Pizza Pasta “Bake”

You’ll need:

1-1 1/2 # lean ground beef

1 family size jar pasta sauce

1 jar creamy mozzarella sauce

1 package mini pepperoni slices

8 oz shredded mozzarella

16 oz Rigatoni, cooked for 4 mins, drained and rinsed

Stir raw ground beef, jar of pasta sauce, half jar of water and half jar of creamy mozzarella sauce together.  Heat for 2 hours on high, stirring once.  Add rigatoni and 4 oz shredded mozzarella, stirring well.  Reduce heat to low, Cook one more hour, stir, top with remaining cheese.  Continue to cook 30-60 min, until cheese is melted.

Microwave frozen 2-3 c portions for 3-4 min, stirring halfway through.

Chicken Pasta Stuffing Swiss “Bake”

Adapted from a Pinterest quick oven meal.

You’ll need:

2# boneless, skinless chicken thighs (you can substitute chicken breasts or tenderloins)  The original recipe called for a deli rotisserie chicken, with the meat removed.  That was just an annoying amount of work, as far as I’m concerned.  Crock pot recipes should be dump and go, IMO, but use whatever works for you.

1# pkg penne, ziti or other small pasta (I used gemelli, since that’s what was in the pantry), cooked for one minute less than package directions state (usually 6-7 min)

2 cans cream of chicken soup, undiluted

1/2 c sour cream

1 package dry stuffing mix (Stove Top style), Turkey, chicken or cornbread flavor

Swiss cheese slices

Cooking spray

I put the chicken thighs in the crock pot on high for 2 hours, until they were cooked through.  I added about 1/2 cup of water to avoid sticking.  If you decide to use a rotisserie chicken from the deli, skip this step.  Turn the crock pot to low and shred/chop the chicken  before returning it to the crock pot that you’ve sprayed lightly with cooking spray.

Chicken, cooked, out of the crock pot

Chicken, cooked, out of the crock pot

Chicken, after shredding/ chopping:IMG_20150124_190503

Add the two cans of cream of chicken soup and sour cream.  Blend into chicken.

Sour cream & cream soup

Sour cream & cream soup

Fold in dry stuffing mix and cooked noodles.  Make sure it’s blended thoroughly.

Layer Swiss cheese on top of blended chicken/pasta/stuffing mixture.  Cook 2-3 hours on low, stirring after one hour.  Add an additional layer of Swiss cheese to the top after stirring, since the original layer would have mixed in.

Mixing stuffing and pasta into chicken mixture

Mixing stuffing and pasta into chicken mixture

Last step before walking away for a couple hours.  Yum!

Last step before walking away for a couple hours. Yum!

As soon as the next layer of cheese on top is bubbly and melted (about an hour-90 mins), turn the crock pot off and serve those noms up with some buttered bread or mini buttermilk biscuits.

Happy stress-free eating, all!  Freeze leftovers for up to three weeks in a Tupperware style container, heat for 2 1/2 -3 min, stirring once.  If it seems dry, add a Tbsp or so of milk prior to heating.

Crock Pot Drunken Pork Chops

You’ll Need:

Family pack of pork chops (8-12, boneless)

Can of beer (light or dark – we prefer lighter beer)

1/2 c BBQ sauce

Oil

Salt & Pepper

Cornstarch

Heat oil in frying pan, season pork chops on both sides with salt and pepper and sear lightly.  While you’re doing that, whisk beer and BBQ  sauce together in crock pot on low heat.  Transfer lightly seared pork chops to crock pot, making sure chops are covered with sauce.  Cover and cook 4-6 hours on low.  Remove pork chops, increase heat to high.  Add 2 Tbsp cornstarch to 1/4 c water and mix until smooth.  Whisk into liquid mixture in crock pot.  Keep heat on high and return pork chops to crock pot.  Stir every 10 minutes until sauce is thickened.  Serve with mashed potatoes or buttered noodles and veggie of your choice.

Leftovers freeze well, microwave frozen pork chop and side for 2-3 mins, stirring once during heating.  Enjoy!

Chicken Stuffing Crock pot “Bake”

This is a variation of a recipe I found on Pinterest.  It made plenty for dinner with three Tupperware containers left over for lunches or quick dinners for the hubby.  I work third shift and we’re making an effort to rely less on TV dinners, frozen pizzas and hot pockets for the nights I’m not home.  So, this is what we came up with:

You’ll need-

About 2 lbs chicken (boneless, skinless)

1 package Stove Top stuffing

1 stick margarine, melted

1 can cream of chicken soup, mixed with 1/2 can milk

1 bag frozen corn

1-2 cups prepared gravy (optional)

Place chicken breasts on bottom of crock pot (thawed or frozen).  Sprinkle dry stuffing mix over chicken.  Drizzle melted butter over dry stuffing mix.  Pour cream of chicken soup and milk mixture over stuffing.  Dump frozen corn on top, and cook on low for 4-6 hours.  After 3 hours, stir contents of crock pot, removing chicken breasts and cutting into chunks.  Mix back into crock pot, adding gravy at this time if it looks too dry.  Cook 1-3 hours longer, until chicken is fully cooked and mixture isn’t too soupy.

We served this in bowls with some mini buttermilk biscuits on the side and melted some shredded cheddar cheese on top.  It was sort of similar to the KFC chicken bowls, but much yummier and no doubt healthier.  It was quite tasty and will no definitely be added to our regular meal rotation.

Loaded Baked Potato Soup

This is an easily scalable recipe.  I have an large batch in the crock pot as I post this, to take in to work tonight to share with my co-workers.  It’s a very simple, filling, comfort food for cold days and nights.  Enjoy!

IMG_20150112_102344IMG_20150112_102859

Ingredients:

6 cups liquid (5 c H2O and 1 c milk)

6 chicken bouillon cubes

6 potatoes, peeled and cut into approximately 1 inch cubes

1 stick butter or margarine

Place all ingredients into large crock pot on high heat for 4-6 hours, until potatoes are soft and slightly crumbly at edges.

IMG_20150112_102431

To thicken, remove approximately 1 cup of broth and whisk together with 1-1/2 pkgs Idahoan Four Cheese instant potatoes.  Blend mixture into baked potato soup in crock pot to desired thickness.

Turn heat down to “keep warm”, stirring frequently to prevent sticking.

Serve in bowls with bacon bits, chives, shredded cheddar and sour cream.

IMG_20150112_103412

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