Yum Hey What's for Dinner Mom?


Eat Dinner In #MangiaTonight

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. 
#MangiaTonight #CollectiveBias

When you cook, photograph, write, eat, repeat, for a living, most people think you've got it made. Your fridge MUST be full to overflowing with good food. Of course you always know just what to make too. And because you work from home obviously you have all day to cook.  Can I be honest with you? Sometimes, even for me, 5:00 sneaks up on me and whoops no dinner plans.  I feel like EVERY meal can be special if we just put a little effort behind it, like adding good silver or candles to the table.

So because  I KNOW this is going to happen I like to keep a couple of "ace-in-the-hole" meals ready to roll out at the first discovery that it's time to make dinner. These meals need to be something that everyone will enjoy, they have to be literally faster than fast in the cooking area, and they're usually something I won't make for myself. I picked up a couple these Bertolli Classic ready to cook meals the other day at our local Fred Meyer store, I chose Chicken Parmigiana because I won't make it
myself but everyone WILL love it.

You can find Bertolli Classics in the frozen dinners part of the freezer section, I made a little collage for you, check it-->>

Whenever I make one of these ace-in-the-hole meals I like to make a nice fresh salad to accompany it, usually something that can be whipped up while my quick fix meal gets fixed quick. I add bread and maybe even a scoop of gelato and this quick dinner becomes such a special meal everyone enjoys and will ask for again. While I'm hustling in the kitchen, I set my kids to setting the table with our best dishes, using nice napkins can elevate the mood too, so out they come. Add in my grandmother's silver and some lighted candles and the scene is set for a truly memorable meal. Even if you're in a hurry you can still slow down and enjoy, it only takes a few minutes to make dinner something to remember.

This quick, easy to make salad uses carrots and apple shredded in the food processor, if you don't have one you can shred by hand but it will take a little longer to prep. It has a light vinaigrette dressing that comes together easily while the main dish cooks itself quite nicely. It uses the juice of an orange for the dressing but feel free to use lemon juice or even vinegar, taste for sugar and add a little if needed.

Quick Shredded Carrot Apple Salad

serves 4
prep time 10 minutes


1 pound carrots, peeled if desired
1 crisp apple such as gala or fuji
juice of an orange, divided
1 small clove of garlic, minced
1/2 piece of ginger root, minced or grated
3 TBSP olive oil
pinch of salt
parsley for garnish if desired


fit a food processor with a shredding blade
run the carrots through
slice the apple off it's core and run it through as well
add all to a mixing bowl
measure off 2 TBSP of the orange juice and pour it in a small bowl to mix the dressing in
pour the remaining orange juice over the apple and carrots to prevent the apple from turning brown, pour off excess
to the remaining juice add the ginger, garlic, pinch of salt
whisk briskly and pour over the apple carrot mix, toss to coat
garnish with parsley if desired and it's ready to go

Next time 5 o'clock sneaks up on you remember to breathe deep and reach for an ace-in-the-hole meal, like Bertolli Classics, for a meal you will truly enjoy. Find Bertolli items at some of the lowest prices of the year in a Kroger or Kroger banner store near you. Kroger banners include Fred Meyer, Smiths, Frys, Dillions, King Soopers, City Market, and QFC. Find a store near you and get cooking!


Easy Butter Chicken (Whole30 and Paleo)

While it's true this is a Whole30 and Paleo recipe you certainly don't have to be following either of those diet plans to enjoy this velvety Butter Chicken, just serve it with rice and no one will ever know! And if you are Whole30 or Paleo you're going to love this soul satisfying curry that packs a flavor wallop.

I've only been to a handful of Indian restaurants in my life, that doesn't make me love the food any less. In fact I've discovered I just need to be creative (and willing to take a few risks) to make Indian food happen in my kitchen. I've had several Indian cookbooks and after a few fails I kind of struck out on my own, following my taste buds, a few links on Pinterest and the occasional blog that called for ingredients I could actually acquire. Nothing really blog worthy, although the Satyamma's Cauliflower curry from Moosewood was of course bloggable and delish!

Until now, now we've got the Butter Chicken from My Heart Beets and it's the kind of tasty that I want to make happen in my kitchen again and again. And I do at least once a week. The curry is velvety, I swear it is, and the chicken spice is top notch. All of it together is so good, I've worked myself up to being hungry again just writing about it.

Be aware this needs a few hours to marinate, 4 is good 8 is better.

Paleo/Whole30 Butter Chicken

1 can of coconut milk-divided use some for marinating save the rest of the can for the curry
1 TBSP lemon juice
1/4 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp coriander powder
1/4 tsp cumin powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp of paprika-(I used smoked because hello addicted!)
good pinch of salt
2 pounds of boneless skinless chicken thighs cut into bite sized pieces

2 TBSP ghee
1 onion, chopped
1 inch chunk of ginger, peeled and diced
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp garam masala
pinch of cayenne pepper-optional-I leave it out
1 tsp coriander powder
1 green pepper, seeded and chopped, can be left out if desired
1 can tomato paste
2 1/2 cups water

make the marinade--begin by mixing 1/3 cup of the solid coconut cream from the can of coconut milk with the lemon juice through the salt in the marinade ingredients, add all of it to a bag and smash it up
add the chicken and mix it all up, put it in the refrigerator and let it marinate at least 4 hours
make sure to put the rest of the coconut milk in the refrigerator too you'll need it for the curry
after marinating for 4 hours, more is fine it's time to
make the curry-- begin by heating the ghee in a large dutch oven over medium heat
once it's melted down add the chopped onions, stir to combine and let them cook, you don't want them to burn but them get good and dark and flavorful
once they hit that stage add the garlic and ginger and cook a few more minutes
then add the spices and let them toast for a moment
add the marinated chicken and all it's spices and any of the marinade and the green pepper if you're using it
cook for 3-5 minutes letting the chicken sear a bit
open and stir in the tomato paste and pour in the water, stir to combine and get the lumps out
let simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes or so
then add the last of the coconut milk and simmer another 10 minutes or so, you don't want to boil it hard but you do want to make sure the chicken is cooked through
taste it and add more salt as necessary
serve hot
you can of course serve it over rice for your non-grain free friends

I often times find myself adding an extra pinch or two of garam masala powder, I like it so much I always think more is better. It's good either way! I do think you should adjust the seasonings to your preference so add more of any of the spices you like and customize it but I always say that don't I?

Friday Frenzy {an Ode to Winter Food}

an Ode to Winter Food

Winter weather brings Winter Foods and that's what I'm featuring this week on Friday Frenzy. I'm feeling kind of jealous of everyone else in the United States right about now, you're ALL experiencing a real winter while Alaska sits up here, snow-less and warm. No snow and our typical winter wind storms of 50-70 mph of set us up for an early and very dangerous fire season. The long term ramification of snow-less winters is a possible lowering of water levels in our aquifers, thankfully the mountains still get lots of snow so that is less of danger and more of a long term concern. Lets not even talk about winter sports like dog mushing, skiing and sledding.

 I think I speak for many of us when I say, we'd gladly trade our warmth for your snow! -- Laura 

Friday Frenzy

Close to HomeMostly Food and Crafts, Hey, What's For Dinner Mom? and Sizzling Eats welcome you to FRIDAY FRENZY where we come to share your Recipes, Craft projects, and whatever else you've been working on. When you link up to the Frenzy your posts will be featured on all four of our blogs for quadruple the exposure. Each week we'll showcase a few of our favorites from the week before, and pin them on our Friday Frenzy Pinterest Board as well.

Please follow your hosts
Maria from Close to Home Facebook Twitter Google+
Amy from Sizzling Eats Facebook | Twitter 
  • Please visit the posts in the linky that are listed as HOST, and at least two links from your fellow bloggers. We all love visits and comments on our blogs, so share the love. Moreover, if you get a visit from a fellow party-goer, please return the favor and visit them back.
  • We would love for you to add a link back to the party in your post, or a party page. We want your creative friends to join us too!
  • By linking up to this party, you're giving authorization for your submission to be featured with a photo and a link back to your blog, hopefully sending some readers your way.
*Featured Links from last week*

This amazing Paleo Slow Cooker Cabbage Rolls really does just mean winter. It's got it all, winter storage vegetables, ground meat and the crock pot, what else? Oh yeah it's Paleo for anyone watching carbs.

Next up Swedish Meatballs. Sorry but what could better than gravy meatballs and pasta? That's right, NOTHING! 

And what winter meal plan would be complete without a chicken noodle soup variation? None is the answer so check out this mouthwatering Chicken and Orzo Soup recipe from Olives and Okra


Getting Ready for the Big Game with a Hospitality Basket

This is a sponsored post for SheSpeaks/P&G. 

Whenever I'm getting ready to have guests over, whether for the big game or just for a dinner party, I always always always have to start with a clean house. Before I cook, I clean, for me the work is never in the cooking but always in the cleaning. I don't want to worry about cleaning up right before guests arrive but I'd rather just have it done and and touch up before they arrive. So I plan accordingly, I make the shopping list, making sure to top off my cleaning supplies and get to work on cleaning so I can get to the fun, the cooking!

When I clean I always start with my bathroom, I have three boys so if there's anyplace that's going to be offensive that's it, for sure. So after a good deep clean I set up a nice Hospitality Basket for my guests. I simply fill a nice basket with things I think my guests might need. Things like extra Charmin, facial tissues, Febreeze, sanitary products, wet wipes (if I have them), and an extra hand towel for the sink. The last thing you want during a party is an uncomfortable friend calling from the bathroom for help, so I like to try and solve that before it happens, the Hospitality Basket attends to most would be problems before they happen.

Once the bathroom is clean, the next thing I NEED to have clean in my house are the windows. WINDOWS for the big game? Yes, because when you have three this size

in one room everyone notices them, and they always say "wow how do you keep them so clean?" Er? I clean them? I've tried every method too and the best by far is using paper towels to avoid newsprint smudges or fabric softener residue on rags. Bounty Paper Towels work well because they hold together so well while scrubbing and then they polish so nicely after they've scrubbed.

Once the bathroom and the windows are clean the last thing I make sure to do is a very basic vacuum, dust and mop. After these chores are done I feel like my house is ready for cooking up a storm and welcoming guests. Right before my guests arrive I set my kids to one final trip around the house, one picks up clutter the other grabs laundry out of the bathroom. Whenever I have kids do laundry I like to have Tide Pods on hand, they really reduces the amount of detergent kids use. It's so easy to grab one and toss it in the washer with the laundry and just be done.

If you're looking for a one stop shop to get all your supplies for a Hospitality Basket or for the big game or you need a little game day inspiration check out Walmart.


Friday Frenzy

Friday Frenzy
Close to HomeMostly Food and CraftsHey, What's For Dinner Mom? and Sizzling Eats welcome you to FRIDAY FRENZY where we come to share your Recipes, Craft projects, and whatever else you've been working on. When you link up to the Frenzy your posts will be featured on all four of our blogs for quadruple the exposure. Each week we'll showcase a few of our favorites from the week before, and pin them on our Friday Frenzy Pinterest Board as well. Please follow your hosts
Maria from Close to Home Facebook Twitter Google+
Please visit the posts in the linky that are listed as HOST, and at least two links from your fellow bloggers. We all love visits and comments on our blogs, so share the love. Moreover, if you get a visit from a fellow party-goer, please return the favor and visit them back.
  • We would love for you to add a link back to the party in your post, or a party page. We want your creative friends to join us too!
  • By linking up to this party, you're giving authorization for your submission to be featured with a photo and a link back to your blog, hopefully sending some readers your way.
*Featured Links from last week*
Get ready for the playoffs or the Super Bowl with this over the top Edible Football Stadium.

winter football

With the cold weather looming, why not start thinking of citrus flavors like these Mini Key Lime Pies. 

key lime pie

Stuck at home in a snow storm? Get crafty and make these adorable Easy Valentines Day T-Shirts. 

I have done the room mom thing for many years and coming up with fun crafts and games for the kids is always so much fun.  Teach Mama has a great roundup of Valentines Day Class Party Ideas.
Ready to share YOUR best?? Well link 'em up and visit a few of our wonderful blogger friends!


Hack January with a Rejuvenating Bath, Make an Easy DIY Soak

It's what like the 47th of January or something, right? I'm not saying January feels like the longest month ever but if January were a running race it would be an ultra marathon through Death Valley then up over Denali and then on through Siberia. It's rough, it's tough, it's ugly and what it can do to your spirit, your skin and your mindset is just plain unfair.

And I'd like to add that it's an insult that OUR winter looks like this right now

and has since, well since the leaves fell away in fall. No snow and dull brown for 7 months is a low blow.

Wheeee just last month it was all cheese, beer, wine, cookies, presents, all the time, or some form of that anyway. But then the New Year comes in like a lead balloon, great for a hot second, then it belly flops on you. It's diet time, or get back to real life time, or vacation is over time, or whole30 time, get rid of junk time, put away Christmas time, all of it is nothing hard but mix a couple together in mid winter and poof Longest. Month. Ever.

What you need is rejuvenation in the form of a good hot bath. Baths are wonderful, soothing, relaxing and all that jazz but you might be thinking that's not what I need at all, hear me out. You need a Rejuvenating Bath my friends. And you need one each week.

A Rejuvenating Bath has

  • epsom salts to soothe sore muscles and release toxins
  • essentials oils to help clear your mind, sharpen your senses, or relax you (you choose!)
  • a moisturizer finisher that will give you a deep moisture treatment all over

How can I get my hands on one of these here Rejuvenating Baths you're asking? EASY make it yourself.

Mix 2 cups of epsom salts with one small drop of essential oils, stir and it's just about ready. Then measure out 2 Tablespoons of your favorite moisturizing oil, coconut, almond, olive, in a separate container. Don't mix it with your salts, keep them separate.

Then off to the bath you go. While filling the bath pour in the salts and stir to dissolve. Then get in. Soak for at least 20 minutes. 5 minutes before you get out add the oil, and stir to spread it out, or melt in the case of the coconut oil. Soak for 5 more minutes getting as deep as you can to moisturize all of your skin, then drain the tub and carefully stand up. You will be deeply moisturized so you probably won't need lotion but use it you want to. Pat yourself dry put on old clothes. You'll want to rinse the tub after you're done and tell your family to be extra careful in the tub too. Do this every week to clean your mind, soak away your aches and pains and deeply moisturize your skin.


Mixed Olive Tapenade

Looking for a new little something to up your food game? Look no further than this versatile Mixed Olive Tapenade. Use it for spreading on bread, or as a mayonnaise substitute, use it in pasta sauce or just straight on pasta, throw it on your salad or you can even bake chicken with tapenade brushed on as a sauce. It's totally easy to make, keeps for a week in the fridge and you'll find so many great ways to use it you'll keep on making it.

The first time I encountered tapenade was reading through a recipe from Sunset magazine years ago, it was a sandwich recipe and it called for tapenade, along with a little mayo and some good crusty Dijon mustard, to be spread on the bread and wrapped tight for 4 hours. If I'd have had google I would have looked it up but alas google hadn't invaded my kitchen at the time. So I flipped the page to read about this mysterious item and realized it was basically just an olive spread.

And the next time I ventured out to the big city I hit up the specialty market, found some tapenade and discovered that it was super tasty. If only I had known how easy it was to make I'd have whipped up a batch. And I won't even tell you how long it took me to actually MAKE a batch, ok fine it took me 10 years but once I figured it out, there was no stopping me.

I recently decided to make up a HUGE batch of Mixed Olive Tapenade for Palmer Food Swap but the recipe I'm sharing with you only makes roughly a cup, usually a little more. Make sure you find a mix of olives you like to eat, there's no point in using disagreeable olives in this recipe because their flavor shines through. The recipe also calls for a bit of anchovies, don't leave them out if you can help it, their depth of flavor is a major component to the overall quality of your tapenade. You will not taste fish though, does that help?

Mixed Olive Tapenade

1/4 cup mixed fresh herbs leaves, like parsley, basil leaves, oregano
1 peeled garlic clove
1 TBSP capers
1 TBSP anchovy paste, easy to use and store for later, find it in the pasta sauce section of your store
1 cup mixed olives, I use pitted kalamata, jumbo green stuffed and plain black
1/4 olive oil

put herbs in the bowl of a food processor along with the garlic
pulse to chop
add in the capers and the anchovy paste, pulse to combine
then add the pitted olives, pulse to chop
drizzle in the olive oil while pulsing the food processor
once the oil completely added scrape down the sides and then whirl for 15 seconds or so
you want to combine everything, you want everything chopped BUT you don't want to reduce it to a paste so resist the urge to keep the blade running
if you discover it's not quite chopped and combined as much as you'd prefer simply pulse 1-2 more times
serve with anything/everything
keeps for roughly a week