Learning From The Hand That Feeds You – A Cooking Lesson For My Son Courtesy of “Dad’s Book of Awesome Recipes”

THM-Dads-Book-of-Awesome-Recipes-CookbookToday’s post comes courtesy of The Hubs aka Tyler.  It has been a while since he’s done a review, so when a copy of Dad’s Book of Awesome Recipes by Mike Adamick arrived on our doorstep, I knew this would be perfect for him – I mean, he is a dad and likes to cook….

So take it away Tyler….

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As a dad with nearly 8 years under my belt, I’ve found that kids are really good doing at least one thing….eating!

Not everything put on their plate, mind you, but their favorites — usually anything involving cheese, peanut butter, or some type of breaded chicken object shaped like a dinosaur, Minion or something similar. My kids love breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, although my son is not to partial to any kind of vegetables. His sister, on the other hand, is game to try anything, at least once.  She even tried daddy’s special hot sauce-infused potato chips. Don’t say I didn’t warn you, kiddo!

Since I think a lot about food, and they think a lot about food, I thought it would probably be a good idea that I move them away from this abstract notion that things to eat magically appear.

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Dutch Apple Caramel Pie Made Easy #HolidaySecrets

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Can you believe that Christmas is this week? I know, it snuck up on me too!

Luckily our decorations are up, the tree is trimmed and the presents have been bought (but not wrapped yet!).  All that’s really left to do is start prepping for the big holiday meal we’re hosting for the family this year. In the past, I’ve stressed out over planning the perfect holiday meal. However, I’ve picked up some #HolidaySecrets that have helped make my preparations easier and our family meal celebrations ones for the memory books.

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Who wants to spend the day cooped up in the kitchen, slaving over a hot stove while everyone else gets to enjoy each other’s company? Not me, that’s for sure!  That’s why for the holidays, I like to plan meals that I can either make ahead of time or select recipes that once they go in the oven I can pretty much forget about until it’s time to go to the table!

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The Harried Mom’s “Perfect” #SundaySauce

One of the moms from my book club recently had twins.  Between recovering from giving birth, taking care of two newborns, tending to her older daughter and oh yeah, don’t forget her husband and the house, I know it’s been an exhausting and overwhelming few weeks…and it’s just starting!

To help our mommy pal out our book club organized a meal train.  I had never heard of a meal train before, but I love its purpose.

A meal train is organized meal giving.  For example if someone is ill, elderly or has a new baby (or two!), caring friends, family, co-workers, neighbors or pretty much anyone who wants to show their excitement or compassion prepares and brings a meal to the family in need on an assigned day.   These are “drop off” ready meals – ones that the family can either pop in the oven to reheat or just stick in a fork in and start eating.

Taking into consideration my friend’s family dietary restrictions/preferences, I settled on making a spinach lasagna since I know it can freeze well if they decide they don’t want to eat it that day.  It’s also easy to prepare so I could double up on ingredients and stash a lasagna in my own freezer for a tasty homemade meal to reheat in less than an hour on a crazy weeknight.

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I think the secret to making a great pasta meal — whether its spaghetti, lasagna or ravioli — is that is has to have a great sauce.  Being Italian I’ll admit that I’m pretty good at making #SundaySauce.  It’s so good that it’s been known to be called “perfect” by my close friends and family.

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How Green Is Your Garden? 6 Easy Steps For Drying Herbs

THM_DryingHerbs_1I love gardens, filled with beautiful and colorful flowers, but truth be told I don’t have much of a green thumb.

Either I don’t plant them properly such as not having the proper soil pH level or I commit the mortal sin of forgetting (or am too tired) to water them. That was even one of the reasons we got an automated sprinkler system!  So flowers at my house are pretty much regulated to the kind you buy at the florist  and put into a pretty vase and our landscaping consists of grass, trees and hearty shrubs that I can’t kill!

However, when it comes to my herb garden, I’m a whiz!

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A Berry Good (And No Bake!) Dessert – Blueberry Love

It’s no secret that I love to cook (you can see all my Harried Mom recipes here), but truth be told, I’ve never been much of a baker.  It’s not because I’m more of a savory over sweet gal – because anyone who knows me knows that I cannot resist a good sweet treat or dessert! I think it’s because baking is so precise.  Now while I use recipes when I cook, I tend to think of them more as “suggestions” in creating a dish.  I like to use my own culinary instincts to develop a dish and sometimes wind up improvising by adding herbs and spices or substituting ingredients to create a new flavor profile.  Apparently that doesn’t work so well when baking.  Adding a dash more or a splash of something to a baking recipe can make cookies turn into lumps of coal or cakes into bricks, both of which have happened to me many times.

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So when I was asked to create and share a dessert recipe using Reddi-wip® whipped topping, I decided to go with one that involve absolutely no baking on my end.

Right now there are lots of yummy and wonderful berries in season and they can make an easy and healthy dessert.

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Eggplant Parm Roll-Ups, A New Tra-Dish With Ragú

I’ve always loved my Italian heritage. To me, it means strong values rooted in both family and food and those are traditions The Hubs and I are passing to our own kidlets! Ragú® recently challenged bloggers to put their own spin on one of their classic dishes to create, what they call, a #NewTraDish for their families. I decided to take on their Eggplant Parmesan recipe and gave it a healthier twist by not frying or breading the eggplant.

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My Eggplant Parm Roll-Ups are super easy for either a kitchen vet or newbie chef to create! Using Ragú® Old World Style® Traditional Sauce, which is made with 11 ripe juicy tomatoes making it richest, thickest recipe*, means you won’t need to slave over the stove all day to create a flavorful sauce. You can put this entire meal together in about an hour – so it’s the perfect weeknight recipe to make and enjoy.

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Make Dinner Tonight With Campbell’s Skillet Sauces #EasyPrepMeals

I am a member of Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser. All opinions within this sponsored post are my own and not edited by Collective Bias in any manner. #EasyPrepMeals #CollectiveBias

 

I absolutely love to cook, but it isn’t always my favorite thing to do after a long day at the office.   Most weeknights The Hubs and I get home from work late time and we look forward to spending some quality time talking, playing and reading with our kidlets before their bedtime. Once we have them safely nestled into their beds it’s usually well after 8 pm.  While we’re both ravenous by that time, neither one of us is in the mood to start thinking about dinner ideas and making a meal that has a long prep or cook time.

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That’s why I love #EasyPrepMeals — fast and easy dinners that I can make on nights when I don’t have the time or energy to cook a meal from scratch. I always try to keep my pantry and fridge stocked with some food basics so I can always create a delicious meal on a moment’s notice.

This past weeknight I made an awesome and romantic dinner for The Hubs and I in under 30 minutes with the help of Campbell’s Skillet Sauces. This is a new line of Campbell’s sauces where all you have to do is pick your protein and/or vegetable, add a Skillet Sauce and you can have a tasty and healthy dinner for four (we had enough for leftovers the next night!) on the table in no time at all!

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All Good April

Since The Hubs and I started living the pescatarian lifestyle earlier this year, we’ve been experimenting with of new foods. I’ve learned all about vegetarian meat AKA mock meats — foods make to look like various meats, but made from soy, gluten, eggs, veggies or a combo of those ingredients — and that kale is the new spinach! Most recently I learned about the many health benefits of coconut oil and flax seeds to a persons daily diet, courtesy of a care package from Carrington Farms for #AllGoodApril month.

THM_CarringtonFarms_AllGoodApril_1My Carrington Farms “All Good April” care package included Liquid Coconut Cooking Oil, Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil tub & Organic Milled Flax Seeds

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Plank Grilling: 75 Recipes for Infusing Foods with Flavor Using Wood Planks – Cookbook Review, Recipe & Giveaway

My favorite cooking appliance isn’t in my kitchen, it’s right outside, literally. It’s my gas grill! I love cooking meals on the grill and use it all year-long — in rain or shine, snow or sleet, as long as there is a clear path leading to the gill, I cook on it. It wasn’t until a few years ago though that I started to plank grill.

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Grilling with a plank is a lot like using a pan, except the plank has the ability to produce smoke. This method is great because it provides a stable surface to grill your food on while at the same time infusing it tons of flavor. It’s also healthier than traditional grilling, as dishes remain juicier and require less added fat and salt for flavor.

So when Plank Grilling: 75 Recipes for Infusing Foods with Flavor Using Wood Planks by Dina Guillen showed up at the house, I was excited. Up until that point I’d just been pulling plank grilling recipes off the internet, not realizing there were whole cookbooks devoted to this cooking method. Plank Grilling – 75 Recipes for Infusing Foods with Flavor Using Wood Planks is the perfect cookbook for a grill plank beginner or even an intermediate planker like myself. Continue reading ⇒

Meatless Meals – Veggie Quiche

Most weeknights The Hubs and I don’t get home until after 6:30 pm from work.   Once we do get home we try to spend as much time as possible hanging out with the kidlets before they go to bed.  That means we play board games, build LEGOs, play with Super Heroes/Disney Princesses, read books or if it’s Wednesday night, give the kidlets baths!  By the time 8 pm rolls around the kidlets are safely snuggled into bed and The Hubs and I are starving!  But who wants to start cooking a meal at 8 pm to eat at 9 pm and then go to bed not too long after?  Not this gal – so lately I’ve been making extra meals/dishes on Sundays that we can just re-heat during the week.

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One of my current favorites is making quiche.  This might be a little rudimentary, but I have had people ask me what it is — a quiche is an open-faced pastry crust with a savory filling thickened with eggs. I like quiches because they are so versatile. You can fill them with just about anything you have in the fridge — cheese, meat, seafood or vegetables — and you can serve it either hot or cold.   They are the perfect meal to make in advance, store in either the fridge or freezer and pop out when needed.

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