Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Veg-All Casserole

Hello to all my fellow food eaters out there!  I have an awesome heritage recipe from the good old days in the 1980's.  :)  It is a potluck special casserole and you can make this as side dish or a main dish depending on your needs.  Here is a link to the recipe that reminded me of my old favorite.

If you want a yummy vegetable side dish, you can make it just like her recipe calls for.  However, if you want a more substantial side dish or main dish, check out my recipe below.  I will mention substitution possibilities as we go since this dish tastes amazing with many variations.

pre-heat oven to 350 degrees  butter 9x13 pan

1 large can (or 2 small cans) Veg-all casserole  (prefer the brand name, can use the store brand)
1 can creamy soup (any kind will work)
1 cup mayo (do not use salad dressing/miracle whip)
1 sm. chopped onion (finely chopped if you are not a fan of onion)  (or sub 1/2 tsp onion powder)
1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar

1 bag Pepperidge Farms stuffing divided 

optional:  2 stalks celery, sliced thin
                 2 cups chicken (canned or shredded/chopped
                     left over chicken)

(Special Note:  Use 2/3rds of bag of stuffing for this recipe, place remaining 1/3 of bag into a baggie and seal for use in another recipe.  Then, divide the 2/3rds of a bag into 2 portions, 2/3rds and 1/3rd.  Sort through the 1/3rd to remove larger pieces and return them to the 2/3rds pile.  You will use the 1/3rd portion for crumbs on top.  You will not like the larger pieces on top.)

1.  Mix soup, mayo, onion, cheddar and celery in large bowl.

2.  Add cheddar and 2/3rd portion of stuffing to bowl and mix.

3.  Finally, add veg-all and fold in gently.

4.  Put mixture into 9x13 pan and spread level.

5.  Sprinkle remaining 1/3 portion of stuffing on top and put in oven for 30 minutes.

This recipe goes great with any meat you are serving.  You can serve with pork chops, BBQ, ribs, Steak, chicken, etc.

If you are looking for a complete meal, here is a great idea:

Chicken Breast
Green Veggies or Salad

My poached chicken breast was yummy, but looks terrible here.  :)   Sorry for the presentation issue.  This is really a complete meal without the green veggie, because your carbs and veggies are in the side dish, but presentation and health wise, you are better off adding some green.  :)  So I added the celery leaves for color and texture.

Also, I just want to address the Mayo/salad dressing issue.  As a food person, there is very little food that I do not prefer to eat.  In this case, I love both Mayo and miracle whip, although for different purposes.  In this recipe, you need to use mayo only.  Trust me when I say that Miracle Whip or any salad dressing will not make a pleasant dish.  However, there are many dishes where I prefer Miracle Whip, probably because that is what I grew up using so the flavors are what I expect.  You can choose to use whichever you prefer.  However, realize that you will get a VERY different flavor profile and it may not be what the originator of the recipe intended.


Saturday, January 4, 2020

Hello Fresh, after the game interview

 This was our most recent box from Hello Fresh.  We are finishing another discounted run with them and we are trying Happy Chef starting Monday.

I thought I would share some more info we have collected/learned since we began this.  These----> are Poblano Pork Tacos.  They were substantial enough on their own that none of use went hungry (family of 4).  We were worried that we might want more, but 3 tacos worth of ingredients were perfect.

They were not super spicy, but definitely flavorful.  Shannon made this meal on his own and really enjoyed the process.

These are Hoisin Meatballs with rice and green beans.  The hoisin meatballs were super delicious and fulfilled my urges to have Asian food.  I was worried that we might feel hungry after this one, but it was not a problem.

The green beans look a little stingy and they are.  The reason for this is that the green beans were in sad shape.  This was the first time I was unhappy about a food item in these boxes.  This is after 8 boxes of meals form Hello Fresh.

I think the reason that the beans were not good is because they are not in season right now.  It looked like they got frozen, but also the ends were gross.  I only used about half the beans after I cleaned them up, half of them were fine.

This meal looks a little smaller because the plate is LARGE.

This meal also had the green beans (this was the following week.)  The beans were again bad, so bad I just threw them out.  I roasted brussels sprouts instead.  The chicken and the sauce were delicious.  The potatoes were great.  However, I will be sending them in a complaint about beans two weeks in a row being bad.  For 8 weeks of meals, the green beans were the only thing we have been unhappy with, that is not too bad.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Try HelloFresh at a discount with a discount code...

#DaveRamsey, #TriumphRadio, #HelloFresh

Hi!  I tried Hello Fresh after hearing about it on Triumph radio MANY times.  My blog is tiny and insignificant and no one has ever paid me to post about anything, so here is an unbiased, un-paid for review.  I have no problem with people who do get paid to review things, as long as they are transparent about it.  I just want to be clear that mine is not being sought out or paid for.

Hello fresh is meal service that delivers a box of food to your house once a week according to your choices from their website.  The first thing I experienced was their web site, and I was did not like that I had to pay for the first week before I could see the menu choices or recipes or anything.  It felt like "buy it to see what is in it".  However, I found out later that my daughter could go see the menu options without signing up.  I guess it was because she did not click a link to buy it, she just went to their home page.  If you want to look everything over, go to the home page and navigate from there. There is a drop-down on the upper left side of the home page that lets you see everything.

One of the most important questions is whether this is WORTH it.  Well, it totally depends on your budget and your family.  If your family has 4 or less people, if your budget is not rice and beans/beans and rice, if you eat out too much and need to cut the cost of that, if you work out side the home and still try to cook and homeschool your kids, then I say YES!  This is worth it.  The per serving cost runs about $7.49 per person if you buy for 4 people, a little more per person if you buy for 2. The servings are adequate, we did not feel like we had skimpy meals.  However, during the initial discounted offer, with adding the shipping and everything, my per person cost is about $5.35 person and that is WAY better cost than almost any fast-food meal for our family.   And yes, we eat out too much.

What does Hello Fresh offer our family?  It is pre-planned, pre-bought, pre-selected and provided recipes.  We can cook, we just aren't strong in the planning stage which would make things work better.  We are working to get out of debt, so this is a way to get us home more often for 1/2 the cost of other eating-out options.  This is a win-win for us.  However, it is NOT cheap, especially considering that someone still has to cook it. Feel free to comment or message me fore more specific details for your family.  I am happy to answer any questions.

We chose to make the Sesame Beef Tacos first.  (see photo above) The ingredients are fresh and everything was in good shape.  One cucumber was a little less than perfect, but still usable with a little trimming.  The recipe showed how to make pickled veggies (one of my favorite things ever!) and now I know how to do it on my own.  WIN!    The taco filling was easy to prepare, the cabbage was already shredded. I picked out a couple pieces of cabbage stalk, but that was MUCH easier than cutting and shredding it on my own.  WIN!   The girls helped with a couple smaller tasks like making a creama and heating the soft taco wrappers.  Dinner was served!  This meal definitely will be ordered again.

Ruby made this yummy dinner while I made the sauce.

The second meal was Cherry Balsamic Porkchops with herb infused couscous and roasted broccoli.  This was a simple basic meal.  Protein plus carbs plus veggies.  We would have made this for ourselves here at home from scratch, but I learned how to make a balsamic reduction and we used shallots which are something I never get unless my CSA basket has one in it.  My pickiest eater enjoyed everything, even the couscous and was able to leave off the shallots from her porkchop so she was happy.  The rest of us (Camille and I) loved the whole meal as it was intended.

YUM!  Camille made dinner.

We enjoyed Camille's homemade offering, Maple Mustard Baked chicken with potato wedges and roasted carrots.  The maple mustard drizzle was AMAZING and we drizzled it on our potatoes as well as our chicken.  The drizzle recipe made PLENTY to layer on the chicken as well as the potatoes and we still have a little bit left over.  Yay!  This chicken looks like it was fried, but in reality it just has a layer of panco herb breadcrumbs onto of the maple mustard drizzle.  This was YUMMY as well as less carb-heavy than I imagined form the picture.

We enjoyed all three meals form our Hello Fresh box and we look forward to the next one arriving.  The experience of cooking meals together and from scratch reminded us how nice it is to have home cooked meals as well as saving us money.  Tonight we went to Sonny's BBQ after the swim meet and I paid $40+ for 3 of us to eat.  :(  See what I mean?

Final thoughts on Hello Fresh:  When you get the recipe cards, they are specific to the box, but you can go out and purchase the ingredients and make the same meal again and again.  So now I also have 3 new recipes that I can add to my repertoire and I will have 12 before this trial is over.  Good recipes that work are always a good thing, and my kids are familiar with these now which makes them more likely to make them and eat them.  Including picky eaters in food prep gives them ownership over meals and that can be a good way to get them trying new things. #parentingHack

I hope this helps someone make up their mind about trying Hello Fresh.  If you want to try it, let me know and I can provide a discount code.  These are limited from me, but many radio talk show programs offer  discount codes that you can look up online so that you don't have to use my discount code.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

How can I teach the big kids when the littles need me so much???

Teaching your older kids with busy little ones underfoot...Classical Conversations

I have rarely been in the position of needing to educate older kids while little ones needed my attention since I am an unusual home school mom who has 3 kids but spread out in age.  However, some of my personal coping skills might come in handy on this topic of  "What do I do with toddler and baby while I attempt to teach my older children to read and do math?"

Here are some ideas that might work for you and your little kids.

1.  Sling your baby!  Get a sling and put baby in it from day one.  They will adapt and learn to enjoy it.  Your sling will become a safe refuge from the world around them and will give you many hours of hands-free baby care. If you dance quietly behind your older kids, baby will go to sleep after eating and then you can sit down and put your feet up while working quietly with the older kids.  Also great for making meals and doing other chores.  List of great slings to try

2.  Get a BIG refrigerator box from the appliance store.    corral the baby   Cut the top down so that you can see into the box and baby can see out.  This is like a play pen but baby will crawl in willingly.  Once baby is corralled in the box, have a variety of toys that they are allowed to play with only in the box.
          A.  You could allow them to have washable markers (if you take off all their clothes and leave them in their diaper) and color on the insides of the box.
          B.  Give them mega blocks to build with
          C.  Give them plastic bowls and spoons, rubbermaid containers with lids, pots and pans (if you can stand the noise), or any other thing they can play with but not stick up heir nose, in their ears, or injest.
          D.  If you have a banger, give them drum sticks and allow them to tap away on the box.  It is not too loud.
          E.  Make some fun-to-play-with attachments to the sides of the boxes, or make a board you can hang on the side that will entertain the little ones who like to fiddle with things and take things apart.  The blessing of the fridge box is that they will only take apart the items you allow them to.
                       Some things you can add to the sides of the box would include short yarn with a ring on either end, that baby can get hold of and pull inside with them.  When you walk by you can pull them all back out to "reset" the fun.   You can have dad or older sibling make a busy board.  On a piece of plywood, you can attach all the little fiddly pieces of hardware and allow the baby to work on getting them open/closed.   A bolt to screw in and out, a hinge to open and close, an eye hook, a caster to spin, many fun things to try.    busy board ideas   

         F. Finally, assign older children time with baby/toddler.  If they can play nicely together (even if they don't do it all the time), set up appt. with baby and older sibling so that each child gets at least 30 minutes of uninterrupted time with Mom before lunch and after lunch.

Using all of the tactics on a rotation will keep things fresh and interesting all school year long and will allow you time to get schooling done with the older kids in your home.  You can multi-task while caring for baby and your older kids.

Do you have any good ideas I can pass on to my friends?  Share in the comments!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The first post I prepared for my blog (but never published). I am going Retro!

Wow, I am blogging! Joining the multitudes of millions of people who are years ahead of me. I was surprised to find blogs started as long ago as 2002. I had not heard of blogs back then. So, of course, in trying to find a name for my blog, I realized that the name I wanted had been taken 5 years ago. It is not active. It is not being used, but it is still sitting there on the net, useless to someone who wants to actively blog it. It seems kind of like a derelict building in town, an eyesore. I feel bad for the great name they chose and it being sentenced to oblivion.

So, if you have an old blog out there with a GREAT address or even just a mediocre one, get out there and blog it and help resurrect some of these old buildings on the net that no one but you can occupy!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

That is all the "Things"

Thanks for watching my blog as I shared all the things I have been enjoying for the first 2 months of the year.  I have more stuff, but I will spread it out a little more.  I hope you enjoyed hearing about the things we are up to, the good food and good fun.  Check back next week for more fun stuff and goodies from here.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Delicious Food "Thing" for February 2015

I made the YUMMIEST Lemon Chicken and Orzo Soup the other day.   Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

This recipe is SOO easy.  You can put all your own fresh vegetables in it, and it still only takes maybe 45 minutes to make.  It doesn't get much easier than that.

Adding homemade chicken broth is a GREAT idea, so if you have some, use it here.  The additional flavors will make the soup delicious.  Canned broth just does not have the depth of flavor you will want for this soup, but if that is what you have available, go ahead, it will still be yummy.

Let me know what you think of this recipe, our whole family loved it. :)