Tomato-Basil Meatloaf (Freezer Friendly Recipe!)

Tomato-Basil Meatloaf (Freezer Friendly Recipe!)

I love this recipe because I can make several loaves and freeze them for the next time I need them.  This is a Pillsbury recipe that I have adapted over time when I figured out what ingredients worked best for our busy family.

I make three loaves and freeze them because ground pork comes in 1 1/2 lb packages, which makes the recipe a little challenging when it only calls for 1 lb of pork and 1 lb of ground beef.  I buy a 3 lb package of lean ground beef (bonus: it’s cheaper to purchase this way anyways!) and make three loaves, freeze them, then they’re ready for later!  If you do freeze these, the best way I’ve found to freeze them is to wrap the loaf in saran wrap, then wrap in foil, then place in a sealed Ziploc freezer bag.

If you’re not a fan of ground pork, 2 lbs of ground beef works or you can even just use 1 lb of beef and halve the entire recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes with Italian herbs (or use regular diced tomatoes and substitute your own herbs
  • 1 lb lean (at least 80%) ground beef
  • 1 lb lean ground pork
  • 1/3 cup marinara sauce
  • 1/3 cup Italian style bread crumbs
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (2 oz)
  • 2 plum (Roma) tomatoes, chopped (optional)
  • shredded fresh basil leaves (optional)

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 375°F. Line 15x10x1-inch pan with foil. Place broiler pan rack or metal cooling rack in pan.  For this part I usually just use a broiler pan to let any drippings go to the bottom of the pan.
  2. Place diced tomatoes in blender or food processor. Cover; blend on high speed about 5 seconds or until tomatoes are still slightly chunky. In large bowl, mix beef and pork. Stir in tomatoes, marinara sauce, bread crumbs, egg, salt and pepper just until combined. Shape mixture into 9×5-inch loaf. Place loaf on rack in pan.
  3. Bake 1 hour. Top with cheese. Bake 15 minutes longer or until no longer pink in center and meat thermometer inserted in center of loaf reads 160°F. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with plum tomatoes and basil (optional).
Banana Bread

Banana Bread

My mom makes THE BEST banana bread… hands down!  Here’s her recipe in case any of you have bananas that have gone bad like we did today.  I feel so wasteful throwing any kind of food away at this point.  It’s almost as precious as toilet paper at this point.  Well, nothing is that precious…

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup mashed bananas (usually about three bananas)
  • 3/4 cup chopped nuts or chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Cream together the eggs, applesauce, and sugar and beat well.
  3. Add flour, salt, nutmeg, baking powder, and soda which have been sifted together.  Stir well.
  4. Add the crushed bananas and nuts and stir in well.
  5. Add the batter to a greased loaf pan and sprinkle with flour.  Bake for 1 hour.
Easy Biscuits and Sausage Gravy

Easy Biscuits and Sausage Gravy

I almost wish I had never attempted to make sausage gravy. Now that I know how easy it is to make I will want it all the time… goodbye, swimsuit season. I’ll be eating my sausage gravy!

As for the biscuits… I didn’t even attempt those this time. Someday I’ll venture out to the land of homemade biscuits, but for now, biscuits in a can will have to do!

Ingredients

  • 1 lb sausage (I like Jimmy Dean country sausage but any kind will do!)
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • Directions

    1. Brown the sausage in a large skillet over medium-high until thoroughly cooked (approximately 10-12 minutes). Remove sausage from pan and reserve sausage drippings (approximately 4 Tbsp).
      Add flour to skillet. If less than 4 Tbsp of drippings were reserved from browning the sausage, adjust the amount of flour accordingly. Continually stir the drippings and flour about 2 minutes.
      Add milk to the flour and drippings mixture. Adjust the amount of milk according to the amount of flour added. Allow to cook and bubble while stirring for approximately 5 minutes. If the gravy becomes too thick, add more milk. The consistency should be fairly thin as the addition of the sausage will thicken the gravy significantly.
      Add sausage to the gravy and stir to heat thoroughly. Add more milk if the mixture becomes too thick or cook additionally if the mixture is too thin.
      Serve over biscuits.

    Easy Chicken Quesadillas and Sauce

    Easy Chicken Quesadillas and Sauce

     

    I honestly don’t know anyone that doesn’t like quesadillas, so this one is always a winner. I was searching for a good Taco Bell quesadilla sauce recipe (fancy…) and the one I came up with definitely doesn’t taste like theirs, but… I actually like it better, so I’ll call it a win! I altered a sauce recipe I found from Food.com, so check out their original if you’re interested!

    I baked chicken for the quesadillas and used a homemade taco seasoning sauce recipe I found from allrecipes.com because I didn’t want to bust open a whole pack of seasoning just for a small amount of baked chicken. Use your own seasoning or prepackaged-either way, they turn out great!

    Ingredients

    Taco Seasoning

    • 1 Tbsp chili powder
    • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
    • 1/4 tsp onion powder
    • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
    • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
    • 1/2 tsp paprika
    • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
    • 1 tsp sea salt
    • 1 tsp black pepper

    Sauce

    • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
    • Dash of chili powder
    • 3/4 tsp sugar
    • 1/2 tsp cumin
    • 1/2 tsp paprika
    • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
    • 1/8 tsp Gaelic powder
    • Dash of salt

    Quesadilla

    • Chopped backed chicken (or any other meat or protein if you’d like!)
    • Taco size flour tortillas
    • Shredded quesadilla cheese
    • Shredded mild cheddar cheese
    • Vegetables (optional)
    • Salsa for serving (optional)
    • Sour cream for serving (optional)

    Directions

    1. Prepare the sauce by mixing all ingredients and storing in the refrigerator until serving.
    2. Fully cook all meat or protein.
    3. Preheat a large skillet on medium heat and spray with cooking spray.
    4. Sprinkle quesadilla cheese on one half of a tortilla.  Add chicken, then sprinkle mild cheddar cheese on top of the chicken.  Fold the tortilla over the cheese and chicken.
    5. Add the quesadilla to the pan and brown one side of the quesadilla.  Flip the quesadilla over and brown the other side.
    6. Enjoy with quesadilla sauce, salsa, or sour cream.
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    Easy Crockpot Chicken Noodle Soup

    Easy Crockpot Chicken Noodle Soup

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    I’ve made this a few times this winter since the cold and flu season hit us HARD this year.  I figure it might be a good comfort food for everyone right now, so here’s my adjusted recipe from Family Fresh Meals.

    Ingredients

    • 1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts (I use frozen since it’s usually what I have on hand)
    • 2 cups carrots peeled and chopped
    • 1 medium yellow onion diced (I use frozen chopped onion-no smelly chopping!)
    • 3 stalks celery chopped
    • 3-4 cloves garlic minced
    • 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
    • 1 bay leaves
    • 7 cups chicken broth
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
    • 2 cups (or more… we love noodles… I use more!) wide egg noodles, cooked per package directions
    • 3 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (optional)

    Directions

    1. In a 6 quart crockpot add in whole chicken breasts, carrots, onion, celery, garlic, olive oil, thyme and bay leaf.
    2. Next, add in chicken broth and season with salt and pepper to taste.
    3. Cover and cook on low heat 6 – 7 hours or high heat for 3 1/2 hours.
    4. Cook egg noodles per package directions.  I usually cook an entire package of noodles and save the remaining noodles for another dish the next night.  Two meals out of one?  Yes, please!
    5. Remove cooked chicken breasts and cut into bite sized pieces. Place chicken back in to the crockpot and add in egg noodles and parsley.
    6. Enjoy!
    Cream Cheese & Spinach Baked Chicken

    Cream Cheese & Spinach Baked Chicken

    Chicken-Casserole-recipe
    Photo Credit: eatwell 101

    This is one of those recipes that I was hesitant to try, but it will now be a staple in our house.  Its simple ingredients are usually in our fridge and they’re easy enough to put together quickly.  I adapted this recipe that I came across from eatwell 101.  Check out the original recipe here!

     

     

     

    Ingredients

    • 2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut horizontally
    • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
    • 2 cup spinach, rinsed
    • 4 oz shredded Mozzarella cheese (or more if you love cheese as much as we do!)

    The marinade:

    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

    Directions

    1. Add olive oil, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, and black pepper into a Ziplok bag. Seal the bag and shake until mixed. Add the chicken breasts, seal, and massage so the chicken breasts are covered in the marinade, set aside for 10-15 minutes while you prep the remaining ingredients. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400ºF.
    2. Rinse the spinach and place in a microwave safe bowl.  Wilt the spinach by microwaving the damp spinach until spinach is a dark color and wilted, set aside.
    3. Arrange chicken breasts drained from the marinade in a baking dish. Spread the softened cream cheese over the chicken breasts and lay spinach on top of the cream cheese. Finally, sprinkle mozzarella over the top.
    4. Bake the chicken for 20-30 minutes. The chicken spinach is done when cooked through to an internal temperature of 165˚F (75°C).

    I serve this chicken with quinoa or rice.  Make this on a busy weeknight-I hope you enjoy it!

    Crock Pot Corned Beef and Cabbage

    Crock Pot Corned Beef and Cabbage

    St. Patrick’s Day is coming, so it’s time for a great corned beef recipe.  This one is so easy it’s insane.  Seriously.  It is full of flavor, you have all of the sides in the same slow cooker (potatoes, carrots, onion, and cabbage), and it’s a must have for St. Patrick’s Day.  I adapted my recipe from a recipe from foodiecrush.com.  Check out the original here!  There is even an Instant Pot option included at foodiecrush.com.  I tend to fill my Crock Pot to the brim, so I’m not even attempting the Instant Pot option, but if you’re cooking a smaller amount, it might be worth a shot!

    Ingredients

    • 3 carrots peeled and cut into 3-inch pieces
    • 1 yellow onion peeled and quartered
    • 1/2 pound small potatoes halved
    • 1 corned beef brisket about 3 pounds, plus pickling spice packet or 1 tablespoon pickling spice
    • 16 oz beef broth
    • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
    • 1/2 head Savoy cabbage cut into 1 1/2-inch wedges
    • 1/2 cup sour cream
    • 3-4 tablespoons prepared horseradish to taste

    Directions

    1. In a 5-to-6-quart slow cooker, place the carrots, onion and potatoes. Place corned beef, fat side up, on top of the vegetables and sprinkle with pickling spice. Pour the beef broth over the vegetables and brisket. Sprinkle with the sprigs of fresh thyme. Cover and cook on high until corned beef is tender, 5-6 hours, or 10-12 hours on low.
    2. Arrange cabbage over corned beef, cover, and continue cooking until cabbage is tender, 45 min to 1 hour (or 1 1/2 to 2 hours on low). Thinly slice the corned beef against the grain and serve with the vegetables and cooking liquid with the horseradish sauce.

    Corned beef is something I only tend to cook in March since that’s when it’s available in most stores, so I always forget what cut is the best to use in the slow cooker.  The Point Cut tends to be fattier, more full of flavor, and juicier to cook while the Flat Cut is a leaner cut of beef.  Head on over to foodiecrush.com For a better description of how to choose the best cut for your taste and how to prepare the corned beef before cooking in the slow cooker or Instant Pot.

    Happy St. Patrick’s Day!