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Baked Ziti

6 Sep

My husband and I are taking dance classes every Friday this month (P.S. I’m pretty excited about typing this post because I’m using my pinkie again – stitches are out and, though it looks terrible still, I can use it without being scared it is going to split in half…yay me). It was so fun! And, unlike most of the husbands, mine was actually excited to be there. 🙂 I’m not a huge dancer, but I wish I was. Baby steps…

Of course, while we were out, baby boy decided to shove a spoon down his throat and bleed all over poor auntie (she has the worst luck – last time one of the kids puked all over her…I swear I don’t plan these things). We’re still up waiting for the on-call doctor to give us a buzz and make sure we don’t need to get his pretty little gash checked. Poor kid. He’s a bink-baby and having a spoon shaped gouge at the back of your throat kind of puts a damper on things when you want to suck. It’s going to be a long night, so I might as well get a blog entry in.

Baked Ziti –  as easy as spaghetti, but it sounds way fancier. 😉 The recipe calls for three different kinds of cheeses, but lazy-o me just used a bag of pre-shredded pizza-mix cheese (I figure it has a bit of everything in there anyways!). So, a pretty easy recipe jumped all the way to no-brainer. Cool beans. I told you I’m not a fancy cook. 🙂

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Ingredients:

1 pkg.  (16 oz.) ziti pasta
1 jar  (26 oz.) spaghetti sauce
1 container  (15 oz.)  Original Ricotta Cheese
1 pkg.  (8 oz.)  Shredded Mozzarella Cheese, divided
1/4 cup grated Parmesan Cheese

PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Cook pasta as directed on package. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water.

MIX spaghetti sauce, ricotta cheese and reserved 1/2 cup pasta cooking water in large bowl. Add pasta and 1/2 cup of the mozzarella cheese; mix lightly. Spoon into 13×9-inch baking dish sprayed with cooking spray; sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese and the Parmesan cheese. Cover.

BAKE 30 min.; uncover. Bake an additional 10 min. or until heated through.

http://www.kraftrecipes.com/recipes/baked-ziti-54590.aspx

Chicken-Dressing Bake

20 May

My three-year-old just had a massive potty accident in bed. We’re talking torrential. And I’m pretty sure it’s mostly my fault. After putting her to bed approximately forty-seven times, I got a little frustrated and in so many words gave her the idea that ‘You better not get out of bed again, or else!’ Well, ‘or else’ back fired. We had another little talk explaining that having to go potty is always an ok reason to get out of bed. And if you have to go potty as bad as she apparently did, I highly suggest running out of bed! Ah, the joys of parenting. At least it is laundry day. I didn’t even blink at having to wash another load. 🙂

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Ingredients:

10 boneless chicken breasts

10 slices of swiss cheese

1 (10 oz) can cream of chicken

10 oz milk

1 pkg Stove Top stuffing mix

1/2 cup butter, melted

Place chicken breasts in a buttered 9×13 baking dish. Place a slice of cheese on top of each breast. Spread the following over chicken pieces: Mixture of 1 can of cream of chicken soup mixed with 1 soup can filled with milk. For stuffing mix: Mix the vegetable seasoning packet with dried bread crumbs (do not add any water or butter). Sprinkle the dry bread crumbs on top of the chicken pieces. Drizzle 1/2 cup melted butter over everything. Bake at 350^F for 1 hour and 15 minutes, uncovered.

Baked Spaghetti with Cream Cheese

12 May

Happy Mother’s Day!!! How I love being a mom – it is seriously the best. I can’t imagine life without my four little beans! They are crazy, messy, and can never find their shoes when we need them; but I am addicted their smiles, their hugs, their laughter…they are my little friends who go everywhere with me and I cannot express the joy I find in them.

And I really love having a mom. 🙂 I hope I can be half as successful as she is when it comes to the unselfish way she gives of her time and energy for others. Love you, Mom!!!

This is kind of like the ‘mother’ of all spaghetti. 😉 A little (or a lot!) of extra love thrown in!!!

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Ingredients

8 ounces uncooked spaghetti
1 pound ground beef
1 large can spaghetti sauce (26.5 ounces)
1 tablespoon butter
½ cup chopped green peppers (I usually omit or substitute red peppers)
cup chopped onions
8 ounces cream cheese
2 tablespoons milk
Fresh grated Parmesan cheese
French-fried onions (small can)

Directions

Cook spaghetti according to directions on the package. Cook to al dente, drain and set aside. Brown ground beef. Drain excess grease. Add spaghetti sauce to skillet and heat. Combine onions, peppers and butter in small glass bowl. Cover and microwave 4 minutes on HIGH until soft. Add cream cheese and milk to vegetables and stir well. (If cream cheese is not soft, nuke it for 20-30 seconds to make it easy to spread.) Using a 12 x 8-inch baking dish (or something close), assemble in the following order: thin layer of spaghetti sauce, cooked spaghetti, cream cheese/vegetable mixture, remaining spaghetti sauce, parmesan cheese (amount subject to your own taste) Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Top with french-fried onions and continue baking 5 more minutes. (This is the secret ingredient–don’t let them burn.)

Original recipe: http://www.keyingredient.com/recipes/944735043/baked-spaghetti-with-cream-cheese/

Cheesy Chicken and Rice Skillet Dinner

1 Apr

Watching the movie ‘Frozen’ the other day, I paused it on the part where Rapunzel and Eugene make a little guest appearance at the coronation. My kids were so excited! We had to rewind that 2 second clip at least ten times. 🙂 And then they remembered how much they liked the movie ‘Tangled’ and wanted to watch it too! “Frying pans…who knew?”

I’m going to add skillets to the wonderfully versatile world of frying pans. This dinner was so easy and really good! It’s a down-home kind of comfort meal that everyone in my family enjoyed.

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Ingredients:

1/2 lb bacon, cooked and crumbled

4 Tbsp butter

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1 1/2 cups chicken broth

1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

2 cups cooked shredded chicken

4 cups cooked rice

1 cup additional shredded cheddar cheese

Cook bacon, drain and set aside. Reserve 2 Tbsp bacon drippings.

Place butter into a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, whisk in flour, salt, and pepper until smooth and bubbly. Slowly whisk in chicken broth and mix until thickened. Reduce heat to low and stir in 1 1/2 cups of cheese. Reduce heat to a simmer, and set aside.

 

Place reserved 2 Tbsp bacon drippings back into a cast iron skillet. Stir in cooked rice, coating well. Add chicken and cheese sauce, mixing to combine. Top with 1 cup cheese, then top with crumbled bacon. Place under oven’s broiler for 3-5 minutes until cheese is melted.photo 3

Creamy Chicken Alfredo Lasagna

4 Mar

This morning, I was was pretty darn sure that my daughter had appendicitis. Google has made me an excellent judge of medical conditions. Her symptoms matched everything – pain in the abdomen in a specific local – typically starting at the belly-button, decreased appetite, fever, increased pain when walking. Appendicitis! Turns out…she has strep. Yes, of course. Strep…which involves the throat…not the abdomen. I still have no idea how this happened. The one thing that made me feel like a not-quite-so-crazy-mommy was that the doctor did test her for appendicitis. Everything pointed to that!!! Everything, except the fact that she could jump. That was the deal breaker. The funny thing is that he checked her throat and said it was a little red then asked her if it hurt. “No.” No? How does your belly button hurt but not your throat when you have strep? I am at a loss. But a grateful loss. I’d much rather go pick up an antibiotic at the local pharmacy than run my seven year old down to the hospital for surgery. The only downside of the situation is that I have to come to terms with the fact that I do not have a future diagnosing ailments with my degree from Google and WebMD.

Here’s something useful I got from the internet: Talk about fancy lasagna! This was really tasty and very simple to put together…and it has sun-dried tomatoes!!! Anything with sun-dried tomatoes is a winner in my book. Except maybe sun-dried tomato ice cream (you laugh, but I bet someone out there has tried to pull that off). Although I really like it a lot, it was a little heavy on the cream cheese for me. Next time, I think I’ll try it with my Lower-Fat Alfredo sauce and see which one I like better.

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Ingredients:

2 cups shredded cooked chicken breasts
1 can (14 oz.) artichoke hearts, drained, chopped
1 pkg. (8 oz.) KRAFT Shredded Mozzarella Cheese with a TOUCH OF PHILADELPHIA, divided
1/2 cup KRAFT Grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2 cup chopped drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
2 pkg. (8 oz. each) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
1 cup milk
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 cup tightly packed fresh basil, chopped, divided
12 lasagna noodles, cooked

Directions:

HEAT oven to 350°F.
COMBINE chicken, artichokes, 1 cup mozzarella, Parmesan and tomatoes. Beat cream cheese, milk and garlic powder with mixer until well blended; stir in 2 Tbsp. basil. Mix half with the chicken mixture.
SPREAD half the remaining cream cheese mixture onto bottom of 13×9-inch baking dish; cover with 3 noodles and 1/3 of the chicken mixture. Repeat layers of noodles and chicken mixture twice. Top with remaining noodles, cream cheese mixture and mozzarella; cover.
BAKE 25 min. or until heated through. Sprinkle with remaining basil. Let stand 5 min. before cutting to serve.

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Viva La Chicken

18 Oct

As of yesterday, I officially have 101 followers. Wahoo! Now, 101 sounds very small when you compare it to a lot of other blogs that have 101,000. But! I’m pretty darn excited about it, considering the fact that I have never actively tried to advertise my posts and I still have no idea how people manage to find them in the first place. I started this just as a personal little database of recipes and to have a place to jot down my silly rantings and ravings. It makes me happy that others like the food that I love and I still get giddy every time I get an email, “so-and-so is now following you.” 🙂

Viva la Chicken!!! A fitting post for my 101 celebration…

A super tasty, Mexican casserole – kind of like a 9×13, shredded up enchilada.

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Ingredients:

1 lb cooked, shredded chicken

1 dozen corn tortillas, shredded into 1 inch chunks

1 (10 oz) can cream of chicken soup

1 (10 oz) can cream of mushroom soup

1 cup milk

1 onion, chopped

1 (16 oz) can green chili sauce, green enchilada sauce, or salsa

1 lb cheddar cheese, grated (3-4 cups)

Mix soups, milk, onion, and sauce. Add shredded chicken and tortillas until incorporated. Pour mixture into greased 9×13 baking dish, top with cheese and bake at 300^F for 1 hour.

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Cheeseburger Casserole

17 Sep

Sometimes, you just need a no-brainer recipe. I actually had to think hard about this one, because I don’t usually use a recipe! I’m not a dumper, typically – I like to be told exactly what to put in and when – but this one is really hard to mess up and it turns out pretty much the same every time, even if I don’t do it the same every time. This is second only to my Mac and Cheese when it comes to my kids’ favorite meals. Funny how they love the things that take no time and no effort, but if you spend hours and hours making the most fantabulous meal ever…no one will touch it. Alas.

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Ingredients:

Prepared elbow noodles

1 lb hamburger

1 can tomato soup (or equivalent measure of Roasted Tomato Soup)

1/4 cup milk

2 cups corn (frozen or 1 small can of corn)

1/4 lb grated cheddar cheese

Brown hamburger and season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix together tomato soup and milk and combine with hamburger, noodles, and corn. Pour into 9×13 baking dish. Top with cheese and bake at 350^F for 20-25 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

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Cordon Bleu Pasta

6 Sep

My local grocery store posts recipes on their website weekly. I’ve never tried one before, but gave this one a go last night for dinner. I was going to be gone, so I needed something that I knew the kids would eat so my husband didn’t end up with a battle on his hands (yeah, I’m thoughtful like that). I thought this Cordon Bleu Pasta might be more like alfredo, but I was surprised to find that it was actually quite different. It’s definitely not a low-fat recipe with 2 sticks of butter and 2 cups of cream! But you have to indulge every now and then. 🙂 I snitched a bite or two (or four to be exact) before heading out, because it’s pretty much against the rules for a cook to not taste test – plus, it being a new recipe, I was hoping my plan of making a kid-friendly meal hadn’t backfired. Good new is, everyone loved it. And it was way simpler than a traditional Cordon Bleu.

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Ingredients:

16 oz pasta

1 cup butter

1 cup swiss cheese

2 cups cream

2 cups chicken, cooked and cubed

1 cup ham

1 cup bread crumbs

Cook pasta per package directions – set aside. In a saucepan, melt butter. Stir in cheese and cream until blended. Continue heating, stirring constantly, just to boiling. Remove from heat. Toss pasta, meats, and sauce together. Sprinkle with bread crumbs (or crushed Ritz crackers!) on top and serve.

*Original recipe found here: http://maceys.com/recipes/recipe?id=46

Chicken Alfredo Lasagna Rolls

6 Aug

Not all of the recipes I find on the internet are a grand success. Just a few weeks ago, I was looking for something I could utilize my two quickly-ripening avocados for and stumbled upon an avocado pasta sauce. Sounds kind of yummy, right? I ignored the red flag that shot up when I read “1-3 cloves of garlic.” I love me some garlic, but 3 cloves? I even stayed on the safe end and put in only one and a half, and I almost fell out of my chair having been punched smartly in the taste buds. It was such an overwhelming garlic taste that I’m pretty sure my tongue went temporarily numb. I cleaned my plate, not wanting my kids to see me dump my food down the sink, but I was merciful to them. I saw their faces – it was pretty gross.

Luckily! This is one of my internet-find success stories. My kids are not fans of marinara (I think they are crazy, personally), so we always have to get pizza with either white sauce or no sauce, spaghetti is out, and lasagna is an every now and then. I was so excited when I found these Chicken Alfredo Lasagna Rolls – a perfect combo of the stuff they love, and I don’t have to cater to their crazy tastes. Plus, they had a lot of fun helping me put them together.

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Ingredients:

9 lasagna noodles
2 ½ cups alfredo sauce Lower-Fat Alfredo (double this recipe of alfredo if using)
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
oregano
garlic salt
3 cups shredded Mozzarella, or cheese of your choice

Spray an 9X13 pan with non-stick spray and pour ½ cup alfredo sauce, or just enough to cover the bottom of the pan. Boil 8-10 cups water in a large pan, cook lasagne noodles until al dente. Drain and rinse the noodles with cold water to prevent them from sticking to each other. Then, lay out each noodle individually and blot dry with a paper towel.

Spread about 2 Tbs. alfredo sauce over each noodle. Sprinkle oregano and garlic salt on top of sauce. Spread shredded chicken evenly over each noodle. Add approx. 3 Tbs. cheese. To roll up, start at one end and roll the noodle over the toppings.

Place the roll-ups in the pan, one by one, seam-side down so they don’t come undone. Once they are all in the pan, pour the remaining alfredo sauce over the top. Top with remaining cheese. Bake at 350^F for about 30 minutes, or until the cheese is completely melted on top. Broil the last 3 minutes to make the cheese toasty on top.

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Original recipe found here: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151550791243589&set=a.10150167972168589.304302.587428588&type=1

Creamed Chicken and Biscuits

28 Jun

I got this recipe in the mail from the mortgage company that we got our very first home loan through – have I mentioned that we changed mortgage companies almost seven years ago and I am still on their mailing list? I’m grateful regardless, because gems like this one pop up here and there. Plus, we get free tickets to the local water park every year for ‘customer appreciation day’ – is it dishonest of us to still go? 🙂 You can go the lazy route (I’m all about lazy…no judging here!) and use the pre-made biscuits, or a biscuit mix. Most of the time I don’t pre-plan my meals (so wish I had the self discipline to do that!), so I don’t usually have either of those stocked in my kitchen. Luckily, homemade biscuits are pretty easy, if a little messy, and require very basic ingredients. So, you can always make your own in a pinch!

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Creamed Chicken:

4 cups shredded, cooked chicken (can use canned)

1 (10 oz) can cream of chicken soup

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup sour cream

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350^F. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9×13 baking dish. Combine chicken, soup, sour cream, and milk in a medium bowl and mix well. Spoon mixture into baking dish. Bake for 15 min (this is a good time to prepare your biscuits if you are making your own). Remove from over. Sprinkle baked layer with 3/4 cup cheese. Arrange uncooked biscuits in a single layer over top. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake until biscuits are golden brown and the sauce is bubbly – about 20 min longer.

Buttermilk Biscuits:

1 3/4 cup flour

1/3 cup bread flour

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 Tbsp sugar

1/2 cup shortening

3/4 cup buttermilk or sour milk

Combine dry ingredients in medium bowl (I don’t usually have bread flour, so I will use regular all purpose for both the 1 3/4 cup and 1/3 cup). Cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add milk all at once and stir just until dough forms a ball – it works best if you mix with your hands. Pat or roll 1/2 inch thick on a lightly floured surface. Cut into rounds. If baking separate from recipe above: bake on a greased baking sheet for 15-20 min at 425^F until golden brown and flaky.