Garlic Shrimp Alfredo Pizza

Grocery shopping. I’m convinced you either love it or hate it. It’s either a necessary, but shoot-me-now chore, or you relish the hunt for the best bargains each week and sticking to your list and get off on coming in below budget. I’m one of those who falls firmly into the love it category. That being said, we make the big trek to Costco, followed by every store with a circular in a 5 mile radius, once a month and it takes pretty much all day. And that’s exhausting, considering kids are dragging there heels after store # 1, whining the whole way, and begging for this that and the other. We’re all tired and cranky by the end, and cooking dinner is the last thing I want to do at the end of that day.

Garlic Shrimp Alfredo Pizza

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Pierogi Lasagna

Do you love the taste of Pierogis, Those Eastern European dumplings stuffed with cream mashed potato goodness, but dread the amount of work involved with making the dough, stuffing, and sealing them by hand? Then this here’s the thing for you. Pierogi LASAGNA. Now it’s true you could go to the frozen food aisle and just buy a bag (and I will, in a pinch) but they can’t ever compete flavor wise with the real thing. Or even with our more modernized version.

Periogi Lasagna

Pasta, potatoes, cheese, and bacon. Does it get any better than that? I’m pretty sure those are the hubs and sons four favorite food groups 😉

Still, they might not be the best groups to associate with, especially all at once, if you’re watching your carb intake … Or ya know, flavor.

Periogi Lasagna 2

Alternating layers of rich cottage cheese, and creamy mashed potatoes whipped together with bacon or ham and a generous serving of cheddar cheese are sandwiched between your favorite lasagna noodles before being topped with another sprinkle of cheddar cheese and crisp, crumbled bacon and oven-baked to perfection.

You need this in your life. At least once, or twice. And with the colder days and colder nights approaching, there’s no better time of year to give it a try.

Pierogi Lasagna

Periogi Lasagna 3
12 cooked lasagna noodles
2 cups cottage cheese
2 eggs
3 thinly sliced green onions with a sprinkling of salt (or 1 tsp onion salt)
2 cups grated cheddar cheese, with 1/2 cup separated
2 1/2 cups mashed potatoes
1/2 cup bacon (fried crisp and crumbled) OR diced ham.
1 onion, chopped and cooked until clear
8 slices bacon, fried crisp and crumbled

Directions

  1. Mix together the cottage cheese, egg and green onion, stirring until evenly combined.
    2. In another bowl, mix together the 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese, the mashed potatoes, the 1/2 cup of bacon/ham crumbled and the sautéed onion.
    3. Line the bottom of a greased 9 x 13″ baking dish with 4 of the lasagna noodles.
    4. Spread half of the cottage cheese mixture out evenly over the noodles.
    5. Add 4 additional noodles and cover evenly with half of the potato mixture.
    6. Repeat.
    7. Top with remaining 4 noodles, remaining cheese and crumbled bacon.

8. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
9. Serve warm with sour cream, if desired.

Chicken Florentine and Farfalle

For a little over two weeks the sons and the hubs and I were kicked back to the stone age while our internet was down and out. I know you’re probably thinking, and for a minute there so was I, what was I going to do without Pinterest and it’s abundance of delicious recipes to help me plan my meals? Ok, ok, not really but I wasn’t overly enthusiastic or anyhting about going off the grid for a couple of weeks. I mean I can’t keep all this awesomeness up all on my own all the time now can I? Well yes, I can, but then I start to feel like my life is as unorganized as the $5 bin at Walmart. So Internet, yeah, big help. Still, we didn’t let something like the lack thereof keep us out of the kitchen

Instead of habitually outsourcing ideas, we went back to the old days. We dug out and dusted off the family recipe box and got busy. And guess what? No internet meant no Netflix, and no online gaming. No teenagers trying to hide out in their little mini-man caves texting all afternoon. SO, not only did we rediscover some old favorites, I had lots of willing little helpers each day. And believe it or not (Sons 1 and 2 may have even been a little surprised themselves) they had fun. Good times.

So on our first day back, we’re still going to keep it pretty simple. Here’s an oldie, but a goodie from our recipe box to yours.

Chicken Florentine and Farfalle

chicken florentine and farfalle

3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 lb box of Farfalle pasta
olive oil
1 bunch of fresh spinach, or 1 box of chopped frozen spinach, thawed and all excess water drained
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, diced
4-5 oz cream cheese
salt & pepper, to taste
milk
1 jar of  Alfredo sauce
Parmesan cheese

Directions

1. Season chicken with salt and pepper. For the best taste, grill the chicken, then chop it up and set it aside. The chicken can also be pan cooked and then chopped if you prefer.
2. Prepare the pasta according to the package directions. Drain, and set aside.
3. In a large skillet add in 1-2 tbsp of olive oil, the garlic, and onions. Saute 3-4 minutes, or until the onions are translucent. Add spinach and allow it to heat through, or until wilted if it’s fresh..
4. Next, add in the cream cheese and stir in until it’s melted and evenly combined. The mixture will be thick and that’s OK.
5. Add in the alfredo sauce, again stirring to evenly incorporate. Now, add the milk, and tiny bit at a time, until the desired consistency is reached
6. Stir the chicken into the sauce, Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
7. Add the pasta to the pan and stir it into the sauce until everything’s nice and ‘saucey’, err evenly incorporated! Serve warm with shredded or grated Parmesan cheese on top.

Don’t let this meal’s fancy sounding name fool you. It’s easy enough for any weeknight and can be surprisingly flexible.

Here’s our favorite alternative version: Italian Sausage Florentine with Penne (or whatever pasta Mom happens to have on hand) Pasta.

Sausage Florentine with Penne

Looking for a vegetarian version? Swap mushrooms for the meat! All you have is spaghetti noodles? Throw em in the pot. See? Flexible.

Slow Cooker Chicken & Dumplings

If you grew up in the South, chances are you’ve eaten a variation of chicken & dumplings a few times in your life. We’ve taken Grandma’s recipe and given it a few modern adjustments, making it a quick and easy dinner for any occasion. Set it, forget it, and let your machine do all the work– come supper time, tuck into a cozy bowl of Slow Cooker Chicken & Dumplings.

Slow Cooker Chicken & Dumplings

 

Chicken & Dumplings. There’s something so Southern sounding about it. Just it’s name, aside from the fact that it is of course a Southern staple.

For years though, the hubs and I only had it when we’d visit a restaurant. Namely, Cracker Barrel who specializes in Southern style fare.

This recipe takes all that old-fashioned taste, all that classic dumpling texture, and wraps it up nice and warm in an easy slow cooked package.

Slow Cooker Chicken & Dumplings

You guys know all about my love affair with soups.

The sons don’t think anything broth-based should be considered a ‘meal’ for a guy, and the hubs likes soup but really only in winter and only if it’s hearty with plenty of toppings, and served with a salad and a hunk of bread.

All my guys are meat and potatoes kinda people. And I get that, and appreciate it when they suffer in silence for me.

Slow Cooker Chicken & Dumplings

Wanna know how I know Slow Cooker Chicken & Dumplings got it going on? Not. one. single. complaint.

And everyone came back for seconds.

The hubs liked it SO much that he insisted we have it twice in one week, and then acted like a kid at Christmas when he came home one night the next week from work to find out I was making it for him again.

Slow Cooker Chicken & Dumplings

Let the slow cooker do all the work, and you just sit back and soak it all in.

We’ve even found a perfect dumpling shortcut, keeping the whole thing as simple as can be from start to finish.

Refrigerated biscuits, cut into small pieces, plump up and cook in the soup creating yummy, fool-proof dumplings.

Slow Cooker Chicken & Dumplings

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Slow Cooker Chicken & Dumplings
A southern staple, we've taken Grandma's recipe and given it some modern updates for an easy meal, anytime.
Ingredients
  • small white onion; diced
  • 2-3 stalked celery thinly sliced
  • 2 cans cream of chicken soup
  • 3 chicken breasts
  • 2 tubes refrigerated biscuits not butter flavored or flaky layered, 10 oz each
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 heaping tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp parsley
  • 1/4 tsp poultry seasoning
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • 1 tbsp water
  • salt & pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. In a skillet over medium high heat, saute the onion and celery in a little bit of olive oil until tender, and then transfer them to the slow cooker.
  2. Lay your chicken breasts over top the cooked veggies and then season them with salt and pepper.
  3. Place the soup, chicken broth, half & half, and the additional seasonings in the slow cooker. Give the liquids a gentle stir to combine.

  4. Cover and cook on low heat for 6-8 hours or on high heat for 4-6 hours. An hour before it's done cooking, mix the cornstarch and water together in a small bowl until smooth. Add the mixture. Cut each of the biscuits into 4-6 small pieces and add them into the slow cooker as well. At this point give everything a stir and return the lid to the pot to cook for the remaining hour.
  5. When the soup's done cooking, you can either break up the chicken in the slow cooker with a spatula or remove the breasts and shred the chicken and then return the shredded chicken to the soup.

Pictures Updated 9/15/2017

Chicken & Dumplings

 

Creamy Chicken & Wild Rice Soup

This  soup is everything you could hope for in a meal on a cold Winter’s night. It’s creamy. It’s comforting. AND it saves you money. How does it save you money you might be asking? Because it’s so good (and filling) that there won’t be any reason for you to run out to a certain ‘bread cafe’ to get a bowl full.

Copy Cat Panera Bread Creamy Chicken & Wild Rice Soup 2

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Sous Chef Sunday: Chicken & Waffle Sliders

Mmm. Chicken, and waffles. Two seemingly unrelated things, but when put together make a food-gasmic combination. The sons, yet again, were skeptical. Four identical sets of little arched eye-brows as I got out just 3 ingredients. When, oh when, will they learn to trust me in the kitchen?! The sons followed the super simple recipe all by themselves, although with supervision since they were using the oven. The older sons can handle it, but Son # 4 gets so excited to be involved in the process, I worry he might forget hot things lead to burned fingers. Each son, in turn, took one tentative bite, and then proceeded to scarf them down. They looked like squirrels packing away food for winter. There was even a brief skirmish over the last two and who deserved them MOST. A chicken and waffle combo may have sounded weird to the more traditional tastes of the Sons, but they all agreed UNANIMOUSLY (might I point out this almost never happens!), that these little suckers are finger-lickin’ good.

Chicken & Waffle Sliders

4 Sons 'R' Us: Chicken & Waffle Sliders

frozen mini waffles, fully toasted
chicken tenders, cooked
{real} maple syrup
toothpicks

Directions

1. Slice your cooked chicken tenders in half. Break your toasted waffles apart.
2. Sandwich one piece of chicken between two cooked waffles. Secure with a toothpick.
3. When all the tenders have been ‘sandwiched’, drizzle them with maple syrup and serve warm.

Caramel Apple Snickers Salad

A delicious, seasonal dessert salad- Caramel Apple Snickers Salad features crisp apples, diced candies and marshmallows tossed in a sweet, creamy whipped dressing. Topped with a drizzle of smooth caramel, it’s an easy treat that doesn’t skimp on Fall flavor and is perfect for a crowd, even potlucks or parties.

Caramel Apple Snickers Salad

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