Everyday Mom's Meals
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Monday, December 5, 2016

Bitter Cold Winter Days

Brrrr....Who turned down the heat? Yep, there is no more denying it. Winter is here. With the extra warm autumn we had here in Indiana, the temperature drop is even more a shock to the system than normal. But I guess it is December, so we better get used to it.

Does anything taste better on a bitter cold day than a bowl of piping hot soup? I don't think so. Well, maybe one thing. A bowl of soup that has been cooking all day while you are busy. That's right, your slow cooker is going to take care of today's recipe while you're at work, or out and about in the wind, and snow, looking forward to coming home to something that will warm you up and fill you up at the same time. 

Now, we aren't just talking about your every day soup here. This. Is. Chili. The ultimate winter food. A meal that will thaw you out from the inside and warm your soul to the core. A classic, made even easier with the help of your Crock Pot.

If you've been following the blog for a while, you will recognize this somewhat. I have had a recipe published for a long time for our favorite Buffalo Chili. (If you've never tried buffalo, do it! So lean, so delicious!) Unfortunately, we don't have any buffalo left in our freezer, so I had to take that recipe and adapt it a little so I could use the ground beef we do have. It still tastes just as great, and is just as easy. 

I love to serve this with some cheese and crackers on the side. And of course all the traditional toppings: diced onion, shredded cheese, sour cream, or even some elbow macaroni for chili mac. In fact, if you're having a party this holiday season, a chili bar would be so fun! Or maybe some house guests you need to feed? A big pot of this will get the job done!

Most people have a favorite chili recipe they rely on all winter long. But if you don't, or maybe you're just looking for a new one, I hope this is it! 

Crock Pot Chili
1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. bulk pork sausage
1 large can Brooks Mild Chili Beans
1 large can tomato juice
1 medium white onion, finely chopped
1 TBS garlic powder
1 TBS chili powder, more if you like it spicy
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a large skillet brown beef. Drain. In same skillet brown sausage and chopped onion. Drain. Add both meats to Crock Pot. Add beans, garlic powder, chili powder, salt and pepper. Pour in juice. Stir to combine. Cook on LOW for 6 hours. Serve with desired toppings. 



Monday, November 28, 2016

Holiday Ham

Okay, so the turkey is so last week. It is time to move on. Now it's time to talk ham.
Well, that might not be totally true, because I know many, many people who will enjoy another bird come Christmas. But in my head, as soon as Thanksgiving is over, it's time to think about that big, beautiful, tasty, holiday ham.

In fact, as you can see from this recipe I actually started thinking about it pre-Turkey Day. I have to. I'm a food blogger, and while holiday recipes are terrific, it means we foodies are developing, testing and re-testing weeks before the big day.

I made this for a simple weeknight meal (Yay for Crock Pot!) but I think it would be terrific for those upcoming holiday parties and family gatherings. Plus, if you make a big ham one day, and need another meal the next, you could usually substitute the deli ham with some leftovers, and make it even more delicious.

I served this family style, with the buns on the side. The ham has a pretty tasty sauce that comes with it, and if it sits on the rolls or buns too long, they will get soggy. So if you're thinking of putting this out for a Christmas party, I suggest doing the same thing; and that way, you can keep the meat on warm in the slow cooker all night long.

I can't believe Christmas is less than a month away. We are super excited at our house of course, with this being Max's first. These boys are by far the two most precious gifts of my life and I'm going to enjoy every single minute of this holiday season.



If you're looking for something new to do with your holiday ham, I think this is just what you've been wanting. A good ham sandwich is a classic, and these have a little something extra to make your guests say YUM!

Slow Cooker Ham Sandwiches
1 1/2 lbs. deli ham, sliced thin
1/2 c. sweet relish
2/3 c. packed brown sugar
2 c. apple juice
2 tsp. yellow mustard
1 tsp. paprika
Buns
Extra mustard/relish for serving

Spray slow cooker with nonstick spray. Layer ham in bottom. In a medium bowl whisk together apple juice, relish, brown sugar, mustard and paprika. Pour over ham. Cook on LOW for 4-5 hours. Serve on buns with extra mustard and relish if desired. 


Monday, November 21, 2016

Turkey Day, Made Easy

So, I can't lie, I am not on the hook for hosting Thanksgiving. In fact, most years I'm not. In the 13 years we've been married, I've only had to worry about cooking on Turkey Day twice. Why? Because we live 20 minutes from both my mom and mom in law, and they both have our family over on the holiday.

But just because I am not having a huge crowd over to my house doesn't mean I can't appreciate the need for some easy dishes to fall back on. One because I have hosted and know the stress that can go into preparing the biggest meal of the year. And two, this is what I do. I try to find ways to help your holiday cooking be more simple and less stressful each year.

This recipe is actually something I've made for years now, and we enjoy all autumn long. Seriously, as soon as the calendar says October, you can find me in the grocery store aisle looking for canned pumpkin. (By the way, if you live near an Aldi, their pumpkin is a "seasonal item" they only carry for a few months, but is ONLY $.89 per can! You won't find it cheaper anywhere else!)

So not only can you whip this up quickly, it's also totally adaptable for a few or a house full, plus it's 100% budget friendly!

I love a good pumpkin pie, but if I'm being honest, I don't need the crust. Give me the filling and some Cool Whip and I'm a happy girl. In fact, when I was little my grandma would take the extra filling she had after her pies were made, put it into custard dishes and bake it just for me.

This will be our first Thanksgiving since Grandma passed, and I felt it was time to revamp this recipe a bit, and bring it back to the blog (it's been 5 years since I first shared it) in her honor. Every time I make this, I am transported back into her kitchen with those little glass custard dishes and her saying " Geez Punkin (that's me), do you want a little pumpkin with your Cool Whip?" Yeah, I'm that girl. Pile on the topping!

If you are hosting Turkey Day this year, give yourself a much needed break and add this to your dessert menu. Sure, bake some pies too, by all means, but cross one or two off the list, replaced by the easiest recipe you'll make this holiday!

Pumpkin Fluff
2 (15 oz.) cans pumpkin 
2 small boxes instant vanilla pudding, DRY do NOT add milk
2 (8oz.) containers Cool Whip
1/2 tsp. cinnamon, extra for garnish
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg

In a large bowl whisk together pumpkin and pudding mix. Fold in one container of Cool Whip. Add spices. Stir well. Chill for at least an hour before serving. Garnish with extra Cool Whip and cinnamon. 


Monday, November 14, 2016

Your Holiday Guests


So we are only 10 days away from Thanksgiving. Are you ready? Or was this a rude awakening and now you're having a panic attack? It's going to be okay. Take some deep breaths. I'm here to help.

Did your stomach just jump into your throat because you are going to have a house full of people come next week? I understand completely. Did you just remember you need to feed all of them for multiple days, and not just the big one? Sure, you will have leftovers after Thursday, but what the heck are you gonna do until then? Again, don't worry, calm down, EMM is here.

This is actually a tried and true recipe from my Grammy. It's something I've been making for years, and is perfect for any busy weeknight. So why not plan it for those couple days when you're still working before the holiday, but have to come home to a house full of people asking "What's for dinner?" Let's face it, if you are going about your normal day of work, school and life, plus prepping for Thanksgiving, coming up with dinners every night that week isn't going to be too easy. But this is!

Now, heads up! When you read the recipe, and see it calls for margarine, many of you are going to be inclined to say "Oh I can use butter instead." Don't do it. Seriously. I did the same thing once and regretted it. I don't know why, but the flavor completely changes and I don't like it. It's about the only recipe I have that flat our calls for margarine. Most of the time I am an all butter all the time girl, but not with this.

This feeds the 3 of us quite comfortably with a good sized portion each. So, if you're cooking for a big crowd, I suggest making two pans of it. It's going to go quick, I promise.

But if you aren't expecting house guests, don't feel like this isn't for you. It makes a terrific comfort meal any time, and once you make it once, it will become a part of your regular meal rotation, just like it did in my house!

Don't worry if you aren't quite ready for Thanksgiving. You still have time...just not too much, so start planning those meals now and cross one thing off that to-do list!

Chicken on Rice Casserole
2 lbs. boneless chicken tenders (about 8-9)
1 1/2 c. instant rice, uncoooked
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of celery soup
1 stick margarine, melted
1 tsp. sugar
1/4 c. lemon juice 
Garlic Powder to taste
Salt and Pepper to taste
Dried Parsley for garnish

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9 x 13 baking dish. In a large bowl combine rice, soups, salt and pepper. Stir well. Transfer to baking dish and spread evenly. Lay chicken on top of rice. In a small bowl whisk together melted margarine, sugar and lemon juice. Pour over top of chicken. Season chicken liberally with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Bake for 1 1/2-2 hours until rice is tender. Stir well before serving. Garnish with parsley.



Monday, November 7, 2016

Beef On a Budget


 If you are anything like me, you are always watching the bottom dollar when it comes to putting meals on the table for your family to enjoy. And if you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you know we are "freezer beef" people. We are lucky and blessed to always have fresh beef in our freezer at all times. In fact, we've had to upgrade to two freezers to accommodate it all.

And truthfully, if you are able to find a decent price around you on a quarter or half or even whole beef, I would highly recommend it. Yes, it's not a cheap investment, but in the long run, it will save you money, and the quality is so much better than anything you can find at the grocery store.

But if you are buying beef in the regular store, one of the best values you can find is round steak. It's normally cheaper than other cuts, and  I know most stores around us run a special on it a couple times each month. So keep an eye out for it, and you can not only make this delicious, budget friendly supper, maybe you can stock up too!

This meal is the ultimate "throw it together and come home to dinner" dinner. Not to mention being comfort food! If you're looking for a great side idea, potatoes! I did boiled ones, but mashed would be perfect too. Why? Simple. The gravy. It's SO good, you're going to want to drink it with a straw, but spooning it over some taters seems more appropriate.

 Being this easy should tell you how I could pull it off with Max! Yes, our little guy is now almost 3 months old, and I'm really trying to do more "real" cooking when I can.

Beef doesn't have to be something you only serve on holidays or a treat. You can have a delicious, easy steak dinner any night of the week that doesn't break the wallet!

Slow Cooker Round Steak
2-3 lb round steak, cut into portions
1 envelope onion soup mix
1 (10 3/4 oz.) cream of celery soup
1/4 c. water
Salt and Pepper to taste
Dried Parsley for garnish

Spray slow cooker with non stick spray. Season steak with salt and pepper. Place inside slow cooker. In a medium bowl whisk together water, soup and soup mix. Pour over steak. Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours. Garnish with parsley before serving.