Monday, February 18, 2013

Crock Pot Ham and Potato Casserole

I don't know about you, but I have a couple crazy nights each week. The kind that I feel like a taxi driver from about 4:00-7:00pm. Those are the nights when getting dinner on the table is really hard. So I've started planning crockpot meals or meals that take 10 minutes or less to prepare for these nights. This is one of those crazy night meals and it worked out perfectly - yes those are canned green beans again... Remember 10 minutes or less and at least they are a vegetable. (And my son absolutely loves canned green beans - he requests them!) My family really enjoyed this meal and I thought the stuffing mix on top really added a nice touch (a little bit crispy and herby). This recipe is from Six Sisters' Stuff - I love that blog!

Crockpot Ham and Potato Casserole

1, 30 oz bag frozen shredded hash browns (thawed for a couple hours at room temp)
1 tablespoon dried minced onion
1 teaspoon salt
8 oz sour cream
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 cups diced ham
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1, 6 oz package herb stuffing mix
1/4 cup butter, melted

Spray crockpot with non-stick cooking spray. In a large bowl combine hash browns, dried onion, salt, sour cream, cream of chicken soup, ham, and cheese. Spread into crockpot. Sprinkle with about 3/4 of the packaged herb stuffing mix. Drizzle with melted butter. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours or high for 2-4 hours.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Chicken Quesadillas with Homemade Pico de Gallo

I saw these yummy quesadillas on an episode of The Pioneer Woman on the Food Network and knew I had to try them. I was not disappointed! So good! Pioneer Woman calls this a 16 minute meal, but that is just not true unless you have a sous-chef helping you in the kitchen. All the chopping, grating, slicing, and assembling makes this definitely more of a 30-45 minute meal. It's all good though, because these quesadillas are worth it and the homemade pico makes this dinner fantastic. My kids opted for just cheese and chicken quesadillas, but my husband and I went for chicken, cheese, avocado, and onions & peppers in our quesadillas. Mmmm...

Chicken Quesadillas with Homemade Pico de Gallo

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 packet taco seasoning mix
1 large white onion, cut in half then into thin slices
3 bell peppers (I used green, yellow, and red), sliced into strips
1 avocado, sliced, optional
12 large flour tortillas
2 1/2 cups shredded monterey jack cheese
Pico de Gallo, for serving (recipe below)

Pound chicken breasts to even out the thickness of each breast. Sprinkle both sides of chicken breasts with taco seasoning. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet. Add the chicken to the skillet and cook over medium high heat until done, about 4 minutes on each side. Remove chicken breasts to a cutting board and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Slice chicken breasts against the grain into thin slices. Set aside.

In the same skillet heat remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Add sliced white onion and bell pepper strips. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until softened and vegetables have a few brown/black areas. Remove and set aside.

Heat a griddle (I used an electric griddle) and using a stick of butter, grease the skillet with butter. Build quesadillas by laying shredded cheese on the bottom tortilla, and topping the cheese with chicken, cooked peppers & onions, and avocado if using. Top with a little more shredded cheese and top with second tortilla; place on griddle and cook until golden on the first side, flip over and cook until golden and cheese inside is nice and melted. Cut into wedges and serve with pico de gallo.

Pico de Gallo

5-6 roma tomatoes, diced
1 large red onion, chopped fine
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 large jalapeno, chopped fine (with seeds and inner white membrane removed)
juice of 1 lime

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, adding salt to taste.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Cheesy Chicken Noodle Casserole

This is an ultra-rich comfort food casserole and it is delicious. Sometimes I just crave something warm and homey on a cold winter night and this casserole certainly fits the bill. It's kind of a cross between macaroni and cheese and chicken and dumplings. Seriously good. I bet it would freeze well too. I'll have to give it a try as a freezer meal sometime. I served it with some homemade pumpkin bread and steamed broccoli - my family loved this dinner.

Cheesy Chicken Noodle Casserole

3-4 cups cooked and cubed chicken (or turkey)
16 oz egg noodles, cooked
12 oz plain non-fat Greek yogurt
12 oz sour cream (you can use all sour cream or all Greek yogurt)
2 cans cream of chicken soup
8 oz shredded cheddar cheese
8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
1 sleeve Ritz crackers, crushed
1/4 cup butter, melted

Combine chicken, Greek yogurt, sour cream, cream of chicken soups, and cheeses in a large bowl. Stir well to combine. Add the noodles and gently stir until ingredients are evenly distributed. Pour into a greased 9x13 baking dish (I think I used the next size up baking dish, but either would work). Mix the cracker crumbs with the melted butter and sprinkle evenly over the top. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until top is golden and cheese is melted (try a forkful of the middle to make sure it's hot all the way through).

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Healthier Chocolate PB Cups

This is a great healthy-ish treat if you need to appease a chocolate craving, but don't want to feel too guilty about it. I found it on Pinterest and I've seen it called "healthy fudge" or "primal fudge", but whatever you call it it is yummy and satisfying  My 6 year old especially loves this treat and begs me to make more all the time. Huge bonus is that it takes a few minutes to make and then about 30 minutes to set up in the fridge - almost instant gratification. 

Healthier Chocolate PB Cups

1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup good quality cocoa powder (I found a great dutch process cocoa at Sprouts)
1/2 cup natural peanut or almond butter
1/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Melt coconut oil in microwave, it takes about 35 seconds. In a food processor or blender combine melted coconut oil, cocoa powder, peanut butter, honey, and vanilla. Process or blend until all ingredients are combined. Pour about 1/2 inch of the chocolate mixture into silicone muffin cups or paper lined muffin tin cups. Makes about 10 cups. Chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes or in freezer for 10 minutes. When firm remove from muffin cups and store in a sealed container in the refrigerator.