Monday, October 31, 2011

Quick and Easy Chili

This recipe adds extra flavor to McCormick's Chili Mix. It can easily be doubled for a crowd!
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 small onion, chopped (I use Pictsweet chopped onions to save time.)
1 can kidney or pinto beans
2 cans tomato sauce
1 pkg. McCormick's Chili Mix (To add extra heat, use "Hot" chili mix.)
1 can Original Rotel
2 cups water
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
Optional: sour cream, cheddar cheese, green onions
1. Brown ground meat, onion, chili and garlic powders. Drain.
2. Add beans, tomato sauce, chili mix, Rotel tomatoes, and water.
3. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat. Simmer for 30 minutes.
4. Garnish with sour cream, cheddar cheese, and green onions if desired.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Shepherd's Pie

Whew! What a busy evening! My 6th grader was inducted into the Junior Beta Club tonight, so I had to be smart about our dinner plans. I prepped this meal in about 10 minutes before we left for the ceremony, then assembled it and threw it in the oven when we got home a few minutes ago. It will bake for 20 minutes, and we'll be ready to eat! Some people add mixed vegetables to their shepherd's pie, but we like ours plain and simple. I've been excited about the feedback that I've gotten about my recipes. I ran into several people this week who have already tried some of them! Hope you enjoy this one...
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 large chopped onion
(I use Pictsweet frozen chopped onions to save prep time.)
8 servings instant mashed potatoes
shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 can beef broth
salt and pepper
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Brown ground beef and onion. Season with salt and pepper. (I use the leanest ground beef you can buy, so it doesn't even have to be drained. Of course, you'll have to drain it if it's a fattier ground beef.)
3. Pour half a can of beef broth into the beef and onions.
4. While beef is browning, make 8 servings of instant mashed potatoes.**
5. Pour beef mixture into bottom of baking dish. Layer mashed potatoes on top of beef and follow with a generous helping of shredded cheddar cheese.
6. Bake on 350 for 20 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.
**Real mashed potatoes are certainly better when you have time, but Hungry Jack instant mashed potatoes are tasty and convenient.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Beef Enchilada Casserole

This recipe is one I adapted from a Pampered Chef cookbook. An easy meal in just 30 minutes!
1 lb. lean ground beef
3 tbsp. taco seasoning
1/4 tsp. salt
1 can enchilada sauce
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup salsa
12 - 6 in. corn tortillas
1 cup cheddar cheese
green onions
sour cream (optional)
1. Brown & drain ground beef.
2. Add taco seasoning, salt, enchilada sauce, water and salsa. Bring to a simmer and remove from heat.
3. Cut tortillas into strips. (A pizza cutter works great for this step.)
4. Layer 1/2 tortillas, 1/2 beef mixture, and 1/2 cheese. Then make a second layer of all three.
5. Top with sliced green onions and bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.
6. Garnish with sour cream if desired.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sunday Dinner - Pork Chops and Gravy

Well, it's been a busy week, but we still managed to have great meals all week long! Wednesday's chicken spaghetti was delicious. Thursday night we had football practice, so I came up with a super easy meal. After school, we came home to change clothes before heading to practice, and I put a bag of frozen Italian meatballs and a can of Hunt's Zesty and Spicy spaghetti sauce in the crockpot on high. When we arrived home 3 hours later, we made yummy meatball subs! Simply put meatballs on sub rolls, add sliced swiss cheese, and heat in toaster oven. Between the chicken spaghetti and the meatballs, we had enough leftovers for the next day!
Here's a great recipe for Sunday dinner. Put it in the crockpot before you head to church, and come home to a home-cooked meal!
4-6 center cut boneless porkchops
1 pkg. onion soup mix
1 can chicken broth
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 pkg. dry pork gravy mix
1. Place porkchops in bottom of large crockpot. Don't forget your Reynold's Slow Cooker liners for easy clean-up.
2. In mixing bowl, combine other ingredients. Pour over porkchops.
3. Cook on low for 7-8 hours or hgh for 3-4 hours.
4. Serve over instant brown rice.
5. Side dishes: We like Margaret Holmes canned vegetables. The seasoned cabbage and seasoned squash are our favorites. You can find these at Walmart or Dollar General Store, where they are only $1 per can. (Yes, I know fresh or frozen vegetables are healthier, but these are so yummy that my kids will actually eat them. Plus, these recipes are all about convenient home-cooked meals on a budget. They are certainly healthier than eating McDonald's every day.)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Baked Chicken Spaghetti

Unlike most nights, we were home this evening with no obligations! The boys enjoyed the beautiful weather by playing outside, and I decided to spend some time in the kitchen cooking a yummy dinner of baked chicken spaghetti. However, the power went out when my chicken was half-boiled, and I was afraid we would be eating Burger King tonight. Fortunately, dinner was saved by the good guys at Coast Electric. This easy recipe is one that my sister gave me several years ago, and it's one of our favorites!
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 12-oz pkg. of whole wheat spaghetti
1 chopped bell pepper
1 chopped onion
(I use Pictsweet Chopped Onions and Bell Peppers to save prep time.)
1 can Rotel tomatoes
1 small block Velveeta, cubed
Optional: 1 can mushrooms and/or 1 can sliced black olives
1. Dice chicken. Boil and remove from water. Save broth to boil spaghetti.
2. While chicken is boiling, saute onions, bell pepper, and Rotel in butter.
3. Cook spaghetti in chicken broth. Drain.
4. Return spaghetti to pot. Add cubed Velveeta to pasta and stir.
5. Add chicken and vegetables (mushrooms & black olives optional). Stir.
6. Pour into large casserole dish and bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes until cheese is melted.
This recipe can easily be doubled. Bake one pan now, and freeze the other for later. Thaw and bake on 350 for 25-30 minutes until heated through.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Creamy Italian Chicken

This recipe is incredibly easy to prepare and sure to be a big hit with your family. I fixed this dish for dinner one evening last week, and we ate every bit of it!
2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 pkg. Good Seasons Italian Dressing
1 large can cream of chicken soup
1 block of cream cheese
instant brown rice
1. Place chicken breasts in the bottom of large slow cooker. (Don't forget your Reynold's Slow Cooker Liner for easy clean-up.)
2. Mix dressing and soup. Pour over chicken.
3. Cook on low 7-8 hours.
4. One hour before serving, add cream cheese (cubed). Stir occasionally until cheese melts.
5. Serve over cooked instant brown rice.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Baked Ziti Pasta

Well, Monday's chicken quesidillas were a huge hit at my house! I added a packet of fajita seasoning mix and 1/3 cup of water to the chicken and Rotel when I put them in the crockpot that morning. The flavor was delicious!
Today's recipe is a super easy one that my friend Jenny shared with me several years ago. My kids love it! It is also easy to prepare this one in bulk and freeze pans for later.
1 can Hunt's Zesty and Spicy spaghetti sauce
1 lb. lean ground beef
10 or 12 oz. package ziti pasta
shredded mozzerella cheese
parmesan cheese
1. Brown & drain ground meat.
2. Add can of spaghetti sauce and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
3. While meat sauce is simmering, boil ziti according to directions. Drain.
4. Mix ziti and meat sauce and pour into casserole dish.
5. Layer mozzerella and parmesan on top.
6. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes, until cheese is bubbly.
7. Serve with salad and garlic bread.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Chicken Quesidillas

For this recipe as well as many of my others, you need a large slow cooker. I also suggest buying Reynolds Slow Cooker Liners. You can find them at Walmart near the Ziploc bags. They come in packs of four and are pretty inexpensive. These save you time in clean-up.
2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts*
2 cans original Rotel tomatoes
1 pkg. fajita seasoning mix
shredded cheddar or Mexican-blend cheese
6 medium whole wheat tortillas
sour cream
guacamole dip
1 can refried beans
1 bag Spanish rice mix
*Don't use the frozen chicken breasts that come in a bag. I buy a large family pack of fresh chicken breasts when they are on sale and freeze them in two's in Ziploc bags. The pre-frozen ones are full of water. They cook down to nothing. The fresh ones are better!
1. Place chicken breasts in bottom of crockpot. 
2. Cover with two cans of Rotel.
3. Mix fajita seasoning with water as directed on package.  Pour over chicken.
4. Cook on low for 7-8 hours.
5. When you arrive home, shred chicken into pieces and stir so the chicken is completely coated with the Rotel tomatoes.
6. Heat a griddle or large non-stick skillet on medium. Place a tortilla shell on griddle or skillet. Fill tortilla halfway with chicken mixture. Sprinkle with cheese.
7. Fold tortilla in half and grill on both sides.
8. Continue with remaining tortilla shells.
9. Serve with cooked Spanish rice and refried beans. (Follow directions on package.)
10. Add sour cream, salsa, and guacamole as garnishes if desired.