The Family Meal: The Heart of the Home


the-family-mealIf the kitchen really is the heart of our homes then why don’t more moms enjoy being in it and preparing great meals?

If your kitchen is like mine, it looks like a land mine explosion any given minute of the day. Scattered animal and alphabet magnets along with goldfish cracker crumbs adorn the floor and my measuring cups are typically anywhere other than the drawer in which they belong because the boy thinks they are more fun than all the toys he owns. When I do start a meal, my son will drop whatever he is doing to come and hang and climb on me and whine, whine, whine which makes chopping and dicing an impossible feat.

My boy clearly gets at a young age that the kitchen is where it’s at so why am I trying to toss him out of it? That is why sometimes, I invite him into my heart and my passion which is cooking and by doing so I hope that he might one day appreciate the effort and love it takes to create a meal. Most days I pull my son’s chair into the doorway so he can talk to me while he snacks. Other times I sit him on the counter next to me and give him a spoon so he can ‘stir’. It takes longer and tries my patience, but I’m teaching him, spending time with him and making a meal my family will enjoy together. I am going to send him off into the world one day and I want him to know how to cook something other than a microwave dinner.

The following is an unbelievably easy casserole that I can make with him on my hip if need be! To save time, I will typically cook the ground meat while he naps that way all I need to do is assemble and bake before dinner. If you’ve got some older kids, you can turn it into a theme night, wear cowboy hats, sheriff’s badges, and use bandanas for napkins! Happy trails!


Cowboy Casserole

1 lb. ground meat
1 medium onion, diced (can be omitted)
1 to 2 jalapenos depending on your preference, seeded and diced (can be omitted)
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar
2 boxes corn bread mix
3/4 cup milk
2 eggs, beaten
1 can cream corn
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9×13 baking pan with cooking spray.
Brown meat with onion and jalapeno, drain fat.
Mix cornbread mixes with eggs, milk, corn, salt and baking soda.
Spread 1/2 the cornbread mixture in bottom of pan. Top with 1/2 the cheese. Spread all of meat mixture on top of cheese.
Put the other 1/2 of cheese on top of meat. Spread remaining batter on top.
Cook for 35 minutes or until done.
I typically serve this with a side salad.

224215_10150232788595763_692905762_9265226_5431791_nSteph is a small town girl living the big city life with her superhero hubby, Scott and their superhero- in-training son, Weston.   When she isn’t chasing her son away from electrical outlets she loves to throw theme parties, write notes to her friends, read, travel and cook.  She is obsessed with taking pictures but has yet to complete her son’s baby album because she loves hanging out at antique stores and barn sales on weekends.



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