Forgotten Food Medley

Apologies for missing yesterday’s post! I had a severe case of the Mondays or something, so I’m posting today to make up for it.

This past Sunday night I was running low on EVERYTHING. It was so late by the time that I got started that I literally only had two choices: find something I could prepare quickly in the pantry or go out and grab food. My children had already decided we were having Zaxby’s and were excited. Not today kids, not today. I decided to go the unpopular route and chose to make something at home.

I quickly searched for foods that were floating around the pantry, fridge, and freezer. I manged to find a few questionable carrots, a very small bag of broccoli, an almost empty bag of rice, and a can of cream of chicken. It was like a medley of the forgotten foods! (sorry for the crappy picture. It was an afterthought.)

First, I started the instant rice on the stove. I prefer “normal” rice, but, like I stated, it was late!

As the rice was cooking, I prepared the can of cream of chicken.

I used the microwave to steam broccoli and carrots separately and then mixed them together. (They could have been steamed together, but I was busy deciding whether or not I wanted to chance the carrots.)

Once my forgotten foods were finished, I tossed everything into one pot, mixed it together, and served with fresh green beans I had made earlier that day for a family gathering.

My family LOVED it. It was so good for being so simple!


On a side note, this would also be wonderful with some grilled chicken thrown in. I may try that next time, but if you are searching for quick and simple meal, this is the way to go!

Were we hungry or did I just totally rock that one out on a whim?

I think I’ll choose the latter option!

(Sorry for the lack of quality pictures. I was just not on my game Sunday night!)

Print Recipe
Rice and Veggie Mix
Course Main Dish
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Course Main Dish
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
  1. Cook rice according to package directions.
  2. While rice is cooking, prepare cream of chicken according to can directions.
  3. Steam broccoli and carrots by your preferred method (microwave or stovetop).
  4. Once all the food is cooked, mix together in medium-large pot.
  5. Serve with a side or bread.
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Who Needs Directions?

I finally got around to making this casserole Wednesday night. I had put it off after seeing it took over an hour to cook. I mean, really?! Who has time for that? However, I finally had time so I tried it. In all reality, I did not have time, but I had chicken that was going to expire so I made time.

I am going to apologize in advance. I have failed you miserably when it comes to bringing you quick and easy recipes with few ingredients. This is not one.

I started really late as I COMPLETELY forgot it took an hour. I started prepping at 6:30. The casserole still needed to bake though. I figured getting done at 7:30 was late, but still acceptable. I failed to realize I needed to wash and/or chop EVERY. SINGLE. INGREDIENT.

Once I finally finished all the prep, I had to layer the ingredients. This was actually kind of fun and I made pictures of each step!

Repeat the above layers a second time and then cover with heavy cream and a little butter here and there. Cover with foil and bake!

I stuck it in the oven at 7:20pm so we didn’t actually eat until 8:40ish. Oh well….

Oh, but wait! Did I mention that I didn’t pay much attention to the ingredients? The recipe I used was aggravating because the page kept scrolling up incessantly on my phone so I kind of only halfway followed it. Plus, the recipe had measurements for the vegetables and meat. I’ll measure seasonings and such, but with vegetables and meat, I don’t. Plus, I was feeling salty about how much time this stupid recipe was taking so I was not in the least bit concerned with it. Anyhow, there was a key step I realized I had overlooked about five minutes into the hour long cook time.

After one hour, remove foil and sprinkle remaining cheese on casserole. Return to oven for five minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

Remember this pre-foil picture? See all that cheese?

I looked at my husband and said, “Oh well!” What could I really do at this point? Not only was it most likely already melted, but there was no way I was going to try and pick it all off. Luckily, it seemed to do just fine and didn’t burn at all!

The casserole tasted okay. I was really hoping it would taste as amazing as it looked! It absolutely has potential though.  Next time, I will grill the chicken and season it ahead of time and “pre-boil” the potatoes. The chicken was just too plain and the potatoes were still hard. Other than that, it was pretty good. I thought the cream would be gross, but it was actually good!

I’ll include my altered recipe below with notes on how to make it better. If you make this, I encourage you to play with it and definitely make it your own! Good luck!

Print Recipe
Loaded Baked Potato Casserole
This casserole is good, but could definitely use improvements! I have included the steps I intend to use next time, but I strongly encourage you to make this your own!
Course Main Dish
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 65 minutes
Course Main Dish
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 65 minutes
  1. Grease a 9 X 11 pan and pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Layer half of the ingredients as follows: -potatoes -chicken -broccoli -bacon -onion -cheese
  3. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
  4. Repeat layering steps (EXCEPT CHEESE) with the second half of the ingredients.
  5. Season again and then cover with heavy cream. Slice butter and layer over top of casserole and cover tightly with foil. Put into the oven for 1 hour.
  6. Remove casserole from oven and remove foil. Sprinkle on 1 cup of cheese and return to the oven for another 5 minutes.
  7. Remove and let sit for 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
  8. **NOTES: I strongly suggest seasoning and grilling the chicken and paraboiling the potatoes beforehand and reducing the cook time. This way is okay, but the chicken is fairly bland and the potatoes were a little too hard. This recipe definitely has potential though.
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Colander Calamity

Last night was a doozy- even for me.

To begin, my husband and I either ate something bad or we had a small virus, but he and I were both feeling pretty crummy. I thought that some chicken noodle might do the trick and I’ve been wanting to try homemade for a while, but didn’t have a recipe. I raided my pantry and hoped for the best.

The night actually got off to a decent start considering the crummy day I had experienced. I had all these awesome ingredients! Surely something good could come out of it. (And yes, bacon doesn’t normally go into chicken noodle, but it’s bacon. Who turns down bacon?!)

I got the chicken broth boiling and dumped in the tomatoes. This was going well! I needed to get the carrots and celery in next so they could boil for a few minutes longer than the pasta and get tender. Unfortunately, I still had unwashed, unpeeled, and undiced vegetables. I worked as quickly as I could with the vegetables to get them into the pot.

Once the veggies were taken care of, I decided to start the bacon. I avoided burning it on the stove altogether and opted for the oven. (In hindsight, I should have started the bacon first. I’ve adjusted the recipe to reflect this.)

Once the bacon was in the oven and the vegetables had boiled for a few minutes, I added the pasta to the pot along with the concoction of seasonings I had put together. I even measured this time to keep up with what I used. I was feeling fancy! Once everything was in the pot and mixed together it looked kind of gross, but I kept pressing forward!

 All was going well until my two youngest children came into the kitchen singing the song of their people. If you have children, you know it well. It’s the “I want a drink!” and the “What is for dinner?” songs masterfully sung in the key of whine. I shooed them out and got back to making dinner.

I realized the pasta was overcooking and grabbed my collapsible colander (strainer). I popped it out and set it in the sink to use. I did not have intentions to drain the entire pot because I was still wanting chicken noodle, but I had entirely too much liquid for my liking.

I started to pour liquid into the colander and then it happened. I tipped forward a little too much and, unbeknownst to me, the colander didn’t pop out properly.


Disaster. Full-scale, disaster. During the commotion the kids came in again, saw my face, and ran away quickly. Just as I was about to have a nervous breakdown, the timer on the oven went off. The bacon was done. I doused my frustration with a piece of the bacon.

I took what tiny amount of pasta I had left in the strainer and crumbled a few pieces of the bacon to place on top. I had to try my pasta creation since I literally made up the recipe as I was going.

It was good! It was actually REALLY good! It’s too bad no one else in my family got a chance to give it a try.

Maybe next time…with a new colander.

Easy Peasy Pasta

  • 6 Cups Chicken Broth
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) petite diced tomatoes (undrained)
  • 4 carrots- diced
  • 4 celery stalks- diced
  • 1 bag of medium egg noodles (12 oz)
  • 1 pack of bacon
  • 1 Tbsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp basil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400. Once ready, put bacon into the oven for 20 minutes. (May need to flip it halfway through.)
  2. Bring chicken broth to a boil.
  3. Once boiling, put undrained tomatoes, diced carrots, and diced celery into the pot and let boil for 5 minutes.
  4. After 5 minutes, place noodles and spices into the pot and stir well. Let boil until the noodles are al dente.
  5. Drain pot (leave a little liquid for a soup type consistency)
  6. Crumble cooked bacon on top
  7. Serve- should be 4-6 servings if you don’t dump it into the sink.

Oh…I Guess It Is Alfredo After All

As I was scanning through my pins the other day, my husband walked past me and glanced over. He immediately backed up and practically drooled on my shoulder. That is how I decided which pin I was going to try first.  I don’t know the actual name of it, so we will just call it Chicken Awesomeness- or maybe Chicken Fettucini Alfredo if you like boring names.


I went to the store and bought the basic ingredients needed for this recipe. I should’ve known it would be trouble when the recipe called for heavy cream. I stood in front of the milk section of Publix and stared at the carton labeled “Heavy Whipping Cream” for longer than I should have. Was this the same thing as “Heavy Cream”? I tried calling Russ to no avail. I bought it anyway and proceeded to checkout with full intention of Googling it at soon as I got home. I didn’t and waited until I was much too far into making this recipe to have another option. Luckily, heavy cream and heavy whipping cream are basically the same thing.

I started out by frying the chicken in a skillet. I managed to fry it without completely killing it. During this time I started boiling the fettucini noodles and steaming the broccoli.

Just as I was thinking this was going to be a REALLY boring post, I remembered I needed to cook bacon. I despise cooking any and ALL breakfast foods. Seriously. My husband cooks breakfast for the kids when they get a craving because I. Just. Don’t. I put the bacon in a skillet and got this…

I mean…what is that? I have found a way to simultaneously burn and have raw bacon at the same time. Ehh. I fashioned a weird pan by putting a metal cooling rack onto a pan to catch the grease and put the rest of the bacon into the oven. I proceeded to read the rest of the recipe to see what else I could destroy.

It didn’t disappoint. The next thing I read was this line:

Add minced garlic to the skillet. Add heavy cream, milk, bring to boil. Add cheese and stir till it completely melts. 

Um…crap. I was about to dump the chicken juices out of the skillet. I took out the chicken and sliced it. Meanwhile, I dumped garlic powder (it’s just easier), heavy cream, and milk into the skillet. Once I added the cheese it dawned on me- I’m making alfredo. I yelled to Russ, “Hey babe! I just made homemade alfredo!” He congratulated me for finally figuring out what I was actually cooking and comes to taste test. He eyes the bacon before I finish the sauce and decides to steal some and run.

Once the oven bacon finished, I put it all together in a pot so I could take this pretty picture for you and then dumped my homemade alfredo on top and mixed it up. It was really good and two out of three children approved, which is pretty high around here.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 lb chicken breast, boneless and skinless
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (or 3/8 tsp garlic powder)
  • 2/3 cups heavy cream
  • 2/3 cups milk
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 8 oz fettuccine
  • 2 cups cooked broccoli florets
  • 7 strips cooked bacon
  • salt and pepper


  1. Heat olive oil on medium-high heat in a large skillet. Season chicken breast with salt and pepper. Cook chicken breast on high heat for 2 to 4 minutes on each side, until browned, then remove the skillet from heat and keep the chicken covered to continue cooking it in its own steam until no longer pink. Remove chicken from the skillet. You can also use pre-cooked chicken. Cut chicken into thin slices.
  2. Add minced garlic to the skillet. Add heavy cream, milk, bring to boil. Add cheese and stir till it completely melts.
  3. Cook pasta according to instructions. Drain.
  4. Add cooked pasta, cooked bacon, cooked broccoli and mix everything in. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Top with sliced cooked chicken.

Archives- Baked Spaghetti

Original Post- March 23, 2013

Spaghetti is spaghetti is spaghetti…right? I mean, it’s pretty hard to mess up something as simple as spaghetti. I’ve had my fair share of mishaps, though. My friend Christina lived with me for a couple of months when Russ was overseas. I have no idea what we ate those two months we lived together, but it couldn’t have been decent considering the only meal I remember was spaghetti and when I pulled the spoon out, all the noodles came with it. Reminiscing aside, I’ve learned a little (thank goodness) since that tiny duplex we shared, and now spaghetti is a staple in my house. I think the reason it continues to be so popular is because spaghetti is the only meal that both of my children will eat without complaint. It does not matter which version I make (I like to switch it up occasionally), they still eat it. My regular version just wasn’t doing the job of stretching our money like I was wanting to do, so I started making baked spaghetti.

My family has this certain sauce everyone uses. I’ve never heard anyone say it was a secret so I have no issue giving it out. It’s certainly cheaper than Ragu, Prego, or all those sauces, but you have to work with it to get the taste you really want. Plus, it’s probably really bad for you, but…well…I don’t care.  It is as follows:

  • one can of tomato sauce (14.5 oz)
  • a big dollop of ketchup- probably an 1/8 of a cup…maybe?
  • dried onion flakes, basil, oregano, thyme, whatever you want to add.

Seriously, that is it. It’s pretty good too. If you tend to use more than one pound of meat, I would suggest using one large can of tomato sauce and one small can. Sometimes I do use a ready made sauce, but the homemade is cheaper and everyone just eats it so much better!

Okay, now on to baked spaghetti. We love this meal because it is a 2-nighter. I make this with a salad on the side and occasionally a bread of some sort. We have the exact same thing the next night too and it is enough to feed all of us just fine. It’s a LOT of food, so if you have a small family and do not like leftovers, skip this recipe. I hope that you enjoy it as much as we do!

Baked Spaghetti

  • 5 lb hamburger meat
  • one box of spaghetti noodles (1 lb pkg)
  • 1 can of Ragu, Prego, or the Baine sauce recipe above

Preheat the oven to 350. Cook the noodles and sauce as you normally would for spaghetti. Once the noodles are al-dente, drain and pour back into pan. Mix finished spaghetti meat together with the noodles and spread into a 9 X 13 baking dish. Cover with shredded cheddar cheese and put into the oven for 15 minutes. Serve. Should make 6-8 servings. Serve with salad and bread to pull it to a 2 day meal. (Our salads usually have one chopped bell pepper, one chopped tomato, one or two chopped carrots, and some sort of cheese with very little dressing.)

Happy Cooking! 🙂

Archives- Day 3- Did That Say Undrained? Oh Crap….

Original Post- February 28, 2011

Ziti Toss with Cheese…I thought that noodles and veggies would be easy and quick. So wrong, so terribly wrong.

My husband has started referring to me as “Raccoon”. I have used recipes with onions three nights in a row.  I know they can be cut in a bowl of cold water and it is supposed to prevent you from crying, but I can barely handle a knife now, much less a slippery one. Plus, as you read on the earlier post, my child likes to scream random things at random times! I’ve tried all the tricks I’ve heard:

  • yawning
  • humming
  • chewing bubblegum
  • holding my breath

and the list goes on. Absolutely nothing works. I cry like a baby for about 10 seconds and then my eyes burn and water so bad I can’t see so I always rub my eyes on my sleeve around my bicep area. Last night, while I was cooking, Russ walked in the door and started laughing hysterically at my face. He asked if I looked in the mirror. I held up the butcher knife and shot him one of those looks that induce fear in husbands so he went into another room while still laughing like a hyena. Needless to say, I checked the mirror tonight so I wasn’t forced to threaten him again.

I didn’t mind cutting up all the vegetables for this one. It was tricky trying to get all the vegetables as thin as they needed to be, but I seemed to get them small enough. I’ll probably cut the peppers a little smaller next time for Andrea’s sake though. I minced the mozzarella cheese because it said diced and I had shredded, so I just improvised and made it my own way.

I did, however, have one issue. Somewhere along the way (I’m thinking right after the onion cutting incident where I went blind) I read that I needed to open and drain a can of whole tomatoes. I’m pretty sure I either made up this line, or it disappeared from the paper (plausible right?). Anyhow, I drained them VERY well and then I realized the recipe said one can of whole tomatoes…undrained. What? That can’t be right. I read it again. Yep….it says undrained. Sooo….I think we will be either adding tomato sauce next time OR NOT DRAINING THE TOMATOES.

Oh my.  It is going to be a long 27 days…..

Ziti Toss With Cheese- By: Healthy Meals in Minutes
Serves 4
1 mdm red onion, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
1 mdm red or green bell pepper, cut into thin strips (about 1 cup)
3 T water
1/4 cup sliced green onion
1 can (16 oz) whole tomatoes, UNDRAINED
2 T chopped fresh parsley, divided
1 T chopped fresh basil, divided
12 oz ziti pasta
1/4 cup diced part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. Spray a large nonstick skillet with veggie cooking spray. Heat over mdm heat. Add the red onion, bell pepper, and water. Cover and cook for 3 minutes. Uncover and add green onion. Cook for 2 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a plate.
2. Add the tomatoes with liquid and half of herbs to skillet; break up tomatoes with a spoon. Simmer for 10 minutes.
3. While tomatoes are simmering, cook pasta according to package directions, but do not add salt. Set aside 1/2 cup of pasta cooking water. Drain pasta and place in a large bowl. Stir in onion mixture, tomatoes, and enough pasta water to think sauce. Stir in mozzarella. Sprinkle with remaining herbs and Parmesan and serve.
*In  place of fresh herbs, 2 t. of dried parsley and 1 t. of dried basil may be substituted.*
Per Serving

Calories– 403 (10% from fat)

Carbs- 74 g

Protein- 16 g

Sodium- 147 mg

Fat-5 g

Cholesterol- 8 mg