Tag Archives: cheesy dinner

Pesto Chicken Stuffed Pasta Shells

This one is a serious throwback! My sister made a version of these many many years ago, it was one of our very first Pintrest ventures. I thought they were delicious! I’ve been wanting to recreate them for years, but Levi has always been very skeptical. So this week I decided that it’s better to ask forgiveness rather than permission. I mean how could he not like them….chicken-good, pasta- good, basil and garlic- good, cheese- good and I decided that I was going to add a little something extra, Alfredo sauce-gooooooood!

 

And guess what…..of he loved it! This is kind of like a zesty chicken alfredo. I mean who wouldn’t love it? The original recipe doesn’t call for any sauce so the shells end up a little dry. I poured some homemade alfredo into the bottom of the pan and the result was amazing!

Tip- I call for 25 pasta shells because I like to leave myself a little room for error.

Ingredients:

  • 25 Pasta Shells, cooked for a few minutes below package directions. You will want them very al dente. Drain and let cool.
  • 1 lb Ground Chicken
  • 1/2 Onion, diced
  • 1 Cup Basil Leaves
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil (optional- 1/4 cup prepared pesto)
  • 4 oz Cream Cheese
  • 2 Tbsp Butter
  • 2 Tbsp Flour
  • 1 Clove Garlic, minced
  • 2 Cups Heavy Cream or Half n Half
  • 1/4 Cup Parmesan, shredded
  • 2 Cups Kraft Italian Blend Cheese

In a medium skillet heat up 2 tbsp cooking oil over a medium heat. Add onions and saute until they are soft. Add ground chicken, cook until slightly browned. Remove from heat, stir in cream cheese until fully melted.

In a small food processor add the basil, 2 cloves of garlic and 2 tbsp olive oil. Chop until very fine. Mix in with the chicken. Let cool.

Preheat oven to 350.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat melt the butter and add garlic. Cook until butter turns a dark yellow. Whisk in flour, cook for an additional minute. Add cream 1/2 cup at a time constantly whisking. Add parmesan.  Reduce heat to low, let simmer for 5 minutes, whisking occasionally until it’s thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

In an 8×8 or 9×9 baking dish pour 3/4 of the alfredo sauce. Spoon the chicken mixture into the shells and place in the alfredo. Drizzle the rest of the sauce over the top and top with cheese.

Bake for 30-35 minutes. If you want the cheese to brown turn on the broiler for 1-2 minutes.

Enjoy!

Adapted from Riches to Rags recipe click here for link. 

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Green Chile & Beef Tamale Pie


One of Levi’s favorite dishes when we go to Mexican restaurants is a tamale. I’ve never actually had one myself, but I wanted to try making something similar for him. I certainly do not have the skills or the know how to make an actual tamale wrapped in corn husk. I ran across a few different recipes online that seemed pretty standard so I figured I could make some personal adjustments and it would work out. And boy was I right!! This pie was a little spicy and a little sweet, very cheesy with a nice crumbly texture. 


Ingredients:

  • 1 Box Jiffy Corn Bread Mix
  • 1/3 Cup Milk
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Cup Frozen Corn
  • 7 oz Green Chiles, chopped and your desired level of heat
  • 1 lb Ground Beef
  • 1 tsp Chile Powder
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 Cup Green Chile Enchilada Sauce
  • 2 Cups Shredded Cheese, I used Tillamook 2 Cheese Mexican Blend
  • Toppings: Sliced Green Onion, Cliantro, Sour Cream

Preheat oven to 400.

In a large bowl whisk together the corn bread mix, milk, egg, green chile’s and corn. In a large cast iron pan or 9×13 baking dish, spray with cooking spray and fill with the corn bread mixture. Bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

While the cornbread is cooking, in a medium skillet cook the beef with the chili powder and cumin. Once the meat has browned, drain any excess fat.

Remove the cornbread from the oven and poke all over with a fork, pour green chile enchilada sauce evenly over the top. Add the beef and top with cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and return to oven for 20 minutes. Remove aluminum foil, turn on the broiler and broiler for about 2 minutes to brown the cheese.

Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes. Add desired toppings and enjoy!!

Adapted from 2 Teaspoons recipe here. 

Cheesy Beef and Potato Bake

Here is another simple weeknight dinner. 15 minute prep and then into the oven for 90 minutes while you work on those pesky chores! There is just always so much more to do in the summer. Between gardening and yard work and there always seems like there is more cleaning that needs to be done. That pesky spring cleaning seems like it will never be done!

This year I have definitely learned the value of putting down new mulch every year. The weeds have just taken over my whole life, I simply can’t catch up. I am mostly just trying to keep them from over running my veggies at this point. How is everyone’s garden doing this year? I am finally having some success with basil this year. I mean big success. I think we’re going to have to make some basil pesto this year. I garnished this dish with mt first basil cuttings. And they were delicious! This whole dish was a wonderful comfort food. Let me know what you think!

Ingredients:

  • 5 Yukon Gold Potatoes, sliced (the thicker the slice the longer to cook)
  • 1 Yellow Onion, diced
  • 1 lb Ground Beef
  • 4 Cloves of Garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp Rosemary
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 2 Cups Tillamook Thick Shredded Colby Jack Cheese
  • Garnish with fresh basil and parsley

Thin Gravy:

  • 2 Tbsp Butter
  • 2 Tbsp Flour
  • 4 Chicken Buillon cubes
  • 1 tsp Red pepper Flakes
  • 1 Tbsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 Tbsp Rosemary
  • 1 1/2 Cup Water
  • 1/2 Cup Milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium skillet add 1 tbsp cooking oil and add the onion. Saute over medium heat until the onions are soft. Add the beef and rosemary. Cook until the beef is nicely browned. Drain the fat. Return to heat and add garlic, saute for just another 1-2 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat.

To make the gravy in a medium saucepan melt the butter with the buillion cubes, rosemary and red pepper flakes. Whisk in the flour. Cook for 1-2 minutes until it starts to brown a little. Slowly add the water 1/2 cup at a time, whisking it together until all the lumps are gone. Add the milk and garlic powder. Bring to a simmer for 5-7 minutes whisking occasionally until it’s thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Spray a 9×9 cooking dish with cooking spray. Lay down half the potato slices in a single layer slightly overlapping them. Cover with half the beef, sauce and cheese. Repeat a second layer of potatoes, beef, sauce and cheese. Cover with tin foil.

Bake for an hour, test the potatoes with a fork. There should be minimal resistance. Bake longer if needed.

Top with your favorite garnish…I always for go for basil and parsley.

Mac and Cheese with Bacon and Peas

Looking for an easy weeknight dinner? I love mac and cheese, but once you reach a certain age and don’t have kids it just doesn’t seem right to make it out of a box (especially when you are trying to run your own food blog 🤗.) I have another mac and cheese recipe that is pretty good and it is made with some pesto. This one is similar. I had to have a recipe with peas in it though.

When I was growing up I absolutely love mac and cheese. And my mom always wanted to try and add something healthy when her kids were eating junk. I absolutely loved it! I always wanted peas in my mac and cheese. When I told Levi about this tonight he looked at me like I was crazy. But trust me. It’s delicious! I love how it adds a little bit of crunch and just a little bit of sweetness.

Let me know what you think!

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound Macaroni elbows, prepared according to package instructions
  • 6 slices Bacon, fully cooked, cooled and chopped or crumbled.
  • 3 Tbsp Butter
  • 3 Tbsp Flour
  • 1 clove Garlic, minced
  • Pinch of salt and Ground pepper
  • 3 Cups Milk
  • 1 cup Medium Cheddar Cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup Colby Jack Cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup Peas, cooked

In a medium saucepan add the garlic and butter over low heat. Slowly melt the butter then whisk in the flour. Increase heat to medium and whisk for about 2 minutes until it starts to thicken and bubble. Add the salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in milk. Keep whisking until it also starts to thicken and simmer. This could take 5-10 minutes.

Add both cheeses. Whisk until melted. Remove from heat. Your sauce should be thick enough to coat the spoon, but still easily stirs. If you need to make it a little thinner then add a little milk. Pour the cheese sauce over the noodles. Add the bacon and peas and mix until combined.

I hope you enjoy this cheesy masterpiece!

What do you like to add to your mac and cheese? Comment below!

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Have a Happy New Year friends!

Chicken Bacon Ranch Quesadilla

I am not a fan of leftovers. I have accepted them into my life as a permanent lunch staple for purely economical reasons. But it is very rare that leftovers make it into the dinner lineup. We’ve been having some lunch parties at work lately which is really cool because I love celebrating success and it’s always nice to take a break from the everyday and have a little party. Of course when you are ordering food for tons of people it’s best to err on the side of caution. So we’ve had some leftovers that have been distributed among some of the staff. I have taken home some fried chicken and some of THE BEST gravy ever.

So fried chicken in pretty high on my list of foods that I cannot deal with as leftovers, until now. As I stared at this huge bag of cold chicken I was desperate to find a way to re purpose it so that it’s appetizing. And then it came to me…….quesadillas!! I usually just use some shredded chicken, cheese, onion and salsa for my quesadillas so this leftover chicken would just fit right in! Except…….we are taking this one to the next level!! Oh yes, adding bacon and ranch makes a super awesome dinner that is guaranteed to satisfy.

One of the best things about quesadilla’s is that they are a totally blank canvas that  you can make it exactly what you want! I like mine just a little bit different than Levi and it’s no big deal, which makes life so easy. And it is so easy make dinner for just one….or two! Back in my “single” days this was one of my go to dinners at least 2 times a week because it is so easy and very little prep or clean up.

Ingredients for 1 quesadilla:

  •  1 Cup Chicken (I used leftover fried chicken and pulled it off the bones and cut into bite sizes and kept some of the skin too. But you can also use shredded or thick sliced chicken breast)
  • 1 Tbsp Ranch
  • 2 Pieces of Bacon
  • 4 oz Colby Jack cheese (I prefer to get 8 thick slices off of a brick of cheese, but you could use shredded or pre-sliced cheese.) Use more or less depending on your preference, but this amount will make it very cheesy!
  • 1 Large Tortilla
  • Butter
  • Optional: Thin onion slices, green pepper, jalapeno or whatever other veggies you may want. It’s best to slice these thin so that your quesdilla isn’t too big. I like to add them fresh but you can grill them up a bit first if you want. Just be careful about adding anything that is too juicy because you don’t want a soggy quesadilla.

Heat your griddle or pan to a medium heat. Fry up bacon, once done remove bacon and add chicken and skins and heat up and get the skin nice and crispy. Remove from heat and mix in with ranch.

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Reduce heat to low. Butter one side of tortilla, place in pan butter side down.

 

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Add 1/2 cheese, optional toppings, bacon, ranch chicken and then other 1/2 cheese. Arrange on half of the tortilla leaving a little room around the edge. Fold tortilla over so the round edges are even. Turn up heat just a little bit. Cook on each side about 2 minutes until the tortilla is evenly browned.

Serve with a side of salsa, or ranch or both!