Tag Archives: Family Food

Cozy Winter Meal – White Spaghetti and Meatballs

27 Jan

My mom found the recipe for White Spaghetti several years ago and, in my opinion, it is the epitome of comfort food. Well, second in line behind grilled cheese and tomato soup.

The original recipe calls for white wine, but when I make it for my family I omit the wine and use additional chicken broth.

White Spaghetti


- minced garlic

- 2 T flour

- 1 T olive oil

- 1/2 cup white wine (or replace with broth for a G-rated recipe)

- 3 cups low sodium chicken broth

- 1 8oz package cream cheese

- 1/4 tsp black pepper

- 1/4 cup chopped parsley (fresh is lovely, but dried will work in a pinch)

- 1 package spaghetti noodles [Note: I have made this recipe with several types of pasta - penne, rotini, shells - any pasta will do]

- pre-made meatballs, enough for about 3-5 per person (I like the turkey meatballs available at Costco.)



- In large pot, boil water. Add meatballs and noodles. Cook according to package directions for pasta.

- In medium saucepan add garlic, olive oil and flour. Stir.

- Add wine/broth. Whisk.

- Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally.

- Add cream cheese in small chunks. Whisk until smooth. Add pepper and parsley.

- Drain cooked noodles and meatballs, add back into large pot and add cream cheese sauce. Mix well.


This meal is nice when served with a green salad and crusty bread. You can also pour the pasta into a casserole dish, cover with foil and freeze for later. [Note: if you freeze the dish, thaw when ready and bake at 350° for 30 min.]


Hotdish Two Ways – Probably Not the Next Quick Fire Challenge on Top Chef

26 Jan
To my meat-loving husband’s chagrin, our dinner last night was Garden Vegetable Hotdish. I thought it was tasty and filling as a main dish, but I think next time I will serve it as a side. Also, for those of you reading this outside of Minnesota, please note that “hotdish” = casserole.
My neighbor forwarded this recipe to me, but my version is different simply because I lacked some of the ingredients. So, first, her recipe:
Michelle’s Veggie Hotdish
- 4 or 6 zucchini peeled and cut into rounds
- 2 carrots shredded
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 1 can of cream chicken or cream mushroom
- 1 8oz sour cream
- 1/2 of red pepper chopped
- 1 pkg herb seasoned Pepperidge Farm stuffing
- 1 stick of margarine, butter or vegetable oil spread
Sauté 3/4 stick of butter with vegetables in large saucepan. In a large bowl add sour cream, soup, half of the stuffing and mix well. Add vegetables to soup mixture, mix well, and pour into 9×13 pan. For topping, melt 1/4 stick of butter with remaining stuffing mix and sprinkle on top. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes.
Amy on the Prairie’s Garden Vegetable Hotdish (Inspired by Michelle and my limited pantry ingredients…)
- 3 zucchini chopped
- 4 carrots shredded
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 2 cans cream of chicken (less sodium version) [Note: to make this vegetarian, use cream of celery soup]
- 4 cups brown rice
-1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup Italian breadcrumbs
- Dash black pepper, kosher salt and paprika to taste
- In medium saucepan cook brown rice according to package directions. [Note: I always add the rice to the pan, 1 T of olive oil to coat the rice, and then I add the water.]
- In a large bowl add cooked rice, soup, vegetables, shredded cheeses, spices and mix well.
- Pour mixture into 9×13 pan coated with cooking spray.
- Sprinkle breadcrumbs on top.
- Bake at 350° for 30 minutes.
We served with crusty bread and next time I think I will serve it with grilled chicken. I’m looking forward to trying Michelle’s version the next time I can remember to add stuffing mix to my shopping cart!

Blessed Recipes – Shannon’s White Bean Chicken Chili

25 Jan

My friends and I were talking last week about sharing our blessed recipes — the recipes that our cook, kid, and husband tested. Maybe we’ll assemble a cookbook and make a million dollars. That scenario seems unlikely (although if publishers are reading this, call me!) so I will continue sharing my blessed recipes with you.

This white chicken chili recipe is from Shannon by way of a fabulous blogger, Life In Recipes. Here is Shannon’s testimonial:

I’ve made other white chicken chili recipes, but this is the most simple and kid friendly.  I made it according to the directions, except I let the beans soak for about four hours after the short boil, I didn’t use as much chicken, and I sautéed the onions and garlic in a little butter before adding them to the cooking beans.  The girls ate it plain and we added shredded sharp cheddar and jarred, sliced jalapeños on top for the adults.  We served it with cornbread.  Yum!  The girls have eaten it for two nights in a row now and they are very picky.

There you have it – a blessed recipe from a busy mom with picky eaters. I hope it generates rave reviews from your family.

adapted from How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman
1 pound dried navy beans
5 cooked, chicken breasts – chopped or shredded
1 medium onion, diced
1 quart chicken broth
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 T minced garlic
1. Pre-soak your beans, drain, place in a heavy-bottomed stock pot or dutch oven, add the diced onion, add enough water to cover and bring to boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the beans are tender (about an hour).
2.  Dice the cooked chicken.  When the beans are tender, add the chicken, broth, and remaining ingredients.  Taste for seasoning.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Simmer until flavors have blended – about 30 minutes more.
3. Garnish with salsa, sour cream, cheese, fresh herbs, tortilla chips, corn bread, or a combination of any of these.

Cheeseburger, Cheeseburger, Cheeseburger PIE!

24 Jan

My neighbor shared this recipe with me and my husband is forever grateful. Talk about comfort food! If I ever have a diner, I will serve cheeseburger pie. This is easy to make ahead and pop in the oven when you come home from work. We serve with a veggie and sweet potato fries.

Quick Cheeseburger Pie
One pre-made store-bought crust (get a deep dish from the frozen section)
1 lb ground beef or turkey
1/2 cup of finely chopped onion
1 minced garlic clove
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup of flour
1/3 cup of dill pickle liquid
1/3 cup of milk
1/2 cup of finely chopped dill pickles
2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese

1. Heat oven to 425
2. Bake pie crust for 15 minutes
3. Cook beef, onion and garlic in skillet until brown; drain.  Sprinkle with salt and flour.  Stir in pickle liquid, milk, pickles and 1 cup of cheese.  Spoon into pie crust.
4. Bake 15 minutes; take out and sprinkle with 1 cup of cheese.  Bake about five minutes longer or until cheese is melted.


Update: I live in the frozen tundra and I did not want to brave the bitter cold with two small children just to pick up the one critical item I forgot at the store – the pie crust. Genius move on my part, no?  I had some time on my hands so I made my own crust. Very easy and very yummy. My cookbooks only had recipes for crust made with shortening, so I found a great website with recipes for a butter crust.  It was relatively easy and very tasty. Enjoy!

Slow Cooker Chex Mix – Mmmmmm

23 Jan

Our family loves Chex mix, but really, who doesn’t? I like this recipe because it is easier than the traditional oven recipe.

Crockpot Chex Mix from my favorite blog, A Year of Slow Cooking

- 5 Cups General Mills Chex Cereal (We use a mixture of the rice, corn and wheat cereal)

- 1-2 cups of peanuts

- 2 cups pretzel sticks

- 1/2 tsp onion powder

- 1/2 tsp seasoned salt

- 3 T butter

- 1 1/2 T Worcestershire Sauce

- Add butter in the crockpot and turn on low to melt a little

- Add onion powder, seasoned salt, Worcestershire sauce

- Add remaining ingredients

- Stir. Butter might not be totally melted and that is fine.

- Cover and cook on low for 2-3 hours, stirring every 45 min

- Dump out on a cookie sheet to cool.


Comfort Food – King Ranch Chicken

22 Jan

Do you have an open bag of tortilla chips in your cupboard? Maybe they are a little stale? Don’t throw them away, make king ranch chicken! We always seem to have an open bag of stale chips in the back of our pantry. This recipe is a great way to use them up and it’s easy to make ahead of time. Our toddler especially loves to crush the chips for me. Maybe pulverize is a better word than crush…

King Ranch Chicken

- 3 cups cooked chicken, cubed or shredded

- 2 green onions chopped

- 1 T chili powder

- 1 14 oz can diced tomatoes

- 2 cans of cream of chicken soup

- crushed corn chips (enough to cover bottom of pan)

- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

- 1/2 cup salsa

In a medium bowl add onion , soup, chili powder, tomatoes and salsa. Mix well.

Spray 9×13 pan with cooking spray and line bottom of pan with crushed chips.

Add the chicken and the sauce in layers (1/2 chicken, 1/2 sauce, and repeat)and top with cheese.

Cover with foil and bake at 350° for 35 min. Remove foil and bake 10 more minutes.

I serve with rice and beans.

Trying Another New Recipe – Indian Spiced Lentils

20 Jan

Our family loves Indian food, so here’s hoping the slow cooker Indian Spiced Lentils will be a hit.

I modified the recipe somewhat from the crockpot365 blog.

My version

- 2 cups dried lentils (not pre-soaked, rinsed)

- 3 cups chicken broth

- 3 cups water

- 1 cup diced onion

- 1 cup diced celery

- 1 tsp cumin

- 1/2 tsp coriander

- 2 tsp curry

- 1/2 tsp dried mustard

- 1 tsp kosher salt

- 1 tsp chopped garlic

- dash of cayenne

- 2 frozen chicken breast halves.


- Add all ingredients (except chicken) into slow cooker, mix, and add chicken breasts on top. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 7 hours.

- Close the lid. (Sometimes I forget to do this.)

That’s it! I plan on serving it over brown rice.

Update: Results are in and we have a happy family! It was delicious, healthy, easy, and a crowd pleaser. My husband had seconds and my oldest daughter said, “Oooh, great dinner, Mommy!” The recipe makes a lot. I could have easily had our neighbors over for dinner. Happily, we love leftovers. I highly recommend this recipe.


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