Chicken, Broccoli & Rice Casserole

Casseroles have been my boyfriend and I’s friend these past 2 weeks. They’re really easy to make and the outcome is almost always a pan full of deliciousness.

Last weekend we put soup Sunday’s on a hold & opted for a more comforting dish, like a casserole. At Thanksgiving I had this delicious broccoli casserole topped with Ritz crackers. It was heaven. I searched for a recipe similar to that but with chicken & rice. I wanted a chicken & rice casserole that reminded me of that amazing broccoli casserole with the salty Ritz crackers on top.

I found a recipe for a broccoli, rice & chicken casserole that I decided looked, one, amazing & two, possibly close to what I had at Thanksgiving. I decided to add cauliflower to the recipe because I love broccoli & cauliflower together & because why not?

It’s really quick to get together & cooks in around 45 minutes which makes it a great weeknight meal or any night really!

 

Chicken, Broccoli & Rice Casserole

Prep Time: 15 Minutes Cook Time:  40-45 Minutes

Ingredients:

  • 5 Chicken Tenderloins, Cubed
  • 2 C Fresh Broccoli, Chopped

    20151206_174212
    Chicken, Broccoli & Rice Casserole
  • 1 C Fresh Cauliflower, Chopped
  • 1 C White Rice
  • 2 C Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 C Cream of Broccoli
  • 2 1/2 C Low-Fat Milk
  • Salt/Pepper, Sprinkle of Both
  • 1 Sleeve Ritz Crackers, Smashed

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • While oven is preheating, cube chicken tenderloins & place in a medium sized mixing bowl.
  • Chop 2 cups of broccoli & 1 cup of cauliflower into bite sized pieces & add to bowl.
  • Add remaining ingredients to bowl with the exception of the crumbled ritz crackers. Mix until well combined.
  • Pour ingredients into a greased 9×13 baking pan & make sure everything is evenly distributed.
  • Top mixture with crumbled ritz crackers & place in the oven.
  • Cook at 375 degrees for 40 minutes or until rice & chicken are cooked.
  • Eat immediately & enjoy!
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Broccoli, Egg & Cheese Breakfast Casserole

The first time I had a similar breakfast casserole to the one I am going to post, I swear, it was life changing. I love almost everything breakfast. I say almost everything because I have a deep hatred towards bacon. I’ve been called “terrorist” before because it’s true, who hates bacon? Well I do. Something about the texture and the appearance – I just cannot do it. The smell too. Makes me want to vom.

Back to the topic at hand. This breakfast casserole is legit. There are so many different things you can do with this recipe. You could throw any sort of meat in it that you want – sausage, ham… bacon or even veggies! We decided on broccoli for our casserole & it was so yummy. Just swap out the broccoli in the recipe for whatever you’d like – spinach, tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, meat – you name it, i’m sure it would be just as delicious!

Also, this recipe is super easy to make. If you have a half hour of time you’re pretty much set. Prep is pretty quick & it only takes about 20-25 minutes to bake in the oven. Easy-peasy! You could even prepare it the night before if you’re pressed for time & bake it the next day! It’s so great. Enjoy!

 

Broccoli, Egg & Cheese Breakfast Casserole

Prep Time:  10 Minutes Bake Time: 20-25 Minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 Can Crescent Rolls

    IMG_20151213_104402
    Broccoli, Egg & Cheese Casserole
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1 Cup Mild Cheddar
  • 1 Cup Monterey Jack
  • ¾ Cup Low-Fat Milk
  • ½ TBSP Butter, Cubed
  • 1 Medium Head of Broccoli, Cut into Bite Size Pieces
  • Salt/Pepper

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray & line with crescent rolls. Gently press the crescent roll pieces together so they cover the bottom evenly.
  • While oven is preheating steam the broccoli so it turns bright green. You can do this over the oven or in the microwave, whatever is easiest for you! Once broccoli is steamed set aside & allow any moisture to drain from the broccoli.
  • In a medium bowl add eggs & milk & beat until combined. Set aside.
  • Layer the broccoli on top of the crescent roll crust as evenly as possible. Next sprinkle the cheese over the broccoli. Pour the egg mixture over the cheese & broccoli. Allow to spread out & sprinkle with salt & pepper.
  • Place into the preheated oven & bake for 20-25 minutes or until mixture begins to turn golden & eggs are cooked.
  • Allow to cool & set slightly before serving & enjoy!

 

 

Pesto Pasta with Sun Dried Tomatoes, Roasted Asparagus & Roasted Garlic Gruyere Cheese Stuffed Chicken Sausage

I found this recipe from a blog called Damn Delicious. They served their pesto pasta with a fried egg, which sounds amazing. Who doesn’t like ooey gooey egg yolk all over your food. I do, but egg on my pasta didn’t sound too appealing to me. So I went a slightly different route by adding some chicken sausage to get some protein.

Disregard the 95 word recipe title. Just call it Delicious Pesto Pasta. You won’t be disappointed.


Pesto Pasta with Sun Dried Tomatoes, Roasted Asparagus & Roasted Garlic Gruyere Cheese Stuffed Chicken Sausage

Serves 6-8           Prep Time 25 Min             Cook Time 15 Minuets

Ingredients

Pesto Pasta with Sun Dried Tomatoes, Roasted Asparagus & Roasted Garlic Gruyere Cheese Stuffed Chicken Sausage
Pesto Pasta with Sun Dried Tomatoes, Roasted Asparagus & Roasted Garlic Gruyere Cheese Stuffed Chicken Sausage
  • 1 Box of Shell Pasta (8oz)
  • 1 Bundle of Fresh Asparagus, Bottoms Trimmed
  • 2 TBSP Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper to Taste
  • 1/2 TBSP Minced Garlic
  • 7oz Buitoni Pesto w/ Basil
  • 1 Package of Aidells Roasted Garlic & Gruyere Cheese Chicken Sausage (4 Links)
  • 1/2C Sundried Tomatoes Drained & chopped (I used a food processor)
  • 1 Block Mozzarella Cheese, Diced

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  • Trim the ends of the asparagus & spread out over a baking pan. Drizzle olive oil over the asparagus. Sprinkle with salt/pepper & minced garlic. Place in the oven for approximately 10 minutes or until the asparagus are tender & crisp. Remove from oven & let cool before cutting into bite sized pieces.
  • While asparagus are roasting, boil water and cook pasta according to directions on the box.
  • Slice chicken sausage and cook in a frying pan until heated through.
  • Drain pasta once cooked. In a large bowl combine pasta, asparagus, sun dried tomatoes, sausage, mozzarella cubes & pesto. Mix until well combined & serve immediately.

Spinach Artichoke Pasta with Roasted Garlic Chicken Sausage

I’ve been cooking a lot, which is amazing. Means my soul is definitely happy. Lots of good things happening and lots of great things to look forward to. Life is good to keep it simple, but really, when isn’t life good?

Monday night I came home from work at about 4:15pm our usual return, and the roommate did not have dinner prepared or even thought out. Now we eat dinner extremely early according to some. My dad has his weekly ritual:

  • Leave for work at 7:30am
  • Head home for lunch at 12:00pm
  • Return to work around 1:00pm
  • Head home around 4:00pm
  • Drink a beer or two
  • Eat dinner around 5:15pm

This is every Monday-Friday without fail. Occasionally we’ll stay later at work if we are in the middle of something, or we’ll go in earlier/later. It really all depends, but for the most part this is the schedule and he’s sticking to it.

So my point, it takes some time to prepare dinner & the fact that nothing was done at 4:15pm worried me. I took the bull by the horns and decided I would cook dinner, really had to yank my chain to get me cooking.

I looked in the fridge and saw a lot of spinach. The pantry had a can of artichoke hearts & I remembered that we had purchased some chicken sausage the other week that needed to be used. There’s always pasta in the house & everyone in family LOVES spinach artichoke dip. So I stumbled upon a recipe form a blog called A Life of Flavor to use as an outline and see what I could do with it.

To be honest, I am still dreaming about this dinner 4 days later. If you’re a lover of cheese, spinach, artichokes & pasta you will absolutely love this dish. It’s really easy  & quick to whip up. You will not be disappointed.


Spinach Artichoke Pasta w/ Roasted Garlic Chicken Sausage

Ingredients:

  • 12 OZ Box of Pasta, your choice

    Spinach Artichoke Pasta w/ Roasted Garlic Sausage
    Spinach Artichoke Pasta w/ Roasted Garlic Sausage
  • 1 TSP Butter
  • 1 TBSP Olive Oil
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, Minced
  • 8 OZ Reduced Fat Cream Cheese
  • 1/2 C Milk
  • 1/2 Cup Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1/2 Lemon, Juiced
  • 1/2 TSP Salt
  • 1/4 TSP Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1/2 Yellow Onion, Diced
  • 14 OZ Can Artichoke Hearts, Drained & Chopped
  • 6-7 Handfuls of Fresh Baby Spinach
  • 4 Links Roasted Garlic Chicken Sausage, Sliced into Bite Size Pieces
  • 1/2 C Shredded Parmesan Cheese

Directions:

Cook the box of pasta according to package directions.

In a large frying pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add diced onions & sliced chicken sausage. The sausage most likely will be fully cooked. Heat until outsides are browned and onions are translucent. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter & add the minced garlic.  Add cream cheese and stir until creamy & smooth.  Stir in the milk and add the Greek yogurt, lemon juice, salt & crushed red pepper flakes. Once combined and heated through, add the chopped artichoke hearts, baby spinach & shredded parmesan cheese.

Drain the pasta & add the artichoke/spinach mix along with the cooked chicken sausage and onions.  Top with additional parmesan cheese if desired & ENJOY!

Sweet Potato Chorizo Enchiladas

For the past few days the East coast has been getting all kinds of warnings about 2015’s snowpocalypse. Since part of my job now entails shoveling all the snow, I knew we wouldn’t have time to cook dinner tonight. So while I had the time, I prepped dinner for tonight yesterday on Sunday Funday which usually entails me drinking beer or wine, depending on my mood & cooking. I’m on a huge Milky Chance kick so he was definitely helping me cook all afternoon.

My roommate is always complaining that we never make Mexican food, and he is correct, we really don’t. Mexican food isn’t my favorite, but I do love margaritas. So to please him, since he is letting me work for him AND live with him, i’d make him some enchiladas for Mexican Monday.

I found this recipe a couple weeks ago that caught me eye. We’ve been cooking a lot with chorizo and sweet potatoes so we happened to have just about everything on hand when I was looking up the ingredients for this recipe. I tweaked it a bit to get the flavors I wanted & it worked real well.

I don’t know how “Mexican” this is, but it works. My enchilada rolling technique is not the best.. actually it’s horrible. If you make this, hopefully they turn out more enchilada shaped. Mine look like mini-burritos. They say it’s all about the presentation, but hey, if it tastes good, who cares what it looks like!


Sweet Potato Chorizo Enchiladas

Serves 4          Prep Time:  Approximately 3o Minutes          Cook Time:  20 Minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 TBSP Olive Oil
    Sweet Potato Chorizo Enchiladas
    Sweet Potato Chorizo Enchiladas
    Finished Product
    Finished Product

    Cooked sweet potatoes, green peppers, onions, garlic & chorizo.
    Cooked sweet potatoes, green peppers, onions, garlic & chorizo.
  • 2 Medium Sweet Potatoes, Diced
  • 1/2 C Yellow Onion, Diced
  • 1 C Diced Green Pepper
  • 2 Garlic Cloves
  • 4 Links Chorizo, Casings Removed
  • 8-10 Taco Sized Tortillas
  • 1 (15 oz.) Can Enchilada sauce
  • 1 to 1 1/2 C Shredded Mexican Cheese
  • 1/2 Can of Refried Bean
  • Salt/Pepper
  • Siracha (Optional)
  • Sour Cream (Optional)
  • Cilantro (Optional)

Directions:

  1. Peel the sweet potatoes and dice into small cubes. Dice the onion. Remove the stem & seeds from the green pepper and dice into small pieces. Mince the garlic.
  2. In a large skillet, cook the sweet potatoes, green pepper, onion & garlic in olive oil, over medium heat until they become tender, approximately 10 minutes. Remove the casing from the chorizo and cook with the vegetables. Break up the meat and cook until browned approximately 5-10 minutes.
  3. While the vegetables & chorizo are cooking, spray a large casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray. Start prepping the tortillas by placing a dollop of refried beans in the middle of each tortilla. Spread the beans out in about a 2-3 inch circle.
  4. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  5. Once the veggies and chorizo are cooked begin filling the tortillas, evenly distributing the mixture amongst the tortillas. Since I am not a good enchilada roller, mine were more fat and burrito looking than enchilada looking. I had just the right amount of filling to fill 8 tortillas. Fill the inside and roll each tortilla folding in the ends to keep them enclosed. Place them in rows inside the sprayed casserole dish. The enchiladas should fit the dish snuggly to help prevent them from unraveling.
  6. Pour the enchilada sauce over the rolled tortillas trying to evenly distribute the sauce as best as you can. Top with shredded Mexican cheese. If you like your food extra cheesy, add more cheese to the top.
  7. Sprinkle with salt/pepper to taste. You can also sprinkle some fresh or dried cilantro to the tops of the enchiladas if you enjoy that spice. I personally do not, but know some people do so I limited the cilantro to only a few of the enchiladas to please everyone’s taste buds.
  8. If you like your foods a little spicier I added some Siracha sauce over the top of the cheese. Definitely recommended – it gave it just the perfect amount of kick, but not too much. Simply do maybe 2-3 lines of Siracha per enchilada. If it’s too spicy you can serve it with some sour cream to help with the heat.
  9. Bake in the oven until the edges begin to bubble, approximately 20 minutes. Serve immediately & ENJOY.

Creamy Spinach Tortellini Soup

I love anything & everything made in crock-pots.  I have yet to eat anything that didn’t taste incredible coming form a crock-pot. I use my crock-pot at least once a week if not more. Sunday’s I call crock-pot Sunday’s because i’m almost always whipping something up in that sucker.

Yesterday was filled with ice & kid birthday parties. I was caught off guard with the weather and was unable to put anything together in the crock-pot before I started my day. My typical Sunday consists of me waking up, eating breakfast, enjoying a cup of coffee & browsing pinterest for a crock-pot meal to make that day. Since it didn’t happen yesterday, crock-pot Sunday’s was moved to Monday for the week.

My roommate, aka my dad, mentioned how he wanted a creamy tortellini soup with chorizo. I’ve made this delicious Creamy Tortellini Soup from Better Homes & Gardens on numerous occasions. It’s always been a hit.

Tonight I decided to put a little different spin on it. Instead of chorizo as requested, I opted for a roasted garlic chicken sausage to add into the soup along with some carrots for some added texture.

As with almost every crock-pot recipe, you basically throw the ingredients into the crock-pot & let it work its magic! It’s so great. This recipe is basically that. Throw almost all of the ingredients into the crock-pot, wait a couple of hours, throw the rest of the ingredients into the crock-pot for an additional 45 minutes & BAM, you have a delicious soup ready to devour.

This soup is also excellent for the winter. The creaminess of this is perfect for a chilly winter night!


Creamy Spinach Tortellini Soup

Creamy Spinach Tortellini Soup
Creamy Spinach Tortellini Soup

Servings: About 8

Prep Time 20 Minutes    Cook Time 5 Hours & 45 Minutes OR 3 Hours & 45 Minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 Envelope of White Sauce or Country Gravy (2.75 Ounces)
  • 8 Cups of Water
  • 2 Cans of Chicken Broth (14 Ounces Each)
  • 1 Cup Chopped Sweet Onion
  • 1 Cup Sliced Carrots
  • 1 Package of Chicken Sausage, Cooked (4 Links)
  • 3 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 TSP Dried Basil
  • 1/2 TSP Salt
  • 1/2 TSP Oregano
  • Dash Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 (12 Ounce) Package Dried Spinach & Cheese Tortellini or Plain Cheese Tortellini
  • 2 (12 Ounce) Cans of Fat Free Evaporated Milk
  • 7 Heaping Handfuls of Fresh Baby Spinach
  • Finely Shredded Parmesan Cheese for Garnish (Optional)

Directions:

  • In a large crock pot on the low/medium setting add water & envelope of white sauce. Whisk together until combined & smooth.  Stir in the chicken broth, chopped onion, carrots, garlic, basil, salt, oregano, cayenne pepper & sliced chicken sausage.  Once combined, cover & cook on low-heat for 5-6 hours or high heat 2.5-3 hours.
  • Stir in dried tortellini, spinach & evaporated milk. Cover & cook on low setting for an additional 45-60 minutes or high for 30-45minutes, until tortellini is tender.
  • Sprinkle each serving with a little parmesan cheese & enjoy!

Lasagna Stuffed Spaghetti Squash Boats

If you know me, you know I love love LOVE all things squash. I haven’t ventured down the spaghetti squash road for a long while so I figured, why not give it a whirl on this rainy, cold night!

Pinterest is my bible. I use that site for inspiration for things I want to make down the road. I have pinned a number of spaghetti squash recipes, all of which are stuffed with something delicious. I had some of the squash mixture from the pizza leftover so I wanted to incorporate that into the mix somehow.

I opened up a recipe from Tasteful Pantry & decided to see what I could do with Tasteful Pantry’s spaghetti squash lasagna as an outline. When I was cooking up the onions I added 4 heaping tablespoons of the pizza squash mixture (zucchini, yellow squash, butternut & red onions). It just added a little something extra that everyone enjoyed, but surely the recipe will be just as delicious without it!  I also opted to add some spinach to the layering. I also love spinach & try to use it whenever possible.

Honestly, the hardest thing about this recipe is cutting the spaghetti squash in half! If anyone knows an easy way to do this without nearly chopping off your entire hand, PLEASE let me know!

Below is my adapted version of the recipe. I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did!


Lasagna Stuffed Spaghetti Squash Boats
Lasagna Stuffed Spaghetti Squash Boats

Lasagna Stuffed Spaghetti Squash Boats

Ingredients:

Serves 3-4

  • 2 Spaghetti Squash – Cut in Half & Seeds Removed
  • 2 TBSP Olive Oil, Divided
  • Salt/Pepper to Taste
  • 1 LB Lean Ground Turkey
  • 1 Onion – Diced
  • 2 Cloves Garlic – Chopped
  • 1/2 tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 (15 Ounce) Can Crushed Tomatoes
  • 1 TBSP Tomato Paste
  • 1 tsp Oregano
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1/2 tsp Paprika
  • 1 TBSP Balsamic Vinegar
  • 3 TBSP Fresh Basil – Chopped & Divided (2 TBSP Meat Sauce & 1 TBSP Cheese Mixture)
  • 1 C Low Fat Ricotta Cheese
  • 1 1/4 C Italian Blend Cheese Divided (1 C & 1/4 C)
  • 1 C Fresh Spinach

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 400F.
  • Carefully cut the spaghetti squash in half & scrape the seeds out of the each half with a spoon and discard.
  • Brush the inside of all 4 halves with a portion of the divided olive oil (1 TBSP should be enough for all 4 halves).  Sprinkle with salt/pepper.
  • Place in the oven for 30-50 minutes, until a fork easily goes through the squash.
  • While the squash is roasting in the oven, cook the ground turkey until done & set aside.
  • Use a large pan and heat the remaining olive oil (1 TBSP), over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook until translucent.
  • Add the chopped garlic & crushed red pepper flakes to cooked onions. Cook for about 1 minute or until fragrant.
  • Next add the cooked ground turkey, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, paprika, bay leaf, salt/pepper to taste & balsamic vinegar. Mix well & bring to a boil. Once mixture begins to boil, lower heat and bring mixture to a simmer until the squash is done cooking.
  • Just before squash is cooked, add 1 TBSP of fresh basil to meat sauce & discard bay leaf.
  • In a separate bowl mix together the ricotta cheese, 3/4 C of Italian blend cheese & 1 TSP of chopped fresh basil.
  • Once squash is done cooking, remove from the oven & fluff up the inside of the squash slightly.
  • Lower oven temperature to 350F.
  • Place the spinach in the squash first, then cheese mixture topped with the meat sauce. Divide each portion evenly. Sprinkle the top of the meat sauce with a little cheese.
  • Place in the oven for a few minutes until cheese is melted, about 5 minutes & ENJOY!