The little book with BIG resources!

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,

 

emailsignupforblog3


Eat Your Way Though Independence Day: Quick and Easy Recipes!

Looking for some quick and easy recipes for your fourth of July cookout? Brigette, from our iFamilyKC Mom Squad team, has compiled a list of her favorite mouth watering summer favorites that your family can make today. Take a look… quick and easy recipes

Eat Your Way Though Independence Day: Quick and Easy Recipes!

Nothing says summer like the 4th of July! Fireworks, swimming pools and everything red, white and blue. When I was younger, I always loved a few things about the 4th of July and that’s the picnics and fireworks. Getting together and spending a day eating summer favorites, popping fireworks and fighting your exhaustion from the day just to see the big ones go off at night made it all worth it.

Now that I am older, and have a family and an obsession with Pinterest, I get more excited to host the picnics and get togethers more than anything. Once the fireworks go off at night, I feel like it is the “ta-da” moment of the day lol.

The 4th of July is such an awesome holiday and it can be the highlight of any summer. But I also know that it can become complicated, overwhelming and just downright tiresome. So this year, have no fear! Here are some of my favorite quick and easy 4th of July recipes!

#1 Red, White, and Blue Salad

When it’s hot, you don’t really want a whole lot of piping hot food. This red, white and blue salad is so easy, light and perfect for summer!

#2 Patriotic Popcorn

I love sweet popcorn and this one is perfect for the 4th of July! Check out this easy recipe for some of the best sweet and salty popcorn yet!

#3 American Pride Ice Cream Sandwiches

I am definitely doing these this year! So quick and easy plus very patriotic! Who knew that 2 simple store bought items could become something so creative! Check out the how to here

#4 Red, White and Blue Strawberries

CHOCOLATE COVERED STRAWBERRIES… need I say more lol?? Who doesn’t love chocolate covered strawberries!? Give them a patriotic twist by using a few ingredients! Check out these super cute ones from

#5 Jello Snacks

Jello is one of the easiest snacks to dress up. By adding a few items to it, you can use it for just about every holiday. Try doing this with your kiddos for a quick 4th of July treat!

** pro tip, pre made jello snack cups if you are short on time or simply can’t make jello like me lol**

#6 Firecracker Dogs

Possibly the cutest hot dog you will ever see! These firecracker dogs are sure to please everyone! Check out these simple dogs perfect for the 4th!

#7 Grilled Chicken Berry Salad

One of my FAVORITE salads! I love everything about this salad, the sweetness, the crunch and the fact that it is healthy. Plus it is easy to whip up for a crowd. Check out how easy this amazing and easy this salad is!

#8 Veggie Flag Tray

When it’s summer time and especially when it is a holiday, you can be surrounded by nothing but sweets and treats. So to make sure you get those veggies in check out this super cute and delicious veggie tray idea!

#9 Red, White and Sangria

This is the perfect adult beverage for the 4th of July! Check out how simple and crowd pleasing this is.

#10 Patriotic Punch

And in case you haven’t had enough sugar or cool treats for the 4th, check out this awesome kid friendly patriotic punch! Not only does it look cool, but it screams HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!

All of these recipes are super easy and can definitely be modified to your own liking. Enjoy your 4th of July!

From iFamily to Yours,

emailsignupforblog3


22 Simple Summer Snack Ideas Your Kids Will Love!

Happy Tuesday, Kansas City!

Summer break is in full swing here in the metro area and,  if you’re like me, you’re already dealing with the constant battle of feeding (always) hungry kids at home and on he go. Brigette, from our iFamilyKC Mom Squad team, is here to help. She’s come up with a list of 22 simple summer snack ideas your kids will love this season. Whether you’re heading off to camp, venturing out to the park, or relaxing at home – we’ve got you covered right here on the blog. Take a look…

22 Simple Summer Snack Ideas

22 Simple Summer Snack Ideas Your Kids Will Love!

The kids are out of school and, unless they are in summer camp, chances are they are like mine…and will be snacking! Kids seems to want more snacks than anything else, especially on days when they are very active and hitting those growth spurts.

Snacking during summer can be tricky at times, especially if you’re not prepared. It always seems to be easier to just stop somewhere to grab some fruit snacks or another sugary “snack”- And we all know what happens when they get that sugar overload! There are kids bouncing all over the place, attitudes change, and, of course, they are not receiving any nutritional value. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with what I like to call “fun snacks” (such as fruit snacks or the occasional sour patch kids) every once in a while. Of course, only you know what is best for your child.

But if snacking is something that just seems to be hassle getting together of too time consuming, here is a list 22 of my favorite go to snacks! Especially during the upcoming summer time heat!

Fresh Fruits

1. Apples

2. Mandarins/ Cuties

3. Bananas

4. Grapes

5. Berries

6. Pears

These are some of the best fruits to pack! They don’t need to be kept cool and you can throw a few in your snack back or purse! Plus they don’t have much waste (wrappers, bottles) o you don’t have to worry about a huge mess. For those really hot days, I freeze our grapes and let the kiddos eat them on the road. They taste like grape popsicles! If you have a smaller kiddo and need to cut the apples beforehand, soak them in a little lemon juice water to prevent the browning.

Veggies

7. Carrots

8. Celery

9. Cherry tomatoes

10. Edamame

11. Broccoli

These veggies are also great to just grab and go! A little wash off when you get home, chop them if not already in “baby form” i.e. baby carrots and you are set! My littlest loves tomatoes so these always get packed!

Grains &  Nuts

12. Granola Bars

13. Energy Cookies

14. Almonds

15. Trail Mix

16. Gold Fish

17. Dry Cereal

These are items we keep in our home all the time! Our oldest doesn’t like granola and the boy doesn’t like almonds so we get the Ziploc snack size baggies and fill them with a variety of these snacks. This way they can choose their own, not overdo it and still be a happy camper. Our energy bites are the only thing that really takes time to prep. For our kids we use about 2-3 mashed ripe bananas, about 1 cup and a half oatmeal and a few table spoons of chocolate chips. I mix them all together and bake for until they are firm. My kids love these especially with ice cold milk!

Drinks

18. Water

19. Fruit Water

20. Lemonade

21. V8 Juice

22. Juice Box

These should be every parents go to drink arsenal! One thing that my kids love to do is freeze their drinks (I guess they get their love of ice from me!). They will freeze their cups of whatever and when they are ready for some, they grab a spoon and dig in! I also fill their water bottles half way and freeze them. When we are ready to go out in the heat, I fill the rest with water and they have instant ice water that will last much longer than a few cubes.

I hope these easy snack ideas will make your kiddos summer snacking a lot easier! Let us know what simple snack ideas YOU have to help other moms on the go!

From iFamily to Yours,

Brigette

emailsignupforblog3


10 Great Recipes to Celebrate Pi Day!

Hey, Kansas City! For pi(e) enthusiasts everywhere, March 14th (3.14) is a special day. A day dedicated to the mathematical number – 3.14, which many of us use as an excuse to bake up some tasty pies to celebrate! Our Mom Squad Ambassador, Brigette, has a 10 fabulous recipes rounded-up to help celebrate this yummy holiday. Take a look…

10 Great Recipes to Celebrate Pi Day!

 

10 Great Recipes to Celebrate Pi Day!

 

Math lovers rejoice! Pi(e) day will be here before you know it! For those of you that may not know what I am referring too, March 14th is an unofficial holiday. The reasoning why is clear by the definition of Pi “The number π is a mathematical constant, the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, commonly approximated as 3.14159.” So in honor of Pi(e) day, I am going to share with y’all some awesome pie recipes to help celebrate this unofficial day!

 

#1 Pecan Pie- My personal Favorite

Pie Crust
2 and 1/2 cups (250g) coarsely chopped Diamond of California pecans
3 large eggs
1 cup (240ml) dark corn syrup1
1/2 cup (100g) packed dark brown sugar
1 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup (60g) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For instructions visit here.

 

#2  Pumpkin Pie

2 Large Eggs, Beaten
1 (16 Ounce) Canned Solid Packed Pumpkin
2 Tablespoons Molasses
3/4 Cup Brown Sugar, Firmly Packed
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Dried Ground Cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon Dried Ground Ginger
1/4 Teaspoon Dried Ground Cloves
1/4 Teaspoon Dried Ground Nutmeg
1 Tablespoon All Purpose Flour
1 (12 Ounce) Canned Evaporated Milk
1 9 Inch Deep Dish Pie Crust-Unbaked
You can get the rest of this recipe off any can of pumpkin at your local grocery store.

 

#3 Apple Pie

6 cups thinly sliced, peeled apples (6 medium)
¾ cup sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon lemon juice
This apple pie is such a classic! You can get the rest of the directions over from Pillsbury.com!

 

#4 Shoofly Pie- Another FAVE!

(This is a family tradition pie from back east – Pennsylvania)
Pie Crust:
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
¾ c. shortening
5 tbsp. water
Filling:
½ c. dark corn syrup
¼ c. light brown sugar
1 large Egg
½ tsp. baking soda
½ c. hot water
Crumb Topping:
1 c. all-purpose flour
3 tbsp. shortening
.67 c. light brown sugar
1 pinch salt
1 pinch ground cinnamon
This is no everyday pie! This is something SPECIAL! Get the rest of the recipe at Countryliving.com.

 

#5 Peanut Butter Pie- This pie is a perfect pair!

1 (14.3 oz) package whole Oreos (about 36 Oreos)
1 cup (16 tablespoons) butter, divided
1 1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter, divided
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
This is one of the easiest pies to make! Head over here to get the full recipe!

 

#6 Brown Sugar Pie- Simple ingredients, amazing taste!

1 pound light brown sugar
1 stick butter, melted
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 pie crust
For this quick pie head over here to see the rest!

 

#7 Coffee Pie-This recipe had me at COFFEE!

1 (3.4 oz) box INSTANT vanilla pudding mix
¾ cup cold brew coffee
½ cup milk or cream
1 Tbsp pure coffee extract
1 (8 oz) tub Cool Whip, thawed
1 prepared Oreo cookie crust
Whipped cream, for garnish
Dark chocolate-covered espresso beans, for garnish
To get this afternoon pick me up pie, head over here!

 

#8 Banana Cream Pie- This pie is so creamy you will want seconds!

Crust:
11/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 sticks (1/2 cup) unsalted butter diced and chilled
2-4 tablespoons ice water
Filling:
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups milk
4 egg yolks- beaten
3 tablespoons butter
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2-3 bananas-sliced
Topping:
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 banana-sliced
This is pie is perfect for a spring afternoon! To get the rest of the recipe, head over here!

 

#9 Martha Stewart’s Boston Cream Pie

I mean it’s Martha lol! Need I say more?..
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for pan
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pan
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk(whole)
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 recipe cooled Vanilla or Chocolate Pudding
1/4 cup heavy cream
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
To get the rest of Martha’s incredible recipe, head over to marthastewart .com!

 

#10  Whoopie Pie- Another family favorite!

This technically isn’t a “pie.” It is more like a hand held piece of heaven!
4 cups flour
1 cup cocoa

2 cups of sugar
1 cup of shortening
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 pinch of salt
2 teaspoons of vanilla
2 eggs
1 cup of milk
1 cup of warm water
To get the step by step recipe, head over here!

I hope you will enjoy these pie recipes as much as my family and I do! Happy PI(e) day!

From iFamily to Yours,

 

 

 

 

 

 


Check Out These 5 Perfect Thanksgiving Sides

Happy Wednesday, Kansas City! It really is so hard to fathom that the holidays are around the corner. As you start to piece together your Thanksgiving menu, you might want to mix things up. If that’s the case, our Mom Squad Ambassador, Brigette has a roundup of some great sides to add to the mix. Check it out!

Check Out These 5 Perfect Thanksgiving Sides

Check Out These 5 Perfect Thanksgiving Sides

 

 

If you ask me, Thanksgiving is more than a Holiday. It’s kind of a day where you can show your loved ones how much you love them by showering them with your best comfort food! We all know that food is a common denominator in every culture, not just for survival, but for celebrating, comforting and just showing love. Thanksgiving just so happens to be one of the best Holidays to do so! I mean the main focus is eating lol.

As a kid, my family and I would often stay the night at my grandparents’ house the night before a big holiday to get a head start on many of the family favorites. I would love waking up to the smell of my grandma’s roasted turkey and scratch made stuffing! Ahhh the glory days lol! The house would fill with the smell of pumpkin pie, apple pie, cinnamon and turkey. It was the smell of Thanksgiving!

As the older I got, I would lend even more of a helping hand in the kitchen and I would come to learn some of my grandmothers most coveted family recipes! And through many trial and errors, I was able to maintain a few of our family’s traditional recipes. But every now and then, it feels great to shake things up, try new recipes, new food and even new combinations! So if you are feeling stuck this Thanksgiving or want to shake it up a tad, try these awesome recipes! You never know, these could be your NEW family tradition!

 

Baked Apple Cranberry Stuffing

  • 1 [12oz] package of Pepperidge Farm Herb Cubed Stuffing
  • 2 1/4 cups of Swanson Chicken Broth [veggie works too!]
  • 4 stalks of celery, chopped [about 2 cups]
  • 1 large onion, chopped [about 1 cup or so]
  • 1 medium granny smith apple, chopped [skin on for extra nutrients!]
  • 1 cup of dried cranberries
  • 3 tablespoons of butter a pinch of cinnamon [optional extra!]
  • You’ll also need non-stick aluminum foil [like Renolyds Wrap] and a 3-quart shallow baking pan.
  • recipe yields 11 servings at 3/4 cup each

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line a baking pan with foil, dull side down.
  3. Heat your butter in a 3-quart saucepan over medium heat.
  4. Add your chopped onion and celery and sauté until tender and translucent.
  5. Next stir in the broth, apple, and cranberries.
  6. For a sweeter stuffing, you can sprinkle a little bit of ground cinnamon into the mix or choose a more savory addition like allspice and garlic powder. Totally optional but both add a fabulous flavor boost!
  7. Remove the saucepan from heat and add in your stuffing.
  8. Mix to moisten and then spoon into foil-lined baking pan.
  9. Optional: Top with another sheet of foil to make a makeshift lid/tent for the stuffing to help lock in moisture. Overcooking may result in dry stuffing.
  10. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until your stuffing is hot and fluffy!

Recipe originally from http://peasandcrayons.com/2013/01/baked-apple-cranberry-stuffing.html#

 

Broccoli and rice casserole

  •  1 (2 lb.) package frozen broccoli
  • 2 cans condensed cream of mushroom soup – (don’t add milk)
  • 1 cup uncooked Minute Rice
  • 1 small (8 oz.) jar of Cheez Whiz

Directions:      

  1. Combine all ingredients in crockpot.
  2. Cook on high for about 4 hours.

Cranberry Salad with toasted pecans and smoked Gouda

  • dried cranberries
  • smoked Gouda cheese
  • pecans or walnuts
  • baby spinach/ dark mixed greens
  • red apples
  • fruit vinaigrette dressing

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients into a bowl
  2. Drizzle fruit based vinaigrette lightly and toss.

Twice Baked Potatoes

  • 20 pound bag of Idaho russet baking potatoes
  • 1 stick Land O Lakes butter
  • 1 c. of milk, I use skim, but whole milk or cream is good too
  • 1/2 c. sour cream
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 bag grated cheddar cheese
  • 6 strips of bacon (optional)
  • green onions for garnish (optional)

Directions

  1. Bake the potatoes in the oven at 350* until tender, approximately 1 hour then pull them out of the oven and let them cool enough to handle.
  1. Get out your handy KitchenAid mixer and cut the top off each spud and scoop the inside of the potatoes into the mixer. Place the remaining potato boats into an ovenproof dish, like this oval Mauviel Copper casserole.
  2. Prepare your butter, milk and sour cream by melting the butter and mixing them in a measuring cup, ready to pour into the mixing bowl with the scooped spuds.
  3. Grind your salt and pepper into the mixer, take a taste, and adjust the seasonings
  4. Next fill the potato boats to overflowing with the hot white fluff of buttery goodness, and cover the potatoes with grated cheese, sprinkle with green onions and the crispy bacon. Put them back into the oven so they can all melt together. Reheat them in the oven for 15 – 30 minutes at 350. Recipe originally from http://livedan330.com/2014/01/29/twice-baked-potatoes/

 

Crockpot Mac and Cheese

 

  • 16 oz. elbow macaroni
  • 3 cups milk
  • 8 oz. Velveeta, cut into chunks
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, cut into chunks
  • 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

 

Directions

  1. Cook pasta in boiling water 3 minutes short of being al dente.
  2. Place the cooked macaroni, milk, Velveeta, butter and cheddar cheese into a crockpot. Stir and top with Parmesan cheese. Set heat to Low and cook for 2 to 3 hours. Stir occasionally and check for doneness starting at the 2-hour mark.

 

Read more at http://www.pipandebby.com/pip-ebby/2014/8/12/crockpot-mac-and-cheese.html#gjTAwzkMdZzbXQmE.99

 

As always, you can adjust recipes to your own dietary needs, amount and taste! I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as we do!

 

From iFamily to Yours,

ifam_brigette

 

 

 

 

 

 

emailsignupforblog3


8 Ways to Plan a Simple & Healthy Dinner for Your Family

Hello, Kansas City! Dinner can be tough for a family. Particularly trying to find recipes and foods that make even the pickiest eaters happy. Luckily, our Mom Squad Ambassador, Erin, has some great ideas to add some life to your dinner and hopefully please the entire pack. Check it out!

8 Ways to Plan a Simple & Healthy Dinner for Your Family

 

 

8 Ways to Plan a Simple & Healthy Dinner for Your Family

 

My children have to be the pickiest eaters on the planet! Planning dinner is not the easiest chore in my house at all. I thought I’d share some easy kid-friendly dinner ideas that just might please the pickiest of eaters in your household. I think dinner should be an enjoyable time for the whole family and hopefully these ideas will have your family clearing their plate and asking for seconds!

 

Simple, separated and balanced meals.

A lot of kids may not like casseroles yet because of different foods being mixed together. I would suggest possibly separating out the foods before mixing all of the ingredients together. This avoids having to make another whole meal for the picky eater in the bunch.

 

Breakfast for dinner

Pancakes, waffles, bacon, eggs, French toast! You could even have a waffle or pancake bar with different toppings for everyone to customize their own.

 

English muffin pizzas

SUPER simple and fun idea to get the kids involved in making dinner. Take an English muffin and top with sauce and cheese. Have a bunch of different veggies and meats cut up and cooked ready to add to the pizzas. Heat in the toaster oven or conventional oven for 10 minutes or so and you’re ready to eat!

 

Have an alternative choice

…but also put a small bite of the main meal on your child’s plate. We are all used to having choices when it comes to meals and kids are no different. They have a choice when they buy lunch at school or when we go to a restaurant.       The alternative choice for dinner does NOT have to be something extremely difficult to prepare and you can teach your child to make it as well. My daughter’s favorite alternative meal when we have something she absolutely will not eat is chicken noodle soup and crackers.

 

Spaghetti or pasta dishes

Where you can easily hide vegetables. It’s really hard to get kids to eat vegetables a lot of times. This is a great way to sneak a few nutrients in their food without them even knowing! I think there is a whole cookbook out there somewhere about hiding vegetables in food.

Involve your children

Involve your children in the process of shopping, preparing and cooking food. Or enroll them in a kid’s cooking club. My daughter tried guacamole for the first time ever at her cooking club and now she LOVES it! All because she made it herself and was able to add the ingredients she wanted to add and knew exactly what was in it.

 

Recreate your child’s favorite restaurant food

If your child likes a certain food at fast food restaurants try to recreate that food at home. My daughter would NEVER eat a hamburger at home until I decided to make the patty thin and toast the bun like McDonald’s hamburgers. She loves them now!

 

Make food fun!

There are all kinds of ideas on Pinterest to make food shaped like animals, scenes, or holiday themes. You can be as simple as you like or get crazy creative with those ideas.

 

Do you have any ideas or recipes that your kids just LOVE? Feel free to share with us in the comments!

 

From iFamily to Yours,
iFamMomSqdErinV2

emailsignupforblog


11 Simple & Fun Halloween Snack Recipes!

Happy Halloween, Kansas City!

It’s a beautiful (albeit, warm) day here in the metro area and I have a feeling your kiddos are getting ridiculously excited for tonight’s tick or treat festivities. If you’re like me, you’re probably wondering what you should feed the kids before and after your stroll around the neighborhood. Leah, from our iFamilyKC Mom Squad Ambassador team, is here to help with some ideas on snacks and food options that work in easily with your busy schedule. Take a look…

Halloween Snack Ideas, Halloween Dinner, Halloween Food, 11 Simple & Fun Halloween Snack Recipes!

11 Simple & Fun Halloween Snack Recipes!

Halloween is here which means that children will have an abundance of candy at their disposal. It also means rushing the kids to get all dressed up…. and more than likely having only a few minutes to make dinner. There is a likelihood that you will be asked to bring a dessert to an activity or work pot luck. I have complied some of my favorite recipes of Halloween snacks or treats. Please click on the links provided for the full recipes. Have an amazing Halloween!

Jack-o’-Lantern Fruit Cups

Add color and fun to your Halloween with these smiling jack-o’-lantern faces carved into navel oranges. Slice off the tops of the oranges, scoop out the pulp, use a paring knife to cut out jack-o’-lantern faces, and fill with grapes and/or mixed berries

Slithering Snake Dip

Eek! What is lurking in your hummus? A slithering snake made from black olives! Cute Food for Kids carved beady eyes from string cheese and added a carrot tongue. Even those who hate serpents will love this little guy.

Spooky Spider Eggs

Deviled eggs (like these) get extra creepy-crawly when they’re topped with spiders. To make eight scary spider eggs, cut 12 black olives in half vertically. Place one half in the center of each egg to form the body, then slice each remaining olive half into four sections to create legs.

Cheesy Monsters

A sharp knife (a filleting knife is perfect), a few googly eyes in different sizes, some non-toxic kids PVA glue, a tiny bit of wool for hair and a couple of packets of mini Babybel cheeses all come together to make a plate of monsterlicious treats.

Oreo Eyeball Cookies

These Oreo Eyeballs are an incredibly easy Halloween party treat.  No baking, just use Oreos (or gluten free version, if you prefer), and dress them up inside out.  The only heating involved is melt the red candy melts, but even this could be skipped by using one of the many red decorative icing gels available this time of year

Baked Eyeballs Casserole

The “eyeballs” that top our spooky casserole are made from mozzarella cheese and sliced olives.  But the cheesy, baked pasta that lies below is a real treat that everyone will enjoy.

Flying Bat Pizzas Recipe

Pizza is always a surefire way to lure kids to the dinner table because they can help add toppings and decorate the pizzas before they go into the oven. They’re tasty, quick and totally spooky!

Pizza Snake Recipe

“Once your snake is filled, rolled and shaped, let the kids paint it. The bread will bake up colorful, yummy and just creepy enough to satisfy the boys and ghouls.”

Eyeball Taco Salad Recipe

In Queen Creek, Arizona, all eyes are on Jolene Young’s tasty main-dish salad when she brings it in. Topped with creepy peepers, it’s packed with beef, cheese, tomato and satisfying taco flavor to satisfy a crowd.

Frankenguac Recipe

Play the mad scientist this year and bring a monster to life. He’s frightfully fun and delicious! 

Popcorn Owls Recipe

Sweet and chewy popcorn balls are a “hoot” when they’re formed into wide-eyed owls perfect for a Halloween party. They take a little bit of assembly but draw a lot of compliments.

From iFamily to Yours,

Leah

iFamLeahV2

Become a member of our inner circle! Receive exclusive access to events, freebies, COUPONS, enter2Wins AND tons of Family FUN!




13 Mouthwatering Brunch Ideas Your Family Will Love

Autumn has officially settled into the metro area and we couldn’t be more excited for what’s in store for your family this season. One of my favorite ways to bring in the weekend is with a relaxing morning at home and our family loves to brunch – and we are not alone! Check out these 13 mouthwatering brunch ideas your family will love from fellow foodie and iFamilyKC Mom Squad contributor Leah. Take a look…

brunch ideas for busy families

13 Brunch Ideas: Falling Into Food

Raise your hand if you don’t love food. I dream about food and find myself thinking about it all day. I have a crush on food – I’ve even seen tacos wink at me (right before I ate them). All jokes aside, food is seriously magical. It makes life better. I’ve compiled several recipes that will add to your (food) happiness because who can go wrong with brunch? Imagine a sleep-in kind of Sunday followed by getting up to create some of these yummy recipes below. Grab the family, grab some coffee, and get cooking! If you have any left, feel free to drop them off to me. Enjoy!

#1 Cheesy Egg White Breakfast Muffins

Easy cheesy egg white muffins for your morning. Low carb, gluten free, and delicious!

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups egg whites
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup reduced fat shredded cheese of choice (I love cheddar, Colby jack, or pepper jack)
  • 2 tablespoons of skim milk or plain Greek yogurt (not necessary, but gives them a bit of fluff)
  • salt and pepper

Find full instructions for this mouthwatering recipe over at The Ambitious Kitchen.

#2 Quick Breakfast Egg Wraps

Use leftovers from your Saturday night dinner to create a simple brunch in just under ten minutes! Combine a healthy fat (like ghee or coconut oil), eggs, and leftovers (like meat and veggies) for a delicious morning pick me up.

#3 Overnight Cinnamon French Toast Cupcakes

“Mini-cakes conquer breakfast! These individually sized cups feature cinnamon swirl raisin bread and a crumbly streusel topping. Prep the day before to make this dish a brunch-time breeze. “

Find the full instructions online at Betty Crocker’s website.

#4 Apple-Bacon Cheddar Mini Breakfast Pies

“Don’t be fooled by their small size. These individual pies combine a harvest of hearty flavors—cheddar, apple and bacon—for a flavor-packed breakfast treat.”

Grab the recipe online now and save it for your next brunch!

#5 Brie, Bacon, and Spaghetti Frittata

Ingredients:

  • Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 pound spaghetti
  • 6 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, sliced (about 1 cup)
  • 8 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 6 ounces Brie cheese, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Find the full recipe online at SaraMoulton.com

#6 Pumpkin Spice Sticky Buns

Ingredients

  • ⅓ cup butter, melted
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • ⅓ cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 6 Thomas English pumpkin spice muffins, cut into 1 ½ inch

Find this recipe over at The Girl Who Ate Everything

#7 Breakfast Bread Bowls Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup chopped pancetta
  • 4 crusty hard rolls (4 inches wide)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh mushrooms
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup shredded Gruyere or fontina cheese

Grab the full recipe at TasteofHome.com

#8 Potato Bacon Cheddar Frittata

Ingredients

  • 3 cups diced roasted potatoes
  • ½ pound crisp cooked bacon, chopped
  • ½ pound diced aged cheddar cheese
  • ¼ cup chopped chives
  • 10 large eggs (preferably at room temperature)
  • ½ cup whipping cream
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp chili flakes (optional)

Visit Rocket Recipes online for the full details.

#9 Perfect Popovers

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cups whole milk or half-and-half, warmed
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard

Grab the recipe online now at What’s Cooking America?

#10 Bacon-and-Cheddar Grits Quiche

Ingredients

  • 6 thick bacon slices
  • 2 1/4 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup uncooked stone-ground grits
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 1/2 cupes half-and half
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup sliced green onions

Grab the whole recipe online at MyRecipes.com

#11 Leftover Mashed Potato Pancakes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups mashed potatoes
  • 1-2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • salt
  • pepper
  • garlic
  • onion (optional)
  • chives (optional)
  • cheese (optional)
  • oil or Crisco for frying
  • sour cream or applesauce (optional) for garnish

Food.com has the full recipe for this brunch idea.

#12 Chili Cheese Omelet

Ingredients

  • 1 15-ounce can of chili
  • 12 eggs (3 per omelet)
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup onions – diced
  • 1 or 2 jalapeno peppers – finely chopped
  • salt and pepper – to taste

Grab the recipe over at MrBreakfast.com

#13 Repurpose Last Night’s Dinner

Hungry for more? Check out this Huffington Post article that gives you great tips for re-purposing your leftover stew, rice, vegetables, meat, and other foods into a fantastic brunch for your family.

From iFamily to Yours,

 

ifamilykcmomsquad

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leah


Become a member of our inner circle! Receive exclusive access to events, freebies, COUPONS, enter2Wins AND tons of Family FUN!




On the Dinner Table: Parmesan Chicken Pasta

Hello, Kansas City! I don’t know about all of you, but I am always looking for new recipes, especially kid/family-friend ones. Luckily, iFamilyKC has some great Mom Squad Ambassadors that are busting out some of their yummy go-to recipes, and sharing them with all of us. Take a look at Becky’s Parmesan Chicken Pasta that is sure to be a crowd pleaser.

On the Dinner Table: Parmesan Chicken Pasta

On the Dinner Table: Parmesan Chicken Pasta

After my post on dinner cheats, I felt the need to prove to all of you (really, myself) that I do actually (sometimes) cook dinner for my family.

 

But here’s the deal: I really do like to cook, but I am not a Martha Stewart chef. I’m not into recipes that send me to three different specialty grocery stores and into the woods to forage for rare ingredients. I don’t have time to babysit simmering sauces on the stove by constantly stirring for 15 minutes. I can’t be held responsible an entire list of crucial measurements. And I definitely do NOT want to spend more time cleaning up after a meal than we actually spend eating the meal.

 

All my go-to recipes have to pass my FED test—fast, easy and delicious. That last one is key, because it doesn’t matter how fast or easy it was, if no one likes it then it wasn’t worth the time and energy to make it.

 

Here’s a new recipe I threw together last week that passed my FED test with flying colors.

 

 

Antonio’s Parmesan Pasta with Chicken

Serves 5-6

(Ok, ok. I made up the ‘Antonio’s’ part but it helps sell it, don’t you think? Feel free to rename it with your own fictional Italian uncle’s name.)

 

Here’s what you need:

 

3-4 raw chicken breasts cut roughly into 1” cubes

A package of your favorite tubed pasta

6 tablespoons of olive oil, divided

Few cloves of garlic, roughly chopped

1/3 stick of butter

Splash of milk (use cream if you’ve got it)

1 ½ cups of Parmesan or something similar (if you want to up it to 2 cups, I won’t tell)

Chopped basil (fresh if you have it, any type of dried Italian seasonings if you don’t)

Salt and pepper

 

 

Here’s how you make it:

 

Heat up a pot of water on high heat for your pasta. While waiting for that to boil, heat up a large skillet on medium-high with a few tablespoons of olive oil. Once the oil is heated, add your chicken and season with salt and pepper.

 

Stir occasionally making sure the chicken is cooked thoroughly, about 6-7 minutes. Move the cooked chicken into a bowl. This is where other recipes would tell you to tent with foil. The chicken will be just fine, let’s move on.

 

Wipe the skillet clean with a paper towel and return to the med-high heat on the stove to make the sauce. If you’re short on time, you can speed things up by cooking the sauce and the chicken in separate skillets at the same time but I prefer fewer dishes to wash.

 

Add a few more tablespoons of olive oil to the skillet. Once the oil is heated, add the chopped garlic and stir until it’s toasted and smells garlicky. While that’s happening, salt your boiling water (I promise it makes a difference) and add your pasta.

Next, add the butter, milk and cheese to the skillet.

Stir until smooth, which only takes a few minutes.

Once your pasta is cooked al dente, drain and add it to the cheese sauce. Stir until your pasta is coated.

Finally, throw in the cooked chicken and stir until it’s mixed with the cheesy pasta.

 

 

Plate and top with chopped basil. Mama mia!

 

Oh, don’t mind them. Those are just my boys chowing down on seconds of this dish.

 

Fast, easy, tasty. Check, check, check.

 

 

Becky is a creative director, mother of three and blogs at PartyBoxKC.com/blog.

 

From iFamily to Yours,

BECKY_iFamilyKC_Mom_Squad


Become a member of our inner circle! Receive exclusive access to events, freebies, COUPONS, enter2Wins AND tons of Family FUN!




Heart Shaped Valentine’s Day Calzone

These can be customized by the kids. You could change up the filling adding all their favorite pizza toppings or you could make it a dessert calzone by simply adding canned apple pie filling to the center, brushing with an egg wash and sprinkling sugar and cinnamon on top. There are lots of possibilities here. BUT the best part is spending one on one quality time doing something your lil one is going to enjoy J

Kids can help:  Filling the dough and crimping edges.

For the dough: 

  • 1 pkg yeast
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 ¾ cup white flour
  • 1 ¼ cup whole wheat flour

For the filling:

  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Marinara sauce
  • Turkey pepperoni

Combine yeast, sugar and warm water and let set for 5 minutes.  Mix remaining ingredients and then add yeast mixture.  Let dough rise, in a warm place, for about 1-2 hours, until double in size.

Roll out a small portion of the dough at a time, cutting two equal sized hearts.  Fill middle with a thin layer of marinara sauce, turkey pepperoni, and cheese, and then layer the top with another heart and crimp the edges together with a fork.  Set on baking tray.  Bake at 400 for 10-15 minutes until lightly browned.  Test to make sure dough is done baking.  Serve with marinara sauce for dipping.

iFamily KC Mom Squad Blogger Keri Nichol