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8 Spooktacular Kid-Friendly Snack Ideas for Halloween

Halloween is in the air! You are sure to love celebrating the season with these 8 Spooktacular and Kid-Friendly snack ideas from Liz!  Take a look!

kid friendly snack ideas

8 Spooktacular Kid-Friendly Snack Ideas for Halloween

If you are hosting a Halloween party or attending one and need something tasty to bring, these fun Halloween food ideas will be a hit with all kids and parents!  Here are eight yummy and creative kid-friendly snack ideas for party goers of all ages!

#1 Boo-Nanas

Start as simple as with a black sharpie!  Draw pumpkin faces on oranges or mandarins.  Make a ghost faces on the packages of white string cheese or on a banana for BOO-NANA’s!

#2 Jack-O-Lantern Fruit Tray

Start by slicing up oranges for the face. Next use a mix of blueberries and grapes, shape into triangles for the eyes and nose. Use the same fruit to make a big happy grin for your pumpkin!

#3 Veggie Pumpkin Platter

Carve out a small pumpkin, fill with ranch and garnish with all your favorite veggies, including carrots, cucumbers, peppers, cauliflower and broccoli.

#4 Mummy Dogs

Wrap up hotdogs in mummy fashion- Lengthwise cut pieces of dough into as many mummy hot dogs that you need.  Wrap 2-4 pieces of dough around each hotdog to look like the “bandages,” and about ½ inch from one end of the hot dog leave open to show as the “face”. Bake your mummies at 375 degrees between 13-17 minutes. Go as far as using mustard to draw features on the mummies face!

#5 Apple Peanut Butter Teeth

Slice up your apples, spread peanut butter on one side of each slice, arrange a line of mini-marshmallows on half of the slices. Then top off with another slice of peanut butter slathered apple to make your big toothed smiles.

#6 Spider Web Taco Dip

Start with making your dip in any way you choose too and spread guacamole over the top. Mix sour cream with enough milk to make it thin and easy to come out of the squirt bottle. Draw your spider web on the top of the guacamole with the sour cream. Sprinkle olives, cheese, tomatoes and green onions around the edges. Place a spider (FAKE) in the center for decoration.  Serve taco dip with warm tortillas.

#7 Harvest Hash Chex Mix

This is the perfect combination of sweet and salty! Take a spin on the traditional recipe by adding in candy corn pumpkins, Reese’s Pieces, Bugles, Cheese Its, candy corn and any other tasty treats you love!

#8 Candy Apple Bar

Melt a large bowl of caramel. Cut apples into slices and stick on a bamboo skewer.  Choose your toppings: Crushed Oreos, crushed butterfingers, mini Reese’s pieces, mini M & Ms, crushed up Heath bits, mini chocolate chips and marshmallows.  Dip your apples in the caramel and in the desired toppings!

I hope you have a fun time creating these sweet treats for your Halloween parties this year! Happy Snacking!

From iFamily to Yours,


Pack A Smile With These Creative School Lunch Ideas!

Are you feeling stuck in a PB & J rut already this school year? It can be tough finding new and yummy ideas to send with your kiddos to school!  Here are some creative school lunch ideas from Liz, with the iFamily Mom and Dad Squad!  Take a look…

creative school lunches

CREATIVE SCHOOL LUNCH IDEAS

Make life easy on you by grocery shopping for these simple and cost effective foods.  You will have more lunch ideas that will offer your kiddos healthy, tasty and fun meals! Just choose one item from each category, make additions as desired and change it up daily. Remember, high protein foods will help your kids stay full longer. Here are just a few ideas:

Step 1

CHOOSE A MAIN COURSE

  • Grilled Chicken
  • Pasta Salad
  • Mac & Cheese
  • Sandwich
  • Quesadilla
  • Hummus and Pita Bread
  • Tuna Salad
  • Tortilla Roll-Ups
  • Pizza Muffin

Step 2

CHOOSE A FRUIT OR VEGGIE

  • Apple Slices
  • Avocado
  • Fruit Cocktail
  • Pear Slices
  • Grapes
  • Celery Sticks
  • Cucumber Slices
  • Carrot Sticks
  • Bananas

Step 3

CHOOSE A SNACK

  • String Cheese
  • Yogurt
  • Rice Cake
  • Crackers
  • Goldfish
  • Pretzels
  • Trail Mix
  • Applesauce

Step 4

CHOOSE A TREAT

  • Fruit Snack
  • Cookie
  • Brownie

Give your kiddos some extra smiles at lunch by cutting their food into shapes! If you are thinking this takes too much time, it will literally take you 5 seconds and most likely increase the odds of your kid actually eating their sandwich. Use cookie cutters to also jazz up fruit or cheese! If your kid isn’t into sandwiches, try skewers!  Use cupcake liners to create cute little compartments within food containers.

Take an extra minute to add a note or a joke to their lunch. This will let them know you are thinking about them and will definitely brighten their day.  If you are feeling uncreative, hop on Pinterest and find free printable jokes. Print off a bunch and have them ready to throw in.  What do you call a fake noodle? AN IMPASTA …. Come on you know you are laughing. What’s the difference between a fish and a guitar? YOU CAN’T TUNA FISH. Ok, I’ll stop, but you get the picture.

A few tips to keep you moms sane is to try freezing individual portions of rice or pasta and reheat before you pack lunch. Freeze drinks the night before and they will double as ice packs the next morning. Print out a list of lunch ideas and keep it on the fridge to stay inspired and organized.

Remember, sometimes the most important thing is packing the lunch your kids will actually eat, rather than the one you want them to eat. And if you have to do PB & J every day, that’s totally ok. They will not go hungry. Happy packing!

From iFamily to Yours,


Hiding The Good (For You) Stuff

A few days ago one of my kids asked me ‘Do your taste buds change when you’re an adult?’ after trying something that I had been eating.  Made me laugh because I’m sure we’ve all as adults eaten foods that we never would’ve touched as kids, right!?  Sometimes the trick is just hiding the good (for you) stuff until they know for themselves what’s good for them!  Here is Gabrielle with a few tricks to put up your sleeve!  Take a look…

Hiding the Good (for you) Stuff

Last week we had tacos for dinner.  (We have some form of tacos almost every week.  Who doesn’t love tacos?) I made the mistake of putting lettuce on the toddler’s plate.  She refused to eat anything on the plate as a result. She is the only person I’ve ever known who willingly walks away from tacos.

I love vegetables, but my kids are another story.  I often have to sneak veggies into things I know they will eat. We have yet to try the cauliflower rice or mashed potatoes, but only because those are two of my kids’ absolute favorite foods, and I think they could spot an imposter a mile away.

There are a few vegetables, though, that are easily incorporated into some of our favorite foods.

Spinach is one of my favorite vegetables to eat.  I can eat spinach as a salad or as a cooked side dish.  My children, however, are not as enamored as I am, and so I have to hide it between layers of cheese and meat.  Spinach works wonders in a lasagna or even on a delivery pizza.  (Make sure you tell them to put the spinach under the cheese and sauce.  I forgot to tell them one time, and they showed up to my door with a perfectly cooked pizza, covered in barely wilted greens.   I nearly had to eat the whole thing myself. )  Spinach also works really well in a quiche.  Eggs and cheese are as universally loved as tacos. You can also throw frozen spinach in with the kid’s favorite fruit smoothie (as if kids have a favorite smoothie.)

Carrots are another easy vegetable to mask.  You can grate them and hide them in meatloaf or burgers.  Carrots pair well with mangos, oranges, or even peaches in fruit smoothies

You could always swap out the regular French fries or tater tots for the sweet potato versions.  The kids are going to cover them in ketchup anyway, right?  Ketchup does not count as vegetable, but its what’s under the ketchup that counts.  So make it count.

From iFamily to Yours,

Gabrielle


Celebrate Kids In The Kitchen Day!

Bridgette from our iFamily Mom and Dad Squad has some fun recipes and tips for your family to celebrate Kids Take Over The Kitchen Day!  Take a look…

Kids In The Kitchen

Kids Take Over the Kitchen Day!

Tips for Cooking With Kids & Recipe Ideas

Hey Kansas City! Do you know that Wednesday, September 13th, is National Kids Take Over the Kitchen Day? We want to encourage all of your kids and teens to take over their kitchen and prepare a meal or meals for your family to celebrate the day. When kids cook with their parents or guardians, they are strengthening a family bond and making memories that will last. But not only that, they are also learning life skills and also where their food comes from and how to make healthier choices.

My kids love to make breakfast in the morning, and while it can be dangerous in the kitchen, I have a few tips that will keep everyone safe! This way, your kiddos can make a great breakfast, lunch or dinner without the fear of cuts and burns.

-Keep it cool- Have supplies for them to make cold breakfast items ie yogurt, fruit, granola, cereals, smoothie mixes and so on.

-Mix it up- To avoid cuts, have your kiddos do the “dirty work”. Let them mix up the ingredients in the bowls, crack the eggs, roll out dough or if it is something soft enough, use plastic knives or kid knives to avoid sharp ones.

-Do the math-  In our house, anytime we can throw in a math problem we do lol. So when making biscuits or pancakes or anything really that needs to be measured out, I let the kids do the measuring.

-Spread it out- Sandwiches are easy to make too! All they really have to do is spread out the pb&j or spread the mayo and mustard, add some turkey, cheese and whatever else and you are done!

As always, younger kids should always be supervised when in the kitchen! Especially if they are using the stove, oven, knives or toaster!

Here are a few easy recipes that my kids always help with, and you can guarantee that I will be finding a way to incorporate all these easy ones together so I can take full advantage of this day lol

Easy Biscuits

These are the easiest biscuits ever and my kiddos love making them! Best of all you only need a few ingredients. For the full recipe, head over to Nevermore Lane!

3 Cups of Flour

41/2 tsp baking powder

9 tbsp oil

1 Cup water

11/2 tsp salt

This recipe really is easy and tastes great! I personally add a little butter on the tops before baking, my husband loves it!

Kidshealth.org has some really yummy recipes as well! Plus they have recipes that are great for those with dietary restrictions.

The Awesome Apple Sauce has become a staple item in our house!

All you need is:

2 small red apples

2tbsp lemon juice

2tsp sugar

2 pinches of cinnamon.

You can get this recipe and another family favorite (Fabulous French Toast) HERE.

So, make sure you head to the store to grab those last few ingredients you need and let your kids take over the kitchen! I’m pretty sure that might include doing the dishes too lol.

From iFamily to Yours,


Do You Struggle With The Question: What’s for Lunch?!

Welcome Max to the iFamily Mom & Dad Squad!  Do you ever struggle with the question ‘What’s for Lunch’?  Max is to the rescue with his answers to this question and some lunchtime solutions for you and your family!

Lunch

What’s For Lunch?

This is a question that I hear a troubling number of times in a week! You would think that this would be the easiest meal to serve, but for us it has been the Rubix Cube of meal planning. Breakfast is easy, it can be eaten at dinner time and people still call it breakfast! Dinner is easy because it is the meal that everyone gathers for and therefore receives the most attention,planning, and preparation. Lunch is the meal that has consistently caused frustration for my family, like the yellow square that just doesn’t line up no matter how many different ways you spin the Cube around. For us it has gotten to the point that we are going to peel the stickers off and put them where they belong. (I am really impressed at my ability to create the analogy of lunch and Rubix Cube!)

In the school systems attempt to make sure that all kids got to eat, they have set up a system of complacency when it comes to lunch. The least they could have done was educate me that I would not be able to pass off Bosco Sticks and broccoli as a reasonable lunch later in life.  Unless of course you are single. Which brings me to another point about lunch and the many reasons it is difficult.  If I were a single person lunch would be a breeze. However, I am married and my wife is not the biggest fan of leftovers.  As in won’t eat them, unless it something like pizza or spaghetti. This leaves me scrambling to come up with “new” meals for lunch and doubles the amount of planning and work in the kitchen. Here are my three keys to solving the Lunchix Cube followed by a list of our favorite lunch items.

Three keys to a successful workday lunch:

  1. Lunch DOES NOT need to be a meal the same way that we think about breakfast and dinner being meals. It is okay for lunch to be a series of healthy foods that are sometimes considered snacks. We like to make sure that we are still getting some proteins, veggies, and healthy fats.
  2. Lunch should not only be delicious but equally important is portability. You never know where your day might take you so it is best to not need a microwave. This is why healthy “snack” lunches is a good way to shift the mind. Don’t read this and think “Oh snack, I am going to have chips, soda, and a candy bar.” That is not delicious and therefore doesn’t follow the key. I would even caution you against “healthy” snacks if they come prepackaged.
  3. Create a list of ideal lunches. This list can be your favorite healthy “snacks” or some on the go food that you prepare on Sunday for the week. If you prepare ahead of time make sure that you portion it out for the week too or you won’t eat it because you won’t have time to prep in the morning.

Some Ideas To Get You Started:

  • Greek Spaghetti
  • Pasta Salad
  • Hard Boiled Eggs
  • Olives
  • Bruschetta
  • Caprese Salad
  • Cheese and Salami
  • Banana Muffins
  • Bean Salad

This list is by no means exhaustive.  It’s primarily meant to get you thinking differently about lunch. All of these “meals” are delicious, can be prepared ahead of time, and only one requires a microwave meaning that they are portable. So, you can do something crazy like go eat lunch outside!

From iFamily to Yours,

 


Fix, Freeze and Feast on Taco Tuesdays!

Who doesn’t love Taco Tuesday’s to add a little fiesta into the week!  Check out these yummy recipes from Liz, with the iFamily Mom Squad, to spice up your menu!

taco tuesday's

Fix, Freeze and Feast on Tuesdays!

Last week’s meal prep was Mexican cuisine! I made a quick and inexpensive trip to Aldi’s and loaded up on veggies, chicken, beef, rice and black beans! Prepping for a few Mexican meals is super easy and loved by the entire family! In a short time I was able to prep a few meals including, chicken fajitas, beef fajitas, cilantro lime chicken and extra corn/tomatoes/ black beans and onions for future chicken bowls and burritos.

Here are the yummy recipes that I prepped! For quick organization I made my shopping list of exactly how much of everything I needed. All the recipes are similar, it’s easy to shop quickly and convenient to prep extra.

Cilantro Lime Chicken

1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 (10 ounce can) mild diced tomatoes and green chilies

1 cup of corn kernels, frozen, canned or roasted

½ cup salsa, homemade or store-bought

½ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

1 red diced onion, 1 diced jalapeno,

2 teaspoons cumin, 2 teaspoons chili powder, 4 cloves garlic minced

Juice of 2 limes

Combine all ingredients together to freeze in a gallon-sized freezer bag or add to your slow cooker. Cover and cook on low heat for 7-8 hours or high heat for 3-4 hours.

Variety of ways to serve this meal! I sometimes make it without adding the cilantro and lime juice. You can shred the chicken or cut into cubes. We eat ours over brown rice for a tasty chicken bowl.

Beef or Chicken Fajitas

2 pounds of boneless beef chuck shoulder roast or boneless chicken breasts

2 red bell peppers, sliced

1 small onion, peeled and sliced

1 tablespoon of honey,

2 cloves of garlic, minced

Juice from 1 lime

1 tablespoon chili powder, 2 teaspoons cumin, 1 teaspoon paprika,

¼ crushed red pepper flakes

Combine all ingredients together to freeze in a gallon-sized freezer bag or add to your slow cooker. Cover.  Cook on low heat for 6-8 hours or high heat for 3-4 hours, beef should shred easily with a fork.

Spice up these meals by topping the ingredients with a bed of lettuce. Add more veggies, shredded cheese, greek yogurt (a healthy version of sour cream) and avocados for a yummy taco salad! Or serve with tortillas and rice!

I hope these recipes save your life and some time with the craziness of the start of school, enjoy!

From iFamily to yours,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Fun Alternatives To Cupcakes For School Birthdays

Celebrating school birthdays can be a challenge with all the restrictions due to allergies and regulations regarding pre-packaged snacks and treats. So what is a mom to do when she can’t bake her usual homemade treats for school? Maybe you just want to err on the healthier side? Here are a few ideas from Ruth, with the iFamily Mom Squad, to make your child’s birthday a success without providing pre-packaged cupcakes or cupcakes at all-if your school allows them.

Fun Alternatives To Cupcakes For School Birthdays

DIY snacks.

If you are in the mood to be a bit creative you can bring in individual DIY treats. Maybe your child loves fruit or cheese crackers, you can work with that. Look up some fun food crafts online that kids can easily build themselves in a few minutes. Pinterest has some great ideas for food crafts such as these healthy snail and caterpillar snacks: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/128000814388908906/ If you base the snack off of foods and themes your child loves, then the activity is bound to be a winner!

Birthday make and take crafts.

If you want to steer away from sweet treats or food for any reason, you can supply a craft project instead. Talk with your teacher in advance to see if you can supply a special craft activity in place of edibles to celebrate your child’s birthday. You can base it off of favorite characters that your child likes or you can do something strictly birthday related. Local stores carry kid craft kits or you can explore ideas that you find online. Last year I printed off pictures of birthday cakes on to cardstock paper for kids to color and cut, added string so they could wear them as hats. While they were making crafts I read them Happy Birthday to you, pop up edition by Dr. Seuss.

Make a classroom donation

In honor of your child’s birthday you can donate fun things to the classroom. Be sure to involve your little one in the process. Have them choose some books to add to the class library or a new game. You could even pick out something from your teacher’s wish list!

Have the class personalize an item.

Have your child’s class personalize a hoody, apron, poster or other item for their birthday. Fabric markers, sharpies, stickers and so on work well for this. Peers can draw pictures, write messages or sign names as a fun way to commemorate the occasion.

For more ideas relating to birthday ideas you can search on the internet for non-food birthday celebrations at school or check out this PDF: http://www.cpschools.com/Schools/NHP/pdfs/nonfoodcelebrations.pdf

From iFamily to Yours,

 


Back To School Crockpot Meals

Ready, set, here we go!  Back to school means back to alarm clocks, homework and after school practices!  Some nights it’s hard to find time to fit in a home cooked meal for your hard working family.  Crockpot meals can be a real lifesaver!  Bridgette, from our iFamily Mom Squad, is here to share some of her favorites.  Take a look…

Back To School Crockpot Meals

Back to School Crockpot Meals

Yes, you read that correctly, everyone is getting ready to head back to school already!  I don’t know about you, but when we were in traditional school, that first week was so chaotic! Between getting up on time, making last minute triple checks and remembering what time the bus comes…. Dinner would be the absolute last thing on my mind. I couldn’t think about spending hours cooking subpar food that we had already had two days ago. Which is why I fell in love with crockpot meals, slow cooker meals, dump meals or whatever you want to call them. They truly make dinner time much easier and less of a hassle.

For those first two weeks back to school, consider dinner made! These 10 crockpot meals are delicious, easy and can feed a crowd or be packed for lunch!  Get out your notepad and start making your list!

Cheesesteak sandwiches

This easy recipe from Lauren Greutman is one of my favorites! I also substitute the beef for chicken at times. All the gooey cheese and veggies are seasoned to perfection and definitely make. Simply toss everything in before you head out to grab the kids and it will be ready right in time for dinner!

Ingredients:
2 green peppers, sliced
1 onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 – 2 1/2 lbs. thinly sliced steak (I used top round)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 envelope dry Italian dressing mix
1 cup water
1 beef bouillon cube
6 slices of provolone cheese
6 hoagie rolls

Classic Pot Roast

The pot roast can be used in so many ways with so many different sides. You can make it into tacos, burrito bowls, roast sandwiches and more! This recipe from Don’t Waste The Crumbs is one of the best! I personally brown my roast before placing it into the crock pot. Place your roast in the pot in the morning… cook it on low for a meal that is sure to please everyone!

Ingredients:
1 chuck roast (3-4 lbs)
1 lb baby carrots (or carrots, cut to about 1″ pieces)
1½ lbs potatoes (any variety, cut into about 1″ pieces if necessary)
4 Tbsp homemade dry onion soup mix
1 batch homemade cream of mushroom soup

Chicken Fajitas

Tacos, fajitas and any TexMex really, are pretty much staples in my house lol. Chicken fajitas are one of the quickest to make in my opinion. These fajitas from Cooking Classy are great! ( I don’t use the honey in her receipe)

Ingredients:
2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1 (14.5 oz) can petite diced tomatoes with green chilies
1 red , orange and green bell pepper, julienned
1 large yellow onion , halved and sliced
4 cloves garlic , minced
2 1/2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
3/4 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp pepper
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp honey

Slow Cooker Tikka Masala

Over the past few years, my family and I have fallen in love with more dishes from India, the Middle East and Mediterranean. One our favorites is chicken tikka masala! It is cheap, can feed our whole family for practically two days lol! This recipe from Table For Two definitely takes the cake!

Ingredients:

8 boneless skinless chicken tenderloins, or about 5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3 lbs.) – cut into 1.5″ cubes
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1: 29- oz can of tomato puree
1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp Garam masala
1 tsp tumeric powder
1 tbsp cumin
1/2 tbsp paprika
2 tsp salt, or to taste
3/4 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1-3 tsp cayenne pepper, depending on your heat preference
2 leaves bay
1 cup heavy cream
3 tbsp cornstarch
Lemon juice from half a small lemon
Chopped parsley or cilantro, for topping

BBQ Chicken

Chicken is a go to meat in our house. It is can be used in just about anything! BBQ chicken is perfect for nights that you just want to chill out and not worry about who is getting messy when heading out to do family things. This recipe from Family Fresh Meals was one of the first BBQ chicken recipes I tried. Even my husband approved of it!

Ingredients:
2 lbs boneless, skinless  chicken breasts
1 cup  BBQ sauce
1/4 cup Zesty Italian dressing
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
salt to taste

Cheesy Chicken Penne

Two words, cheese and noodles! Do I need to say more? This recipe from The Slow Magical Cooker is the perfect dish for kiddos and cheese lovers!

Ingredients:
1.5 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 (10.5-oz) cans cream of chicken soup (don’t add water)
½ cup chicken broth
¼ tsp. pepper
½ tsp. dried leaf tarragon (can substitute oregano or thyme here)
1.5 cups sliced mushrooms
1 small sweet yellow onion, diced
Add at the end
1 cup sour cream
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 lb. penne pasta (cooked according to package directions on the stove-top)

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Nothing is better than getting a bowl of hot soup during the cold months! Chicken tortilla soup has been my favorite soup for years and I don’t see anything changing that lol. This recipe from Cooking Classy is definitely what you will see me eating once that frost kicks in! Don’t forget the sour cream and extra cilantro!

Ingredients:
2 1/2 (14.5 oz) cans low-sodium chicken broth (4 1/2 cups)
1 (14.5 oz) can petite diced tomatoes
1 1/4 cups finely chopped yellow onion
3 cloves garlic , minced
1 Tbsp chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
3/4 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ground coriander
Salt and freshly ground black pepper , to taste
1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 (14.5 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups frozen corn
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Chicken Teriyaki

This is definitely my oldest favorite! Anytime I ask the kids what we should have for dinner, Phoenix is pretty much guaranteed to say Teriyaki chicken! This recipe from Rachel Cooks is probably the reason she loves it so much! I make this about once every 10 days… she can’t get enough! I love that it doesn’t require a ton of ingredients!

Ingredients:
1 1/2 pounds, or about 3 large, boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons cornstarch + 1/4 cup water
rice or quinoa, for serving
sesame seeds, for garnish
sliced green onions, for garnish

Beef and Potatoes Au Gratin

This is definitely a man’s meal lol. Meat and potatoes are a classic combo.  Add in cheese… well I mean it’s cheese! This recipe from The Magical Slow Cooker is actually on our menu for tomorrow!

Ingredients:
1 lb. ground beef (plus a touch of salt and pepper to season)
3 lbs. peeled russet potatoes, sliced a ¼ inch thick (about 7 cups total after being sliced)
1 cup thinly sliced white onion
1 tsp. paprika
½ tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. parsley
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp. pepper
3 cups shredded sharp cheese
½ cup chicken broth (or beef broth

Chicken Cacciatore

Coming across this recipe, I was hesitant at first.  I’m not a huge pasta fan and my husband doesn’t always trust my Pinterest recipes ( I have failed a lot of them).  I was pleasantly surprised when I enjoyed this one!  Once again, it’s noodles so the kids will love it. For mine, I make sure the veggies are chopped really small so my picky eaters won’t object. This recipe from Heather at Passion For Savings has my husband’s favorite pasta dish! Plus it doesn’t require a lot.

The best thing about these meals is that not only can you dump it and go, you can even make them in advance and freeze them! Whenever I am on my P’s & Q’s, I have a freezer stocked full of meals that I can dump in the crock pot and go on with my day.

As you get ready to head back to school, take a load off with these easy meals that will help you get into the swing of things!

 

From iFamily to Yours,



Foodie Favorites: 7 Simple Steps for a Delicious Treat

Thinking back to your own childhood, what were some of your favorite foods that you always looked forward to when your mom made a delicious treat? Foods can bring back incredible memories that would otherwise be long forgotten. Today, we invite you to try out a classic recipe that has been enjoyed by generations. Gabrielle, from our iFamilyKC Mom Squad team, shares her recipe for simple banana pudding that your kids are going to be begging you to make time and time again. Take a look…

Foodie Favorites: 7 Simple Steps for a Delicious Treat

Summer time and the living is easy-  At least it should be.  I do absolutely everything I can to avoid turning on the oven when the temperature is above 90 degrees.  So when I was asked to bring a dessert to a family gathering a few weeks ago, I immediately thought of no-bake options.  This one is inexpensive and quick.  It also has the benefit of being a real crowd-pleaser.

Ingredients

  • Two packages of instant vanilla pudding
  • 4 Bananas (less can be used depending on how much your audience loves bananas)
  • Milk (or milk substitues)
  • Vanilla wafers or shortbread cookies ( I love using Girl Scout cookies or Voortman Chessmen)
  • Whipped topping
  • Cream cheese (softened)
  • Trifle bowl (if you’re feeling fancy)

Directions:

Step One:

Mix pudding according to package directions.  Most use a couple of cups of milk with pudding mix for a couple of minutes.  This can be done with whole milk or milk substitutes.

Pro-Tip: For an extra hint of sweetness, you can use condensed milk.   Blend in cream cheese until smooth.

Step Two:

Place a layer of cookies in the trifle dish, or serving bowl.

Step Three:

Cover with about 1/3 of the pudding.

Step Four:

Slice and layer bananas.

Step Five:

Cover with another layer of pudding.

Step Six:

Spread a thin layer of whipped topping.

Step Seven:

Repeat layers until trifle dish or serving bowl is almost full, finishing with a layer of whipped topping.  Top can be garnished with crushed cookies for extra flair.

Chill for at least 30 minutes.  Then the dish is ready to serve.

 

From iFamily to yours,

Gabrielle


Five Super Easy Dishes for Busy Summer Nights!

The kids have barely been out of school and I’m already running out of fun ideas for family meals in our house. Surely I’m not alone in that, and neither are you! We’ve got five super easy dishes you can try at home!

super easy dishes

Five Super Easy Dishes for Busy Summer Nights!

It’s summer! Time to take it easy and relax!  Well, if you’re like my family, not every night is going to be relaxing and carefree.  We might even be slightly busier in the summertime because I’m trying to fit in all the fun we can before school starts back up!  I’ve put together a few really simple dishes that are pretty easy to prepare and get in the family’s belly before sports, camps, water parks, swimming and whatever else you might be running to and from.  Check these out!

  • Tater Tot Casserole – Brown 1-2 lbs of ground beef or turkey. Add onion and garlic powder and let it simmer a few minutes. Mix together milk and 2 cans of cream of mushroom soup. Layer the ground beef with the mushroom soup mix poured on top. Then layer the tots in rows and top it all cubed Velveeta cheese, enough to cover the tater tots. Bake at 350 until brown.

 

  • Shepherd’s Pie- First, brown 1 pound of hamburger and drain it. You can add a packet of ranch or any seasoning you like to the hamburger. Layer a can of corn and a can of green beans on the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish. Next layer the hamburger and then a layer of mashed potatoes (shortcut: Idaho instant mashed potatoes are yummy). Sprinkle shredded cheddar cheese and add green onion or parsley flakes on top and bake at 350 until the cheese is melted on top.

 

  • Layered Taco Salad Casserole – Brown 1-2 lbs of ground beef or 3 chicken breasts (shortcut: Tyson sells precooked grilled diced chicken). Add taco seasoning to the meat after draining it.  Layer with refried beans and Mexican or fiesta style shredded cheese.  Bake at 350 until the cheese is melted.  Top with lettuce, tomatoes, olives, sour cream, jalapeños, and tortilla chips or any other toppings of choice!

 

  • Pizza Waffles – Bring out your waffle maker for this one! No, we aren’t making breakfast! (Stay tuned – I might share my other fun waffle maker foods later on!) These are so much fun because the kids can make their own mini pizzas and they are ready in a matter of minutes! Spray your waffle maker down with cooking spray. I        recommend precooking the dough and then putting the sauce, cheese and toppings on it and let it sit while the lid is open to prevent the cheese from sticking to the top.  It is so good and the kids will love it!

 

  • Taco Soup – I must love tacos from the number of taco recipes I have! Why, yes I do! And here is another delicious way to eat tacos – in soup! This can be prepared the night before and thrown in the crock-pot before work or chaotic summer days! Brown 1 onion and ground beef together and drain.  In a big pot, add can of Rotel, can of red beans, black beans, and navy beans.  Stir in a can of corn, tomato paste, a package of Hidden Valley ranch and a package of taco seasoning.  Simmer an hour on the stove or put it in the crock pot on low for 8 hours. Dish up in bowls and top with cheese, sour cream and tortilla chips.

Do you have some favorite summer recipes to share?  Feel free to add yours below!  If you get a chance to try some of the recipes above, let me know what you and your kids think!

From iFamily to Yours,

 

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