Thursday, November 15, 2012

Pesto-Chicken Penne Casseroles

I love, love, love this recipe. It makes TWO casseroles - One to serve, and one to freeze (or give away to a neighbor who needs a little help!). I have only made this once before but will make it again and again (and was asked for the recipe!). It is one I found in Taste of Home (my go to magazine for recipes). 

When I made it, I upped the ingredients by 1/2 - so 1 pkg. penne became 1-1/2 a pkg, 4 cups of the cheese blend became 6, etc. I did leave the chicken at 6 c. to make it more economical and in the end, I got a 9x13 pan (a little more tailored to my family size!) and an 8x8.

Pesto-Chicken Penne Casserole

Prep: 20 min Bake: 40 min

1 pkg. (16 oz.) penne pasta
6 c. cubed, cooked chicken
4 cups shredded Italian cheese blend
3 c. fresh baby spinach
1 can (15 oz.) crushed tomatoes
1 jar (15 oz.) Alfredo sauce
1 jar (10 oz.) prepared pesto
1-1/2 c. 2% milk
1/2 c. seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 c. grated parmesan
1 T. olive oil

Cook pasta. In lrg. bowl, combine chicken, Italian cheese, spinach, tomatoes, alfredo, pesto and milk. Drain pasta and add to chicken mixture; toss to coat.

Transfer to two greased 8-in square baking dishes. In small bowl, combine bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese and oil; sprinkle over casseroles.

Cover and freeze one for up to 3 months. Cover and bake the remaining at 350 for 40-45 min. or until bubbly.

To use frozen: Thaw in fridge overnight. Remove 30 min. before baking. Cover and bake at 350 for 50-60 min. or until bubbly.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

2 New Recipes for you!

I am going to a Halloween potluck party tonight and am bringing along a yummy treat I found last year. Creamy, smooth and with the o.j., just a little brightness! Serve in a hollowed out pumpkin pie pumpkin for fun and with the best gingersnaps you can find.

Pumpkin Dip

1 pkg. (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
2 C. confectioners (powdered as we like to call it in Canada!) sugar
1 can (15 oz) solid pack pumpkin
1 T. cinnamon
1 T. pumpkin pie spice (if you don't have this, a mix of nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon will do)
1 t. frozen orange juice concentrate

In a medium bowl, blend cream cheese and confectioners' sugar until smooth. Gradually mix in the pumpkin. Stir in the cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and orange juice until smooth and well blended. Chill until serving. Serve with gingersnaps for dipping.


I made this for dinner this past week. It had great flavor and was a hit with Dave and the kids (the ones who eat anything besides pb and nutella sandwhiches)

Sweet & Spicy Slow Cooker Chicken

4-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 (14 oz) cans diced tomatoes
2/3 c. brown sugar
1/2 t. crushed red pepper (I think I will up this a bit next time for a bit more kick)

Put chicken in greased slow cooker. Combine the rest of the ingredients and pour over chicken. Cook on high 4-6 hours or low 8-9 hours. Shred and return to slow cooker to mix with juices. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

Serve in Tortillas with your choice of toppings. We did lettuce, cheese, avocado and sour cream.

This made A LOT of shredded chicken. I froze half of it for a quick dinner another night. To reheat, simply heat up in a saucepan over med-low heat. I LOVE dinners that do double duty!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Ok, ok, so I totally was slacking... well, no... actually, I have just been super busy and preoccupied with the four kiddos and all that comes with them. Busy, busy, busy.

But I want to get back to it. So this blog is undergoing a little reno at the moment. I have decided to simplify and instead of a week of recipes, I am going to post any news ones that I have tried or tested recently that have been a success with my family.

To kick things off, here are two brand spanking new ones.

The first was from a Taste of Home magazine. My husband RAVED about this one and my kids ate it up (literally). It was easy, but a bit of work. This would be a great one to make after you have mashed potatoes for dinner one night... just make sure you do extra to use towards this meal sometime later in the week.

Cottage Pie

Prep: 30 min
Bake: 20 min
Makes: 6 servings (I got more out of this recipe)

2 lbs. ground turkey (you could use beef or lamb)
2 large carrots, finely chopped
2 celery ribs, finely chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 T. all purpose flour
1 T. minced fresh sage (I used a little under a T. of dried)
1 T. minced fresh thyme (I used a little under a T. of dried)
2 t. minced fresh rosemary (I used 1 1/2 t. dried)
2 t. worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
1/2 c. chicken broth
1 c. frozen peas
2 1/2 c. mashed potatoes with added milk and butter, warmed
1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese (optional, but I like it)

1. In a dutch oven or very large pot, cook the first 5 ingredients over med. heat until turkey is no longer pink and veggies are tender. Drain (I didn't since I used turkey and there was little liquid fat)
2. Stir in flour, herbs, worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper until blended. Add broth; cook and stir for 1-2 min or until broth is absorbed. Stir in peas; heat through.
3. Transfer to greased 9-in. deep dish pie plate (I used a 3 quart casserole dish). Top with mashed potatoes and if desired; cheese. Bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes or until filling is bubbly.

This next one had great flavor. I might double the sauce recipe next time so there is more of it to go over rice.

Creamy Swiss Cheese Chicken Bake

2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
6-8 slices swiss cheese
1/2 c. light mayo
1/2 c. plain greek yogourt
3/4 c. grated parmesan/divided (I grated my own with a zester, so much better!)
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. black pepper
1 t. garlic powder
hot cooked rice to serve with

Preheat oven to 375.
Spray a 9x13 pan, add the chicken to pan and salt and pepper it.
Layer cheese over chicken. 
In med. bowl, whisk mayo, yogourt, 1/2 c. parm. cheese, salt and pepper and garlic powder. Spread over chicken.
Top with remaining 1/4 c. parm.
Bake 45 min. till hot and bubbly and serve over rice.

That is it! So easy and sooo delish!