Sloppy Joe Casserole

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If you look at my pinterest search history you will find that 90% of my recipe search terms are “casserole.” I love the convenience of throwing a bunch of tasty things into a baking dish and letting magic happen in the oven. This recipe is especially wonderful as it takes the flavor of a Sloppy Joe and maximizes it with a cornbread base. Talk about savory sweet, this dish is packed with flavor! I chop up a bunch of extra vegetables to add a bit of crunch (and nutrients too I guess) and it is a slam dunk. I adapted this recipe from http://www.bunsinmyoven.com

Serves:  10    Calories: 462.4 per serving     Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 (8.5 oz) box of cornbread mix
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1/3 cup of milk, I used 2%
  • 1 egg
  • 1 (14 3/4 oz) can of cream corn
  • 2 (16 oz) cans of sloppy joe sauce
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 green bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 bunch of green onions, chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and grease a 9×13 baking dish
  2. Mix together the cornbread mix, 1/2 cup of the cheddar cheese, milk, egg, and cream corn.
  3. Pour this mixture into your baking dish and bake for about 15 minutes.
  4. While cornbread is baking melt the butter in a large pan.
  5. Sauté the onion and peppers for 3 minutes
  6. Add the ground beef and cook until it is no longer pink.
  7. Drain the fat from the pan. This is important because you don’t want this mixture to be too liquid-y.
  8. Add all but 1/2 cup of the sloppy joe sauce to the beef mixture and stir it all in.
  9. By now your cornbread should be done baking. Check for readiness with a toothpick (basically stab the cornbread with a toothpick once and if it comes out clean the bread is done).
  10. Puncture the cornbread with a fork to create little holes. Spread 1/2 cup of the sloppy joe sauce over the cornbread.
  11. Pour the beef mixture over the cornbread and spread evenly. Top with the rest of the cheddar cheese and return the baking dish to the oven for 15 minutes.
  12. Remove from the oven, let cool for a minute or two, top with green onions and serve.
  13. Enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

*Recipe adapted from http://www.bunsinmyoven.com

Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole

11781605_10206924741935153_2249767159206518171_nI love this recipe for many reasons. Firstly it is wildly delicious and filling. The flavor is creamy and savory which is one of my favorite combinations. Also the celery and onions give a nice tender crisp texture against the softer chicken and rice. It’s an experience I think everyone should have at least once 😉 Secondly, this recipe is fairly easy to throw together. Some parts may seem tedious but if you prep before hand (like cook and shred the chicken in the morning and refrigerate it until you’re ready to cook) it will save you tons of time. Lastly, this dish gets better each time you heat it making it an amazing lunch leftover. It serves quite a few, and since my husband and I are the only ones eating it at this time (my four-year old won’t touch anything that isn’t breaded), we get dinner and 2-3 days worth of lunch out of it. This recipe is a slam dunk.

Serves: 6-8     Calories: 440 per serving     Time: 1 hour 5 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz long grain wild rice, I used 3 boxes of Rice a Roni brand
  • 1 medium sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 cups celery, sliced
  • 2 tbsp butter, unsalted
  • 1 (10 oz) can of condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth, you might not need this ingredient as I will explain below
  • 2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan, or less depending on how much you like to sprinkle on top of the dish
  • sprinkling of dried basil

Directions:

  1. Prepare the rice according to the directions on the package. I used 3 boxes of Rice a Roni which warranted a total of 5 cups of water but I only used 4 to get a firmer rice. I also took five minutes off the cook time. If you decide to do this you will not need the 1/3 cup of chicken broth mentioned in the ingredients list. The rice will have extra water since we are not allowing it to fully soak in all the liquid. This is okay because when you bake it in the oven it will continue to cook and soak up the liquids.
  2. While rice is cooking preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. In a large skillet melt butter over medium high heat. Add the celery and onions. Saute until tender, approximately 3-5 minutes.
  4. To the onions and celery add the condensed soup, sour cream, and if you’re using chicken broth throw that in too. Once this is all combined add the rice and shredded chicken. Mix well.
  5. Pour this into an ungreased 9×13 baking dish and bake uncovered for 35 minutes.
  6. Let sit for a minute before cutting into it.
  7. Serve and Enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

*Original recipe adapted from http://www.bhg.com

Italian Baked Sausage and Pasta – ★★★★✩

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This recipe had me at pasta and sausage. Who doesn’t love an Italian style bake?! It’s easy and IT’S DELICIOUS! This one seems like it has a lot of steps but it’s actually pretty effortless. I was impressed with how nicely each step came together and even more impressed with how crazy my children could get when I had 10 minutes between steps to rest.. Cooking with kids in the house is no easy feat, which is why I really enjoy these types of recipes that give me short bursts of time to give them some attention. The only thing that turned Perry off a bit was how this pasta dish reheated the next day for lunch. I will let him explain it in his rating/review, but I believe what happened to him is because of microwave user error. I did not have the experience he did but that might be because I heated mine up in the oven. I found it to be wonderfully creamy as a left over.

“When Kels first served this it was awesome. The pasta was perfect, the sausage was savory, the tomatoes were sweet/tangy and the sauce was creamy. What happened the following day is the reason I am giving this one four stars. Don’t get me wrong it was still delicious, but the texture changed which threw me off. It was so creamy the night before that I was a little disappointed when it took on a grainy ricotta texture after being reheated. I still enjoyed it but be informed that when you make this the leftovers might take on a new identity. I would definitely eat this again even as a left over!”

Serves: 6     Calories: 400 per serving    Time: 1 hour 20 minutes 

Ingredients:

  • 10 oz whole wheat penne pasta
  • 1 lb Italian chicken sausage
  • 1 6 oz. bag baby spinach
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup chopped grape tomatoes
  • 1 cup tomato pasta sauce, we used a sweet basil variation
  • 1 container plain greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup milk, we used 1%
  • 1 and 1/4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, we used reduced fat
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • red pepper flakes to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Boil a large pot of water and cook pasta. You don’t want it to be cooked completely because you are going to bake it. You still want a little crunch when you strain it. (DON’T STRAIN UNTIL YOU READ STEP # 6)
  3. Spray a large pan with cooking spray and cook sausage over medium heat until cooked through/browned (approximately 15 minutes).
  4. Add in garlic and cook for an additional 30 seconds or until fragrant. Turn off heat, remove sausages, and scrape what sauce and garlic is left in the pan into a bowl.
  5. Slice the sausage into bite-sized disks.
  6. Place the spinach in the bottom of your strainer. When pasta is done, pour pasta and pasta water over the spinach allowing the spinach to wilt.
  7. Pour pasta, sausage, spinach, and tomatoes into bowl with the garlic.
  8. Add tomato sauce, yogurt, milk, 1 cup of the cheese, and spices. Mix very well.
  9. Pour into casserole dish. Top with remaining 1/4 cup cheese. Cover dish with foil.
  10. Cook for 30 minutes covered. Remove foil, cook for an additional 10 minutes.
*Photo is an original belonging to me
*Recipe adapted from http://www.taylormadebytaylorbee.com/

Baked Pesto Chicken – ★★★★★

1978774_10205587880114443_8010916815274238925_nThere is something to be said about a recipe that you just throw in a dish and bake. With a wild toddler and a brand new baby recipes like this are my saving grace. I am able to give my family a tasty meal without sacrificing nutrition and my own time with them. I’m learning that life is all about balance, so if that is something you are . I took some shortcuts to save even more time, for example using store-bought pesto and pre-sliced chicken breasts meant for stir fry. Perry gave five stars and here is why:

The chicken was so moist and the oil from the pesto made it taste, as I can only describe it as, silky. I think the pairing of pesto and mozzarella works so well because the flavors basically melt together leaving you with a creamy-herby savoriness. I would like to try this chicken and the sauce over a bed of fettucine Alfredo. Could you imagine?! Kelsey made rice to eat with the left overs and she poured the sauce left in the pan over top. Quite possibly the best rice I’ve ever had. Five stars for flavor!”

Serves: 4     Calories: 340 per serving     Time: 35-40 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, if you like to make them bite sized like I do then cut them into bits.
  • 1/2 cup pesto, you can make your own with this recipe here or, if you need to save time, buy a jar of fresh pesto already made (this is usually found by the gourmet pastas in the refrigerated cheese section of your grocery store.)
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Season chicken with salt and pepper
  3. Spread 1/4 cup of the pesto in a 9×13 baking dish
  4. Lay chicken over the pesto and top chicken with the remaining pesto.
  5. Cover the dish with foil and bake until cooked through, about 20-25 minutes.
  6. Uncover and sprinkle the mozzarella over the dish. Bake for an additional few minutes until the cheese is melted.
  7. Dish and spoon the hot sauce left in the pan over the chicken.
  8. Enjoy!

*Original recipe adapted from http://www.food.com

*Photo is an original belonging to me

Chiles Rellenos Casserole

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It has been over two months since my last post because it’s been over two months since I’ve cooked a meal. The end of 2014 was possibly one of the most hectic and stressful times of my life thus far. November/December/January was chock full of birthdays, holidays, new babies and a cross-country drive with our toddler and our newborn. Needless to say my motivation to cook was nonexistent. However, now we are back in California and I’m back to having the space/time to be creative in my own kitchen. 2015 will, I hope, bring more family recipes to this blog. Cooking with a toddler AND a newborn is really difficult but I’m discovering new ways to make it all come together.

Now that you’re all privy to what’s been going on in my life let’s get down to business, chile relleno casserole! This recipe is perfect for so many reasons. First, it is a casserole so throw it all in your dish, bake it and you’re good. Second, this is chile relleno so the flavor is spicy and amazing. Third, this makes so many servings we will probably have left overs for a few days. Fourth, you can simplify some major steps to save time and frustration. And finally, the original source is a blog I stumbled upon that I trust and who has their stuff together (www.goingreno you freakin’ rock the internet). Seriously, this was a great recipe to come back to the blog with. I will definitely be making it again soon.

Serves: 8-10     Calories: 409.6/serving     Prep: 1 hour 20 minutes    Cook: 30-40 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 8 poblano peppers (if you want to save time get 3-4 cans of whole green chilies)
  • 3 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 tsp salt, divided
  • 1 can rotel diced tomatoes with green chilies
  • 1 cup of milk, divided
  • 3 tbsp minced garlic (save time by purchasing already minced garlic rather than hand mincing)
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 3 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 12 eggs
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp cumin

Directions: 

  1. If you are roasting fresh peppers follow each step, if you are using canned chilies skip to step 6.
  2. Turn oven to broil setting
  3. Wash the peppers and rub with oil and season with 1 tsp salt. Place on a cookie sheet and broil on each side for 10 minutes. (20 minutes in total.)
  4. Transfer peppers to an airtight container or plastic bag and let sit for 20-25 minutes.
  5. Remove the skin, seeds and ribs from peppers. I literally used my finger nails to scrape the skin off. if you do this PLEASE wear gloves. The oils from the peppers will burn your skin (I learned this the hard way) and you’ll be in agony soaking your hands in milk while trying to enjoy your casserole. Do not be concerned if the peppers split when trying to clean them. You want them to lay flat in the end anyways in order to layer the casserole. if they don’t split cut them so they lay flat.
  6. Preheat oven to 350.
  7. Mix together the diced tomatoes, garlic, 1 tsp salt and pepper and 1/2 cup of milk in a pot and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes. This will seem watery but that is okay.
  8. Spray a 9X13 baking pan and pour the tomato mixture into it.
  9. Place half of your poblano peppers, as evenly as you can, on top of the tomato mixture followed by half of the shredded cheese. Repeat with another layer of peppers and cheese.
  10. Whisk together the eggs, 1/2 cup of milk, flour, cumin and salt/pepper to taste (except don’t taste it… raw eggs you guys.. eyeball what you think will add good flavor. I did a light sprinkling of each). Pour this mixture over the entire casserole.
  11. Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes or until the eggs have set. To check, insert a fork into the center and if it comes out clean you are ready to eat! I check a few different spots though just to be sure – raw eggs gross me out.
  12. Slice into 8-10 squares and enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

*Original recipe found at http://www.goingreno.com 

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Pizza Casserole – ★★★★★

ImageThis recipe is everything I look for in a weeknight dinner. The recipe is simple so it is hard to screw up. It only requires a handful of ingredients which is nice on the wallet. It only takes  40 minutes tops to prepare including prep time which is perfect for those hectic nights that you have a million things going on. Lastly, we gave it 5 tars which means everyone’s tummies were full of a delicious dinner so we went to bed happy. Here is why Perry thinks this dish is deserving of 5 stars:

“Kelsey has been under the weather so I asked her what she wanted me to order for dinner. She refused to let me order in and I think it is because she wanted an excuse to get out of bed. She whipped up this casserole in under an hour and it was delicious. The bisquick is fluffy and sopped up the pizza sauce perfectly making each bite very flavorful.  I was expecting to have to wash a lot of dishes after dinner (Kels is a messy cook) but there was hardly any mess. All around I think this dinner should have full stars for how fast, easy, tasty, and hassle free it is.”

Serves: 8          Calories: 470          Time: 35 minutes      Carbs: approx. 8 grams

Ingredients:

  • 2 pouches (7.5 oz each) Bisquick® Complete buttermilk biscuit mix
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 jar (14 oz) pizza sauce
  • 1package (8 oz) sliced pepperoni
  • 2cups shredded mozzarella cheese (8 oz)

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 375°F.
  2. Spray 13×9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish with cooking spray.
  3. In medium bowl, stir Bisquick mix and water until soft dough forms.
  4. Drop half of dough by spoonfuls evenly in bottom of baking dish (dough will not completely cover bottom of dish. Just drop dumplings of biscuit batter. Do not spread to cover bottom of dish completely. The dough will rise and spread as it cooks).
  5. Drizzle about 1 cup pizza sauce over dough. Arrange 1/2 of the pepperoni slices evenly over sauce. Top with 1 cup of the cheese. Repeat layers with remaining dough, pizza sauce, pepperoni and cheese.
  6. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.
  7. Cut into squares to serve.
  8. Enjoy!

*Original recipe belongs to http://www.BettyCrocker.com

*Photo is an original belonging to me