Chicken Noodle Casserole

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fullsizerender-2Ingredients:
3 tbsp butter
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 pint fat free half and half
1/4 c skim milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried minced onion
1 tsp Oregano
1 tsp Basil
2 c cooked chicken
1/2 c Italian cheese, shredded + about 1/4 c to sprinkle on top
1/4 c Parmesan cheese, shredded
16 oz. frozen mixed vegetables (I use peas, carrots, corn, and green beans)
8 oz. Whole grain egg noodles

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400°. Spray a baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
2. Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain.
3. While noodles are cooking, melt butter in a deep skillet on medium low heat. When butter is melted, add flour and whisk until flour is absorbed. Whisk in half and half and milk. Turn heat up to medium and whisk until sauce is thickened.
4. Add salt, pepper, garlic powder, minced onion, Oregano, and Basil to sauce. Stir cheeses into sauce until melted, add chicken and vegetables to sauce.
5. Combine sauce to noodles. Stir until noodles are coated. Pour into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Cover and cook for 20 minutes.

Yields about 6 servings

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Freezer Meals Menu | $75 | 2 Hours

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fullsizerender-3This menu of make ahead freezer meals makes about 11 meals for a family of 4. I spent about 2 hours of prep time and $75.

Teriyaki Chicken with Rice (makes about 2 meals)
Ingredients:
2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 1/2 c Teriyaki marinade of your choice
3 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Freezer Preparation:
Add all ingredients to Ziploc bag. Store in freezer.

Cooking directions:
1. Remove from freezer the day before ready to cook to completely thaw. Add to crock pot. Cook on high for 4-6 hours or low for 6-8 hours (cook times vary depending on your slow cooker).
2. Serve with rice.

 

Pineapple Chili Chicken Stir fry (makes about 2 meals)
fullsizerender-6Ingredients:
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken
8 oz. can pineapple chunks in 100% juice
12 oz. bottle Sweet chili sauce (I use Franks RedHot)
2-16 oz. bags stir fry vegetables, frozen

 

Freezer Preparation:
Add chicken, pineapple, and chili sauce to gallon Ziploc bag. Leave stir fry veggies in their bag and store in freezer.

Cooking Directions:
1. Remove from freezer the day before ready to cook to completely thaw. Add to crock pot. Cook on high for 4-6 hours or low for 6-8 hours (cook times vary depending on your slow cooker).
2. With about 30 minutes of cook time left, add stir fry vegetables to crock pot.
3. Serve with rice.

 

Creamy Turkey Sausage Pasta (Makes two meals)
Ingredients:
16 oz. penne pasta
7 c. pasta sauce (about 1 1/2 jars of sauce)
8 oz. light sour cream
1 small onion, diced
8 oz. 2% shredded mozzarella cheese
16 oz. turkey sausage (I use Hillshire Farms), cut into bite-sized pieces

Freezer Preparation:
1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
2. Set out 2 pans (I use disposable 8×8 aluminum pans with lids). Add enough sauce to cover bottom of each pan , set aside.
3. Combine remaining pasta sauce, sour cream, onion, and turkey sausage.
4. Drain pasta and return to cooking pot. Add sauce/sausage mixture to pasta. Divide pasta evenly between both pans.
5. Top each evenly with mozzarella cheese.
6. Place lid on each pan. Freeze until ready to cook.

Cooking Directions:
1. Move pasta to refrigerator at least 24 hours before cooking to thaw.
2. Cook at 400° for 35-40 minutes, covered with aluminum foil.
3. Remove foil, heat for an additional 5-10 minutes, or until cheese on top is melted.
4. Serve with garlic bread.

 

Garlic Bread (Makes enough to serve with 2 meals)
fullsizerender-4Ingredients:
1 loaf Italian bread (found in bakery)
1/2 c butter, softened
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tbsp parsley

Freezer Preparation:
1. Cut loaf in half right in the center, creating two pieces. Slice each piece down the center so that you expose the soft inside creating four separate pieces you are able to butter.
2. In a small dish, combine butter, garlic powder, and parsley.
3. Spread butter on each slice evenly.
4. Put two buttered slices together and add to Ziploc bag.

Cooking Directions:
1. Thaw in refrigerator before cooking.
2. Preheat broiler on low.
3. Place garlic bread slices on baking sheet on top rack.
4. Watch carefully and remove from broiler when bubbly and golden brown.
5. Cut each piece into 4 smaller pieces, serve with pasta.

 

Pizza Pasta Bake (Makes 2 meals)
Ingredients:
16 oz. rotini
7 c pasta sauce (about 1 1/2 jars)
1 c turkey pepporoni (can use regular or mini size)
1 lb. extra lean ground beef
1/2 c onion, diced
1 tsp Italian seasoning
8 oz. 2% shredded mozzarella cheese

Freezer Preparation:
1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
2. Set out 2 pans (I use disposable 8×8 aluminum pans with lids). Add enough sauce to cover bottom of each pan , set aside.
3. Cook onion until soft and translucent. Add ground beef and cook until browned, add Italian seasoning, pepperoni, and remaining pasta sauce to ground beef.
4. Drain pasta and return to cooking pot. Add sauce/beef mixture to pasta. Divide pasta evenly between both pans.
5. Top each evenly with mozzarella cheese.
6. Place lid on each pan. Freeze until ready to cook.

Cooking Directions:
1. Move pasta to refrigerator at least 24 hours before cooking to thaw.
2. Cook at 400° for 35-40 minutes, covered with aluminum foil.
3. Remove foil, heat for an additional 5-10 minutes, or until cheese on top is melted.
4. Serve with garlic bread.

 

Creme Brulee French Toast (Makes about 14 slices)
Ingredients:
1 loaf Texas toast
12 eggs
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 c Creme Brulee flavored coffee creamer (optional, it makes for a richer, sweeter french toast)

Freezer Preparation:
1. Preheat large griddle to 350°.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, cinnamon, vanilla extract and creamer.
3. Soak each piece of Texas toast in egg mixture and place on griddle. Flip pieces when golden brown and egg mixture on outside is cooked (about 3-5 minutes on each side…the second side takes less cook time).
4. Allow to cool completely on a cooling rack.
5. When cool, place pieces in gallon Ziploc bag.

Cooking Directions:
1. Place frozen french toast pieces in toaster. Top with desired toppings or syrup.
2. Serve with your favorite breakfast meat, if desired.

 

Chicken Taco Soup (Makes two meals)
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 can black beans, drained
8 oz. corn, frozen
1 can Rotel
1 small onion, diced
1 serving homemade taco seasoning (or a taco seasoning packet)
1 packet ranch seasoning
32 oz. chicken broth

Freezer preparation:
1. Add all ingredients except chicken broth to gallon Ziploc bag.

Cooking Directions:
1. Move to refrigerator to thaw completely.
2. Add everything in Ziploc bag to slow cooker. Pour in chicken broth.
3. Cook on high for 4-6 hours or low for 6-8 hours. With about 30 minutes of cook time, remove chicken and shred with two forks. Return chicken to slow cooker and continue to cook for remaining time.
4. Serve in bowls topped with tortilla strips and shredded cheese.

 

Turkey Sausage Alfredo

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turkey sausage alfredoIngredients:
13.25 oz. whole wheat dry pasta
3 tbsp. butter (I use Smart Balance Light)
2 large garlic cloves, minced
3 tbsp. flour
1 c fat free chicken broth
2 c fat free half and half
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp Cajun seasoning
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 c Parmesan cheese
2 c Mozzarella cheese, divided
2 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
12 oz. turkey sausage, cut into bite-sized pieces

Directions:
turkey sausage alfredo 21. Spray a baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 350°.
3. Cook pasta according to package directions.
4. While pasta is cooking, melt butter in large skillet over medium low heat. When butter is melted, add minced garlic. Allow to simmer for 1-2 minutes.
5. Mix flour into butter and garlic. Gradually whisk in chicken broth until smooth. Add in half and half.
6. Stir in salt, pepper, Cajun seasoning, and red pepper flakes. Simmer for about 5 minutes or until sauce begins to thicken.
7. Add Parmesan and 1 c of Mozzarella to sauce. Stir until completely melted.
8. Add diced turkey sausage pieces and parsley to cheese sauce.
9. Drain pasta completely and stir into cheese and sausage mixture until pasta is completely coated. Transfer to baking dish. Top with remaining 1 of Mozzarella.
10. Bake for 15 minutes or until cheese on top is melted.

Yields about 6 servings

Baked Ravioli

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baked ravioli
This recipe was so easy and delicious, I had to share it from over at tastykitchen.com.  My daughter is such a picky eater, it’s hard to find things she’ll eat. However, she ate two helpings of this! 

Ingredients:

1 (25 oz) bag of frozen ravioli 
3½ c Prego Light Smart Traditional sauce
2 c Italian cheese blend, shredded

Directions:

baked ravioli 21. Preheat oven to 400°. Spray a glass baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Spread 1 c of pasta sauce evenly on bottom of baking dish. 
2. Arrange ½ of the ravioli in a single layer on the bottom of the dish. Top ravioli with 1 c of pasta sauce. Sprinkle 1 c of cheese over ravioli and sauce. 
3. Add another layer of ravioli on top of the cheese. Pour remaining 1½ c of pasta sauce over ravioli. Top with remaining 1 c of cheese. 
4. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 30 min. 
5. Remove foil. Bake an additional 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly hot. 
 
Yields 11¼ servings, serving size 4 baked raviolis 
5 points on Weight Watchers Points+ System
 
I am in no way affiliated with Weight Watchers.
 
recipe from tastykitchen.com 

Stuffed Shells | Taco Style

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taco stuffed shellsIngredients:

1.25 lbs extra lean ground beef
4 oz. 1/3 less fat cream cheese
homemade taco seasoning  
1/3 c water
12 oz. jumbo pasta shells
12 oz. jar of salsa (I used mild)
8 oz. jar of taco sauce (I used medium, and I prefer Ortega®)
1 3/4 c reduced fat, 2% Mexican cheese blend
serving suggestions:
tortilla chips
sour cream
green onion, chopped

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a baking dish (I used a 9 x 13 glass dish) with non-stick cooking spray. Pour salsa into bottom of baking dish. Spread around until bottom of dish is well coated. Set aside.
2. Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat. 
3. While you are waiting for your water to boil, brown hamburger in a skillet over medium high heat. Drain excess fat and discard. Reduce heat to low. Add taco seasoning and water to hamburger. Mix until well combined and water has absorbed. 
4. Stir cream cheese into hamburger mixture until melted and well mixed. Turn off heat and set aside to cool. 
5. Add shells to boiling water. Cook according to package directions until al dente. Drain water and allow to cool enough to handle.
6. Place cooled shells one at a time, into bottom of dish. Fill each shell with one spoonful of hamburger mixture. Repeat until all hamburger mixture has been used. 
7. Pour taco sauce over stuffed shells so that all shells are evenly coated with sauce. 
8. Cover dish with foil and place in oven to bake for 20 minutes. 
9. Remove foil. Top stuffed shells with cheese. Place back in oven, uncovered, for an additional 10 minutes. 
10. Served along side tortilla chips, and garnished with sour cream and green onion. 
 
Yields 7 servings, serving size 3 stuffed shells
8 points per serving on Weight Watchers Points+ System
 
I am in no way affiliated with Weight Watchers.

Tomato Basil Spaghetti

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basil spaghettiIngredients:

12 oz. whole wheat spaghetti noodles, dry
1 can mild Rotel (do not drain)
1 large onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (omit if you don’t want it with a spicy kick)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp dried basil 
4 c vegetable broth
2 tbsp basil pesto made with extra virgin olive oil
Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top

Directions:

basil spaghetti 21. Add diced onion and Rotel to a large stock pot. Pour vegetable broth over onion and Rotel. 
2. Add garlic, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, oregano, and dried basil to the stock pot. 
3. Add dry spaghetti to the stock pot mixture (I break my noodles in half). Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer for 12-15 minutes, or until most of the liquid has been absorbed. 
4. Remove lid and stir in pesto until well incorporated and evenly distributed throughout the pasta. 
5. Serve and garnish with Parmesan cheese.
 
*I served this along side my homemade garlic bread bagels. I used my jalapeno bagel recipe, and omitted the red pepper flakes and jalapenos for a plain bagel. Then mixed 1/2 c Smart balance light butter and 1/2 tsp garlic powder. Split the bagels in half, buttered them with garlic butter and put them under the broiler for about 5-6 minutes on low. As always, watch anything in the broiler as it can burn very quickly.
 
Yields 12 servings, serving size 1/2 c
 
recipe modified from www.myfridgefood.com

Pepperoni & Mozzarella Pasta Salad

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pasta saladIngredients:

2 c pasta, dry
1 bottle Bolthouse Farms Cesar Parmigiano Yogurt Dresssing (found in refrigerated produce section)
1 c mini turkey pepperoni
8 oz. Mozzarella Fresca pearls (found with specialty cheeses)
1 c grape tomatoes, halved
1 tsp basil, ground
dash of salt
dash of black pepper

Directions:

1. Cook pasta according to package directions, until al dente.
2. Drain pasta and transfer to mixing bowl. Allow pasta to cool slightly, about 10 minutes.
3. Add dressing, salt, pepper, basil, and pepperoni. Stir until pasta is well coated with dressing.
4. Cool in refrigerator for 1-2 hours. After cooled, mix in mozzarella and tomatoes. Stir until well coated.
 
Yields about 15 servings, serving size 1/2 c 
4 points on Weight Watchers Points+ System
 
I am in no way affiliated with Weight Watchers.

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