{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.

{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.

Crockpot Mac n Cheese

Husband’s sister was up last week taking care of the babies (thank you F!). She had made her crockpot mac n cheese for us when she was here visiting earlier in the summer. Lucky for me {& you}, she gave me the recipe this time. I was able to get a minute or 10 yesterday & throw this together. Perfect with frozen chicken tenders & canned lima beans. {hey, I have twin babies & I cooked!!}

16oz box of macaroni {cooked & drained}
1 can evaporated milk
2 eggs {beaten}
1/4 c butter
2 c milk
2 tsp cooking oil
salt & pepper to taste

3 c shredded cheddar cheese

Spray crockpot with Pam. Combine first 8 ingredients {I used used the same pot the noodles had cooked in}.

Pour mixture in crockpot. Sprinkle cheese on top.

say it with me, cheeeeese!!!

Cover & cook on low for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

Stir before serving. This makes a lot, so enjoy for a cook out or pot luck or just your family!

{Make Ahead Meals} Veggie Stuffed Shells

We’ve received a couple different types of stuffed shells: Mexican style, cheese, spinach & these veggie stuffed ones. All were excellent, but since I have this recipe, on hand, I’ll share this one first. Beth found the recipe from makeaheadmeals.

Veggie Stuffed Pasta Shells
24 uncooked pasta shells
1 10 oz can vegetable broth
1 carrot, minced
1 potato, peeled & diced
1 onion, finely chopped
2 c part-skim ricotta cheese
1 c shredded mozzarella cheese
1 egg
1/2 graded parmesan cheese
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 jar spaghetti sauce
1/4 c parmesan cheese
1 c shredded mozzarella cheese

Cook pasta according to directions. Rinse, drain & set aside to let cool.

In a big saucepan, boil broth. Add in carrots, potatoes, & onions. Cook for 3-4 mins or until veggies are tender. Drain veggies well. Combine with egg, ricotta, mozzarella, & parmesan cheese, & seasoning in a large bowl.

Fill each shell with cheese & veggie mixture.

Beth then put shells in a freezer safe bag, four at a time. She refrigerated until they were cold, then froze & brought them to us. To cook them, we placed the shells in a microwave safe bowl, topped with spaghetti sauce & parmesan cheese. We microwaved at 40% until thawed, topped with mozzarella then microwaved for an additional 1-3 minutes until it was hot.

If you wanted to cook the shells immediately {or want to bake thawed shells vs microwave the frozen shells}, add half the sauce to a baking dish. Place the shells in the dish in a single layer. Top with the cheeses. Bake on 350 for 20 mins covered then 15-20 mins uncovered. We did this Tuesday night & they were awesome. Enjoy!

Burgers anyone?!

So the food treats here have been lacking recently. Not holding out on y’all. I just haven’t cooked or baked much recently. First it was my work traveling, then just being out of habit, then it being hot out & Jason working late, but yeah I think it’s mostly lazy.

I’ve been trying to do better, but admittedly, most of our “cooked-at-home” meals recently have come from store {aka rotisserie chicken} or freezer {pizza, pasta bag}.

But since this was cooking-at-home for us, I thought I’d share Tuesday’s dinner. Kraft Caesar pasta salad mix {on sale for 94 cents at Food Lion} & burgers. Angus Bubba burgers cooked in the skillet for Jason & microwaved black bean burgers for me. Both topped with fresh tomato slices & served on 100 calorie white wheat buns. The pasta salad was enough for us & then again as a side for lunches.

Easy, simple, pretty quickly put together home-made meal.

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