Healthy Soup & Salad Combo for Winter

Sometimes in the middle of winter, I feel like we hit the doldrums. It’s cold outside, everyone seems to be catching a bug–and I really just want spring and fresh, garden produce to be here already!
That’s when I like to pull out one of my favorite mid-winter combos from my blog:

Virus Killing Soup and Detox Salad.

The soup is a wonderful way to warm up on a cold, blustery day. And the broth is full of vitamins and nutrients to help us get well if we’re feeling down, or keep us well by fighting off the bad bugs going around. Detox Salad is chock full of vegetables. The dark, green leafy ingredients are also filled with great vitamins, and really give a great boost after the holidays. Plus, even if the names aren’t the most exciting, the soup and salad both taste amazing! We always enjoy dinnertime when this is on the menu.

This combo is one of the many soup + salad recipe parings in the FREE eBook, Soup & Salad of the Week. If you want a copy, just click the image below and enter your email address and we’ll get one off to you




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7 Layer Dip End Zone Recipe

Football season is in high gear and it won’t be long before the Big Game is here.  I’m not much of a football fan, but I do love the food that gets served while the TV is on!

7 Layer Dip is a classic for parties.  This one gets a little football theming with a tortilla goal post and easy field striping using Daisy Squeeze Sour Cream. Daisy Squeeze is really convenient and easy for kids (or grownups)  to top tacos, chili, potatoes and more without making a mess.  Use it to decorate other foods for the big game too – like making football laces or football field lines.

Daisy 7 Layer Dip for Super Bowl

Daisy Squeeze made it really easy to decorate the top of the dip.  This is a great project to do with your kids.  From spreading the refried beans on the bottom layer, to mashing avocados to decorating the top with sour cream stripes – the kids can do it all!

Here’s what you’ll need to make your own 7 Layer Dip End Zone:

[Read more…]

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15 Minute Soup and Salad Dinner

15 minute soup and salad

Soup and salad make a great dinner combo, especially if the recipes are fast.

Italian Bean and Sausage Soup can be put together in about 15 minutes.

Quick Cole Slaw takes even less time to make.  Stir it together while the soup heats.

The savory sausage and tomatoes in the soup pair up with the creamy, crunchy cole slaw perfectly.

You can find these two recipes in the FREE  Soup & Salad of the Week ebook. Click the image below to get a copy sent to you.

Click the image below and enter your email in the pop up box to get your FREE copy!

Weekly Meal Plans

If you like meal ideas like this one, along with done-for-you grocery lists, check out our Weekly Meal Plans.  We make dinner simple so you can focus on your family.


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3 Things That Work in the Kitchen (plus a sale!)

3 Things that work in the kitchen

1.  Jim and Mia did the grocery shopping after Christmas

A day or two after Christmas we realized that we’d eaten through all the leftovers and needed some food in the house.  I printed off a grocery list from Eat at Home Weekly Meal Plans and Jim and Mia went to the store for me while I caught up on things at home.  He even cooked one of the meals for dinner too!

This is a great time to buy Weekly Meal Plans, because we’ve got a sale going on through January 7.

Eat at Home Weekly Meal Plans on Sale 50% Off!

If you’d like to simplify your planning, shopping and cooking this year, Eat at Home Weekly Meal Plans are for you.  We do all the planning for you, plus give you an abundance of slow cooker and 15 minute meals so that you can easily fit dinner into your day.

Right now, through January 7 you can save 50% off of new monthly and 3 month membership plans.  Find out more here.  Sale is good for new memberships.



2.  Pizza night is back!

During soccer season and the holidays we hadn’t made time for pizza night at all.  That changed the other day when we all gathered around for pizza making and silliness.

pizza night

I tell about how to make great homemade pizza in this post.  You can find my pizza dough recipe here and an easy pizza sauce recipe here.

3.  Spontaneous dinner for 8 in 30 minutes.

The other night we ended up having eight people at the house for dinner.  We’d already been to the grocery, so we had food but I’d been planning to make salmon and I only had enough of that for 4-5 people.

I decided to make Spicy Chicken Soup instead.  I made it on the stove and it only took about 30 minutes to pull the meal together.  I love recipes like this one, that use common ingredients.  It makes it easy to pull a quick meal together.

spicy chicken soup done

What’s working in your kitchen this week?

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Create a Family Culture of Dinner Together

Creating a Culture of Family Dinner

It’s that time of year when we start thinking about goals and resolutions.  I love this chance to hone in on what truly matters and make an intentional plan that focuses on the most important things.

It’s also the time of year when we begin to crave some order and routine again, after the holiday hustle and festivities.

One of the things that I know is high on your list is building a strong family.  There are, of course, lots of elements that go into that, but one piece that works well is this:

Family dinner together.

Gathering around the table together most nights of the week provides so many benefits for your family.  It can be hard when the toddler doesn’t want to stay at the table, or the four year old is going through a picky phase, or the teens are off working…

Sometimes it might not seem worth it, especially after a meal that turned into more of a battle of teaching table manners.  Or a dinner that mostly involved cleaning spilled milk off the floor.

But all those times around the table add up, creating a family culture that says:

Our family is worth the effort.

Our kids are important.

We can count on every person around the table.

Home matters.

Those dinner times also give a chance to talk together, pray together, explore new foods together and share favorites over and over again.  They provide a time for us to reconnect after busy days, find out how school and work are going, talk about things we’re looking forward to and more.

Commit to focusing on having regular family dinners.

If you’re already in that habit – fantastic!  You might want to think about ways to have more conversation around the table.  Or focus on teaching your kids to cook parts of the meal this year.

I promise our efforts will pay off!


Eat at Home Weekly Meal Plans on Sale 50% Off!

If you’d like to simplify your planning, shopping and cooking this year, Eat at Home Weekly Meal Plans are for you.  We do all the planning for you, plus give you an abundance of slow cooker and 15 minute meals so that you can easily fit dinner into your day.

Right now, through January 7 you can save 50% off of new monthly and 3 month membership plans.  Find out more here.  Sale is good for new memberships.



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Here’s the kind of to-do list I’m tackling this week

Just like you, I’ve got a ton of to-do lists.  Some are jingling around in my brain.  Some are scratched on scraps of paper, stuffed deep in the bottom of my purse.  Others are carefully thought out plans that I’m really excited about working on next year.

But this week is for the fun family to-do list.  Baking, candy making, movie watching, game playing…

All done in the company of my people.

My daughter and son-in-law made it back from four months in Bolivia on Thursday night.  That corridor is long when you’re waiting to hug someone!


My parents will be coming to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with us.  We’ll be making trips to see other family too.

We won’t have any more new content on the blog before Christmas, but there are lots and lots of recipes (7 year’s worth!) to comb through if you’re looking for inspiration.  We’re sharing some favorites on the Facebook page.

And here’s a sneak peek at one thing on the horizon – we’ll be having a great sale on Eat at Home Weekly Meal Plans coming up for new memberships.  Look for info during the week between Christmas and New Year.


I pray you have a Merry Christmas!

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Making do with what you’ve got – Humble Chicken Soup

Humble Chicken Soup

Twenty seven years ago, Jim and I were newlyweds.  We were also broke.  We lived in a suburb of Philadelphia in an apartment that cost 40% of our income.  Our place was on the top floor of a building that had been abandoned so long, the people in the neighborhood didn’t think anyone lived there at all.

We were both students – Jim was working on his MBA and I was finishing my bachelor’s degree.  Our budget for groceries was only $25 a week.  That didn’t go far.  If I had known how to cook, I probably could have stretched things a bit further, but I was still learning.

A few weeks after Thanksgiving that year, we were moving into finals week and our money had run out.  The cupboard was bare.  But Jim’s parents came to visit and they brought a bag of potatoes and a 3 lb. Country Crock container filled with frozen, leftover turkey.  There may have been other things (probably corn, chicken broth and carrots), but that’s what I remember most.  The bag of potatoes seemed so large that I wasn’t sure how we’d ever use it all.

It turned out that we lived on those ingredients for about two weeks.  I would  chip off some of the turkey from that brown, plastic tub and add it to boiling broth along with potatoes, carrots, onion and a can of corn.  A small pone of cornbread baked in our smallest iron skillet went along with the soup on most nights.

Lunch.  Dinner.  Dinner.  Lunch.  We ate that soup for just about every meal because we didn’t have any money to buy different ingredients.  We got a little tired of it, but at the same time, it was hot and good and nourishing.  It’s one of our fondest early marriage memories.

Recently, I made the soup for our dinner.  I told the kids the story.  And when Jim got home from work I asked if he recognized the recipe.  It took him a few minutes, but he remembered.

There’s not much of a recipe to share here.  Add peeled potatoes, carrots and onion to a pot of broth.  Boil it until the potatoes are tender.  Add leftover turkey or chicken and a can of corn. Season with salt and pepper.

Share a bowl with people you love.  And count your blessings.

Do you have a meal that reminds you of a lean time, that turned out to be full of goodness?


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3 Things That Work in the Kitchen This Week – December 14

3 Things that work in the kitchen

You may have noticed some trouble trying to get pages to load on the site recently.  We’ve been working on some backend things on the site the last week or so.  We moved to a new server in an effort to fix a few things, but the site is still a bit slow and glitchy.  Hopefully, we’ll have it all smoothed out soon.

There’s so much to look forward to at this time of year, but I’ve been pretty focused on this Thursday.  That’s the day that our daughter and son-in-law get home from four months in Bolivia.  In just four days we can hug them and feed them and tell them we love them.  And call them George.  Here’s the explanation of the George thing, in case you’re like my kids and have no idea why I’d call them George.

1.  Popcorn Chicken Parmesan

Popcorn Chicken Parmesan - 15 Minute Meal

This 15 Minute Popcorn Chicken Parmesan was part of our Weekly Meal Plan recently.  I love this one!  Popcorn chicken never tasted so good.  It’s quick, but it tastes like you’ve gone all out.  I served a Caesar salad with it.  Delish!

2.  Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

One of my sons loves chocolate chip cookies and he loves to bake.  At least once a week, he makes a batch of Chocolate Chip cookies for us.  Recently he changed it up by making Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies.  Maybe one of these days we’ll get him to venture away from the chocolate chips, but I kind of doubt it.

3.  Candy Cane Desserts

This is candy cane season.  If you’re looking for ways to incorporate them into a dessert, here are three options for you.  These are all delicious!

Candy Cane Fudge

Candy Cane Fudge recipe

Candy Cane Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

candy cane chocolate crinkle cookies

Candy Cane Fudge Ice Cream Sandwich Cake

Candy Cane Ice Cream Sandwich Cake

What’s working in your kitchen this week?

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Veggies and Marzetti Dip Make the Best Party Snacks (and a $50 Gift Card Giveaway!)

Marzetti dip

My youngest daughter put this vegetable tray together for a family gathering the Sunday after Thanksgiving.  And then I caught her snitching a taste while I shot photos :)

All of Jim’s family came on Sunday so we could share a meal together.  Usually, we are the ones who make the drive to see them, so it was really special to get to host.  We moved our kitchen table to the dining room to make space for all fifteen of us to sit together.

table for 15

I snapped this photo on my cell phone before everyone came in.  I remember thinking I should take another photo once everyone was seated, but I totally forgot.

In the empty spot in the kitchen, where the table usually sits, we put a card table.  It was the perfect place for the veggie tray to sit – between the kitchen and family room.  A lot of veggie munching took place while we waited on dinner.

The veggie tray made a great appetizer before the meal, especially since this gathering came at the tail-end of the Thanksgiving celebrations.  We’d all eaten plenty of pie and stuffing.  It felt good to fill up on veggies.  They are colorful and fun and taste great dipped in the Ranch Dip.

Mia cut strips of red and yellow bell peppers, celery sticks, broccoli florets and she piled up baby carrots and grape tomatoes.  Marzetti® Ranch Dip took the center spot on the tray.

Everyone loves that dip!  I always get compliments on it when I serve it.  The flavor goes perfect with the veggies.


Marzetti dip and vegetable tray

Marzetti® is giving away one $50 Visa Gift Card.  To enter, just leave a comment sharing your favorite vegetable to dip in Marzetti® Dip.

You can find Marzetti® on Facebook .

Marzetti party veggie plate



This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Marzetti® Veggie Dips. The opinions and text are all mine.

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Soup and Salad of the Week – a new eBook free for you!


I’m really excited about this new ebook I have to share with you!  We are in the midst of soup season right now.  Let’s warm up with a bowl of hot, homemade soup.  And why not pump up our veggie intake too by adding a salad.

I’ve put together all of my favorite soup recipes and paired them with salads that go perfectly with each soup.  I think you’re going to love it!

Make a big batch of soup and a giant salad and eat them for lunch all week.  Or use the recipes for dinner. Either way you’ll stay warm and healthy.

If you’re already on my email list, check your inbox because your copy is on it’s way.  If you’re not on the email list, click the image below to get a copy sent to you.

Click the image below and enter your email in the pop up box to get your FREE copy!

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