Monthly Archives: February 2014

Chicken Spaghetti {Freezer Meal}

I will admit, I’m not really a fan of anything that calls for spaghetti. I hate spaghetti. I hate breaking it in half, but I also can’t stand all the twirling if you don’t break it in half. That being said, this recipe is popular with the family so I make it anyway. I’ve made this recipe before, but this time I did it as a freezer meal and I broke it up into two meals instead of just one (I also discovered that they make pot-size noodles thus ending my hatred of spaghetti!)

I adapted this recipe from one in a Taste of Home cookbook (I can’t recall which one) but I did find it on their website and you can see it here.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb spaghetti noodles (Hooray for Pot Size!) cooked al dente
  • 2-3 cups of cooked chicken, cubed or shredded.
  • 3 cans of cream of chicken soup
  • 1 8oz bag of shredded cheddar
  • 2 cups of milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Mix soup, chicken, cooked spaghetti, half of the shredded cheddar, milk and seasonings together. Make sure it’s thoroughly blended.
  2. Pour evening into two pans.
  3. Top both with the remaining cheddar.
  4. Cover with foil, label and freeze.

To Cook:

  1. Thaw 24 hours in the fridge.
  2. Cook on 400 for 25 minutes or until heated through.

Verdict: Mostly A Win

While this isn’t a favorite of mine, the rest of the family likes it quite a bit. If I were making it just for me, I would throw some peppers and onions in there and probably some garlic as well, but then I would be the only one eating it and the rest of the fam would be eating cereal for dinner.

 

Chicken Stuffing Casserole {Freezer Meal}

In my endless pursuit of easy freezer meals, I came across this dinner.  It was appealing because of it’s level of easiness and the fact that it has stuffing which we don’t eat very often.

This recipe makes two meals. We had one tonight and I froze the other one for a meal down the road.  I adapted this recipe from this one I found on Taste of Home’s site.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups of cooked chicken (shredded or cubed)
  • 2 cans of cream of chicken soup
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 2 boxes of stuffing mix (I used the Stovetop Cornbread variety.)
  • 2 cups of frozen corn
  • 2 cups of shredded cheddar

Directions:

1. Cook the boxed stuffing according to the package.

2.  Spread half of the stuffing into two greased pans.

3. Add 2 cups of the cooked chicken to each one. (I shredded half and cubed half since I couldn’t decide.)

4. Add half of the corn to both.

5. In a bowl mix soup and milk together, then pour evenly over each pan.

6. Add one cup of cheddar to each pan (I had already put away one pan when I took the picture so only one is shown.)

7. Cover them in aluminum foil, label and freeze.

To Cook:

  1. Remove from fridge 30 minutes before baking. (Do not thaw completely.)
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Bake for 1 and a half hours covered.
  4. Remove foil and bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until heated through.

Side Note: If you are cooking one of them the day you make it, still bake at 350 covered, but only for 30 minutes or so.

Verdict: Eh.

This came out just fine and I won’t mind having it again (which is good since I still have a casserole in the freezer) but it wasn’t anything particularly fabulous. I probably won’t make it again.

 

 

 

 

Bandito Chili Dogs

I found this recipe in a crockpot cook book, but I can’t recall which one at the moment. I’m not great at keep track of recipes when they are in cookbooks which is why Pinterest is my best friend.

At any rate, I thought this looked like a fun take on chili dogs and it makes a great Saturday meal (which is when we had it) because it’s quick and easy and you have tons of time to do all the other things you want to do on the weekend.

Ingredients:

  • Hot dogs
  • Hot dog buns
  • corn chips (the off brand works just as well as Fritos)
  • 2 cans of chili (I used Hormel)
  • 1 can of cheddar soup
  • Shredded cheddar (optional)

Directions:

  1. Add chili and cheddar soup to the crock pot  and mix well
  2. Put the hot dogs in the crock pot and make sure they are completely submerged in the chili sauce.
  3. Cook on low 3 1/2 hours.
  4. Put corn chips into a sandwich bag and crush them. (This is my favorite part. It’s a good way to work off aggression.)
  5. Use a fork to remove hot dogs and put them in buns. Add extra chili sauce on top.
  6. Top with cheddar cheese and the crushed corn chips.

Verdict: Win

I love chili dogs, so this is an obvious win for me. Adding the corn chips really gives them a nice crunch.

Easy Crockpot Ravioli

The main thing that really drew me to this recipe was that it used the crockpot. I love crockpot cooking because it’s just so very easy and I’ll be honest, sometimes I don’t feel like cooking dinner. With the crockpot, it does all the cooking. That is a win in my book.

I adapted this recipe from Barns and Noodles. I should note that one of the changes I made was completely by accident since I grabbed the cream of chicken soup instead of the cheddar soup and didn’t even realize it until I had dumped it into the bowl. (My excuse is that it was early and I was in a hurry… clearly my coffee had not kicked in yet.)

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag of frozen beef ravioli
  • 2-24oz jars of pasta sauce (I used Prego Fontina and Asiago.)
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 cup of mozzarella
  • parmesan cheese
  • 1/8 tsp of garlic powder
  • cooking spray

Recipe:

  1. Spray your crockpot with cooking spray.
  2. In a bowl mix the pasta sauce, soup and garlic until thoroughly blended.
  3. Pour 1/3 of the mixture into the bottom of the crockpot.
  4. Pour in half of the frozen ravioli.
  5. Top with another 1/3 of the sauce mixture.
  6. Add 1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella. (I also added parmesan here but did not measure it. If you like it cheesy add a lot, if not it wouldn’t hurt to omit it entirely.)
  7. Add the rest of the frozen ravioli.
  8. Add the rest of the sauce.
  9. Add another 1/2 cup of mozzarella and more parmesan if you wish.
  10. Cook on low for 6 hours.

Verdict: Win

I was really nervous how this would come out since I accidentally used cream of chicken soup, but this turned out to be a happy accident in the end. Not everyone in the family is fond of the cheddar soup and since I used the Fontina and Asiago sauce it might’ve been too cheesy with the cheddar soup. Lucky for me the ravioli didn’t come out tasting like cream of chicken soup. It just was a bit creamier. I will definitely make it again. You can’t beat how easy it was to fix and everyone liked it!

 

 

 

Cheesy Crockpot Smoked Sausage and Potatoes

When I first started dabbling in cooking things that didn’t include a microwave oven I made this one quite often. It’s crazy easy and I love that it doesn’t require much effort on my part.

Ingredients:

  • 1 smoked sausage, sliced
  •  32oz bag of potatoes o’brien
  • 2 cans of cheddar soup

Directions:

  1. Throw everything into the crockpot and cook it on low for 5 to 6 hours.

Verdict: Win

It’s so very simple and it comes out quite flavorful and tasty. I love cooking this sausage in the crockpot because it really brings out the smokey flavor.

 

 

Bacon Cheddar Pork Chops

I get so tired of eating pork chops the same way, so when I came across this recipe I was super excited to try it out. Since I didn’t change the recipe at all I will just direct you to Mrs. Happy Homemaker.

Verdict: Fail

I’m not exactly sure where I went wrong here. They were edible, but not great. I’m thinking my pork chops were a bit too thin perhaps. My bacon also got overdone and ended  up a bit hard. Not sure if I’ll try it again. Since the prep involves dredging the raw pork chops, it’s pretty high stress for someone as scared of raw meat as I am and I’m not sure I’m willing to go there again. I  should note that the pork chops on the blog this recipe came from look amazing and my fail should in no way reflect on the original recipe.

Peanut Butter Ritz No-Bake Cookies

These came about because I had four boxes of Ritz to use up (50 cents each after coupons) and I wanted to make some kind of easy treat for Valentine’s Day. Naturally I did a Pinterest search for Ritz and bam: these cookies showed up over and over again. Crazy easy and I already had two of the main ingredients, peanut butter and the aforementioned Ritz crackers.

Source: Everyone on Pinterest

Ingredients:

  • 3 sleeves of Ritz Crackers
  • 2 bags of candy melts (or baking chocolate, chocolate chips, etc.)
  • Peanut butter
  • Sprinkles
  • Parchment paper (Seriously, don’t skip the parchment paper, life is so much easier if you have it.)

Directions:

1. Spread peanut butter on a Ritz cracker and top it with another to make a sandwich.

2. Dip in chocolate (make sure they are  completely covered) add sprinkles and you are done!

Verdict: Win

These were crazy good! So easy to make and everyone loved them. They won’t be around for long. I’ll be making another batch of these soon.

 

Pizza Pasta {Freezer Meal}

I’m always looking for something a bit different to try for dinner (nothing too different because then nobody here would eat it!) When I came across this recipe I decided it was worth a try. I will admit that I was skeptical on whether or not this would be yummy. Pepperoni and pasta??? But I knew it would be economical and I could make it and freeze it so I soldiered on.

I adapted this recipe somewhat from it’s original form. For one thing, I made it two meals instead of one. You can find the original recipe at Kathie Cooks.

Ingredients:

  • 1lb of pasta (I used rotelle) cooked and drained
  • 15oz of ricotta cheese
  • 8oz shredded mozzarella
  • pepperoni (however much you want or pick a different topping. I have a 7oz package but I didn’t use all of it.)
  • Birdseye Recipe Ready peppers and onions (once again you can use whatever toppings you want. I used these because I have a bunch I snagged for free thanks to coupons.)
  • 24oz jar of pasta sauce (not pictured.)

Directions:

1. Mix the cooked pasta with the ricotta cheese.

2. Spread it equally into two pans. (I use the disposable lasagna pans. You get two for a buck at the dollar store.)

3. Spread half the jar of pasta sauce in each pan.

4. Add your toppings evenly to each pan.

5. Top each one with half of the cheese.

6. Cover both pans with foil. Label them with the instructions Bake at 350 for 25 minutes. Throw them in the freezer and you have two dinners ready to go!

To Cook:

  1. Thaw it 24 hours in the fridge.
  2. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.

Verdict: Win

This was surprisingly good! Despite my skepticism this came out awesome. Everyone enjoyed it. I will definitely make it again since you get two meals for extremely cheap. Plus you can mix up the toppings for a different experience each time.  Also, it’s one of the easier freezer meals I’ve tried so it gets bonus points for that as well.

Crazy Easy Crockpot Roast – 3 Ingredients!

I didn’t find this recipe anywhere. I just basically used what I had. I absolutely love pot roast and making it in the crockpot is so easy that it almost feels like cheating.

Ingredients:

  • 2-3lbs beef roast
  • 1 package of Lipton’s Beefy Onion dry soup mix
  • 1 14.5oz can of beef broth

Directions:

  1. Throw everything in the crockpot the night before and let it cook all night and all day on low.
After slow roasting for hours

Yep, that’s it. Easy peasy. I served mine with mashed potatoes and corn.

Verdict: Win

This is so crazy easy and the meat comes out so tender and juicy. And it’s always a bonus when I don’t have to buy a ton of ingredients. Plus, I think it could be done in different ways by adding different spices to it.

And if you have leftover roast you can make nachos!

I’ll admit the nachos were even better than the original dinner. It’s just tortilla chips, leftover roast, leftover queso, a little bit of Mexican blend cheese and salsa. Yummy!

 

Oven Tacos {Freezer Meal}

I came across this recipe while browsing Pinterest and thought it might be a fun twist on tacos (plus I had recently nabbed 20 cent taco shells thanks to coupons) so I decided to give this recipe a try. There are many recipes for oven tacos and they are all a bit different, but the one I went with is from Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures.

I didn’t make many changes to the recipe, but I did decide to make it into two separate freezer meals instead of one big meal because there is no way we could eat twenty tacos. And freezing it was a great option because then it’s super easy to assemble later.

Source: Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures

Ingredients: Day of Freezing

  • 2lbs of ground beef
  • 8oz can of tomato sauce
  • 1 can of refried beans
  • 1 package of taco seasoning
  • Ziploc freezer bags (or whatever brand you prefer. I stick with name brand bags for freezer cooking because you want a good quality bag.)

Directions:

  1. Brown the ground beef in a skillet (Drain the fat.)
  2. Add beans, sauce and seasoning and mix everything together.
  3. Let it simmer for two or three minutes.
  4. Let the mixture cool a bit.
  5. Then scoop half the mixture into each of the two freezer bags.
  6. Freeze flat.

Ingredients: Day of Cooking

  • Thawed taco filling (I thawed mine in the fridge for 24 hours.)
  • 12 taco shells
  • Mexican blend shredded cheese (I used half of an 8oz bag)
  • Taco fixings – lettuce, salsa, sour cream etc.

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400
  2. Arrange your taco shells standing up in a baking dish or pan. (I managed to fit 12 into a disposable lasagna pan.)
  3. Spoon the meat mixture evenly into the taco shells.
  4. Top generously with cheese.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes or until the meat mixture is heated through and serve.

Verdict: Win

These were awesome! Even more awesome because I know I’ll get to eat it again soon since I still have some in the freezer. I loved how the filling came out. It’s a bit milder than when you do 1lb with 1 package of taco seasoning and I liked it that way, but will buy some hot sauce for the family members that like a bit more kick. This made enough for four people (I served it with rice and corn.) The best thing about it is that the shell holds together so much better when you make them like this. A definite winner!