Game Day Recipes

Every where you turn, there’s talk about the big game coming up. Everyone is gearing up for what seems sure to be quite the match. And me? Well, I’m not really a football fan. But I am most certainly a fan of anything that gives me a chance to make some fun food and for everyone to get together to enjoy it. And game nights, especially big game day nights, are perfect for fun food.

I thought, in honor of the game, I’d share some of our favorites with you. There’s lots of easy loaded nachos, some great dips and a couple of football themed recipes to add some flair to the party.

One of the common denominators between all of these recipes is they are finger friendly and snacky, making them perfect for snacking and watching at the same time. Those are two big requirements in our house for game day food!

Whatever team you are routing for, I hope you enjoy a good time with your family and friends…and some good eats too! May the best team win.
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Easy Game Day Recipes

  1. 7 Layer End Zone Dip
  2. Roasted Garlic Hummus
  3. Sweet Heat Chex Mix
  4. 15 Minute Italian Nachos
  5. 15 Minute BBQ Chicken Nachos
  6. 7 Layer Hot Italian Dip
  7. Chipotle Chile Chicken Nachos
  8. Easy Homemade Salsa
  9. Homemade Beer Cheese
  10. Easy SNackadium for Superbowl
  11. Pesto Bruschetta Spread
  12. Honey Cinnamon Peanut Butter Dip
  13. Guacamole
  14. Baked Potato Dip
  15. Basil Tomato Dip
  16. Sausage and Corn Quesadillas
  17. 15 Minute Gluten Free Pizza

P.S And if you are one of those who believes that game day is just for pizza, there’s a lot of pizza recipes on the blog you could try. I love the Chicken Alfredo Pizza! 

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Have you ever really tasted canned tomatoes?

Red Gold product cutting supplies

Canned tomatoes are a staple ingredient for me, and for most of you too.  I have a whole drawer in my pantry dedicated to various tomato products.

But somehow, I’d never given much thought to the differences in quality of those products.  Until now.

Red Gold sent me a product cutting kit to test their whole, peeled tomatoes against Hunt’s brand.  I took a bunch of photos so you can see the difference.

Red Gold can open

The first thing I did was open the Red Gold can.  The photo above is exactly as it was when I opened it.  Four nice looking, whole tomatoes were near the top.  The media (juice) looked red and I noticed a good tomato scent.

Red Gold tomatoes in pan

I poured the Red Gold tomatoes into the provided pan.  All the tomatoes were whole and looked very good.  There was one tomato that was much smaller than the others, but overall they were uniform in size.

Red Gold product cutting Hunt's can open

Next I opened the Hunt’s can.  This is exactly what it looked like when I opened it.  I couldn’t see any whole tomatoes at the top of the can.  The media (juice) looked thick and red though.

Red Gold product cutting Hunt's in pan

I poured the Hunt’s can into the pan.  There were a few whole tomatoes, but many were squished.

Red Gold product cutting side by side

Above is a side-by-side photo so you can see the differences.

Appearance ratings:

On the Red Gold score sheet, there are five different ratings for appearance.  Each is rated on a scale of five, with 1 being poor and 5 being extraordinary.

Red Color of Tomatoes

The brighter the hue of red, the higher the score.  I gave both Red Gold and Hunt’s a score of 4 on this.

Uniformity of the Size of Tomatoes

The less variation in size, the higher the score.  I gave Red Gold 5 on this.  Hunt’s earned 3.  It was hard to tell if the Hunt’s tomatoes were uniform in size, because many of them were squished or in pieces.

Tomato Integrity

The more firm the tomatoes look, the higher the score.  Red Gold earned 5.  Hunt’s earned 2.

Amount of Peel and Seeds Present in Sample

The less peel and seeds, the higher the score. Red Gold earned 5, because I saw no peel or seeds.  Hunt’s earned 1. On of the Hunt’s tomatoes still had most of the peel on it. Another had a significant amount of peel.  I also saw many seeds in the Hunt’s.

Media

The red and thick juice is the media. The better the color and consistency, the higher the score.  This is the only indicator that Hunt’s may have edged out Red Gold.  Hunt’s media was very thick and red, almost like tomato sauce.  I gave it a rating of 4.  Red Gold’s media looked good, but it is a bit thinner and lighter than Hunt’s.  I gave it a score of 3.

Flavor ratings:

The final two ratings on the score sheet are for flavor.  For this rating, a tomato from each can is cut in half.  Notice the appearance, then taste for flavor.

Red Gold cut in half

The flavor of Red Gold tomatoes is very good.  It’s bright and not far off from a fresh picked tomato.

Red Gold product cutting Hunt's cut in half

Hunt’s tomatoes did not taste good.  I was pretty surprised by how badly they tasted.  There was a distinct metallic taste.  They tasted like an old can.  Not good.

Intensity of Tomato Flavor

The more tomato flavor, the higher the score.  Red Gold earned a score of 5.  Hunt’s earned a score of 2.

Attributes

Tomatoes should taste garden fresh without any off notes.  Red Gold earned 5 here.  I could easily eat a plate of these by themselves.  I gave Hunt’s a score of 1.  They just really weren’t good.

Score totals:

Red Gold – 32

Hunt’s 17

I was very surprised at the difference between the brands.

Red Gold is Non GMO certified and uses a Non-BPA Liner for their cans.  Both of these add to the quality of the tomatoes.

Have you ever tried Red Gold tomatoes?  The next time you open a can, take a bite before adding them to your recipe.  I’d love to know what you think.

Disclosure:  Red Gold sent me the product cutting kit.  I have been compensated by Red Gold for this post, however all opinions are my own.

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National Soup Month with Bear Creek Dry Soup Mixes (and a giveaway!)

Bear Creek Soup with a cozy fire

The first part of our winter was so warm and nice.  We had to turn the heat off in the house on Christmas day so we could enjoy a fire that morning.

Now that we’re well into January, the weather has shifted.  It’s 12 degrees outside right now, with snow in the forecast for tomorrow.  Brrr!  No wonder some smart person set January as National Soup Month.

I love any kind of soup.  Paired with a salad or warm bread – or paired with a fire in the fireplace – soup warms both body and soul.

Bear Creek Soup Mix

I’ve shared Bear Creek Soup Cups with you before.  But I also really like their soup mixes that make a whole pot to share with the family.  These are wonderful for stocking the pantry, so you can have soup anytime you need a quick lunch or dinner.  My youngest son is home with a bad cold today, so I’ll be making the Chicken Noodle Soup for his lunch.

Bear Creek Soups are so easy to make and they only take minutes.

Bear Creek Soup

Last week we had Creamy Chicken Soup by the fire while it snowed outside.  The Creamy Chicken Soup has small shell pasta in it, so it’s filling as well as being warm and tasty.

Giveaway on Instagram

Bear Creek Foods has another giveaway for you this month!  Submit a photo on Instagram showcasing you all bundled up in your winter gear for the chance at a winter warm-up, a month’s worth of Bear Creek Dry Soup Mixes!  Tag Bear Creek (@bearcreekfoods) and use the hashtags #NationalSoupMonth and #WinterWarmUp

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Bear Creek Soups. The opinions and text are all mine.

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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!
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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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detox-virus-pinterest

 

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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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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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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.

Giveaway!

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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A Home Tasting Meal Where Ever You Are – Bear Creek Soup

Bear Creek lunch with book

It’s not always possible to actually eat at home.  I do my fair share of packing up food to go.  My youngest daughter takes her lunch three days a week to classes, where she has access to a microwave.  And Jim works in an office, so he likes to keep some easy meals handy there.

One quick and easy meal that also has a taste of home, is Bear Creek Hearty Soup Bowls.  These are so easy to toss in your bag in the morning.  Fixing the hot bowl of soup is as simple as adding water, stirring and heating.

If I can have a warm bowl of soup, along with a good book, that is a taste of home for sure.  I love to read while I eat.  That equals comfort for me.

Bear Creak Soups

There are four varieties of Bear Creek Hearty Soup Bowls.

Cheddar Broccoli – Thick and creamy broccoli soup with a blend of rich cheeses

Creamy Potato – Rich and creamy potato soup with a delicate blend of herbs and spices

Cheddar Potato – Savory cheese flavor with a blend of spices and rustic potatoes

Creamy Chicken with Rice – Rich and creamy home-style chicken soup with hearty rice

Bear Creek Cheddar Potato

All of them make a good meal away from home (or even at home!)  And pairing the soup with a good book makes it even better.

Bear Creek Country Kitchens began over 20 years ago with one goal in mind: to create home-style soups that will satisfy every appetite.  Combining high-quality ingredients and a special blend of spices, Bear Creek soups are delicious and easy to prepare.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Bear Creek Soups. The opinions and text are all mine.

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100 + Recipes for Fall

fall

I love fall. The crisp air. The gorgeous colors. And of course, most of all, the wonderful, aromatic flavors of autumn ingredients. Pumpkins, winter squash apples, cinnamon, caramel and spice! There’s nothing better than that. And this collection of recipes is proof of my love for cooking with these things.

From Breakfast to Dinner, to Dessert, you’ll find over 40 recipes that are inspired by fall and the delicious ingredients available during this time of year. Plus, you’ll find a link at the end to 75 more fall recipes to add to your menus in the months ahead. Enjoy the season!

Sweet Breakfast Dishes

breakfasts

  1. Spiced Chai Tea Muffin
  2. Pumpkin Pecan Sticky Rolls
  3. Cinnamon Streusel Muffins
  4. Cranberry Strudel 
  5. Hot Spiced Apple Cider Oatmeal
  6. Gingerbread Oatmeal
  7. Gingerbread Muffins
  8. Cinnamon Chip Scones

Savory Dinner Dishes

  1. savory dinnerApple BBQ Pork Chops
  2. Honey Dijon Pork Chops and Apples
  3. Slow Cooker Brown Sugar Chicken and Sweet Potatoes
  4. Keilbasa with Potato Apple Slaw
  5. Pork Chops & Apples (a Sheet Pan Dinner)

Soups & Stews

soupstews

 

  1. 15 Minute Creamy Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
  2. Chicken Cock Leekie Soup
  3. Pumpkin Black Bean Chicken Chili
  4. Black Bean Butternut Squash Chili
  5. Chicken Vegetable Soup
  6. Smoked Sausage Sauerkraut Soup
  7. Split Pea Soup with Ham
  8. Creamy Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
  9. Chicken and Dumplings with Gnocchi
  10. Potato Soup

Flavorful Sides

sides

  1. Carrots Parsnips and Potatoes
  2. Easy Butternut Squash Skillet
  3. Mashed Sweet Potatoes
  4. Roasted Brussels Sprouts
  5. Corn Casserole
  6. Slow Cooked Apples and Butternut Squash
  7. Roasted Butternut Squash or Sweet Potatoes
  8. Winter Squash in the Slow Cooker
  9. Pecan, Cranberry  & Orange Marmalade Cream Cheese Trio

Delicious Desserts

dessert

  1. Pumpkin Ice Cream 
  2. No Bake Pumpkin Spice Caramel Cheesecake Dessert
  3. Pumpkin Ice Cream Pie with Caramel and Gingersnaps
  4. Pumpkin Spice Eclair Cake
  5. Slow Cooker Caramel Apple Cake
  6. Spiced Chai Latte Cookies
  7. 1 Min Brown Sugar Cinnamon Apples
  8. Apple Spice Cake with Caramel Glaze
  9. Butter Pecan Pumpkin Cake
  10. Chocolate Pumpkin Cake
  11. Cranberry Fudge Pie
  12. Apple Crumb Cake
  13. Apple Crumb Pie
  14. Gingerbread Bars 

Plus 75 more fall recipes!

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5 Kitchen Tools to Help You Save Time

Jessica is one of my good, blogging friends and I’m so excited to have her here to share about her latest cookbook. I know you’re going to love her recipes and tips. She has a common sense approach to family meals that keeps things quick, efficient and tasting wonderful!

sharp knives for book promotion

Everyone knows that a well-equipped kitchen can help you enjoy the process of cooking and pull together great meals. But did you know that the right kitchen gadget can also help you save time?

Over the years, when I’ve struggled with junky kitchen tools, I’ve discovered that not only do them slow me down, but they take the fun out of cooking. With the right tools in hand, I can make dinner in 30 minutes or less!

Here are some of the gems that help me make the most of my cooking experience and get dinner on the table lickety-split.

Sharp knives

Ever struggle to slice meat or vegetables with a decrepit knife? No fun. Invest in a good set of knives and keep them sharpened to avoid that hack job.

Food processor

I remember hearing about a friend spending an hour to shred a block of cheese because she was using a rusty old box grater. The food processor is a veritable whiz at making quick work of shredding cheese and vegetables, pulsing flour and butter into pie crust, and blending up salsa and mayonnaise.

Electric griddle

banana pancakes on griddle for book promotion

My husband thought I was nuts when I brought home an electric griddle. But, with a large crew of hungry children, this countertop appliance is worth its weight in gold! Not only can it cook eight pancakes at a time, but it’s also great for bulk cooking quesadillas, crisping burritos, and grilling cheese sandwiches.

Stick blender

The immersion, or stick blender, was the joke of the 1980’s. Turns out, the joke’s on those of us who waited 20 years to buy one! With its one-handed efficiency at blending smoothies, soups, and sauces, the stick blender gets the prize for saving you from washing extra dishes, including that bulky blender bowl.

A large skillet with a lid

For years I messed with frying multiple batches of foods in too-small pans with jury-rigged lids. It was a revelatory experience when I bought a larger skillet that came with a lid. Wow! Not only could I cook more safely, but I could also cook it all in one fell swoop.

How you equip your kitchen can make cooking dinner quick, easy, and utterly enjoyable. Once you pick up one of these handy-dandy gadgets, you’ll wonder how you lived without them.

Honorable mention: Good Cheap Eats Dinner in 30 Minutes (or Less!)

GCE 30 cover

While not a bonafide kitchen gadget, this cookbook will help you get dinner on the table in no time. With over 200 recipes, 100 time-saving tips, and 100 meal plans, you’ll have everything you need to put real food dinners on the table really quick. Plus, my husband

What’s your favorite kitchen item that helps you save time in the kitchen?

Jessica Fisher loves to cook, but she loves eating more. The quicker it gets on the table, the better! Check out her new book Good Cheap Eats Dinner in 30 Minutes (or Less!) so that you can eat real cheap, real quick, and real good.

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