 TBS steak seasoning. Allow to sit for a few minutes, then add to grill and cook as desired.

Whether you add these ribs to a mountain of other grilled meats or have it with a side of slaw; it's sure to please any Flinstone sized appetite. Enjoy!

Meal Plan Aug. 31- Sept. 5

*New Recipes
Links to recipes on blog

We're going on a picnic to a favorite park. 
I'm packing:
Fried Chicken
Ranch Bacon Pasta Salad
Sliced Cucumbers
Potato Chips
Deviled Eggs

Happy Labor Day!!
Grilled Steaks
Corn on the Cob
Jello Parfait Salad

Crock Pot Sausage and Sweet Potato Chili*
Dinner Rolls

Stuffed Peppers
Crescent Rolls
Sliced Peaches

Shredded Chicken Tacos*
Mexican Rice
Chips n Cheese

Hot Dogs
Mac n Cheese
Baked Beans

Friday, August 29, 2014

Labor Day Barbecue

Well folks, it's here. The end of summer. Okay, not really. I refuse to let summer go until the last possible minute. We've still got plenty of warm, sunny days left, and here in Indiana, there are usually a couple of abnormally hot days in October still! But on the calendar, Labor Day is usually considered the last hurrah of summer, and I've got a great idea for your holiday cook-out! 

It seems like we are all trying to fit in one last get together before the leaves begin to turn and some of us cover up the grills until next Spring. Now, most of you know we grill year round, but I still try to have one last big cookout Labor Day weekend. Rather is be just the three of us, with family, or in this year's case, some dear friends we've been trying to get together with all summer long. 

This one is a great way to stretch a buck and make one cut of meat feed many people. Brisket is one of Alex's favorite summer time treats, and since we just filled our freezer with another side of beef, I couldn't wait to make it for him again. 

This will remind you of barbecue you get at some roadside joint down south. It's slow cooked to tender, juicy, flavorful  perfection and be piled high onto a sandwich you can't wait to sink your teeth into. 

If you're planning a Labor Day party, get to your butcher right away. Nothing says summer grilled deliciousness like a good piece of barbecued brisket...and when it's this easy, that's icing on the cake! 

Barbecued Beef Brisket
1 (4 lb.) boneless beef brisket
Barbecue Seasoning Blend
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Barbecue Sauce
Hamburger Buns

Preheat grill burners to high. Reduce heat on one side to medium-high, and turn off burner on other.  Line a pan with aluminum foil. Rub both sides of beef with seasonings, generously. Place beef on pan. Grill for 2/5-3 hours. Take meat off pan and place directly on grill. Cook 30 minutes more until crust forms on outside. Baste with barbecue sauce every 10 minutes. Remove from grill. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing. Serve on buns with extra sauce. 

Shared on The Country Cook Aug. 29, 2014