Taco Spaghetti

The best thing about this dish is that it can all be made in a single pot. It combines two of my favorite foods, tacos and spaghetti. My family is pretty sensitive to spice so next time I’ll use mild Rotel but other than that I loved how easy and delicious this dish is. Recipe and photo courtesy of damndelicious.net.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 (1.25-ounce) package taco seasoning
  • 1 (10-ounce can) Rotel
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 8 ounces spaghetti
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 Roma tomato, diced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Heat olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add ground beef and cook until beef has browned, about 3-5 minutes, making sure to crumble the beef as it cooks; stir in taco seasoning. Drain excess fat. Stir in Rotel, tomato paste, spaghetti and 3 cups water. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer until pasta is cooked through, about 13-16 minutes. Remove from heat and top with cheeses. Cover until melted, about 2 minutes. Serve immediately, garnished with tomato and cilantro, if desired.


Crispy Garlic Parmesan Crusted Salmon

I’m making an effort to incorporate more fish into our dinners and this recipe was a huge success. My six year old even asked for seconds. It is my favorite kind of recipe, quick, delicious and a crowd pleaser. Recipe and photo courtesy of cafedelites.com

  • 2 pounds (1 kg) side wild salmon fillet
  • 2/3 cup plain breadcrumbs
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 4 cloves garlic , minced
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • Salt and pepper

Position the rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400.  Line a baking sheet with foil. Place the salmon fillet, skin side down, on the baking sheet. Set aside. Mix together the breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, parsley and garlic in a small bowl. Pour in the melted butter; season with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/3 teaspoon pepper (or to taste).  Mix the ingredients together until the breadcrumbs absorb the butter (about 40 seconds). Pour the mixture over the salmon, pressing it into the top until the fillet is completely covered. Lightly spray salmon with cooking oil spray for a golden crumb. Bake uncovered for 12-15 minutes (depending on the thickness of your fillet), until the crust is golden and the salmon is cooked and flakes easily with fork. Serve with your choice of vegetables.

One-Pan Cilantro-Lime Chicken and Rice

This meal was so quick and easy and reminded me of what I always get at Chipotle. A great meal for busy weeknights when you don’t have a lot of time to prep but still want a healthy, home-cooked meal. Recipe and photo courtesy of cookingclassy.com

  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespon canola oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 green onions, chopped (keep lighter and darker portions separate)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 (4 oz) can chopped green chilies
  • 2 teaspoon lime zest
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can black beans, rinsed and well drained
  • 2 cups minute white rice (don’t use regular rice!)
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot add chicken, season with salt and pepper, and saute until cooked through, about 6 minutes, adding in lighter portions of the green onions and garlic at last 1 minute of cooking. Stir in broth, green onion greens, green chilies, lime zest, lime juice, black beans and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring mixture to a boil, add rice, fully immerse rice in broth, and allow to boil 20 seconds, then remove from heat and immediately cover with a lid. Let rest 5 – 6 minutes. If needed, return pan to medium heat and cook and toss 1 minute to allow rice to absorb excess moisture. Remove from heat, toss in cilantro and let rest uncovered 3 minutes.

Cheesy Ham and Potato Soup

The winter I decided to make Sundays soup night. There is nothing better on a cold night than soup, and it makes great leftovers for the week ahead. This soup comes together so quickly and tastes awesome. Recipe and photo courtesy of lilluna.com.

  • 4 medium potatoes (peeled and diced)
  • 12 oz. ham, cooked and cubed
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic pepper
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 5 tablespoons flour
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese
  • scallions

Combine potatoes, ham and water in a large pot. Bring to a boil, then cook on medium heat for 10-15 minutes (or when potatoes are tender). Add chicken bouillon cubes, salt and pepper. Mix. In another pan, melt butter on medium heat. Whisk in flour and stir constantly for about 1 minute. Slowly add milk and continue whisking until sauce thickens (about 3-4 minutes). Add the milk mixture to your pot and cook soup until heated through. Add cheese right before serving. Top with scallions. Serve immediately.

Parmesan Chicken Casserole

DSC_00701-1024x683I made this chicken this past weekend because it looked like a quick and easy meal to eat on a day when I really didn’t want to cook dinner.  Start to finish it took 30 minutes and was so delicious. I halved the recipe for my family of four but I’ll post the full recipe below in case you are feeding a crowd. Pair with starch of your choice. Recipe and photo courtesy of thecookinchicks.com.


  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced
  • 1 cup mayonnaise OR plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup fresh shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

Preheat the oven to 375.  Place your diced chicken into a greased 9×13 baking dish. In a small bowl, combine the mayo/yogurt, 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Spread mixture on top of chicken, then sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese.  Bake for 30-35 minutes, then serve over pasta or rice. Pan will be a little soupy so use a slotted spoon the serve the chicken.


Oven Fried Chicken

oven-friend-chicken-017sI tried this recipe as a time saving option to frying chicken and I was very happy with the results. I used bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs but you could use chicken breast as well. I would just make sure it has the skin on it otherwise it’s not truly fried chicken is it? Recipe and photo courtesy of raegunramblings.com

  • 6 pieces chicken
  • 1/2 cup Bisquick
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt, for coating
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • garlic salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400. Once to temperature, place a large, oven safe dish with a tablespoon of butter in the oven.  You want to make sure your chicken will fit in a single layer. In a large bag combine Bisquick, flour, salt, onion powder, and Italian Seasoning. Shake to mix and set aside. Sprinkle chicken with garlic salt and pepper to taste on both sides. Toss chicken in flour mixture to coat fully. Swirl the melted butter in the dish to evenly distribute and then place coated chicken skin side down in hot dish. Bake for 15 minutes. Flip over so skin is up and then cook until finished, about 10 more minutes. If skin isn’t getting crisp, finish under a broiler.

Butter Chicken

butter chickenThis recipe reminds of the 80’s. I’m not sure why, maybe it’s the Ritz crackers, but whatever the reason it is simple, delicious, and incredibly easy to make. My husband loves it, my boys love it and so do I.  Recipe and photo courtesy of cookiesandcups.com.

  • 1 1/4 lb chicken breast
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • 1 sleeve Ritz crackers
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • garlic powder
  • salt
  • pepper

Start by putting the Ritz crackers in a bag and smashing into crumbs.  (This would be a great way for your kids to help with dinner.)  Pour the crumbs into a bowl and set aside. Whisk your two eggs in another bowl and set aside also.  I like to slice my chicken breasts lengthwise to make them thinner, or you can flatten them with a tenderizer. Dip the chicken into the eggs, then into the cracker crumbs and place in a greased 9×13 pan. Continue until all the chicken has been coated, then sprinkle the spices over the breaded chicken.  If you want you can add the spices to the crumbs before coating the chicken, but I like to sprinkle it on so I can control how much is on each piece. Then, slice up your butter and put all over the chicken.  Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes, or until the juices run clear.

Cowboy Casserole

My son came home from school the other day with a Betty Crocker Bisquick cookbook he had checked out of the library.  This recipe is one of the ones we picked out together to try and I’m so glad we did. It was simple to prepare and incredibly hearty. If you don’t have Bisquick on hand you can use the prepared Pillsbury biscuits.

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 16 oz can baked beans
  • 1/2 cup barbeque sauce
  • 2 cups Original Bisquick mix
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 425.  Brown ground beef in a oven-proof skillet (I use my cast-iron one). Drain off the excess fat, then add in the beans and barbeque sauce. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, mix the biscuit ingredients until a soft dough forms.  Drop by large spoonfuls on top of the meat mixture.  Bake for 15-20, or until brown.  Take out the skillet and sprinkle on the cheddar cheese, returning to the oven to melt the cheese. Serves 6.

*If you don’t have an oven-proof skillet you can transfer the meat mixture to a ungreased casserole dish and finish the dish in that.

Beef and Bean Crispitos

My oldest son came home from school one day asking me to find a crispito recipe like the one he loves at school.  This is what I came up with.  It’s not exactly like what he has at school, but we love them just the same, and they have the added benefit of being a 30 minute meal. Photo and recipe inspiration courtesy of letsdishrecipes.com.

  • 1 can refried beans
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 3 Tbs taco seasoning
  • shredded cheese
  • 8″ flour tortillas
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • salsa or sour cream for dipping

Brown your ground beef, then add 1/3 cup of water and the taco seasoning, (you can substitute a packet of taco seasoning for the homemade stuff if that’s what you have).  While the beef is browning, heat up the refried beans in a microwave safe bowl til hot, and shred your cheddar cheese.  When all the components are ready, heat up a thin layer of oil over medium-low to medium heat.  Spread a line of refried beans in the center of the tortilla, then ground beef, then cheese.  Roll them tightly, leaving the ends open.  Fry in batches, seam side down first for 30-60 seconds or until golden brown.  Serve with salsa or sour cream.

Stuffed French Bread

I’ve been very into 30 minute meals lately because as my kids have gotten older things have gotten more hectic. This meal was easy and filling and delicious I knew I had to add it to my rotation.  I left out the celery and only half a can of soup. Recipe and photo courtesy of http://life-in-the-lofthouse.com.

  • 1 loaf french bread
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 tablespoon chopped parsley (optional)

Preheat oven to 350.  Slice the french bread in half, lengthwise, so you have two equal pieces.  Scoop out the bread in the center of each piece.  Place bread in a large bowl and tear into small chunks. Set the two halves of french bread onto a large baking sheet.  Set aside.  Brown the ground beef and onion in a large skillet, over medium-high heat.  Drain any grease.  Add the celery and garlic to skillet.  Cook a few minutes until celery is tender. Next, add soup, milk and Worcestershire sauce.  Season with salt and pepper.  Stir and cook mixture until heated; another 5 minutes or so. Add the beef mixture to the bread in the large bowl. Stir to combine.  Pour mixture into the center of one half of the french bread.  Spread out evenly.  Top the mixture with the shredded cheese. Top with the other half of bread. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until cheese is melted.  Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes before slicing and serving.