Archive of ‘Casseroles’ category

Thyme Chicken Pasta Bake with Mushrooms and Fennel

Pasta bake. I think it sounds a little bit more dignified than just a “casserole”. Not that there is anything wrong with a good casserole, they have just gotten a bad rap through the years. I don’t know if it’s because of the less than fresh contents inside of the casserole or just the thought of making it for one dinner and having leftovers for days. Growing up, my mom made a simple casserole we always looked forward to. It was mini pasta shells, canned tuna, a dash of cayenne pepper, and the liquid gold itself, velveeta cheese. I loved the spiciness and comfort of the dish. I also long for the days where the taste of velveeta overrides the guilt of eating something that isn’t actual cheese. Casseroles are great for the colder months but also great for families on the run. I’m all about the Make Once Get Two out of the deal meals where you make one for dinner and freeze the other. Just pop it in the oven whenever you get the hankering for a cozy but quick meal. Now, doesn’t that sound better? (more…)

Instead of opening a can of this, a container of that, and dumping it into a pan to be baked, I opted for a fresher take here. This pasta bake is inspired by one of our favorite dishes in Colonial Williamsburg. It consists of crepes stuffed with chicken and mushrooms and baked in a creamy sauce. It’s the perfect cure after a long and cold day of walking the cobblestone streets. Instead of making crepes, I substituted with pasta. I also added some licoricey (not a word, sorry!) fennel that sweetens as it cooks. Thyme makes everything a little bit better with it’s lemony yet slightly smokey flavor. It’s perfect for the cold months ahead and even more perfect with a glass of your favorite white wine!

The ingredient line up:

From Top Left to Right: Parmesan, garlic, shredded chicken (don’t get me started on my rotisserie chicken rant, it’s a life saver), milk, nutmeg, fresh thyme, breadcrumbs, onion, flour, fennel, cream, butter, and mushrooms. Somewhere in there is the pasta too. You just can’t see it. But it’s there. I didn’t forget it.

We make a rich, creamy sauce with our onions and fennel. Then, we just throw everything in. You won’t miss that canned stuff one bit!

Throw in our pasta. It doesn’t get easier. I love how the farfalle look here.

After a little oven time, the top gets brown and crunchy. Sprinkle with parsley to add a little color. I didn’t have any parsley… This is warm, comforting, and so simple to throw together. Perfect for the rainy, cold weather we will be having this weekend! Happy pasta making!

Chicken Jalapeño Enchiladas with Chipotle Cherry Sauce

My body feels like a 100 tons. My eyes could close forever. Fridays always seem to be my last push before the weekend. I’m trying to relax on our car ride home but thoughts of endless grocery lists and to do’s for the weekend race my mind. A simple question from my husband like “what’s for dinner” can simply throw me into a never ending rant of my exhaustion and how I’m too busy to worry about something so miniscule. But instead he asks if I would like to go to Mi Casita, our favorite neighborhood joint. All of a sudden, my mind switches from how many eggs I need to endless tortilla chips and salsa. My mouth starts to water at the thought of salty steak fajitas topped with fresh guac and tangy sour cream. This is all I need. Can I stay in this moment forever? Please? (more…)

It’s funny but before we moved to our new home a couple of months ago, I rarely made anything Mexican. A simple beef taco would be lucky to make it into the dinner rotation. Since we eat Mexican often now, it’s always on the brain.  Plus, Mexican dinners can easily fall under the simple and quick dinner category. This recipe could also be a freezer friendly meal: make, eat half, freeze half. What I love about this dish is that we make simple chicken enchiladas but by adding a special homemade enchilada sauce, these enchiladas are undoubtedly set apart. How many times can we say enchiladas in a sentence?

Our fiesta-esque ingredient line up:

From Top Left to Right: chipotle pepper, corn tortillas, shredded chicken, monterey jack, salt, sugar, dried oregano, garlic powder, olive oil, flour, pickled jalapeños (I’m addicted), chicken stock, dried cherries, and tomato paste. Let’s just ignore that cute little cup I left out on the right. Thanks…

We make a smoky, slightly sweet enchilada sauce with dried cherries. Feel free to experiment with raisins, figs, or I bet cranberries would be fun. I might have to dabble with enchiladas: Thanksgiving edition. Just make sure you put enough salt in this beauty.

While our sauce is simmering, we will make our filling. I want to tell you something. I used rotisserie chicken from my grocery store here. I wanted easy so I got easy. I hope you understand. Mix that chicken with our pickled jalapeños, cheese, and sauce.

All that’s left is assembling! Fill a tortilla with the chicken mixture and roll.

Place seam side down in a baking dish. Once you make one, you will feel like you could make a hundred. But I hope you don’t have to. Here is the moment where I forgot that I needed more corn tortillas and didn’t pick any up from the store. Whole wheat tortillas with flax seed it is! Just fill up your pan with the rolled enchiladas. Make sure they are nice and snug. Give ’em a kiss goodnight for good measure.

Top with the remainder sauce and cheese. Take those cuties to the oven.

When they come out, they should be cheesy and bubbling. Yes, please.

Can we be honest? It’s really hard making enchiladas look pretty for pictures. I want you to know exactly what you are getting yourself into here: cheesy, saucy, chicken enchiladas. These are so easy and even easier with the rotisserie chicken. Making your own sauce feels more personal and special. We ate these while watching the most glorious sunset. Perfect! Happy enchilada making!