Everyday Mom's Meals

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Soul Food Saturday

There are some many things that my Mom cooked for our family growing up that I
believe I could write a book full of just those recipes, and food stories. We weren't picky kids by any sense of the word, but Daddy on the other had his favorites and wanted nothing more than those things, most of the time. 

So to get us excited about whatever new recipe she decided to try she'd come up with a fun way to describe it to us all.

I haven't made this recipe many times on my own, only because I never asked what the recipe actually consisted of. Until now. I hope you'll love it as much as we still do, she calls them Little meatloaf stuffed peppers.

Little Meatloaf Stuffed Peppers
1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
1 small onion, chopped finely
1 c. dried bread crumbs
2 tsp. granulated garlic
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 c. ketchup plus 8 tsp.
1 14 oz. can sweet corn, drained
8 bell peppers, reserve tops
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 c. cheddar jack cheese

Preheat oven at 400.
Take each bell pepper and cut off only the tops. Remove seeds and ribs. Remove stems from the tops, and chop finely. Place peppers in rimmed baking pan cut side up, then set aside.In a large bowl add ground beef, chopped onion, chopped bell pepper, bread crumbs, garlic, Parmesan, red pepper flakes,  salt and pepper, ketchup, and corn. Mix to thoroughly combine all ingredients.Take meat mixture and form into 8 balls. Fill each bell pepper leaving a little room on the top.Top with 1 tsp.. of ketchup and cover with foil. Bake for an hour or until juices are bubbling, and peppers are tender.Remove from oven, carefully remove foil, then top generously with cheese. Return to oven, and allow cheese to melt completely.Approx 5-10 minutes. Serve hot, with your favorite side or a salad for a lighter meal. Enjoy!

Meal Plan March 1-6

* New Recipes
Links to Recipes on Blog

Leftover from previous menu
French Fries
Cottage Cheese

Green Beans

Slow Cooker Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup*
French Bread

Breakfast Sandwiches
Hashbrown Patties
Fruit Cocktail

Ham Steaks


Friday, February 27, 2015

My Dirty Little Secret

It's confession time. And believe me, it's not easy for me to admit this to you. Are you ready? Okay, here I go. Before I became this really cool food blogger (Look, it's my birthday today, so if I want to call myself cool, I get to. ) and was as comfortable in the kitchen as I am today, something used to show up on our dinner table that I am not proud of....Hamburger Helper.

Stop the gasping. Pick your jaws up off the ground. It's going to be alright. Let me start by saying, if you read that and said "Yeah, so, I still do!" don't feel bad. I'm not being critical of anyone who does. Ya'll know how much I believe in taking a little help from the store now and again if it makes life easier. I'm simply saying for me, looking back on it, I can't believe just how much I made it. That's all.

I feel like I have to defend my younger self. See, when were first married, I was still a working girl, and didn't get home until almost supper time. So anything I could make that we could be eating quickly was at the top of my list. Then Alex came along, and I was a new mother just trying to find my way. Then he got a little older, and he tasted it, and it was instantly a favorite. So then, I kept making it because he asked me to.

Such was the case a few weeks ago. We haven't had the stuff in years, but we happened to walk by it in the grocery store and he spotted it. Realized he hadn't eaten it in ages, and once again pleaded with me to make some. Now, do you want to know what my biggest problem with it is at this point? To feed this mutant child of mine (He's 10 and 5'2"), and still have enough for Mr. E and I to have some, I would have to make 3 or 4 boxes. That's just not economical unless I can find the stuff on sale.

So I decided I would trick him. Yes, I dupe my child. It's called creative parenting. I figured if I made something similar, that would satisfy him. I basically needed meat, pasta and cheese. Then I had a delicious brainstorm. What if I made all of that taste like another one of his favorite foods...a cheeseburger? Genius, I know.

His request and my ingenuity is your gain, because this stuff is YUMMY! He could not eat it fast enough and even had me freeze the leftovers so he could have it again. It really does taste like a big ol' juicy cheeseburger! Not to mention being a quick, simple meal you can have on the table any night of the week.

So, there you go. My dirty little secret has been revealed. I have to admit, I do feel better having that off my conscience. 

Skillet Cheeseburger Pasta
1 lb. elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
1 lb. ground beef
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 tsp. steak seasoning
3 TBS ketchup
3 TBS mustard
3 TBS dill pickle relish
1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes, undrained
3/4 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 bunch green onions, chopped, whites only
Salt and Pepper to taste

While pasta cooks, cook beef and yellow onion in a large skillet over medium heat until no longer pink. Drain if necessary. Return to skillet. Season with steak seasoning, salt and pepper. Add ketchup, mustard, relish and diced tomatoes. Stir well to combine. Cook 1-2 minutes for flavors to develop. Reduce heat to low. When pasta is cooked, drain well. Add to skillet. Stir well to combine. Sprinkle with cheese. Cover and keep on warm until cheese melts. Sprinkle with green onions and serve. 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Winter Woes

So...anyone besides me totally and utterly sick of winter?! Thought so. Between the mounds of snow and the arctic cold temps. I. Am. Done. I'm not one to usually wish time away. I like to enjoy every day. Live each minute. But at this point, winter can leave, we can skip over spring and head right into summer as far as I'm concerned.  And I know those of you up in the Boston/New England area have to be ready to "tap out" at this point, so it's not just me.

One of the few ways I can even attempt to ease my pain during these brutally cold months is to find as many ways to make soup as I can. Old tried and true recipes. Twists on classics. New ones I find. I use them all to warm us up, comfort our souls and feed us a meal that makes us feel better at the end of the a long, cold day.

How about a new one made in your slow cooker? Filled with veggies and more veggies? Yeah, I have your attention now. This would be so easily adaptable with veggies you already have on hand, or find on sale in the produce aisle, or just ones that are your favorites. Plus, even though I used beef bullion and broth for extra flavor, you could easily substitute vegetable stock instead, making it a completely meat free meal, perfect for Lent. I know many of you are always looking for more recipes for Fridays this time of year.

If you are ready to say goodbye to Old Man Winter as much as I am, this new soup is the best way to make yourself feel better about warmer weather still being too many weeks away. Feed your family and thaw them out at the same time!

Slow Cooker Veggie Barley Soup
Adapted from Taste of Home
2 small potatoes, peeled and diced
1 1/2 c. frozen corn
1 1/2 c. frozen green beans
1 c. finely diced carrots
2 stalks celery, finely diced
1/2 c. frozen chopped onion
1 medium zucchini, diced
1 (32 oz.) box beef broth
2 1/2 c. water
2 beef bouillon cubes
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 dried bay leaf
1 (14.5 oz.) can Italian diced tomatoes, undrained
1 c. quick cooking barley, cooked according to box directions
Salt and Pepper to taste
Dried Parsley for garnish

Combine all ingredients except barley in slow cooker. Cook on LOW for 8-10 hours until veggies tender. In the last 30 minutes, cook barley separately on stove top. When done, stir into soup. Garnish with parsley if desired. *NOTE* You can also use medium pearl barley, and cook with rest of soup. If you choose to, only add tomatoes in the last 10 minutes of cooking. The acid in them will not allow the barley to cook correctly. I prefer to cook it separately to avoid any mushy texture.

Disclaimer: As a Field Editor for Taste of Home, I share my opinions of this recipe as a volunteer, not a paid employee. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

A Twist On Mexican Night

Do you love making Mexican food at home? Yeah, me too. Do you find yourself falling into a little bit of rut with what you make? Yeah, me too. Tacos, burritos, enchiladas....they seem to get into a rotation at our house, and I have to remind myself to switch things up now and again.

Back at the beginning of the month, the night of the Super Bowl in fact, we were getting dumped on with a foot of snow. Yep, over 12 inches in 24 hours. Needless to say, any plans we had to go to a big game day party were put on hold due to treacherous roads.

So, we were at home, just the three of us, watching the game, and I promised little man I would still make it fun for him since he was bummed we couldn't go anywhere. Well, one way I can usually put a smile on his face is something yummy to eat, especially with a Mexican flare! Add in the fact that it has crushed Doritos on top and I'm going to score extra Mommy points!

However, this night I didn't want to put too much effort into supper. After all, it was supposed to be a party night for me too, and while I was taking some snacks to share, I was going to be off full kitchen duty, so in a way I was kind of protesting cooking a big meal. What to do? Find a way to give him his Mexican meal, in a simple to make casserole! Done!

This is a great weeknight meal, potluck take-a-long, or party food. It's going to feed a crowd, taste great, and oh, be totally budget friendly too!

Don't fall into a rut when comes to Mexican night at home, Switch it up. Put a twist on it. Give them something new, but with so many familiar flavors they will gobble it down! 

Nacho Grande Casserole
2 lbs. ground beef
1 medium white onion, chopped
1 packet taco seasoning
2 (15 oz.) cans chili beans, mild or spicy, undrained
1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
16 oz. frozen corn, thawed
3 c. shredded Monterrey Jack cheese, divided 
3 Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 bunch green onions, finely chopped
1 1/2 c. Doritos, crushed
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a 9 x 13 pan. In a large skillet brown beef and onion until no longer pink. Season with salt and pepper. Drain if necessary. Add chili beans, corn, tomato sauce and taco seasoning. Stir well to combine. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add 1/2 ground beef mixture to bottom of dish. Top with half the cheese. Repeat layers. Top with crushed chips. Bake for 30 minutes until hot and bubbly. Top with tomatoes and green onions before serving.