Archive for the ‘Food & Recipes’ Category

Herb Baked Tilapia Sheet Pan Meal

Wednesday, March 20th, 2019

 

Try this easy sheet pan meal for your next family dinner! This herb baked tilapia & asparagus bakes in under 15 minutes!

I don’t know about you, but I can never get enough sheet pan meal recipes! Today I wanted to share one of our tried-and-true family favorites  that I think you will love as much as I do. This herb baked tilapia sheet pan meal is gluten-free and can be prepared with a side of asparagus, all on one pan. This is an affordable meal that can serve a crowd and is simple enough that you could even get your kids in the kitchen to help you assemble these cheesy and crunchy toppings.

The preparation is pretty similar to my 5-Ingredient Salmon Sheet Pan recipe, but this time we will be preparing a crunchy gluten-free topping for the fish instead of a simple seasoning. If you don’t need to watch the gluten, you can substitute this ingredient with your favorite Panko or breadcrumb topping.  After trying several brands of crunchy coating, this is my favorite recommendation, if you end up needing the gluten-free version (like me!).

I also recommend splurging for the fresh tilapia, if you can swing it, because the fish is typically thicker than the frozen variety. It helps the fish to retain its moisture, while it is baking, and is also a little more filling.

If you have teenagers, you know that filling these kids up is a full-time job! #mamaisbroke

If you are trying to stay under budget though, the frozen fish does well, but will just cook up a bit quicker in your oven!

Here is what the dish looks like when it is prepared on the sheet pan. I lined my pan with nonstick foil, to help make clean-up a little easier! Underneath that layer of herbs & panko, you will find a cheesy layer that is prepared with just cheese and mayo.

Have issues with mayo?

I bet you will get over it when you mix that with cheese.

I mean, it is CHEESE!

You can also use your own substitution for mayo that works for your diet plan.

I have heard great things about this one!

Although, I know you aren’t here for my TED talk on this recipe, I have a pretty funny story about this dish.

When I was working for Kenmore, they asked me to share some of my favorite family recipes and they had them all printed up on gorgeous recipe cards to hand out at the Chicago Baby Show. Not only did they want to hand them out, but they told me that they wanted these dishes prepared for the attendees so people could eat samples as they walked through the different booths.

When I read how many people normally attend the Chicago Baby Show, I started to get spicy armpits.

I pride myself on my ability to feed many people, but what was this going to look like feeding THOUSANDS.

Also, why exactly did that think I was capable to cater this event?

The weeks leading up to the event were agonizing, but I couldn’t tell them that I couldn’t possibly do this. Our family was on the struggle bus financially so I had to do my best with this incredible job that I had been tasked with.

When I showed up, I put on my apron and was ready to go, spicy armpits and all!

That’s when they told me that the food was being prepared by someone else and I was just supposed to hand out my recipe cards.

Moral of the story?

Get the specifics on your jobs before you agree to do them and get ready to fake it until you make it!

I hope you enjoyed my TED talk on this fabulous dish.

In the end, I would prepare it for you, but not for thousands.

I hope you can give this one a spin at your house and can’t wait to hear what you think!

Herb Baked Tilapia Sheet Pan Meal
Author: 
Recipe type: Main Course
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6 servings
 
Try this easy sheet pan meal for your next family dinner! This herb baked tilapia & asparagus bakes in under 15 minutes! If you are using a thicker cut of tilapia, you can double the topping for double the crunch!
Ingredients
  • 4 (4 to 6 ounce) tilapia fillets
  • ⅓ cup Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup low-fat mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup gluten-free panko crumbs
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning blend
  • 1 pound asparagus
  • olive oil (for drizzingling on vegetables)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • Fresh parsley, optional
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Adjust your oven rack to the second one from the top.
  2. Using a paper towel, blot the tilapia to soak up any moisture. Place tilapia on a sheet pan lined with nonstick foil.
  3. In a small bowl, combine cheese and mayonnaise. Spread evenly over fish.
  4. In another bowl, combine panko, Italian seasoning mix, salt, & pepper. Sprinkle over fish.
  5. Trim the asparagus ends. Drizzle the asparagus with olive oil and season with salt. Arrange the asparagus next to the tilapia.
  6. Bake 12-15 minutes
  7. Turn your broiler on high and finish with 2 minutes of broiling to get a pretty golden hue on your fish and to make sure the cheese coating is cooked all the way through. Make sure you keep an eye on it so your topping does not burn.
  8. Serve immediately with a little chopped parsley on top.

Looking for more easy dinner ideas? Here are a few of our favorites!

5-ingredient sheet pan salmon meal

5-ingredient caprese pork chops

gluten-free orange chicken

3-ingredient instant pot ribs

3-ingredient instant pot pulled pork

one pot gluten-free mac & cheese

5-ingredient gluten-free pizza crust recipe

This post contains affiliate links! Thank you!

 

 

 

5-Ingredient Salmon Sheet Pan Meal

Tuesday, March 5th, 2019

With just 5 ingredients, you have all you need to make this easy sheet pan meal. This recipe takes under 15 minutes to make and you will love these ideas for spice combos to completely change those flavors.

I am at a stage in life where I appreciate simple and straightforward food that doesn’t take a lot of time out of my day to prepare. That is why I have been relying heavily upon this 5-ingredient sheet pan salmon recipe to get us through all of these crazy nights where none of us arrive at the dinner table together.

I thought I’d give you the scoop today on my workhorse recipe that has been saving me a ridiculous amount of cash that would have been spent on takeout instead.

Salmon and asparagus go together like peas and carrots, don’t they?  I buy the whole side of salmon at our local ALDI and love the price for this fresh and not frozen fish. ALDI has partnered with Instacart (here’s ten bucks towards your order if you have never tried out this incredible invention!) and I have a note in our shopping list that instructs the shopper to buy enough salmon for a family of four.

Pictured here is what they typically bring and this is usually enough for six to seven meals, depending on our portion sizes.

For a long time I was intimidated by the idea of preparing a big giant piece of salmon like this. I would tell my scared self though that preparing this is incredibly easy. So easy, in fact, that I think even someone who has never cooked before could pull it off.

Here’s one quick tip that I would share with you about preparing fish that I didn’t realize in those beginning preparation days…

If you want your fish to have a beautiful golden exterior, you must use a paper towel and blot the fish well to remove the excess moisture.

It will make ALL the difference in the world when you broil it.

I season our fish with a simple shake of Old Bay Seasoning (you can usually find it over by the fish display at your market) and kosher salt.  The first night we eat this, we keep it with this basic set-up and it is delicious.

When I reheat the fish later in the week though, I love to use different spices in my spice cabinet (be sure to snag our FREE printable labels) to make the flavor profile different each day.

Everything Bagel mix, lemon pepper seasoning, and a Sicilian bread dipping mix are three that I rotate pretty regularly with a little squeeze of lemon.

The beauty in leaving your canvas blank is that you have the opportunity to switch things up over the course of the week.

Are you drooling too?

I love how beautifully this all broils up together.

My trick for keeping the asparagus looking great is to not broil it at the tip top of the oven rack, like you usually would. I give it one step down to allow the top of the salmon to still get that golden top, but also allowing enough space to not burn that asparagus.

This is 9 minutes in our oven.  Sometimes, with thicker cuts, I have needed 11 minutes, but I prefer to keep it closer to the 9 minute timeline to keep the fish flavorful and not dry.

How pretty is that?

I hope you can add this recipe to your arsenal and that it helps you succeed at saving money on takeout nights too.

5-Ingredient Salmon Sheet Pan Meal
Author: 
Recipe type: Main Dish
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-7 servings
 
You only need 5 ingredients to make this salmon sheet pan meal in under 15 minutes. After you try this impressive dish, I bet this recipe will be in constant rotation at your house too. See the post for fun spice combination ideas you can add to your fish to change the flavor profile.
Ingredients
  • Side of Salmon
  • Olive Oil
  • Kosher Salt
  • Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1 pound asparagus
Instructions
  1. Line your sheet pan with nonstick aluminum foil.
  2. Using a paper towel, blot up any excess moisture on your fish.
  3. Brush your salmon top with olive oil and add a generous amount of kosher salt and Old Bay Seasoning to the top.
  4. Trim the asparagus ends. Drizzle the asparagus with olive oil and season with kosher salt. Arrange the asparagus around the salmon.
  5. Move your oven rack to the second row from the top. Turn your broiler on HIGH and broil the salmon and veggies for 9-11 minutes.

Want more recipes?

Scroll down for some of my favorite dinner ideas!

an easy shrimp boil dinner

roasted salmon with pistachio gremolata

CLassic Shrimp and Grits #recipe via MomAdvice.com nearly classic shrimp & grits

gluten-free pad thai with shrimp

10 minute fish tacos

gluten-free shrimp scampi

shrimp fried rice

Tried the recipe? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

This post contains affiliate links

 

3-Ingredient Instant Pot Pulled Pork

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2019

All you need is 3 simple ingredients to make this pulled pork recipe in your Instant Pot! Learn how to make this gluten-free dish and prep it for a week of lunches for your week!

I use my Instant Pot all of the time, but I started to realize that some of my absolute favorite recipes have never even hit our website. They are the simple dishes that have become a part of our routines and older recipes that were adapted for the pressure cooker that I just have never got around to sharing…

That is, until now!

My 3-ingredient Instant Pot Ribs have been a bit of a viral sensation on our website so it makes sense that today’s pork recipe also has just a few simple ingredients and that it can feed a crowd.

Even better, you will still have leftovers for fabulous lunches.

We frequently tote our Instant Pot around with us when we book vacation homes on airbnb because I have perfected a handful of recipes that allow us to enjoy a delicious dinner without spending a ton of money.

I have also found clean-up can be a breeze because we can store our main dishes right inside for the next day thanks to this awesome lid. An extra insert is always handy too so you always have a pot to prepare in!

Less dishes AND less money spent?

Now, that’s a vacation mom’s dream!

The first time I adapted this recipe, the directions said that I only needed 45 minutes to an hour to achieve that perfectly shredded pork.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case and it took a bit of trial and error for me to discover that 90 minutes on HIGH pressure is exactly how I like my pulled pork.

This amount of time yields that tender pork that I’ve come to know, without an entire day in our slow cooker.

Taking this recipe to work?

Here is one way I love to package pulled pork up for lunches.

I have found sweet potatoes are the perfect vehicle for pulled pork.

I just rinse these off, prick with a fork, rub with olive oil and kosher salt, and bake at 400 degrees for an hour, while my pork is bubbling away.

For sides, fruit and veggies are the perfect accompaniment.

Are you a ranch dipper? I used these cups for our dip and just piled my veggies on top for snacking on while I worked.

I hope you will enjoy this tried-and-true recipe at your dinner table too and consider this one a vacation staple, like we do in our family!

Be sure to SCROLL DOWN for loads more dinner ideas. I have you covered!! Don’t have an Instant Pot? Use this recipe for your Slow Cooker instead! 

3-Ingredient Instant Pot Pulled Pork
Recipe type: Main Dish
Cuisine: BBQ
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8 servings[url:3][img:1][/url]
 
All you need is 3 ingredients to make this tender and delicious pulled pork recipe. Serve on a bun or stuff it in a roasted sweet potato for a filling gluten-free meal.
Ingredients
  • Follow these directions if preparing sweet potatoes
  • 1 (4 pound) Boston butt (or pork shoulder)
  • 1 (12 fluid ounce) can or bottle root beer
  • 1 (18 ounce) bottle your favorite barbecue sauce (this is my recommendation ALWAYS)
Instructions
  1. Pour your can of root beer in the Instant Pot
  2. Place pork butt/shoulder on top and season well with salt and pepper.
  3. Lock the lid and select the Meat function (this should be on HIGH pressure), and set your timer for 90 minutes.
  4. Quick release your valve after the timer beeps and remove the pork butt from the pressure cooker.
  5. Shred the meat and drain the root beer from the pressure cooker. Stir in barbecue sauce and toss gently.
  6. Serve in buns or prepared sweet potatoes. See my full post for a meal prep day for a week of lunches.

 

Looking for more weeknight meal ideas? Check these posts out!

Instant Pot Indian Vegetable Rice from MomAdvice.cominstant pot indian vegetable rice

pressure cooker korean street tacosinstant pot korean street tacos

3-ingredient instant pot ribs

Shrimp Fried Rice from MomAdvice.comshrimp fried rice

Balsamic Pork Loin Sheet Pan Meal from MomAdvice.combalsamic pork loin sheet pan meal

sheet pan ranch chops& veggiessheet pan ranch chops & veggies

gluten-free meatloaf recipeeasy gluten-free meatloaf recipe

sheet pan lemon paprika chicken with vegetablessheet pan lemon paprika chicken with vegetables

Baked Orange Chicken Meatballs from MomAdvice.combaked orange chicken meatballs

5-ingredient gluten-free pizza crust5-ingredient gluten-free pizza crust

slow cooker carnitasslow cooker carnitas

asian-turkey-and-green-bean-sauteasian turkey & green bean skillet dish

5-ingredient caprese pork chops5-ingredient caprese pork chops

Roast Frozen Chicken in Bulkroast chicken in bulk for your week

What is your favorite thing to create in your Instant Pot?

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though.

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Make-Ahead & Freeze Your Thanksgiving Meal

Wednesday, November 14th, 2018

Make-Ahead & Freeze Your Thanksgiving Meal from MomAdvice.com

These make-ahead holiday dishes are my favorites & I love that I can have our holiday feast prepped in our freezer. These recipes, decorating ideas, and hostess gift ideas are the perfect things you need in your arsenal for a perfect day!

It’s that time of year again where I show you how incredibly awesome it is to prepare your Thanksgiving meal ahead and pack it away in your freezer for the big upcoming feast.

Over the years I have tried so many recipes to share with you and today I want to show you my foolproof technique meal for creating a delicious meal right from your freezer and to your table that will taste like you cooked it that very day.

Before we dive into all the recipes, here are a few items I recommend having in your arsenal to make your meal preparation day easier and to actually create room for all of these delicious dishes.

Make-Ahead & Freeze Your Thanksgiving Meal from MomAdvice.com

Ninja Cooker For Preparation & Buffet

This item is definitely a splurge item, but has paid for itself over and over again for me. The Ninja Cooker has two functions on it (Stovetop & Slow Cooker) that allow you to brown meat inside of it and then switch to slow cooking. It also has a Buffet setting that is perfect for using on Thanksgiving Day to keep your dishes warm.

I can’t recommend this gadget enough and consider it to be a smart holiday investment.

Did I mention it is nonstick?

DREAMY!

Ziploc Freezer Bags For Food Storage for the Big Day

I love, love, love Ziploc Freezer Bags for their stackability for storing our food for the big day.

I use these to package up my stuffing and casseroles to help me pack more in my freezer without taking up so much space like a disposable pan would.

Make sure you reach for the freezer bags and not the regular ones though to prevent freezer burn.

When in doubt if something will hold, always double bag!

Chinet Bakeware For An Elegant Freezer Meal Spread

Since I freeze my feast for Thanksgiving Day, I love the ease of stacking (and clean-up) when it comes to disposable pans.

Chinet makes ones that are nonstick and I have found them to be a bit more durable for transporting from oven to table.

Since they are made of paper, the first time I used them I was a little scared how my food would turn out, but I have had great success with these and find them to be an affordable alternative to foil pans for Thanksgiving Day.

If you want to keep things looking nice, these casserole baskets (less than $10 each) are a clever trick I use to disguise a disposable pan.

Make-Ahead & Freeze Your Thanksgiving Meal from MomAdvice.com

Pie Cutters For Glamming Up Store-Bought Pies

If baking pies isn’t your thing, consider buying a little pie dough and adding a personalized touch with an inexpensive set of decorative pie cutters.

You simply roll out the pre-packaged dough, cut out a piece with the pie cutter and press to make a detailed impression on the top.

Transfer these delicate details to a parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake as directed.

Add a glossy shine with a little egg or sprinkle sugar & cinnamon on top to add a little flavor.

Between this and a glammed up whip cream or quick topping, your store-bought pies will be a fabulous addition to the dinner table.

Carry-Out Dishes For Packing Leftovers

Sharing the leftovers is not only a nice gesture for your guests, but it makes sure that all the dishes get eaten.

I use my takeout pho containers when packaging food up for myself, but these Fitpacker containers would be lovely to share and let your guests take home food or to prepare a few lunches/dinners for your own family for the week so you can really put your feet up!

Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Dishes To Try

Cheddar Apple Pie Dip from MomAdvice.com

Appetizers

Bacon Ranch Cheeseball– Need I say more?

Spunky Spinach Dip– A delicious combination of spinach, salsa, & cream cheese. Serve with carrots and tortilla chips for dipping

Cheddar Apple Pie Dip– Prepare until the point of baking. Freeze for the big day.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip– AKA Crack Dip, as it is so lovingly referred to in our house.

Slow Cooker Chex Mix

Gluten-Free Meatball Sub Appetizer

Gluten-Free Meatballs– Bake & prepare sauce. Freeze separately for the big day. Warm up on the stove top and then skewer with baby mozzarella balls.

Sugar & Spice Nut Mix– Would also make a great hostess gift if you aren’t making the meal!

Cranberry Spread– Tangy and a delicious dip to pair with crackers.

Make-Ahead Green Bean Casserole

Sides

Green Bean Casserole– Panko with homemade mushroom cream sauce- it’s divine!

Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes– I always double batch this recipe because these are the best mashed potatoes you will ever eat.

Brandied Orange & Cranberry Sauce– This is the best cranberry sauce I have ever eaten- truly!

Buttery Bread Machine Rolls– This foolproof recipe makes storing a bread machine worth it! Be sure to read this article for lots of bread machine tips!


Make-Ahead Gravy

Make-Ahead Gravy Recipe– Finding out I could make this early last year saved me so much time in the kitchen on Thanksgiving.

Pumpkin Cranberry Cornbread– Bake & freeze for the big day!

Make-Ahead Apple, Sausage, & Sage Sourdough Stuffing

Gluten-Free Bacon, Apple, & Cornbread Stuffing follow these directions for freezing!!

Slow Cooker Turkey for Thanksgiving Turkey

This turkey isn’t a make-ahead recipe BUT did you know you can cook it in your slow cooker?? Follow these instructions to save some space in your oven for the big day!

Not having a lot of guests? Give this easy method a spin. If you only like white meat, you can double or triple one of these for about the same price (and save the hassle of carving- boom!)

Not up for cooking the turkey? Check out this easy option you can have delivered to your doorstep from Amazon Prime!!

Fancy Up Store-Bought Pies

Desserts

Store-Bought Pie Tricks– Wow, your guests with a few easy details

Homemade Pumpkin Pie

All-Butter Pie Crust– Prepare and freeze discs of dough

Cranberry Crunch Pie Topping

Cranberry Crunch Pie Topping– Store wet and dry ingredients separately for the big day

Spiced Whipped Cream– Make-ahead and store in the fridge for the big day

No-Bake Peppermint Cheesecakes

No-Bake Peppermint Cheesecakes– A promise of all the good treats to come this holiday season

Not cooking? Here are a few of my favorite hostess gifts

DIY Slow Cooker Pumpkin Spice Candles

DIY Slow Cooker Pumpkin Candles

Mini Pie Hostess Favor

Mini Pie Gifts

diy trophy toppers (free gift tag printables)

Microwave Peanut Brittle

Easy Microwave Peanut Brittle

diy vanilla chai tea mix

succulent terrariums (even a sweet small one in a thrifted tea cup!)

Sugar & Spice Nuts Mix

Sugar & Spice Nuts

Knitted Sweater Cozies

Knitted Sweater Coffee Cozies

Wine Hats & Scarves

Wine Hats & Scarves

Neon Paint Dipped Spoon Set

Paint-Dipped Spoon Sets

Free Thanksgiving Printable

Thanksgiving Decor, Crafts & Entertaining

Woodland Thanksgiving Table + Free Printables

DIY Thanksgiving Centerpiece

DIY Table Runner for All Seasons

Decorating & Food Advice for the Perfect Friendsgiving

Friendsgiving Feast

Host a Friendsgiving Feast

How to Entertain the Kids on Thanksgiving Day

How to Set the Perfect Thanksgiving Table

DIY Chalkboard Food Label Frames

I hope these ideas inspire you! If you are looking for a great turkey recipe, be sure to check out this Herb-Roasted Turkey Breast or just use this simple technique for a small crowd to prepare a boneless breast! Happy holidays, friends! xo

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though! 

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Simplifying Your Holiday Gatherings

Thursday, November 1st, 2018

You will love these strategies for hosting memorable gatherings without the stress.

I’ve got everything from cooking shortcuts to decorations that transition through the seasons to your perfect playlist! 

This post is sponsored by Honeysuckle White. All thoughts and opinions are my own! 

Now that Halloween is behind us, it is time to start thinking about all of those upcoming holiday gatherings. Hostess duties can often feel stressful and overwhelming, don’t they? That is why I’m excited to be partnering today with Honeysuckle White to share some fresh ideas for hosting your next gathering without the stress.

I learned that if I wanted to connect with my friends and family that I often had to be the one to step up to bat and offer to host. I have discovered, over the years, that so many people feel intimidated by hosting and are often self-conscious of things like undone house projects, their limited cooking abilities, or not feeling like they have that perfectly sized space for the ideal gathering.

The thing is, our own intimidations rob us of precious moments with those we love and the people that REALLY and GENUINELY love us will always, always be thankful to you for creating space in your home and day for them.

That is, truly, why I am excited to share that Honeysuckle White recognizes how precious our time is and wanted to take out that intimidation factor by providing a brilliantly easy turkey product that will make gatherings so much easier on busy moms.

Even better?

You can order it right through Amazon.

And, ladies, I KNOW we all have Amazon ordering down pat! (*ahem*)

Say hello to the world’s easiest holiday dish, the NEWS Honeysuckle White Bacon Wrapped Turkey Breast “Turketta”, inspired by the flavor profile of porchetta!

I gave ordering one of these a spin and really was surprised how well-seasoned and easy this was to execute for my Friendsgiving gathering this week.

In your package (that arrives right on your doorstep!)  you will get one of these beautiful roasts that serve approximately 4-6 people.  The packages arrive frozen and you can thaw it for an ASAP gathering or you can tuck this in the freezer for a future meal.

The bird is perfectly seasoned, boneless (no carving- woot, woot!), and requires just a simple quick sear on the bottom and baking.

This isn’t the only option you can have delivered. They also are offering Hickory Smoked Turkey Breast, a Honeysuckle White Fresh Traceable Whole Bird Turkey, & the Honest Turkey Whole Turkey.

Even better, for a limited time offer, MomAdvice readers can get 15% off using my coupon code 15MOMADVICE.

I can really get behind this company and the work they do with farmers, especially after having the opportunity to tour one of the farms.

The company is committed to raising their turkeys without growth-promoting antibiotics and no added hormones or steroids.

They also are committed to supporting independent family farmers to provide family farm-raised turkeys.

I don’t know if you know this, but my great-grandpa was a farmer and that is why that commitment and their true love for these families really warms my heart.

Now that you have the turkey covered, here are a few other ideas for a simple gathering of great friends and great food!

Send Out a Small Invite

I have done loads of large gatherings, but I find the best gatherings are often the intimate ones with just a couple of close friends so you can really catch up.

A friendsgiving need not be a large gathering and the invitation does not need to be a formal one.

Text invitations are perfectly acceptable, especially during such a busy season.

Also, allowing mamas to bring kids is a blessing to the mom (who won’t have to cook) and to you (to get to love on your friend’s beautiful kiddos especially since your kids are tweens/teens and you now have to FORCE YOUR LOVE on them).

 

Keep the Sides Simple

Roasted vegetables are an easy side that can be prepared a day in advance.

In fact, storing your carrots and potatoes in water overnight will yield a much crisper roast than if you cut them up immediately.

Toss your prepared vegetables in olive oil, kosher salt, and your favorite dried seasoning (I’m a thyme girl!) and roast them at 450 degrees for 25 minutes.

Love perfectly roasted potatoes?

Cut baby potatoes in half and put the cut side down on a cookie sheet that’s been lined with aluminum foil and is lightly greased. You will get a perfect roast every time AND they are so good that my kids call them mom’s french fries.

It goes without saying, but lining the cookie sheets with tin foil or parchment paper squares is also an excellent way to cut down on dishes!

Skip the Baking

Thankfully, there is no need to bake since we have so many delicious options for desserts that are already made and available for purchase at our local markets.

You can still make these purchased desserts feel really special though with quick homemade touches.

Spicing up your whipped cream, adding crunchy toppings, or adding details with pie cutters or an embossing rolling pin (made from refrigerated pie dough) are all fun ways to make pies feel special and more homemade.

This post offers 5 strategies for making store-bought pies feel special that I think you will find REALLY helpful for the holidays and even an idea for packaging up mini pies as a parting gift at the end of the night.

replicate my table with this easy tutorial

Think Evergreen When It Comes to Home Decorating

In the blog world, evergreen content is king. It means that we really focus on creating timeless pieces that can be shared over and over again and always feel relevant.

This is the SAME WAY we can approach our decorating. Purchase or DIY things that are neutral and can be used over and over again throughout the seasons. A bit of faux greenery, a roll of kraft paper (DO buy this– it’s such a affordable investment for decorating and gift wrapping), white plates, and loads of candles are perfect for ANY occasion.

Adding simple seasonal touches, like the small bundles of sage I gathered with cotton twine feel very Martha-y, but cost only a couple of bucks to pull off.

Stop pulling out and storing seasonal bins and buy a few items that you can use over and over and over again.

You can’t imagine the stress you will relieve yourself of!

Set the Mood

Before I go, I have one more fun fact for you…I used to be a glorified D.J. for my college’s radio station.

Music is essential to me like breathing and food.

Growing up, I played the violin, sang in the choir, did musical theater, and had parents who were crazy about music too.

I am also the one that hogs the microphone if you karaoke with me.

To me, a solid playlist for special occasions is oh-so-necessary.

Don’t have time to make one?

How about if I shared mine with you!

Also, as a thoughtful introvert, I have included three goodbye songs at the end that you can feel free to boot those up after the meal when you just need to retreat to your Snuggie and Netflix.

Hopefully they catch on..I know, “CLOSING TIME,” is a very, very subtle exit song!

I have embedded it here for you so be sure to bookmark this awesome post and give me a follow for more fabulous dinner music.

Now hurry on over to order your turkey and don’t forget to use my coupon code 15MOMADVICE to snag your 15% off!

this post contains affiliate links

This post is sponsored by Honeysuckle White. All thoughts and opinions are my own!

28 Instant Pot Soup and Stew Recipes for the Soup Season

Monday, October 22nd, 2018

Is it getting cooler where you live? I have to admit, this week was a bit of a shocker to my system with the temperatures dropping so quickly in Indiana. I have been hibernating this week and implementing ALL the strategies already for the cooler months.

One of my strategies I haven’t mentioned though is a weekly pot of soup that can save me from cooking a couple of nights a week AND for keeping us warm in the evenings.

Now that soup season is in FULL SWING, I thought I would share a gathering of Instant Pot soups that are my radar for my menu plans.

If you haven’t put an Instant Pot on your list of kitchen must-haves, I bet you will after seeing how quickly and easily you can pull together a pot of soup to enjoy all week long.

Last week I shared a recipe with you, but I also shared two gadgets that I think every Instant Pot fan will love, especially for your soup seasons!

The first is this type of lid that will make it easier to serve and reheat your soups for family meals.

There is nothing more awkward than trying to open and shut the sealing lid, amiright?

The other thing I absolutely love is this gadget that allows you to store your soup right in the pot in your fridge without any messes or spills.

If you can’t wait to get your pot back for the next meal though, many people also purchase additional inserts so that they can store a soup for their week as well as continue keeping the Instant Pot dishes in their rotation.

You can bet that an additional insert is on MY Christmas list this year.

And while we are on the topic of gadgets, if you haven’t bought one of these yet, it is a workhorse in our kitchen.

I, honestly, can’t imagine making soups or sauces without it…not to mention all that frothing of milk for my lattes at home.

I promise, I only recommend what I really love and TRULY use in our kitchen.

Speaking of what I love…how about some new recipes for your menu plan?

Here are 28 Instant Pot Soup & Stew recipes that I can’t wait to make this Fall & Winter!

instant pot gluten-free broccoli & cheddar

pressure cooker italian chicken soup

instant pot potato soup

instant pot pho ga (vietnamese chicken noodle soup)

instant pot split pea soup

instant pot detox soup

instant pot moroccan spiced butternut squash soup

instant pot chicken gnocchi soup

instant pot chicken vegetable soup

instant pot chicken enchilada soup

pressure cooker red wine beef stew

instant pot vegetable soup

instant pot vegan carrot ginger soup

instant pot mushroom soup

instant pot tomato soup

instant pot cauliflower soup

instant pot classic french onion soup

instant pot thai shrimp soup

instant pot chicken & dumplings

instant pot white chicken chili

vegan potato corn chowder


instant pot chicken tortilla soup

instant pot creamy tortellini soup

instant pot sweet potato carrot coconut soup

instant pot vegetarian chili instant pot vegan udon soup

instant pot taco soup

instant pot chicken fricassee

Not enough Instant Pot recipes for you? Here are 3 of our most popular Instant Pot Recipes on the site!

3-ingredient instant pot ribs

instant pot korean street tacos

instant pot indian vegetable rice

What is your favorite soup to make in your pressure cooker?

 

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Instant Pot Gluten-Free Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Tuesday, October 9th, 2018

This Instant Pot Broccoli Cheddar Soup will fulfill all those Panera cravings MINUS the gluten!

One of my absolute favorite soups is Broccoli Cheddar Soup and it is my ultimate Panera weakness. Unfortunately, their version isn’t gluten-free so this week I decided to break out my Instant Pot and do a little recipe-testing.  Broccoli cheddar soup is one of those cheesy comfort foods that a gluten-free girl can REALLY get behind.

Oh, I should say, if you haven’t hopped on the Instant Pot game yet, I encourage you to JUST GO FOR IT.

Seriously.

It is the best gadget ever and is relied heavily on throughout our week to make fast work of soups, sauces, and tender meat.

If soups are going to be in your Instant Pot rotation too, I highly recommend two tools that will REALLY improve your enjoyment HIGHLY of this gadget.

The first is this type of lid that will make it easier to serve and reheat your soups for family meals.

There is nothing more awkward than trying to open and shut the sealing lid, amiright?

The other thing I absolutely love is this gadget that allows you to store your soup right in the pot in your fridge without any messes or spills.

If you can’t wait to get your pot back for the next meal though, many people also purchase additional inserts so that they can store a soup for their week as well as continue keeping the Instant Pot dishes in their rotation.

You can bet that an additional insert is on MY Christmas list this year.

And while we are on the topic of gadgets, if you haven’t bought one of these yet, it is a workhorse in our kitchen.

I, honestly, can’t imagine making soups or sauces without it…not to mention all that frothing of milk for my lattes at home.

I promise, I only recommend what I really love and TRULY use in our kitchen.

Making gluten-free soups that are thick and creamy can be a challenge. If I can offer any advice, adding this flour to our pantry has replaced a lot of my difficulties with modifying recipes to make them gluten-free. It’s an affordable solution that doesn’t require any master mixing or extra effort. Who couldn’t get behind that?

You will want to take your time though, once you add the flour to your pot, and really work hard to keep stirring and adding that liquid gradually to prevent your soup from being riddled with clumps.  It helps to take your time with this element and, remember, you will get that time back thanks to how quickly this cooks in your pressure cooker.

I’m sure it goes without saying that freshly grated cheese will always yield a better dish, but I also live in that whole “ain’t nobody got time for that” mindset on most weeknights.

GUYS.

It’s survival mode over here most days.

Can I get an amen?

I hope you love this recipe as much as our family did! We paired it with my easy make-ahead chicken in bulk recipe in gluten-free wraps with a drizzle of ranch.

If you are trying to do more meat-free nights, it also goes great with a little bread for dipping and some apple slices to round out this satisfying bowl of soup.

Be sure to scroll down for some more of our family favorites after the soup recipe!

Instant Pot Gluten-Free Broccoli Cheddar Soup
Recipe type: Soup
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 servings
 
Break out that Instant Pot for this satisfyingly filling Instant Pot Gluten-Free Broccoli Cheddar Soup. Not gluten-free? No problem! Replace the gluten-free flour with your gluten-y version.
Ingredients
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 2 cups diced carrots
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • ¼ cup gluten-free flour (this is the brand our family prefers)
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 6 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • salt to taste
  • 1½ cups shredded monterey jack cheese
  • 1½ cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Plug in and turn on your Instant Pot. Press the Sauté button on the Instant Pot (you want to make sure it is set to Normal) and give it a few minutes to warm up. Add the butter. Once melted, add diced carrots and cook three minutes.
  2. Stir in the garlic and flour. Allow the flour to cook for a minute or so, stirring constantly. Next add a small amount of your vegetable stock, incorporating this in bit by bit while stirring constantly and eliminating any lumps in your soup base.
  3. Hit cancel on your Instant Pot to turn off Sauté function. Add your broccoli in the pot, seal with the lid, and set your Instant Pot to HIGH pressure for 8 minutes.
  4. At the end of your cooking time, do a quick release of pressure and open the lid. Add in your paprika, pinch of nutmeg, and salt to taste.
  5. Stir in cheeses and mix well until it has melted. Add in milk and cream. Taste again to double check your final seasonings.
  6. If you have an immersion blender, you can use it to blend the soup or you can carefully pour half of the soup in a blender and blend it well and add it back to the soup pot.
  7. Serve immediately.
  8. When reheating, you can add additional vegetable stock or milk to thin the soup back out.

 

Looking for more great dinner recipes? Here are a few others that are a big hit with our family (AND READERS!) You can also visit our RECIPE section of the site!

3-ingredient instant pot ribs

instant pot korean tacos

instant pot indian vegetable rice

asian turkey and green bean saute

gluten-free meatloaf recipe

 

gluten-free chicken noodle soup

shrimp fried rice

baked orange chicken meatballs

balsamic pork loin sheet pan meal 5-ingredient gluten-free pizza dough

one pot gluten-free mac & cheese

What is your favorite way to use your Instant Pot? Have any questions about this gadget? Leave them below and I will answer them in a future post!

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How to Make Pumpkin Hand Pies

Monday, October 8th, 2018

When I was a kid one of my favorite treats in the world was an apple pie that they served at a fast food restaurant in town.

The flaky crust in a pocket filled with the warm apple filling was the perfect comfort food to me and it always seemed to be the perfect amount to satisfy my sweet tooth craving.

Clearly, I am no food snob when it comes to the humble pie whether it is from a box in the grocery store or a local diner.

Just give me ALL THE PIE.

It should come as no surprise that my children adore pie like their mother so I wanted to create a treat for them that would be deemed one of the coolest after school snacks I have made to date.

Of course, we are creating the only pie worth making, at least according to our household.

For us, it is the incredible pumpkin pie that truly brings together the flavors of fall in every delicious bite and makes it feel like Thanksgiving… even if it really is just another boring Monday.

Of course, I have a little secret in the refrigerator now that I am a busy mom.

These little treats couldn’t be easier to prepare thanks to store-bought pie crust that saves me a lot of time on treats (and dishes).

With a little pumpkin shape placed on top of each delicate pie and dusted with cinnamon and sugar, this treat looks impressive, but can be pulled together in a matter of minutes.

These would be just perfect for a fun Halloween lunchbox treat or to celebrate the season any other day of the week! Best of all, since the filling calls for just a cup of pumpkin puree, it is the perfect way to use up a leftover can that might be taking up space in your refrigerator.

If you haven’t made a hand pie before, it couldn’t be easier. You can use a floured cup as a circle cutter or a biscuit cutter to cut out your circles. Add a tablespoon of your filling to the tops of each of your circles and then add an identical circle on top to pull the pie together. To make sure everything is secure, I seal and add pretty scores with a fork.

Want to make it even easier? Can I recommend this handy gadget?

It’s amazing for making lunchbox sandwiches too! I promise, you will get a lot out of it!

shop seasonal pie cutters HERE (SO many fun ones!!)

To add a little decoration, I love to buy seasonal decorative pie cutters that add a little detail to the edge of my pies, decorative edible touches to a dessert table for the holidays, and happen to add the perfect detail to these hand pies.

To secure these adorable pumpkins, I brushed the pies with an egg wash and then rested this on top, brushing again lightly with the egg wash.

It adds a beautiful touch and shine to the crust and makes these pretty pies into a little work of art.

I hope you can share these treats with someone you love this month and I look forward to sharing more fun fall ideas with you on the blog. Looking for a traditional pumpkin pie for the whole gang? I can’t recommend this tried-and-true recipe enough!

Don’t want to make pie at all?

I feel you.

Check out these ideas for decorating those store-bought pies!

Speaking of more fun fall projects, scroll below the recipe for a few of my ABSOLUTE FAVES!!

Pumpkin Hand Pies Recipe
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
This fun semi-homemade treat has all of your favorite pumpkin pie flavors in a single size version. Be sure to snag some fun pie cutters to really make these festive! Need to make these gluten-free? No problem! Simply switch your prepared pie crust to a gluten-free version!
Ingredients
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • ⅜ cup brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 2 packages prepared pie crust (make sure to bring this to room temperature)
  • 1 egg
  • Cinnamon and sugar to garnish
  • Optional: This handy tool and decorative pie cutters
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. In a mixing bowl, mix together the pumpkin, brown sugar, spices and heavy cream. Set aside. Unroll your room temperature pie crusts. Using a 2½ inch biscuit cutter or the opening of a drinking glass as your guide, cut out your circles. Remember, however many you can cut out of your first pie crust, you will want to try to do the same amount on the next pie crust to create your toppers. The amount you can get will depend on your circle size that you are punching out.
  3. Place your first half of your circles on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.
  4. Add in about a tablespoon pie filling, then place a dough circle on top. Press together with your fingers to seal them. Then use your fork to seal and create a pretty edge to the pie.
  5. Whisk one egg in a small bowl and then brush on top of the dough.
  6. Finish with a sprinkle of cinnamon and sugar. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with a big glass of milk or a dollop of whipped cream for a sweet treat!

here are a few of our most popular fall projects on the site right now!

autumn burlap wreath tutorial

doughnut hole ghost cake (no baking necessary!)

dollar store thumbtack pumpkins

how to make glow in the dark jell-o

19 thrillers to keep you up all night

slow cooker pumpkin spice candles

no-sew blanket scarf tutorial

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How to Make Pumpkin Hand Pies from MomAdvice.com

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Candy Apple Martini and a New Chilling Thriller

Monday, September 24th, 2018

This post is sponsored by St. Martin’s Press. Thank you for supporting our sponsors! 

Are you looking for a way to escape the back-to-school chaos?

Lucky for you, I have the perfect thriller and cocktail to escape with this fall.

Today I’m sharing about the new twisty thriller from T.M. Logan called, “Lies,” and I’m pairing it with a new Candy Apple Martini recipe to sip while you are indulging in this suspenseful read

If you haven’t yet heard of T.M. Logan it is because he is making his debut this month with, “Lies.” Logan is a seasoned writer who has worked as a national newspaper journalist. This is why, perhaps, this book does not seem like a debut at all.

In this story, our lead character, Joe Lynch, is driving home from work with his young son. He happens to see his wife’s car ahead of him and decides to follow her and ends up witnessing a secret rendezvous with another man. This encounter threatens to tear the two families apart and Joe finds that he is being set up for a murder that he never committed.

If you are a fan of Peter Swanson’s writing, I have a feeling you are going to absolutely love this thriller. Logan expertly weaves the plot of this story so well that you will find yourself questioning just who is innocent and who is guilty.

Even more than that though, we all know that a satisfying thriller has a twisty conclusion that we don’t see coming and Logan not only keeps the reader on their toes throughout the story, but he also manages to add smart twists that even a seasoned thriller reader just won’t expect.

Logan really goes to great lengths to help us explore the question, can we ever really trust those closest to us? I absolutely loved this thriller and finished it in a single day. It was the perfect way to unwind from the craziness of back-to-school season.

I know as moms it can be difficult to carve out time for ourselves, particularly during this time of year. The thing is, more than ever it is important to incorporate self-care activities that fill your cup too. Reading, for me, has always been my self-care outlet.

In busy seasons, I gravitate more towards the thriller genre because these tend to be fast page-turners and offer a much-needed escape during difficult parenting seasons.

This novel hit stores on September 11th and is available now for purchase. You can read the first 27 pages of the book over here.

I guarantee, you will be hooked.

 

I wanted to pair this book with a fall cocktail so today’s recipe is for a Caramel Apple Martini that you can sip while furiously flipping those pages.

This drink is a combination of butterscotch schnapps, sour apple schnapps, vodka, and cranberry juice. These flavors, once shaken together in a martini shaker or mason jar, taste just like a delicious candy apple.

To fancy this drink up, dip the rim in water and then dip it in a little cinnamon and sugar mixed together. It can then be garnished with a fresh apple to bring it all together.

I can’t think of a better pairing than a great thriller and a delicious martini.

Happy reading, friends!

Candy Apple Martini
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 martini
 
A delicious combination of butterscotch schnapps, sour apple schnapps, cranberry juice, and vodka make the perfect martini that tastes just like a candy apple. Dip the rim in cinnamon & sugar and garnish with an apple, to add those special finishing touches.
Ingredients
  • 1 ounce butterscotch schnapps
  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 2 ounces cranberry juice
  • 2 ounces sour apple schnapps
  • Cinnamon & sugar mixture
  • Apple slice
  • Martini shaker or mason jar
Instructions
  1. Dip rim of glass in a shallow bowl of water.
  2. Next, dip it in a mixture of cinnamon and sugar. Add your apple garnish to the rim.
  3. Add ice to a mason jar or martini shaker.
  4. Pour the butterscotch schnapps, vodka, cranberry juice, and sour apple schnapps over the ice.
  5. Shake for thirty seconds.
  6. Pour strained drink into prepared martini glass.
  7. Sip while reading, "Lies," by T.M. Logan

 

Purchase, “Lies,” HERE. You can follow T.M. Logan on  Twitter and Facebook!

This post is sponsored by St. Martin’s Press. Thank you for supporting our sponsors! 

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Best Taco Meat in the World

Saturday, September 15th, 2018

This taco meat is what I like to call, “the world’s best,” thanks to its unique flavors. This is a MomAdvice Pinterest favorite and, after you try this, you will see why!

I love to make tacos for the kids, but I am not a big fan of taco seasoning or just plain ground beef.

I was looking for a balance between the two when I happened upon this little recipe that will make my taco nights complete!

This taco meat is the best taco meat in the world- truly!

The mixture of tomato sauce and chicken broth take away the beefy taste and give it just the right hint of flavoring.

Since my kids can’t handle the heavy spices, we modified the chili powder to 1 teaspoon and skipped the cayenne pepper.

You could top this meat on top of a big stack of tortilla chips or stuff your tacos with this meat.

The recipe is yet another recipe that comes from one of the most invaluable cookbooks on my kitchen shelf, “The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook” Pairing this with their homemade chicken enchiladas & homemade enchilada sauce would take a Mexican-themed dining experience to a whole new level!

Best Taco Meat in the World
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 servings
 
I swear by this taco recipe
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (I use a tablespoon of the bottled minced garlic)
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder (adjust to your personal taste)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Salt
  • 1 pound (90 percent lean) ground beef (or use a higher fat beef and rinse the meat)
  • ½ cup smooth canned tomato sauce
  • ½ cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon light brown sugar
  • 8 taco shells
Instructions
  1. Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat until shimmering.
  2. Add the onion and cook until softened, about five minutes.
  3. Stir in the garlic, spices, and 1 teaspoon salt and cook until fragrant about thirty seconds.
  4. Stir in the ground beef and cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon until no longer pink, about five minutes.
  5. Stir in the tomato sauce, broth, vinegar, and sugar until thickened, about ten minutes.
  6. Season with salt to taste.
  7. Divide the filling evenly among the taco shells and serve passing any desired accompaniments separately.
  8. Make-Ahead Version: The filling can be fully prepared, cooled, covered tightly and refrigerated for up to three days. Reheat over medium-low heat, adding additional water to adjust the consistency.

Mexican is one of my favorite things to get take-out for so I am hoping that my new recipes will replace my cravings for take-out.

Looking for more fun MomAdvice dinner favorites? How about these!

slow cooker carnitas

slow_cooker_black_beans slow cooker black beans

how to make brown rice in your slow cooker

mexican quinoa stuffed peppers

pressure cooker korean street tacos

 

10-minute fish tacos

chicken enchiladas with homemade enchilada sauce

 

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