A taco with a spider made out of an olive on top to make it Halloween festive

Halloween Spidey Tacos

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A taco with a spider made out of an olive on top to make it Halloween festive

A taco specially made for Halloween festivities

Halloween Spidey Tacos are to the rescue!

With Halloween season it’s sweets and rushing around to lots of fun events.

So if you are looking for a meal idea that is festive, easy, simple and fast, I’ve got you covered!

This is a meal the kids and family can help make too.

Halloween Spidey Tacos are delicious, in expensive and everyone likes a taco. Make some for your family or a party!


Halloween Spidey Tacos


LARGE/JUMBO olives, 2 per spider

Corn tortilla shells that stand on their own


Taco ingredients:

Cooked ground beef, or your preference of meat

Taco seasoning if desired 



Grated cheese

Sour Cream  


Cut one olive per taco, in half, then each half into 4 slices to make 8 ‘legs’ per olive.

As shown here.

Halloween Spidey Tacos

Halloween Spidey Tacos

Build your taco as desired.

Then place one large/jumbo olive inside the taco for the body.

Halloween Spidey Tacos

Halloween Spidey Tacos


Put each slice of the olives in place for the legs.

Halloween Spidey Tacos

Halloween Spidey Tacos

Dab a bit of sour cream for 2 eyes and there you have your DELICIOUS Amazing Halloween Spidey Taco!

Halloween Spidey Tacos

Halloween Spidey Tacos

Idea from the Kraft site, Copyright Carrie Groneman, 2014, 2018

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today.

A taco with a spider made out of an olive on top to make it Halloween festive

What You Need To Know About Taking In A Meal They Will Want To Eat

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Taking in a Meal to a neighbor or family

What food to make and tips to make it easier on you and the person you are helping

 Have you been asked, or even offered to take in a meal to someone?

I’ve got you covered here in  What You Need To Know About Taking In A Meal that They Will Want To Eat, and I can help you with this situation.

Even though you want to do this act of kindness, does the thought of taking in a meal, send panic running (or galloping) through your body?

Or do you get cold sweats worrying about what to take that they would want to eat?

And how in the world do you approach them in the first place?

Don’t worry, I’ve brought together valuable information just for you!

  • Everything from how to comfortably ask the day and time for bringing in the meal; making it convenient for all involved.
  • What type of food they would actually want to eat while keeping you in control of what the meal is, so you can stay in your budget.
  •  Ideas for you to know how to be approachable when wanting to help, so it’s not awkward for anyone.


So, if you’re looking for tips on taking in food when there is a new baby,  someone had surgery, there’s an illness in the family, unfortunately a death – or just because you know it would cheer them up—

I’ve got What You Need To Know About Taking In A Meal They Will Want To Eat, along with recipes that are easy and varied for you to choose from.

These handy tips will  make your meal not only one that is enjoyed, but remembered as thoughtful and extremely appreciated.  

What You Need To Know About Taking In A Meal they Will want to eat

A meal is always welcome and a VERY thoughtful gesture of friendship and kindness.

However, it can be a scary idea to think about feeding other people,  or their kids; especially if you don’t know them very well.

So, when do you take in a meal? What are the circumstances that says: FEED US PLEASE

Then, what do you say when contacting them about taking in a meal? 

Most importantly, how do you find out what they like, so they will enjoy it, meaning your time and resources are useful and not wasted?

I have it all covered, so you don’t need to worry.  


When should you take In A Meal?

There are so many opportunities, but here are the most common:

  • A new baby.
  • Someone is ill or had surgery.
  • There has been a death in the family.
  • A job loss.
  • They are getting ready to move and everything is packed away (*see special moving tips below in this post)
  • Moving in (*see moving tips, again below in this post)
  • You know they are struggling with something personal, a family member’s situation, or outside circumstances that are challenging.  A meal can make the world seem gentler and a more compassionate place to be.
  • A traumatic event of any type. I have a post you might like How Can I Help When Someone Is Sick And Show I Care?
  • Anytime you want to help out, be kind, and especially when you feel impressed to, that is the perfect reason to take in a meal.


The Appreciation Comes From The Details

Let’s be real, we all say ‘thank you’ to a meal and that we ‘like it’.

However, if we ask a few questions, we are going to be HERO’s as well as taking in a meal that will be REALLY enjoyed and EATEN.

Details such as:

  • Use disposable pans, bags and dishes to deliver the food in. I like to prepare as many of the items I am taking  in the same type of pan if possible. The reason for this, is that I only have to have one to purchase and store one type; saving money and space.  Something like THIS would be good for everything from salads, to jello, to rolls to a main dish. You could  use two of these pans  for the main dish if you are taking the meal to a large family.


       Using something disposable avoids situations such as: whose bowl does this belong to?                Which unmarked pan does the young boy at the door want returned while his mother                  waits outside, not wanting to ‘be a bother’, as you are frantically trying to find the right lid          to ‘her pan’ in the myriad of  dishes stacked on the kitchen counter….which makes you                want to scream/cry/wish you had ordered out pizza that night.  Disposable dishes all the            way baby. They make everyone happy!

       Or there’s the well-meaning neighbor stopping by to collect their dishes – when you’re not           feeling well as you recover, or finally just got the newborn to sleep… gggrrrr….So if that’s             you, neighbor….please do a favor and call ahead:) Actually, please just use disposable.


  • Ask if anyone in the family has food allergies, or if there is anything they simply will not eat.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  
  • Of course you, kind person, need to stay in your budget and fix a meal that you are comfortable making.  However, if you take in something they cannot, or simply will not eat, it’s a waste for all involved.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                For instance:  Some people really cannot force themselves to eat rice – it’s a texture thing. And some cannot tolerate the taste of spaghetti sauce.                                                      Despite your best effort in making a meal, and their gratitude in your gift, it will not be as useful as it could be. (For example, I will not, cannot – not in a boat, not with a goat, not in the rain, not on a train….I will NOT eat eggs as the major ingredient.  So a beautiful quiche would be devoured by my husband and family, while I would have to open a can of something or other.  I would still send a thank you note of course, but if the meal were to help me out—-hhhmmm—–you get the point)


  • If you know your neighborhood well, and others are also taking in a meal(s) to the same family, it would be a good idea to ask the family what food(s) they have already had brought in. You don’t want to be the third well intended person in a row to bring in, say…. chili. 


  • If you are dropping the meal off early, or a freezer meal, be sure to label the food with what it is, the date to use by, along with any special cooking or reheating instructions.


  • Ask if there is a certain night they would like a meal brought in. Or let them pick from two or three nights that are convenient for you. 


  • If you have the means, taking in a freezer meal, along with a meal for that night, would be very appreciated.  


After delivering 5 cesarean babies,  several knee surgeries,  then total knee replacements on BOTH knees TWICE, adding in several other surgeries myself; not to mention all that has happened with 5 kids and a handsome hubby over upwards of 40 years of marriage; I have been a blessed recipient of numerous meals.  Truly they have been such a gift.

I have also taken in, or delivered more meals in my adult life now than I can begin to count. 

So, from receiving, and giving, so many meals, I’ve learned some tips that I’ll share with you about how to make it a win-win situation for everyone involved, as well as EASY too! 


Did you know there’s Etiquette to taking in a meal?

1 Ask what time they would like the meal brought in to avoid any embarrassing complications.


2- Should you take in a homemade or pre-made/frozen/purchased meal or dish? That’s up to you.


3- Make sure whatever the meal is, that it’s completely ready to serve to make it easy on the person you are helping. Meaning, they do not have to prepare it in any way, shape or form.


4- This is not the time to try to impress them with your amazing culinary skills of grandeur – imagined or real, lol.  Good old fashioned – comfort food is a winner every time.


5- Let the person know who you are bringing the meal into that you are:

A) just dropping off a meal (hot or one to be warmed up)


B) helping the kids have their dinner, cleaning up the dishes, getting the adults their dinner and tidying up afterwards – maybe you could even do a bit extra with the help of the kids:)

Only do what is comfortable for that person you are helping and best for you also.  You don’t want to put yourself in a situation that is awkward, anymore than you do the person you want to help.  It is very important to get the details clear before the meal is brought in.  Either way, let them know you have only the best intentions and can leave it with the kids at the door if that’s best.


6- Give a couple of choices that you are able to make or provide for the meal; meaning within your budget and ability.

For example, I have a grand daughter who at the age of four will eat Kim-chi and we are not Korean.  The girl will eat about anything and try everything that doesn’t run faster than her.

I have another grand daughter who likes……fast food pizza….oh and donuts:)

So ask the parents what ALL their kids will enjoy. Because you aren’t doing anyone a favor if they have to pull out the pans and make dinner after you leave to feed the kiddos. 

It’s not being picky in my opinion, it’s just life, and if we are there to support a friend in that situation, let’s be a help and not a hindrance. (Meaning no comments or judgments, that are not charitable in nature or nice in tone at this sensitive time for the family.)


7- Let the person know if you are bringing in the entire meal; meaning sides and dessert.  Or if you are just bringing in the main dish so they know what to plan on, and can make arrangements for the rest of the meal if needed.


8- Do all you can to NOT to be late or cancel.  Confirm the day or night before so it is clear that you are bringing in what you have discussed, as well verify the time.

If something does come up that is completely unavoidable and prevents you from taking in a meal, make sure to apologize and take in a meal soon as possible, along with one for the freezer due to the inconvenience.


9- If taking in meals for a new baby, I have special ideas in my post ALL THINGS BABY


10- Sometimes the situation is more complicated and you need to know how to handle the emotions and what is happening with the person or family that you are serving. It can be hard to know what’s appropriate when illness, tragedy, suicide or any other situation of deep mourning occurs.  What do you do? What do you say, or not say, is even more difficult. How can you help that is actually of benefit?  I have some great information at my post: How Can I Help When Someone Is Sick And Show I Care?

ways to help a person or family when tragedy, illness or hardship strikes their home. What to say, not to say, what to do and more


TIPS for taking in meals when someone is MOVING in or out

Take everything needed for the meal including:

  • ALL the paper products such as paper plates, cups, utensils, napkins


  • Drinks. Ask what they like and allow the kids to have; such as water bottles, type of perferred soda pop and kids punch pouches.


  • Ask if they will have access to the oven or stove to warm up the food.  If not, it would be considerate to take in (on a smaller scale of course) as I show in my post a COLD PASTA BAR or build-your own sandwiches with the ingredients and condiments in separate containers.  Or simply a variety of Sub Sandwiches for them to choose from. 


  • Find out if it would be more convenient to have the food transportable if they are moving from one location to another, and take the food in a disposable foam cooler.  THESE DISPOSABLE BOWLS  would be great to have on hand for this reason.  These recipes would work GREAT for this type of meal:



A cold pasta salad using rotini pasta that has grapes, celery, crisp apples, smokey Gouda cheese and toasted almonds. All topped with a creamy poppy seed mayonnaise dressing for a perfect dish


Asian Chicken and Orzo Pasta Salad

An oriental style bowl filled with a refreshing salad made with Orzo pasta, rotisserie chicken, fresh vegetables and a light refreshing dressing with a little spice from chili sauce and cool from Ranch dressing


The Easy Chicken Pot Pie and the Best Homemade Manicotti can be made and baked the same day or frozen for later use. 

Both come with printable baking instructions to include with the gifted dish

Click HERE for the Easy Chicken Pot Pie

This easy Chicken Pot Pie recipe tastes like homemade but it's with premade pie crusts, frozen vegetables and rotisserie chicken. The homemade savory sauce is gourmet and brings it all together. Freeze one for later

Best Chicken PotPie






Click HERE for Best Homemade Manicotti

A plate with green beans and manicotti stuffed pasta shells. The shells are filled with ground beef, cheeses and seasonings. They are topped with marinara sauce and more cheese then baked till warmed through

Easy Stuffed Manicotti Pasta







More ideas:

Best Chicken Fajitas

Delicious Chicken and fresh Vegetable Fajitas baked in the oven with green, red, orange and yellow bell peppers and onion. Seasoned with a wonderful homemade fajita seasoning. Serve with your choice of condiments.


Best Anytime Chicken Tacos

Two chicken tacos in hard shells with shredded rotisserie chicken. Chopped tomatoes, lettuce are on top of the tacos for a delicious meal that's quick, easy and delicious for a busy weeknight or lazy weekend meal.









Easy Vegetarian Fajitas also Gluten Free, and these are really

A beautiful plate of sauted peppers in several colors along with other vegetables all combined with the perfect spices to make this vegetarian fajita dish perfect for any meal.


Best Homemade Meatballs








Easy Pizza Pasta Bake

A hearty casserole full of pizza flavors from the hearty sauce, pepperoni, olives and cheese all mixed into pasta.

Easy Hot Cheese & Ham Sliders on Sweet Hawaiian Rolls

A Hawaiian sweet roll with ham and Swiss cheese in the middle along with a complimentary mustard sauce. Topped with the traditional Poppy Seed sauce all warmed up to melt the cheese and heat the ham.

Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2018

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today.

Salisbury Steak & Mushroom Gravy

Homemade Salisbury Steak and Mushroom Gravy

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Salisbury Steak & Mushroom Gravy

Salisbury Steak & Mushroom Gravy

Homemade Salisbury Steak and Mushroom Gravy is COMFORT food at it’s BEST, while easy and quick too!

Hands down, this Homemade Salisbury Steak and Mushroom Gravy is A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.  

It’s also a fabulous way to stretch the budget with a meal that is packed with flavor and satisfies. 

It is home cooking, but it is also considered in the category of gourmet and company elegant. Serve this Homemade Salisbury Steak and Mushroom Gravy over noodles or rice.

I have a trick to share. If you are feeding a bunch of munchkins and need to stretch the meat budget; after cooking the beef patties, simply cut them into pieces to reaaallllyyy extend the meat.  So instead of everyone getting a meat patty, they get lots of bite-sized pieces.  Either way –  YUMMY! 

Homemade Salisbury Steak and Mushroom Gravy

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 lb. ground beef

1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs

1 small onion, minced

1 Tbl. balsamic vinegar

1 Tbl. garlic, minced

1 tsp. beef bouillon

1 Tbl. Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp Montreal steak seasoning

4 Tbl. butter, divided

1 (8 – 16 oz.) package sliced fresh mushrooms

1 cup water

1 (1.2 oz) packet brown gravy mix

1 (10 oz.) can condensed cream of mushroom soup

1/2 cup milk

1 Tbl. balsamic vinegar

2 Tbl. sour cream

12-16 oz. pasta of your choice or rice *AMS reader Tasha suggested mashed potatoes for this dish – YUMMY!

In a large bowl beat eggs.

Homemade Salisbury Steak and Mushroom Gravy

Homemade Salisbury Steak and Mushroom Gravy

Then add in the beef, bread crumbs, onion, vinegar, garlic, beef, bouillon, Worcestershire and steak seasoning.

Mix thoroughly.

Then shape into 4 oval patties.

In a large skillet, melt 2 Tbl. butter over med-high heat.

Homemade Salisbury Steak and Mushroom Gravy

Homemade Salisbury Steak and Mushroom Gravy

Place the patties into the pan.

Brown patties on both sides and transfer to a plate.Salisbury Steak and Mushroom Gravy 3

To the pan add remaining 2 Tbl. butter and mushrooms; sauté for 7-8 minutes.

Salisbury Steak and Mushroom Gravy 4

If the mixture runs dry, add more butter, or a bit of water.

In a bowl, add the water and whisk in gravy mix until smooth stir in cream of mushroom soup, milk, balsamic vinegar and sour cream.

Salisbury Steak and Mushroom Gravy 5

Stir into the mushroom mixture and cook for 2 minutes.Salisbury Steak and Mushroom Gravy 7

Return the browned hamburger patties to skillet and spoon gravy over top.

Salisbury Steak and Mushroom Gravy 8

Cover the pan and simmer the meat and gravy together for 20-25 minutes or until the meat is cooked completely through.

Salisbury Steak and Mushroom Gravy 9

As you can see, the gravy will thicken while cooking.Salisbury Steak and Mushroom Gravy 10

*While the meat and gravy are simmering, cook your rice, pasta or potatoes.

Homemade Salisbury Steak and Mushroom Gravy

Homemade Salisbury Steak and Mushroom Gravy

Serve Salisbury steaks and mushroom gravy over hot cooked rice, cooked pasta or mashed potatoes

Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2015

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today.


Hawaiian Sliders with homemade slaw

Hawaiian Pork Sliders with Slaw and Island Sauce

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Hawaiian Sliders with homemade slaw

Hawaiian Pork Sliders with homemade slaw and dressing

This is a perfect meal for any occasion.  Terrific to make ahead for a crowd, or for dinner tonight.    A sweet roll, layered with fabulous marinated tender and moist meat, a refreshing slaw with just the right amount of seasoning and then topped with an amazing Island Sauce. 

Hawaiian Pork Slider with Slaw and Island Sauce
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 soy sauce
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp. chicken bouillon
3 Tbl. seasoned rice vinegar
2 Tbl. sesame oil
1/4 tsp. Montreal Steak Seasoning
1 Tbl. minced garlic
3” piece of fresh ginger root
1 – 1 ½ lb. pork tenderloin
2 tsp. cornstarch
10-12 mini Hawaiian-style sweet rolls, halve horizontally

3 cups coleslaw mix (can use thin sliced head of cabbage also)
3 Tbl. seasoned rice vinegar
1 tsp. sesame oil
¼ tsp. Emerill’s Original Seasoning
¼ tsp. Montreal Steak Seasoning
2 thinly sliced green onion

Prepare the pork –
In a gallon zip lock bag, mix together the orange juice, soy sauce, water, brown sugar, bouillon, rice vinegar, sesame oil, steak seasoning, garlic and ginger root. Squish and mix well. Add the pork loin to the bag and refrigerate 2-8 hours. Flip over occasionally. Hawaiian Sliders 1
Hawaiian Sliders 2When ready to bake the pork loin, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Remove the pork from the marinade (RESERVE the marinade) and place the meat into a foil lined baking dish.Hawaiian Sliders 3

Place the baking dish in the oven and bake approx. 25 minutes per pound. Cook until the internal temperature reads 145 degrees. Allow meat to rest 10 minutes. Hawaiian Sliders 4
Hawaiian Sliders 5Meanwhile, while the meat is cooking, prepare the slaw – *If using whole cabbage, slice about 1/4 of the purple and 1/4 of the green thin.
Hawaiian Sliders 6

In a small bowl whisk well together the rice vinegar, sesame oil, Emerill’s and steak seasoning.
In a medium bowl, combine the coleslaw mix, or sliced cabbage, and the green onions. Pour the rice vinegar mixture over the cabbage and toss well.
Allow it to sit, covered, in the refrigerator while the pork is cooking to allow the flavors to marry. Hawaiian Sliders 7
Hawaiian Sliders 8

To make the Slider Sauce – In a blender pour in the marinade and the cornstarch. Blend well.Hawaiian Sliders 9
Hawaiian Sliders 10Pour the blended mixture into a large pan (the mixture foams and bubbles) and bring to a boil over medium to high heat.Hawaiian Sliders 11Reduce the heat and simmer until the sauce thickens and you have a trail when you run a finger through the sauce. Be careful not to burn yourself. Hawaiian Sliders 12
Hawaiian Sliders 13

Remove from the heat and allow to sit while preparing the meat.
If a ‘skin’ forms, simply stir. If sauce becomes too thick, thin with chicken broth or water and bouillon.   When the pork is cooked and has sat for 10 minutes, slice into 1/4” – 1/3” slices.
*Keep the juices from the baking pan.
For leftovers, or if you are making this step ahead, put meat into a zip-lock baggie along with the juices from the baking pan. This will keep the meat moist and tender. Hawaiian Sliders 16
Hawaiian Sliders 17
To assemble the Hawaiian Pork Slider: Place the split sweet roll on a plate.
Lay on slices of meat, then slaw and drizzle the slider sauce over the top. Enjoy!Hawaiian Slider 2

Carrie’s recipe. Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2014
Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today.

Delicious Beef Bourguignon

Classic Beef Bourguignon & Chunky Mashed Potatoes

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Delicious Beef Bourguignon

Beef Bourguignon

I wanted to make this classic French dish without the wine but without sacrificing the same depth of flavors, and in my humble opinion, I did it!
Stew this is NOT.  These flavors build upon each other which makes this dish so unique.  Beginning with the bacon, adding the seared beef,  vegetables, and then the flavor of the cranberry juice brings a rich and complex taste. The mushrooms bring an earthly flavor.  Slow simmering surpasses all exceptions, and the beef is so incredibly tender.  As if it could not get any better, my slightly chunky potatoes add texture and serve as a perfect base for this wonderful meal.
This scrumptious recipe makes any day a special occasion.

Classic Beef Bourguignon & Chunky Mashed Potatoes

6 -8 slices bacon, diced
6 Tbl. olive oil
1 Tbl. minced garlic
2 lb. trimmed sirloin tri-tip steaks or roast, cut into 2” cubes (this cut is incredibly tender and best for this recipe, worth the extra cost for a good cut)
1/2 cup flour
2 med. onions, chopped
2 cups sliced carrots
2 cups cranberry juice
2 cubes beef bouillon (Knorr, or equivalent)
2 cans (14 oz.) diced roasted tomatoes
4 bay leaves
1 tsp. Montreal Steak seasoning
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 Tbl. dried parsley
3/4 tsp. allspice (OR ¼ tsp. cinnamon, ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg & ¼ tsp. ground cloves)
1 Tbl. balsamic vinegar
8 oz. container of Portabella mushrooms, sliced

Fry the bacon pieces until they’re crispy. Once the bacon is crispy, set it aside in a bowl.Beef Bourguignon 2While the bacon is cooking, put the flour in a small bowl and coat the beef pieces in the flour evenly.
Use a slotted spoon to take out fried and cooked bacon and set aside in a bowl.

Leave the bacon fat in the pan and add an additional 3 Tbl. olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add half of the beef and brown on all sides.
The meat is not to be cooked completely, but brown all sides; take out and put in a bowl.Beef Bourguignon 3Brown the rest of the meat in the same manner; add it to the above meat in a bowl.Beef Bourguignon 4

Do NOT wash out or scrape the pan.
Add another 3 Tbl. oil and warm over medium heat.
When hot, add the garlic, onions and carrots.Beef Bourguignon 5Toss and cook for about 5 minutes.
Scraping the bits of browned meat up off the bottom of the pan as it is softened with the cooking of the vegetables.
Add all the beef back into the pan, along with the bacon.
Pour in the cranberry juice; bring to a boil and simmer for 2 minutes.Beef Bourguignon 6Add in the remaining ingredients, except for the mushrooms.
Cover and simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
Add the mushrooms, cover the pan again and simmer for one hour more.Beef Bourguignon 7

Prepare  Mashed Potatoes

5 lbs. Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and quartered (can use light skinned or red potatoes)
1/2 cup (1 stick) real butter
12 oz. evaporated milk
Place potatoes in a large pot with cold water and bring to a boil. Cook until tender, but not mushy.
Turn off heat.  Drain potatoes and add back into the pan to release excess water.
In a small pan heat the butter and evaporated milk but do not boil, add to cooked potatoes in the pan.Beef Bourguignon 8Using the potato masher combine until smooth. 
Season with salt to desired tasteBeef Bourguignon 9Serve Beef Bourguignon over mashed potatoes Beef Bourguignon 10
Great hearty and classic dish
Beef Bourguignon 11Recipes for Beef Bourguignon and Mashed Potatoes by Carrie Groneman

Copyright, Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2014

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today.

hamburger, meatloaf, main dish, old fashioned meal

Old Fashioned Moist Meatloaf

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Old Fashioned Meatloaf 1Do you have a hankering for GREAT old fashioned meatloaf?   Well, here you have it!  

This meatloaf is moist, tender, meaty, lean,  full of flavor and just plain comfort food.  The topping is a huge bonus for a perfect finish.  A bit of surprise of hhhmmm, what’s that in there, with a whole lot of yumminess slathered on top.  When it’s baked on top it caramelizes and is incredible.  Seriously, this is fabulous and perfect for a night in, or to impress your company.  Give it a try! Click through to the next page for the recipe.

Moist Old Fashioned Meatloaf


1   1/2 lbs. lean hamburger (80%-90% is best)

1 medium onion, chopped

1/2 bell pepper, chopped

1 – 2 Tbl. chopped garlic, to taste

2 Tbl. butter

1 egg

2/3 cup milk

1/3 cup grated carrot (makes the meatloaf incredibly moist)

2/3 cup dried Italian bread crumbs

1 Tbl. worchestershire sauce

1 Tbl. balsamic vinegar

1 tsp. Montreal Steak seasoning

1 tsp. beef bouillon

1/2 tsp. basil

1/2 tsp. hot sauce  


1/3 cup brown sugar

3 Tbl. mustard (dijon is great for this topping)

1/2 cup ketchup   



Heat oven to 350 degrees

Line the bottom of a 5×9″ loaf pan with parchment paper if desired – but makes it so much easier to take out for serving.

Lightly coat the pan with spray release. 

Old Fashioned Meatloaf

In a fry pan or skillet, add in the butter and cook the onion and green pepper until tender and the onion is almost clear. 

The reason for this step is to avoid biting into a almost raw piece of onion or pepper.Old Fashioned MeatloafAdd in the garlic and cook 1 more minute. This takes the edge off of the garlic.Old Fashioned MeatloafIn a large bowl combine the ground beef, cooked onion-bell pepper and garlic mixture, egg, milk, grated carrot, bread crumbs, Worcestershire sauce, balsamic vinegar, Montreal steak seasoning, basil, bouillon and hot sauce. Old Fashioned MeatloafMix mixture well, I like to use the disposable gloves for this step.Old Fashioned MeatloafPut the meat mixture into the prepared loaf pan, pat in evenly and to slightly compress.  

Topping: In a small bowl combine the ketchup, brown sugar, mustard and mix well.Old Fashioned MeatloafPour over the meat mixture in the pan.  Old Fashioned Meatloaf

Bake until internal temperature reaches 180 degrees, which will be approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on your oven and the size of pan you used.

Allow meatloaf to sit for 5 minutes and if you have excess grease in the pan; carefully pour it off, using caution not to burn yourself.

Slice and serve.  DSC_2603- editCarrie Groneman’s original recipe.  Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow.  2014, 2016

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today.

Fresh Garden Vegetable Pasta

Healthy Garden Vegetable Pasta

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Fresh Garden Vegetable Pasta

Pasta with Fresh Garden Vegetables

This is a fabulous summer that is quick, filling and low calorie, particularly if you use a whole grain pasta.  Take advantage of the fresh summer vegetables, garden herbs and enjoy how quick and easy this comes together. 

Quick & Healthy Garden Vegetable Pasta


1 Tbl. olive oil

1 tsp. sugar

1 Tbl. chopped garlic or 1 bulb roasted garlic – click HERE for my easy to follow tutorial to roast garlic

1 small onion, chopped

1 cup diced zucchini

3 cups fresh tomatoes, chopped

2-4 Tbl. fresh basil, chopped*

¼ tsp. coarse ground pepper

1-2 Tbl. sundried tomato pesto (see my tutorial to make your own sun-dried roasted tomatoes  HERE or use store-bought)

1 Tbl. red wine vinegar

1 Tbl. balsamic vinegar

grated fresh Parmesan or Romano cheese

1 lb. thick spaghetti, or similar pasta


Fill a large pot with water for pasta, bring to boil.

Add pasta and cook till al denta; drain and set aside.

In a large pan sauté the onion until almost translucent.

Add in the sugar.Garden Vegetable Pasta 1Gently put the zucchini in the oil over medium heat and cook until crisp-tender.  Just until al dente. 
Garden Vegetable Pasta 2Add in the tomatoes, basil, pepper, tomato pesto/spread and vinegar’s.

Simmer for 2-3 minutes or until it is all is warmed through.Garden Vegetable Pasta 3Serve the sauce over cooked pasta and sprinkle with grated cheese.

*If fresh basil is unavailable, use 1 Tbl. dried basil and add in when you cook the garlic, onion and zucchini to give it time to soften and hydrate.

Carrie’s recipe, Copyright Carrie Groneman, A  Mother’s Shadow, 2013

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today.

A plate with green beans and manicotti stuffed pasta shells. The shells are filled with ground beef, cheeses and seasonings. They are topped with marinara sauce and more cheese then baked till warmed through

Best Homemade Manicotti

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A plate with green beans and manicotti stuffed pasta shells. The shells are filled with ground beef, cheeses and seasonings. They are topped with marinara sauce and more cheese then baked till warmed through

Easy Stuffed Manicotti Pasta

This Best Homemade Manicotti is one of those dishes that you think of when you go to a your favorite restaurant.  But guess what?  You can make it at home!  

The homemade Manicotti is absolutely delicious with tender stuffed pasta shells, creating a comfort food that is satisfying even to the most discriminating palate. 

Serve this  confidentially to guests or anytime you want an great home cooked meal.

The Best Homemade Manicotti  is an ideal choice for:  What You Need To Know About Taking In A Meal They Will Want To Eat.

It freezes beautifully too.  I have a printable for you at the end of the post.

This is my own version of a classic dish and I think you’ll really like it. 

Serve with my Fruited Spinach Salad , the easiest Gourmet Flat Bread you will ever find and end with most popular and favorite Chocolate Mousse Cake  for a memorable meal! 


Best Homemade Manicotti


1-2 packages manicotti pasta noodles (they can break while cooking, so plan for extra)

 2     22-24 oz. bottles of marinara sauce (or about the equivalent) 

 1 lb. ground hamburger

1 medium onion, chopped

1 Tbl. chopped or minced garlic

1 Tbl. dried parsley

2 cups (plus 1 additional cup = 3 cups total) grated mozzarella cheese

1 tsp. beef bouillon

1/2 tsp. Montreal steak seasoning

1/2 cup fresh Parmesan cheese (fresh makes ALL the difference)

2 eggs

1/4 – 1/3 cup milk



Cook pasta according to directions on the package. You really will want to cook more than 1 box though this recipe is for 14 stuffed shells, because the pasta breaks easily during the cooking process.

While the pasta is cooking, line a cookie sheet with sides with foil and coat with spray release.

When pasta is done to al dente, drain, rinse and place on sprayed parchment paper or tin foil. 

This will keep them from sticking to them self and to each other until you are ready to use them.



Meanwhile, in a large fry pan or pot, cook hamburger and onion together, chopping meat into small pieces as it cooks. 

When the hamburger is no longer pink and the onions are translucent; add in the garlic and cook for approximately 2-3 minutes.

Pour into a bowl and set aside to cool completely.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees IF cooking after preparation.


Options: 1 – 9×13” pan OR  2 – 8×8” or 9×9” pans

In a pan spread about ½ cup to 1 cup of the marinara sauce, depending on which size pan you are using.

In a large bowl combine the completely cooled meat mixture with the parsley, mozzarella cheese, bouillon, Montreal steak seasoning and fresh Parmesan cheese.

Mix well.

Add in milk a little at a time, just until the meat mixture is a bit moist, but not so much that it’s soggy or excess liquid pooling in the bottom of the bowl.

Take a noodle, and gently spoon in some of the meat mixture into the noodle.

It’s easiest to do this if you’ll hold the bottom closed with your pinkie/baby finger to prevent the meat mixture from going through, and out the other end of the noodle.Easy Homemade Manicotti

Amazing Stuffed Manicotti

Lay the filled pasta into the pan that you have poured a little bit of the sauce into the bottom.

Continue to fill noodles until the meat mixture is gone and yields approximately 12-14 noodles.

When all the noodles are filled, cover them completely with the sauce.

Glass pan-



Sprinkle with the reserved mozzarella cheese.Manicotti


Disposable pan-

Easy Homemade Manicotti

Amazing Stuffed Manicotti

If baking now, cover the pan with foil, then place on a foil lined cookie sheet with sides; a jelly roll pan (to catch any over-flow) and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.

This is would be a popular dish for: What You Need To Know About Taking In A Meal They Will Want To Eat




When cooked and serving from first preparing, or from the frozen state; remove the foil and bake as instructed, or until until hot and bubbly.Easy Homemade Manicotti

Amazing Stuffed Manicotti

To freeze for later use:

Do NOT bake at this point.

Cover the baking dish tightly with plastic wrap; then foil.

Attach the instructions you can download HERE in a heart or solid line border, by first covering the pan with foil.  

Then place the instructions on top and mark with date to use by, which should be within 2 months.

Cover with saran wrap to hold it in place. Slide into a freezer bag if desired.

 Place in freezer for later use.Easy Homemade Manicotti

Amazing Stuffed Manicotti

Carrie Groneman’s recipe

Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2013, 2018

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today.