Category Archives: Dinner

Chicken Caesar Lasagna

I’m know I’ve been a bit lax on my recipe round up series but lately I’ve been cooking big meals and we’ve been eating off of the leftovers for quite some time. It’s been kind of nice to be able to kick back most evenings and heat up leftovers, but I was so glad to get my cooking juices flowing again with this Chicken Caesar Lasagna.

I came across this recipe in the Better Homes and Garden Skinny One-Pan Recipes magazine. When I see a lasagna recipe, I automatically assume that it will be a very involved, time consuming undertaking but as I read through the recipe I realized that it was actually quite easy and simple to throw together. It is really good and I especially appreciate it’s simplicity. I loved this spin-off of the classic meat and marinara sauce lasagna that you usually see! If you’re feeling a bit adventurous I’d recommend you give this a try!

Chicken Caesar Lasagna

  • 9 oven ready lasagna noodles
  • 20 oz Alfredo pasta sauce
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 3 cups chopped cooked chicken breast
  • 1 10 oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1 cup roasted red bell pepper, chopped
  • 3/4 cup shredded Italian-blend cheeses

Directions

Preheat oven to 425° F.

Cut bell pepper in half and seed. I decided to throw in a green bell pepper for some more color and flavor. Sprinkle with chopped garlic and drizzle with olive oil. Roast pepper for 15 minutes.

Reduce heat to 325° F.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine the alfredo sauce, lemon juice and black pepper.

Stir in the next three ingredients.


Arrange three of the noodles in a baking dish then top with 1/3 of the chicken mixture. Repeat layers twice.

Bake, covered, 50 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese and cook 5 more minutes or until cheese is melted.

Let stand 15 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
 

One Skillet Homemade Hamburger Helper

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I love meals like this that only require one skillet because then that’s about 4 things less that I have to wash! Plus it’s so much faster and easier to whip up quick and hearty meals when it’s all done in one pan.

I was scrolling through Pinterest for one pot, easy beef meals and I stumbled across this recipe over at Divas Can Cook. I’ve never actually had Hamburger Helper, but I was intrigued by the recipe and the fact that you boil the macaroni in milk in the skillet, which is one of my favorite ways to cook macaroni. It is so flavorful! So, I decided to give it a shot and it is wonderful. If you like Hamburger Helper I think you’ll like this homemade and healthier option as well!

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground beef or turkey
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 2 cups elbow macaroni, uncooked
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt or seasoning salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 3/4 tsp oregano
  • 3/4 tsp parsley
  • 3/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded

Brown ground meat in a skillet over medium heat until almost done. Add in onions and cook until tender.

Drain meat and onions on paper towel covered plate and then return to skillet. Add remaining ingredients except for the cheese. Stir to combine and bring mixture to a boil.

Reduce heat, cover and cook until pasta is tender, about 10 minutes. Stirring occasaionally. Taste pasta periodically for doneness.

Remove from heat and stir in cheese. Let pasta sit to thicken sauce. Adjust seasonings as needed.

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Enjoy!

Green Tomatillo Chicken Enchiladas

This is one of my all time favorite chicken enchiladas recipes that I have found! I love the freshness of the tomatillo salsa paired with the chicken. I discovered this recipe a few years ago and it has been a staple ever since. I didn’t have it on the menu plan for this month, but we had just grilled some chicken the night before and I had everything else I needed to make it so I decided to indulge my craving and make this.

This meal is easy to freeze, either just the chicken mixture to be rolled into tortillas later, or frozen after it’s been baked. I love to make this and then freeze half of it and I usually have some chicken leftover that I can either freeze or make into quesadillas. I think you’ll really enjoy this recipe if you love getting green chicken enchiladas when you go out to Mexican restaurants.

Enchiladas

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 4 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (or rotisserie chicken)
  • S&P
  • 20 flour tortillas
  • 4 cups Monterrey Jack cheese
  • 4 cups Tomatillo Salsa

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook until translucent.

Add the garlic and cumin then cook for another minute.

Sprinkle on flour and stir to ensure it doesn’t burn. Gradually whisk in chicken broth, constantly whisking until liquid thickens like gravy.

After liquid thickens, turn off heat, add 2 cups tomatillo salsa, cilantro, and chicken.


Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Begin rolling chicken into tortillas adding a bit of cheese to tortillas.

I have been using so many tortillas lately that I’ve been getting tired of buying them. I decided to buy some white flour tortilla mix. Tyler and I had a lot of fun making our own for this recipe!

Once complete, top with remaining 2 cups tomatillo salsa and top with cheese. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes.

Try pairing it with some Mexican rice and guacamole.

Enjoy!

Beef Enchilada Casserole

When I’m in the mood for Mexican food I love to throw this easy enchilada casserole together. It’s got all the benefits of beef enchiladas without having to roll each enchilada and have the corn tortillas tear on you constantly. Which is what always happens to me even if I heat them up like you’re supposed I don’t know what I’m doing wrong there, somebody please help me!

This recipe takes all the frustration out of enchiladas! It’s a very easy meal to do and it will go quite a long way. This meal is also very freezer friendly, so it would be a good back up to have on hand for those busy days where putting dinner together is a huge hassle. I’ve had one of those weeks where I have been so busy that I needed to cook things that were easy and that would feed us for many days so I wouldn’t have to be in the kitchen every night creating something new.

Beef Enchilada Casserole

  • 1 lb ground beef or turkey
  • Mom’s seasoning
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 15 oz can turkey chili
  • 1 10 oz can Rotel tomatoes
  • 1 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 pckt enchilada seasoning
  • 8 oz can green enchilada sauce
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 2 cups shredded Monterrey Jack cheese

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add meat and season with “mom’s seasoning“. Drain fat from skillet then add onions and cook until translucent.

While meat and onions are cooking heat a medium sauce pan over low heat and combine turkey chili, Rotel, tomato sauce, enchilada seasoning, and green enchilada sauce. Stir to combine, and allow to heat through.

Prepare a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Spray with nonstick cooking spray and layer half of the tortillas on the bottom.


After meat and onions are cooked, add sauce to meat mixture. Add half of the meat mixture onto the corn tortillas and then add half the cheese on top of the meat/sauce combo. Repeat layering: tortillas, meat, and cheese.

Bake for 30 minutes until cheese is bubbly and a little browned.

Pair it with chips and guacamole and some homemade Mexican rice and you’ve got a real fiesta going on! Enjoy!

 

Crockpot BBQ Pulled Pork

This is one of those recipes that really stretches your dollar for you. It doesn’t require a lot of ingredients and it goes a very long way. I always wait for good sales on pork butt before I buy them and I can very often get them for $1/lb which is outrageous! It can feed my husband and I for a week or more, lunch and dinner, and we can still put back half of it in the freezer for later. I made the girls try some after I got it all done and they were skeptical to say the least. They both got those looks on their faces like they knew all along I was trying to give them pork disguised poison.

I love to get everything ready in the crockpot before we go to bed and then the next morning, I already have dinner ready to go for that night! This would also be great for those of you who work all day and are often too tired when you get home to cook every night. Just put it in the crock pot before you go to work and you’ve got dinner waiting for you when you get home.

Crockpot BBQ Pulled Pork

  • Pork shoulder butt, bone in
  • 1 yellow onion, thick chopped
  • Stubbs BBQ spice rub
  • 16 fl oz BBQ sauce

Thickly chop onion and place in bottom of your crockpot. Rub down pork butt with spice rub and transfer to crock pot, with thick fatty side facing up. This will allow the fat to seep down into the pork and make it tender as it cooks. Cook on low for 8 hours.

Remove fat from pork and drain excess greasy fat, reserving 1/2 cup. Remove bone and begin shredding pork with two forks. Stir in BBQ sauce and mix well. If it needs a little more moisture mix in some of the reserved fat.

Serve with toasted buns, more BBQ sauce, honey mustard, and shredded cabbage or broccoli slaw. Enjoy!

 

Strawberry Chicken Salad

When I was growing up I had a very simple diet of things I liked: fries, Dr. Pepper, steak, and bacon. I used to have ten slices of bacon and a Dr. Pepper for breakfast every morning until I was 12 or 13. How I don’t have heart disease is a great mystery to me. So, if my diet gives you any indication of the types of food I liked, then you know that salads weren’t really on that list. I thought salads were for people who hated themselves and wanted to starve slowly while they watched all of us happy people eating french fries and enjoying ourselves.

Thankfully, my diet has greatly expanded and gotten quite a bit healthier as I’ve matured and salads have come off of my no-no list. I love salads that are packed with flavor but I still can’t quite get myself to eat one unless I’ve got chicken or bacon (or both) on it. I found this recipe in a Cooking Light magazine. This Strawberry Chicken Salad was very filling and extremely satisfying.

It is very simple to make and I make it on a regular basis now for lunches using my homemade roasted chicken and a little bit of raspberry vinaigrette on top. I love the different play of flavors and textures in this salad. It’s so good and I recommend you give it a try!

Strawberry Chicken Salad

  • 4 tsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme leaves
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 1/4 tsp salt, divided
  • 2 cups halved strawberries, divided
  • 8 oz shredded roasted chicken
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 2 cups fresh romaine leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 3 tbsp chopped pecans, toasted
  • 1 oz reduced-fat feta cheese, crumbled (about 1/4 cup)

Combine 1 tbsp oil, vinegar, honey, thyme, 1/4 tsp pepper, and 1/8 tsp salt in a medium bowl; stir with a whisk. Add 1 cup strawberries, tossing to coat. Let stand at room temperature 10 minutes.

Divide spinach, romaine, 1 cup strawberries, and onion between 2 plates or bowls. Top evenly with chicken and strawberry-balsamic mixture. Top each serving with 1 1/2 tbsp pecans and 2 tbsp cheese.

Enjoy!

 

Skillet Pork Chops


Buying pork loins and cutting your own pork chops is a great way to get the thickness you desire, and to save a little money as well. I was able to buy one pork loin and cook some of the chops while I froze the other half to enjoy next month! Pork chops are a really easy and quick meal and they are very flavorful as well. This is one of those minimal effort recipes I like to make on nights where I’m very tired and want to give up and go to McDonald’s. My kids love those nights when I can’t talk myself into cooking 😉

This is also a very versatile recipe, because you can change up the seasoning however you want and have different flavors each time you cook it so it never gets old. I personally love my mom’s homemade seasoning, but lemon pepper, Montreal steak seasoning, blackening seasoning, or any of the many options that stores have of spice mixes would be great too.

Skillet Pork Chops

Slice the pork loin into chops of desired thickness. I did about an inch. My 4.25 lb loin yielded 10 good sized pork chops and 2 smaller pieces from the ends. I froze 5 pork chops and prepared the other half.

Season both sides with mom’s seasoning, or any seasoning of your preference, and rub into pork chops. Heat large skillet over medium heat. Spray with nonstick cooking spray.

Cook until no longer pink in the center, turning once and getting a nice golden brown to the chops. Remove from heat. Serve with desired sides.

This recipe would also work great, maybe even better, on the grill but it was rainy out the day I made these so we had to go with plan B. Enjoy!

Mushroom and Chicken Marsala Bowls

Tyler and I are huge fans of Italian food, so I was pumped when I came across this lightened version of Chicken Marsala in my Cooking Light magazine. I am a big fan of full-flavored yet calorie conscious recipes and this one delivered. There are only 432 calories per serving including the quinoa which is a nice rounded out meal.

This is also the first I’ve ever liked quinoa, and it’s a really simple way to make it so I’ll be using this quinoa recipe quite a bit in the future!


The only downside to this recipe, which really won’t be a downside to a lot of you out there, is the mushrooms. I am a big texture person when I am eating and the texture of mushrooms repulses me. I don’t know why. I really wish I knew, but it’s always been that way. I thought I’d give them another try in this recipe but I quickly regretted it. I’m so weird. So, if you’re not a huge fan of mushrooms but your spouse is, I would suggest just halving the mushrooms and maybe upping the chicken a bit to add to the meatiness of the dish.


Mushroom and Chicken Marsala Bowls

  • 2 1/2 tbsp butter, divided
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth, divided
  • 3/4 tsp salt, divided
  • 1 1/2 tbsp canola oil, divided
  • 6 oz fresh baby spinach
  • 1 lb mushrooms, quartered
  • 8 oz boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 4 garlic cloves, diced
  • 1/2 cup dry Marsala wine
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Melt 1 1/2 tsp butter in a small sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add quinoa to pan; saute 3 minutes or until toasted and fragrant. Add 1 1/4 cups chicken broth; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 12 minutes. Remove from heat; let stand 10 minutes. Stir in 1/4 tsp salt.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 1/2 tsp oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add spinach and cook 1 1/2 minutes or until beginning to wilt. Remove spinach from pan.

Melt 1 1/2 tsp butter in pan. Add 1 1/2 tsp oil. Add mushrooms and cook 8 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove mushroom mixture from pan.

Add remaining 1 1/2 tsp oil pan. Add chicken to pan and saute 4 minutes, browning on all sides. Add thyme and garlic; saute 1 1/2 minutes. Add wine and remaining broth, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Cook 2 minutes or until liquid is reduced by two-thirds and is slightly syrupy. Remove from heat. Add remaining 1 1/2 tbsp butter, mustard, pepper, and remaining 1/2 tsp salt, stirring constantly until butter melts. Stir in mushrooms and spinach. Serve over quinoa.

Enjoy!

How To: Cook A Whole Chicken In The Crock Pot

I love scrolling through Pinterest and seeing the levels of creativity that folks have employed to put their crock pots to use for more than just soups. I decided to try out a roast chicken overnight, not too sure what the results would be like. I had the idea that the chicken would be very soft unlike the nice crisp skin you get from the deli chickens. To my surprise the skin was perfectly crisp and this is one of the easiest methods I have tried thus far for roasting a whole chicken.

Crock Pot Whole Roasted Chicken

  • Whole chicken, neck and giblets removed
  • 6 tbsp butter
  • 2-3 tbsp lemon pepper seasoning
  • 1 tsp salt, optional

I began by balling up foil and placing it in the bottom of the crock pot to act as a roasting pan of sorts for the whole chicken.

I then removed the neck and giblets from the chest cavity and rubbed the chicken down with some butter, making sure to put butter inside the chicken and under the skin. Then I seasoned it well with some lemon pepper and salt.

I set the timer for 8 hours and cooked it on low overnight. My crock pot has a timer and will automatically switch to “Keep Warm” after the allotted time so I didn’t have to worry about it as much. This crock pot is very similar.

 

The skin was crisp and delicious and the chicken was moist and very flavorful. I couldn’t stop eating it as I was shredding the meat!

I portioned the meat into 8 oz and froze what I didn’t want to use yet, using my Food Saver to ensure that my chicken stayed fresh and that all the air had been removed from the bag.

I recommend you give this method a try if you have not settled on a roasting technique yet. Enjoy!

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Honey-Chile Chicken on Coconut Rice

I love all in one dishes where you don’t have to worry about cooking several different sides in addition to your entree. This is a wonderful Asian (or Thai?) dish that is spicy and delicious. I found this in a Cooking Light magazine, as I do a lot of my favorite recipes, so it is also low on calories! There are only 283 calories per serving and 6 grams of fat, which is amazing.

My parents and my in-laws came down last weekend to hang out so I threw this meal together for us all to enjoy. The chili sauce is extremely simple and would make a great sauce for so many other dishes. Even if you don’t make this recipe, try out the sauce. It is amazing!

 Honey-Chile Chicken on Coconut Rice

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 14-oz can unsweetened lite coconut milk
  • 1 1/4 cups uncooked brown basmati rice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 medium chopped onion
  • 1 medium red bell pepper
  • 2 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen peas
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp Asian chili paste (sambal oelek)
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 cups cooked chicken breast
  • Raw chip coconut, toasted, optional
  • 1/4 cup snipped fresh cilantro
  • Lime wedges, garnish

Preheat oven to 350 F. Coat a 3-quart rectangular baking dish with cooking spray. In a small saucepan bring water and coconut milk to boiling. Pour into prepared baking dish. Stir in rice and salt. Bake, covered for 30 minutes.

Bake chicken breasts or cook them however you like.

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Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and sweet pepper. Cook 5 minutes or just until tender, stirring occasionally. Add ginger and garlic; cook and stir 1 minute more. Stir onion mixture and peas into partially cooked rice.

In a medium bowl combine the next four ingredients (through soy sauce); stir in chicken. Spoon chicken mixture over rice mixture.

Bake, covered, 15 to 20 minutes more or until heated through and rice is tender. Sprinkle with coconut, if desired, and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges and/or additional chili paste.

Makes 8 servings. Enjoy!