I did not know when I was working on this recipe two years ago how timely it would be today. Our April recipe of the month is Spicy Tuna Salad. This recipe is particularly useful as we social distance and our trips to the grocery store are fewer and farther between. This recipe uses two sources of shelf stable protein – tuna and beans.
When I know I cannot get to the grocery store often, I rely on shelf stable sources of protein. These include tuna and salmon in cans or pouches, canned beans, dried beans and lentils, and canned chicken. If you find yourself reaching for one of these sources of protein to round out a meal this week, here are some ideas for how to use them:
No Knead Whole Wheat Bread is a favorite in my home. My family has been making fewer trips to the grocery store as we continue to social distance. I have not been to the store in 12 days, so that means our supply of fresh foods is running low. But we still really like to have bread with our meals, so I have been making homemade bread more often. For the past two Sundays, we have worked to make a loaf of this bread together. To make it, you pour all of the ingredients into a large bowl, beat them together, spread the dough in a pan, let the dough rise, bake the bread, and serve.
Here are some ways we enjoy this bread in my home:
As a side dish to soups, salads, and casseroles.
Grilled cheese sandwiches.
Toast with butter or peanut butter.
Bread and butter as a morning snack.
I hope you like this recipe as much as my family does and find it useful during this time. To turn bread making into a family activity, have children of all ages help with measuring and taking turns beating the dough.
Our March recipe of the month is Vegetable Frittata. We have breakfast for supper once each week at my home, so I use this recipe often. When my children see this recipe on the table, they call it egg pizza because we cut it into triangles when we serve it.
Here are some of the reasons why Vegetable Frittata is on my favorites list:
Eggs are an inexpensive source of protein. Plus, my family really likes eggs.
I can chop up vegetables that are leftover from other meals for this recipe. Almost any vegetable will work.
It comes together quickly. This is a good recipe for a night when I do not have much time to cook.
The leftovers make a tasty breakfast. We do not have leftovers of this recipe very often, but when we do, they taste great when reheated in the microwave for breakfast the next morning.
One important thing to remember about this recipe is to use an ovenproof skillet. The last step is to broil the eggs in the oven for a few minutes, so you want to be sure it is safe to put your skillet in the oven.
Our February recipe of the month is Overnight Oats. This recipe makes breakfast time easy and filling. In the evening, you stir together your oats and liquid ingredients, tightly cover the mixture, and leave it in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, add your favorite toppings and enjoy a great tasting and filling breakfast.
We have three different types of overnight oats for you to try – pumpkin, peanut butter, and yogurt. Here is how I like my overnight oats:
Pumpkin: the pumpkin overnight oats are my favorite because I love everything pumpkin flavored. I usually just stir a teaspoon of chia seeds into these oats.
Peanut butter: the peanut butter overnight oats fill me up the most because of the added protein and fat from the peanut butter. I love bananas with peanut butter, so I usually add a sliced banana to these oats.
Yogurt: yogurt is a food that I have a hard time eating on its own, so mixing yogurt into oats is a great way for me to get the benefits of yogurt. I like to add berries and chopped nuts to these oats.
The best thing about this recipe is that you can make it your own with the liquid ingredients and the toppings. The link to the recipe is below and it includes all three varieties of overnight oats.
Our December recipe of the month is Mushroom Quinoa. This recipe includes sautéed mushrooms, and any recipe with sautéed mushrooms is a win for me. The mushrooms are cooked with onions, garlic, herbs, ground black pepper, and salt. At the end, cooked quinoa is stirred in to make a tasty side dish. If you are not a mushroom lover like me, you can substitute a different soft vegetable such as bell peppers or zucchini.
Since I love any recipe with mushrooms, this recipe is the perfect lead in for a theme we are going to explore all month. We are each going to take a week to share our favorite Spend Smart. Eat Smart. recipes with you. To start us off, here are some of my favorites:
Soup:Autumn Soup, I like the smooth texture and the rich flavor of this soup. I use it often in the fall when winter squash is abundant.
Salad:Croutons, I know this is not technically a salad, but these homemade croutons make it more likely that my family will eat salad.
Main Dish:Black Bean Burgers, my family loves burgers and this is an economical and tasty way to serve them more often.
Side Dish:No Knead Whole Wheat Bread, my family will eat this homemade bread for any meal or snack, it also makes a great grilled cheese sandwich.
Our November recipe of the month is Golden Corn Bread. Corn bread reminds me of my childhood. Our school cafeteria made the most delicious corn bread I have ever had. They always served it with chili and then they would put the leftover corn bread on the salad bar the next day. You can bet that I was one of the people who ate it two days in a row.
The school’s corn bread probably would not have met the nutrition standards we have for our recipes here, so we have created our own version. We substituted in some whole wheat flour to increase the fiber in the bread. We also reduced the sugar and fat. In my opinion, it is still pretty tasty.
Just like my school, I often serve this corn bread at two meals. We eat it with chili for supper at night. Then my children and I eat the leftovers for breakfast in the morning. Enjoy!
Our October recipe of the month is Autumn Soup and I hope you will like it as much as I do. This soup is thick and creamy and has a balance of sweet and savory flavors that I love. Winter squash is cooked with onions and apples in chicken broth. At the end of the cooking time, the soup is blended smooth and a little cream cheese is added to make the soup extra creamy.
This summer, I grew butternut squash (a type of winter squash) in my garden. This was only the second time I have grown butternut squash. My crop was only a little bit successful – I got four large squash from my plant. We have some friendly deer who like to visit our yard at night and they ate most of the blossoms off my plant.
Since I love butternut squash for this soup as well as our roasted veggie recipe, I will have to buy some more this fall. The farmers market is a great place to find winter squash and the grocery store usually has a good supply too. Once I get stocked up on squash, I am going to make a large batch of this soup and freeze most of it, so it is ready for me to use when I need hot soup on a cold winter day. Enjoy!
A few years ago, I was browsing through some old recipe files that a co-worker sent me. We were looking forward to the upcoming anniversary of one of the programs we both work for and she thought some of the recipes might be fun to bring back. I was skeptical, but I like recipes, so I started reading. It turned out that she was right and I found quite a few recipes that we have been able to bring back over the past year.
One of those throwback recipes is our September recipe of the month, Breakfast Cookies. These cookies check off a lot of boxes for me.
They combine fresh apples and dried fruit with shredded cheese to give the salty/sweet flavor combination that I love.
The oatmeal provides some fiber, which makes me feel full longer.
They store well, so I can make them at night and they are ready to go for breakfast in the morning.
These cookies are great for a quick breakfast, which is important to me on school days. I like to sit down to breakfast with my children before they head off to school, but I usually do not have time to make a big meal. If I make these the night before, we feel less rushed in the morning and we can enjoy our meal together before they are off for the day. Follow along with our blog for the rest of the month for more ideas on eating meals with your children and eating breakfast.
It is July and it is hot! This is the perfect time for our July recipe of the month – Frozen Pudding
Sandwiches. These treats are sure to cool you down on a hot summer day.
Frozen Pudding Sandwiches are like ice cream sandwiches only made with pudding. You simply stir an
instant pudding mix with milk and peanut butter to make a thick, creamy filling that goes in between
two graham cracker squares. Freeze them for about three hours and then they are good to go. They
make a great snack or dessert on a hot day (or any day).
I have made this recipe with both chocolate and vanilla pudding mixes and people like them either way.
However, peanut butter lovers often prefer the vanilla pudding mix and chocolate lovers prefer the
chocolate pudding mix. Also, if you would like to make these, but peanut allergy is a concern, you can
substitute sunbutter or another nut butter.
Our June recipe of the month is homemade croutons. If you enjoy store-bought croutons on your salad, on your soup, or for a quick snack, you are going to love these. When I make these, my children, my husband, and even my mom devour them – there are never any leftovers.
The thing I like about homemade croutons is that they are made with whole wheat bread. Using whole wheat bread is important to me because it has more nutrients than wheat bread or white bread. In particular, it has more fiber, which is something we all need to get more of. Fiber helps protect against chronic diseases and it helps keep our digestive system healthy.
If you are like my children, you will just eat these croutons on their own. But, if you are like me, you will want some recipes to use along with your croutons. My favorite recipe to top with these croutons is Autumn Soup. I also like croutons on a salad, such as Whole Meal Salad. Regardless of how you serve your croutons, I hope you try this recipe soon.