{Make Ahead Meals} Shrimp & Wild Rice Casserole

This is another great recipe courtesy of friends of my Mom’s. She’s even more social than me & lucky to have friends willing to share when they make an awesome casserole. The original recipe is for chicken & wild rice casserole but included how to do it with shrimp. Since we were at the beach {for Easter}, we made it the shrimp way & the casserole was delicious. We halved the recipe & it was plenty for 6 adults.

Shrimp and Wild Rice Casserole 

1 (2.25 oz)  pkg sliced almonds {skipped}
2 (6.2 oz) boxes fast cooking long grain and wild rice mix
1/4 c butter
4 celery ribs, chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
2 lb medium sized raw shrimp, peeled & deveined
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1 (8 oz) can chopped water chestnuts
1 (8 oz) container sour cream
1 c dry white wine
1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper
2 c shredded parmesan cheese, divided
2 C shredded monteray jack cheese, divided

Preheat over to 350. Bake almonds in single layer 4-6 minutes, until toasted, stirring half way through.

Prepare rice mix according to package directions.

Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat, add celery & onions. Saute 10 minutes or until tender. Add the shrimp. Stir in soup, water chestnuts, sour cream, wine, salt & pepper, rice and 3 cups of the cheese. Spoon mixuture into lightly greased 15 x 10 dish or two 11 x 7 dishes.

Bake at 350 for 35 minutes. Sprinkle w/remaining 1 C of cheese and almonds. Bake another 5 minutes.

You can also do this recipe with chicken {5 c chopped & cooked}. Change 4 c cheddar for the monterey jack & parmesan & sub milk for the white wine.

{Make Ahead Meals} Chicken Pesto Pasta Casserole

My Mom came down this weekend armed with this recipe which had been emailed around from her friends. The note on the recipe says it’s from Simple & Delicious May 2010 FYI.

1 box pasta {we used bowtie}
6 c cubed cooked chicken {we used a Costco rotisserie chicken}
4 c shredded Italian cheese
3 c fresh spinach, cut
1 can diced tomatoes
1 jar Alfredo sauce
1 jar prepared pesto sauce
1.5 c milk
½ c seasoned bread crumbs
½ grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp olive oil

Cook the pasta al dente according to the directions on the box. While that’s boiling, in a large bowl, combine chicken Italian cheese, spinach, tomatoes, sauces & milk. Drain pasta & add it in the bowl. Toss to coat.

Transfer to baking dishes {1 large 9×13 or we did 3 smaller 8” square pans}. In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan & olive oil; sprinkle over top of casseroles.

Cover with foil &/lids. Bake covered on 350 for approximately 45 mins.

Can be frozen up to three months. If baking after frozen, recipe recommends thawing overnight in the fridge but still adding a few minutes to the baking time.

Chicken Pesto Pasta Casserole

Chicken Pesto Pasta Casserole

This recipe was so delicious! The square pan made enough for dinner Monday night & two lunches/snacks for me for work this week. I’m really looking forward to enjoying the other two we have frozen.

Lactation Cookies

Alena from Charmingly Chandler emailed me this recipe right before I went on bed rest. I forwarded it along to my mom who had these cookies made for me & brought to the hospital right when the babies arrived. She remade them a couple weeks later.

Did they help create my {over}supply? Who knows, but they are delicious. So if you’re a breastfeeding mom-to-be or know someone who is, it can’t hurt to try right?

Bonus tip, recipe calls for brewer’s yeast which isn’t regular yeast. The first time Mom made them she couldn’t find brewer’s but it’s an important lactation ingredient. They did taste a little different the second time once they were done right.

Extra bonus tip, other family members & nurses enjoyed my cookies too. No one else started lactating. 🙂

1 1/2 c whole wheat flour
1 3/4 c whole oats {not quick oats}
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3/4 c peanut butter {almond butter works here too}
1/2 c butter, softened
1 c milled flax seed {typically in grocery stores}
4 tbsp brewer’s yeast {found at oraganic grocery or beer stores}
1/3 c water
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
2 c {or 12 oz} chocolate chips
1 c chopped nuts of your choice


Preheat oven to 350. Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon & salt in small bowl.

In a large bowl or mixer, beat peanut/almond butter, butter, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, brewer’s yeast, flax seen & water until creamy. Add the eggs.

Gradually beat in the flour mixture.

Mix in the chocolate chips & nuts. Then slowly add the oats, mixing as you go along.

Scoop out dough onto greased baking sheets or stones. Press down lightly on each dough ball with a fork.

Bake for 12 minutes. Enjoy!

{Make Ahead Meals} Baked Spaghetti

My friend Sarah brought over her baked spaghetti while the babies were still in the NICU. We loved it so I emailed her requesting the recipe. Five months {oh so quickly} later & I was left this weekend craving warm baked spaghetti for this cool week. My aunt stopped by Saturday & helped me prepare a couple of things including this. We doubled the recipe then divided it into three freezer ready containers.

1 box of noodles {we used rotini, Sarah used spaghetti noodles}
1 jar spaghetti sauce
1 lb ground chicken or turkey {we used turkey, Sarah makes hers with chicken}
2 c shredded cheddar cheese
{we threw in chopped onions & mushrooms too}

Boil water for the noodles, add the pasta & cook until a dente {usually 7-10 minutes}. Drain the pasta & set aside.

Cook the ground meat in a large saute pan. Stirring to make sure it browns completely. Pour the spaghetti sauce & vegetables if you want over the meat. Simmer for 20 minutes.

Pour a layer the meat sauce mixure in the bottom of your freezer/oven safe pan. Top with pasta. Top with cheese. Continue to layer until you reach the top of your dish. Stopping with sauce. Cover with an extra layer of cheese.

We covered with aluminium foil & the plastic freezer dish cover & placed two in the freezer. The third pan, I put in the refrigerator so we could enjoy it Sunday night.

From the refrigerator, bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes. Uncover, add a little more cheese if you wish & bake for an additional five minutes.

{Make Ahead Meals} Chicken, Mushroom & Wild Rice Casserole

We’ve received a bunch of chicken casseroles as chicken is my go to meat. This was one of our favorites {& I have this recipe written down}. SIL Beth made this one after finding it on eatingwell.com

Chicken, Mushroom & Wild Rice casserole
2 c water
1/2 c wild rice
2 lb boneless chicken breasts
2 tbsp EVOO
2 leeks, rinsed & chopped
1 & 1/2 lbs mushrooms, sliced
1 c dry sherry
1/4 c flour
2 c milk
1/2 c parmesan cheese
1/2 c sour cream
1/3 c chopped flat leaf parsley
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 c frozen French cut green beans
1/2 c sliced almonds

Combine water & rice in small saucepan. Bring to boil, then cover & reduce heat to maintain simmer. Cook until tender for 35-40 minutes then drain.

Meanwhile, place chicken in large skillet, add lightly salted water to cover & bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat & simmer until chicken is cooked through {10-15 mins}. Transfer to plate or cutting board to let cool.

Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add leaks & cook until lightly brown {4-5 minutes}, stirring occasionally. Add mushrooms, continue stirring while cooking until their liquid is out & evaporated {12-14 minutes}. Add sherry & bump the heat up to high. Cook until most of the liquid is gone {5-7 minutes}. Sprinkle the vegetables with flour then add them to the skillet. Add the milk then bring to simmer for 1 minute. Stir in the cheese, sour cream, parsley, salt & pepper. Remove from heat.

Spray a 9×13 dish with cooking spray. Place the rice in the 9×13 dish. Cut the chicken in bite sized pieces then add them on top of the rice. Add the green beans then pour the sauce over & spread evenly. Sprinkle on the almonds.

At this point, you can either cover & freeze. Or bake on 350 until almonds are golden brown {about 30 minutes}. Enjoy ~ we sure did!