Posted in Recipes To Try, Two Cents Worth of...

Recipes – Staples to our Menu

It’s been almost a whole year since I shared our favorite recipes with you. Last time I shared them it was because we had all been in COVID lock down for a couple of months and everyone was cooking more.

For us, we love to cook. We also love easy meals though.

I’d say these are kid friendly BUT I’d be lying to you. We plate it for our son and give it a shot, but more than likely he doesn’t want it, so we go to the standard toddler meals.

Those include frozen homemade meatballs, frozen chicken nuggets, a Danimal with a side of fruit or mac & cheese. I am no super mom. I provide a meal and hope for the best.

On that note, let’s start with the homemade meatballs!

Links for the recipes are in the title of each recipe!

Homemade Meatballs

I use Alex Guarnaschelli’s recipe for my meatballs. She’s one of our favorite Food Network chefs if you don’t know who she is. She has a sauce to make too to go with it, but I haven’t made that. These meatballs are SO tasty! They freeze well too. I make a double batch and typically freeze most of them in our Stasher bags so they’re ready to go for any meal or quick meals for our son! When making them I use the 2 tablespoon cookie scoop to portion them out. It’s perfect.

For the kids, pop them into a bowl with a touch of water to keep them moist and microwave them til warm throughout and top with your favorite sauce. The other night our son crushed 5 of them for dinner. He approves for sure!

Best Beer Chili

This is a new favorite of ours because my husband is a hunter and I recently discovered Miss Allie’s Kitchen, Venison Everyday cookbook! She makes venison more versatile to use and has lots of tasty recipes than our usual. The best part is it’s not gamey like a lot of recipes you find for venison, also it’s a family favorite! I know we’re sneaking into spring and some days it feels like summer but it’s a solid go-to for your menu options!

Our son actually loves beans, so this is a recipe he has had and picked every bean out of to enjoy! 😊 The rest is left for the dog to enjoy. I guess he figures that’s his way of sharing.

Coconut Shrimp with Spicy Honey

This one is my husband’s favorite request. It’s a bit more work than some of the recipes I’ve shared. However, it is worth it especially with the Spicy Honey! Personally, I cut the cayenne pepper in half because it packs a punch.

Even the little man of ours has tried this because he likes the sauce, of course, with his sweet tooth!

Coconut Lime White Chicken Chili

I know, it’s a 2nd chili recipe! It’s not even close to the other one shared. It’s a refreshing chili for spring if that makes sense. It’s light and bright in flavors and can be done in 1 pot, which is a mom need some nights! A friend of mine shared it with me this past week and it was THAT good that it was immediately added to our list of keeper recipes.

My favorite tip for this recipe is how to shred your chicken. Once it’s cooked and you take it out to shred it, put the chicken in a large bowl and grab your electric hand mixer or Kitchenaid Mixer and go to town! Screw the two-fork method that takes forever. This is one of those hacks that makes you go, “WHOA! Why didn’t I know this sooner?!”

Burgers & Fries

I have no link because here’s the thing, we buy frozen burgers and frozen French fries from the store. It is a staple for us and delicious! I said before, I’m no super mom. 😉

We cook the fries in our oven so they’re crispy and not fried. Mainly because I don’t have fryer or air fryer big enough for all that we need because my son lives on fries. Then we toss a slice of Kraft American cheese on the burgers with our favorite buns and voila! Dinner is served.

We all enjoy them and it’s something quick when needed. Now that spring is here, it’s great to get to fire up that grill and eat outside in the yard or on the porch together.

I know I’m not a food blogger, but I am a mom and wife just trying to get through each day. I hope these few meals help you add to your weekly menu and make life a touch easier!

We all need to eat and feed the families around us. Enjoy them and I hope the littles may like one or two of these as well so you don’t have to grab another thing to make them!

Posted in Recipes To Try, Two Cents Worth of...

Recipes cooked in quarantine

We’re cooking a heck of a lot more than we ever imagined during this quarantine. I’m not sure anyone signed up for that part of this. Yes, you can order take out, but eh.

Here is a list of some of the recipes we have made during quarantine. They are all kid friendly, but then again my kid eats everything still! They’re all pretty easy too so you could make it a family activity to try together if you would like! I hope you enjoy and can try something to change up the regular menu items you’ve been surviving on!

Click on the name of the recipe or the image to go to the site for the recipe!

Cacio e Pepe

My absolute favorite recipe to make at home that is from a great restaurant in Pittsburgh. Nothing beats ordering it in their restaurant, D’Anoia’s Eatery. We made it with homemade noodles one day too and that was even better! This is a super easy recipe and fun if you do the homemade noodles with the kids!

The image at the top of this blog is when we made it recently with our homemade noodles. Notice our puzzle pieces spread out as well for some quarantine activities!

Honey Soy Baked Chicken Thighs

These were delicious! We love chicken thighs if we cook chicken because they’re never as dry as the breasts but these truly reminded me of a Chinese dish you may order in a restaurant.

Make a side of rice or lo mein noodles to go with it and you’ll have a great homemade dish that will be your new favorite!


My mom found this one on the same site as the baked chicken thighs and shared it with us. My tip on this one, take it easy on the hot ingredients. If you like your nose to run while you eat food, go for it, but you can probably omit the crushed red peppers and hot sauce. The Cajun seasoning is plenty of flavor! Also, add what you want in regards to the meat. There is no real rule to that! We had chicken sausage, chicken and some shrimp. No okra here, though I’m sure it’s delicious in it!

Ground Beef Meat Pies

We made our own version of these but I used this recipe as my directive. Also, we had canned biscuits already in the fridge so I used those instead of making homemade. Worked great! We even froze 2 for later, prior to baking, so they’re ready to go when we need a quick meal.

Scalloped Potatoes

My husband insists on always having a 10-pound bag of potatoes in our house. No matter how much I complain about it, we have them. Therefore, I have to come up with potato recipes before they go bad. This recipe reminded me of my childhood and was such a comfort food dish! Super easy to make and we had all of the ingredients here.

Healing Turmeric, Lentil, Farro Soup

This one does require a few odd ingredients you may not have on hand. I had them at the time I made this because I wanted to make this for 2 mama friends of mine who just had newborns when this quarantine began so I stocked up.

This was made for me when my son was born so I wanted to pass along the favor because cooking is the last thing you want to do when you have a new babe at home. It is a great, flavorful soup! It freezes well too.

Easy Homemade Soft Pretzels

These were something I was craving because I saw Auntie Anne’s advertising home kits. They were fairly easy to make too! I need to work on rolling them a bit longer and thinner because they really swell up and rise. Overall, a great, easy recipe to make for a snack at home!

Give one of these recipes a try! We still have some time on our hands to try something new and bake or cook with the kids. I hope you can enjoy them as much as we did.

Keep yourselves safe!

Posted in Recipes To Try, Two Cents Worth of...

Recipes – Instant pot/Crock pot Meals

I’m jumping off the wagon of “mom-thoughts” for one week and tagging in recipes. We all have to eat, right?!

So here we are, in the swing of things as full time working parents. We also get to enjoy the switching of my husband’s shifts on a regular basis. Day shift, to night shift, to day shift… woof! Talk about never knowing our days and keeping our schedules straight when things keep changing so much!

One thing is certain, we both keep each other grounded with a side of humor, asking each other 3 times in one day, “what day is it today?” Or we are wide awake at 3 am listening to our son babble to himself and laugh together wondering what he thinks he is saying.

When it comes to dinners, we really like to make delicious meals and pride ourselves on making them better than what we can order out at times. So doing crock pot or instant pot dinners is not our wheelhouse. But we also don’t shy away from ordering from our favorite Chinese restaurant here and there! (Shout out, Rice Inn in Bethel Park, PA!)

We found a few recipes that have been great to add to the nights when you come home and want to make something quick or is already done and is also a family favorite. (We weeded out a few bad ones for you by giving them a shot and struggling through the leftovers because I hate wasting food. Those do not need mentioned.)

They are instant-pot or crock pot recipes, but each of them have the instructions to make without using those handy dandy kitchen appliances that take up more space than you prefer.

If you would like the recipes, click on the name of them .
I have them linked to where I got them from!
The images are directly from their pages as well, but I will say,
mine all turned out looking very close to their pictures!

Shrimp Pasta with Vodka Sauce

This one is a big time favorite and has been made multiple times by us and my parents for family dinners at our lake house. It’s super quick and easy and everyone loves a good pasta dish! If you do have the instant pot, it’s one that is true to the time they tell you! (some are big fat liars and they take forever and a day to come to temp) My mom has only made it in a pot on the stove and still says it’s quick to complete.

Shrimp Stir Fry Recipe

This one we make a lot too! It was found because my dad is on a no salt diet due to his heart surgery this summer. So among that, our family has found a few heart healthy recipes to make. It might be the closest oriental recipe we have ever made at home that tastes like something you could get for take-out or in a restaurant. You can use frozen veggies for this too. We throw a side of jasmine rice with it. If you have everything for it, it may take you 25 minutes total to do it all and have it on the table.

One other thing for this recipe, we use Coconut Aminos for the low sodium soy substitute. It’s a no sugar and no salt item that tastes just like soy sauce but without the added items you don’t necessarily need. You can snag this on Amazon, in Whole Foods, and I believe Trader Joe’s too.

Slow Cooker Sausage and Potato Casserole

This was one of Blake’s favorites we made. It is hearty and sticks to your ribs! It would be perfect for the cold nights coming up. I made the mistake of trying to figure out how to “instant pot” the recipe the evening we made it because I totally forgot to throw it in the crock pot that morning. Well, I’m not an instant pot queen yet so I can’t tell you if the time is true or not for the start to finish but it did taste good!

This recipe is enough for us to have it two days. I added a little bit of Frank’s Red Hot hot sauce to mine and a shake of Parmesan cheese, because everything is better with both of those!

Instant Pot Chicken Lo Mein

Here is another low sodium quick meal we approved! Also, another that can be done without the instant pot. If you haven’t caught on, my mom and I pass along recipes to one another and we usually always try different ways of doing things. This one is a dump and go kind of situation! Frozen veggies again are even suggested in this one. We all know anything to make a working parent’s evening a little easier is always best!

However, save yourself the time and buy the regular spaghetti noodles and don’t waste the 15 minutes in the grocery store trying to find lo mein noodles in the international food isle. It is as good, if not better, with the spaghetti noodles and they don’t seem to stick as bad.

Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili

This recipe is one from my vault of my personal favorites. It is always delicious to me and easy! This was written in 2010 in a blog and I have the link emailed to myself so I never lose it even though I have also written it on a recipe card in my recipe box!

My only tip is to rinse all of your canned beans and corn if you’re not buying it frozen. It’ll get rid of that salty water they are sitting in. It’s something you can put in the crock pot and let it do it’s thing! The chicken needs to be shredded with two forks when you come home and voila, it’s done! You can always add the goodies if you choose like sour cream, jalapenos, or cilantro too.

Those are our recent favorite quick meals. I’m sure we will add to this and would actually like it if you could share some of yours with us! We would love to try other’s family favorites and add them to our list so we don’t get bored with the same recipes over and over again!

I hope you enjoy them if you do happen to try them!