Cheesy Chicken and Potato Casserole – Crockpot Recipe – So easy a kid can make it!

Potatoes 1

Before I get into this blog post, I must apologize for the horrendous pictures.   I am still learning how to use my camera, and the white chicken in this dish completely didn’t turn out correctly.  Oh well, I’m learning.

There are some days when my children surprise me.  Yesterday was one of those days.  I had thawed a bag of chicken to be used for dinner, but completely forgot to put it in the crockpot before I left for work. When my husband called me to ask what needed to be done with the chicken, I scrambled to think of what we could do with the chicken once we got home.  He suggested that I call the kids and have them put together their favorite crockpot recipe.  I was very leery about asking 2 teenagers to do anything while they are on Spring Break, much less asking them to COOK something.  I decided I would call them later to see if they would be so kind as to prepare dinner for the family, fully expecting to hear groaning and complaining.  To my surprise, I received a call from my son asking what he needed to do with the chicken.  WHAT!?  Could this be true?  My husband had called my son to ask him to make dinner, and he said “yes.”  I’m still shocked.  After explaining that “slow cooker” and “crockpot” were exactly the same thing, he was ready to prepare dinner.  He didn’t require any additional help.

I was very excited when I arrived home and, 1) my house was still in tact, 2) dinner was finished, 3) the teenagers had even folded some laundry.  I felt like I had won the lottery!

If you are looking for a quick and simple dinner, this should be your go-to recipe.  It is one of our favorites.  One important note about this is that it only requires 4-5 hours of cooking time on low, and it won’t last long if you leave it on warm after it is done.  It dries out quickly.

p.s. This recipe is “naturally” gluten free

p.p.s. My kids really didn’t fold any of the laundry.  My mom stopped by for lunch and decided to do me a favor.  Thanks mom!

Potatoes 2

Cheesy Chicken and Potato Casserole for the Slow Cooker

Ingredients:

1 bag frozen tater tots (32 ounces)

1/3 cup bacon pieces

4 boneless/skinless chicken breasts (thawed, diced, uncooked)

2 cups shredded cheese (cheddar, colby, mexican, etc)

3/4 cup milk

Directions:

  1. Cover crockpot with plastic liner or spray with cooking spray.
  2. Layer half of the tater tots in the bottom and sprinkle with 1/3 of the bacon pieces and 1/3 of the shredded cheese.
  3. Add chicken on top of the previous layer and sprinkle with 1/2 of the remaining cheese and bacon pieces.
  4. Add the remaining taters tots and top with remaining bacon and cheese.
  5. Pour milk over the top.
  6. Cook on low for 4-5 hours or until chicken is fully cooked.  Do not overcook or leave in crockpot on warm once casserole is finished.

Turkey Tetrazzini – The perfect recipe to use up your leftover turkey



I always take a break from blogging on the weekends. I am doing most of my cooking on the weekends, so I don’t have time to blog about it. I have so many recipes and pictures to post that I probably won’t have to cook all week! Ok, that won’t ever happen.



Tonight at dinner my son came up with another great line. He said, “I wonder what it would be like to eat a jelly fish?” This coming from the child who also said, “It’s been a long time since I’ve been poked in the eye.” I just love to hear the interesting things that these kids come up with.

Earlier this week I made my crockpot turkey breast recipe. We had a little mishap with the turkey because it was cooked on high for too long. Oh well, we still ate it, but it was a bit dry. I knew the only thing to do with it was to make Turkey Tetrazzini. I made this last year with our leftover turkey, and it it the best recipe out there. I adapted it from Allrecipes.com, and it’s just about perfect.



One of the greatest things about Thanksgiving is all over the leftovers. Now you have something yummy to make with your turkey, besides putting it on 2 slices of white bread slathered in Mayo. Yummm, turkey sandwiches!

This week I am going to post a lot of recipes to use up your Thanksgiving leftovers. Tomorrow I am going to share a recipe for dinner rolls along with the recipe to turn them into bread pudding the next day. Or, in my case, turning them into bread pudding because you burned over 50% of them. UGH! I’m also going to share a recipe for using up leftover cake (thanks mom).

Have a great week!
Cheri

Turkey Tetrazzini
Adapted from: Allrecipes.com
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
1 (16 ounce) package uncooked spaghetti or elbow macaroni noodles
1/2 cup butter
3 cloves garlic
1/2 c. onion
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups chicken broth
2 cups milk
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 cups chopped cooked turkey
1 cup shredded mozzarella

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a medium baking dish.

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add noodles, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente. Drain, and return to the pot.

In large saucepan, melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Saute onion until soft. Add in garlic and saute until garlic is fragrant. Stir in flour. Slowly whisk in chicken broth and milk. Cook and stir until the mixture comes to a boil. Stir in Parmesan cheese, and remove from heat. Mix in the turkey.

Pour sauce over noodles and stir to combine. Pour mixture into prepared baking dish and top with mozzarella cheese. Bake 35 minutes in the preheated oven, until surface is lightly browned. Bake 35 minutes in the preheated oven, until surface is lightly browned.

Grilled Pork Chops – An easy marinade that makes this meal delicious



Have you tried Holiday Grapes yet? I had no idea what Holiday grapes were. I’m sure I’ve had them before, but I didn’t know what they were called. My discovery of Holiday Grapes was made through a wonderful program called Fruit my Cube. This program was designed by the Farmer’s Market in Belleville, Illinois. They decided to put together boxes of fruits and veggies that are delivered to employers throughout the area. Individuals can order a “Fruit Cube” that contains apples, oranges, grapes, pears, etc. Each week, employees can order a cube for $10 and then go to a designated pickup area and get their cube. Last week’s cube contained Holiday Grapes, among other things. They were the sweetest, juiciest grapes I have ever had. There is no bitterness in the skin either. If you see these are your local grocery store, try them. Yum!

We have a great meat market/grocery store in our area. They have wonderful cuts of meat that are all fresh and offered at a decent price. When I was there to pick up something for dinner, I found these amazing pork chops. They were HUGE – about 3″ thick. I wanted to come up with an easy recipe that allowed me to marinade them all day and just throw them on the grill when it was time for dinner.



They took a while to cook because they were so thick, but I think everyone liked them. I served them with my mashed potatoes and some frozen corn.

Enjoy!



Grilled Pork Chops
Printable Recipe
Ingredients:
4 large pork chops
6 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
Garlic Powder
Salt
Pepper

Directions:
Add olive oil, balsamic vinegar and garlic to large, plastic zipper bag and mix. Add in pork chops. Place in refrigerator to marinate for several hours, turn bag over halfway through the marinating process.

Preheat grill and place pork chops directly on grill over medium heat. Discard remaining marinade Sprinkle chops with garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste. Cook over medium heat, turning once, until juices run clear and the meat reaches an internal temperature of 170 degrees. Remove meat from grill, cover with foil and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Mashed Potatoes – Recipe for Mom’s Crazy Cooking Challenge



I recently joined a challenge that asks us to explore recipes from other bloggers. This first challenge was to make mashed potatoes using a recipe from someone else’s blog.

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I’m pretty partial to my own mashed potato recipe, so it was tough to decide on a different recipe. The only real difference between the recipe I found at Life’s Ambrosia and mine was the use of half and half. Other than that, it’s identical.



My little sous chef helped peel potatoes, in fact, he peeled most of them. I chopped them this time, but he usually does that as well.


We prepped the potatoes ahead of time, so they had to be submerged in water so they wouldn’t turn brown before we used them.



These potatoes are really yummy and creamy. They aren’t complicated to make. I did change it up a bit because I only had heavy cream, but I made the appropriate adjustments. This is the perfect mashed potato recipe….and it’s super easy. One look at these yummy potatoes will make you wish you had made some already.


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Mashed Potatoes
Recipe adapted from: Life’s Ambrosia

Ingredients:
8 russet potatoes – peeled and cubed
6 tbsp. butter
1 cup half and half (or 1/2 cup milk + 1/2 cup heavy cream)
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Place cubed potatoes into large pot of boiling water. Let boil until potatoes can be pierced and broken with a fork. Drain potatoes.

Add butter and half and half to bowl of stand mixer. Place potatoes in bowl on top of butter and milk and let sit for one minute to allow butter to melt.

Turn mixer on medium speed and whip for 2 minutes. Add in salt and pepper during mixing. Taste after 1 minute to determine if you need more salt. Serve immediately – plain or with your favorite gravy.

Thanksgiving Menu – Simple recipes for those that don’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen

I recently had a request from a friend to post a Thanksgiving menu that is super easy, but still really good. I love to torture myself by spending hours upon hours in the kitchen, but I forget that others don’t really prefer that kind of torture. I’m not sure why, but apparently they don’t. I’m sure all of you foodies can relate.

So, what are my favorite, easy recipes for the holidays….here they are:

Appetizers


Pumpkin Dip – Serve with gingersnaps or Nilla Wafers
Chocolate Chip Dip – Tried and true! Everyone loves this one.
Sausage and Cheese Tray – I really hope you don’t need a recipe for this one.
Veggie Tray – See above

Main Dishes
Slow Cooker Turkey – I have been making this recipe for many years. It is perfect for a small family gathering and tastes amazing. I made this when I hosted thanksgiving at my own home.
Slow Cooker Ham – I just made this for the first time a month ago. You will not be disappointed in how great this ham is. No need to even turn on your oven!

Potatoes
Cheri’s Mashed Potatoes – Use the mashed potato recipe from my meatloaf cupcakes post. These aren’t tough to make, but you do have to spend time peeling potatoes. If you don’t want to peel potatoes, then move on to recipe #2.
Hashbrown Casserole – Everyone loves this casserole. It’s easy, cheesy and full of yumminess. I highly recommend these for anyone that needs potatoes and doesn’t want to spend much time preparing them.
Sweet Potato Casserole – I haven’t tried these, but they look easy and they got good reviews.

Vegetables


Green Bean Casserole – This is the same recipe that almost everyone in America uses. You can use any type of “Cream of…” soup. They all pretty much taste the same. This is my favorite Thanksgiving dish!
Roasted Vegetables – Use this recipe to roast sweet potatoes, zucchinis and carrots for a quick and easy veggie.

Desserts


Chocolate Pudding Pie – I make this pie for every holiday. Everyone loves it and it’s EASY!
Pumpkin Pie – This is the recipe from the Libby’s can. You cannot go wrong with it. Buy a premade pie crust in the dairy aisle or buy a frozen one and then pour in the mixture. It doesn’t get any easier then this. Just make sure the pie is cooked thoroughly. Serve with whipped cream!
Chocolate Eclair Dessert – This one is excellent! Make it the night before and it will be perfect by the time you are ready to eat dinner.
Peanut Butter Cookies (chocolate optional) – These are very easy and can be prepared ahead of time.

Noticeably absent from my menu is stuffing/dressing. We have a traditional family recipe that I make every year, but it is not easy and it is not quick. I’m not going to post it with this menu for that reason. I have never made stuffing any other way, so I am leaving it off the list. Feel free to grab a box of Stove Top and read the instructions. I’m sure it’s easy and probably pretty good.

Also absent is cranberries. I have never, ever had a good experience with making any type of cranberry sauce or jelly. They have all turned out terrible. If your family likes the stuff that comes out of the can, I would just keep using it. It’s easy and can easily be found in your local grocery store. I will continue to pretend like cranberries, in any form, are not a traditional Thanksgiving dish.

Remember, this menu is not meant for someone who wants to prepare a complicated dinner with fancy dishes. This menu is meant for those of you that don’t like to cook, or don’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen, but still want to prepare a delicious meal for your family.

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast

Happy Friday to everyone! I am going to be putting together a wonderful Thanksgiving menu that’s perfect for people that don’t have a lot of time and/or don’t know how to cook. This menu is going to include recipes that I have made in the past, but I made them before I started my blog. In other words….no pictures. BOOOOO! I will put together the entire menu, but I need to get each recipe posted first.

This first recipe is something that I made a few years back when I hosted Thanksgiving at my house for the hubby’s family. I’ve also made it several other times, but I think it’s important that you know I did actually make it for Thanksgiving. Everyone loves this recipe. It is fool-proof! If you are scared to make a turkey for fear it will be gross and dry, try this recipe. It only uses the breast portion of the turkey, so if you have a small family, this will be the perfect size. I would say that this will easily feed 6 people. Make sure you have a large crockpot because this will not fit in the smaller ones.

Enjoy!

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast
Recipe by: The Accidental Cook
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
1 – Whole turkey breast (6-8 lbs.) – These are found in the freezer section with the frozen, whole turkeys.
2 – Dry onion soup mix packages
1 yellow onion – cut in quarters
3 celery stalks – cut in sections
1/2 cup chicken broth
4 – tablespoons butter

Directions:
Spread onion soup mixture on the outside and inside cavity of the turkey. Place the onion and celery on the inside of the turkey and underneath and around the turkey if you have space in your crockpot. Pour the chicken broth into the bottom of the crockpot being careful not to pour over the turkey and wash off any seasoning. Cut butter into 4 squares and place them on top of the turkey. Cook on high for 1 hour and then on low for another 7-8. Remove turkey from crockpot and let rest for 10-15 minutes. Discard the onion and celery. Slice turkey and serve.

Cheri’s Slow Cooker Chili – My new favorite halloween recipe



Why did the Invisible Man flunk out of school? Because the teacher kept marking him absent! This was the best joke that I heard this year….and honestly, it wasn’t that great. I heard all of the “oldies but goodies” but there still wasn’t anything that made me laugh uncontrollably. Well, there was that 2-year-old that said, “whole bunch” and held up his pumpkin after I gave him 2 pieces of candy. Apparently he wanted more. It was cute, and it worked, but his parents were mortified. Hey, at least he knows how to ask for what he wants.

What’s Halloween without chili? It’s like Thanksgiving without turkey, Christmas without snow, St. Patrick’s day without beer, Mardi Gras without….um, well, I’ll skip that one. Each year I make chili for Halloween. I take that back, the hubby usually makes beef chili and I make my chicken chili. This year we decided to find a recipe for chili and make a big pot of only 1 kind of chili. I searched through Allrecipes and came across one of their highest rated recipes. Of course I had to adapt it to make it my own, including making it a slow cooker recipe. If I can put something in the crockpot to cook all day, I will do it!

The hardest part of this recipe is chopping up all of the fresh veggies. You could probably put it all in a food processor or buy pre-chopped to save time. Either way, this recipe is pretty simple and very forgiving. If you don’t have the beans that the recipe calls for, use what you do have…within reason. I’m pretty sure that you wouldn’t want to use baked beans or garbanzo beans, but hopefully you already knew that.

I adapted my version to be gluten free by using this bouillon. But you can use regular bouillon if you don’t have an issue with gluten.

This recipe makes a TON of chili, so be prepared to feed a crowd or have tons of leftovers. I guess I need to start researching recipes that will help me use up my leftover chili. We’ve already done chili dogs, so maybe some chili mac??? Anyone want to come over for some chili?!

This recipe has been shared at:
A Southern Fairytale
11th Heaven’s Homemaking Haven


Cheri’s Slow Cooker Chili
Adapted from: Allrecipes.com
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
2 pounds ground beef
1 1/2 pounds bulk Italian sausage
3/4 cup water
4 cubes beef bouillon
1/4 cup chili powder
2 (15 ounce) cans chili beans, drained
2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, drained
2 (28 ounce) cans petite diced tomatoes with juice
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 orange bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 (4 ounce) can diced green chiles
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons white sugar

Directions:
In large skillet, brown ground beef and sausage. Drain and add to large crockpot. Dissolve bouillon in water to form a concentrated broth and pour into crockpot. Add the reminder of the ingredients to the crockpot, stir to combine and cook on low for up to 8 hours. *I prepared this the night before and just stored in the fridge and put it in the crockpot the following morning.

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