POSTS WITH TAG: family meals

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    Mashed potatoes are a comfort food my kids never knew. Before you gasp in horror, let me explain. I love mashed potatoes. As a matter of fact, they are the first side dish I’ll order in a restaurant. After all, potatoes are nutritious and filling and have absolutely no fat or cholesterol or sodium. They have more potassium than a banana and are a great source of vitamin C. I know all that. But shamefully, I was never able to replicate the creamy, scrumptious mashed potatoes that I loved so much as a child.  

    I tried. I really did. I’d spend a good hour in the kitchen trying to get it right. But still, my mashed potatoes took way too long to make and tasted way too bland. So I just kind of gave up and enjoyed them only as a treat when we were eating out.

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    I do this all the time because I don't have much choice: Make dinner in 15 minutes or less. You too? Gone are the days when I used to lovingly labor for 2 hours on a Turkish fish stew with pomegranates. Now I need to get something in front of my son pretty much the moment I walk into the door.

    Here are 5 of my favorite go-to dinner recipes, things I can whip up in a jiffy but that are still definitely homemade.


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    I am not a camper, at least not a happy one. That being said, the only thing I really like about camping is the food. Something about a meal being cooking in the great outdoors is totally irresistible and is almost worth the dirt, the dust, the bug bites and outhouses.

    So what is a campfire foodie who doesn't like to camp to do? Why, to try to recreate a camping worthy meal in my own kitchen complete with running water, a ceiling and not a single piece of poison ivy.

    Here is my perfect outdoorsy meal to make at home, pine tree smell and mosquitos not included.

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    The following is a post from our sponsor, Success® Rice.

    I used to have a lot of guilt about family dinner. Or the lack thereof. When I was growing up, my mother had dinner on the table every single night at 5:30 p.m. She always served a meat, a vegetable, and a starch. And we always had dessert. 

    I have one less kid than she did, but I’m also three times busier. While I don’t for a minute doubt that she had her busy days, she was a stay-at-home-mom from the get-go. She kept a clean house and drove us around and managed to play bridge with her friends once a month, but she didn’t have the pressures we have today. We are all working mothers both in the house and out, juggling multiple kids with multiple activities. I couldn’t imagine having a set dinner time, let alone a last-minute meal that included more than chicken nuggets or sandwiches.

    Somewhere along the line, I realized something had to change. 

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    The only thing worse than taking cranky toddlers or surly teens to the grocery store is getting to the register and having a heart attack when the totals ring up. Money is tight and we need to make every dollar count. And while there are great ways to save, including store deals and printable coupons, you can also make your dollar go much further by following these easy-peasy tips. You’ll save cash, your sanity, and maybe even have some money left over for some chocolate. You totally deserve it.

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    Have you been to your local supermarket and had your child stop in her tracks to stare longingly at a box of her favorite cereal? Apparently, it's not a Pavlovian response to what's inside -- it's our kids being mesmerized by the characters on the package looking right into their eyes.

    Conveniently, these tantalizing boxes of breakfast goodness just happen to be at eye level, begging our children to pay attention to them. This, according to a new study, is all on purpose.

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    This recipe is kind of awesome. Completely unhealthy, but kind of awesome. This cheeseburger 'n' fries casserole recipe from Taste of Home only requires four ingredients and takes 10 minutes to put together (though it bakes for 50). Come on, anything titled "cheeseburger 'n' fries" most likely isn't all that good for you, but for a special, easy splurge that everyone will love, this will certainly do the trick.

    Of course, you could use tater tots or perhaps throw in a few vegetables in there to make you feel better about the whole concoction. You could even use some ground turkey to mix things up a little bit. Regardless, it's so versatile and simple, it will quickly become a staple your family will certainly love.

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    You know what's better than pizza? Pizza pockets! You know what the best kind of pizza pocket is? Homemade! Fresh. Delicious. Easy. Yes, I said easy. It can be done. And it will be good. And the kids will love it ... especially if you make them into adorable heart shapes. Or not. Read their moods. It's all going to taste good no matter what.

    Here's the recipe on how to make homemade pizza pockets.

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    March is supposed to roar in like a lion and go out like a lamb, but let's face it: a great many of us are still stuck dealing with ferocious temperatures. Instead of cursing Mother Nature, we should use the cold as a great excuse to keep whipping up hearty, delicious soups.

    Crock-Pot Cream of Chicken & Wild Rice Soup was inspired by a similar dish served up at Panera Bread -- got to love that. It is dead easy to make and cooks in either 7 to 8 hours on low or 4 to 5 hours on high heat. Just pop all of the ingredients -- most of which you'll probably have in your fridge or pantry -- into your slow cooker and head off to work or, even better, hightail it to the salon for a pedicure since sandal weather has to be right around the corner.

    Here's how to make this perfect Crock-Pot soup.

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    Can you believe that it's St. Patrick's Day this Monday? March is truly flying by, and who knew it'd be time to whip out the green outfits and beer so soon? You're already set with some typical St. Patrick's Day recipes, like Irish soda bread, corned beef and cabbage, and Shamrock Shakes. But since the temps still have yet to warm up in most parts of the U.S., why not indulge in one last ultimate comfort food -- traditional Irish shepherd's pie.

    This Irish shepherd's pie recipe from is super straightforward and versatile. You pretty much cook all the ingredients in a pot, top it off with some mashed potatoes, and brush the potatoes with egg and Parmesan cheese -- and you're done! Hearty, delicious, versatile, filled with beef or lamb, this will surely get you into the Irish spirit in no time. The popular dish, also called cottage pie, originated in the UK and Ireland, so feel free to honor its origin and indulge a little this holiday!

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