Everyday Mom's Meals

Monday, June 29, 2015

Happy 4th of July!!

Okay, so technically I'm a few days early, but this is my only post this week, so I thought it best to say Happy Birthday America today, and share something you could easily whip up in no time this weekend of your holiday celebration.

Do you love parfaits as much as I do? I'm kinda addicted. Anytime I can find a way to simply layer things into a pretty dish and call it dessert, I'm happy. They are truly one of the easiest things you can make, and really budget friendly for feeding a crowd too. You can make ingredients stretch a lot farther because you are using less in each one, therefore making more. 

Not to mention, this time of year, any sweet treat that doesn't involve baking is like icing on the cake to me! No bake desserts were invented for the summer months. And who doesn't love going to a party and having an individual dish, hands-friendly for walking, talking and eating all at the same time. 

I hope however you're spending the upcoming holiday weekend, you will be with those whom you love most, celebrating this terrific nation of ours, and everything the founding fathers had in mind all those years ago when they declared our independence, and created one nation under God for liberty and justice for all! 

Patriotic Parfaits
1 small box instant vanilla pudding
1 1/2 c. cold milk
Cool Whip
16 oz. container strawberries, chopped
1 pint blueberries
Vanilla Wafer Cookies

In a medium bowl whisk together milk and pudding mix until combined. Set in fridge for 5 minutes until soft set. In bottom of parfait cups or bowls, layer whole cookies, overlapping if necessary. Layer in pudding, strawberries, Cool whip, and blueberries. Repeat layers. Chill for at an hour to set before serving. *NOTE* For easy layering, place Cool Whip and pudding into plastic bags and cut off tip to pipe. The amounts of each you will need will depend on how big your parfaits are. I made 6 of this size.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Summer Time Boats

Did that title immediately take you to the lake, nice and cool, and yourself riding in a big boat, the wind in your hair? Well...I'm actually talking about a different kind of summer time boat, but I guarantee you, you'll like them!

I'm kind of addicted to finding things to put in lettuce leaves. I think we've discussed this recently. I'm always looking for new dishes, or transforming old ones, so they can be served in their own little "boat" of lettuce. It's fun, healthy and totally hands friendly for all those cookouts and parties popping up this time of year.

I love a good Cobb salad. Especially a California Cobb, with the added avocado. But I I know from when I worked as a waitress, not everyone grooves on all the regular components of a Cobb. I remember these business ladies that would come in for lunch every week, and in the group of 4, not one of them ordered the salad as is. They each had something they wanted left off. And that's fine... to each their own. But I bring it up, because that's where these might be a better option. Set out all the "fixin's" so to speak, and let everyone build their own!

If you're planning a big Independence Day picnic or maybe a day at the lake, these would be a great take along! Simply pack everything up in separate containers and then assemble on site for your eating pleasure!

Boats and summer time go hand in hand, and now they can also go from hand to stomach too!

Cobb Salad Boats
1 1/2 lbs. boneless chicken thighs
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
Garlic Powder to taste
3 hearts of Romain, leaves separated
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
4 oz. blue cheese crumbles
1 bunch of green onions, chopped, dark greens only
1/2 lb. bacon, cooked crisp and chopped
6 hard boiled eggs, chopped
1 avocado
1 tsp. lemon juice
Favorite dressing

Preheat oven to 350. Drizzle chicken with olive oil and season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Roast for 30 minutes. Allow to cool and chop. In a small bowl combine avocado, lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Mash until mixed well. To build boats, spoon some avocado mixture into bottom of lettuce leaves. This will act as a barrier and "glue" for the other ingredients. Add other desired toppings. Serve with dressing on the side.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

What I Won't Do For Him

When I was a kid, one of my favorite meals was my mom's salmon patties. I used to ask her to make them all the time. Then when Mr. E and I started dating, they became one of his favorites for her to make also. So, it shouldn't be a big deal for me to make them for him now, right??!! I should jump at the chance, right??!! Wrong. Very wrong.

See, some years back, we went to a local seafood restaurant, which shall remain nameless, and I ordered something I knew I would love. Salmon. A nice piece, with a sweet glaze and grilled. Mmmm....yummy. Right? Wrong again. Because by that night, I realized food poisoning wasn't my friend and I was so, so sick.

Now I don't know about you, but once something makes me sick, it takes a very long time for me to allow it back into my mouth again. And sometimes it is simply never welcome back. That was the case with salmon. I was so sick and have such vivid memories of it, even the smell of it can make my tummy not happy, so I've avoided it for years.

But then a couple weeks ago, while making out my meal plan, I asked my hubby what he was hungry for. "Your mom's salmon patties." Really? Seriously? Did you just say that. Well evidently I was feeling generous that day, or maybe he had done something nice for me, I can't remember, because I actually agreed to this.

Thankfully, since it was a different texture, a different flavor and something that actually brought back happy memories of eating it, I did just find. Whew...I'm so happy! I've missed not eating one of mom's best recipes!

These are super simple and come together much quicker than you might think. I like to serve them with a fresh creamy dill dipping sauce and some rice, for a supper filled with good protein!

I am so happy I made it through this meal and now know I can enjoy these once again, just as much as I did when I was a kid. Well, almost...they are never as good as when mom made them!

P.S. Today just happens to be my parents wedding anniversary too. Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad! We are so blessed to have you as parents and wish you many more blessed years to come!

Mom's Salmon Patties
2 (14.75 oz.) cans salmon, drained and bones removed
1 egg, beaten
1 c. bread crumbs*
1/2 c. finely chopped onion
1 TBS dried parsley
Salt and Pepper to taste
Vegetable Oil for frying
Lemon slices for garnish

Dill Sauce
1/3 c. mayo
1/3 c. sour cream
1 tsp. dried parsley
1 1/2 tsp. dill weed
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. horseradish
1 TBS minced onion
1/4 tsp. garlic salt
Pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients for dill sauce in a medium bowl. Stir until well mixed. Chill until ready to serve. Place drained salmon in a large bowl. With hands, break up and recheck for bone pieces. Add egg and onion. Add bread crumbs, a little at a time until mixture starts to bind. Add salt, pepper and parsley. Mix well using hands. Using hand, make patties about 1/2" thick. Heat oil until 350 degrees, or medium-high. Fry on both sides until browned. Serve with sauce and lemon on the side. *NOTE* I used about a cup of bread crumbs. You will need to eyeball it to see how much you will need, depending on how wet your salmon is. We like them extra crispy on the outside, because mom always made them that way. If you don't want them quite as brown, fry at 325 and watch very closely.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Think Outside the Pasta Box

Here in Indiana we've been dealing with some really stormy weather. We've got floods in towns near to us, and farmers crops probably ruined for the season. It's been hot, humid and wet. But I know for many of you south of us, you're simply dealing with HOT temps. The stifling heat that takes your breath away the minute you walk out the door. On days like that, you want food that satisfies you, but doesn't raise your body temperature any more than it already is.

By now you know how much we love pasta. You know my obsession for it runs deep and if I could eat something every day for the rest of my life, it would be it. But when it's hot and muggy, as much as I love it, I just can't eat it as much as I would like. Or so I thought...until I started thinking outside the pasta box.

Why can't I have the pasta I love, but in a cool, summer inspired salad, filled with garden fresh, crunchy veggies, without a heavy, hot sauce? There is no reason I can't!!! We love pasta salad, so why not just ramp it up to take it from a side dish we love on picnics and at barbecues, to a main dish filling enough for a supper after a long day??!!

Oh.My.Blog! This is crazy good! I can't even describe it. There are no words for just how yummy it is. Seriously, I'm salivating just thinking about eating it again. Oh, and it just happens to make a ton too, so you can feed a crowd, or have it to eat all week long. Add some crusty bread or fresh fruit, and supper is done!

Be sure to keep this one in mind for your upcoming July 4th party! I guarantee it will be the thing everyone takes seconds and thirds of, and then will want the recipe too!

Summer Spaghetti Salad
Inspired by Taste of Home
1 lb. thin spaghetti, broken into thirds
1 (10 oz.) container cherry tomatoes, halved
2 medium zucchini, chopped
2 medium cucumbers, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 (3.4 oz.) can sliced black olives
1 (16 oz.) bottle zesty Italian dressing
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 TBS sesame seeds,  extra for garnish
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. celery seed
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 TBS dried parsley, extra for garnish
Salt and Pepper to taste

Cook spaghetti until just done. Do not over cook. Rinse with cold water and drain well. In a large bowl combine all veggies and spaghetti. Toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper. In a medium bowl whisk together dressing, cheese, sesame seeds, paprika, celery seed, garlic powder and parsley. Pour over salad. Toss very well to coat. Garnish with extra parsley and sesame seeds. Chill at least 2 hours before serving. Can be made ahead 24 hours and refrigerated until serving.

Shared on The Country Cook

Disclaimer: As a field editor for Taste of Home, I share this recipe with my own thoughts and opinions. I am NOT a paid employee. 

Friday, June 19, 2015

Too Hot To Cook { A Post For Earth Fare}

So lately I've become a little obsessed with eating things I can serve in lettuce. Call them boats, call them cups, call them wraps...however you describe them, I've been on a total kick lately.

It's the weather, I know it is. Sure, I love the healthier aspect of it, like swapping out shells for Romain leaves in my Taco Boats, but deep down I know the soaring temps are what is leading me back to this idea again and again. Light, flavorful meals we can eat later in the evening and not feel like we are going to bed with a brick in our stomachs.

Take that idea and combine it with another warm weather classic, chicken salad, and you have a party on a plate! For this one I wanted more of a mustard flavor than mayo to give it extra tang. The added grapes are like a little burst of freshness in every bite.

I served these with some crusty bread and fresh fruit on the side for a simple supper; but they would be perfect for a poolside or lake party too. Simply put out a big bowl of the chicken salad, and a platter with the lettuce leaves separated, so your guests can fill their own!

Summer time means lighter meals for us. Salads, fresh fruit, veggies, sandwiches...and apparently anything and everything I can find to stick inside a lettuce leaf!

Dijon Chicken Salad Cups
2 lbs. boneless chicken tenders
3 ribs celery, diced
1 c. seedless red grapes, halved
1/4 c. mayo
1/4 c. Dijon mustard
1 TBS lemon juice
1 TBS dried parsley
1/3 c. sliced almonds, reserve a few for garnish
1 head bibb lettuce
Garlic Powder, to taste
Salt and Pepper to taste 
Olive Oil

Preheat oven to 375. Drizzle chicken liberally with olive oil, and season with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Roast for 30-40 minutes until cooked. Allow to cool for a few minutes and then shred. Allow to finish cooling. In a small bowl combine mayo, mustard, lemon juice, parsley, salt and pepper. Mix to combine. In a large bowl combine cooled, shredded chicken, grapes, celery and almonds. Toss to combine. Add dressing. Stir well. Chill for at least an hour. When ready, fill leaves of lettuce with chicken salad. Sprinkle with extra almonds. *NOTE* In my store, the bibb lettuce is also marked "living lettuce" and has the roots still attached. Any lettuce will work, I just like the shapes of these leaves the best.