Momma Told Me: I don't have time to be a chef today!
I have a reputation both on and offline for being a sort of modern Betty Crocker. While my immense modesty forbids me to confirm or deny the validity of such a handle, it is an expectation I try to live up to none-the-less. Believe it or not the parade of tantalizing Instagram shots, and Pin-worthy blog pics do not happen overnight. In most cases I brainstorm various snack or recipe ideas over the course of a month, or longer; often postponing the actual replication due to forgotten ingredients, dead camera batteries, or last minute schedule changes. Most parents can identify with this pressure to delivery tasty and fun meals for their families; and the amplified stress involved with the back to school season. Throwing together easy meals your family will rave about is hard enough on the Summer or weekend, let alone in between recitals, sports practice, homework tutoring, and early bedtimes.
So, today, I am here to tell you not everything that hits my table is made 'from scratch.' That's right, I cheat. But the difference between food they simply eat, and a meal they absolutely love is in the key to the right components. Not all pre-made family size entrees are created equal; some have an excess of sodium, others require 16 steps to preparation (including ample flipping, poking, prodding, and the sacrifice of a small animal- okay, I might have made that last part up.) My point is, I am a successful family chef because I make smart buying decisions when it comes to my main course; and this enables me some spare time to create a delicious home-made side, and even whip up a tempting dessert kit (or two). Since my own childhood my family has trusted the Stouffer's brand for hearty family meals that warm the stomach, clear plates, and bring us together.
Nestle Carnation Evaporated Milk, Breyer's Slow Churned, and Nestle Baking Kits, I can have a complete meal on the table in less than 30 minutes. Unless I'm thawing freeze-ahead home made meals, this would otherwise be a challenge on a school night. In fact, Nestle has several family favorite brands trusted worldwide to fill seats around the table, even during the busy school season. In addition to the wide range of Stouffer's Family Entrees (from lasagna to enchiladas), Tombstone and Digiorno easy bake pizzas offer me time saving entrees to keep our family out of fast food restaurants and eating dinner at home.
back to school values, and a few minutes of elbow grease, this was one dessert worth raving about!
back to school meal staples, in our Google+ album.
What Daughter Says: Smart meal aids can truly help ease back to school season stress for the entire family.
Continue reading for recipes.....
Bacon Cheddar Ranch Mashed Potatoes
***click for printable mashed potatoes recipe
***click for printable Mushroom Sauce (Gravy) recipe
* 6 Medium Potatoes, Peeled, Cubed, and Cooked
* 3/4 C Nestle Evaporated Milk
* 1/4 C (1/2) Stick Butter or Margarine, melted
* 1/4 C Buttermilk Ranch
* 1/2 C Bacon Crumbles
* 1/2 C Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
* Garlic Salt (To Taste)
* Pepper (To Taste)
* 1/4 C Diced Chives (Optional)
1.) Return Cooked Potatoes to pot and add evaporated Milk, Butter, and Ranch over medium heat. Mash until all chunks are gone. Beat with handheld mixture until creamy and smooth.
2.) Stir in shredded cheese until fully melted and evenly combined. Fold in bacon crumbles and chives; season with garlic salt and pepper as desired.