I was so excited to get the air conditioning turned back on but I knew I would have to do some work to keep from losing food. Because I had not been cooking (even using the microwave most days) we had a lot of restaurant leftovers. I had purchased a rotisserie chicken at Costco to help save money. I think we actually had all eaten one meal from it. I found this recipe and knew I wanted to try! The really good news was that it also used up some other things like cottage cheese and mozzarella cheese. I actually split this into 2 separate pans freezing one for later use. Matt liked it so well that he asked how much trouble it was to make! This is definitely a repeat but likely one that is made ahead of time in the summer.
I ended up using one jar of Alfredo Sauce per pan mixed with 5 oz of melted cream cheese. I also used one cup of mozzarella on each pan as well.
- 22 ounces Alfredo Sauce I used one jar but it was not very sauce per pan
- 12 ounce jumbo pasta shells
- 1 1/2 cups cooked chicken breasts leftover rotisserie chicken works great for this recipe
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 6 slices bacon cooked until crispy and crumbled
- 1 cup cottage cheese
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 1 tablespoon ranch dressing mix
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Cook the pasta shells to al dente, drain well.
Cook the bacon until it’s super crispy, drain well and crumble.
Dice the chicken.
Combine the jar of Alfredo Sauce with 5 ounces of melted cream cheese.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the diced chicken, ½ the mozzarella cheese, 3 ounces of cream cheese, cottage cheese, bacon and powdered ranch mix.
Ladle a small amount of sauce onto the bottom of the casserole dish. Stuff the shells witht the chicken mixture and line them up in the baking dish.
Pour the remaining sauce on top of the pasta shells, sprinkle the remaining mozzarella cheese over the casserole dish and cover with aluminum foil.
Place in preheated oven and bake until hot and bubbly!
To brown the top of your casserole, remove the foil and place under the broiler for 3-5 minutes or until golden brown.
Garnish with fresh parsley and enjoy!
Still trying new recipes to see if we can add a different variety to our cooking over the coming months. This recipe I copied out several months ago, Chicken Bubble Biscuit Bake Casserole.
It has all the making of goodness, chicken, bacon and ranch. It appeared to be fairly simple with the hardest part being cutting up the biscuits. I also thought it would make enough for a meal. Such promise!
The reviews were mixed. Neither Kendall nor I were impressed. Zach said he would eat again and Matt’s reaction was “not bad”.
It was very simple to prepare but I felt like it needed more so I added half a squash casserole, half a dish of creamed spinach and tomato basil biscuits. Zach and I spent around a total of two hours in the kitchen.
Overall this will not be a repeat on our menu list!
One of the things I love todo on the internet is find new recipes. I usually print out several of these at a time. My thought process is that if we like the recipe I can put in my book or if not simply throw away. This is an awesome plan but I often find that I do not have time to try these out or I am in fear of making it and no one eating. With a few extra minutes this week I have decided to try a few new recipes as well. This one, Asian Sesame Chicken is a definite repeat! It is super easy and everyone enjoyed. I used my casserole crockpot for this which worked awesome!
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 lbs) I cut mine into small cubes before putting in the crock pot.
- 1 cup asian sesame seed salad dressing
- 1/3 cup apricot preserves
- 1 packet onion soup mix
- chopped green onions & sesame seeds (optional, for garnish)
1. Spray slow cooker insert with cooking spray. Lay chicken in bottom of slow cooker.
2. Mix together the Asian sesame salad dressing, apricot preserves, and onion soup mix packet. Stir together with a fork and pour over the chicken.
3. Cover and cook on low heat for 6-8 hours.
4. Serve over cooked rice (brown or white) or noodles Drizzle with sauce from the slow cooker and garnish with sesame seeds.
Yesterday, Saturday I realized that I could not buy any more food to freeze, everything is full! This is an awesome problem to have but it also means I need to be very diligent about using up items we have and not letting things (veggies and fruits) go bad. This recipe is the perfect fit.
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped (I used the inside pieces of a red onion that were left in the bottom of the fridge)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 can (10-3/4 ounces) reduced-fat reduced-sodium condensed cream of celery soup, undiluted
- 4 cups fresh or frozen corn
- 1 small zucchini, chopped ( Used 2 small zucchini that I had purchased last Saturday)
- 1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped (Used several tomato from the garden that had bad spots. I ended up using 1 cup of diced tomatoes)
- 3/4 cup soft whole wheat bread crumbs (The bread hill and another piece of bread)
- 1/3 cup minced fresh basil (Us
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
- Additional minced fresh basil, optional
- Preheat oven to 350°. In a small skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion; cook and stir until tender. In a large bowl, whisk eggs and condensed soup until blended. Stir in vegetables, bread crumbs, basil, salt and onion. Transfer mixture to an 11×7-in. baking dish coated with cooking spray.
- Bake, uncovered, 40-45 minutes or until bubbly. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake 5-10 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. If desired, sprinkle with additional basil.
This actually turned out very good. I added a piece of grilled chicken to mine but everyone else ate without! This is definitely a keeper!
I did not set an specific recipe goal for this year just because I have so much else I want to work on. But I am still working through some recipes that I have print. And of course I am always printing more.
We have actually found several that are definite repeats.
First is the batter for fried green beans.
1 cup beer or white claw
1 cup self-rising flour
salt and pepper.
This is one I discovered by accident. I need to use up some fresh green beans that I had purchased. The first batch I used a bottle of beer. The second batch I used lime white claw instead and it was actually even better!
Next up are Egg and Potato Breakfast muffins of course from one of my favorite food sites. Matt helped me make these last week due to our busy mornings that I just can’t seem to get ahead of! Of course getting up an hour early is not an option either. We have a batch in the fridge for the grab and go needs around here.
Last is Philly Cheese Steak Casserole- I used some left-over steak to make this. Matt described it best. It is not bad and I am glad you used up all the stuff we had to make it but it is definitely not something I would make again.
For the next couple of weeks- we are using what is in the freezer. Do you have a great recipe for pork chops?
Amanda gave me an Instapot several years ago for my birthday. I tired to use it and like it but I have only found 2 items that I really really like it for. The first was boiled eggs and the second instapot potato soup. I used it for other things but just have never found something I said “Wow” that was worth it. In December, it finally died and I had not plans to replace it. But Amanda brought over hers as they are going to use an Air Fryer instead. I should also clarify that mine was not the official brand but this one is. I saw this recipe on line and decided to give the instapot another try! I must say that I really impressed…. impressed enough to try other things as will
Instant Pot Beef and Broccoli
Mine even looked very similar. It took less than an hour total time to prepare and likely was around the promised 25 minutes. Everyone said how good it was!
2 definite repeats for the year!
I did not chose to establish a goal this year for recipes as I am finding between working and trying to reduce and control the food budget it is some times difficult to fit things in. But after seeing this recipe on Facebook, I definitely wanted to try it. Crack Chicken Noodle Soup.
I did not have the bacon bits that are called for but I had several pieces of bacon fat that I had saved so I tossed that in the pot. The carrots I used were just past peak and needed to be used as well.
But EVERYONE loved this soup. Lily did not try as she is attempting to go dairy free to help her Eczema. But even Matt said that we should repeat it! A HUGE win. This recipe did take about an hour for me to assemble and cook but overall a huge win!
I have decided that since I am doing so well on this challenge that it would probably be best aka make my life easier if I plan to go ahead and finish the challenge during my summer break. This way, when we start back to school and our crazy busy life, I can enjoy some new favorites! The second reason is that it allows me to keep up with my goal for blogging as well! I also want to get my recipe book and folders cleaned and organized this summer as well.
I decided to try this first recipe AppleSauce BBQ Chicken for a couple of reasons. I wanted a good easy meal with chicken and second I still have some baby food from Braxton that I need to use, applesauce is one of these. The recipe is from one of my new favorites websites One Hundred Dollars a Month. I have only been reading for about a year but it is a wealth of information. This chicken turned out perfectly. I had 5 random piece of chicken breast left in a bag so I decided to go ahead put it all in to make room in the freezer. I was worried about enough sauce but I had plenty! The recipe is a freezer meal but I just added it all to the crockpot, chicken first, onion and then the sauce. I decided to go ahead and shred the chicken prior to serving. It was a huge hit. Definitely a repeat but will likely cut the recipe in half next time because it made two additional meals. The first is below and the second is chicken sandwiches on Sunday.
After dinner I place 3 cups in a bowl for the second recipe BBQ chicken salad. I got the idea for this from Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures but really made it my own. I simply add a bag of Cole slaw mix and 2 tablespoons of lemon to the chicken. Mix it all up and put in the refrigerator. We took this to the pool and enjoyed for dinner on Saturday. Another hit! The original recipe said you could use canned chicken and I may do that next time.
Two repeats in a row! Fifteen more recipes to try sounds very doable at this point! This is the reason I want to finish the challenge finding lots of good and simple meals for the winter! The official count is
I know that I always do better with a goal and a plan. I am counting down the weeks until my summer vacation begins (6) so in the process I want to get a jump start on what the summer may bring. I realized last year that I needed to use some of my free time to stock the freezers with quick and easy to complete meals for the fall. I need to start planning for fall 2020. We will go from over six months of limited to no extra activities to three kids in three spots/ activities along with my return to full time work. The goal is to get the stocking done before the summer starts! This week, we should be making a large beef purchase and I will be working full steam ahead on cooking. The good news is that I only have one night scheduled in Guam this week and I gain an hour a day simply by working at home. You will notice that we did well this week with only one meal of eating out!
Breakfast– I was able to get a jump start this week by making Sausage muffins on Sunday! I need to make up some baked oatmeal bags and continue to add choices such as French toast and waffles to the freezer when ever possible. Saturday- bacon and eggs . Sunday- Sausage muffins. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday-choice of breakfast muffins, eggs, sausage, pancakes, cereal or grits. –Still have not gotten around to a baked oatmeal but really do need to make one this week.
Lunch- Saturday- pizza and ham and cheese sliders. Sunday- Gregg’s (local restaurant) .The kids will have school delivered lunches, Matt has 2 days of chicken sandwiches and 2 days of chill that he made on Saturday. I am going to return to eating at least one salad a week and also continue with some left-overs on other days.
Dinner- Saturday- Left-overs Sunday- chicken nuggets Monday-Hamburgers and French fries (hamburgers are in the freezer) Tuesday-Taco Tuesday (the plan is to make a crock pot full of taco meat and freeze the left-overs to use in the summer and fall. Wednesday- Sloppy joes and tator tots ( Again made in the crock-pot with the left overs frozen for use later). Thursday-Spinach Ravioli (Lily’s in charge) Friday- BBQ chicken pizza. Zach is in charge.
I will also be cooking and freezing one pound bags of cooked ground beef to use in meals. Next weekend, I plan to make 5 dinner packs of Salisbury steak and several pans of meatballs to freeze. This should use up the 40-50# of ground beef I am planning to purchase. I will also need to purchase several packs of Italian sausage as I would like to get at least one baked ziti in the freezer. Hope you will stay around for the ride and please share if you have a great recipe that you think we would enjoy especially if it can be doubled!
Time for a confession, we have already spent out entire grocery budget for the month of February, well actually we spent it all by last Sunday aka “Junk Food Sunday.” I actually do know where all of it went and I am ok with it. But I definitely need to make sure that we use up all the food we have so that I am not wasting and going out to buy more. This week I have really been focused on not have any food waste. Monday, everyone took left-overs for lunch. Kendall ended up taking 3 separate days of left-over from the veggie tray to dip. On Tuesday, I made sliders to use the Hawaiian Rolls and cheese from the cheese tray. Wednesday was a pick your own left-over. Thursday, I took the rest of the broccoli and cauliflower covered with cheese slices and baked. I also used the rest of the baby carrot to cook as a side dish.
For lunch on Saturday (today) I cut up the rest of the chicken from Costco last week and made chicken and cheese quesadillas with Taco Fries. I used up the rest of the Taco dip by placing on top of French fries! This was an awesome treat at lunch! Everyone liked the fries! I am also going to count our Taco fries as a new recipe this week! We still have about 2 cups of chicken that is cut up.
I found this morning a new recipe to try in the crockpot. It calls for 3 cooked chicken breast. Instead of cooking chicken breast, I am going to use the rest of the chicken from Costco and also throw in a couple of sticks of teriyaki chicken that is left-overs from Chinese on Friday! I made 16 cups of chicken broth from the bones and skin of the chicken so I am positive that we have gotten our monies worth from that chicken.
Another way I am saving this week is by using gift card earned via Swagbucks. We hit Walmart last night and purchased some needed personal hygiene items, filters for our heating and air system and even water flavor packets using a gift card!
I am also keeping an eye on the cost of flights for our August trip to Disney. It would appear that I may be able to get round trip flights for less than $200 each!