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Quick and Easy Meal – Chicken Spaghetti

18 Jun

We eat a lot of chicken in my house. Like, a lot. I’m talking 3 out of 5 meals will have chicken in them. Eating the same thing all the time can be very monotonous and boring, so we try to think of different ways to cook it. There’s the Paula Deen Chicken and Rice Casserole (which I’ve already shown you how to do), Chicken Alfredo, chicken salad, baked chicken, grilled chicken, etc, etc. But my absolute favorite chicken recipe is one I got from my mom that her mom gave her. Chicken Spaghetti was my favorite meal growing up – I always requested it on my birthday or for special occasions.

This recipe is near and dear to my heart, and I hope you and your family enjoy it as well. It’s a great, big casserole that can be eaten throughout the workweek. Here’s my recipe for Chicken Spaghetti.

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3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2/3 package thin spaghetti noodles – noodles broken in half
1 can Campbell’s Cream of Celery Soup
1 yellow or Vidalia onion, chopped
1 green Bell Pepper, chopped
1 jar diced pimentos
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
Salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste
Olive Oil

Boil your chicken in a large pot of water, transfer cooked chicken to a plate but reserve broth. Dice or shred the chicken, whichever you prefer. Cook the noodles in the reserved the broth. Sauté diced onion and pepper in olive oil until translucent.

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In a large mixing bowl combine chopped chicken, onions, peppers, pimentos and soup. Spoon noodles into the mixture and stir well.  I usually add a few large spoonfuls of the reserved broth as well (this makes it less dry – you want it to have a juicy consistency but not too watery). Season it with salt, pepper and garlic powder (however much you like). Last, add 1 cup of cheese and stir it up real good.

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Transfer to a large casserole dish and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Cover the top of the casserole with the remaining cup of cheese during the last 5 minutes of cooking.

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Let me know if you try this and like it, or if you are already making a version of Chicken Spaghetti! Enjoy! 

Quick & Easy Meal – Paula Deen’s Chicken & Rice Casserole

3 May

It’s been a little while since I did a food post so it’s time to do another one! Today I’m going to share with you one of my absolute favorite casseroles – Paula Deen’s Chicken & Rice Casserole.

Paula Deen's Chicken & Rice Casserole

Everyone knows Paula Deen is famous for her amazing food, and most people tend to think her recipes are pretty unhealthy. Considering the amount of butter they call for, I can understand why people think this. But the Chicken & Rice Casserole isn’t that bad, and I like to substitute as many lighter items as I can when making it. This is a great weekend meal where you’ll have leftovers the next day. I usually make it on Sundays and we’ll eat the leftovers Monday night, then still have some leftover that I’ll take for lunch a day or two later. It’s a very economical meal! Granted, my husband doesn’t love it as much as I do (I think he has trouble getting past the water chestnut consistency) but he lets me make it every now and then.

This casserole is very easy to prepare and only takes 25 minutes in the oven! Here’s the recipe and directions:

Ingredients:

1   10 3/4 ounce can condensed cream of celery soup
1   4 ounce jar pimentos
1   8 ounce can water chestnuts, drained and chopped
2   14 1/2 ounce cans green beans, drained and rinsed  (I use frozen green beans)
3 cup diced cooked chicken
1   medium onion, peeled and diced
2 tablespoon butter or vegetable oil  (I use olive oil)
1 cup mayonnaise  (I use lite mayo)
1   6 ounce box long-grain wild rice, cooked according to package directions
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1   pinch salt

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First, boil your chicken and transfer it to a plate, then dice it up and be sure to save your broth. Boil your green beans in the broth about 10 minutes, then drain them. Next, cook the box of rice as directed on the package. Sauté your onion over butter or olive oil. Then, in a large mixing bowl, combine the sautéed onions, pimentos, green beans, water chestnuts, can of Cream of Celery soup, and 1 cup of mayonnaise. Mix it well. Now add your diced chicken and the cheese and mix it up again.

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Transfer to a greased 3-quart casserole dish and cook on 350 for 25 minutes.

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You can add extra cheese to the top of the casserole during the last 5 minutes in the oven if you are a cheese freak (like my husband). Serve it up while it’s hot and enjoy! I love mine with a big glass of cold milk – mmm mmm! I might have to make this again soon.

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What are some staple casseroles in your house?

Weekend Meals: Lasagna Roll Ups

20 Feb

Like a lot of women, I enjoy cooking. I wish I had more time and energy to cook fancy meals throughout the week, but thanks to a hectic work schedule we stick to quick and easy healthy meals in our house on weeknights. On the weekends, however, I get to go all out. I like to cook a big casserole, stew, or pasta dish on Sundays – something that can easily be reheated on Monday night for leftovers. Because who likes to come home and have to cook dinner after a Monday at the office? Not this girl.

Again, like a lot of women, I have become completely obsessed rather fond of Pinterest, and use it primarily for looking at geek humor and things I’ll never be able to afford to find cooking inspiration. What did we do before Pinterest?? Oh that’s right, I forgot for a second about those big bulky things called “cook books”. Any who, I have found a lot of great recipes that I plan to start sharing here on my blog, and I’ll start this week with one of me and my husband’s favorite dishes so far – Lasagna Roll Ups.

Lasagna Roll Ups – what a genius idea! This was originally pinned by Jaclyn at Cooking Classy and you can go to her post here for full cooking instructions and more great photos like the one above. I made this on a Sunday a few weeks ago and it turned out amazing. I’m always a little wary of trying out new recipes for the first time and never think they’ll turn out anything like the picture.  12 roll ups were more than enough for me and my hubby to have for dinner both Sunday and Monday – and there were even leftovers for me to take for lunch on Tuesday.

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients

  • 4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 lb lean ground beef
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes (I’d recommend Contadina Brand)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 Tbsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 (15 oz) container Ricotta Cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup fresh flat leaf parsley (aka Italian Parsley, it’s about 1 small handful), chopped
  • 2 1/4 cups freshly grated Mozzarella Cheese, divided
  • 3/4 cup freshly, finely grated Parmesan Cheese, divided
  • 1/3 cup freshly, finely grated Romano Cheese
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 uncooked lasagna noodles

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Drizzle one tablespoon olive oil into a large non-stick fry pan. Heat over medium high heat, crumble ground beef over oil, add chopped onions and cook mixture stirring occasionally and breaking up meat, until browned. Drain fat from beef. Pour beef mixture into a food processor and pulse for about 5 seconds until it is ground into fine pieces. Pour beef mixture back into fry pan and add crushed tomatoes, minced garlic, basil, oregano and 1 tablespoon olive oil and stir. Season sauce with salt and pepper to taste then cover with a lid and simmer over low heat while preparing pasta and cheese mixture.
  • Cook lasagna noodles in a large pot of boiling water along with 1 tsp salt and 2 tablespoon olive oil to al dente according to directions listed on package. Once noodles are cooked, drain and immediately line noodles in a single layer on waxed paper or cookie sheets.
  • Prepare cheese mixture (I do this while pasta is cooking) by stirring together Ricotta cheese, egg, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper with a fork in a large mixing bowl until well combine. Stir in chopped fresh parsley. Add in 1 3/4 cups grated Mozzarella Cheese, 1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese and 1/3 cup Romano Cheese, stir mixture until well combine.
  • Stir meat sauce and spread 1/3 cup evenly into a 13×9 inch baking dish by tilting pan back and forth. Spread 1/4 cup cheese mixture evenly onto each cooked lasagna noodle, then spread 1 heaping tablespoon meat sauce along the top of cheese covered noodle. Roll noodles up jellyroll style and arrange seam side down in baking dish. Cover rolled noodles with remaining meat sauce (about a heaping 1/8 cup over each) then sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup Mozzarella Cheese and 1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese evenly over roll ups. Tent lasagna roll ups with foil (don’t allow foil to rest on cheese or it will stick you just want to loosely tent to prevent the cheese from browning) and bake for 35 minutes in preheated oven. Serve warm garnished with additional chopped fresh parsley.
    Recipe Source: Cooking Classy

Instead of canned tomatoes I substituted one jar of Newman’s Own organic marinara sauce. It’s very important to grind your meat/onion mixture up so that it can be easily spread on to the noodles. I don’t have a fancy food processor – my electric food chopper did the job just fine for me. And be sure to not over-cook your noodles! You don’t want them to fall apart as you are getting them on the wax paper and rolling them up. Here’s how mine turned out. (I apologize for the crappy cell phone photos – next time I’ll do better I promise!)

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Before they went into the oven.

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Ready to eat!

The total prep time was about thirty minutes for me, with a little bit of a cleanup (this meal produces lots of dirty prep dishes). But once those suckers come out of the oven and you take your first bite, you’ll realize it was well worth the effort. We loved this meal and I have a feeling I’ll be making it for years to come. I hope you and your family enjoy it, too! Thanks, Cooking Classy!

Stay tuned for more weekend meals on the blog and quick and easy weeknight meals, also!

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