Cheesy Chicken Casserole (A Pinterest Find)

So let’s talk about Pinterest for a moment. I am addicted just like the next person, but I am finding that a lot of the “material” is now going around for a second time. It’s taking the fun out of it for me a little. I am also finding that people are pinning things to Etsy shops or people’s personal work that they sell for money. Breaks my heart, actually. That artist worked hard for the inspiration and deserves credit for their work. It is sad to me that many of us may have done this! What if this is someone’s sole income? Who am I to go steal a great idea because I think I can make it, too? Of course, there are specific sites that are full of tutorials and are meant to be pinned and shared. Or the people that openly share and give tips and its obvious that they want people to “copy” them. Having said all this, Lucy Jane’s Best wants you to know that we feel awesome whenever anyone “Pins” one of our recipes. We want to share what we feel are really great recipes! So “Pin” away on our site! Share it on Facebook! We are okay with that!

So I found this recipe on Pinterest. But the picture took me back to myrecipes.com. You can find the original recipe here, but I will also repost for you below, tweaked just a tiny bit.

I needed a quick and easy chicken dinner and had seen this on one of my friends Pinterest boards. So I gave it a shot. I shall start by saying it makes a lot. A thick layer of 9×13 pan, a lot. It is a very simple recipe with almost no fluff. (I thought the Ritz cracker topping was a good idea!) But if I had to name this dish, I would rename it Mac ‘N’ Cheese Chicken Casserole. That’s exactly what it tasted like, Mac ‘N’ Cheese. And to be honest, we get enough of that around here anyway. So, my overall opinion was an easy, quick, simple meal. Nothing fancy or amazing and very kid friendly!

Cheesy Chicken Casserole

  •            3 to 4 cooked chicken breasts, chopped
  •             1 (16 ounce) package wide egg noodles, cooked
  •             1 (24 ounce) container sour cream
  •             2 (10 3/4 ounce) cans cream of chicken soup
  •             1/2 teaspoon salt
  •             2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
  •             2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  •             1 sleeve round buttery crackers, crushed
  •             1/4 cup margarine, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine chicken, noodles, sour cream, salt, soup and cheeses in a large bowl. Pour into a lightly greased 13″x9″ baking dish. Mix together cracker crumbs and margarine. Then sprinkle over top of casserole. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until crackers are crispy and golden and cheese is melted.

Classic Meatloaf for Our Dad

This is our Dad. He happens to be holding Lucy in this picture. He has 11 grandkids and another on the way, and today is his birthday! I won’t tell you how old he is, because even he can’t remember! (love you, dad!) One of his most favorite main dishes is meatloaf.

He has become quite the meatloaf connoisseur. So he was the perfect person to test this recipe out on. This is a classic, no frills, good, All-American meatloaf. I served to him as an early birthday gift last night. His response was simple, “It is better than average.” I’ll take it! Why? Because I really am not a fan of meatloaf. It does nothing for me. It is kind of gross to make and so honestly it’s not a dish I make a lot. However, I paired it with some salad, crusty bread, and yummy mashed potatoes. The perfect birthday dinner for my Dad.

I used red potatoes and kept some of the skins on. I always add about a half stick of butter, salt and 1/2 cup of sour cream to my potatoes. It is one of my favorite side dishes and so easy! So Happy Birthday, Dad! Thanks for eating my Classic Meatloaf and giving it a good review!

Classic Meatloaf

  •          1 tablespoon butter
  •          1/4 cup minced onion
  •          2 cloves garlic, minced
  •          1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  •          1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  •          2 pounds extra-lean ground beef
  •          3 slices bread, toasted and crumbled
  •          7 Ritz crackers, crushed
  •          1 egg, lightly beaten
  •          3 1/2 tablespoons sour cream
  •          1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  •          1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce, divided
  •          3 tablespoons ketchup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat, and cook the onion and garlic 5 minutes, until onion is tender. Remove from heat, and season with salt and pepper.

In a large bowl, mix the onion and garlic, beef, crumbled bread, crushed crackers, egg, sour cream, Worcestershire sauce, and 1/2 can tomato sauce. Transfer the mixture to a 5×9 inch loaf pan.

Bake uncovered in the preheated oven 40 minutes. Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees and continue baking 15 minutes, to an internal temperature of 160 degrees.

In a small bowl, mix the remaining tomato sauce and ketchup. Pour over the top of the meatloaf, and continue baking 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and let meat rest 10 minutes before serving.

Shepherd’s Pie for St. Patrick’s Day

I used to make corned beef and cabbage every St. Patrick’s Day, but as it turns out, no one in my family is a big fan of that.  So, I found myself inviting friends over to help us eat the traditional Irish meal (Pereira’s, who know who you are), while the rest of my family surfed around the kitchen for something else to eat.  So, about 5 years ago I switched to another Irish favorite, Shepherd’sPie, and my family loves this!  One of their favorite meals, but I save it just for St. Patty’s Day/  They have to have something to look forward to, right?
Shepherd’s Pie
  • 2 pounds potatoes, such as Yukon gold, peeled and cubed
  • 2 tablespoons creme fraiche
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup cream or half and half
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil,
  • 1 3/4 pounds ground beef
  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup beef stock or broth
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire, eyeball it
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup frozen tender white corn
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

Boil potatoes in salted water until tender when poked with a fork. Drain potatoes and pour them into a bowl. Combine creme fraiche, butter, and cream. Add the cream mixture into potatoes and mash until potatoes are almost smooth.

While potatoes boil, preheat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add oil to hot pan with beef. Season meat with salt and pepper. Brown and crumble meat for 3 or 4 minutes. . Add chopped carrot and onion to the meat. Cook veggies with meat 5 minutes, stirring frequently. In a second small skillet over medium heat cook butter and flour together 2 minutes. Whisk in broth and Worcestershire sauce. Thicken gravy 1 minute. Add gravy to meat and vegetables. Stir in peas and corn.

Preheat broiler to high. Fill a small rectangular casserole with meat and vegetable mixture. Spoon potatoes over meat evenly. Top potatoes with cheddar cheese and broil 6 to 8 inches from the heat until cheese is melted and potatoes are evenly browned. Top casserole dish with chopped parsley and serve.

Fall Off The Bone Barbequed Baby Back Ribs

Before I came up with this delicious recipe, I wasn’t a big fan of ribs.  They always seemed to be so chewy, and sloppy.   But I live in a house with 4 boys , 3 children and 1 husband, and you know boys, they LOVE all things BBQ and especially ribs.  So, I came up with a way to prepare the ribs so they literally fall off the bone.  The meat is so tender and juicy.  I actually find myself craving these…  you will too!

These are little time consuming to make, (what good BBQ isn’t?).  But they are super easy… it’s just that you have to slow bake them for a few hours to soften them up.  So, don’t go into this thinking you’ll whip them out in half an hour.  Just be prepared for the time it takes.  It’s totally worth it!!!

Fall Off the Bone barbequed Baby Back Ribs

  • 2 slabs baby back ribs (you can use any type of rib, but baby back are really tender)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 8 cloves garlic, whole
  • 1 cup your favorite barbeque sauce

Line a jelly roll pan with aluminum foil.  Place ribs on foil, bone side down (meaty side up).  Drizzle the ribs with the olive oil then scatter the garlic cloves over the top of the ribs.  Then use more aluminum foil to completely cover the pan and seal it up.  Put in a 325 degree oven for 3 hours.

Remove from the oven.  Prepare your BBQ or grill.   I use a gas grill so it just takes a couple minutes to warm up.  I put mine at about 4oo degrees.  Remove foil from top of rib pan, discard garlic cloves.  Slather the tops of the ribs with BBQ sauce.

Place ribs, bone side down, on your grill.  Be prepared for some flare ups, as the ribs are fatty and the olive oil drips.  That’s why the bone side is down, so the meat doesn’t burn.  Close the cover of the grill and let cook for about 7-10 minutes, until the sauce has thickened and adhered to the meat.

Remove from grill and slice between each bone to serve.  Serve with additional BBQ sauce on the side for people to add to taste.

Semi-Homemade Pizza Braid

We all need short cuts once in a while, right?  As I’ve mentioned before, I actually do a lot of semi-homemade cooking.  If there is a product that is just as good as something I can make at home, but it’s already made and probably less expensive to buy when you add up all the ingredients I would have to buy to make it, I totally take advantage and use that product!  In my book, there’s nothing wrong with that.  Work smarter, not harder, right?

I have access to some great restaurants, farmers markets and specialty grocery stores where I live, so I’d be a fool not to take advantage of that.  One of my favorite speciality grocery stores in Trader Joe’s.  They have store throughout the nation, so hopefully you have one near you as well.  If you don’t, let me just say, I’m sorry.  You’re missing out!

Even though we are blessed to have access to a Trader Joe’s right here in town, I’ve had so many people ask me why it’s so great.  They all want to know what I buy there.  EVERYTHING!  Every single thing they make is great, but here’s a recipe using a couple of pre-made TJ’s shortcuts.

Semi-Homemade Pizza Braid

  • 1 bag Trader Joe’s premade pizza dough (found in refrigerated section)
  • 1 container Trader Joe’s Pizza sauce (found by the dough in the refrigerated section)
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese (I buy this at TJ’s as well)
  • your favorite pizza toppings
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 2 teaspoons garlic salt
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Turn out pizza dough onto a floured board and let rest for 20 minutes.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Then roll out in the shape of a rectangle.  In your mind, divide the rolled out dough into 3 vertical sections.  Put sauce (to taste), mozzarella cheese and desired toppings in the center section.  On each of the outer sections, slice the dough diagonally into strips (leaving in inside of the strip attached to the center of the dough).  See photo below

Starting at the bottom wrap the dough pieces over each other, working side to side.  At the top, tuck the edge pf the last piece under the previous piece.  Place on a baking sheet sprayed with non-stick spray.  (I use a jelly roll pan and can fit 3 braids on one pan.)  In a small bowl microwave safe bowl, melt the butter.  Add garlic salt.  Brush mixture over the top of the braid.  Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

Bake at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes, until top is golden brown and bottom is cooked through.  Remove from oven and cool 5 minutes before slicing.

Easy Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken

One of my favorite quick and easy dinners is chicken tacos. Throw the chicken in the crock pot in the morning with some spices and water, and by dinnertime you have yummy, seasoned chicken for many nights to come! This week was Quinn’s birthday (February is a big month in our household) so for the family party I kept it simple with chicken tacos!

Seasoned Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken

  • 4-5 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dry oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin powder

Place chicken in crock pot. (frozen or thawed) In a large mixing bowl combine water with ALL the remaining ingredients. Stir until well combined and then dump on the chicken. Cook in crock pot for 4-6 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low. I like to shred the chicken about an hour before I am going to serve it so that it can soak in all the spices. I simply give it a quick shred in the crock pot then put the lid back on. Transfer to mixing bowl when ready to serve and give it a good shred. Use for chicken tacos, soups, salads, etc.

Rosemary Chicken and Potatoes

What’s for dinner? Does everyone else get that question about 20 times a day? I remember saying it when I was a kid. We knew that our moms had every meal for the next two weeks planned out, right? Just like we do! Ok, I wish I had every meal for the next two weeks planned, but that is just in my fantasy land. BUT, I do have a great recipe to dress up that chicken you have defrosting in the fridge right now. Simple, tasty and you’ll probably have leftovers!

Rosemary Chicken and Potatoes

  • 8-10 small red potatoes
  • 4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (or more to season)
  • 1 (32 ounce) can of diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 large onions, peeled, halved and sliced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 cup fresh italian parsley, chopped (for garnish)

Cut potatoes into wedges or chunks. In a large baking dish (9×13), toss potatoes with 3 Tablespoons olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 cup tomatoes and pepper. Roast potatoes at 450 degrees until tender. (about 25 minutes, stirring twice to make sure tomatoes do not burn)

About 5 to 10 minutes before potatoes are cooked, melt 1 Tablespoon of butter and 1 Tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet. Brown the chicken breasts over medium high heat and remove to platter. Set aside. (chicken does not need to be cooked through as it will be going in the oven to bake)

In the same skillet, brown onion over medium heat. Add the onions and chicken to the potato mixture. Then sprinkle remaining salt to season chicken. Top chicken breasts with remaining can of tomatoes, 2 Tablespoons of butter and rosemary.

Bake for 15 minutes at 450 degrees. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with italian parsley.

Lemon Pepper Chicken

This is a REALLY simple recipe, but I promise you, you will make this over and over again.  I introduced Emily to this a couple of years ago, and she too is now addicted.  The thing about this simple recipe is, it goes with everything.  Want a salad for lunch?   Add some of this yummy chicken and make it a filling meal.  Pasta for dinner?  Put some of this chicken on top.  Hubby’s out of town and you’re making Mac & Cheese from the box?  Put this chicken on the side.   Quesadillas?  Chicken!  Nachos? Chicken!  Spinach Salad? Chicken!  Chicken salad sandwich.  Ok, you get the idea.  This chicken goes with, on or on the side of just about everything!  Look for my recipe tomorrow for a super yummy way to use this chicken, but for now, just enjoy it in whatever capacity you decide to use it!

Lemon Pepper Chicken

 

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon pepper seasoning

 

Heat oil in large skillet over medium high heat.  When oil is hot, (test by wetting fingers and sprinkling into pan, if water sizzles, oil is ready), place cubed chicken into skillet.  Cook chicken over medium high heat, turning every couple of minutes.  Some juices from the chicken will release into pan.  Keep cooling until the juices cook off.  Then the oil will start to brown the chicken.  At this point add the lemon pepper and continue to turn chicken until it browns evenly.  Remove from pan and serve.

 

P.S.  Don’t be afraid to make a double batch, and refrigerate in an airtight container for use throughout the week!

 

 

Tailgate Sandwiches

 

We all want a quick and easy dinner, right? Especially when we have football, dance, scouts, T-ball, gymnastics, piano, hockey, tutoring, and on and on. Here is one of the easiest and quickest recipes I have discovered. This will fill the bellies and take 3 minutes to prepare and 20 minutes to bake. I have heard these sandwiches called Tailgate Sandwiches, Hot Butter Sandwiches (that doesn’t sound so appealing) and Sliders. Because really, they would make a great football party food, a delicious Tailgate food, and a great “take with” sandwich because they are sliders. As I was making these, I was thinking what a great little sandwich to make with all of your leftover turkey and rolls after Thanksgiving! You could add stuffing, cranberry sauce, or whatever your family likes!

Tailgate Sandwiches

  • 12 Hawaiian Sweet Rolls, split (I leave the rolls in tact and slice the whole loaf as one. Then slice as individual rolls after the baking)
  • 1 lb shaved ham
  • 12 slices mozarella cheese
  • 1 tub cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon worcestershire sauce
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon dried minced onion

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Put the bottom of the roll loaf in a greased 9×13 baking dish. Layer with cheese and then ham. Spread a thin layer of cream cheese on the top of the roll loaf. Place cream cheese side down. In a small bowl, combine the butter, parmesan cheese, worcestershire sauce and onion. Pour over sandwiches. Let stand for at least 20 minutes. Cover and Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted. Serve warm.

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Chicken Enchiladas

 

The guest post worked out so well yesterday, that we’ve decided to do it again today.  Today we’ve got our super cute sister-in-law, Michele,  and her yummy chicken enchiladas!  Michele is our health conscientious sister.  She cooks low-fat everything, watches what she eats, exercises everyday, takes her vitamins and tries to get plenty of rest (which is hard with 3 small adorable children.)  She always has that healthy glow, even on days she’s says she feels yucky.  I’m not sure how she does it!  I aspire to be like her when I grow up!

I love it when someone has a signature dish.  Something they make that they are known for.   These enchiladas are one of Michele’s signature dishes.  They are filling and yummy.  I know there are hundreds of enchilada recipes floating around out there, but these are one of the best.  For sure.  What I love about these is that they are a self-contained meal.  If you wanted to, you could just eat one of these and be fully satisfied.  No need for extra side dishes to complete the meal!  She usually serves them with a nice tossed or caesar salad, but, as I said, you don’t really have to because everything is already packed inside!  Thanks so much to Michele for sharing this yummy recipe and for just being so cute all the time!!!

Chicken Enchiladas Verde

  • 2-3 chicken breasts, boiled and shredded
  • 1-2 cans refried beans
  • 2-3 cups of cooked white rice *
  • 2 cups shredded mexican blend cheese
  • 1 can green chile verde enchilada sauce
  • 10-12 tortillas

Lay one tortilla flat and fill it with a large spoonful of refried beans. Next add a large spoonful of cooked white rice.  Then add a half cup of shredded chicken.  Followed by a quarter cup of cheese and a quarter cup of the enchilada sauce.

Carefully roll the tortilla up and lay it folded side down in a 9×13 pan.  Repeat process.

When finished pour leftover sauce on top of all enchiladas and top with cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until cheese melts on top.  Enjoy!

*Kitchen tip:  when I make these I will often use the precooked rice the either comes in a bag at the grocery store or frozen at Trader Joe’s.  Just warm it for a few minutes in the microwave and it’s ready to use.  It saves so much time waiting for the rice to cook