September 30, 2008

Lemon & Herb Crockpot Whole Chicken

This is a great starting point to play with seasoning a whole chicken. This is such an easy way to cook a whole chicken. Once I made this, I tried variations with cajun seasoning, mexican etc.

-one thawed and skinned whole chicken
- head of garlic
- 2 lemons
- fresh rosemary (I'm lazy and cheap so I used dried!)
- salt and pepper

- Rub chicken with salt and pepper
- Plop in crockpot
- Peel garlic and shove a bunch of whole cloves into the bird cavity and throw some more on top and around the chicken
- Slice lemon and put slices on top, around and inside the chicken
- Do the same with rosemary - if you are using dried, use a good amount - probably 2 -3 tablespoons
- Cook on low 8 - 10 hours

Italian Shredded Chicken

I know I've said this about almost all of my recipes, but this is so good!! It is another of Finley's favorites!

- 4 chicken breasts
- 1 package of onion soup mix
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1/4 cup italian salad dressing
- 1/4 cup water
- sandwich buns

- place chicken in slow cooker, sprinkle with soup mix and garlic salt
- Pour dressing and water over chicken
- Cover and cook on low 8 to 9 hours
- Remove chicken and shred; return to slow cooker and mix
- Serve with a slotted spoon on buns
- Garnish as desired - we use cheese, lettuce and ranch dressing.

I haven't tried it but I think this would be great over a cold pasta salad or garden salad. If anyone tries it, let me know!

Stuffed Shells

Super easy and looks fancy! Ben LOVED this one!

- 1lb ground beef
- small onion diced
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 1 bag of mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup italian breadcrumbs
- 1 egg beaten
- 1 jar of spaghetti sauce
- grated parmesan cheese
- Jumbo pasta shells

- Cook shells
- Brown ground beef, garlic, onion; drain and let cool some
- Combine meat, mozzarella cheese, egg, breadcrumbs, and season with salt, pepper and italian seasong (if desired)
- Pour a thin layer of spaghetti sauce in the bottom of casserole dish
- Stuff the cooked shellys with mixture and place in the casserole dish
- Pour sauce over shells and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. (I used a little more mozzarella cheese too)
- Bake for 20 - 25 minutes


Easy Taco Pie

I made this during a week when I tried a bunch of new recipes and this is the only one that made Ben's "re-do list" which meant it was worth adding to our list. It was really good!!

- 1lb lean ground beef
- 1 small onion chopped
- 1 package of taco seasoning
- 1 can chopped green chiles
- 1 cup milk
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup bisquick mix
- Shredded monteray jack cheese
- Sour cream, if desired

- Grease pie plate
- Cook beef and onion in skillet, drain.
- Stir in seasoning mix (no water)
- Spoon into pie plate, top with chiles
- Stir milk, eggs and bisquick mix until blended and pour on top of mixture
- Bake about 25 minutes at 425, sprinkle with cheese and back another 8 minutes.
- Serve with salsa and sour cream if desired.

I also add in corn on top of the chiles.

Don't let the longer than my normal ingredient list surprise you, it is very easy!

Smoky Joe's Slow Cooker Beef Stew

A nice change from normal beef stews. This has kind of a sweetness to it.

- 1lb beef stew meat
- 3/4 cup each salsa and barbeque sauce
- 1 pkg taco seasoning
- 2 cups frozen corn
- 1 can black beans rinsed and drained
-1 can chickpeas or garbanzo beans rinsed and drained

- Combine everything but the beans in a slow cooker and cook on high 3 to 4 hours or low 6 to 8 hours, or until meat is tender
- Add beans (you may not need as much as it says) and mix well.
- Cover and let stand 5 mintues for beans to heat through.

Ben really liked this - not shocking since it is beef!

Light King Ranch Chicken

I've tried a ton of King Ranch chicken recipes and this is by far our favorite. I don't use as much onion and bell pepper as it calls for, but here is the entire, untouched recipe:

- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- 2 cups cooked chicken breast
- 1 can cream of chicken soup
- 1 can cream of mushroom soup (I use 2 cream of chicken and omit the mushroom - gag!)
- 1 can Rotel
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 garlic powder
- 12 corn tortillas (I use the white ones - I like the texture better)
- Cheddar cheese

- Saute onion and bell pepper until tender
- stir in chicken and next 6 ingredients, remove from heat
- tear tortillas into 1 inch pieces, layer half tortilla pieces in bottom of casserole dish coated with cooking spray. Top with half of chicken mixture and half of cheese. Repeat layers.
- Bake at 350 for 30 to 35 minutes or until bubbly.

Chicken Pot Pie

- 1 pkg of pie crust
- 1 can of white meat chicken (or the equivalent of cooked chicken)
- 1 can Cream of Potatoe Soup
- 1 can of Veg-all
- 1/4 - 1/2 cup of milk
- Lemon Pepper
- Garlic Salt

- Put the bottom pie crust in pie plate
- Mix chicken, veg-all, potatoe soup, lemon pepper and garlic salt to taste. Add milk to reach the desired consistency. I like it closer to 1/4 cup so it is thicker.
- Pour into pie plate and top with 2nd crust. Pinch the edges around the plate and cut 4 slits in the top
- Bake at 425 for 25 - 30 mintues or until golden brown.

Crockpot Chicken Marinara

I think this is the easiest recipe ever and it is one of Finley's absolute favorites.

- 2-3 frozen chicken breasts
- Jar of Spaghetti Sauce
- 1lb of any shape of pasta

- Dump the sauce and chicken in the crockpot
- Cook on low 6-8 hours (or more, it won't hurt)
- Shred the chicken and cook for a little while longer
- Serve over noodles.

Didn't I say this was easy?? You could also serve the meat and sauce on buns for sandwiches with cheese etc.

Hashbrown Casserole

This recipe was adapted from the more traditional hashbrown casserole with cream of chicken soup and ground beef. I made this up one night when the pantry was bare and now it is a favorite!

- Frozen hashbrown potatoes
- Ground sausage (think Jimmy Dean etc)
- Can of Baked Beans
- Shredded Cheddar Cheese

- Layer hashbrowns in the bottom of a casserole dish - I usually do about an inch deep in a smaller casserole dish. You don't want to use a big 9x13 for this recipe or it will be too thin.
- Brown sausage and mix with baked beans
- Pour over hashbrowns and top with cheddar cheese
- Bake at 350 for 30 minutes

Go To Meals

This post is probably more for me than anyone else that reads this. We all have our easy "go to" meals so I thought I would list ours for a reminder whenever I can't think of anything!

Sloppy Joes
Baked Ziti
Store bought pasta - ravioli etc
Rotisserie Chicken
Anything grilled...
Grilled Cheese and soup
Breakfast for Dinner
Beef Stew
Stir Fry
Mac N Cheese - with add ins (chicken, ham, peas, broccoli etc)
Meatball Sandwich
Spanish Rice mixes - add in Chicken and MexiCorn
Baked Chicken - pour on any marinade and bake!
Pork Loin - they have awesome pre-marinated ones
Stuffed Baked Potatoes

Broccoli Cheese Chicken

This is one of our favorites. In fact, it is one of the few meals that Ben makes sure there are leftovers for his lunch the next day!

- 2-3 chicken breast
- 14oz frozen broccoli florets
- Can of broccoli cheese soup
- 1/2 Can of cream of chicken soup
- Milk (about 1/4 to 1/2 cup)
- egg noodles
- Lemon Pepper
- Salt
- Pepper

- Cook noodles
- Season chicken with lemon pepper and salt and cook in bite sized pieces in a skillet
- Once browned and almost cooked through, add broccoli, broccoli cheese soup, cream of chicken, milk and season with pepper
- Stir together and cover, stirring occassionally - add more milk if it is too thick for you, but wait until it all comes together - the liquid from the broccoli helps thin it out.
- Simmer until the broccoli is cooked through but still crunchy and serve over noodles.

We could eat this once a week!

My Meatloaf

Pretty basic - rotel is the secret!

- 1lb ground beef
- Can of Rotel
- Breadcrumbs (a big handful)
- 1 egg
- Cajun seasoning
- ketchup
- brown sugar

- Combine first 5 ingredients and mix
- Form into a loaf or mini meatloaves
- Bake at 350 for 40 mintues
- While baking mix ketchup and brown sugar together for sauce
- Pour on top and bake another 10 minutes

Sloppy Joe Chicken Pasta

If you like sloppy joes and pasta, you will like this version! Sounds weird but it is very tasty!

- 1lb of pasta - any shape
- 1-2 cans of sloppy joe sauce
- 2-3 cooked chicken breast
- bag of shredded cheddar cheese

- Cook pasta according to directions
- Cook chicken breast in bite sized pieces
- Combine pasta, chicken breast, sloppy joe sauce and half of cheese and pour in casserole dish
- Top with remaining cheese
- Bake at 350 until the cheese in melted and bubbly - about 20 minutes

My Favorite Roast

This is so easy and delicious! Ben loves it!

- Roast
- Onion
- Carrots
- Potatoes
- Onion Soup Mix

- Peel potatoes, cut ends off of carrots and slice the onion.
- Pile it all in the crockpot - mix onion soup mix with a cup of water and pour over the top
- Cook on low at least 6-8 hours. Don't worry if it cooks longer.

The meat is so tender you have to serve it from the crockpot. The gravy is awesome over the potatoes!

The Best Chicken Spaghetti

Like most of my recipes, this comes from a more complex recipe but I have "dumbed it down" to make it an easy week night dinner. My mom made this growing up and it is a family favorite! This is also an example of how most of my recipes have become non-recipes - meaning there isn't an exact amount of some ingredients - just "eyeball" it until it is seasoned to your liking, or the consistency that you like.

- Cooked Chicken (on busy nights I use 2 cans of white meat, or 2-3 chicken breasts
- Can of Cream of Chicken
- Can of Chicken broth
- Velveeta
- 1lb. of Spaghetti
- Garlic Salt
- Pepper
- Pimento
- Sauteed Onion

- Cook Pasta according to directions
- If not using canned chicken, boil chicken breasts and then shred
- Combine full can of cream of chicken, pasta, chicken, about half the can of broth (this depends on the consistency you are going for), sliced velveeta (again, amount depends on how cheesy you like it - we use a lot!!).
- Mix it all together in a casserole dish and season to taste with garlic salt and pepper.
- Top with sliced velveeta
- Bake at 350 until bubbly or about 30 minutes.

The leftovers are almost better than the original - if you have any! Also, you can easily stretch this by playing with the amount of pasta and liquids and not necessarily adding any chicken if you need to feed a crowd.