Easy Meat, Veggies, and Potatoes

Adapted from: Saving Makes Cents

This is a recipe that has been floating around Pinterest and I’ve been meaning to try for almost a year.  I thought it looked too simple to be true, but it’s not…it is as simple as it sounds!  And my goodness, flavorful.  I added a few ingredients of my own to give it a little something special so feel free to play around with this dish!  What’s also great about this recipe is you can change up the veggies depending on what’s in season or whatever you have a taste for.  And don’t tell Nate, but I definitely tasted a whole spoonful of the sauce…three times.  I know…so bad.



Easy Meat, Veggies, and Potatoes - The Not So Desperate Chef Wife



Ingredients
4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, raw
Green beans (any veggie like broccoli, asparagus, or brussel sprouts)
New, Red, or Baby Potatoes, cubed
1 packet of italian dressing mix
1 stick of butter, melted
salt
pepper

Add ons
capers
fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon brown sugar

Directions
-Preheat over to 350 degrees F
-Season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper
-Arrange the meat, potatoes, and vegetables in a 9×13 casserole dish
-Sprinkle the packet of italian dressing mix over the whole dish
-Spoon butter over the chicken, potatoes, and vegetables
-Add Ons – I added capers and lemon juice to the green beans, and sprinkled some brown sugar over the chicken.
-Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour (recipe says to cover with foil, but I skipped that and the dish turned out fine!)

Make Now and Freeze For Later

Nesting hit me this weekend.  One day it was in the form of cleaning and the next it took the form of cooking.  Here are the recipes I used to make several casseroles and breakfasts to freeze for later.  And, I have to tell you, having food and meals already taken care of, takes such a huge weight off our shoulders!

First things first, I have one complaint for the grocery stores.  Can all the products and brands get together and decide on the same quantities to offer their products in?  I wanted to make 12 muffins.  Well, the muffins come in packs of 6, the sausage in packs of 8, the cheese in packs of 11 or 20, and the eggs in packs of 12.  So I ended up making 8 muffins with sausage, egg, and cheese and 2 muffins with just egg and cheese.  The same thing happens with hot dogs and hamburgers.  Grrr, anyways…

One extra step I took for all of this was buying disposable casserole and meat loaf pans.  This will allow for easy clean up when the time comes to actually eat these dishes which will be another huge time saver once the baby is here.  It also allows me to still have the use of my glass casserole dishes, in case I actually have time to do some cooking.

The List
Turkey Sausage, Egg, and Cheese English Muffins
Turkey Meatloaf
Chicken Parmesan Meatloaf  
Pioneer Woman’s Baked Ziti
Chicken Manicotti 
Chicken Baked Spaghetti – didn’t have time to get to this one.  Will post if I get to it! 

  
Turkey Sausage, Egg, and Cheese English Muffins 

Ingredients
12 english muffins (I bought the whole grain for an extra hearty muffin)
12 turkey sausage patties
12 eggs
12 slices of cheddar cheese
pepper

Directions 
-preheat oven to 350 degrees
Spray a muffin tin with non-stick spray
-Crack 1 egg into each muffin hole
-Use a fork or whisk to pop the yolk and sprinkle a bit of pepper onto each egg
-Bake in the oven for 25-30  minutes until the egg is cooked through. (The eggs will be well done.  I know we all prefer our eggs cooked differently, but because these are going to be frozen, it’s better just to bake them completely)
-Remove eggs from oven, run a knife around each edge, and the eggs will pop out easily.
Open and layout all 12 english muffins
-Add 1 turkey sausage patty to each english muffin
-Add 1 slice of cheese to each english muffin
-Add 1 egg to each english muffin
-Add the top of the english muffin to finish
-Wrap each in foil and label for later

-Optional- add the reheating directions and date to a large freezer ziplock and add all of the muffins wrapped in foil to that freezer bag.  This helps me keep the freezer organized.

Ready to Eat Directions
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees
If muffins are thawed, bake in the foil for 15-20 minutes
If muffins are frozen, bake in the foil for 30-40 minutes 
*You could also microwave these, but you must remove the foil first.  Also, the upside to baking in the oven, the muffins will toast up!

Turkey Meatloaf
Ingredients
1 egg
3/4 cup of milk
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/3 cup quick cooking oats
1/3 cup italian bread crumbs
1/2 cup onions, chopped
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1 pound lean, 99% fat-free ground turkey

Sauce
2/3 cup ketchup
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon yellow mustard

Directions
-Spray 2 mini meatloaf pans with non-stick spray

-In a large bowl, whisk the egg and milk together.  Then add the cheese, oats, breadcrumbs, onion, and seasoned salt…stir to combine.  Add the ground meat and mix with your hands.  (Don’t over mix, or the meatloaf will be tough)

-Split the meat mixture into 2 portions and set in the greased baking pans.

-In a small bowl, stir the ketchup, brown sugar, and mustard together.  Spoon over each of the loaves.

-Cover with foil and label with date and reheating directions




Ready to Eat Directions

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees
-Bake uncovered…
-If defrosted, bake for 40-45 minutes, until meat is cooked through and juices run clear
-If frozen, bake for 55-60 minutes, until meat is cooked through and juices run clear

*You could easily make this into 1 whole meat loaf.  But I decided it would be better to split these into 2 different meal portions.
*I‘ve made these into mini-meatloaves also, check out that recipe here. 

Chicken Parmesan Meatloaf   
Source: What’s Cookin, Chicago?
 
Ingredients
1 lb ground chicken or turkey
1 egg
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1-2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 small onion, grated
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup pasta sauce (homemade or store bought)
1/2 cup shredded Italian cheese blend

Directions
-Spray 2 mini meatloaf pans with non-stick spray

-In a large bowl, combine the ground chicken, egg, breadcrumbs, thyme, oregano, basil, garlic, onion, salt, pepper and Parmesan cheese. (Don’t over mix, or the meatloaf will be tough)

-Split the meat mixture into 2 portions and set in the greased baking pans.

-Top the meatloaf with pasta sauce.

-Cover with foil and label with date and reheating directions

Ready to Eat Directions
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees
-Bake uncovered…
-If defrosted, bake for 40-45 minutes, until meat is cooked through and juices run clear
-If frozen, bake for 55-60 minutes, until meat is cooked through and juices run clear
-Top with shredded mozzarella and place back in the oven for 10 minutes, until cheese is melted.
-Allow meatloaf to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving

Chicken Manicotti
With this one, I already had extra filling from the last time I made this in the freezer.  So I thawed it out, cooked some manicotti noodles, stuffed them, placed in a casserole dish, covered with sauce, sprinkled some cheese, covered with foil (labelled with date), and place it in the freezer.

Here is the entire recipe again, but the original post can be found here.  

Ingredients

1 8 oz package cannelloni or manicotti

4 cups finely chopped cooked chicken (32 oz / 2 lbs of raw chicken)
1 8 oz containers chive-and-onion cream cheese

1 8 oz containers regular cream cheese
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
1 cup / 8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
3/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon seasoned pepper
1-2 24 oz jars of favorite marinara sauce
Top with Parmesan cheese and a sprinkle of dried oregano


Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain.


In a large bowl, add chicken, cream cheeses, spinach, mozzarella cheese, breadcrumbs, garlic salt, and pepper. The original recipe says to stir…I say, get your clean hands dirty and mix it yourself.  Like you would a meatloaf.


Slice the pasta lengthwise on one side, through the other side (you should be able to lay the noodle flat) Spoon about 1/2 cup chicken mixture into each shell, gently roll up the manicotti / pressing cut sides together. Place, cut sides down, in 2 lightly greased 9 x 13  baking dish. 


Pour marinara sauce over the pasta. Sprinkle with dried oregano and parmesan cheese.

Cover with foil and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until heated.

**FYI** So I bought a different brand of manicotti for the 3rd batch and the cooking directions said to boil for 9 minutes (the other brand said 7).  And after 9 minutes, those things were falling apart!!!  I still assembled the dish, but it was not as pretty as the other 2.  Sometimes you can’t trust the box directions!  
 
Pioneer Woman’s Baked Ziti
Source: The Pioneer Woman

When I first read over this recipe, it sounded like it would take forever and a lot of work to make my own sauce.  But, I was pleasantly surprised.  The sauce was simple to throw together and let simmer for 30 minutes.  And of course I had the added plus of my house smelling like spaghetti.  You could easily brown meat and add your favorite jarred marinara sauce to cut down on time.
 

Ingredients
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
3 cloves Garlic, Minced
1 whole Large Onion, Diced
1 pound Italian Sausage (I forgot this!)
1 pound Ground Beef
1 can (28 Ounce Can) Whole Tomatoes, With Juice
1 jar (28 or 32 Ounce) Marinara Sauce
2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
Salt And Pepper, to taste
16 ounces Ziti Cooked Until Not Quite Al Dente
1 tub (15 Ounce) Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese
1 1/2 pound Mozzarella Cheese, Grated
1/2 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 whole Egg

DirectionsFor the sauce:
-Heat olive oil in a pot over medium heat.
-Add onions and garlic and saute for several minutes, or until starting to soften.
-Add Italian sausage and ground beef and cook until browned.
-Drain off fat, leaving a bit behind for flavor and moisture.
-Add tomatoes, tomato juice, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes.
-Stir and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes.
-Cut off the heat and let the sauce cool down, but remove 3 to 4 cups of the sauce to a different bowl to cool down.

-In a separate large bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese, 2 cups of the grated mozzarella, Parmesan, egg, and salt and pepper. Stir together just a couple of times (do not mix completely).
-Drain the pasta and rinse under cool water to stop the cooking and cool it down.
-Pour the pasta into the bowl with the cheese mixture and toss to slightly combine (there should still be large lumps.)
-Add the cooled meat sauce from the pot and toss to combine.

Assembly:
-Add half the coated pasta to a large casserole dish or lasagna dish.
-Spoon half of the remaining sauce over the top, then top with half the remaining mozzarella cheese.
-Repeat with another layer of the coated pasta, the sauce, and the mozzarella.
-Cover with foil, label with date and reheat directions

Reardy to Eat Directions
-Thaw out the casserole
-Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
-Bake uncovered for 20 minutes, or until bubbling.
-Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes before serving.
      

Honey and Goat Cheese Chicken

Source:  Paula Deen

What a simple main dish filled with lots of flavor!  For those of you that are as obsessed with goat cheese as we are, this is for you.  No only is this chicken stuffed with goat cheese, but the cracker topping adds a sweet and spicy finish that is to die for!  Of course if you don’t like spicy, just omit the red pepper flakes.  This chicken is easy enough to throw together for a week night meal and fancy enough to make for a stay-at-home date night.  Something about stuffed chicken makes people feel extra special.  When I made it last night for Nate, I forgot to tell him it was stuffed…so when he cut into it, the cheese surprised him and he was very jolly when he said “Oh! It’s stuffed!!”  The original recipe calls for 6 oz of goat cheese, but our store sells it by 4 oz or 11 oz.  1 oz per chicken breast was perfect for us!  Thank you Paula for this awesome recipe!

Honey and Goat Cheese Chicken - The Not So Desperate Chef Wife

Honey and Goat Cheese Chicken - The Not So Desperate Chef Wife

Ingredients
4 chicken breasts, boneless
1 sleeve butter crackers, crushed (used Ritz)
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
4 oz. goat cheese, cut into 4 equal portions
3 tablespoon honey
3 tablespoon butter, melted
Non-stick cooking spray


Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
 
In a medium bowl, add crushed crackers, red pepper, salt and pepper. 

Spray the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. 

Make a slit in the side of each chicken breast, being very careful not to go through the other side. (Use a sharp knife)


Stuff each chicken breast with equal amounts of goat cheese and place in baking dish. 

Press cracker mixture on top of each breast, coating evenly. 

Spray the top of each breast with non-stick cooking spray. 

Bake chicken breast for 10 minutes.

In a small bowl, stir together butter and honey.  

Spoon honey butter over chicken and return to oven for 25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

PW’s Green Bean Casserole

Adapted from:  The Pioneer Woman

One of the sides being served at the restaurant’s Thanksgiving lunch was a classic green bean casserole.  If there is one thing you should know about cooking for a chef, it’s that they do NOT want to eat anything close to what they cook/serve at the restaurant.  It may have been their favorite food in the world before they started working at that particular restaurant, but I’ve got news for you, they aren’t touching it now!  And if they try, they deserve a cookie.

So what do you do when YOU want something that is served the the RESTAURANT that your CHEF won’t touch?  Find a recipe that is completely different from the classic recipe, and that changes up the flavors.  Pioneer Woman’s green bean casserole did just that.  It was just as comfort-food-esque as all the other recipes, but the flavors were very different from any I’d tasted before.  At the end of the Thanksgiving meal, Nate and his friend both commented that I had managed to cook food that tasted nothing like the food at the restaurant, and for that they were very thankful!

An extra tidbit of information for you, the sauce you make for this dish is known as a Mornay sauce.   Adding shredded cheese to the sauce makes it a Mornay sauce and not just a Bechamel sauce.  A Mornay sauce can be used in lots of dishes with pasta, vegetables, meat, and fish.  Chalk it up to the French for this classic, building block sauce, and refer to yourself as “chef” when making this dish!

PW Green Bean Casserole - The Not So Desperate Chef Wife
PW Green Bean Casserole - The Not So Desperate Chef Wife
PW Green Bean Casserole - The Not So Desperate Chef Wife

*I tried to cut a corner by using frozen green beans.  While it tasted fine, I can always tell the difference between fresh/frozen/canned.  So I would recommend you use fresh green beans whenever possible, but you won’t be disappointed if you use frozen.

Ingredients
2 pounds fresh green beans, ends cut off (cut in half if you like smaller pieces)
4 slices bacon, slice into 1/4″ pieces
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 an onion, chopped
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
2 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup half & half
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
Fresh ground pepper, to taste
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 4 oz jar pimentos, drained
1 cup breadcrumbs (original recipe calls for panko, I used Italian breadcrumbs)

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

If using fresh green beans:  Blanch the green beans: drop them into lightly salted boiling water and allow green beans to cook for about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove them from the boiling water with a slotted spoon and immediately plunge them into a bowl of ice cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain beans once they’re cool and add to a 9 x 13 baking dish.

If using frozen green beans: let thaw out completely and add to a 9 x 13 baking dish.
Cook bacon for two minutes in a skillet over medium heat, then add onions and garlic. Cook until bacon is done (not crispy) and onions are golden brown (about 3-5 minutes). Remove from heat and set aside.
In a separate saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Sprinkle flour into the pan and whisk immediately. Cook for a minute or two, then pour in milk and half and half. Continue whisking constantly, while sauce thickens (about 2 minutes). 

Add salt, pepper, cayenne, and the cheddar. Stir while cheese melts. Turn off heat.

Add pimentos, bacon & onion mixture to the cheese sauce. Stir to combine. Pour over green beans and stir gently to combine.  Top casserole with breadcrumbs.

Bake for 30 minutes or until sauce is bubbly and breadcrumbs are golden.

Company Potatoes

Company Potatoes.  Have you ever heard of them?  Nate never had, until Thanksgiving.  Speaking of Thanksgiving, hope everyone had a great Turkey Day!  Nate ended up having to work at the restaurants first Thanksgiving feast.  Even though we weren’t able to go home and be with our families, we made the best of it.  I had lunch at the restaurant with another restaurant’s wife and their daughter.  And what makes it more fun, is that she’s pregnant too 🙂  So we had LOTS to talk about!  Then I ran home and put together all of the Thanksgiving side dishes and sauces, and went to visit a good friend and her family.  I visited and ate with them until I got the call from Nate that he was off of work.  He and his good friend headed to our house with the turkey (fresh from Missouri) and we finally got to eat our Thanksgiving feast at 9:00pm.  And for the next 4 days.

Company Potatoes are exactly what they sound like.  It’s a potato casserole you make for when company comes over.  They please everyone and the recipe makes enough to feed a crowd.  My family has been making these potatoes for holidays since before I can remember, and it is by far one of my favorite recipes.  What’s convenient is, you can put the casserole together the day before minus the corn flake topping, and dress/bake the next day when you’re ready.  

Company Potatoes - The Not So Desperate Chef Wife
Company Potatoes - The Not So Desperate Chef Wife
Company Potatoes - The Not So Desperate Chef Wife
Fresh Turkey - The Not So Desperate Chef Wife
Check out that freshness!

Ingredients
2 lb bag regular hash browns (thaw at least 30 min)
1 pint sour cream
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup chopped onion (you may want to saute the onions a bit or microwave for 45 seconds, but I like crunchy onions!)
1 stick butter (melted & divided)
2 cups crushed corn flakes

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Use an oblong or rectangular 3 qt casserole dish.
Combine 4 tablespoons butter & all other ingredients, except corn flakes.  And add to the casserole dish.
Mix remaining 4 tablespoons butter with corn flakes & spread on top.
Bake for 45 min or until bubbly & corn flakes are lightly browned.

Chicken Manicotti

Adapted from: Southern Living
Need a yummy recipe to make ahead of time and freeze for later?  Or a delicious dinner to bring to a friends house that just had a baby?  This meal is perfect and won’t disappoint.  My chef AND family friends who just had a baby approved this one!

The filling is what makes this dish, and honestly, you could use the filling for just about any pasta dish.  Like stuffed shells or lasagna.  The filling would make a great alternative for people who don’t prefer ricotta.  When I first read this recipe, it sounded labor-intensive.  But once I assembled 1 manicotti, I was able to crank them all out in less than 5 minutes…and I made a double batch!  There is even enough filling to make a third…lucky us 🙂

An added plus…people will think you slaved all day in the kitchen, stuffing the manicotti yourself. The slicing open and rolling it back up trick is an awesome time-saver.

Chicken Manicotti - The Not So Desperate Chef Wife
Not as photogenic as I’d hoped! 🙂

Chicken Manicotti - The Not So Desperate Chef Wife
Ingredients
1 8 oz package cannelloni or manicotti
4 cups finely chopped cooked chicken (32 oz / 2 lbs of raw chicken)
1 8 oz containers chive-and-onion cream cheese
1 8 oz containers regular cream cheese
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
1 cup / 8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
3/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon seasoned pepper
1-2 24 oz jars of favorite marinara sauce
Top with Parmesan cheese and a sprinkle of dried oregano

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cook pasta according to package directions; drain.

In a large bowl, add chicken, cream cheeses, spinach, mozzarella cheese, breadcrumbs, garlic salt, and pepper. The original recipe says to stir…I say, get your clean hands dirty and mix it yourself.  Like you would a meatloaf.

Slice the pasta lengthwise on one side, through the other side (you should be able to lay the noodle flat) Spoon about 1/2 cup chicken mixture into each shell, gently roll up the manicotti / pressing cut sides together. Place, cut sides down, in 2 lightly greased 9 x 13  baking dish. 
Pour marinara sauce over the pasta. Sprinkle with dried oregano and parmesan cheese.

Cover with foil and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until heated. 

**FYI-UPDATE** So I bought a different brand of manicotti for the 3rd batch and the cooking directions said to boil for 9 minutes (the other brand said 7).  And after 9 minutes, those things were falling apart!!!  I still assembled the dish, but it was not as pretty as the other 2.  Sometimes you can’t trust the box directions!

Pumpkin Crisp

Krista: Hey!  I have a great idea.  Let’s have dessert first and dinner second tonight!
Nate: Wanna know how I know you’re pregnant?
Dessert first, dinner second is exactly what we did!  And man was it worth it.  I swear, this stuff is even better than pumpkin pie, and I LOVE pumpkin pie.  Do I dare say, it is EASIER to make than pumpkin pie?  And pumpkin pie is pretty darn easy to make.  
I’ve seen a similar recipe floating around potluck gatherings for years, jotted it down, and finally dug it out of my recipe box.  The originals all called for yellow cake mix, only a couple pecans, and no brown sugar.  So I thought I’d change the recipe around to make it my own and add more flavor.  It was a success!  We were on our way out the door, TO DINNER, and I saw Nate eat 4-5 bites of this!

Nate: (with mouth full) This stuff is really good! (still chewing with mouth full)
Krista: Wanna know how I know this just made it on the blog?

Pumpkin Crisp - The Not So Desperate Chef Wife

Pumpkin Crisp - The Not So Desperate Chef Wife

Pumpkin Crisp - The Not So Desperate Chef Wife
This is why you should let it sit 🙂  But so you can see the pumpkin color inside!

Ingredients
1 can pumpkin
1 can evaporated milk
3 eggs
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 box spice cake mix
1 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup of pecans, chopped
1/2 cup of almonds, chopped or slivered
2 tablespoons brown sugar

Directions
Preheat over to 350 degrees

Whisk together pumpkin, evaporated milk, eggs, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl.

Spray a 9 x 13 casserole dish with no-stick baking spray.  Add pumpkin mixture to casserole dish.

Sprinkle the cake mix over the top, and then sprinkle the pecans and almonds over the top.

Drizzle the butter over the nuts evenly and sprinkle the brown sugar over the top of that.

Bake for 50-55 minutes, or until the top is brown and bubbly!

Let sit for about 5 minutes so it will come out in nice squares (I skipped this step, I just couldn’t wait!)

Serve with vanilla ice cream! Enjoy!

Forgotten Chicken

Adapted from: Darling Doodles 

Forgotten Chicken - The Not So Desperate Chef Wife

Forgotten Chicken - The Not So Desperate Chef Wife

Thank you Pinterest! Some of my favorite recipes are the ones that take the amount of time the oven needs to preheat to be thrown together.  Quick, easy, and yummy dishes are a must for any busy family.  And the added plus of only have 2 dishes to wash, only makes this recipe even better for during the week.  Any recipe with a cream of soup always tastes rich and comforting to me.  You could easily add veggies and change up the seasoning to make this your very own.

Also, I’ve been on the look out for simple meals to throw together in preparation for the baby coming.  I’m thinking we will need some quick meals we can just whip together with no fuss or mess.  This one definitely made the cut!

Ingredients
2-3 lbs Boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 cups minute rice
1 package onion soup mix
1 can of cream of chicken soup
1 can of cream of celery soup
1 can of chicken stock (or water)

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Mix together the minute rice, cream of chicken & celery soup, and chicken stock in a medium size bowl

Add mixture to a buttered (or nonstick sprayed) 9 x 13 baking dish.

Lay raw chicken breasts on top of rice mixture and sprinkle the onion soup mix over the top.

Cover with tin foil and bake for 1 1/2 hours.

Served ours with a side salad and potato rolls!

Creamy Baked Ziti Casserole

Back when I shared this post, I froze the leftover spaghetti sauce.  That’s all gravy, but how many of you freeze food with every intention on eating it in the future and then don’t?  We are guilty of this.  So I was determined to do something with this leftover sauce besides chuck it in the trash in a few months.  

The beauty of cooking with leftovers is, all I need from the grocery store was cheese.  Everything else was already at home in a cabinet or freezer so my grocery bill was awesome.  While at the store I came across something new I’d never seen before, Philadelphia Cooking Creme.  You can find it directly beside the cream cheeses.  So I decided to just give the Italian cheese and herb flavor a whirl. There are so many interesting flavors to try out, I can’t wait to try more!  So if any of you have cooked with this stuff and have any yummy recipes to pass along, please email them to me.

Creamy Baked Ziti Casserole
Creamy Baked Ziti Casserole
Ingredients
1 lb dried ziti
1 10 oz tub Philadelphia Cooking Creme – Italian Cheese and Herb
1-2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
1/2 cup italian bread crumbs

Directions
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees 

-Cook ziti according to directions on box
-In a large pot, heat spaghetti sauce until heated through.
-Add 3/4 the tub of Philly Cooking Creme and 1/2 a cup of mozzarella to the spaghetti sauce. Stir until cheese is melted.
-Stir the ziti into the pot with the cheesy spaghetti sauce.
-Add the mixture to a 9 x 13 baking dish.  Add the rest of the Philly Cooking Creme to the top of the baked ziti, just dab it on with a spoon.  Sprinkle shredded mozzarella and parmesan over the top, then the breadcrumbs. 

-Cover with foil, and baked in the oven for 25 minutes.

-Uncover the dish and continue to bake until the cheese is melted, about 5 minutes.

Tomato Chicken Bake

This is the last dish that I served my mother, aunt, and sister for Mother’s Day.  It concludes my “Low Fodmaps Diet” challenge.  The challenge was to cook an entire meal according to the diet guidelines, but also make dishes that were enjoyable for everyone.  Judging by all the clean plates and all of us going for seconds, I’d say it was a success!

This chicken recipe…despite my under done potatoes (which I will be making this dish again shortly to get it down to a science!) was delicious!  I think this was the most moist chicken I’ve ever had.  It really gave a juicy steak a run for it’s money.  All of the ingredients compliment each other and make the dish look lovely.  Add you can’t ignore how simple it is to throw this stuff into a casserole dish and bake it.  Being such a healthy dish is an added bonus, which means you can eat as much as you want, right?

tomato chicken bake

tomato chicken bake

Ingredients
1 tbs olive oil
6 chicken breasts
5 red potatoes, quartered
3 roma tomatoes, chopped
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, roughly chopped
1/2 cup white wine, eyeball it
6 slices of lemon
salt and pepper

Directions
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

In a medium to large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Season each side of the chicken breasts, add to the skilley, and brown on each side.  Remove the chicken to a 9 x 13 casserole dish and add the tomatoes on top of the chicken.

Add the potatoes to the same skillet and cook until golden brown on each side.  Add the potatoes to the casserole dish.  (Do not skimp on this step.  I did, because I got really impatient and my potatoes turned out to be under done!  Not a fun crunch.)

Place a slice of lemon on top of each chicken breast.  Pour the white wine over the top.  Sprinkle the rosemary and fresh cracked pepper.

Bake in the oven for 45 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the potatoes are tender. 




Just because I don’t use our dining room table enough, here is a picture of the table setting before we chowed down!

table setting

table setting