You Had Me at Potatoes

Valentine’s Day is the one-time Jeremiah and I stay in. We hate the crowds and waiting past your reservation time for a table. We eat out enough so we don’t feel like we need to mess with it on Valentine’s Day. Instead, it’s the one night we prepare an all-out meal and sit down at the dinner table to eat it.

This year, the plan was for spaghetti. In fact, I’ve turned Jeremiah into someone who prefers to eat my Great Grandma Reith’s spaghetti sauce over anything you can get from a jar or at a restaurant. That was the plan.

On our way home, we stopped at Sprouts to grab some bread. Unfortunately, finding bakery bread has turned into a nightmare because everything in that area seems to have barley. Since I’m allergic, it’s getting way harder to make garlic bread ourselves.

While in the store, Jeremiah spotted some lobster tails on sale for $4.90 each. That’s crazy ridiculously cheap! We know from our trip to Maine why they are so expensive. A change of dinner plans occurred. “Why don’t we have lobster tails?” said Jeremiah. I said, “We’ve never made them. Do you know how to cook them?” Jeremiah used his phone to research a recipe. It looked simple and quick enough. Then, the next question was what we would eat with them? That’s when I throughout this recipe from our wedding cookbook for cheesy potatoes. Needless to say, what should have taken less than 20 minutes to make for dinner, turned into a late-night Valentine’s Day dinner. We even grabbed something in the McDonald’s drive-thru, which we never eat, to hold us over.

Jeremiah goes way back with the Fox boys (brothers – Kelly and Travis). Kelly and Travis grew up with the Slater clan. From what I understand, I think their dads met through work and became good friends. I also learned that Jeremiah’s mom used to babysit the boys when she did home daycare. The Fox’s grandma told me at our wedding that she considers Jeremiah almost be like a grandson because he spent so much time with her when they were kids.

According to Erin, these potatoes are the reason her husband Kelly married her. Jeremiah says Kelly was smitten on her from the moment he met Erin.

This recipe is similar to my mom’s cheesy potatoes. I like Erin’s recipe through because it feels a little less rich and just the right amount of cheesy to make this side dish a little more often. My biggest pet peeve is when someone says they made cheesy potatoes and you can barely taste the cheese. Not the case with this cheesy potato dish at all.

And on a side note, we probably ate a lobster dinner complete with cheesy potatoes, garlic bread, and monster cookie cheesecake for less than $8 a serving. If you add in a glass of local vineyard wine, it probably came out to $12 a serving. In fact, that’s cheaper than we spent on a fast-casual dinner at Chipotle of nights ago. And it’s definitely cheaper than if we had gone to one of our favorite steakhouses.

fullsizerender-12Cheesy Potatoes by Erin & Kelly Fox
1 stick of butter
1 can of cream of chicken soup
8 oz. sour cream
2 c. cheddar cheese
1 – 1lb. package of shredded hash browns
Garlic salt and black pepper to taste

Melt butter. Add cream of chicken and sour cream. Add garlic salt and pepper. In an extra-large bowl, pour mixture over hash browns. Add cheese and combine. Pour into sprayed 9 x 13 baking dish. Bake for 45 – 60 minutes at 400 degrees.

Bacon Ranch Chicken Pasta

A few ago weeks, I was going through my Pinterest account looking for some new recipes. This is a new one we tried and really liked. I hope you like it took.

Smothered Bacon Ranch Chicken Penne Pasta from Laugh with Us Blog
img_1185One package of bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 lb. chicken breast
2 garlic cloves
1 can cream of chicken soup
8 oz. penne pasta, cooked and drained
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 package ranch seasoning mix
1 c. sour cream
1/2 c. water

In a large bowl, mix garlic, ranch seasoning, cream of chicken, sour cream, pepper, and water. Place chicken in Crockpot and cover in sauce. Cook for 6 hours on low or 4 hours on high. About 30 minutes before it’s done, add cooked pasta and bacon.

Notes:

  • I used reduced sodium cream of chicken soup and light sour cream. 
  • I substituted a spiral pasta. 
  • Instead of mixing in the bacon, I cooked half a package and just sprinkled on top with parsley.

 

Bacon Cheeseburger Casserole

When my husband was out of town a few weeks ago, I was cooking up a storm. This is a recipe I found on Pinterest. The pin generated several re-pins from a few of my friends and family. Jeremiah asked if it was like my mom’s Hamburger Casserole but I said it reminded me more of Crockpot Chicken Casserole.

IMG_1133Bacon Cheeseburger Tater Tot Casserole from Plain Chicken
1 1/2 lb. ground beef, cooked
3 oz. pre-cooked bacon
2 c. cheddar cheese
1 package of tater tots
1 can cheddar cheese
16 oz. sour cream

Mix ingredients in a bowl and pour into a 13 x 9 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes.

Notes:

  • I halfed the recipe and cooked it in a 9 x 9 baking dish. I halfed all the ingredients except I used 1 lb. of ground beef, full serving of bacon, and a full can of soup. I cooked it at the same temp and time.
  • I used light sour cream, 2% cheddar cheese, and real bacon.
  • I think you could cook some onions in the beef and it would be good. 

 

 

Doritos x 4

Yes, this is another Doritos recipe. Apparently, I have so many on my blog that my coworkers bought Doritos to celebrate my b-day. But I have to tell you, it is my favorite of the casserole versions I’ve made. You can’t go wrong with crescent rolls as a base.

Doritos_Crescent BakeTaco Bake from Pinterest
1 lb. hamburger
1 package of taco seasoning
8 oz. sour cream
1 package of crescent rolls
1 (8 oz.) can of tomato sauce
1 c. diced tomatoes (optional)
1 c. shredded cheese
¾ package of crushed Doritos

Brown hamburger and drain. Add taco seasoning, tomato sauce, and tomatoes. Bring to a simmer. Line a 13 x 9 pan with crescent rolls. Top with hamburger mixture, sour cream, cheese, and Doritos. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Notes:

  • I used Wildtree taco seasoning.
  • I used reduced fat crescent rolls, fat free sour cream, no-salt added tomato sauce, and 2% cheese. You could use 93% fat-free ground beef or ground turkey to make it healthier.
  • I accidently add the whole can of Red Gold diced tomatoes (14.5 oz.). It still turned out fine.
  • I used a ½ bag of Doritos and it was more than enough. Another option would be to use Baked Doritos.
  • I baked the crescents for 7 minutes before adding ingredients. I do this to prevent a doughy crust.

Chicken Strogenoff

A great crockpot recipe for a day you don’t really feel like cooking.

Chicken StrogenoffChicken Strogenoff from Pinterest
4 frozen chicken breast
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
1 brick of cream cheese
3/4 c. sour cream
8 oz. cooked pasta

Place chicken in crockpot. Cover with soup and cubed cream cheese. Cook on low for 8 hours. Stir 2-3 times throughout the day. About twenty minutes before it is finished, add sour cream. On the stove, cook pasta and drain. Add pasta to crockpot and serve.

Notes:

  • I used reduced fat cream of mushroom soup and cream cheese.
  • I used fat free sour cream.
  • The orginal recipe called for egg noodles. I used penne pasta.

Doritos Casserole

If you have followed my blog since the beginning, then you may have seen another Doritos recipe. This recipe is a little different and uses chicken instead of ground beef. I also made it a little healthier with some simple substitutions.

Doritos Chicken CasseroleDoritos Casserole from Pinterest
3 c. cooked chicken, diced
8 oz. sour cream
2 cans of cream of chicken soup
1 1/2 c. salsa
2 c. cheddar cheese
a bag of Doritos

Crumble Doritos and sprinkle of the bottle of a lightly greased 13 x 9 pan. In a bowl, mix chicken, sour cream, salsa, soup, and a cup of cheese. Pour over Doritos. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Cover with remaining cup of cheese and bake an additional 5 minutes.

Notes:

  • I halved the recipe and baked it in my bubble and brown dish.
  • I grilled boneless, skinless chicken breast. Rotisserie chicken would have also been good.
  • I used fat free sour cream. You could substitute non-fat Greek yogurt.
  • I used the healthy choice Cream of Chicken Campbell’s soup. You could also use the fat free version.
  • I made my salsa using Wildtree Fiesta Salsa mix and a can of reduced sodium diced tomatoes. You could also use a can of Rotel or fresh tomatoes.
  • You could use Baked Doritos for the base of this recipe.
  • I used 2% cheddar cheese for the topping and fat free cheddar cheese in the chicken mixture.
  • A Mexi-corn mixture or black beans would make a great veggie addition.

Crispy Ritz Chicken

Ritz crackers are one of my nephew’s favorite snacks. I used leftover crackers from his visit to make this delicious looking recipe from Pinterest. If you like the flavors, I would suggest trying this breakfast recipe for Creamy Swiss Eggs on Biscuits.

Crispy Ritz ChickenCrispy Ritz Chicken
4 chicken breast
2 sleeves Ritz crackers, crushed
1/2 c. buttermilk (or milk)
2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese (or cheddar cheese)
1 tsp. dried parsley

1 can cream of chicken
3 T. sour cream
2 T. butter

Dip chicken in milk, then cheese, and finally crackers. Sprinkle with parsley. Cover and bake for 35 minutes at 400 degrees. Remove foil and bake an additional 10-15 minutes. In a small saucepan, melt cream of chicken, sour cream, and butter. Pour over baked chicken and sprinkle with parsley.

Notes:

  • I used reduced fat Ritz crackers, skim milk, and fat free cheddar cheese. Just remember that skim milk doesn’t stick as well to the chicken.
  • I used 98% fat free cream of chicken and fat free sour cream. You could also substitute Greek yogurt.
  • I served it with mashed potatoes. Chicken gravy also tastes good on them. I would suggest maybe a green side dish like spinach or asparagus as well. One of the Pinterest recipes suggests making cilantro lime rice to go with the chicken. I liked the home cooked meal approach.
  • Another suggestion is to use the veggie flavored Ritz crackers.

Chocolate Chip Snack Cake

Everyone has a word they don’t like. One of my exs over used the word “audacity” so I avoid using the word at all cost. Others struggle to pronounce words. My ex who was bilingual in two languages really struggled with the word “Worcestershire Sauce”. It is a kind of hard word to say if you don’t slow down.

The first word that came to mind when I tasted this recipe was moist. It made me think of my friend and former co-worker Kelly. She detested the word “Moist”, perhaps even more that she hate people inappropriately using exclamation marks. (Can you tell we worked together as grant writers?) One time, a co-worker and myself called her office and said “moist” just to freak Kelly out. Of course she knew it was us by the internal caller id. But we were laughing so hard it still puts a smile on my face just thinking about it. It truly is a terrible word. When you thesaurus synonyms for moist, you get: humid, soggy, clammy, saturated, soaking, damp, wet, and tacky. Not exactly the words I was looking for to express my sentiments. Perhaps the best words for me to describe this cake are – soft, sweet, and delicious. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Yellow cake with sour cream chocolate frosting is my favorite birthday cake flavor.

Chocolate Chip CakeChocolate Chip Snack Cake by Betty Crocker website
1/2 box yellow cake mix
1/3 c. water
1/4 c. sour cream
3 T. butter, melted
1 egg
1 1/4 c. mini chocolate chips
1/2 tsp. vegetable oil

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray 8 inch glass baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. In large bowl, beat cake mix, water, sour cream, butter, and egg with a mixer. Stir in 1/2 c. chocolate chips. Pour in dish. Bake for 22-28 minutes. Cool completely – one hour. Then, melt 1/2 c. chocolate chips with 1/2 tsp. vegetable oil. Microwave it on high for 45 seconds, plus 15 seconds increments til completely melted. Pour into a Ziploc baggie, cut corner, and drizzle over cake. Sprinkle with remaining chocolate chips.

Nutritional Information: (Makes nine servings) 270 calories (120 from fat), 14 g. fat (8 g. saturated fat) 35 mg. cholesterol, 210 mg. sodium, 35 g. carbs, 1 g. fiber, 23 g. sugar, and 2 g. protein

Notes:

  • I used half light and half fat free sour cream. Another great substitute is regular or Greek yogurt.
  • I also used sugar free cake mix. I also think you could have used a chocolate cake for an even richer dessert.
  • You could easily skip the extra chocolate chips on top and it would still be good.

Crack Potatoes

Thanks to Dan Quayle, does anyone else have a fear of misspelling potato/potatoes every time they write it? Maybe it’s just me since I was in elementary school when that infamous news story broke. I also spent way more time watching news at as a kid than most children. I remember how exciting it was to go to journalism school and find a bunch of other media geeks.

This is another one of my Pinterest recipe finds. Although these potatoes are quite tasty, I don’t know that they are as addictive as the author named them. I think my mother’s recipe for cheesy hashbrown potatoes are better. But it was nice to try something a little different.

Crack PotatoesCrack Potatoes
2 (16 oz.) containers of sour cream 
2 c. cheddar cheese
2 (3 oz. bags) of bacon bits
2 packages of powder ranch dressing mix
1 large (30 oz.) bag of hash browns, shredded

Combine the first four ingredients. Add hash browns. Pour into a 13 x 9 pan and bake for 45-60 minutes at 400 degrees.

Notes:

  • I used one light and one fat free sour cream containers.
  • I used half 2% cheddar cheese and half fat free cheese.
  • I bake three slices of low sodium bacon for this recipe. That’s less than the recipe calls for.
  • I halved the recipe and baked it in my bubble and brown casserole dish. It still took 60 minutes to cook.

Four Ingredient Rolls

I love dinner rolls but I never bake them from scrath because I don’t like using quick rising yeast or a rolling pin. When I saw this recipe, it seemed simple enough to give it a try. Who know you could use 7-Up for making biscuits and keeping fruit fresh?

BiscuitsFour Ingredient Rolls on Pinterest
2 c. Bisquick
1/2 c. sour cream
1/2 c. 7-Up
1/4 c. melted butter (a half stick)

Mix together sour cream and Bisquick. Add 7-Up. Sprinkle a cutting board and your hands with Bisquick. Pull apart and roll dough into nine pieces. Melt butter in a 8 x 8 glass baking dish. Place dough balls in dish. Bake at 450 degrees for 12-15 minutes.

Notes:

  • I used light sour cream and unsalted butter. I think it turned out fine. You could probably use Diet 7-Up as well.
  • I would suggest maybe adding some seasoning to the recipe like rosemary or garlic powder.
  • I also used the biscuit this morning to make an egg white breast sandwich.