Chicken Spaghetti

Y’all, I miss Texas so much. I have a trip planned for the end of May and am really hoping that actually gets to happen. I’m worried it won’t, so for now, I’m using food to remind me of home. Something that transports me right back to my mom’s kitchen is classic Chicken Spaghetti. This cheesy, indulgent dish was a staple for us growing up. It was something that my mom made often and knew that we would all love. The foods that we grew up eating as a child are usually at the top of our comfort foods list, right? With everything going on in the world right now, I felt like you all needed a bit of Texas comfort, too.

Chicken Spaghetti is so easy to make! It uses lots of simple pantry ingredients too. Yes it has VELVEETA in it! I’ve tried making it without and it just isn’t the same. My mom used only Velveeta but I like the sharpness that the cheddar adds. A little Velveeta is just perfect and adds the right amount of creaminess. I have recently seen two Food Network chefs use Velveeta on their Instagram stories so I think we are all looking for a little cheesy comfort right now. Ha!

My favorite brand of pasta!
Just simmer the onion and pepper in the broth to soften because that’s the way my mom did it!
Add the hot broth mixture to the bowl and mix! It turns into the sauce for the spaghetti.

One thing I love about this dish is that it makes a great freezer meal. Since my husband is gone right now, I knew it would take the kids and I a week to eat a 9×13 pan of it. I divided the mixture into two pans and have one in the freezer. I love when one meal (and mess) makes two dinners!

This is an 11×7 and a 9×9 pan.

I hope that my Chicken Spaghetti fills your kitchen (and bellies) with some delicious comfort during a time when we all need it so much. Please make sure to comment here on my posts and share your creations on social media!

Sponsored post for Lee’s Marketplace.

Chicken Spaghetti

  • Servings: Serves 6-8
  • Print

Ingredients

2-3 cups cooked chicken, diced or shredded
1 lb thin spaghetti, cooked and drained
1 small yellow or white onion, diced small
1 green bell pepper, diced small
1 (14.5 oz) can chicken broth
½ teaspoon celery seed
4 oz jar diced pimentos, drained
1 can cream of mushroom soup
8 oz Velveeta cheese, diced
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded & divided
Cooking spray

Directions

Preheat oven to 350.

In a small saucepan, add chicken broth, onion, bell pepper, and celery seed. Bring to a boil then simmer for 10 minutes or until vegetables are soft.

In a large bowl, add pimentos, soup, and Velveeta. Pour the broth mixture over and stir to combine. Stir in 1 cup cheddar. Add cooked spaghetti and chicken and stir until everything is combined well.

Spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray. Pour in spaghetti mixture. Top with remaining 1 cup cheddar.

Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.

Notes:
1. If cooking your own chicken, make sure to season it first with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. If using rotisserie or canned chicken, no need to season.
2. This is a great freezer meal! Divide into two smaller pans and freeze one for later.
3. You can use fresh celery (1/2 cup) in place of celery seed if desired.

Slow Cooker Beef Tips & Gravy

I have another slow cooker recipe for y’all! Slow Cooker Beef Tips & Gravy is something that I grew up eating in Texas. Unfortunately, I never got my mom’s recipe before she passed away but I think she would approve of my version. It is SO easy and tastes like you put much more effort into it than you do! You don’t even have to brown the meat beforehand. Just add everything to your slow cooker and let it do all the work for you!

This is such a great way to use stew meat instead of just making stew. The meat turns out so tender and melts in your mouth! The use of the gravy mix adds thickness and lots of rich flavor. If you happen to be a mushroom hater, you can leave them out. You can also use fresh or dried parsley. Serve these delicious beef tips over mashed potatoes, rice, or egg noodles. As you can see, we prefer them over creamy, buttery mashed potatoes. Yum!

I love the McCormick Organic Brown Gravy mix!

This would also make a fantastic freezer meal. Just add everything (raw) to a freezer bag and save for later. Then on a busy or a “too tired to cook” night, you can just dump it in the slow cooker and be done with dinner!

Sponsored post for Lee’s Marketplace.

Slow Cooker Beef Tips & Gravy

  • Servings: Serves 6-8
  • Print

Ingredients

3 lbs beef stew meat
8 oz button mushrooms, sliced
1 yellow onion, sliced
1 (14.5 oz) can beef broth
2 (.87 oz each) packets brown gravy mix
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh parsley or 1 tablespoon dried

Directions

Place stew meat, mushrooms, and onions in a slow cooker. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together broth, gravy mixes, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper.

Pour over meat and vegetables. Cook on low for 7-8 hours or high for 4-5 hours. Just before serving, stir in parsley. Serve over mashed potatoes, rice, or egg noodles.

Note: If you want the sauce thicker, take the lid off of the slow cooker for 30 minutes before serving (but leave heat on).

Gnocchi Shepherd’s Pie

January felt like forever, February flew by, and I can’t believe we are already mid-March. Of course, I’m thinking about St. Patrick’s Day recipes for y’all! I don’t go too crazy with the holiday but do try to make something green or Irish themed for my family’s dinner. I absolutely love Shepherd’s Pie. It is so comforting and delicious! It’s not the quickest thing to make, though, unless I happen to have leftover mashed potatoes. That doesn’t happen often so I thought I’d try a quicker alternative using gnocchi (potato dumplings). My Gnocchi Shepherd’s Pie is the yummiest twist on this classic Irish dish!

Have you ever had gnocchi? I fell in love with the little potato dumplings about 4 years ago when we went to a restaurant in New York City called Butter. They had a Gnocchi Mac n Cheese that I still dream about! Gnocchi is easy to find near the dried pasta in the grocery store and is reasonably priced. I can usually find it for about $3-4.

The ground beef and vegetable mixture is very simple and fast. I highly recommend using a cast iron or oven safe skillet because it makes this a ONE DISH dinner. I love it when that happens!

After the beef mixture is cooked, you just place the gnocchi on top. No need to cook the gnocchi ahead of time! Then top with a generous amount of sharp white cheddar and place in the oven. The cheese melts into the meat and crisps up on the gnocchi that comes out nice and soft. So easy!

My Gnocchi Shepherd’s Pie is perfect St. Patrick’s Day or any day!

Sponsored post for Lee’s Marketplace. Items on sale the week of March 10-16: ground beef, yellow onions, ketchup, frozen mixed vegetables, gnocchi

Gnocchi Shepherd's Pie

  • Servings: Serves 4-6
  • Print

Ingredients

2 lbs ground beef
1 small onion, diced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons beef base (Better than Bouillon)
1 cup water
⅓ cup ketchup
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon dried thyme
1 ½ teaspoons salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
12 oz frozen mixed vegetables
16 oz gnocchi
2 cups sharp white cheddar, grated

Directions

Preheat oven to 350. Heat a cast iron skillet (or oven safe skillet) to medium-high heat and add ground beef. Cook and crumble until browned then drain grease.

Add onions, garlic, beef base, water, ketchup, Worcestershire, thyme, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Add parsley and vegetables then stir to combine. Turn off heat. Taste and add more salt if needed.

Arrange gnocchi along the top of the ground beef mixture then top with cheese. Carefully place non-stick foil over the top of skillet then place in oven. Cook for 15 minutes. Remove foil and cook for 10 more minutes. Serve immediately.

Tex-Mex Bagel Breakfast Casserole

We are big fans of breakfast for dinner around here. Are you? It’s always my go-to on nights where I’m busy or unprepared. I always have bacon in my freezer and Kodiak pancake mix in my pantry which makes a quick meal. We also have scrambled eggs and toast often. We also LOVE a good breakfast casserole. There’s one that I make with crescent rolls that is probably one of my kids’ top 3 favorite meals of mine. I need to share that one someday too! When I was looking over the Lee’s Marketplace ad this week, I noticed lots of breakfast items on sale. I remembered that I had written “bagel breakfast casserole” on my recipe idea list a while back so my wheels started spinning. There were lots of directions I could go with it but, of course, I decided on a Tex-Mex version. I made it up as I went and I could not be happier with how my Tex-Mex Bagel Breakfast Casserole turned out!

This casserole is easy to make and bold on flavor which y’all know is my thing! Here’s almost the whole cast of characters except for the milk and cheddar that I used. I decided I need those as I started creating! Ha!

Everything you need minus the milk and cheddar.

I used turkey sausage because it’s delicious, low fat, and tastes just as good as pork in my opinion. I also like the fact that I don’t need to drain grease!

After browning the sausage, pepper, and onions you add in a can of Mild Rotel that has been drained. A classic Tex-Mex ingredient!

I used 4 bagels and it was the perfect amount.
Then add your sausage mixture.
Next pour the egg and cheese mixture on. Ready to bake!

I love the addition of the cumin and chili powder to the eggs. It definitely adds more Tex-Mex flavor to it! Also, you can use any combo of cheddar, Monterrey Jack or pepper jack cheese as long as it totals 2 cups.

If you’re a cilantro hater, leave it off but we are huge fans! I love the brightness that it adds.

This is definitely going on our regular dinner rotation! It would also be amazing for a weekend breakfast or brunch. You just can’t go wrong with bagels, sausage, eggs, cheese, and all the bold Tex-Mex flavors! You really need to get this on your menu ASAP and if you’re a Lee’s Marketplace shopper, most of the ingredients are on sale!

Sponsored post for Lee’s Marketplace. Items on sale the week of March 3-9: bagels, eggs (a few varieties), turkey sausage, Rotel, cheese (several varieties), cumin (Badia brand), cilantro

Tex-Mex Bagel Breakfast Casserole

  • Servings: Serves 6-8
  • Print

Ingredients

16 oz turkey sausage (or pork)
1 bell pepper, diced
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 can Mild Rotel tomatoes, drained
8 eggs
½ cup milk
¼ teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup pepper jack cheese
1 cup cheddar cheese
4 bagels, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
Cooking Spray

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Add sausage, peppers, and onions to a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook and crumble the sausage until browned and vegetables are tender.
Drain grease if needed. Add Rotel tomatoes to pan and stir to combine. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk eggs with milk, cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Add shredded cheese and stir to combine.

Spray a 9×13 baking pan with cooking spray. Add bagel pieces. Add sausage mixture evenly over the top. Pour egg mixture on evenly.

Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes until browned. Allow to sit for 5 minutes then garnish with cilantro before serving.

Jamaican Jerk Chicken Tacos with Mango Lime Slaw

This is the time of year here in Utah where I’m over the cold and need some warm sunshine in my life. I dream of being on a beach somewhere tropical. Since that’s not happening anytime soon, I have to get creative in order to get out of my winter funk. That’s where my Jamaican Jerk Chicken Tacos with Mango Lime Slaw come to the rescue. The warm, spicy flavors take me back to our time in Jamaica 10 years ago! I made it yesterday on ABC4’s Good Things Utah and it was a hit! Watch me make it here!

Ben and I went on a cruise 10 years ago and we had authentic Jerk Chicken when we stopped in Haiti then again when we were in Jamaica. I fell in love with the sweet and spicy flavors! In Haiti we had the real deal-grilled Jerk Chicken on a huge outdoor grill (wish I had pics). Then in Jamaica we just went to a Hard Rock Cafe and they had the BEST Jerk Chicken sandwich served with a guava based sauce. We loved the sauce so much that they gave us a bottle! Ever since that trip, we have been making Jerk Chicken on the grill using store-bought spice blends.

I was taking pics of food back in 2010 before it was even cool to do it! Ha!
With our awesome, crazy, funny tour guide, Alfonso, in Ochos Rios, Jamaica.

I am always trying to come up with new taco recipes because they’re my favorite food and can be so versatile. I have had these Jerk Chicken ones in mind for a long time and am so so happy with how it turned out. You just add some chicken breasts to your slow cooker along with onions, garlic, jalapenos, and lots of spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. Sounds like a weird combo but trust me it’s amazing! When it’s done you just shred it and serve on tortillas with the Mango Lime Slaw. You can also grill the chicken instead!

Just throw it all in and let it cook. So easy and feeds a crowd! Omit the broth but leave everything else if you’d rather grill the chicken.

Now let’s talk about the slaw. Oh my goodness! My Mango Lime Slaw is so simple yet so crazy delicious! Mango, red onion, jalapeno, cilantro, lime juice, and mayo are blended up then tossed with slaw mix. It is bright, tangy and pairs so well with the sweet and spicy chicken. It makes for the perfect bite!

Fun fact: the lighting in the TV studio is terrible for food pics! This is the best I could do. I guess I need to make it again to get some better pics-oh darn!

You know what else is great about these tacos? Kids love them! My own kids devoured them. My 12 year old is soooo picky and went back for thirds! At the Good Things Utah station, there were a bunch of kids in the audience that got to have some and they all loved them too. You’d think that the unique combo of flavors would be too much for kids but that’s not the case. It has just enough spice not to overwhelm and the sweetness is just so yummy!

You need to get these on your menu ASAP! Feeling the winter blues? Take a trip to the islands in your own kitchen! You’ll love these Jamaican Jerk Chicken Tacos with Mango Lime Slaw. They are one of my favorite recipe creations yet!

Jamaican Jerk Chicken Tacos with Mango Lime Slaw

Ingredients

For the chicken:
3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2-3 jalapeños-stems removed, sliced in half, seeds removed
1 cup chicken broth
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 TB soy sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground thyme
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ginger
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

For the slaw:
14 oz bag traditional slaw
1 1/2 cups mango, fresh or frozen (thawed)
2 limes, juiced
Cilantro, 1/3 bunch
1/2 red onion, rough chopped
1/2 jalapeño, stem and seeds removed
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup mayonnaise

Additional ingredients:
Flour tortillas
Avocado slices
Queso fresco

Directions

Place chicken in slow cooker then add onions and jalapeño. Mix all remaining ingredients in a bowl then pour over chicken. Cook on low for 6-7 hours or high for 3-4 hours. Shred chicken in the slow cooker with the broth (or remove, shred, and place back into broth).

To make slaw, place mango, lime juice, cilantro, onion, jalapeño and salt in a food processor or blender. Blend until mostly smooth. Add mayo and blend. Place slaw into medium/ large bowl and add 1 cup of mango mixture then toss to combine. Save remaining sauce for garnish.

Place chicken in tortillas and top with slaw. Garnish with avocado, queso fresco and extra dressing (if desired).

Notes:
1. You can also grill the chicken. Place chicken breasts in a zip top bag and add all chicken ingredients minus the broth. Marinate for 3 or more hours then grill. Slice to serve on tacos.
2. Leave seeds in jalapeños for extra spice. Not spicy enough? Add some cayenne pepper.

Taco Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

I have another quick, easy, and healthy dinner for y’all! This is really more of an idea than a recipe because it is so versatile and there are so many delicious filling ideas. I actually used to HATE sweet potatoes until about 7 years ago when I created the hash linked here. I love them now and am always looking for ways to add them to our dinners.

Y’all know that I always have Mexican food on my mind and tacos are my favorite food ever. How did it take me so long to start making Taco Stuffed Sweet Potatoes?!? They are so good and so simple! For the ones pictured here, I used ground beef cooked with bell pepper and my favorite Frontera taco sauce. Then I topped them with shredded cheddar, pico de gallo, guacamole, sour cream, and green onions. There are so many more options too! For the actual “recipe,” I listed what was used for the picture but check the notes for more yummy ideas. I love this family dinner because everyone can customize their sweet potato to their liking!

My favorite taco sauce!

Did you know that just one sweet potato contains 400% of your daily Vitamin A? They are such a great source of fiber, beta-carotene, antioxidants and potassium too. Skip the tortilla for this meal and fill a sweet potato with all the taco goodness that you love!

Sponsored post for Lee’s Marketplace. Items on sale the week of February 25-March 2: Ground beef (2 days only-Friday and Saturday), taco seasoning (several brands), bell pepper, sour cream, shredded cheese

Taco Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients

4 sweet potatoes
1 pound lean ground beef
1 pouch Frontera Taco Skillet Sauce
1 bell pepper, chopped
Pico de gallo
Shredded cheddar
Sour cream
Green onions, sliced
Guacamole

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Line a baking sheet with foil and prick (clean) sweet potatoes with a fork. Bake until tender, about 45-60 minutes depending on size.

In a large skillet, brown ground beef with bell pepper. Drain if needed. Add taco sauce and cook until warmed through.

Open up sweet potatoes and fill with taco meat, cheese, pico de gallo, guacamole, sour cream and green onions.

Notes:
1. Ground turkey can be used instead.
2. Other topping ideas: black beans, salsa, sliced avocado, black olives, corn, jalapenos, lettuce, fresh tomatoes