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Recipe for King Ranch Chicken Casserole

To me, good casseroles taste good, are easy to assemble, and don’t require dirtying more than 2 pots. And that’s if you’re not paying attention. That said, sometimes you don’t know if you’re about to make a good dish, especially if it’s new. But then there are the classics. The ones that have been around for generations, like this recipe for King Ranch chicken casserole.

Many people believe that King Ranch chicken casserole has been around for at least 80 years. Since it’s prepared with both condensed chicken and condensed mushroom soups, this seems a likely time frame. That’s because Campbell’s introduced condensed mushroom soup in 1934, while condensed chicken soup came out in 1947. And both types of condensed soups feature in King Ranch chicken casserole.

casserole dish with layers of tortillas and mixture of food

Others believe the recipe originated at King Ranch, the largest ranch in the world. Although the owners deny this allegation, because they’ve focused on beef, not poultry. Therefore, nobody really knows the exact beginning of this timeless southern casserole.

King Ranch Chicken Casserole Ingredients:

layer of shredded chicken on a casserole dish
  • 1 1/2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
  • **22 corn tortillas
  • 10.5 oz can each of cream of mushroom and cream of chicken soup
  • 1 c each of diced onions and diced bell pepper
  • 10 oz of Rotel
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2-3 c shredded Mexican blend cheese

King Ranch Chicken Casserole Instructions:

layer of cheese in casserole dish
  • Spray 9×13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Next, line the dish with a layer of corn tortillas.
  • Then saute┬┤ onions and green peppers in butter over medium heat. When soft, add soups and chili powder. Stir till well combined.
  • Pour layer of soup mixture over tortillas, then layer with shredded chicken, and then layer with shredded cheese. Repeat layers. When done, pour over all the Rotel.
  • Then bake one hour in 350┬░ oven.
King Ranch chicken casserole with tortillas and tomatoes

**I got this recipe from my mother-in-law, who’s been making King Ranch chicken casserole for at least 40 years. And her recipe calls for a 2-3 lb fryer chicken, but I don’t like having to deal with that mess. I find it’s much easier working with chicken breasts. In addition, most of the classic recipes call for only a dozen corn tortillas, which makes me think I distribute my layers sparingly.

Also, I boil my chicken, which makes shredding so much simpler. However you can buy a roasted chicken and shred that instead. It’s really up to you and what’s easier. Furthermore, you can add more heat to spice things up. And then there are newer varieties of the recipe which call for chips instead of tortillas. But the idea is still the same: a comfort food that’s easy to make.

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Easy White Chicken Chili

My parents were both realtors when I was growing up in Dallas. And each year the Collin County Association of Realtors had a chili cook-off in the spring, which my parents participated in. But most of the entries, if not all of them, were classic chili. However, now that I cook, I know there are so many more choices out there. Although, the first time I made this easy white chicken chili was just a couple of years ago.

I think the main difference with this and classic chili is obviously one is white, while the other is red. But the other main difference is in this recipe, the meat, or chicken, has to be pre-cooked. And you can cook it pretty much any way you want to; including buying a roasted chicken and shredding the meat.

Ingredients for Easy White Chicken Chili:

teal plate of shredded chicken
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 tbsp dried cilantro
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp each red pepper sauce and salt
  • 11 oz white shoepeg or whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 can each (15 or 16oz) great northern beans and butter or lima beans, drained
  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken breasts
  • crushed tortilla chips
  • 1 fresh diced tomato
  • chopped green onion
  • shredded Mexican blend cheese
  • sour cream or Greek non-fat plain yogurt

Instructions for White Chili:

pot of white chicken chili
  • First, heat olive oil in 4 quart Dutch oven over medium heat. Then cook onion and garlic in oil. And stir intermittently, until onions are cooked through.
  • Next, add the rest of the ingredients, aside from the chicken. Stir and heat to boiling.
  • Then reduce heat, and simmer uncovered ~ 20 minutes.
  • After that, stir in the chicken, still simmering until hot.

At this point the white chicken chili is finished. However, no chili is complete without toppings. Thus, add some shredded cheese, crushed tortilla chips, chopped green onions, fresh diced tomatoes, and sour cream.

Similarly with my Cincinnati-style chili, I found this originally in Betty Crocker’s Cookbook, 9th edition, which was printed in 2000. And again there isn’t a link online, but if you’re interested, you could probably find it at Etsy, Ebay, or something similar.

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Cincinnati-Style Chili

It’s been cold and windy the past few days. Perfect weather for Cincinnati-style chili. Although, chili is great to eat in summer too, due to the availability of garden fresh vegetables.

And there are so many ways to make it. White, crockpot, BBQ, and classic are just a few of the options. But there are even Paleo and vegetarian versions. Furthermore, each recipe varies in the length of time to cook, from 30 minutes to several hours.

ground beef cooking in electric pressure cooker

Which brings me to the different methods of cooking chili: Instant Pot, pressure cooker, stove-top, and slow cooker. Though, there are possibly even ways to cook it in the oven.

Although, most of my cooking history, I’ve made chili on the stove. Until recently. You see, our neighbors gifted us with an electric pressure cooker. But my husband was the only one to try it out, and he loved it immensely. So, after watching and tasting his results, I made this Cincinnati-style chili in the electric pressure cooker to save time.

Ingredients for Cincinnati-Style Chili:

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 (14.5 oz) cans whole tomatoes, pulsed
  • 1 (14.5 oz) cans tomato sauce
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp fresh garlic minced
  • 2 (15 or 16 oz) cans of kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp each of salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ~ 10 oz angel hair pasta
  • 1 (15.25 oz) can of whole kernel corn, drained
  • 2 fresh tomatoes, diced and seeded
  • 1 cup sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
  • shredded Mexican blend cheese
Chili with various ingredients in electric pressure cooker

Putting it All Together:

  • Put the olive oil in the pressure cooker; then add the garlic, onion, and beef, and turn the pressure cooker on saute and beef, cooking until beef is brown; stirring occasionally.
  • Next, stir in the rest of the ingredients, except the pasta. And cover and lock the pressure cooker, pushing button for pressure, still on beef; and it will cook for ~30 mins.
  • When the chili is finished, cook the angel hair pasta according to the package instructions; drain when cooked to al dente.
  • And spoon ~ 3/4 cup chili over ~ 1 cup noodles. Top with shredded Mexican blend cheese, chopped onion, sour cream, fresh chopped tomatoes, etc.

Cooking this in the electric pressure cooker cut my cooking time in half. So, if you’re short on time, that’s a definite plus. Also, originally I got this recipe from Betty Crocker’s Cookbook the 9th edition, printed in 2000. But I couldn’t find a link to it online.

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Chicken Casserole

This chicken casserole recipe originally was tuna casserole. But since my family isn’t too big on the idea of canned tuna with noodles, I changed it one day when I didn’t have any tuna. And the tuna casserole recipe I have came from my Great Aunt Jo on my mom’s side of the family.

I remember eating the original casserole for the first time in Scottsdale, Arizona. This was when I was a kid, and we were swimming in summer-time. Furthermore, I think my mom told us we were going to have tuna casserole. And we all thought, ‘Uugh, yuck.’ However, we were in for a delicious surprise.

penne pasta, red onion in black pot with spoon on stove

Though you guys know I love to change recipes. The original calls for 10 oz can of albacore tuna; and to cook the noodles until they’re tender only, not fully cooked. Although, if you don’t cook them fully, then when the casserole comes out of the oven, a lot of the noodles, if not most of them, will be rock hard. Unless you know the trick to cooking them. Trust me, I’ve made this enough times to know. This is why I’ve added the water, so that the noodles have some way to cook prior to going in the oven.

Ingredients for Chicken Casserole:

  • 1 lb ziti or penne pasta
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 14 1/2 oz can tomatoes, pulsed in food processor with the juices
  • 1 c shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 4 oz can of mushrooms or 8 oz fresh sliced mushrooms
  • 12.5 oz can of chicken
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 14-35 oz of water
chicken, penne pasta, tomatoes in clear rectangular casserole dish

Instructions for Chicken Casserole:

  • First, preheat oven to 375 degrees; and spray a 9X12 inch casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Next, cook the pasta with chopped onion in olive oil until pasta is golden. Then add the remaining ingredients, except chicken and cheese. And bring to a boil. When adding the water, do so 14 oz or less at a time, and stir frequently to prevent burning.
  • Cook until noodles are al dente. Remove pot from heat and add canned chicken; stir into the noodles. Then transfer to a casserole dish. And top with the shredded cheese. Stir and bake in 375 degree oven for 20-25 minutes.

I could only find one recipe that appeared similar to the one from my aunt, with the spices and tomatoes. Though there are others with tomatoes. But mostly when you look up tuna casserole, you’ll find recipes with mushroom soup, condensed mushroom soup, etc. So people associate tuna casserole more with a white sauce rather than a red tomato sauce.

penne pasta, chicken, tomatoes on white plate

And there are probably about as many chicken casserole recipes around as there are people. Chicken is extremely diverse, as are casseroles.

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What to Put on Top of Oatmeal

Oatmeal is a staple breakfast food at our house. But we don’t do instant… anything, really. However don’t quote me on that, because I’d have to think about it. Anyway, there are tons of ways to spruce up your oatmeal, so I’m going to show you what to put on top of oatmeal to make it the best you’ve ever had.

round white ceramic bowl
Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

About 11-12 years ago we moved to Arizona for a job offer for my husband. Well, they rescinded the offer ~ 2 weeks after we got there. We were thousands of miles from family with no jobs. And the economy there was not good. We ended up homeless for 2 1/2 months, but we didn’t live on the streets, thankfully.

Instead we stayed in a state park. And it was there, amidst campfire living, that I learned to add different things to our oatmeal. To make the most out of a most unpleasant situation. And to this day our two oldest daughters reflect on that time period with nostalgia. I reflect on it with relief, that we didn’t have to stay there indefinitely. But I was thankful that we had a ‘place’ to stay.

Ingredients for basic oatmeal

  • 5 cups of old fashioned oatmeal
  • 7 cups of water
  • 5 tsps Truvia
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • pinch of allspice

Instructions for basic oatmeal

  • Add your water to a saucepan and turn the burner on.
  • When the water begins to boil, add your oats.
  • Then stir in the remaining ingredients.
  • Lower the temperature of the burner to low.
  • Continue stirring from time to time to prevent over cooking.
  • The oatmeal will be cooked when it’s light and fluffy.
  • Then turn off the burner.

What to Put on top of Oatmeal

oatmeal with blueberries in bowl on table
Photo by MART PRODUCTION on Pexels.com

At this point, the oatmeal isn’t bland and flavorless, because you’ve added Truvia. Which is a blend of sugar and Stevia, and it’s what I normally use as a sweetener, unless I have to use white or brown sugar. And there are some spices in the oatmeal as well.

So now it’s time for some toppings. You could add raisins, which are always great, unless you don’t like them.

Other toppings you could try, which are favorites in my house, are sliced bananas and drained pineapple.

If you like dried fruit, you could also try dried apple slices, but cut them up, or put them in a food processor so they’re in smaller pieces.

sliced strawberries banana and blackberries
Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

Pumpkin, chopped almonds or other nuts, and coconut flakes are also great, because not only do they taste amazing, but they’re very healthy.

Fresh fruits, chia seeds, yogurt, and granola are more options that not only taste awesome, but are also good for you.

Honey, maple syrup, and butter. These last three are what my husband and children add to their oatmeal, no matter what kind I make. You might say they have “sweet teeth”?

Some people even top their oatmeal with vegetables. Or eggs and it looks more like ramen than oatmeal. Though I’ve never tried it, so it might be delicious.

This list is certainly not exhaustive, so if you want more decadent and/or healthy ideas, then check this out.

And don’t forget to add milk. I put almond milk in mine, and that’s to make it creamier and to cool it off. But you can add whatever kind of milk you prefer.

Thanks for stopping by! Please feel free to ask a question or leave a comment!

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One Pan Baked Chicken Legs and Potatoes

This recipe has been in my family since I was little. In fact, I never knew it, but it’s also a generational recipe that goes back (at least) to my great grandmother on my mom’s side of the family. However, once again, I’ve done some tweaking over the years. Sometimes I add garlic, and other times I don’t. Though you can find a lot of different ways to prepare it. And most of them sound tasty. Also, this is a one-dish meal, which makes clean-up a breeze. Additionally baked chicken legs and potatoes are perfect any time of the year. So just keep reading to get the recipe.

The preparation time for this recipe is about 15-20 minutes. And even though cooking times vary, it took me 1 hour and 20 minutes. So plan on an hour at least, possibly longer. Also, the meal will serve 4 people. But you’ll have leftover drumsticks.

Baked Chicken Legs and Potatoes Ingredients:

  • ~ 6 lbs of chicken drumsticks
  • 2 lbs of Honey Sensation and Ruby Gold bite size potatoes (but if you don’t have those or would prefer a different kind, then get what you like)
  • 1 can of peas
  • ~ 2 tsps of salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp thyme
Pan with Raw Chicken Legs, Potatoes, and Pease
This is what your chicken, potatoes, and peas will look like prior to putting it into the oven.

Baked Chicken Legs and Potatoes Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  • Line a large jellyroll pan with foil. And then spray the foil with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Next, arrange the drumsticks onto the pan.
  • With ~ 3/4 – 1 tsp of the salt, 1/4 tsp of pepper, and 1/2 tsp of thyme, season one side of the chicken legs.
  • Then flip the legs over, and add the potatoes and peas.
  • And season everything evenly with the remainder of the spices.
  • Then put the pan into the oven, and cook for 45 minutes. Flip the legs over and cook until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees. And make sure the juices run clear.

Since baked chicken legs and potatoes are a one pan meal, you don’t need to come up with any sides. Unless you want to. And if you make this recipe, you’ll notice that there doesn’t appear to be many peas. I think it’s because they shrivel from cooking so long. Although they taste amazing from basting in the chicken juices all that time. But, if you want, you can add the peas during the last 15 minutes of cooking time.

Baked Chicken Legs and Potatoes on a White Plate
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Beef and Pork Meatloaf Recipe

Today I’m going to share the best beef and pork meatloaf recipe. So, I know what you might be thinking. But, I promise you, it’s delicious.

When I was younger and had to eat meatloaf, it wasn’t one of my favorite foods. And, as I grew older, it started to conjure up images of everyone’s least favorite food. Although, it probably had a lot to do with the way they said it. “We’re having meatlooaaff.” And then they would look up to the sky for salvation.

However, all of that changed after I got married and tasted my mother-in-law’s meatloaf for the first time. Plus, I know it had everything to do with the way she prepared it. Therefore, majority of this recipe is thanks to her. Though, the only thing I changed is adding ground mild Italian sausage.

Ingredients for beef and pork meatloaf recipe:

  • 1 lb each of ground beef and ground mild Italian sausage
  • 1 chopped each bell pepper and yellow onion
  • 14 oz can whole tomatoes (drained and pulsed)
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 c oats
  • 8 oz can tomato sauce, divided
  • and 4 oz of ketchup
beef and pork meatloaf recipe

Instructions for beef and pork meatloaf:

  • Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Grease a 12 cup muffin tin/pan and (1) 8-1/2 x 4-1/2 x 2-1/2 inch loaf pan.
  • In a large bowl, mix the first 7 ingredients together.
  • Mix 4 oz of the tomato sauce with the other ingredients.
  • Take remaining tomato sauce and mix with ketchup.
  • Fill the muffin tins and then the loaf pan with the meatloaf mixture.
  • Top the muffin cups and loaf pan with the remainder of the sauce/ketchup mix.
  • Bake at 350 degrees, covered with aluminum foil, for 30 mins. Then take aluminum foil off of the muffin tins for 10 more mins. And check temperature for muffin tins. They should be at least 165 degrees.
  • Re-cover the loaf pan with the aluminum foil, and keep in the oven for 20 more mins. Then take cover off for 10 mins. Check the temperature, which should be 165 degrees.
beef and pork meatloaf muffins with homemade macaroni and cheese

Serve with a side of your favorite vegetables and a grain, like rice, or a starch, like macaroni and cheese or potatoes.

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Homemade Macaroni and Cheese with Penne Pasta

This is a great homestyle recipe, using penne pasta instead of traditional elbow noodles. I used to make the box brands. And then I switched to some I found in cookbooks. But some of those were time consuming. Eventually, as I learned more about cooking and my own style, I came up with this easy, homemade macaroni and cheese with penne pasta.

Ingredients for Homemade Macaroni and Cheese with Penne Pasta:

  • 12 oz of penne pasta
  • 1 c whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 c shredded Mexican blend cheese or sharp cheddar cheese, divided
  • cracked pepper to taste
prepping homemade macaroni and cheese with penne pasta

Instructions for making Homemade Macaroni and Cheese with Penne Pasta:

  • Cook penne pasta according to package instructions.
  • While noodles are cooking, heat 1 c whipping cream in a small saucepan over med heat.
  • Add 1/2- 3/4 c shredded cheese to saucepan.
  • Add cracked pepper to taste to saucepan.
  • Stir cheese mixture constantly until it is thickened.
  • Drain the water from the penne pasta when it’s finished cooking.
  • Stir the cheese sauce into the noodles.
  • Put the penne noodle mixture into a greased 9 1/2 x 7 1/2 inch baking dish.
  • Sprinkle the remaining shredded cheese on top of the macaroni.
  • Top with more cracked black pepper to taste.
  • And bake in a 350 degree oven until cheese is melted on top ~ 5 mins.
beef and pork meatloaf muffins with homemade macaroni and cheese

This pairs well with so many foods. However it certainly has a Southern charm. So I pair mine with pork or meatloaf.

I hope you enjoyed this post. And if you make it, please let me know what you think. How do you cook macaroni and cheese? Let me know in the comments.

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Chicken Soup With Acini Di Pepe

This chicken soup with Acini di Pepe recipe was passed down through the generations on my mother’s side. It goes back when, I’m told, her ancestors lived in Sicily till they emigrated to New York.

My mother learned this recipe from her mom. And she probably started making it by the time she was a pre-teen. Then she handed it down to her daughters. It’s one of my kids’ favorite things to eat when they go to her house, even if it has stewed tomatoes in it. Even though it can be considered an old recipe, it’s quite simple to make. And I’ve even made some tweaks of my own.

Ingredients for Chicken Soup with Acini di Pepe

 chicken soup with mixed vegetables in cream colored bowl
  • 2 chicken breast halves
  • 1 Tbsp Better Than Bouillon Roasted Chicken Base
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 small diced red onion
  • 2 diced celery, leaves removed
  • 1 diced carrot or 10 oz package of mixed vegetables
  • 1/4-1/2 cup fresh or canned whole tomato, diced or pulsed in food processor
  • 1 Tbsp dry parsley
  • And 1/2 cup Acini di Pepe (Da Vinci is the brand I use)

Instructions

  • First, cook chicken with 1 Tbsp Better Than Bouillon chicken base in 2 1/2 quarts of water over medium high heat. When it starts to boil, lower to a simmer, and put a lid on the pot.
  • Next, when the chicken is cooked, check if it has enough salt, and add salt to taste, if needed.
  • Then, remove chicken and shred once it’s cooked through.
  • Add pepper, onion, celery, tomatoes, and carrots or mixed vegetables to pot, and simmer for 9 minutes.
  • Next, add parsley, and increase heat to medium high, to get water boiling.
  • And add Acini di Pepe last, when everything is cooked, and cook for 8-9 minutes more in boiling water.
  • Then put shredded chicken back in pot and heat through.
  • Finally, serve immediately.

I hope you enjoyed this post, and if you make this soup, please let me know what you think! Also, feel free to change it as you like!