Quick Family Meal Ideas

*This post is sponsored by Foodie and Mode.  All opinions are mine.  And I will be making all of these meals for my family.  Because they are fast, delicious and I’m fairly lazy so I don’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen.

Check out 14 Quick Family Meals

by Sharon Garofalow (Cupcakes and Cutlery) at Foodie.com

How is it possible that school is starting soon!  Ok, I guess we have a month left of summer.  But when I look at my calendar, its FULL.  We have so much to do in this month I know it is just going to fly by.  With our days jam-packed full of super fun things, I’m having a really hard time planning dinner.  We don’t eat out much but I REALLY don’t want to be in the kitchen.  And I’m not paying attention to what time we are leaving activities.  So we get home way later than we usually would which leaves much less time for the preparation of dinner.

My favorite quick family meal is to bake everything on a few cookie sheets.  I do simply seasoned chicken breasts, broccoli and some sort of chopped potatoes.  The clean up is easy, they all cook at relatively the same time and it is super healthy.  But that can get really boring. And I need to have enough time to allow for baking.  I gathered up these quick family meal ideas for myself.  But you can use them too.  I won’t be selfish with them. I don’t want you to have to be in the kitchen forever either.  These recipes or recipe ideas are all really simple and I know I can modify the ingredients to suit my family’s tastes.

Most of the recipes from this collection are pretty healthy or can be made more healthy by leaving out cheese (WHY?!) or subbing ingredients like in this Chicken Parmesan Bake.  And these Chicken Lettuce Bowls (use store-bought rotisserie chicken to keep you from having to cook the chicken ahead of time – ain’t no one got time for that…) would let your family members create their own meal which I find gets my kids more involved and then they eat more.  And then there is this Chili Dog Casserole…Not healthy at all. But to me, this sounds like the perfect Friday night dinner. Toss some Fritos on top…Dang. I might eat this for breakfast.

What is your go-to quick family meal idea?

Breakfast Date and Oatmeal Recipe from Corner Bakery

*My son and I were treated to breakfast at our local Corner Bakery.  And I enjoyed my oatmeal so much I’m sharing the recipe with you. All opinions are mine. The most delicious Chilled Berry Almond Swiss Oats (and recipe!) from Corner Bakery.  A delicious breakfast! #sponsored //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comIs it odd to say that I miss my youngest son? I’ve been with both my kids all summer, every day, except for a few quick trips. But I miss my baby. Although he was in preschool a few days a week, we still had a few days where we would run errands together, hang out together and do projects together. But since my other son is out of school too, they play more together and I do more chores around the house or errands by myself on the weekends. I miss my little buddy! So I decided to take him on a breakfast date with me to Corner Bakery. A month ago I got invited to a media event at our local restaurant. I couldn’t make that event so they sent me gift certificates so I could try out their featured menu items on my own. It was the perfect opportunity for me to reconnect with my little guy who starts kindergarten this fall!

And the Chilled Berry Almond Swiss Oatmeal blew my mind! That is not an exaggeration. I REALLY liked it! And I get to share the recipe with you. But first, more on my breakfast date…

Apple hand pie from @cornerbakery #sponsored // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI got totally duped by this amazing looking bakery treat.  I thought it was a pop tart so I told my son he could have it. Then, when we were asking about the flavors, I was told it was an Apple Hand Pie… So my son got pie for breakfast…This breakfast date was all about making memories so I just rolled with it. And he was delighted to get a hot chocolate too. And I got to eat some too. The pie was delicious.

Bacon and apple hand pie from @cornerbakery for a mommy and son breakfast date. #sponsored // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comWe worked the hand pie in to more of a full breakfast by adding on a side of bacon.  Breakfast of champions, right here.

Bacon and palm trees. // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comThis one suddenly loves bacon.  Look how happy it makes him.

Breakfast Selfie! // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAnd when they ask to take selfies, you always say yes.  I just knew I would have to delete about 30 of the same exact photo.

A mommy and son breakfast date to @cornerbakery #sponsored // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comIt was so fun to be able to have a leisurely breakfast and chat with my son.  We were not at all rushed and had a great time just hanging out.  I think it is so good to be able to spend one on one time with your kids when you can. It is sometimes really hard to fit in but it is so important.  I can’t wait to schedule something with my oldest!

Tic Tac Toe on kid's menu from  @CornerBakery for our breakfast date.  The perfect way to spend one on one time with a child.  #sponsored //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAfter breakfast we played a very artistic version of tic tac toe.  My son was more interested in us creating designs than actually playing.

Customizing coffee cup sleeves at @cornerbakery on our breakfast date.  #sponsored // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAnd then he decided he wanted to customize our coffee cup sleeves. I love his use of color.

Chilled Berry Almond Swiss Oatmeal Recipe from @cornerbakery SO good! #sponsored // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comBut back to this oatmeal. This chilled oatmeal is the perfect oatmeal for summer.  The Berry Almond Swiss Oats is a seasonal item on the Corner Bakery menu so hurry in to try it before its gone.  Or you can use this oatmeal recipe at home, all year round!

Corner Bakery's Chilled Berry Almond Swiss Oatmeal Recipe

Ingredients

  • 6 oz. Old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup Dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup Currants or raisins
  • 1 TBSP sugar (or to taste based on sweetness)
  • 2 cups Low Fat vanilla yogurt
  • 1 1/2 cups Skim milk
  • Granny Smith apple, medium sized, chopped
  • Banana, medium sized, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh strawberries chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/8 cup sliced toasted almonds

Instructions

  1. Mix oats, cranberries, currants and sugar in a large bowl.
  2. Add yogurt and skim milk, mix well and let sit 15 minutes.
  3. Dice the apple and banana, add to oats mixture and let sit another 15-30 minutes.
  4. Top with fresh strawberries, blueberries and toasted almonds.
  5. Serve chilled.
http://www.cupcakesandcutlery.com/oatmeal-recipe-from-corner-bakery/

While in the restaurant be sure to try some of their new menu items, released at the beginning of July, the Buttermilk Pancakes with Berries and the Spicy Asian Pork Hot Toasted Sandwich!

Thanks for breakfast Corner Bakery! We really enjoyed it!

 

Cucumber Margarita for National #TequilaDay

*I was sent Casa Noble tequila. I am very grateful for liquor companies that send me product so that I can share the cocktail posts that I would share with you anyway.  Do you know how much it costs to buy a bottle of liquor just for one post?  BTW, Casa Noble is delicious. But as always, all opinions are my own. Awesome recipe for cucumber margaritas!  Perfect for #TequilaDay  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comYou HAVE to make this drink! Aside from being crazy delicious, it is also a drink that was made for us on my recent trip to Villa del PalMar in Loreto, Mexico. Don’t worry.  I’ll have a full post soon on why I love it there so much but in the mean time, I thought I would share this Cucumber Margarita recipe. After all, today is National #TequilaDay. I was really inspired by a lot of different things on our trip. And when I got home I found that I was missing the food and drinks and have been trying to recreate them.  This drink has tons of memories tied to it from the trip. One of my favorite things about it is that it was made by a bartender who grew up about 15 minutes from where I did! Every single staff member was amazing and Jorge was no exception. I really enjoyed hearing his story and finding out how he ended up in Baja California. And he made a mean cucumber margarita.

What you need to make a delicious cucumber margarita for #TequilaDay  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comTo make your own cucumber margarita, you will need a gorgeous tequila, like this one from Casa Noble, Triple Sec, a fresh cucumber, fresh squeezed lime juice, a lime wedge and some Tajin. What is Tajin, you ask? It’s a seasoning. All I know is Jorge rimmed my glass with it for the cucumber margarita and I’m addicted. I am not a salt on my margarita glass gal but THIS is delicious!  This is totally not sponsored it is just a new product that I found and love and you need to know about. (Damn, this disclosure stuff is the pits). On my first grocery store trip after I got home, I walked in to the market and there was a table set up with tons of Tajin and a rep. Of course I made a beeline for the table. I took that as a sign that I was supposed to buy some. It is easy to find in the Mexican section of most grocery stores. Or maybe it is just easy for me since I’m in So Cal. I’m certain you can buy it online if you have to.  And you HAVE to.

Fresh cucumber and lime juice make this cucumber margarita super flavorful and fresh tasting.  #TequilaDay  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comIs there anything quite as refreshing as cucumber? I think not. And fresh lime is my jam. I have limes around my house at all times. Just in case. Right now I’ve been using a half of fresh squeezed lime juice and a drizzle of good olive oil as my salad dressing of choice. So good.

Use a blender to get tons of flavor and a great consistency.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comWhen Jorge brought out the blender for our cucumber margaritas, Dinah and I just about jumped over the counter at him.  We do not like a blended margarita. He assured us that we would like the final product.  And he was right. You simply blend the cucumber, lime juice and liquors together.  The cucumbers do not get totally pureed so it leaves little bits of the fresh cucumber throughout your drink which I loved. You could probably get a similar flavor if you muddled the cucumber and lime instead of blending, but I think this method is best. If you don’t have a Ninja yet, just get up, get your keys and purse and go get one. Best thing to ever happen to me (I was sent one to review for another site so I will disclose to you that I didn’t buy it but they are not sponsoring this post. It’s seriously a life changer and I use it for EVERYTHING.  But I digress…)

Rub your cocktail glass in lime juice and Tajin for an unexpected twist on a margarita.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comYou can’t drink this cucumber margarita without rimming the glass with Tajin. I mean, I guess you can. But it won’t be the full experience. But do what you want to do. I can’t force you…But if you are a rule follower, like me, then you will do it. To rim a glass, in case you are living under a rock (I’m not judging, but really you should get out more), just take a wedge of lime and rub it on the rim of the glass.  Then pour out some Tajin on a plate and run the rim of the glass in it.  The lime helps the seasoning adhere to the glass.

Rim a cocktail glass in Tajin.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comSee, like this.

kids-and-blog-postsOh hey.  There’s my son.  Like a moth to a flame, when I’m shooting cocktail posts this one shows up.  He demands I take a photo and he’ll finally move on.  He’s 5 1/2 years old and in a full on baby phase right now. It’s probably why more cocktail posts have been showing up on the blog lately…

Fresh cucumber margarita recipe inspired by one I had at @villadelpalmarl //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comNow back to the world’s best cucumber margarita.  Absolute perfection.  I have to say, the Casa Noble tequila was clean and smooth with a silky quality. I don’t know much about the different types of tequila but I can tell you that I am a BIG fan of the Crystal variety.

Delicious cucumber margarita recipe. #TequilaDay // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comFloat a cucumber right on top for an added dose of cucumber.

Summer dress and margaritas. #TequilaDay  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAnd then drink it up. Responsibly, of course.  Thank you for introducing this fine cocktail to us Jorge!

Casa Noble Tequila for #TequilaDay  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comDo you celebrate National #TequilaDay? I never have before but I think I will be adding it to my calendar for the future. I don’t drink a lot in the week, but it just feels wrong not to when it is a National “day.”

Tequila shots with lime for National #TequilaDay // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comMaybe you aren’t going to make a cucumber margarita but I encourage you to at least take some tequila shots today. FYI, no one licks salt off anything in Mexico when doing a shot. I didn’t think about that until I was putting this post together and was like what kind of salt do I use, on account of the fact that I am that much of a tequila shot novice. A good tequila, some fresh lime. Done.

Tequila shot for National #TequilaDay! // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comHappy  National #TequilaDay!  Need more drink ideas? Check out this great pin from Casa Noble! And be sure to follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Google + and Instagram!

Cucumber Margarita for National #TequilaDay

Ingredients

  • 4 slices fresh cucumber, skin removed (3 for the drink, one for floating on top to make it look pretty)
  • 1 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 1 oz Triple Sec
  • 1 1/2 oz. Tequila
  • Ice
  • Lime Wedge
  • Tajin to rim the glass

Instructions

  1. Add cucumber slices, lime juice, Triple Sec and Tequila to a blender and blend well.
  2. Rim cocktail glass with Tajin by rubbing first with lime.
  3. Add ice to the glass.
  4. Pour mixture from blender over ice.
  5. Top with cucumber slice.
  6. Makes one drink.
  7. To make 4 servings (or 2 very large cucumber margaritas - party time!):
http://www.cupcakesandcutlery.com/cucumber-margarita-national-tequila-day/

Thank you for supporting brands like Casa Noble who send me stuff so that I can pass along my favorite recipes to you! Cheers!

Garlic Basil Mustard Dip

*This post is not technically sponsored.  French’s sponsored my post the other day about a picnic.  But I also wanted to share the recipe for the dip I made.  So this post isn’t sponsored but I DID use mustard they sent me.  And this photo IS from that sponsored shoot.  Have I covered all my bases?  All opinions are mine.  Full disclosure, I bought almost all pre-cut vegetables.  And then I reused them after the shoot on friends.  There.  Now you know everything. Garlic and Basil Mustard  Veggie Dip.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comVeggies and dip.  Match made in heaven.  But I’m kind of sick of ranch.  And a vinaigrette would have been too messy (I will NOT ruin this blanket.  It’s my new fave. Is it weird to have a special occasion blanket?)  So I decided to modify a recipe for French’s Basil and Garlic Mustard (which I can’t find on their site to link to) and turn it in to a dip.

I  first showed you this dip in my summer picnic post from the other day.  But today, you get the recipe. This Garlic Basil Mustard Dip is super tangy AND creamy with a touch of heat from the garlic and herbaciousness from mi amor basil.  I added some chives for good measure.  A quick squeeze of lemon juice and you’ve got yourself a dip!  Eat with fresh vegetables and behold the wonder that is nature.

Garlic Basil Mustard Dip

Ingredients

  • Adapted from French's Basil and Garlic Mustard recipe
  • 1/2 cup French's Classic Yellow Mustard
  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 2 6oz. containers of Fage 0% Greek Yogurt
  • 2 TBSP chopped fresh basil
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 TBSP chopped fresh chives
  • Juice of 1/2 of lemon

Instructions

  1. Combine all the ingredients.
  2. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. You can leave out the mayo if you are looking for more of a "clean eating" recipe.
http://www.cupcakesandcutlery.com/garlic-basil-mustard-dip/

 

Lavender Lemonade Recipes

Lavender lemonade recipe for summer picnics and parties.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comLavender lemonade!  How refreshing does that sound?!  It has been in my head since before school was out and I finally decided to make some.  I’m not usually a big fan of lemonade.  It can’t be made from a powder and it certainly can’t be too sweet.  I did tons of research on how to make it before I started.  And then had to research a little more when I finally came across food grade dried lavender.  I mentioned I was making this to several people and they all looked at me funny.  I guess lavender lemonade recipes are not something that a lot of people are looking for.  I get that there is a fear that whatever the lavender is in might end up tasting a little soapy since that is how we know lavender.  I love me some lavender soap and lotion.  But I adore the herbal quality to it and thought it would bring a really cool “flava” to lemonade.  And I just tried to turn lavender “street.”

Lavender lemonade for your next picnic!  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comLavender lemonade is the perfect thing to bring to a summer picnic.  I also brought it along on our duffy boat trip through Newport Harbor.  I mean, you can’t JUST drink wine.  That would be uncivilized.  And if you actually drank it and didn’t forget that you brought it with you, it would probably prevent you from getting a severe hang over the next day.  Not that I did…

Dried lavender can be found in your local health focused market in the herbs section.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comSo, I headed straight towards Mother’s Market (hippie town) looking for a lavender plant.  In most of the lavender lemonade posts, people have these beautiful sprigs of lavender (see above photo.  spoiler alert, I finally found some beautiful sprigs!) that I am guessing they fuss and fiddle with in order to make an infused simple syrup of some kind.  Well, there were no beautiful plants to be found that day.  Wait, I’m a liar.  They had one plant that they brought out for me from the back that they “were trying to save” that they let me buy.  But hold the phone, it didn’t look at all like the sprigs I had seen.  Apparently there are different varieties of lavender plants.  And we weren’t sure that it was food grade.  Luckily they also sold the dried leaves in the spice section.  You guys! 

Lemons and limes.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comYou’ll also need a crap load of lemons.  And maybe some limes.  I freaking love limes.  Like, I love limes like I used to love the California raisins (not the fruit just the characters).  I got one of those hand squeezer juicer things and it’s AWESOME!  It makes juicing citrus super easy and you get the more out of the fruit than if you are doing it by hand.  If you don’t have one, and you want to make lemonade, or margaritas, go get one (but not at Target.  Apparently Target thinks these squeezer things are a luxury item and wants to charge you $12 for one.  Uh, no.  My grocery store had it for about $6.  Come on Target, be cool.)

Make lavender "tea" to add to your lavender lemonade. // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comBut these photos are a little misleading.  Because if you are using the dried lavender, you really need to start this process the day before you want to make the lemonade.  I know!  What a pain!  But worth it.  Now, if you ARE making a simple syrup with the pretty sprigs, then you can do that the same day.  I don’t like simple syrup.  I think it makes everything too sweet.  And I like really bold flavors so when you infuse the simple syrup, it is hard to get the flavor I like, without it turning too sweet.  That and the fact that I still hadn’t found those dumb supermodel sprigs yet. 

But I digress.  So lavender “tea”.  I took about 1 cup of water and 1 TBSP of dried lavender and put it in a mason jar.  Then I shook it up a little and left it at room temperature overnight.  In the morning, you’ve got lavender “tea”.

Strain the lavender tea for use in delicious summer beverages.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAll you have to do is strain it through a coffee filter.  And you are left with this fantastic amber-ish water.  Which smells awesome.  

Natural lavender lemonade recipe.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAnd THEN you are ready to make your lavender lemonade.  So you need fresh squeezed citrus, lavender “tea,” raw honey and water.  The sprigs above are purely decorative at this point. BTW I found the pretty sprigs at Trader Joe’s.  But there was no telling if they were food grade or not.  I’m wasn’t going to take any chances.  I didn’t want my tombstone to say “She died, super relaxed, drinking lavender lemonade.”  How much cooler if it said something like “She died valiantly while trying to defend the world from evil clowns.”

A great blend of lavender, citrus and raw honey for the perfect summer treat.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comTo a pitcher, add all the things.  

Raw honey is great for mixing in to drinks. Just whisk it until it dissolves.  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI was worried that the raw honey wouldn’t be a great choice for mixing in to liquids.  But it worked great, actually.  I just used a whisk and whisked for a short time and it blended right in.  I also thought it might harden back into a solid when I put it in the fridge, but it didn’t.  I’m a fan. 

Lavender lemonade recipe for your summer bbq or picnic.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAnd there it is.  A delicious lavender lemonade.  Everyone drinks their lemonade differently so modify any of these recipes to suit your tastes!  I think I may have put a little bit too much lime in mine.  It was quite bitter.  Which I didn’t hate, but it also wasn’t the taste I was going for.

Take a look at these recipes and find one that works for you!

via Home Cooking Adventure
via A House in the Hills
via Amy’s Lavender Lemonade via AllRecipes.com
via Small Footprint Family
via They Call Me Oyster Girl