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 😉
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.