Whenever I think of macaroni and cheese, I think of comfort foods and a meal made in the middle of winter that has been slowly cooking inside my little side-dish of a crockpot. Neither of those things apply to this post; it’s the middle of summer and EXTREMELY hot outside. Also, this entree was cooked on the stove.
I don’t know that I would cook macaroni as much I do if I didn’t have children around; it seems like a entree dish fit for little mouths and just screams “CARBOHYDRATES” to me. But if I do, it’s either using this recipe that is baked overtop the stove or my son’s personal favorite that slowly cooks in a crockpot.
Here’s a recipe for your own mac and cheese lovers:
Homemade Mac and Cheese Casserole
No more boxed mac n' cheese! Cook this homemade macaroni overtop the stove and add to the oven to give it a breaded top, if desired, and watch how fast kids ask for this version over Kraft.
- 16-ounce box elbow pasta
- 10 tablespoons butter, or 1 butter stick, divided
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 cups 1% milk
- 12-ounce shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 4 tablespoons italian bread crumbs
- pinch of salt
- pinch of pepper
- Cook elbow pasta according to package. Drain in a strainer. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Well grease a 8x8 casserole pan.
- In a medium size saucepan, add 8 tablespoons of butter. Melt, stirring often with a wooden spoon to speed up melting process. Add flour and stir well until brown. Begin to add milk, slowly, whisking while doing so. Allow to come to a boil and remove saucepan from heat.
- Add cheese, stirring continuously so that it is well combined. Slowly add elbow pasta, mixing well until pasta is entirely covered with cheese. Add to greased casserole pan.
- In a small bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons of melted butter with 4 tablespoons of breadcrumbs, a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper. Add evenly as possible overtop macaroni. Add to oven and bake for 30 minutes.
Have you ever wanted to take the same meal you enjoy immensely, but switch it up just a little bit? Same ingredients and hopefully the same taste; it’s just prepared a little differently. That’s what this casserole reminds me of. The list of items just scream Chicken Parmesan, you’re just giving it a whole new look!
I had spotted this recipe while browsing my Pinterest feed quite some time ago and was intrigued. I’m not quite sure who came up with this fun recipe, as I quickly jotted the ingredients down and added it to my list of potential meals. I can see how this can be either a family favorite or something you bring to a potluck party at work.
Unlike the original recipe for Chicken Parmesan, you’re using creating a base for bake (breadcrumbs) last instead of coating the chicken in it before adding the marinara sauce and cheese. It gives it a crispier outer shell, while enjoying a more moist italian taste when you bite in. I recommend using rotisserie chicken if you’ve got it, but any leftover shredded chicken will do.
I allowed my casserole to bake for 25 minutes, but that can always vary depending on your oven. If your breadcrumb topping has begun to take on a golden brown shade, there’s a good chance it’s ready.
Chicken Parmesan Casserole
Craving something hot and easy to prepare? This Chicken Parm Casserole is a great bake for when you've got leftover chicken and an extra jar of marinara sauce.
- 2-4 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
- 28-ounce jar marinara sauce
- 1½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- ½ fresh parmesan cheese
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons italian seasoning
- 1 tablespoon oregano
- salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Use cooking spray to well coat an 8x8 casserole pan. Add chicken to bottom followed by marinara sauce. Mix well, evenly spreading throughout the pan. Cover with mozzarella cheese and parmesan.
- Add panko bread crumbs, olive oil, italian seasoning and oregano to a medium size mixing bowl. Stir well and add a pinch of both salt and pepper. Spread bread crumb mix over-top cheese layer, covering well.
- Bake for 25 minutes.
I have no problem whatsoever dedicating a night each week to tacos. And for the most part traditional style tacos always hit the spot, but I like to switch it up every once in awhile. So why not combine a taco with something else I love to eat: a potato! I originally wanted to test this on a sweet potato, but we only had russet potatoes in the refrigerator and I wanted to avoid a trip to the grocery store for at least one day. Does anyone else feel like they’re at the grocery so much they may as well have stock in it?
Did you know that potatoes are the number one vegetable crop in the United States? That’s crazy! It probably helps that the low-calorie veggie is loaded with potassium and Vitamin C; both essential things needed in our daily dietary. In my book, that makes it A-OK to stuff them with some extra stuff; especially if it’s additional healthy things like ground turkey, beans and corn.
Stuffed Taco Potatoes
This is a recipe for taco styled potatoes that are chockful of all your favorite mexican toppings. Great to use for any Taco Tuesday or Mexican-themed meal.
- 4 russet potatoes
- 1lb ground turkey
- 2 tablespoons taco seasoning
- 8-ounces low-fat refried beans
- 1 cup fresh sweet corn kernels
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- ½ cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Scrub potatoes well, pat dry with a paper towel and add to oven rack to bake for 1 hour. While doing so, line a baking sheet with foil and lightly spray with cooking spray.
- While potatoes are cooking, brown ground turkey and onion in a skillet over med-high heat. Drain excess grease in a strainer and return turkey mix to skillet. Add taco seasoning, corn and refried beans; stirring well to combine. Lower heat to low and allow to cook for an additional 5 minutes, stirring often.
- When potatoes have finished cooking, remove from oven and allow to slightly cool down before cutting in half. Scoop the inside out, leaving a thin layer at bottom of potato. Spray potato inside and outside with cooking spray. Place each individually on baking sheet, upside down, and bake for 5 minutes.
- After potato skins seem crispier, add turkey mix. Top with a tablespoon of salsa and sprinkle cheddar cheese. Add to oven and allow to cook for 3-5 minutes, or until cheese has melted.
- Serve with additional garnishes like sour cream, green onions, bacon.
Holy smokes! I can’t believe it’s already Monday again. I know that the previous week was short because of the holidays but I’m still trying to gather myself together enough to start this week. I intentionally posted this meal today because it is Meatless Monday and my version of this pasta does not have any meat. Who needs it?! There’s enough flavor in the “sauce” as is. If you feel you must have some sort of protein, feel free to add chicken.
Anytime I know a meal is a skillet-cook, I get excited. My husband bought us this fancy s’mancy gas range for the new place and I am dying to cook on it. I absolutely love the taste of anything gas cooked. Some don’t think there is a difference; oh there is, and I compare it from cooking on an indoor grill to cooking on an outdoor grill. You know the difference once you take that first bite.
I imagine a gas grill also makes a skillet picture just a little more fancy s’mancy looking too.
My favorite part about this meal is that you’re using all fresh produce. The only thing really considered processed is the noodles and you can make those yourself if you want to be COMPLETELY clean and have a lot of spare time on your hands! I have a pasta maker. I’m not quite a pro at using it yet so I will save myself the embarrassment and just use store bought penne pasta until I have correctly learned how to use it to create presentable noodles.
A delicious serving of pasta that is sauteed with homemade clean sauce over a hot stove.
- 2 cups uncooked penne pasta
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2½ teaspoons fresh garlic, minced
- 5 roma or 2 cups of tomatoes, chopped
- ¼ cup tomatoes, chopped and slightly pureed (optional)
- ¼ cup fresh basil, sliced
- ½ cup fresh parmesan cheese, grated
- Cook pasta accordingly.
- In the meantime, using a large skillet combine olive oil and butter over med-high heat. Allow to cook, stirring frequently 1-2 minutes or until it begins to sizzle. Add garlic and cook an additional 30 seconds, followed by tomatoes and basil. Allow to cook for 2 minutes so that juices combine well.
- When pasta is finished cooking and has been drained, add to skillet and stir well to mix. Add parmesan cheese and stir again. Serve immediately.
Italian sloppy joes. You know, for when you’re tired of the same ol’ sloppy joes recipe, or if you have a jar of marinara that you need to get rid of.
Italian Sloppy Joes
The italian version of an old-fashioned sloppy joe, cheese included.
- 1lb ground turkey
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 2 cups marinara sauce
- 4 hoagies or italian buns
- 4 tablespoons shredded mozzarella cheese
- parsley for garnish, optional
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and allow to saute for 5 minutes. Add ground turkey, oregano seasoning and cook until browned. Drain excess grease in a strainer.
- Add marinara sauce and lower heat to simmer, cooking for an additional 8-10 minutes to allow the sauce to thicken.
- Meanwhile, set the oven to broil. Arrange 4 hoagies on a baking sheet. When meat sauce is thick enough, add 4-5 tablespoons full and fill hoagie bun. Add shredded cheese on-top and cook until cheese has melted.
- Remove from oven and add bun to top. Serve immediately.
While making up my weekly menu this past Sunday, I realized that I use a lot of ground turkey and chicken breasts and not enough pasta. I’m sure it doesn’t seem that way from the recipes I have posted so far in this little corner of mine, but because most pasta revolves around cheese and cheese makes some of us in this household sick; I really try to avoid it as much as I really can. It’s crazy how many recipes involve a lot of cheese, especially some of my favorites. I just cross my fingers that it’ll be a side dish at a family party…
My husband is in the middle of a juice cleanse, so I snuck these Skinny Lasagna Roll-ups into this week’s dinners since it’s just the kids and I eating whole foods. They’re an easy prep and they’re cute. Plus they reheat well the next day if you want to take one along with you to work.
And you never know…you may never want to go back to the traditional lasagna cooking way again.
Skinny Lasagna Rollups
Lasagna on the go? It could be. Individual lasagna roll ups are not only cute, but they make your favorite pasta dinner a little less messy.
- 16-ounces lasagna noodles
- 24-ounce jar marinara sauce
- 15-ounce skim milk ricotta cheese
- ¼ cup mozzarella cheese
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese
- 1 large egg
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add lasagna noodles to a large boiling pot of water. Cook according to package and drain in a strainer while rinsing with cold water when noodles are throughly cooked.
- Spread a thin layer of marinara sauce over the bottom of a 9x13 casserole pan so that it is just slightly covered. Set aside.
- Using a medium size mixing bowl, add ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese and egg. Whisk well until combined.
- To fill lasagna noodles, place each individually across a large plate. Use a spoonful of cheese mix and thinly spread across entire noodle. Gently roll up until you've reached the end of the noodle. Add seam-side down to 9x13 casserole pan. Repeat with each lasagna noodle until you've run out of pan room or noodles.
- Cover casserole pan with foil overtop and add to oven. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and return to bake for an additional 10 minutes. Serve 2-3 rollups per plate.
We’re in the process of moving here shortly. Movin’ for the most part is fun because you’re either getting your own place, upgrading to a bigger home or about to live in a whole new city/state. We bought a home, had it gutted and added on additional square feet so it’s basically a brand new build. That makes it twice as exciting. But the packing up is not exciting at all. You don’t realize how much junk you own until it’s time to divide between what to box up and what to throw away. I guess that’s why most hoarders don’t move.
Inbetween packing this week, I will be spending a few hours here and there at the local pool to get some vitamin d for my pale skin. I have planned a easy sesame noodle bowl for my lunch and while some would prefer such a meal hot, I will be eating my chilled from sitting inside a portable cooler. Still same taste, but the being served cold will definitely help a cool down from the heat – it’s in the 90’s this week!
Easy Sesame Noodle Bowl
An easy meal made in 15 minutes tops that can be served cold or hot and with or without vegetables.
- 12-ounces lo-mein egg noodles, cooking accordingly
- 4 green onions, sliced thin
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 3 tablespoons sesame oil
- 4 tablespoons canola oil
- snap peas, optional
- cabbage slices, optional
- green pepper slices, optional
- diced cucumber, optional
- Cook noodles according to package directions. In the meantime, cut green onions. When noodles have finished cooking, drain in strainer. Using a large bowl, add noodles and set aside.
- Add remaining sauce ingredients into a medium size bowl. Whisk well and pour into large bowl of noodles and green onions. Use a large spoon or tongs to combine noodles and sauce well.
- Sprinkle with green onions and any additionally vegetables you like.
I know that it’s the beginning of summer and it’s probably a little too hot outside for soup. Over 90 degrees too hot. I still don’t care. I’ve been craving some good ol’ slow-cooker chicken tortilla soup for some time now and this is the week I have it for dinner three days in a row since my husband is out of town.
I call this my favorite dump meal; because that’s basically what you’re doing – dumping all the ingredients into a slow-cooker. Other than shredded the chicken later on, there is no real effort needed to go into preparing this. You’d never guess that though by how good it tastes!
Southwestern Tortilla Soup
A flavorful soup that's easy to prep and cooks throughout the day, leaving your home smelling delicious.
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
- 10-ounce can rotel
- 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 15-ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
- 15-ounce can sweet corn, drained
- 1 package taco seasoning
- Add chicken breasts to to slow-cooker, followed by all other ingredients. Stir well to combine.
- Cook on low for 7 hours. Remove chicken from slow-cooker and shred into small pieces using two forks. Return to slow-cooker and cook for an additional hour.
- Serve with shredded cheese, lite sour cream and tortilla soups.
We’ve been using ground turkey instead of ground beef for so long that I’ve forgotten what beef actually tastes like. I like ground turkey. The kids have grown to like it too, so I really see no point in switching back. It’s healthier and that makes spending a couple extra bucks worth it to me.
While trying to expand my “bowl recipes,” I stumbled across this particular one for with what seemed like extremely good-for-you meatballs. I liked that they were an oven-bake and the marinara was an easy homemade sauce you could put together in no time and patiently hang out in the kitchen with a cup of tea while it slowly cooked over the stove.
And so I did just that.
Not to mention, it tastes great over whole-grain rice. Which obviously makes it a keeper, a blog post and handwritten down on a recipe card to go in my book. But if you don’t like rice, you can eat just the meatballs with the sauce, overtop a plate of linguini noodles or on a sub.
That makes it pretty hard not to want to give it a try, don’t you think?
Oven-Cooked Paleo Italian Meatballs with Sauce
Healthy ground turkey meatballs baked in the oven and then simmered in a sauce-pan of delicious and hearty homemade marinara sauce. Recipe is both paleo and gluten-free.
- 1lb ground turkey beef
- 1 tablespoon italian seasoning
- 1 egg, beaten
- ½ tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs, divided (optional)
- whole grain rice, (optional)
- 1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- 1 tablespoon parsely, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Using a large baking sheet, cover with foil and lightly grease with cooking spray. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, add beaten egg with ground turkey, 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs, italian seasoning, parsley, salt and black pepper. Combine well with clean hands.
- Using hands, roll meatballs, about 2 tablespoons of mixture, evenly and spread on baking pan. Space out each meatball at least ½-1 inch apart from each other.
- Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes or until cooked all the way through.
- Add olive oil to a large skillet over med-high heat. Add onion and allow to saute for 5 minutes. Next add garlic and saute an additional 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Both onion and garlic should appear transparent. Add canned tomatoes, bay leaf and pepper. Combine well with a wooden spoon and lower heat to low. Simmer for 20-30 minutes.
- Serve overtop meatballs and whole-grain rice.
- Recipe has been adjusted from original posted via adapt link.
Adapted from Noshtastic
When the sound of chicken and cheese quesadilla just doesn’t sound like too appetizing of a choice, live’n it up a little.
Tonight I felt like a little barbeque chicken and pineapple. Those two ingredients on their own taste good, but still lack a little more punch to the flavor. With some red onion and cilantro, you’re adding a touch of spice. Drizzle some additional BBQ sauce and low-fat yogurt ranch and now we’re talking!
Just make sure you take a picture of your food before you eat it. I gobbled this up so quick, that had I not, I would have had to wait another week or so to repeat the recipe and take photos for the recipe.
BBQ Chicken and Pineapple Open Faced Quesadilla
Add some flavor to those quesadillas with some barbeque rotisserie chicken, pineapple tidbits and more. You'll never want a cheese and chicken quesadilla again.
- 4 large burrito size flour tortillas
- 2½ cups rotisserie chicken, tossed in your favorite BBQ sauce
- ½ cup pineapple tidbits
- halve of a red onion, sliced thin
- handful of cilantro, chopped
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- BBQ sauce, for drizzling
- low-fat ranch yogurt, for drizzling
- Grease a large skillet with cooking spray over med-high heat.
- Add tortilla. Sprinkle ¼ cup of sharp cheddar cheese and ¼ cup of mozzarella cheese evenly on-top of tortilla. Follow by adding enough rotisserie chicken, pineapple. onion slices and cilantro to fairly cover entire tortilla. Cook until bottom of tortilla is a light golden brown, or crispy; about 5 minutes.
- Remove from skillet and drizzle BBQ sauce and low-fat ranch yogurt over-top. Repeat with each tortilla.