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Salads are one of my favorite things to eat! In fact, I don’t think there can be too many salads in your repertoire. Who knew a plate full of fresh produce can yield so many different flavors? This Mandarin Salad is a fun one – crunchy chow mein noodles and juicy pineapple! Yum.
We’ve been making this recipe for over 20 years! When I was a kid, some friends made this salad and we loved it and requested the recipe. Growing up, we simply called this Mandarin Salad, “Mrs. Bowen’s Salad”. 😉
I know we think of salads as health food, but salads can actually be full of not so great ingredients. This salad is a bit of a splurge with an ingredient I don’t buy for anything else – chow mein noodles! But considering it’s just a topping – I’m okay with it.
Besides, this salad is a fun twist on the typical salad flavors and is one of my husband’s favorites.
These are the noodles they have available at our Wal-Mart. Maybe a health food store would have something a little better.
This is a delicious and unique salad you'll want to add to your meal rotation.
¼ c. sliced almonds
1 T. sugar (I omit the sugar)
1 head romaine or green leaf lettuce
4 stalks celery
4 green onions, chopped
1 large can pineapple tidbits, drained well (can substitute fresh)
3-4 cups chopped cooked chicken breasts
chow mein noodles
¼ c. oil (I use olive oil)
2 T. sugar (I use a pinch of stevia)
2 T. vinegar
1 T. snipped parsley (or 1 t. dried parsley)
dash Tabasco sauce
Cook almonds and sugar over low heat until the sugar is melted and almonds coated. Cool and break apart. (Note: I simply lightly toast the almonds with no sugar)
Wash and tear lettuce into small pieces.
Place salad ingredients into separate dishes for a build your own salad meal (our preferred method) or toss together all salad ingredients except for the almonds and chow mein noodles. Top with chow mein noodles, dressing, and almonds right before serving.
Combine all ingredients in a small mason jar. Shake well and refrigerate until serving.
I associate memories or people with a lot of foods. These Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies are one of the recipes that we made when I was growing up that my mom got from her mom. Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, sugar cookies, and molasses cookies are always the first recipes I associate with my grandma and they are all delicious.
These are a fun twist on a traditional chocolate chip cookie. Perfect for when you want something a little different extra or maybe even just want to feel healthier about your dessert indulgence. (Because anything with oatmeal has to be healthier, right?!)
When I made these this last time my husband commented, “You know, normally I think oatmeal ruins a chocolate chip cookie but these are actually really good.” If you know Shaun’s love of a good chocolate chip cookies, that’s saying something. Besides, I really don’t think you can have too many cookies in your repertoire.
Okay, so guess what? Life hasn’t slowed down and I still haven’t gotten in a good habit of blogging. I think I’m just going to have to make myself start. We have had more fun visiting others in my family and are still going to make another trip to see the rest of them.
Our menu lately has been kept super simple and not that exciting, but sometimes easy is just what you have to do. Leftovers have been a lifesaver. Cooking once and eating 2 or 3 times? I’m all over that. Life has been crazy enough that I’ve had to choose not to stress over making boring meals and not eating as healthily as we normally do.
See, I told you! No gourmet cooking happening around here. Sometimes it’s okay to take a break and do less and the weather kind-of, sort-of feeling fall like makes me happy because it means soups and we all know that soup leftovers are the best! Mexican, split pea, and potato sausage have all made an appearance in the last few weeks.
It’s Monday again! Having a menu plan and taking some time to prep on the weekend always helps the work week go more smoothly. This week’s shopping trip was easy – restock on a few fruits, lettuce, and eggs and we are good to go.
Last week’s personal pizzas (that we made big enough for two meals) on the grill. This is mine with tomatoes, olives, zucchini, and green and yellow onions with olive oil for sauce.
I’m dubbing this the summer of salads. They are great for keeping the oven off, prepping in advance, and being healthy and easy. We are doing two different supper salads this week and just because I haven’t been inspired by anything else Shaun and I are sticking with our lunch salads.
I guess we aren’t lacking in the vegetable department. I keep a bag of cooked beans in the freezer that are perfect for adding to my salad at lunch time. Supper salads tend to be more substantial and the lunch ones just veggies thrown together.
There is just something delicious about supper from the grill. Our grill has been fired up multiple times a week lately and we are nearing 4th of July weekend where I think the majority of the country will be throwing some meat on the grill or packing a picnic. Now we need to tackle healthy side dishes for grilling!
The meat is the easy part – add some marinade or rub and you are good to go. Figuring out side dishes for grilling is where the problem comes in. Especially if you want healthy sides!
Don’t worry, I’ve rounded up a great list of 26 healthy side dishes for grilling! These would make the perfect addition to your next grilled supper – in fact, there are enough real food options to keep you going all summer.
The entire radio station staff had to work 12 hours Saturday at an annual kids event they do. Thankfully, they gave everyone the day off Monday so Shaun doesn’t have to work today! My day at work will be quieter because I will be kid free and Shaun has plans to tackle some yard work and maybe take the kids on a trip to the park.
One of my favorite salads is making an appearance on the menu this week. The Greek salad is fairly easy and so tasty – in fact, we are having it 3 nights in a row! It’s one of those dishes I don’t get tired off – creamy tzatziki sauce, tangy feta, olives, and chicken all combined into a delicious lettuce salad.
I think that except for the lemon bars I made per my husband’s dessert request for father’s day, everything is oven free this week. We’ll see if I can find ways to cut on on stove usage too.
Father’s Day: Steak, broccoli, chip & salsa, and lemon bars
Semi-independent cooking for preschoolers is a great way them to learn new skills and it also has them doing something useful. Kids feel proud and have a sense of accomplishment when they help you.
Kids in the kitchen also serve another purpose. It’s the perfect thing to occupy and keep them busy on those days it’s way too hot (or freezing) to go outside and they’ve already gone through reading, art projects, and building. These cooking ideas/projects for preschoolers are all things that should keep them occupied for a while so don’t rush; let them take their time .
Some of the items on this list of things your preschoolers can make or prepare in the kitchen will require a little more supervision and some are more time intensive but your kids will love them all.
There’s one thing you are going to have to do to make this successful, and it’s not always easy. For whatever your child is working on – leave your expectations at the door! Their foods doesn’t have to (and most likely won’t) look perfect. If they are being safe, sanitary, and having fun – let them be! You want to them to enjoy and want to help in the kitchen. Eventually they’ll be able to cook entire meals but if you make them dread stepping into the kitchen it might not happen.
Homemade Personal Pizzas
Make up a batch of dough and sauce and have your kids help grate the cheese, cut up vegetables, cook meat and then give them a wad of dough and have them go at creating their own pizza.
Bread (or roll) Dough in Creative Shapes.
Have the kids assist with putting the ingredients for your favorite yeast bread in the mixer and after its first raise let them have at shaping it into artistic shapes – it could be blobs, hearts, people, rabbits, turtles etc. They’ll love it plus it will take them a while. It’s almost like playdough you can eat.
Mini Cinnamon Rolls
Give your kids a small sections of dough to work with at a time. They will roll out a small rectangle of dough, spread with butter and then sprinkle with the cinnamon and sugar mixture. If the rectangle is small enough, they should be able to roll it up themselves. They can then use kitchen scissors or a knife to cut into rolls.
Roll Out Sugar Cookies
I really don’t enjoy decorating these cookies but my 4 year old LOVES to frost and decorate for hours. The most time consuming part (especially if the kids are helping) is rolling and cutting out the dough. To make things a little simpler, you roll out and bake the cookies and then they can do the decorating. (Or just save them a small amount of dough to roll out and you do the rest) When it comes to decorating, we just set out a couple little dishes are icing and put topping options into small bowls of some sort and she has at it.
Great practice for those cutting skills. If you pick soft enough fruit they might be able to manage washing and cutting everything and you’d have an easy side dish all ready for supper. (Or turn it into dessert and have your child whip some heavy cream to go on top)
Wash grapes, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, slice up some bananas and whatever else you want. Mini marshmallows would also be a fun addition. With toothpicks they could make some cool grape sculptures and maybe even they could connect them together like people or animals or give them a plate and they can arrange the fruit into fun scenes.
Prebake your pizza crust and after cooled let the kids spread it with softened cream cheese and top with assorted veggies that they helped wash and chop. Season with salt, pepper, herbs etc.
My kids always fight over tearing, washing, and spinning the lettuce. They can also help prepare and put all the other ingredients into bowls: Veggies, seeds & nuts, cheese, beans, meat, hard boiled eggs, etc.
My daughter enjoys helping make the muffins and loves putting the batter into the muffins tins. We like to do the mini muffins. Sure, the pan needs wiped down before it goes in the oven but it’s good practice.
Like with the cookies have dishes or frosting, sprinkles, mini chocolate chips, fruit etc to use to decorate.
Cookie Dough Balls for the Freezer
Make a double or triple batch of cookie dough with their help and then they can roll the dough into balls and line on a rimmed baking sheet to go into the freezer. After frozen, they can transfer to a zipped food storage bag.
Angel Food Cake Trifle
Make an angel food cake and after cool the kids can tear it into bite sized pieces, make whipped cream, slice strawberries and layer it all together in a serving bowl.
Use yogurt, pudding, or whipped cream and layer in glasses or bowls with fruit, granola, chocolate etc.
Let the kids make mini sandwiches on little pieces of bread (or use cookie cutters on big pieces) and they can assemble little sandwiches for a fun picnic lunch or tea party.
Another great and easy meal with lots of prep the kids can be involved in. They can also help make homemade salsa.
Pick a couple projects a week and by the end of the summer your preschooler will be a little expert in the kitchen and you will have filled up many otherwise long, hot afternoons with fun, educational, and useful preschool kitchen projects!
Every time I turn on the oven or stove I wonder what I’m doing, Saturday especially. By the time our company was over for butter chicken, naan, broccoli, and cookies I was ready to swearing off cooking inside until the fall. The rest of the menu isn’t too bad as long as I decide to do the pizza on the grill. (We love how it tastes, but it does add another small step.)
Our taco salad from last week in a homemade shell!
Our lunch standard is salads for Shaun and myself and then plan one or two things for the kids to eat over the week days. It keeps things simple and the planning is easy.
My 4 year old is a good eater but after eating things for months, she gets a little burnt out on them. pancakes have been on her not favorite list for months now, but she’s been getting a little tired of eggs and requested pancakes again. I made a single batch up, so we’ll see if she actually eats them this week. Shaun and I will stick with eggs and smoothies and I made up a batch of yogurt we can use for breakfast or snacks.
If you like Indian food, these are must try dishes! If you’ve never had Indian food before, these are great dishes to try. It’s one of our go to company dishes and it always loved.
It’s been a little while since I’ve done one of these! Don’t worry, I haven’t given up on menu planning but life has been busy and we’ve been keeping things pretty simple around here. I just finished my grocery shopping and planning and decided to go ahead and share it with you guys.
Summer is here. I’m seriously thinking about doing a summer of oven free and minimal stove usage meals. Yummy salads every night and smoothies for lunches? It would work for me (and save a lot of time) but I don’t know what the family would think about that. At least this week’s menu does a pretty good job of not heating up the house.
Monday-Friday my husband and I have salads for lunch and the kids eat something different – we do things like sandwiches, a big pot of mac and cheese for the week, leftovers from the weekend, snacky lunch of fruits, veggies, and whatever else we come up with. Then they just have some of the salad veggies along with their lunch.
It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve done a “real” shopping trip. If I was thinking I would have snapped a picture of my fridge before and after. But let me tell you, when the only produce you have left is a couple handfuls of grapes and you are out of dish soap you know it’s time to get it done. It’s nice to be stocked up on produce once again!
I have to share with you my new breakfast obsession. If you’ve been around a while, you know that my favorite breakfast is a delicious Sweet Potato Breakfast Casserole. I love this recipe just as much.
This recipe came to be after I found some chorizo marked down at the grocery store. (I love those kinds-of trips!) Surprisingly, it was the first time I had ever purchased it. I don’t know if I had ever even tried it before.
Did you know you can even make your own chorizo? I have this recipe for chorizo saved on my Pinterest to try! Great way to enjoy it if you are on a Whole30 or eating Paleo and need to avoid some of the ingredients you normally find in it.
Back to breakfast. I know my love of sweet potatoes and we eat a lot of eggs for breakfast so I couldn’t go wrong if I put it all together with some bell peppers and onions. A perfect and flavorful dish!
I make this dish roasting a ton of cubed sweet potatoes in the oven. You could also dice the sweet potatoes and cook them in a skillet. Since I make the sweet potatoes in bulk (I fill up a jelly roll pan), the oven works best. (I’ve even done it on broil when I don’t want to heat up the house as much. I just have to watch them more closely so they don’t get scorched.)
Time Saving Tip: Roast a ton of sweet potatoes at the beginning of the week and then for the other breakfasts, just grab out and reheat in a skillet with the also already cooked bell peppers, onions, and chorizo while you are cooking the eggs and breakfast will be done in 5 minutes.
Peel and chop/dice your sweet potatoes into whatever size pieces you like best. Place on a large rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper.
Place in an oven preheat to 450 degrees and bake for 20-45 minutes depending on the size of your pieces. Toss part way through. You want them to have golden brown parts and be tender but not mushy.
Brown the chorizo in a skillet and remove to a bowl.
In the same skillet saute the onion, bell pepper, and garlic until tender and caramelized. Add to the chorizo.
Whisk the eggs and season with salt and pepper. Add a splash of milk if you desire.
Scramble eggs in the skilled the chorizo was just in.
Combine the sweet potatoes, chorizo, onion mixture, and eggs in the skillet and enjoy!
IF MAKING AHEAD: Combine the roasted sweet potatoes, cooked chorizo, and cooked onion mixture. Refrigerate. In the morning reheat the amount you want in a skillet, remove to a bowl or plate, and cook your eggs in the same skillet. Just add to your already heated sweet potato mixture and your breakfast is ready!