Category Archives: Casserole

Easy Oven Jambalaya

A while back my coworker Kim had the misfortune of her freezer messing up.  She had to quickly cook a lot of the meat she had frozen and one of the things she cooked was this easy oven jambalaya.  She brought some to work for our lunch the next day and it was SO good!  She gave me the recipe and I cannot even tell you how many times I’ve made it since.  My husband is always asking for it, even my picky daughter loves it!

The recipe calls for Uncle Ben’s original rice.  Make sure to get that, Kim said that it does make a difference!  The ingredients do sound a bit strange for a jambalaya but trust me, this is one of the best jambalayas I’ve ever had!  You can be creative with your proteins also.  While jambalaya does typically contain chicken and sausage, shrimp would be delicious and so would crawfish (I know because I did it!).

Easy Oven Jambalaya

Easy Oven Jambalaya

Easy Oven Jambalaya
Recipe from the Barth/Cutrera Family

Ingredients:
1 can French Onion Soup
1 can beef broth
1 small can (8 oz) tomato sauce
1 stick butter, melted
1/2 cup green onions
2 cups Uncle Ben’s Original uncooked rice
1 tbsp minced garlic
Tony’s Creole seasoning and thyme to taste
1 lb. boneless diced chicken and sliced smoked sausage (or shrimp, or crawfish)

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, mix all of the ingredients.  Pour into an oven-safe casserole that has been sprayed with nonstick spray.  Cover with foil and bake for an hour and a half.

Easy Oven Jambalaya

Easy Oven Jambalaya

Shepherd’s Pie

I have a confession to make. Before cooking this recipe, I had never had shepherd’s pie before. It just goes against what I believe in, I’m a firm member of the Foods Don’t Touch club. And here you have your meat touching your carrots and mashed potatoes. It’s madness!! Sidenote: Thanksgiving dinner can be a NIGHTMARE for those of us in the Foods Don’t Touch Club!

Anyway, my mom wanted me to try this recipe and so did my husband so I took one for the team and made it. Like most Cook’s Illustrated recipes, it is more involved than the average shepherd’s pie recipe. But trust me, follow the recipe because they test things so many times and they have this down pat. I followed the recipe exactly and guess what? Not only did I LIKE it, but I went back for a small spoon of seconds. :) The gravy-like sauce on the meat is just to die for! The mashed potatoes were just okay, if you have an easier way of doing mashed potatoes for the top, I won’t blame you. Or judge you. Yeah, you know what I’m talking about.

Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd’s Pie

Shepherd’s Pie
Recipe slightly adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

Ingredients:
1.5 lbs. 93% lean ground beef
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp baking soda
2.5 lbs. russet potatoes, washed, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
4 tbsp butter, melted
1/2 cup milk
1 large egg yolk
8 green onions, green only, sliced thinly
2 tsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 oz. white mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp ruby port
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cup beef broth
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
2 tsp cornstarch

Method:

In a medium-sized bowl, toss beef with 2 tbsp water, 1 tsp salt, baking soda and 1/4 tsp pepper until thoroughly combined, then set aside for about twenty minutes while you prepare the rest.

While that’s sitting, place potatoes in a pan and cover with one inch water and 1 tbsp salt.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer until potatoes are soft enough for a knife to easily stick in.  Drain, then return to the pan and cook, shaking the pot occasionally for a minute while the surface moisture has evaporated.  Remove from heat and mash the potatoes with a potato masher.  Stir in the melted butter then whisk the milk and egg yolk together and stir in.  Add the green onions and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Cover and set aside.

In a 10-inch skillet, heat the oil until shimmering.  Add the onion, mushrooms, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.  Cook until vegetables are softened and dark bits are forming on bottom, stirring occasionally.  Stir in tomato paste and garlic and cook about two minutes, until the bottom of the skillet is turning a dark brown.  Add the port and using the spatula, scrape the browned bits from the bottom, until the port has evaporated.  Stir in the flour and cook for one minute, then add the broth, carrots, Worcestershire, thyme sprigs and bay leaf.  Bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits again.  Reduce heat and add beef in 2-inch chunks and bring to a gentle simmer.  Cover and cook until the beef is cooked through.  Halfway through cooking, break up the beef chunks into small pieces.  Stir together the cornstarch and water and stir this into the beef mixture and allow to simmer for 30 seconds.  Remove the thyme sprigs and bay leaf and season to taste.

Spray a pie dish with nonstick spray and transfer the meat mixture to the dish, spreading evenly.  Spoon the potato mixture into a large Ziploc bag and snip off a large corner.  Pipe onto the top of the meat mixture, then use a spoon to spread it evenly over the top.  Using the tines of a fork, create ridges over the surface of the potatoes.  Place under the broiler on HIGH for a few minutes, watching carefully, until the potatoes turn golden on the ridges.  Allow to sit for five minutes before serving.

Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd’s Pie

Amazing Chicken Rolls

Early in the spring my daughter and I got to go to Florida to visit our good friends, Tiffani, Mike and Mariska.  We spent a long weekend, it was great.  We went to the beach, went to Disney World.  The best part was just hanging out with our friends, we had missed them so much!  One night for dinner Tiff said she would make chicken rolls.  I had been hearing about these chicken rolls for ages and was eager to try them.  In a word – amazing.

We came home and I told my husband James about them (he didn’t get to go on the trip).  I made them myself a few days later and he loved them.  Since, I’ve seen a chicken roll recipe floating around Facebook and I have to say, I don’t think it’ll be as good as Tiffani’s!  I want to DRINK the sauce!  Also, while it does make a lot, it also reheats great.  So it’s a great dish as leftovers!

Chicken Rolls

Chicken Rolls

Amazing Chicken Rolls
Recipe slightly adapted from Tiffani M.

Ingredients:
shredded chicken (I use a store-bought rotisserie)
2 cans crescent rolls
1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 can Cream of Chicken with Herbs soup
1/2 cup milk
Creole seasoning to taste
finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Method:
Preheat oven to 375 and spray nonstick spray on a 9×13 casserole.  Place some chicken on each crescent triangle and roll up as you would a regular crescent roll.  Place in the casserole and repeat with the remaining 15 rolls.

In a bowl, mix the two soups, milk and seasoning.  Pour over the top of the chicken rolls, making sure to cover them all.  Sprinkle shredded cheese on top and cover with foil.  Bake 25 minutes, then remove the foil and bake an additional 5-10 minutes, until the cheese starts to brown.  Serve hot.

 

Chicken Spaghetti

I recently went on a road trip/girls weekend with some friends and like all good Southern girls, we talked about food at lot!  One of the dishes discussed was chicken spaghetti.  We didn’t even talk long about it, but it stuck in my head and I started craving it!

After about a week I decided I wanted some so I went online to find a recipe.  I found one on Cooking Light and it sounded interesting, a little different.  I didn’t buy all of the different types of mushrooms it called for and just used a packet of regular button mushrooms, and it worked just fine.  It was so delicious, it was one of those things that I couldn’t wait until lunch the next day to eat some leftovers!

 

Chicken Spaghetti

Chicken Spaghetti

Chicken Spaghetti
Recipe adapted from Cooking Light

Ingredients:
8 ounces uncooked spaghetti (I used whole grain)
kosher salt
extra-virgin olive oil
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 tbsp butter
1 pkg. mushrooms
2 tsp minced garlic
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/4 cups reduced fat milk
4 oz. cubed Velveeta cheese
3 oz. reduced fat cream cheese
2 oz. shredded Gruyère cheese (about a half cup)
1.5 cups frozen peas, thawed
1/3 cup finely chopped chives
Bread crumbs for topping

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook pasta in boiling salted water until al dente (or to your liking).  Reserve 1 cup of pasta water and set aside, drain the rest of the water off of the pasta and rinse with cold water.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, add 1 tbsp oil and chicken, season with salt and pepper and saute’ until the chicken is cooked through.  Remove the chicken, add the butter and the mushrooms and garlic.  Lightly salt the mushrooms and saute’ three minutes, or until softening.  Add the flour and stirring constantly, saute’ for one minute.

Gradually add the reserved pasta water, broth and milk to the pan, stirring constantly and bring back to a boil.  Reduce heat and cook for one minute, until it thickens slightly.  Stir in the Velveeta and cream cheese, remove from heat and continue stirring until smooth.  Add the Gruyère, stir in well.  Add the pasta, chicken, peas and chives and toss to coat and mix well.  Scrape mixture into a greased oven-safe 9×13 baking dish then sprinkle bread crumbs over the top.

Bake until the bread crumbs start to brown and is heated through.

 

Cajun Cabbage with Rice

Earlier this week I asked my Facebook friends if anyone had a good recipe for cabbage.  I had gotten some from the farmers market and didn’t feel like making my same old smothered cabbage or egg rolls.  I had a lot of responses and ended up going with my friend Amy’s suggestion.  She and I seem to have similar tastes so I figured I’d like it.

This recipe was basically like a deconstructed cabbage roll, made into a casserole. I messed up and forgot to cover it while baking, so it didn’t look pretty at all – I didn’t even take a picture of it.  I somehow miraculously got my four-year old to taste it, she was not a fan though I think it was because it was too spicy for her – it does have some heat.  My husband and I were huge fans though and will definitely be making this more often!

Cajun Cabbage with Rice
Recipe adapted from Allrecipes

Ingredients:
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 lb. ground beef
1 green bell pepper, chopped (I forgot to buy one and it was fine without)
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 can Rotel/diced tomatoes with green chilis
1 8oz can tomato sauce
1/2 cup long grain rice, uncooked
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 small head cabbage, chopped
2 cups shredded Colby cheese (it called for one cup, I wanted more!)

Method:

Heat the oven to 350.

In a nonstick pan, heat the oil and add the ground beef.  Cook until brown, breaking up into small bits.  Add the bell pepper, onion and garlic, cook until soft.  Once the vegetables are soft, add the Rotel, tomato sauce and seasonings, then stir in the rice.

Empty into a greased 9×12 casserole, spreading evenly.  Top with the shredded cabbage, then the shredded cheese and cover.  Bake for 65 minutes or until the rice is tender.

Pan-Roasted Chicken with Lemon-Garlic Green Beans and Potatoes

We’ve been dieting (which you really can’t tell from recent posts) and part of the diet is that every other night we have Cheerios.  Poor hubby isn’t a fan of this new plan.  He works hard all day outside, moving huge slabs of rocks around.  He doesn’t want to come home to a nice bowl of ….Cheerios.

So on those other nights, I try to cook something I know he’ll like while still trying to stay inside the realm of “healthy” or at least “healthy-ish.”  And while he likes to eat unusual aka “fancy” foods, deep down he’s really a meat and potatoes man.  I saw this recipe on Pinterest (I know, I know, I told you I’m an addict!!) and immediately thought that it screamed JAMES!  I cooked it – it was REALLY simple to make….duh I guess that’s why it came from Real Simple magazine!  He loved it.  He said I should make it really often.  He opted to dip his chicken into some Dijon mustard, I tried a bite and it was quite tasty with the dipper, so there’s an option for ya.  I hope you enjoy it as much as he did!

Pan-Roasted Chicken with Lemon-Garlic Green Beans and Potatoes

Pan-Roasted Chicken with Lemon-Garlic Green Beans and Potatoes
Recipe slightly adapted from Real Simple magazine

Ingredients:
1 pkg boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I think bone-in, skin-on would be great though)
3/4 lb fresh green beans, ends trimmed, washed
8 small red potatoes, washed and quartered, skin-on
1 lemon
5 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
optional:  crushed rosemary or Herbs de Provence

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 450.
  • Mix your olive oil, the juice of the lemon, salt, pepper and garlic (and rosemary if you’re using some) in a medium-sized bowl.  Toss the green beans in the mixture, then using tongs remove the green beans to a roaster or casserole dish (coated with nonstick spray), leaving the liquid in the bowl.
  • Now toss the potatoes in the liquid, and using a slotted spoon remove them and add to the green beans.
  • Toss the chicken in the mixture and then place the chicken on top of the green beans and potatoes.  Drizzle any remaining liquid in the bowl over the chicken.  Sprinkle Herbs de Provence on top of the chicken.
  • Bake/roast for 50 minutes, then remove the chicken from the pan and set aside and cook the green beans and potatoes for another ten minutes or so – until the potatoes pierce easily with a fork.  While that’s cooking, check if your chicken is done.
  • Return the chicken to the pan and serve.

Baked Eggs with Cheddar and Potatoes

These days with so many websites devoted to food sharing, we’re used to being inundated with over the top sounding dishes.  And it gets to where even things that are so over the top, aren’t really that surprising or exciting anymore.  Am I being too cynical?  Sorry.  Sometimes you just want something simple.  Something comfortable.  Something that makes you feel all warm and cozy inside.

I participated again in a food blogger recipe swap.  I’ve done it a few times before, this time the theme was potatoes.  When I received the recipe I needed to make (from Melissa at I Was Born to Cook), I was very excited because it sounded perfect and just like love in a pot.  This was very easy to put together and cook, I managed to get a three-year old to bed while cooking it!  It definitely wasn’t a diet recipe but it was oh so good, I’m really hoping my hubby forgets that we have leftovers in the fridge, I’d like those for lunch tomorrow!

This would be fantastic on a cold, rainy night.  Or even on a night where you just had a bad day.  Or you know, for breakfast.  ;)

Baked Eggs with Cheddar and Potatoes

Baked Eggs with Cheddar and Potatoes
Recipe adapted from I Was Born to Cook

Ingredients:
3 tbsp butter
1.5 lbs. small red potatoes, diced (skin on)
2 cloves garlic, minced
seasonings to taste (I used Creole seasoning)
4 large eggs
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (I used Cabot’s Vermont White Cheddar)

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Melt the butter  over medium heat in a deep oven-safe skillet.  Add the potatoes and cook until soft (you may have to add a little water to prevent sticking) and add the garlic, cook for an additional minute or two.  Season to taste and remove from heat.
  • Make four holes in the potatoes and crack an egg into each.
  • Bake 10 minutes until the egg whites are cooked.  Do not overbake (as I did) because you want your egg yolks to be runny.
  • Sprinkle with cheese and return to the oven for one more minute, until the cheese has melted.  Serve immediately.

 

Lightened Up Crawfish Fettuccine

As you probably read in my last post, my brother-in-law (hubby’s brother) is getting married soon and last weekend was the bachelor/bachelorette party.  The guys went to Dallas for some surprisingly tame fun (or so they say – wink, wink).  Us girls stayed here in town and did a painting class then had a lingerie shower for the bride at my house.  When I started planning out the food for the shower, I was looking at it as a big chance to cheat on my diet.

But for once, I’m doing really well on this diet.  I mean hey, it’s February 1 and I’m still ON IT!  That’s a record breaker right there!  I stuck with the basic bones of the menu, but looked for lightened up versions of the recipes.  The recipe I found for crawfish fettuccine was fantastic, a few of the guests at the shower were feeling guilty for getting seconds, until I told them that it was a lower-calorie version.  Nobody could believe it.  So if you’re looking for a nice dish to celebrate a special occasion, or just because it’s a Friday, then here ya go.  I think this would be equally delicious with cooked shrimp or chicken as the protein.

Crawfish Fettuccine

Crawfish Fettuccine
Recipe from The New Holly Clegg Trim and Terrific Cookbook

Ingredients:
1 lb fettuccine pasta, cooked and rinsed under cool water
1 lb. crawfish tails, rinsed
1/4 cup margarine
1 large onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 tsp garlic, minced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1.5 cups skim milk
1.5 lb. light Velveeta
2 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • In a large pot, melt the margarine and saute’ the onion, bell pepper and garlic until tender, about five minutes.  Stir in the flour until mixed and allow to cook for a minute or so, stirring constantly.  Slowly whisk in the milk, stirring until smooth.  Add the cheese, stirring until evenly melted and then add the crawfish, parsley, salt, cayenne and Worcestershire sauce.
  • Taste for seasonings then add the pasta, tossing to coat.   Transfer to a baking dish coated with nonstick spray and bake for 15 minutes, or until heated through.
  • Serve immediately.

8-10 servings at 378 calories each.

Baked Praline French Toast

I know, you’re thinking “Christen has fallen off of the diet wagon for sure!”  But you would be wrong.  This, believe it or not, is a diet dish!!

The moms club I’m in is doing a Biggest Loser, so we decided to have a Biggest Loser brunch and all made a relatively healthy/low-cal brunch dish.  We brought copies of our recipe to share with each other, so you’ll be seeing some of those other dishes coming soon, there were some good ones.  I got mine from the Holly Clegg Trim & Terrific cookbook, Home Entertaining the Easy Way (given to me by my soon-to-be sister-in-law, Michelle!).  I just love Holly Clegg, she seems so personable and being a Southern girl like myself, I like her recipes!  The orange flavor gave it a different taste from the norm, but a good different.  This one was a definite win, it did not taste “diet” at all, everyone loved it.

Baked Praline French Toast

Baked Praline French Toast
Recipe from:  Home Entertaining the Easy Way

Ingredients:
6 tbsp margarine
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 tbsp light corn syrup
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2 eggs
3 egg whites
1 cup orange juice (I used the Trop 50 kind)
1/4 cup white granulated sugar
1/3 cup skim milk
1 tsp orange zest
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 loaf (1 lb) French Bread, cut into one inch slices

Instructions:
In a small bowl, combine the margarine, corn syrup and brown sugar, microwaving until the brown sugar has dissolved, stirring occasionally.  Pour into a casserole, then sprinkle with the chopped pecans before arranging the bread slices over the pecans.

In a larger bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients and whisk to combine.  Pour evenly over the bread and cover, refrigerate overnight.

In the morning, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and bake 30 minutes, serve immediately.

Calories:  288

Baked Praline French Toast

Sugar Crusted Vanilla French Toast

The local moms club I’m in is always doing fun activities.  I hosted one at my house last week that was really different.  We had a pajama party potluck brunch.  Of course nobody spent the night, everyone just came in their pjs (I’m sure my neighbors were wondering what was going on!) that morning.

We joked around that we should call it the pinterest party, since more than half of the dishes were “found” on pinterest, including mine.  Sugar crusted vanilla French toast seemed like it would be just right, and even better that it could be prepared the night before with only minimal work the next morning.  The ingredients consisted mostly of things you would have on hand, so it’s really inexpensive to make.

Sugar Crusted Vanilla French Toast

Everyone seemed to really love it.  I made a double batch but it wasn’t necessary, I ended up with a good bit left over.  But the leftovers are great, that was no problem! :)  The crust is really, well…crusty when it’s leftover but it softens in the microwave, have no fear.

Sugar Crusted Vanilla French Toast (Single Batch)
Recipe from:  Phenomenon

Ingredients:
1 loaf french bread, about 1lb. (plain, of course)

Custard:
3 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 – 3/4 cup white granulated sugar
pinch of sea salt

Sugar Coating:
1 stick butter (1/2 cup)
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tbsp light corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract

Method:

  • Slice the bread into 1 inch slices.  Spray a casserole (just big enough to fit the bread) with nonstick spray and arrange the slices in the dish.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the custard ingredients.  Pour evenly over the bread in the dish and cover tightly with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate overnight.
  • The next morning, remove the dish from the refrigerator and discard the plastic wrap.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a microwave-safe bowl, heat the butter just till melted.  Add the brown sugar and corn syrup and whisk well to combine.  Microwave again in thirty-second bursts, whisking after each time until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is bubbly and hot.  Whisk in the vanilla extract.
  • Pour evenly over the top of the bread and bake about 40-45 minutes, until golden.

Sugar Crusted Vanilla French Toast