December 18, 2014

Skinny cheeseburger casserole

Here is a dish that my sis in law shared with me a few days ago and is a shoe-in for a quick and easy weeknight meal. I love making casseroles during the winter and this one will definitely become a regular in our dinner rotation. The whole family loved it and I mean, what's not to love about a pasta and pickles?

Skinny Cheeseburger Casserole
Recipe via Skinny Mom

2 cups whole wheat elbow macaroni (or any kind of pasta), uncooked
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 lb lean ground beef
1/2 tsp burger seasoning (I didn't add this because I didn't have any)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 - 14.5 oz. cans of diced tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp dijon mustard
2 cups reduced-fat, shredded cheddar cheese
Hamburger dill chips

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9x13 inch casserole dish with a nonstick spray.
2. In a large stock pot, cook pasta according to package directions and then drain and set aside.
3. In a medium skillet, add the olive oil and cook the garlic and onions until translucent.
4. Add in the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and mustard. Allow the mixture to cook and thicken until bubbly.
5. Add the pasta to the sauce and mix to cover it evenly. Transfer the mixture to your casserole dish. Top with the cheese and bake for 20-25 minutes.
6. Top with dill pickles before serving. My sister in law also topped her with lettuce - yum!

November 18, 2014

Banana bread

If I told you that I made this banana bread with pancake mix, would you believe me? Or maybe people have been making banana bread with pancake mix for years and years and I'm just late to the party. I had some overly ripe bananas and instead of freezing them (I usually slice them up, throw them into baggies, and freeze for smoothies) I decided to make banana bread with some Krusteaz pancake mix that I had in the pantry. I found this recipe online and decided to give it a try, if it totally flopped, I would pretend it never happened.

I'm happy to report that it turned out delicious! Even better than I expected and may even be my favorite banana bread that I've ever made. And is there anything better than the smell of banana bread baking in the oven? So if you have some pancake mix and a few ripe bananas, give this one a try, I think you'll love it!

Banana Bread 
Recipe adapted via Krusteaz

2 eggs
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup mashed banana
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups Krusteaz pancake mix (I used Light & Fluffy)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a medium bowl, mix together eggs, sugar, and water.
3. In another medium bowl, mix together bananas, oil, and vanilla. Add pancake mix. Mix well.
4. Add the banana into the batter.
5. Spoon the mixture into a loaf pan and bake for 39 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

October 26, 2014

Oven baked meatball subs

These were a super simple weeknight meal that my whole family loved. I used frozen meatballs and jarred pizza sauce but I know they would be even better with homemade meatballs and sauce. Maybe next time ;) And the rolls--they're from the Publix bakery and are seriously the best hoagie rolls ever.

The whole meal took 20 minutes from start to finish. I warmed up the pizza sauce and meatballs on the stove, cut the hoagie rolls, put 4-5 meatballs in each roll, spooned on the sauce, topped with lots of shredded mozzarella cheese, then baked them in the oven for 15 minutes on 350 degrees. Serve with a salad and you're good to go!  

October 2, 2014

Penne pasta with sausage and spinach

I made this pasta dish over the weekend so that I could have it for lunches all week at work. Right after I made it, I packaged it into individual containers and put them in the fridge for easy grabbing each day. I'm on day 5 (because I also ate it for lunch on Sunday when I made it) of eating it and am not sick of it yet! I was going to eat it tomorrow too but I made lunch plans so the last of it will probably be eaten for dinner tonight ;) But hey, 5 days in a row isn't bad.

I love Beth's blog, she posts so many great recipes that are healthy, affordable to make, quick and easy, and best of all, delicious! I haven't made a recipe from her blog that I haven't liked. And this penne pasta is no exception! I omitted the broccoli and added bell peppers instead, since I had a bag of frozen peppers/onions that I wanted to use up. You can find the recipe HERE. Hope you love it!

September 4, 2014

The easiest crock pot roast you'll ever make

I'm not kidding with that post title, this is seriously the easiest roast ever. I threw the roast, seasonings, and pepperochini peppers into the crock pot before work and when we got home, the delicious smell of a homecooked meal greeted us at the door. I always worry about this type of meat being dry but it was quite the opposite. The meat was perfectly moist and flavorful and fell apart when I pulled it out of the crock pot. I served it with smashed potatoes (recipe on the blog tomorrow) and steamed broccoli. A huge hit and I'll definitely be making this again!

Crock Pot Roast
Recipe via Crockin' Girls

1 roast (3-4 lbs)
2 packages dry brown gravy
1 package dry ranch dressing
5 pepperochini peppers
5 tbsp of the pepper juice from the jar of peppers
1 1/2 sticks of butter (this is a lot, I only used about 1/2 a stick)

1. Place the roast in the crock pot. Add your dry seasonings to the top of the roast. Add the peppers and juice around the sides of the roast. Cook on Low for 4 hours or High for 6-8 hours.

September 3, 2014

Crock pot loaded baked potato soup

My sister shared this recipe with me and I thought that it'd be perfect to share on my blog to a) put it in my virtual recipe box and b) it's almost that time of the year--perfect soup-eating weather! My sister and her husband both loved it and my brother-in-law even said that it was better than any baked potato soup he'd had at a restaurant :) Thanks for sharing it with me Lizzie, I'll definitely be making it soon!

Crock Pot Loaded Baked Potato Soup
Recipe via Crockin' Girls

6 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 large onion, diced
1 quart chicken broth
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup butter
salt & pepper to taste
1 cup cream
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1. Combine all ingredients except for cream and cheese.
2. Cook in your crock pot on High for 4 hours or Low for 8 hours. The potatoes should be tender.
3. After 8 hours on Low, mash the potatoes until coarsley chopped and soup is slightly thickened.
4. Stir in cream and cheese. Garnish with toppings (bacon, chives, sour cream, cheese).

August 14, 2014

Baked ritz cracker chicken parmesan

Last night I had baked chicken parmesan on the menu which is one of our favorite dinners. I make it so much that this is the 3rd time that I'm posting about it on my blog (first two times are here and here). This time is different though--I didn't think it was possible but I found an even better substitute for the usual Italian breadcrumbs that I use for the coating, which actually came by accident. I thought I had breadcrumbs but I didn't realize I was out and so, I needed to find a quick substitute. The only crumbly ingredient I had was Ritz crackers, which made perfect sense for chicken parmesan since I've used them for all sorts of other baked chicken recipes. I just never thought crackers and tomato sauce went together but boy was I wrong!

Side note: Using Ritz crackers in place of the breadcrumbs does add quite a few more calories but they make the chicken so much crunchier and to me, is totally worth it :) 

Baked Ritz Cracker Chicken Parmesan
Recipe via Skinnytaste, this version adapted by me

4 (8 oz.) chicken breast halves, sliced in half
1 sleeve of Ritz crackers, crumbled (I use a Ziploc baggie and just smash them with my hands)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 tbsp butter, melted
3/4 cup reduced fat mozzarella cheese (I used sliced mozzarella for this because I already had it in the fridge) 
1 cup marinara 
cooking spray

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray a large baking sheet lightly with spray.
2. Combine breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese in a bowl. Melt the butter in another bowl. Lightly brush the butter onto the chicken, then dip into breadcrumb mixture.  Place on baking sheet and repeat with the remaining chicken.
3. Lightly spray a little more cooking oil on top and bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Turn chicken over, bake another 5 minutes. Remove from oven, spoon sauce over chicken and top with shredded cheese. Bake 5 more minutes or until cheese is melted.