Thursday, November 17, 2011

Italian Stuffed Shells

Okay, so I did something a little out of the ordinary tonight.  I usually reserve my more time-consuming meals for the weekends, but I had time tonight to spend in the kitchen!  So...I prepared one of my mom's best Italian dishes!!  This one takes about 30 minutes to prep and about an hour to bake, so it's a lot more work than I would normally suggest on a weeknight.  However, it is well worth the trouble!

24 jumbo pasta shells (about 2/3 of a 12 oz. box of shells)
15 oz. carton of ricotta cheese
2 cups grated mozzerella cheese
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 tbsp.  Italian seasoning
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 26 oz. can of your favorite spaghetti sauce with 1/2 cup water

1. Preheat oven to 375.
2. Boil pasta shells for 5 minutes.  Drain and rinse in cold water.
3. Place spaghetti sauce and 1/2 cup water in medium saucepan.  Heat on low.
4.  Combine the three cheeses, Italian seasoning, and beaten eggs.  Mix well.
5.  Pour a thin layer (approx. 1 cup) of sauce into the bottom of a 13X9X2 baking dish.

5.  Stuff each shell with cheese filling.  Place stuffed shells on top of sauce.
6.  Top shells with remaining sauce.
7.  Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes.  Uncover and sprinkle with additional parmesan cheese if desired.  Bake for five more minutes and serve hot!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Two 15-Minute Meal Ideas

Need super fast meal ideas?  Here are two that can be prepared in less than 15 minutes!  Again, I make no claims of gourmet food in this blog.  Just easy meals that beat fast-food any day of the week!

15-minute meal #1:  Blue Runner Red Beans and Rice
1.  Slice a package of your favorite smoked sausage. Brown.
2.  While sausage is cooking, mix a box of Jiffy cornbread mix.  Place in preheated oven.
3.  Add a can of Blue Runner Spicy Creole Red Beans, and add water to desired consistency.
4.  While red beans simmer, cook 4 servings of instant rice.
5.  Serve red beans and rice with cornbread.
No, these beans haven't simmered for hours, but they sure are good!

15-minute meal #2:  Sloppy Roast Beef Po-Boys
1.  Combine 1 lb. of sliced deli roast beef and 1 can of beef gravy in small pot over medium heat.
2.  Serve on po-boy bread with swiss cheese, mayo, and any other sandwich dressings you might like.  We heat ours in the toaster oven to melt the cheese!

Okay ladies, some of you are self-proclaimed "bad cooks," but it doesn't get any easier than this!  You can feed your family with little effort, on a budget, in a just takes a little planning and creativity!!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Chicken Enchiladas

Use the crockpot to cook the chicken for these enchiladas. Prep will take you about 15 minutes; then put them in the oven for 30 minutes. Delicious!!
2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 large can (26 oz.) cream of mushroom soup
1 16 oz. sour cream
shredded cheddar cheese
8 large flour tortillas
chili powder
1. Put chicken breasts and cream of mushroom soup in crockpot in the morning. Cook on low for 7-8 hours.
2. When you arrive home that evening, turn off crockpot and shred chicken. Add carton of sour cream and mix well. This is the filling for your enchiladas.
3. Spoon filling into tortilla shell. Cover mixture with shredded cheese and chili powder. Roll shell and place in baking dish. Continue with each tortilla shell.
4. When all 8 shells are lined up in baking dish, cover with the remaining chicken mixture. Add a layer of shredded cheddar cheese and sprinkle with chili powder.
5. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Broccoli and Cheese Soup/Chicken Casserole

Follow this simple recipe to create two meals in one! The soup recipe makes enough for two meals. Enjoy soup the first night. Reserve the leftovers and add cooked chicken and rice the second night for a yummy casserole.
Meal One: Broccoli and Cheese Soup
1 qt. water
1 16 oz. package frozen chopped broccoli
1 cup chopped onion (I buy bags of Pictsweet frozen chopped onions to keep on hand for quick prep. Walmart has these on sale this week for $1 per bag.)
1 can cream of celery soup
1 can cheddar cheese soup
16 oz. Velveeta cheese (1/2 large block), in small cubes
Tony Chachere's seasoning(to taste)
1. Combine water, broccoli, and onion and bring to boil. Cook till broccoli is tender.
2. Reduce heat and add soups, Velveeta, and Tony's seasoning.
3. Cook 5-10 minutes or until cheese melts.
Perfect for a cool fall evening!
Meal Two: Broccoli, chicken, and cheese casserole.
Leftover soup from Meal One
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Instant rice
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Boil chicken and shred into small pieces.
3. Prepare 4-6 servings of instant rice (depending on how much soup you have left).
4. Combine leftover soup, chicken, and rice in large casserole dish.
5. Bake for 25-30 minutes.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Chicken Alfredo

This meal is so, so easy! A little prep in the morning, let simmer in the slow cooker all day, boil some pasta, and enjoy a yummy meal!
2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 jar alfredo sauce (We like the Ragu roasted garlic kind.)
angel hair pasta
garlic bread
1. Place chicken breasts in crockpot and cover with alfredo sauce. (Don't forget your Reynold's Slow Cooker Liners.)
2. Cook on low for 7-8 hours. Separate chicken into small pieces and stir.
3. Serve over cooked angel hair pasta, with salad and garlic bread.
It doesn't get any easier than this! This meal takes all of two minutes to prep, and about 10 minutes to prepare pasta and toast garlic bread. A great family meal with no effort!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Cheesy Spinach Bread

This weekend's menu was all about the grandparents! My father-in-law's favorite retirement past-time is fishing, and he caught beautiful speckled trout on one of his fishing adventures last week. There is nothing like fresh fried fish, especially when my husband is doing the frying!! On Sunday, I baked one of my mom's favorite recipes, a cheesy spinach dish that we have always called "spinach bread." Now, I know what you're thinking: "Will kids actually eat this?" The answer is a resounding "YES!" It is cheesy and oh, so good!
(I doubled this recipe and made a meal out of it, but you could do a single batch and serve it as a side dish.)
1 cup bisquick baking mix
1 onion chopped very fine
1/4 cup milk
4 eggs
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 - 12 oz. carton cottage cheese
1 - 10 oz. frozen chopped spinach - thawed
1 cup shredded monterey jack cheese
1 tsp. minced garlic
Season salt to taste (Tony Chachere's is our favorite!)
1. Preheat oven to 375. Grease baking dish.
2. Mix all ingredients and pour into dish.
3. Bake for 35 minutes (55 if you double the batch).
4. Let stand five minutes. Cut into squares.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Vegetable Soup with Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

The perfect recipe for a cool fall evening! I've always used this basic recipe for homemade veggie soup, but this time, I put everything in the crockpot and came home this afternoon to a steaming pot of soup. Enjoy!
8 cups water
4 tbsp. beef bouillion crystals
1 can stewed tomatoes
1 lb. lean stew meat
1 large bag mixed vegetables
Tony Chachere's seasoning (to taste)
1. Place first five ingredients in the slow cooker. Sprinkle with Tony's seasoning. Stir.
(Don't forget your Reynold's slow cooker liner. I forgot mine this morning, and now I have to wash the pot!!!!)
2. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low 7-8 hours.
3. Serve with grilled cheese sandwiches. Yum!!!

Baked Chicken

Tuesday night was a food disaster! I attempted to try lasagna in the crockpot...ugh! Now, you have to understand that I make a mean lasagna, so I was really stepping out on a limb to try something new. Note to self: Cook "real" lasagna using mom's old recipe even if it takes two hours on a Sunday afternoon!!!
Fortunately, Wednesday's dinner was delicious! This is the easiest recipe for baked chicken. It requires practically no prep. I did laundry, cleaned two bathrooms, and helped with a school project while it cooked!
2 or 3 large bone-in chicken breasts (My family of four can make a meal of just 2!)
1 bottle of Italian dressing
Tony Chachere's seasoning
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Place chicken breasts in a baking dish.
3. Sprinkle with Tony's seasoning.
4. Coat liberally with Italian dressing. (I use almost 2/3 of the bottle.)
5. Bake for 55 minutes or until juices run clear.
That's it! We ate our chicken with Margaret Holmes seasoned mixed greens, Glory seasoned string beans w/potatoes, and creamed corn. Yum!!!