Happy Winter everyone! These cold, snowy days have me craving all the comfort foods (or maybe it’s the pregnancy!). That in combination with not wanting to stand over the stove for more than 30 minutes has really made me hone in on quick and simple recipes like this one. Only one pan to wash (win!), no meat to cook (win!), and it is loaded with cheese (major win!). Plus my 18 month old ate about half of it (sort of win!).
My due date is in 6 weeks which is very very surreal to me. I feel like in some ways I have been pregnant for 125 years, and other times I feel like there’s no way it is already winding down. I knew that my second pregnancy would be different than my first, but I wasn’t expecting all of the new emotions you feel with round two. I go from super excited to grow to a family of 4 to a little bit sad thinking that I won’t be able to give all my attention to Rory anymore. I know he will adjust, as all first children do, but is it weird that I feel guilty for making him share everything including his parents?! I’m sure once the baby is here all will be right with the world, and my funny thoughts about having this second child will subside but for now, I’m over here feeling like I’m a string of happy-sad-happy-sad-happy-crying-laughing emojis. Ugh, hormones man.
Anyway, please enjoy this hearty, lazy meal and don’t feel guilty for making your significant other wash the dishes! (one dish! – and maybe a cutting board)
One Pot 30 Minute Taco Mac & Cheese
Everything gets thrown into one pot and is ready to serve 30 minutes later! Weeknight winner for sure.
Mince onion and place in a large stock pot or dutch oven with 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Saute for 2-3 minutes. Add in 2 Tbsp of the taco seasoning and the green pepper. Saute for additional 2-3 minutes.
Add in tomatoes, beans, broth, pasta, and corn. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Once pasta is done, add in the final 2 Tbsp of taco seasoning, 1 Tbsp chili powder, and the cheese. Stir until the cheese is melted and serve.
You can add chicken or ground beef to the first step if you would like additional protein.
Omit the chili powder if you are feeding sensitive palates (I dished some up for my son before I added the chili powder).
We like to top it with sour cream, but feel free to add any additional taco toppings you would like!
I can’t believe it’s only a week before Thanksgiving. Is it just me or does time continually get faster as you get older, especially when you have kids ?! (Sorry for the sentimental blubbery and cliche statements). I’m feeling a little emotional these days and trying to savor these last few months with one kid – that’s right, I’m pregnant! Super exciting, super exhausting, super duper didn’t feel like cooking for about 4 months, which explains questions I have been getting about ‘Are you still writing your blog?’. Oops, yes! Just hard to keep up with a cooking blog when the only thing entering and staying in my stomach there for awhile was Ramen and watermelon popsicles.
Anyway….whether you are hosting, gathering elsewhere, or just having an intimate family meal with you and yours, this stuffing recipe is great to toss together as you will more than likely have all the ingredients on hand. I don’t know about you, but I used to be intimidated by making stuffing. I don’t know if it’s because there are so so SO many variations of it, and in all honesty sometimes it just doesn’t taste great for whatever reason, but I decided this year I was going to tackle it in a way that I wouldn’t mind re-creating any time of the year. (Also, I had a loaf of homemade white bread that desperately needed using before I had to sadly and guiltily toss it).
Served with pork chop with pan gravy and green beans
Give this a go on the big day, you won’t regret it. ♥
Easy Anytime Homemade Stuffing
Simple stuffing made with ingredients you probably already have on hand. Give it a try and wow your guests.
Cut bread into 1" cubes and let dry out on a baking sheet overnight. If you didn't have time to do this the day before you can also place the baking sheet in a 250 degree oven until the bread starts to dry out (will vary depending on bread, check on it every 5-10 minutes).
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and celery and cook down for 10 minutes or until softened.
Place dried bread cubes into a large bowl and pour melted butter with onions and celery over it. Stir together well.
Add the sage, thyme, parsley, salt, pepper, and celery salt. Stir to combine.
Pour 1 1/4 cups of chicken broth over the bread mixture and mix together well.
Whisk together the 2 eggs with 1 1/4 cups of chicken broth. Pour over the bread mixture and again mix well. It will start to get mushy at this point and that's okay! Continue to add additional chicken broth 1/4 cup at a time until all the bread is saturated.
Place into a greased casserole dish. Cover and cook for 30 minutes. Uncover then cook for an additional 10 minutes to get a nice crisp on top.
For the final touch, melt 3 Tbsp butter in the microwave. Stir in the additional 1/4 tsp of sage, thyme, and parsley. Drizzle over the top. Dig in!
The amount of chicken broth needed will vary between 2-3 cups depending on how long your bread was allowed to dry out and what type of bread you used. I used homemade white bread and I used more toward the 2 3/4 cup end, but if you use store bought sliced bread it won't take as much.
You can omit the final topping of butter if you're worried about calories 😉
It’s May! And it’s rainy. I guess it doesn’t matter if May is “in like a lion”. The motto for May in Colorado is “I do what I want”. Snow, rain, hail, 90 degrees, we saw it all last year. I’m looking forward to having a garden and being somewhat self sufficient with produce (as soon as our backyard is no longer just dirt – the joys of new construction). I started tomatoes from seeds indoors but now they are looking so wimpy – any guru gardeners out there??
On another note, this post is all about using those leftovers. YES! Have you made my Crock Pot Pulled Pork recently and got sick and tired of sandwiches by day 4? (me! me!) Don’t worry, I’ve got your back! Costco recently got me again! They had Pillsbury crescent rolls on sale for < $1 a tube (steal!) but did I really need 40 crescent rolls? Sigh. Probably not. It gave me the perfect excuse to continue experimenting with this recipe until I got it just right though. Five ingredients and 20 minutes will get you a fun dinner on the table. Kids will love it because it looks cool and your husband/wife/SO will appreciate it because it looks like you put effort into dinner (shh don’t tell). Have at it!
Pulled Pork Crescent Roll Ring (with BBQ + Ranch Dipping Sauce)
Reinvent pulled pork with this fun and easy weeknight dinner. Have it on the table in < 30 minutes!
Preheat oven to 375 degrees (350 degrees for dark or nonstick pans).
Open crescent rolls and place in a circle with overlapping corners (should look like a sun when you are done).
Spread the cheese around the base of the crescent rolls in an even circle.
Then add the pulled pork the same way (no need to heat the pork up first).
Then sprinkle onions over the pork followed by one slice of jalapeno at the center of each triangle base.
Fold the point of each triangle over the base and attach it to the base of the triangle next to it. It will look like a pinwheel when you are done.
Bake in oven for 20 minutes or until crescent rolls just start to turn golden brown. I baked mine on parchment paper to save with clean up.
To make the dipping sauce: equal parts BBQ sauce mixed with equal parts ranch dressing! That's it! Cut into slices, dip, and enjoy!
Get the recipe for Crock Pot Pulled Pork here.
The leftover episode part 2 is here! Have you made the Crock Pot Chipotle Chicken nachos and now you have half the chicken leftover? Well make these enchiladas. Please! You will not be disappointed. These enchiladas definitely make my top 5, that’s right – TOP 5, list of leftovers I will gladly eat cold, hot, for breakfast, for lunch, for a snack, etc. They are that good and so easy – only 5 ingredients (plus your favorite toppings).
On another note, my husband and I had our first overnight trip without the baby. I don’t think I’ve ever organized things more in my whole life than I did to prepare for my parents’ babysitting him. I made meal lists, food prepped (left them a container of Crock Pot Pulled Pork) emergency contact lists (for the baby and the animals), routine lists, suggestions for how to get the kid to go.to.sleep. The struggle is real sometimes people. All in all he survived, we survived, I think Grandma and Grandpa survived. We went to the Cub’s spring training in Arizona, and I think we thought we could go to dinner after 8 p.m. (the rebelliousness I tell ya) and sleep in. Well, my husband went to bed at 9 pm the first night and slept until 9 am. Me on the other hand – I couldn’t fall asleep until 10 pm and then of course I had to get up to pump at 6 am anyway and then I couldn’t go back to sleep. SMH. At least my alarm clock was internal and not a crying baby.
It was nice to be home though and to have some easy meal ideas in my back pocket. These enchiladas take < 10 minutes to prep and < 15 minutes to cook due to using leftover chicken. You can also definitely make this with fresh Crock Pot Chipotle Chicken and save the nachos for another day! Also, add another freezer friendly meal to your list (yessss) to save yourself even more time in the future. Go to this link to get the recipe for the Crock Pot Chipotle Chicken.
Chicken Enchiladas with Crock Pot Chipotle Chicken
Part 2 of using your Crock Pot Chipotle Chicken. So yummy and extremely easy!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium bowl, stir together the chicken (cold is fine), taco sauce, and 1 cup of the cheese.
In the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan, spread 2-3 Tbsp of enchilada sauce around to coat the bottom.
Dollop about 2 Tbsp of chicken mixture onto the middle of a tortilla shell and then roll up the tortilla. Place seam side down into the 9 x 13 pan. Repeat this process with remaining 11 tortillas and line them up in the pan. Go ahead, squeeze 'em in!.
Pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the enchiladas and spread evenly (make sure they are all covered). Sprinkle remaining 1 cup of cheese over the enchiladas.
Cover pan with foil and bake for 10 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 5 minutes or until sides are bubbling.
Top with toppings of your choice. I prefer going the simple route with olives and lettuce but tomatoes, sour cream, onions would also be good!
Happy time change everyone! I was naive to think that my 4 month old would also understand the time change and adjust his sleeping habits accordingly (nope!). We survived though, and it was actually a great weekend for “falling back” because we had a bunch of family in town for my son’s baptism. Before we moved to Colorado last year, I took for granted how easy we had it in Iowa being able to see our family anytime we wanted (and within 2 hours). I still get teary-eyed every time we drive back through Des Moines, thinking “ugh, we could be home by now” instead of having another 10 hours on the road. Don’t mind me, I have small pity parties from time to time. I now know that the move was a blessing in disguise because not only does my husband love his career, but I appreciate my family so much more. Don’t get me wrong, my husband and I both come from very close families, but now I count down the days to when we get to see them and cherish every moment.
I don’t normally publicize my religion because it is something I hold dear to my heart, and it’s a part of me that I would rather save for myself, my husband, and my family, but seeing my son getting baptized was one of those eye opening moments of my life. I knew I would get emotional about it (thanks new mom hormones), but as it was going on, I caught myself looking from my son to our family who traveled so far to be with us. I felt so incredibly grateful not only for having an amazing support system, but because we get to teach our son about God and introduce him to a faith that has gotten me through a lot of hard times. It’s a wonderful feeling.
That’s my small insight into my faith. Speaking of church, I’m sharing a recipe today that makes a perfect Sunday dinner. I love reminiscing about coming home from church on Sundays during my childhood and having a hearty Sunday dinner, or being at my Grandma and Grandpa’s house, eating fried chicken and mashed potatoes after church. (Sidenote: why can I still not make mashed potatoes as good as my Grandma’s?!)
You are going to love this version of chicken pot pie because 1 – it’s easy, 2 – it contains cheese, and 3 – it is topped with Red Lobster biscuits. I had no idea they sold Red Lobster biscuit mix in stores until we came across it in Costco. (Another sidenote: I feel like I can’t write a post without mentioning Costco – oops. My husband and I are the crazy people who go there every weekend, look at the same things, and have the same conversations about products. I can hear Nick now saying, “That three pack of scissors really is a great deal“.) I have also seen the mix in Target and our local grocery stores if you are having trouble locating it.
Enjoy! See below the recipe if you would like to make this without a cast iron skillet.
Cast Iron Skillet Chicken Pot Pie (with Red Lobster Biscuits)
Quickened version of chicken pot pie - in one pan! Definitely worth the effort 🙂
In cast iron skillet, melt 2 of the 4 Tbsp of butter. Add chicken pieces, sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper, and cook until no longer pink. Remove from pan and set aside.
Add chopped onion and garlic to skillet (add another Tbsp of butter if skillet too dry). Cook for 1 minute and then add frozen bag of vegetables (no need to thaw). Cook until vegetables begin to soften, stirring frequently. Add thyme, salt, and pepper.
When vegetables are soft, melt remaining 2 Tbsp of butter in the skillet with the vegetables. Sprinkle the flour over the mix and stir around.
Pour in milk, stirring constantly. Cook until thickened to the consistency of a melted milkshake then turn off the heat.
Add the chicken back in the skillet along with the 3/4 cup cheese.
Mix biscuit mix according to package directions, and drop biscuits onto the filling mixture in the skillet.
Place cast iron skillet into oven, and cook according to biscuit package directions (14-16 minutes).
Remove from oven, melt 1/4 cup butter and mix in the biscuit seasoning packet. Spoon or brush the butter-seasoning mix over the hot biscuits.
If you do not have a cast iron skillet: make the filling as instructed above in a normal skillet (steps 1-6). Transfer the filling to an oven safe casserole dish then add the biscuit topping. Cook according to biscuit directions, remove from oven, and top with butter-seasoning mix as described above.
Happy Tuesday everyone! We survived Monday, and now that it is over I can say that it wasn’t that bad after all. Before I jump into the details behind the mouth watering pictures below, I’ll give you the short and sweet version of the how and why of Midwest Mash.
Colorado newbie and Iowa native. Those are the basics. My husband got his dream job out here in Boulder so we jumped ship from West Des Moines and planted roots here in the beautiful foothills about a month ago. We also recently got married on May 21, so we have had a wild ride the past few months – wedding, honeymoon (Turks and Caicos – I highly recommend), job quitting, job getting, selling house, sleeping on air mattresses, and fitting 1700 sq ft of
crap totally necessary things into a 2 bedroom apartment. I am a physical therapist waiting semi-patiently on my lovely license to get transferred, so in the meantime I am grateful to finally be able to spend time doing things that I have neglected since graduate school such as writing and cooking. Commuting 2 hours every day for work the past two years left me with gobs of time to day dream about cooking and exercising but very little time for the actual execution unless you count doing kegels and glut squeezes in the car while reaching for a bag of Chex Mix. Bear with me while I brush off the cobwebs on the writing and cooking fronts.
Our crazy fun wedding party. Professional Wedding Photography by Creative Concepts Photography
So my husband really wanted this blog to be called “Serve on Buns” so this first post is an ode to him. Plus, who doesn’t love a juicy, cheesy, makes your house smell like a restaurant, French Dip sandwich? We are lucky enough to get our beef directly from my grandparents’ farm in Nebraska which in my opinion always wins against store bought. The only downfall is having to blindly pick a roast from a stack of white paper lumps in the freezer. The odds were in my favor today because I picked an excellent, low fat hunk of meat. I’ll be honest, all it said was “roast” on it, so I have no idea what type of roast this is, but really, any kind will do for this recipe. You can even use sirloin steak if that’s all you have on hand.
(Recipe for Hidden Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes coming soon!)
Please head over to my about me section to get to know me and I would love for you to follow along with me on this crazy journey of food, exercise (when the motivation hits), and any other project or traveling venture I decide to take you on. This is my outlet for sharing my ideas and adventures as I get acquainted with my new Colorado life, so enjoy!
French Dip (Serve on Buns)
Meaty, cheesy, onion-y goodness on a bun
Apply olive oil generously to outside of roast. Coat with your seasoning mixture (feel free to ad lib here with flavors you enjoy).
Sear roast in a skillet on all sides 30-60 seconds until a nice brown crust forms.
Place your 2 cups of hot water and the onion soup mix into the crock pot. Transfer browned roast to crock pot.
Cook on low 4-6 hours or high 2-3 hours. NOTE: check the temperature often if able - you do not want to overcook your roast. For a medium roast, take it out when at 135 deg and let it rest until 145 deg. Thinly slice the roast against the grain OR pull apart with fork.
In a skillet over medium heat, caramelize onions and mushrooms in 2 Tbsp of butter. Once finished, place a serving of meat with a serving of the vegetables and cover with a piece of cheese. When cheese is melted, transfer to your hoagie.
For an added twist I use a red pepper mayo on the sandwich. It adds a nice kick of sweetness. (see recipe above)
Your au jus should be waiting for you in the bottom of the crock pot! No additional work needed for this. Indulge and enjoy!