Chicken Tamale Bake

My husband loves tamales. My mother-in-law Anna makes them in huge batches and brings them up when she visits. It’s a whole involved process that she tried to teach me once (long ago when I was first married), but the thought of authentic cooking was a total brain overload for me back then. I found this recipe and knew I needed to give it a whirl. It starts with a rich cornbread base filled with chilies, topped with enchilada sauce, spiced chicken and cheese. If you like Mexican food, you will love this!

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Lightened Chicken Divan With Quinoa

Quinoa is totally the cool kid in school right now. The topic of every conversation. Exotic. Mysterious. You aren’t sure exactly how to pronounce their name. Ok, ok…you totally do know how. But I didn’t. I had an entire conversation calling it “qwi-no-ah”. Then my sister set me straight. She’s been all over this stuff for years. Keen-wah? Seriously? Ok then. Did you know that once you tell a 5-year-old how something is pronounced, there’s practically no earthly way to convince them otherwise? Apparently “Mommy was wrong” doesn’t hold mustard with my kids. I’ll have to be careful what I tell them as fact lest they sprout off totally false information and give me all the credit.

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Chicken Parmesan Bake

Chicken Parmesan is my absolute favorite meal. While growing up I got to pick my birthday meal and chicken parm was my choice every single year. I never grow tired of it. It is perfection. Juicy chicken wrapped in crispy breading all smothered in rich marinara sauce and drenched with melty cheese – oh I love it. I’m not a fan of the preparation however. If only it was my birthday every day so my mom would make it for me all the time…in her kitchen. I hate that Chicken Parmesan destroys every counter I own and dirties a full load of dishes. All the pans for egg wash, flour and breadcrumbs. Not to mention the frying which in inevitably splatters grease on whatever brand new favorite shirt I’m wearing. How I forget to put an apron on EVERY TIME is beyond me.

When I first saw this recipe, I was skeptical. How on earth could a casserole type baked dish produce the crisp breaded goodness of my favorite dinner? How? I pictured a soggy yucky mess. Breadcrumbs turned into a goopy pile. *shudder* Then, I read the secret ingredient. Croutons. Oh genius chef who thought of that, you have my devotion forever.

My joy and elation is tempered by a huge problem with this recipe. It is so incredibly easy, and amazingly good that I already want to make it again. My oven isn’t even cool yet and I’m dreaming of the next time I can eat this. It took less than 10 minutes to throw together, used one dish (ONE!) and is every bit as delicious as the full-fledged tornado in the kitchen that is Chicken Parmesan. I’m trying to convince myself that since it’s baked, I can get away with eating it more frequently than its fried inspiration – but the convincing was not going well until I actually did a calorie calculator. Under 400 calories per serving. Oh baby. This just became my favorite meal.

A quick photo spread of the dish coming together. It is really just a dump it all in the pan meal. Layer chicken on top of garlicy olive oil. Then marinara, fresh basil, two cheeses, croutons (genius) and more cheese.

I almost started singing when this came out of the oven all golden and cheesy. The smell overwhelmingly perfect. Like your kitchen has transformed into the best Italian restaurant you’ve ever been to. Make this. Immediately. It is glorious. The croutons stay crisp and perfectly toasted on top, but infuse with the flavor of garlic, basil and marinara on the bottom. The chicken is moist and delicious, coated with saucy cheesy goodness. You will love it.

 

Chicken Parmesan Bake
adapted from Food Wishes

2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
pepper/Italian seasonings
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts (24 ounces of chicken)
2 cups marinara sauce
1/4 cup chopped basil
8 oz mozzarella, shredded
4 oz Parmesan, grated
1 (5-oz) package garlic croutons

Pour olive oil into the bottom of a 9×13 casserole dish.  Crush garlic and swoosh around in the oil until the bottom of the pan is completely covered.
Lay chicken breasts on top of the garlicy olive oil. Season with pepper and italian seasoning (or you could use red pepper flakes if you like a little kick)
Pour marinara sauce on top of chicken and coat evenly.
Chop basil and sprinkle over marinara sauce.
Sprinkle 1/2 of the mozzarella and 1/2 of the Parmesan cheese over the marinara/basil.
Dump croutons in a single layer on top of cheeses and top with remaining cheeses.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 35-55 minutes (depending on the size of your chicken breasts). Until thermometer reads 155 when inserted into chicken. Allow to rest 5-10 minutes.

Pizza Casserole

When I saw this dinner had all the flavors of my favorite pizza combined with pasta in an easy casserole I was totally sold. When you taste it, you will be too. Added bonus, this recipe makes TWO dishes of pizza perfection. Exactly what you need for feeding a big crowd or (like I did) making one for now and freezing the other for a night when you need a break from cooking.

It makes me sad that casseroles generally fall into the “delicious but not particularly photogenic” category. However, this was far too easy and delicious to keep to myself, just because it’s not the prettiest girl at the party. Plus, when both my children and my husband gobble down dinner, it’s an automatic keeper.

Scoop up some deliciousness. Melty cheesey goodness.

Pizza Casserole
adapted from Taste of Home

  • 8 ounces uncooked fettuccine
  • 2 pounds ground turkey
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 16 ounces fresh mushrooms
  • 1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1 jar (14 ounces) pizza sauce
  • 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 4 cups (16 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1 package (3-1/2 ounces) sliced turkey-pepperoni
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

  • Cook fettuccine according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven, cook turkey and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the mushrooms, tomato sauce, pizza sauce, tomato paste, sugar and seasonings. Drain pasta; stir into meat sauce.
  • Divide half of the mixture between two greased 2-qt. baking dishes; sprinkle each with 1 cup mozzarella cheese and top with half the pepperoni. Repeat layers. Top each with remaining pepperoni and Parmesan cheese.
  • Cover and bake at 350° for 20 minutes. Uncover; bake 10-15 minutes longer or until heated through. Yield: 2 casseroles (8 servings each).

French Chicken Broccoli Supreme

Are you sick of making casseroles with cream of *insert whatever has been creamed* soup? This broccoli chicken bake has a rich creamy sauce that you make yourself in just a few quick minutes. The taste is fantastic, similar to what you’d get with a condensed soup…but so much better. It has a crunchy buttery topping and is full of flavor. I have no idea what about this is “French”, but it is most certainly supreme. Supremely amazing and delicious. Enjoy!

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Mediterranean Chicken Bake

This quick casserole includes great flavors like artichokes, tomatoes and olives. Tossed together in with chicken, pasta and cheese it takes boring chicken casserole to a new (delicious) place. It’s an amazing meal for a busy weeknight. You could use any leftover chicken you’ve already cooked, shred up a rotisserie chicken or quickly cook up some fresh chicken to use in this dish. I paired this with my Pear and Feta Salad and some hearty rolls for a perfect easy Friday night meal. Yum yum! [Read more…]

Chicken Noodle Soup Casserole

Chicken noodle soup has to be one of the great comfort foods on the planet. When I’m sick, it makes me feel way better. Even if it’s all in my head, somehow the steamy broth and flavors of chicken, noodles and veggies help me turn the corner towards wellness. The problem is, when I’m not sick, soup is never enough for me at a meal. I know there are people who are totally satisfied with the soup n’ salad thing. I am not one of those folks. I need something with a bit more substance. Which is why I love this recipe. It combines all my favorite comforting soup flavors in a casserole that fills you right up. [Read more…]

Chicken Florentine Casserole

I had just put this casserole in the oven when my husband walked in the door from work today. The first words out of his mouth were “Man, something sure smells good!”. I responded with “It could be the bacon, or the sautéed mushrooms, spinach and onions. Or possibly the Parmesan cheese cream sauce.” It was at that moment that I knew without a doubt tonight’s dinner was going to be ah-mazing. Oh momma and was it ever!

Chicken Florentine is a classic dish that’s made by pounding chicken flat, rolling spinach, cheese and mushrooms inside, breading the rolls and then frying them. Much like Chicken Kiev or Chicken Cordon Bleu. I found the idea for a casserole version and could tell that with some adjustments it was going to be fantastic with much less work than the traditional rolled type. Chicken Florentine is normally served with rice, but I thought some nice mashed potatoes would be a much better vehicle for soaking up all the delicious creamy sauce in this dish. Mmmmmmm yummy!

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Baked Eggnog French Toast

It’s a Christmas morning tradition in our home to have a big gorgeous breakfast together. For many years I’ve made french toast, eggs, bacon, sausage etc. for my family. This year, I decided to try something that would keep me away from all that flipping bread over a hot griddle. I’ve tried overnight french toast before, but didn’t want to go that route since I had zero time before Christmas day to prepare it. So, I kind of made up this version – and included some eggnog to give it a holiday twist. For the rest of the year, I’ll just use all milk instead of part nog. The great thing is that it came together in about 10 minutes, and then baked while we were reading the Christmas story and opening gifts. Easy and delicious. [Read more…]

Mom’s Potatoes

I look forward to these potatoes every time my mom has a brunch. They are amazingly rich. They equally amazingly bad for you. But I don’t care. I love them. Now you can too. I actually was so excited to dig into these when I made them recently that I forgot to take a photo. So, I took one after half the dish was gone. Oh well.

There’s a hard way and an easy way to make these potatoes. I make them the hard way for special occasions like Easter dinner. I make them the easy way for pretty much everything else. [Read more…]

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