All Posts by Keeley McGuire

1 Sneaky Cauliflower Crunch Salad - MOMables.com

Sneaky Cauliflower Crunch Salad

Want a versatile dish that is easy to make and healthy all at the same time?

Sneaky Cauliflower Crunch Salad - MOMables.comCold pasta salads are a summer must at my house. Perfect for a get-together, as a side dish for something hot off the grill, and (my personal favorite) in the lunch box!

Related: Top 5 Lunchboxes We’ve Tested

Cauliflower has always been one of my favorite vegetables; this low-calorie veggie is an excellent source of vitamins C and K, as well as antioxidants and fiber.

If you have picky eaters, it’s easy to sneak in because it’s crunchy, doesn’t have a strong flavor, and it’s not green!

I’ve been making this particular pasta salad since I was a teenager because it was easy to make with my then-limited kitchen skills. The concept is similar to that of macaroni and potato salad; it has simple ingredients and is always more delicious after being chilled for at least 2 hours.

I even make a gluten-free version of this recipe now, using corn or quinoa noodles. It’s easily adaptable to meet your gluten-free needs.

Sneaky Cauliflower Crunch Salad

Sneaky Cauliflower Crunch Salad - MOMables.com

This recipe yields approximately 10 to 12 half-cup servings.

  • Author: MOMables
  • Cuisine: Sides

Ingredients

  • 2 cups uncooked macaroni noodles or noodle of choice
  • 2 cups diced cauliflower pieces, about 1/2-inch bites
  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise or whipped salad dressing
  • 1 cup canned, drained sweet peas or frozen sweet peas, thawed
  • 2 tablespoons Zatarain’s Big & Zesty Garlic & Herb Creole Seasoning, or other Italian Herb Seasoning
  • Optional add-ins: crispy bacon pieces, diced ham, diced sweet red pepper

Instructions

  1. Cook the pasta per the package directions. Rinse, cool, and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the noodles, cauliflower, and carrot.
  3. Add the mayonnaise, and mix until the noodles and vegetables are coated.
  4. Add in the peas and seasonings, then lightly mix once more. Add optional ingredients, if using.
  5. Cover and refrigerate for approximately 2 hours. Serve.

 

5

Lunch Packing for 2, 4, or 28. Here’s How!

Would you get overwhelmed if you had to pack lunches for 28? Don’t worry, I don’t pack this many every day, but I’m going to show you how easy it is to pack lunches for 2, 6, or 20!

I recently volunteered to make lunches for a school that is in the poorest, most-diverse neighborhood in the entire county.

The thought of making 28 lunches could seem daunting, but I’m here to tell you, with a little preparation and helpful ideas from the MOMables menu plan, it went very smoothly!

My daughter and I always bake together on the weekends.  This allows me to be prepared and have ready-made snacks and breakfast items that will suit her gluten-free diet.

We baked up a batch of chocolate chip mini zucchini muffins. They were perfect for a treat in the lunches for the school!

A small amount of time baking = easy, healthy treats for desserts, whether for just your family for the week or to share! Not to mention the bonding time in the kitchen, as well as it being educational teaching fractions and how to read recipes.

We also made MOMables-style Pinwheels for the lunches. A flour tortilla, cream cheese, oven roasted deli turkey, and roll! Little Miss and I prepared these the night before because they are simple to make.

Tip #1:  Set up an assembly line for each step.  Instead of making each individual pinwheel, make all of them at the same time. 

By spreading all the lunch boxes out on our dining table, we were able to quickly fill the EasyLunchBoxes containers with Veggie Straws, fruits, and carrots with dip.

Tip #2:  Sandwiches, wraps, pinwheels, and many other items are easier to slice cleanly after chilling for at least an hour—or until the next morning.

Thanks to my MOMables subscription, making lunches every day for my daughter takes minutes! If I can do it for 28 people, anyone can do it for their family! Having a plan, a shopping list, and a make-ahead tips section saves a lot of time!

Tip #3: Make lunches ahead of time.  Most menu items give tips on keeping the items fresh and reheating suggestions. If you’re able to prepare your menu items, say Sunday afternoon, it can save you time and energy during your busy workweek!

Tip #4: Incorporate leftovers. Another reason MOMables saves me time and money is because they tell me in the menu if I will need chicken, rice, or pasta for a menu item. I can easily cook it at the same time I’m making dinner for my family!

Healthy lunches for 1 or 28, it all comes down to planning! Let MOMables help you get the most out of your time and energy so your family can have the lunches they deserve.

Tip #5: Plan year-round.  Just because it’s summer doesn’t mean your kids aren’t eating lunch!  Even with hectic summer schedules, fresh is still best.  Between June 25th and August 10th, MOMables will share three fresh dinner ideas and two lunch options your family will love.

Planning during the summer helps avoid costly convenience foods and unhealthy drive-thru meals. As always, your weekly download will be filled with prep-ahead tips, five meals and a convenient shopping list.

3

Chicken Parmesan Cups

One of the challenges in family cooking is finding a recipe that everyone will eat and can be adjusted to the proper portions.  This Chicken Parmesan Loaf was a hit with my family.  Rethinking the whole portion-control thing, I made this recipe in a muffin pan for perfect individual-size portions.

This recipe is simple to make without the breading, coating, and frying of traditional Chicken Parmesan recipes.  Zero hassle and 100% authentic tasting.

These individual cups make a great meal for the entire family. Oh, and let’s not forget that leftovers are perfect for lunches too, MOMables style!

Related: Top 5 Lunchboxes We’ve Tested

Chicken Parmesan Cups

Recipe yields 12 cup-size portions. Tip: For this recipe, silicone or foil muffin liners will work best in lieu of paper liners.

  • Author: MOMables
  • Cuisine: Lunch

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/2 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes with Italian herbs (oregano, basil, & garlic)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup pasta sauce
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Coat muffin liners lightly with cooking spray, and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the chicken, egg, bread crumbs, tomatoes, and Parmesan cheese. Mix with your hands, just like a meatloaf.
  3. Place the mixture into each cup, leaving enough room to add sauce on the top.
  4. Top each cup with 1 to 2 teaspoons of sauce.
  5. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a meat thermometer registers 165F.
  6. Remove from the oven, and sprinkle the mozzarella cheese on each cup. Place back in the oven until the cheese has melted.
  7. Remove from the oven, and allow each cup to rest before removing the liners, if serving immediately.
  8. Make-ahead tip: This recipe can be frozen after mixing and dividing among the lined cups. Just thaw, top with sauce, and bake following the directions above.

 

2

Kiwi Crate: Hands-On Fun, Delivered to Your Door!

I know this is typically a food blog, but we recently received a fun crafty box, and we instantly thought we had to share how much fun our kids had playing with this new idea. If you are anything like me—on the not-so-crafty-side—then you’ll appreciate someone else putting together a box-of-craftiness ready for you.

I like crafts, but I don’t always have all the supplies on hand to make a project. I also live 20 minutes away from the nearest craft supply store, so it’s not like I can whip something up by going down the street.

Kiwi Crates are designed around fun themes and filled with all of the materials and inspiration for hands-on projects.  You and your family get to explore with arts and crafts, science activities, imaginative play, and more! Designed for kids ages 3-7.

Through Kiwi Crate’s subscription plan, each month I receive a box delivered to our doorstep, and I get to look like a super mom! The box is filled with all the materials and instructions you’ll need in order to create and play—I love that.

Don’t get me wrong, I love going to the craft store to shop for crafts, but I end up spending more money than I need, and things are not always sold in the quantities I want.

My daughter spent part of last fall and early winter learning about the solar system at school, so she was ecstatic to see our box was all about Space Exploration. The kit included two crafts: My Rocket & My Space Mobile.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After her hard work and concentration, we whipped up a fun space-themed plate to eat—MOMables style of course.

Overall, I was impressed with the quality of the crafts, instructions, and materials in our Kiwi Crate box. I didn’t feel like a fool not being able to follow “kid-directions” that are obviously too complicated. As you can see, my 6 year old enjoyed making her rocket and mobile craft.

 

 

15

Easy Crockpot Cheesy Potato Soup

This cheesy crockpot potato soup is one of those one-pot wonder soups that hits the spot! Bonus: the whole family will love it!In many parts of the country, springtime is full of rain and fluctuating weather. One day it’s 70 degrees, the next it can be in the 40s.

On those cool, rainy days, there’s nothing we love more at our house than a bowl of soup. Especially when I can cook it in my beloved crockpot!

Slow-cooker meals are my favorite—there’s something so great about being able to throw the ingredients in, walk away for a few hours, and BAM! Dinner is served.

What else is convenient about soup? It packages great for lunch in a thermos! The MOMables™ lunch plans have many—although they are mostly in the winter months.

Related: Top 5 Thermos Containers We’ve Tested

Below is an easy crockpot recipe for this cheesy potato soup. Ditch the canned stuff, and let’s get real!  You can jazz it up by adding real bacon bits and chives (or dill as pictured).

Easy Crockpot Cheesy Potato Soup

  • Author: MOMables
  • Cuisine: Dinner

Ingredients

  • 1 32-ounce bag Southern-style potatoes (diced potatoes), thawed
  • 32 ounces low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup celery, diced (about 2 ribs)
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 8 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese
  • Optional garnishes: real bacon bits, chives, dill, or green onion

Instructions

  1. Coat the crockpot with cooking spray.
  2. Add in the potatoes, chicken stock, water, onion, and celery.
  3. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.
  4. One hour prior to serving, in a small bowl, mix together the flour and milk. Whisk until blended, then add to the pot, and stir.
  5. Change the crockpot temperature to high, and let it thicken for 20 to 30 minutes. It will look cloudy. After the 20- to 30-minute period, the soup should be thickening.
  6. Return the temperature to a low setting. Add the Cheddar, and stir into the pot.
  7. Let the soup cook for an additional 20 minutes. The cheese will melt, and the soup will continue to thicken.
  8. Serve hot, and top with garnishes, if using.

 

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