Baked Ziti {freezer friendly}

7 Sep

We are expecting our second baby, and I have begun stocking my freezer with meals in preparation. I know I will be busy with a toddler and a newborn! I still want my family to enjoy home cooked meals while we transition into this new life :) I have made this recipe twice now, and we all enjoyed it, even my 2 year old. I have 2 9×9 pans of this in the freezer for us to enjoy as well. I haven’t tried any of the frozen ones yet.

Baked Ziti
source: slightly adapted from Six Sisters

1 pound ziti pasta
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 pound lean ground beef
2 (26 ounce) jars of spaghetti sauce
8 slices of provolone cheese
1 1/2 cups sour cream
8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Cook ziti according to package directions; drain. Brown ground beef and onion powder; drain. Add spaghetti sauce to beef and simmer 15 minutes. Spray 2 9×9 inch pans with cooking spray. Layer as follows: 1/4 ziti, 1/4 sauce, 4 slices provolone, 1/2 of sour cream, 1/4 ziti, 1/4 mozzarella cheese, and 1/4 sauce. Top with grated Parmesan and remaining mozzarella.

If you plan on freezing this right away, do not bake first. Cover with 2-3 layers of foil before freezing. When ready to eat, thaw in fridge for 24 hours. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until cheese is melted. You may need to bake on a pan if ingredients are all the way to the top of the pan, so they don’t bubble out into oven during cooking.

baked ziti

Easy Chicken Ranch Tacos

28 Aug

I have made this recipe 3 times now, and we really like it. It is a great weeknight meal, it comes together really fast. We both love the flavor of ranch dressing, so I knew we would like this recipe. My toddler ate the chicken taco meat and enjoyed it too. I served this on corn taco shells, and it was great. I only had cheese and salsa on hand last time I made it, but it would be great with any of your favorite taco toppings.

Easy Chicken Ranch Tacos
Source: Six Sisters Stuff

3 cups boneless skinless chicken, cut up and cooked
1 package of beef or chicken taco seasoning
1/2 cup ranch dressing
taco shells
shredded cheese, lettuce etc.

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add cooked chicken, and warm it for a few minutes. Sprinkle the whole package of taco seasoning over. Do not add any water. Heat for 5-7 minutes, or until chicken is heated through and taco seasoning is sticking to it. Add ranch dressing and heat an additional 2-3 minutes. Serve in taco shells with desired toppings.

chicken ranch tacos

Baked Parmesan Garlic Chicken & Homemade Rice-a-Roni

19 Aug

We all liked both of these recipes, and would make them again. I found both of these recipes on Pinterest, and happened to have all the ingredients on hand to make them. The chicken was moist and flavorful, the combo of the cheese and Italian dressing mix matched well with the chicken. I was surprised at how easy it was to make homemade Rice-a-Roni. I served this meal with steamed broccoli, a favorite of my toddler.

Baked Parmesan Garlic Chicken
Source: Key Ingredient

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 package Italian dressing mix
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix the cheese, Italian dressing, and garlic powder together. Moisten the chicken breasts with water, and then coat in the cheese mixture. Place in a shallow baking dish, and bake for 20-25 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in the middle.

Homemade Rice-a-Roni
Source: Rita’s Recipes

1 C white (regular long grain) rice
1/2 C pasta, (spaghetti) broken into small pieces
2 T butter
3 C chicken broth
2 T parsley flakes
1/2 t garlic powder
1/2 t onion powder
1/4 t pepper
1/4 -1/2 t seasoned salt (depending of saltiness of broth)

Melt the butter in a large skillet and saute the rice and pasta until golden, stirring often. Stir in all the seasonings, then add the broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer covered until the liquid had been absorbed and the rice and pasta are tender, about 15-20 minutes. Fluff with a fork a few times. If it is still too wet, let it sit on low with the lid off a few minutes.


American Goulash

4 Aug

I remember my mom making goulash when I was a little girl. I have been looking for a good recipe to try. She never seemed to follow a recipe, just whipped it up on her own. I do better if I have a recipe to follow. I have made the Paula Deen recipe in the past, but it wasn’t quite what I was looking for. This recipe was delicious! It reminded me of what my mom used to make. My 2 year old kept asking for “more”. I was pretty excited, because he generally doesn’t eat very much meat. I made this twice in 2 weeks we liked it so much :)

American Goulash
Source: Slightly adapted from Gonna Want Seconds

2 pounds ground beef
1 large yellow onion (I used onion powder)
4 large cloves garlic, minced
3 cups water (I added a little more as it was cooking)
2 (15 oz) cans tomato sauce
2 (14.5 oz) cans petite diced tomatoes
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried basil
2 dried bay leaves
1 tablespoon seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni

In a large pot, cook meat over medium heat. Cook until no longer pink, breaking up into small pieces. Drain grease. Stir in onions and garlic, cooking until onions are translucent.

Stir in water, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, soy sauce, oregano, basil, bay leaves, season salt, and black pepper. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low. Cover, and simmer 20 minutes stirring occasionally.

Stir in the elbow macaroni, and simmer over low heat until pasta is tender, about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, discard bay leaves, and refrigerate if possible overnight. **I served this immediately with Parmesan cheese on top.

American Goulash

Cheesy Chicken and Rice Casserole

19 Jul

I have always been a fan of chicken and rice casserole, but I really liked it with the addition of cheddar cheese. We both liked this recipe, the only things I would change next time is adding a little salt, and adding a little more cheese. I served it with steamed broccoli and apple sauce. It takes a little time to cook, so prepare ahead of time. I didn’t realize how long it had to bake for, so we had a really late dinner :)

Cheesy Chicken and Rice Casserole
Source: Tastes Better From Scratch, adapted from Favorite Family Recipes

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 cups uncooked long grain white rice, not minute rice
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 tsp. ground black pepper
2 (10.5 oz) cans cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 envelope dry onion soup mix

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13 inch pan. Layer rice, 1 cup of cheese, and pepper in bottom of pan. Top with chicken breasts. Spoon cream soup over chicken, spreading to make an even layer. Mix water, chicken broth, and onion soup mix together and pour over casserole. (I picked out the large pieces of dry onion for my onion hating husband). Bake uncovered for 1 1/2 hours, checking after one hour. If water is absorbed before rice and chicken are completely cooked, you can add 1/2 cup water. Remove from oven, add 1/2 cup cheese. Bake for 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

cheesy chicken and rice

Crockpot Macaroni & Cheese

10 Jul

My two year old loves macaroni and cheese, so I was excited to try this recipe out on him. I’m sure glad I did, he loved it. I thought it was good too. It kind of reminded me of Stouffers frozen macaroni and cheese. I have tried a crockpot macaroni and cheese recipe before, and it didn’t turn out very good. The milk in that recipe curdled in the crockpot. I didn’t have that problem with this recipe, it was smooth and creamy.

Crockpot Macaroni and Cheese
Source: Six Sisters, originally from Paula Deen

2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
4 tablespoons butter
2 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1 (10.75 oz) can condensed cheddar cheese soup
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste after cooking
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Boil the macaroni in water for six minutes and drain. In a medium saucepan, mix butter and cheese. Heat over medium high heat and stir until the cheese melts. Spray your slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray. Combine cheese mixture, sour cream, soup, salt, milk, mustard and pepper in your slow cooker. Add the drained macaroni and stir again. Cook on low for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Crockpot Mac and Cheese

Chewy Peanut Butter Granola Bars {No Bake}

27 Jun

We love to eat granola bars for snacks, or take them in our lunches to work. I thought this recipe looked delicious and easy, so I thought I would give it a try. We all liked it, including my 2 year old. It had great peanut butter taste, and was super simple to make. I think next time I make them, I will add in some mini chocolate chips.

Chewy Peanut Butter Granola Bars
Source: slightly adapted from Mom On A Mission, originally from Kraft

2 cups quick oats
2 cups Rice Krispie cereal
3/4 cup natural creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup honey
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Line an 8 by 8-inch baking dish with aluminum foil or parchment paper leaving a 2-inch overhang.
In a large microwave safe mixing bowl, combine peanut butter, honey, brown sugar and salt. Heat mixture on HIGH power for 1 minute, remove and stir. Return to microwave and heat on HIGH power 1 minute longer. Remove from microwave, pour in vanilla and whisk mixture for 30 seconds.
Add oats and Rice Krispies to peanut butter mixture and toss well to evenly coat.
Pour mixture into prepared baking dish, firmly press mixture into an even layer with the back of a measuring cup sprayed with cooking spray. Press hard to compact.
Cover with plastic wrap and freeze 10 – 15 minutes or chill in refrigerator 30 minutes. Lift bars from dish using foil or paper overhang and cut into bars or squares. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

No Bake Peanut Butter Granola Bars

The Marlboro Man Sandwich

17 Jun

One of my favorite cooking shows is The Pioneer Woman, on Food Network. Her recipes are easy, delicious, comfort food. I have made this recipe twice now, adapting it a little for our tastes. We both enjoyed it. My husband doesn’t like onions, so I substituted sautéed mushrooms instead.

The Marlboro Man Sandwich
source: adapted from Pioneer Woman

2-3 pounds cube steak
1 pound sliced white button mushrooms
4 French/deli rolls
2 sticks butter
Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
Onion powder, salt and pepper
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
Tabasco Sauce
Provolone cheese

Saute the sliced mushrooms in 1/4 cup butter, seasoning to taste with salt, pepper, and onion powder. Remove from skillet and set aside.

Slice cube steak into 1/2 inch strips, slicing against the grain. Season with Lawry’s.

In the same skillet, heat 2 tbsp. of butter over high heat until melted and beginning to brown. Add the cube steak in a single layer. Cook until one side is brown, then flip and cook until brown.

Now add 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce and 5-6 shakes of Tabasco. Now add another 2 tbsp. of butter. Add the cooked mushrooms, stir to combine.

Halve and butter the French rolls and brown them on a separate skillet.

To assemble, lay the bottom half of a french roll on a plate. Place the meat mixture, followed by a spoonful of juice from the pan. Top with cheese and top of roll.

marlboro man sandwich

{Copy Cat} Olive Garden Breadsticks

6 Jun

My favorite thing at the Olive Garden is the salad and breadsticks. I usually fill up on these two things, and then have a hard time eating any pasta. I found this recipe on Pinterest, and couldn’t pass it up. It took a little time and effort to make these, but they were worth it. I thought they were really good. I loved the buttery, garlicky topping….just like Olive Gardens.

Copy Cat Olive Garden Breadsticks
Source: Readable Eatables

1 1/2 cups warm water
2 Tbs sugar
1 Tbs yeast
1 Tbs salt
2 Tbs butter, softened
4-5 Cups flour

3 Tbs butter melted
sea salt
1 tsp garlic powder

For the dough: Pour water, yeast, and sugar into a stand mixer and let rest about 10 minutes; until frothy. Add salt, butter, and 2 cups of flour; mix on low. Add the rest of the flour a half cup at a time, until dough scrapes the sides of the bowl clean. Mix dough on medium speed about 5 minutes, until it is soft and easy to work with.

Let the dough rest in the bowl until doubled in size, about one hour. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface into a long log shape. Take a knife (coated with cooking spray), and cut log into 12-14 pieces. Roll each one of the pieces into 6 inch long snakes. Spray two large cookie sheets with cooking spray, and place the snakes 2 inches apart. Preheat oven to 170 degrees. Place breadsticks into oven and let rise, until doubled in size; about 15 minutes. Remove from oven.

Turn oven up to 400 degrees. Brush breadsticks with 1 1/2 tablespoons melted butter, and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake for 12-14 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and brush with the remaining butter/garlic powder. I doubled the butter/garlic powder for mine.

Olive Garden Bread Sticks

Cracked Out Quiche

2 Jun

We have our own chickens, so I am always looking for great ways to use our fresh eggs. I had never tried quiche before this recipe. We all loved it. I have made this at least a dozen times. I love that it is something a little different to cook for dinner, and it is really simple to put together. It does have to cook for 40-50 minutes, but it is totally doable on a weeknight. I hope you like it as much as we do!

Cracked Out Quiche
Source: Plain Chicken

1 9-inch deep dish pie crust
3 oz bacon pieces
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
3 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup Ranch dressing

Place bacon in bottom of pie crust. Top with cheese. Whisk together eggs, milk, and Ranch dressing. Pour over bacon and cheese. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake for 40-50 minutes, until center is set and the quiche is lightly browned. Allow to cool for at least 5 minutes before serving.



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