Skillet Chicken and Dressing Casserole – 15 minute meal series

15 Minute Skillet Chicken and Dressing Casserole

 

This is one of my favorite casseroles, but the traditional version takes about an hour to bake.

I speeded things up with this version by using a skillet that can take a quick trip under the broiler.

Pair this up with Skillet Apple Crisp, which only takes about 20 minutes.  Together, they make a great combo!

Find the recipe for Skillet Chicken and Dressing Casserole here.

15 Minute Meals for Back to School

This post is part of our new series on 15 Minute Meals.  You can find the other posts in the series linked here.

Grilled Ham and Apple Sandwich with Chutney plus other grilled cheese and panini ideas – 15 Minute Meals

Grilled Ham and Apple Sandwich with Peach Chutney

 

The title of this post is so long, it kind of makes you wonder if I really need to write any more.

I actually do have more to say about this sandwich, grilled sandwiches and keeping dinner simple.

First, let’s talk Grilled Ham and Apple Sandwich with Chutney.  The idea for this sandwich came while we were in Disney World.  We stopped in Norway in EPCOT for dinner one night and ordered several sandwiches to share.

One of my boys is pretty picky.  He will eat no mayo.  Nor will he let any fruit touch his lips.  To accommodate him, I ordered a toasted club sandwich.  It had bacon, so I felt like I was in safe territory there.

But no.  He spied mayo listed for that sandwich on the menu board and he refused to try it.  So I gave him the Ham and Apple sandwich, cringing as he peeled off the apple.  Somehow I forgot that the sandwich also had chutney on it.  Chutney is a definite no-go with him.

He’s getting older, so he didn’t say anything about the chutney at the time. He did switch sandwich choices at that point.  And his retelling of how he handled the event was hilarious.

Grilled Ham and Apple Sandwich with Chutney “recipe”

I hesitate to call this a recipe.  Basically, you’re making a grilled cheese sandwich that involves these ingredients:

  • Cinnamon swirl bread
  • Deli ham
  • Thin sliced apple (I like granny smith)
  • Swiss cheese
  • A bit of chutney (I used Slow Cooker Peach Chutney)

There’s no secret method to this.  Just assemble the sandwich and toast in a skillet.

The great thing about this is that picky eaters can have grilled ham and cheese.  You can eat the good stuff.  Everybody’s happy.

Grilled Cheese Ideas

Sandwiches make for quick dinners.  Weeknight family meals don’t have to involve elaborate recipes.  Sometimes, it’s best to keep things simple.  But it is fun to change up the sandwich occasionally.  Try something new!

Here are some ideas of things to include on your grilled sandwich.  Or drag out your panini press or George Foreman grill instead of a skillet to change up the cooking method.

  • Brie and Apple
  • Bacon
  • Several types of cheese on one sandwich: provolone, American, Swiss, Cheddar etc
  • Cream cheese
  • Laughing Cow cheese spread
  • Tomato
  • Roasted red peppers
  • Onion or red onion
  • Sauteed onion
  • Banana peppers
  • Green chilies
  • Pickles

What do you like to put on your grilled sandwiches?

 

3 Things that Worked in the Kitchen This Week – September 22

3 Things that work in the kitchen

 

1.  Speeding up a slow cooker recipe

spicy chicken soup done

 

I originally wrote this recipe as a slow cooker soup.  But last week, I wasn’t on my game and it didn’t go in the slow cooker.  I did have all the ingredients though, plus cooked chicken in the freezer.

The onion and bell pepper cooked in oil on the stove top, then I added the other ingredients.  The whole process took about 30 minutes, start to finish.

This Spicy Chicken Soup recipe post has ideas for varying the ingredients for what you have on hand.  But it also works to vary the cooking method so it fits better with your day.

2.  Breakfast for dinner

Jim was out of town one night last week.  That often inspires me to make pancakes for dinner.  But this time we were in more of a French toast mood.  I did make Apple Cider Syrup to go with it.  Yum!  And bacon on the side too.

3.  Easiest grocery shopping ever

IMG_4953

 

Two steps to making your grocery shopping super fast:

1.  Print off your color-coded meal plan and grocery list from Weekly Meal Plans.

2.  Send it with your son to do the shopping.  Peter was off on Friday, so I sent him to do our groceries.  I crossed out the things we didn’t need and added a few extras.  Extra scribbles courtesy of younger sibling.

Peter came back with all the groceries for the week.  Boom!

A huge bonus of Weekly Meal Plans is being able to have someone else do the shopping.  I don’t hand off this job often, but at times it’s really nice to let someone else handle it.  And it’s no problem since it’s all listed there in pretty colors.

What worked for you in the kitchen this week?  

Easy Side Dishes – Beyond Steamed Veggies – Rounding out 15 Minute Meals

I have a tendency to focus on the main dish and forget the sides.  Until we’re nearly ready to sit down.  And then it’s time to quick thrown some veggies in a pan to steam or pull together a salad.

32 Simple Side Dish Ideas

 

This is a post I wrote last year with side dish ideas that go beyond steamed veggies.

These are all easy ideas though.  Some have a simple recipe. Others don’t require a recipe at all.

All of them will help round out your weeknight meals, but still keep it fast.

Click here to see 32 Easy Side Dish Ideas.

Think simple for sides.  Here are a few other ideas that work well:

  • Raw veggies – carrots, celery, sliced tomatoes, cucumbers etc.
  • Fruit (especially good with breakfast for dinner meals)
  • Cheese slices (with soup)
  • Crackers
  • Popcorn – healthier than chips, but great with sandwiches

What are your go-to quick side dishes?

15 Minute Meal Series – Chicken and Kale with Tortellini

Chicken Tortellini with Kale 15 minute meal

 

This recipe makes use of several quick meal tricks:

First, it’s built on pasta. Pasta is fast to cook, making it a great ingredient to build a meal on.

Second, this one uses rotisserie chicken (or other chicken that you’ve cooked and frozen).

Third, the veggie is added to the main dish.  A bag of pre-cut and cleaned kale requires no extra prep work.

I’ve linked to this recipe before, but it is one of our favorites.  This has become a go-to recipe for us.  It’s a big bowl of easy comfort food.

Find the recipe for Chicken, Kale and Tortellini here.

 
15 Minute Meals for Back to School

This post is part of our new series on 15 Minute Meals.  You can find the other posts in the series linked here.

15 Minute BBQ Chicken Nachos

15 Minute BBQ Chicken Nachos

 

My family loves nachos.  And bbq chicken.  And cheese.

So I knew this recipe would be a hit.

The fact that it only takes 15 minutes is a huge bonus.

That worked out really well the night I made them.  Due to a flat tire on one of the cars, we ended up eating in shifts again.  Nachos don’t hold over very well, but since they’re so quick to assemble and only need a few minutes under the broiler, it’s easy to make several batches.  That way everyone gets to eat them fresh.

We munched these with a Southwestern Chopped Salad kit I picked up at Kroger.  It turned out to be a great combo!

Here’s what you’ll need for the nachos:

[Read more...]

3 Things That Worked in the Kitchen This Week – September 15

3 Things that work in the kitchen

 

1.  I created a new 15 minute meal – BBQ Chicken Nachos

BBQ chicken nachos phone

 

I can’t wait to share this recipe with you! And if I get my act together, that will be tomorrow.  You have got to make these!  I know you have time, because they only take 15 minutes.

I posted that photo to Instagram and Facebook and it had people drooling.

2.  Healthy snack alternative – 1 Minute Apples

I’ve been in a terrible habit (not sure if I can really call it a habit since I’ve been doing it all my life!) of eating a sweet snack every night.  Often it’s ice cream.  Have I mentioned I love ice cream?

I also have a son who loves to bake and has a sweet tooth as big as mine.  Lately he’s been baking brownies or chocolate chip cookies nearly every night.  One night (and only one night, so far) I decided I should have something a little bit healthier.  I made a bowl of 1 Minutes Apples and sprinkled a bit of granola over the top.  Instant apple crisp in a single serving!

I skipped the ice cream and went for a spoon of vanilla yogurt on top of the apples instead.

3.  Slow Cooker Freezer Meal to the rescue – Chicken Curry Soup

Wednesday was an extra busy day and I also knew that we wouldn’t all be home for dinner at the same time.  But we would all be eating at home at some point.  On days like that, I like to serve something that will hold over well and doesn’t need a lot of sides to go with it.

Easy Slow Cooker Thai Chicken Curry Soup

Soup usually fits really well for those occasions.  I had a bowl of Thai Chicken Curry Soup in the freezer from my last freezer cooking session.  It took care of dinner that night and several lunches over the next few days too.

200 lp12 slow cooker freezer meal plans

 

You can still save $2 through tomorrow 9/16 on the 12 Slow Cooker Freezer Meal Plans.  Just use the code FALLFREEZE.

What’s working in the kitchen this week for you?

Weekend Links

I enjoy sharing some of the non-food things I come across during a week. Books and links and the like. It’s a nice change from writing about food all the time. As much as I love food, I enjoy other things too.

Last week I heard from a reader who said I should stick to the topic. And maybe I should, but I’m not going to ;) I enjoy having the freedom to explore and share other things of interest. I hope you enjoy it too. If not, come Mondays we’ll be back to food.

Screen Shot 2014-09-11 at 1.02.24 PM

 

Last weekend we had the chance to walk through a home for sale in our area.  We drive past this beautiful place a few times each week.  Mia and I especially love looking at houses, so when we saw this one would be open on Sunday we were excited!

It was built in the 1950s and sits on about 7 acres, surrounded by horse farms.  It’s that perfect blend of being close to the city and everything you need to do in a week and still feeling like you’re way out in the country.

And the kitchen!  A food blogger’s dream!

Screen Shot 2014-09-11 at 1.03.05 PM

 

There’s plenty of counter space.  Double ovens.  A walk-in pantry (still not as cool as my pantry though).  A small office area, which you can see on the right hand side of the photo.  But most importantly, this kitchen has a ton of natural light due to the skylights above the island.  And there’s also a sliding glass door on the opposite side of the island.

The house is completely empty right now.  And since it’s listed at $895,000 it won’t be us who move in!  We loved getting to see it though.  You can find more info and photos by clicking here.

Screen Shot 2014-09-11 at 1.31.50 PM

We watched Moms’ Night Out last weekend.  Even the kids thought it was funny.  Definitely worth watching.  Plus, the guy who made the movie was a homeschooler.  I love stories like his. <—Watch this, especially if you’re a homeschool mom who could use some encouragement.

 200 lp12 slow cooker freezer meal plans

 

You can still save $2 through 9/16 on the 12 Slow Cooker Freezer Meal Plans.  Just use the code FALLFREEZE.

The One Tool that Makes Cooking Fast

sharp knife and cutting board

 

We’re going back to basics today.

If you have any hope of actually getting a meal ready in 15 minutes, you need to have a sharp knife.  If you’re fighting with a dull knife, the prep work will take too much time.  And you’ll probably hate every minute of it.

But listen close – I’m not sure that many food bloggers would say what I’m about to say …

You do not have to have the best knife or the best cutting board.

You only need to have a sharp knife and a decent cutting board or two.

The items you see in the photo above are what I use every day.

For years I used dull knives, mostly because I didn’t have a lot of expendable income.  But when I finally invested in one, I couldn’t believe the difference it made in my prep time.

And when I say invested, I’m only talking about $50.  I bought that knife (which looks oddly small in the photo, even though it’s full size) at Target.  I also bought a $15 knife sharpener to go with it.  So it’s not a cheap purchase, but we’re not talking hundreds of dollars.

The cutting boards are fine, but nothing special.  The large one is bamboo, bought from Walmart about 10 years ago.  The small one I think is from Pampered Chef.  It’s probably older than the bamboo one.

If you’re in need of a sharp knife, get yourself out to the store and buy one.  Don’t forget the sharpener.  And don’t think you have to spend a lot.  If you have the money and want to get higher quality, fine!  Enjoy!  But you can find decent knives for a reasonable price.

 15 Minute Meals for Back to School

This post is part of our new series on 15 Minute Meals.  You can find the other posts in the series linked here.

Pizza Sloppy Joes – 15 Minute Meal

We talked about sandwiches for dinner yesterday, so I thought I’d share another type today.  The original name I came up with for this one is Italian Sausage Sloppy Joes, but I think I like the name Pizza Sloppy Joes better.

Italian Sausage Sloppy Joes

 

These are quick and easy to make and they do have all the flavors of pizza.  Or at least pizza that’s topped with sausage.

The ingredients are common pantry ingredients, with the possible exception of the Italian sausage.  I’ve been finding that a package of Italian sausage is a great thing to keep on hand, so I often have a pack in the freezer.  I often use it instead of hamburger in recipes.

Pair this quick meal with carrot sticks.  Or salad.  Or even popcorn.

Family dinner doesn’t need to be complicated.

Keep it simple and enjoy your time together!

Find the recipe for Pizza (Italian Sausage) Sloppy Joes here!

15 Minute Meals for Back to School

This post is part of our new series on 15 Minute Meals.  You can find the other posts in the series linked here.

 

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