Happy October!! Just when I thought fall couldn’t get any busier, we bought a new house and put our current home on the market- all in the past 2 weeks! To say we’ve been a little crazy is an understatement. Buying a new home and all that it entails is a big deal, but as I think you’ll all agree- nothing is as disruptive as having your own home on the market and available for showings at any minute WHILE you’re still living in it. WITH KIDS! I must say they’ve been troopers, have demonstrated great patience with me as I yell like a drill sergeant every day to pick up their stuff, make their beds like a hotel, and avoid globs of toothpaste in the sink. The daily vacuuming, sweeping, and all tasks to make it look like we don’t live here is exhausting for everyone. I think it will all come to an end fairly quickly and we can get on with preparing for our move in less than 2 weeks!
We are all very excited about our new home- just about a mile from our current one. We look forward to a floor plan that works better for our family and a flat backyard for the kids. While I will miss my beautiful kitchen, and really nothing can top its charm and beautiful views, I very much look forward to creating new memories in our new one. Filling the dining room with friends and family for many years to come makes me happy just thinking about it. I’m already thinking about the first meal I’m going to make when we are settled. I still remember the first meal I made in our current home nearly 3 ½ years ago just 2 days after moving in. (Thank you past meal calendars!)
Some were impressed that we could get settled that quickly (I am my mother’s daughter after all), but since I don’t feel at home anywhere until I have made a meal for my family in my own kitchen, the motivation is there to get it done.
So… what has the Shoup family been eating the past few weeks??? For the busiest days of preparing the house for sale, I was able to make beef chili on the first day and we ate leftovers for another day or two. Then, the heat wave came and it was over 90 degrees in my house with no A/C, so turning on my oven with frozen items was not an option- we went out for dinner probably 3 days out of 4. That gets old very quickly unless you’re on vacation! The next week when the weather cooled off, my freezer became my go-to. Frozen beef hand pies, frozen chicken meatballs and frozen Trader Joe’s orange chicken. Another day I picked up a roasted chicken from the store and a few other ingredients to make a Southwest barbequed chicken salad- a staple in our home. (More on that in a future post.)
I anticipate this next week being a little calmer and have planned some easy, flavorful dishes for dinner. I also realized that I have needed a few more options for a quick breakfast in the morning and have included a few recipes for that as well. I’m going to make both today or tomorrow and hopefully our mornings of picking up the house will go smoother with breakfast already made.
As always, thank you for reading and for sharing in my love of Food, Family and Friends. Have a great week and feel free to share if you end up trying any of the recipes below!
Mexican Chicken Soup
This is a cross between a feel good chicken soup and tortilla soup. It makes a ton and is great for leftovers, not to mention packed in a thermos for school lunches. It’s not spicy, very healthy, and has lots of flavor. Good toppings are a must- sour cream, cilantro, shredded cheese, and crushed up tortilla chips.
*New recipe* I’ve read/seen/heard about this recipe for quite some time now and have never tried it. People RAVE about it on many a food blogs. There was definitely a time when I would have made it with any old piece of meat and very happy to throw in a few packaged seasoning mixes and called it a day. However, as my headaches/migraines have only increased and other members of the family have had sensitive tummy issues, the original recipe as it was written with many undesirable ingredients in these packages is something that I have passed on despite the positive reviews on this dish. There’s even a fun back-story (more in the link) about how the recipe became so popular and I’m a big sucker for recipes that have deep meaning for friends and family. This all changed when I came across the same recipe revamped by the New York Times with alternatives to the packaged ingredients. A few easy steps with ingredients I already keep on hand, a good piece of quality beef, and about 6-8 hours of hands-off cooking, and I think we are going to enjoy a great meal! I’m going to serve it with roasted Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes. If I’m feeling generous, I may even make mashed potatoes for the two people in my family who enjoy them as I think something to soak up all the gravy that this dish produces would be a good idea.
Quick Tikka Masala
This is a hit in our family! It calls for garam masala and it can be found at most grocery stores. It’s also sold in small portions so if you don’t want to commit to another spice in your cabinet that may go to waste, you can be sure it’s not expensive and worth adding it to your shopping list. I only have two recipes I use it in, but I still think it’s worth having it. Alternatively, you can use curry powder for a similarly flavored dish. If your kids aren’t very adventurous with spiced (not spicy) foods, this is a good one to try because the tomatoes and tomato paste kind of sweetens the dish. Serve with naan warmed in the oven to dip all that yummy sauce or over rice of any kind. The leftovers are even better the next day.
I’m sneaking in one last apple recipe before all things pumpkin happen in October and November. These are really tasty! I make them just as the recipe says. I usually have whole wheat pastry flour, but if I ran out I’d use whole spelt flour or half whole wheat and half all purpose flour. If you don’t eat the entire batch out of the oven, they are best stored in the refrigerator. My family seems to like them cold just as well as warm. They also pack well for snack or school lunches.
Scrambled Egg Muffins
My family likes to call these “egg pucks.” This is a good starter recipe and I’m sure it’s delicious as written, but I make several changes to suit our tastes better. I like to sauté veggies such as red bell pepper, green onion and spinach in a little olive oil just until soft and divide equally among the muffin cups. Then I sprinkle on diced Canadian bacon or cooked crumbled bacon on top of the veggies followed by a pinch of grated cheese. Finally, I pour the egg mixture on top of each muffin cup and bake as directed. They heat up really well for a quick and healthy breakfast during the week.
PS- I love this muffin tin and have had great success getting these little pucks out of the pan with ease! No need to grease the pan. https://www.amazon.com/OvenArt-Bakeware-Silicone-12-Cup-Muffin/dp/B00CNVBCLK
You can download the PDF of the October calendar below!