5 go to meals

So, lets be honest…. we all want to create perfect meals every day and have fantastic, healthy meals for our families. And as a stay at home mom, It is kind of my job to make sure that my family eats 3 square meals a day…. Well sorta. My oldest gets a quick breakfast in the morning because she is not the greatest at waking up for school and then she eats lunch at school and then gets dinner.

And as a parent, there are just some days where I just don’t want to cook or I am too sick or exhausted to craft one of those fantastic meals. So there are usually an arsenal of go to meals that moms, or at least I do, have in our back pocket for these days.

 

One of the biggest go to meals for days that are busy or days where I just don’t feel like spending too much time standing in the kitchen is Spaghetti. It is quick and easy to cook. It takes less than 30 minutes to have a hot and delicious meal on the table. And I usually have 3 variations in my arsenal. There’s regular spaghetti, baked spaghetti and taco spaghetti. It is amazing. And although there are the pasta carb debate going around that too much pasta isn’t health….there are ways that I can sneak health into these meals.  There are noodles that are made out of vegetables. And you cannot tell, or at least my kids can’t when they eat it.

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Another go to meal is hot dog mac and cheese.  Another non healthy meal that some of those parents would never put on the table for the kids.  It is the quickest easiest meal that my kids love. It is extremely simple and literately 2 ingredients. Takes less than 20 minutes to get on the plate. Its Mac and cheese, which I use Velveeta I love the ooey gooey cheese rather than the powder, and hotdogs. It couldn’t be more simple. We don’t eat it very often but when I have had one of those days, this is one of the meals my kids ask for.

Most people do Taco Tuesday. I do Taco Pizza. It is simple and a hit. Especially with the husband. It is simple and I can put it all together in 30 mins or less. It is crescent rolls pinched together to fit my pizza pan. Covered with refried beans, taco meat, diced tomatoes, onions, bell peppers and cheese. It tastes amazing and is easier than it actually sounds.

My favorite go to meal when its cold and we’re feeling under the weather is Potato Soup. It is creamy and yummy and honestly the hardest part is peeling and cutting the potatoes. And I can cook and dice up cauliflower and broccoli and sneak it into the soup without my family really knowing. It is so good that I usually eat so much that I fall into a food coma. Honestly the best thing in the world. I absolutely love it.

My 5th go to meal would have to be pizza. If I am under the weather or just not in the mood to cook….we usually order in. But If I want to include my kids, which I try to do often because our oldest just adores cooking and watches the cooking shows, we make homemade stuff crust pizza. This is a go to meal because I don’t have to do much, my daughter does.

 

These are my five go to meals…. what are yours?

Picky eaters

 

One of the biggest challenges that I have faced as a mom isn’t dirty diapers or sick kids. I have a natural maternal instinct so the sick kids I can handle. The dirty diapers comes with being a parent. What my challenge is….. Picky Eaters!

My oldest didn’t use to be a picky eater when she first started eating solid food. She was actually a vegetarian for 6 months. Wouldn’t touch anything meat related. So that made me a vegetarian for 6 months because there was no point in fixing two meals and financially it wasn’t worth two separate meals.

But then something changed when she was 2. She would only eat chicken nuggets, pizza, eggs, and pizza rolls. it was a battle to get her to eat anything else. Sometimes she would eat spaghetti but not the meat. She would pick that out. When I was working all the time, it was just easier to cave and give in to her pickiness than to actually fight to get her to eat something else. I was exhausted.

But when I became a home mom, I had more time to try to work things in. But if she could see it, you would forget about it. So there was half the battle. I know that you can shred cooked broccoli and hide it in mac n cheese but if she saw a speck of green she wouldn’t eat. That is where shakes came into. I could make a banana smoothie with spinach, put it in a cup that you couldn’t see thru with a straw and she loved it.

But I couldn’t hide everything and it got really hard. She loved carrots. But only the sweet kind you get from a Japanese restaurant. So I could use those and slowly decrease the sweetness and she didn’t know.

But as she got a little older and we were preparing for her to start her first year of school, we knew that if she wanted to eat school lunch she would have to expand her taste buds. And to do so, whenever I cooked food, she would have to eat a small bowl of what I cooked and if she didn’t like it she could find something else for dinner which usually consisted of pizza rolls, grilled cheese or chicken nuggets. However, to her surprise, she sometimes liked what I had cooked and asked for a second bowl. There are sometimes, I know she won’t eat what I cooked but per our agreement, she has to try it. I never give her too much because if she doesn’t like it then it is wasting food.

It probably isn’t the best way to fight the picky eater syndrome. But it is a start. She is seeing that there are other foods that she really likes, like chicken pie and lasagna soup. I even let her help meal plan. Where in the 60 meals I choose she gets to pick 10 of her all time favorites that are not grilled cheese, breakfast, chicken nuggets or pizza. Then of course we do have pizza nights all the time. Maybe twice a month. But we don’t order out pizza. That is for special occasions.

Nope. We sit together at the kitchen table and make our own pizza. And we make it stuffed crust. Even the two year old loves to help put cheese and pepperoni on the pizza.

The picky-ness hasn’t ended yet. But we are working on it. One meal at a time.

BBQ Cheeseburger Casserole.

As you have probably figured by now, I am a sucker for a casserole. Especially with two kids, house work, errands and school work. Casseroles as well as dump and bakes are a blessing. This was actually really good….and simple. My picky eater ate all of it… then again she did want some of her trunk or treat candy….We have rules… haha.

What you’ll need:

1Lb ground beef

Onion (optional)

About 1/2 cup BBQ

About 1/4 cup Mustard ( I used honey mustard because I love it)

1 package crescent rolls.

1 to 2 cups cheese.

*I say about because I don’t usually use measurements. I eyeball all the measurements, taste it…if it needs more add it.

Preheat oven to 350 Degrees F

Cook the ground beef and onion til no longer pink. Season it however you like.

While the beef is cooking, open the crescent rolls and place in a baking dish. spread it out to fit. Then bake until just barely golden and no longer gooey.

Once the beef is done, drain it. Add the BBQ and Mustard.

Then place on top of the crescent roll.

Add cheese!

Bake for about 20 to 30 minutes. Then ENJOY!

Cheesy spinach chicken pasta

We do not eat enough greens. At all. My nephew refuses to eat anything green. I try to include things that are healthy in our foods. Especially since we do eat out once a week. And we only do that because I mean hey I do need a break.

What you will need:

Chicken breast. I used 2 decent size

Penne pasta

1/2 cup to a cup sour cream

Cream cheese

Spinach

Ranch mix

Seasoning…your choice

Cheese….your choice

Preheat oven to 350 degree F

Cut the chicken up into bits. I usually do this before cooking because its easier…maybe a little more slimey….but its easier than cooking, waiting for it to cool and then cutting. This way I can just transfer it to whatever I’m cooking.

While the chicken is cooking. Boil the pasta. According to directions. Except you want to pull it off the stove just a little bit before its done. Dont worry it will finish in the oven.

Now, its time to mix some things together. I know it’s a lot of multitasking. But it doesn’t take much time. So here we will need to mix the cream cheese, sour cream. Ranch mix and spinach. It looks kind of gross but hey. It turns out good in the end.

When the pasta is done. Drain it. Add the cooked chicken and the pasta to the spinach mix. Stir to combine then transfer to oven. Cover with cheese and bake about 25 to 30 minutes.

Cabage soup casserole

We’ve all heard about the amzing benefits of a cabbage soup….right? I’ve heard that its great for detoxing and other miracle properties….. Could be true since cabbage is really good for you. I, however, just like the taste.

So…

Here’s what you will needg

1 lb hamburger

Onion

About cup of chopped celery (optional)

Beef broth

Diced tomatoes

Tomato sauce

Cabbage…chopped

Salt/pepper

Garlic powder

Before we begin. Lidl recntly opened in my town last week. I’ve been dying to go. So I made a two week meal plan and wrote out my grocery list. Mind you I didn’t need any meat because I go to the local meat market..they have great prices.

I ended up with 55 items for only 58 bucks. Mind you I had a bag full of onions and celery. But my meal plan didnt call for the celery til next week and I didn’t want it to spoil. I was initially looking for frozen chopped celery but couldn’t find any. So…I decided to do it l. I spent half an hour chopping onions and celery just to freeze them. It will save me money in the future and it didn’t even take that much of my time.

The celery in this recipe is optional. I just had some so why not use it. The more green the better right?

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

You will need to brown the beef. Half way thru I added the onion and celery so they could get nice and done before going into the casserole.

The hardest part I think was chopping up the cabbage. That is after you wash it. Always wash your veggies, fruits and the tops of your cans. Always.

While the beef is cooking chop up the cabbage and place it into your baking dish.

In a bowl, mix together the broth, sauce and tomatoes. Pour this over the cabbage.

When the beef is done…drain it. We don’t need any of that grease in our dish. Add this to the mixture and bake.

It took about 2 hours for the casserole to bake so that the cabbage was all the way done. You do not want to serve something where the cabbage isn’t easy to chew.

Funny thing is….I like cabbage but not Brussel sprouts.

Chicken pot pie and noodles

So chicken pot pie is one of the most beloved meals in my family. Honestly, it is. My recipe makes 4 pies. And those pies are gone within 2 days. I actually stole my moms recipe and threw in a little twist to make it my own.

Well last night I got a craving for some chicken pie. I mean its fall. It’s getting chilly. Who wouldn’t want some comfort food to make you warm? I know I did. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any pie crusts and I wasn’t in the mood to make any by hand. What I did have, however, is egg noodles. So the birth of chicken pie noodle soup was born. (Don’t take it too literal….I’m sure someone else has done this before.)

What you will need:

Roughly about a 1lb of chicken…cooked….I used 2 big chicken breast cut into cubes and baked.

1 bag egg noodles

2 cans cream of chicken soup

1 container chicken broth

1 bag frozen mixed veggies

Water. I used about 2 of the soup can full of water.

Seasonings…this is up in the air. It’s actually based on what one likes. Spicy or more herbs. Whatever your taste buds desire.

You will want to cook the chicken prior. I always cut it up bake it with some salt and pepper maybe some other seasons, just depends what I’m feeling

The next part is by far the easiest recipe you will find. Throw all the ingredients into a pot except the egg noodles. Let this warm thru. (Please don’t really throw the ingredients…unless you’re prepared to clean up the mess).

Once the veggies are just about done (I determine this by how easy is it to bite thru the carrot or pea) add the egg noodles. Allow to simmer until the noodles are done and serve.

While the broth is heating you can add the seasons you want. Im not a fan of recipes that try to tell people exactly what season they need to use….what if I don’t like basil? Is it really going to ruin the dish if I dont put it in? So, in pretty much all my recipes…the seasonings like lemon pepper, cayenne, etc is up to the reader. Do you like hot food? My brother does, so he would add more hot spices to his food.

But there you are. A simple yet comforting dish that doesn’t take long at all.

Meatball parm and rice

I am a sucker for a good dump and bake meal. It’s quick and easy and well I have a one year old that gets into pretty much everything so I have to keep a close eye on her. In a previous post I showed you how I made my famous meatballs and how I came to this recipe. Well, I am going to use them in another recipe. What you’ll need: Meatballs Quick rice. (I use the boil in bag rice. I find that it cooks very nice in these type of recipes) 2 jars marinara sauce 1 packet Italian seasoning 1/2 cup or more parmesan cheese 1/2 cup or more mozeralla cheese Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F I used 2 bags of that rice and put it into a baking dish. Add Italian seasoning Add one jar of marinara sauce. And your meatballs then the remainder of the sauce. Top with cheese and bake for 30 to 45 minutes. It’ll be worth the wait.