Category Archives: Main Dish

Tex Mex Spaghetti Squash

Super yummy and easy Tex Mex Spaghetti Squash! My FAVORITE spaghetti squash recipe - must make while it's squash season. (Can be vegetarian too!!!)

Last month, during our Whole30 I cooked spaghetti squash for my first time. We’ve since made it on several different occasions with the recipes having varying levels of success.

Let me tell you, this recipe for Tex Mex Spaghetti Squash is my favorite! Black beans, cumin, paprika. So many tasty flavors combined together and when you add melted cheese it’s only going to get better. Even my 17 months old who never eats ate this up!

This dish can easily be vegetarian or have chicken added in (or add the meat to just half of it). Either way, it’s good! (My husband would tell you with meat is always better.)

You also have the option of using the spaghetti squash shell as your serving dish or putting it in a baking dish. One less dish to do is always nice. :-)

Super yummy and easy Tex Mex Spaghetti Squash! My FAVORITE spaghetti squash recipe - must make while it's squash season. (Can be vegetarian too!!!)

If you are like me and are looking for a good first recipe to introduce spaghetti squash to your family or if you are a spaghetti squash veteran and wanting to try something new, this recipe needs to be on your menu. Tex Mex Spaghetti Squash is going to be my new standby during squash season.

4.8 from 5 reviews
Tex Mex Spaghetti Squash
Serves: 4-6
 
Ingredients
  • 1 large spaghetti squash
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1½ cups black beans
  • 1½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1½ teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, deseeded and minced
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 2 cups diced cooked chicken - optional
  • 1-2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • Oil
Instructions
Spaghetti Squash
  1. Carefully cut spaghetti squash in half. Scrape out the seeds and stringy insides. Lightly drizzle with olive oil and then sprinkle with salt. Place cut side down on a pan lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool until you can handle it. Turn squash over and use a fork to scrape across the squash short ways to make the spaghetti.
Everything Else
  1. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Drizzle with olive oil or coconut oil.
  2. Add onions and jalapeno and saute a few minutes. Add garlic, bell pepper, salt, cumin, paprika, and chili powder. Saute around 5 more minutes.
  3. Add corn and black beans (and chicken if using) and saute until heated through.
  4. Add spaghetti squash strands to skillet and carefully stir and toss everything together. Adjust salt and seasonings if needed.
  5. Transfer mixture into both halves of the squash or into an 8x11 glass baking dish.
  6. Sprinkle with cheese.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

 

Super yummy and easy Tex Mex Spaghetti Squash! My FAVORITE spaghetti squash recipe - must make while it's squash season. (Can be vegetarian too!!!)

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Baked Tostada Shells

Lately, one of the go to lunches for my daughter and even an easy supper for the entire family are these bean tostadas. I love that they come together in no time and it’s easy to always have the ingredients on hand for them.

Baked Tostada Shells. The easiest thing in the world! Avoid yucky oils and other ingredients by baking them!

In the bean tostada post I shared that I like to bake corn tortillas to make my own crispy tostada shells. When I was first shopping for tostada shells one of the first things I noticed was that many brands had yellow dye added to the shells where as corn tortillas didn’t. Artificial colors are pretty high up on the list of things we try and avoid in our home. Baking them myself I knew I’d stay away from the coloring and also the unhealthy oils they were fried in.

Baking tostada shells is so easy! I like to fill my oven up and use the leftovers over the next few weeks. The only thing you need is a big package of corn tortillas. Another tip – if you like these, I recommend buying the big package of tortillas (I get the 50 pack instead of 20) and keeping what you don’t bake in the refrigerator. I can tell you from experience, they last forever! I’ve had a bag in the fridge several months. Sure, they get a little drier and break a little easier as time passes but if I’m just planning on baking them in the oven instead of rolling them into enchiladas that’s okay with me.

If you are short on time, I’m sure you could turn the oven temperature up. You’d just have to keep a close eye on them. If I did that, I’m sure I’d end up burning at least some of them, so low and slow works best.

3.0 from 2 reviews
Baked Tostada Shells
 
Ingredients
  • Corn Tortillas
Instructions
  1. Two Methods:
Method One
  1. Spread tortillas out across the oven rack in the center of the oven.
  2. Bake at 200 degrees for an hour and 15 minutes or until completely crispy. Flip the tortillas over every 15 minutes the first 45 minutes. It will help keep the tortillas from curling quite so much.
  3. Cool and store in a zipped storage bag.
Method Two
  1. If you don't want to put your tortillas directly on your oven rack place them on a baking sheet.
  2. Bake at 200 degrees for 2 hours or until completely crispy. Flip tortillas after an hour.
  3. Cool and store in a zipped storage bag.

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Bean Tostadas

Today I have a guest post to share with you that I wrote from The Best Blog Recipes. If you are looking for something super easy your kids will love that you can dress up a little for the adults, this is it!

Bean Tostadas. Super simple meal your kids will eat up. I love that it can be dressed up for the adults.

I spent 5 years working as a server at a Mexican restaurant in our town. The kid’s menu was filled with things like corn dogs, mac and cheese, burgers, and chicken fingers. Then there was the taco meal and Mexican pizza. I always thought the name Mexican pizza was a complete misnomer and if any poor child ordered it for the first time they’d be sorely disappointed. It was a crispy corn tortilla topped with taco meat and melted cheese served with beans and rice. Not a very traditional pizza.

This recipe is basically that “Mexican Pizza”. It’s a super easy and quick lunch or supper that kids love! My daughter inhales this when I make it. If I already have beans and tortillas cooked, it is done in under 10 minutes. Can’t beat that on a rushed day.

You can make this as easy or complicated as you’d like. Use canned or dehydrated refried beans or cook up your own. I like to cook up my own beans in bulk and freeze in meal size portions. Buy tostada shells or what I do is bake corn tortillas directly on the oven rack at 200 degrees until they are crispy. Serve simply topped with cheese or set out an array of toppings that everyone can add after the tostadas come out of the oven. Things such as: green onions, sliced olives, sour cream, homemade salsa, guacamole, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, cilantro. My daughter loves hers with just the beans and cheese. I’m okay with that (plus, it’s less messy for her to eat)!

Head over to The Best Blog Recipes for the complete post and recipe!

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Creamy Mac and Cheese

Creamy Mac and Cheese! Tasty and yummy and on the table in under 30 minutes!

Today I have another guest post up on The Best Blog Recipes! We were gone all day and I needed something fast to put on the table for supper and an added bonuses was that my daughter had leftovers to eat for lunch all week.

Imagine with me for a moment. You are gone all day running errands in a nearby city. Not only are you gone all day but you also run into car trouble and your trip is extended by several hours. You arrive home after 7 and no one has eaten since lunch. The kids are tired and hungry and you really don’t want to do anything. What options are there? Buying take out. Frozen food from the grocery store. Eating out. Looking in the pantry and finding something quick and easy. This was a scenario that recently played out in our home. I didn’t want to spend any more money than we already had that day and wanted to feed my family something quick and healthy.

I opened the pantry and saw noodles and knew I had milk in the refrigerator. Macaroni and cheese it would be. I seriously had this ready to eat in under 30 minutes. The secret is to make the most of your time in the kitchen. Noodles will take the longest so the first thing you are going to want to do is to start the water to boil. Once you’ve done that move on to quickly chopping some onions and garlic and getting them sautéing. By the time the noodles are cooked, your cheesy sauce will be ready and you can mix them together. Steam some broccoli while you are already at the stove or cut up some raw vegetables and you can have a rounded meal on the table in no time. Our supper was done in the same amount of time it would have taken to go to the store and cook frozen pizza or pick up take out from the restaurant down the road.

Head over to The Best Blog Recipes to see the recipe!

I’d love to know what your favorite meals are you can have on the table in under 30 minutes!

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Spicy Indian Chicken Sandwich

One of my sisters is married to a man from India. She cooks some killer Indian food. This recipe is one of hers and it is good. The Spicy Indian Chicken Sandwich is a fun change from a regular grilled or pan cooked chicken sandwich and has a nice kick. Adjust the spice depending on your family’s heat tolerance. My family can’t take things near are spicy as my sister and those she cooks for. On top of the heat in this chicken, she recommends topping the sandwich with sliced raw jalapeno. There is no way my mouth could handle that, but if you like fire, go for it!
Spicy Indian Chicken Sandwich. This is so tasty and a fun and flavorful twist. Can serve in a bun or in naan.

You can thinly slice the chicken breast and cook on the grill or cut into bite sized piece and cook over the stove. Top with lettuce, tomatoes, and thinly sliced red onion. Serve on a bun or in a piece of naan as a tasty wrap.

This will serve 6-8 depending on how large your chicken breasts are.

Spicy Indian Chicken Sandwich. This is so tasty and a fun and flavorful twist. Can serve in a bun or in naan.

Spicy Indian Chicken Sandwich
Serves: 6-8
 
Ingredients
  • 3 chicken breasts (thinly sliced or cut into chunks)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • freshly cracked pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1-3 teaspoons of sambal oelek (these last two are the ingredients you'll want to adjust for how spicy you like)
Sandwich
  • Bread, Buns, or Naan
  • Lettuce
  • Tomatoes
  • Red Onion
  • Cheese
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients except for chicken.
  2. Rub spice mixture over chicken and let marinate at least four hours and preferably overnight.
  3. Cook the thinly sliced pieces of chicken on a low grill being careful not to overcook or saute the chunks in a small amount of oil on the stove.
  4. Build your sandwich or wrap with your choice of bread and toppings.

 

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Homemade Pizza Sauce

Hopefully you aren’t tired of all the pizza talk yet. (My husband would say there is no such thing as too much pizza.) I promise we are almost done. I shared my tips for making pizza on a budget and my recipe for crust and tips for making the perfect pizza already. Today, I’m going to give you my sauce recipe.

Easy and Delicious Homemade Pizza Sauce. You can whip this up in seconds and it freezes great!

Let me tell you a secret. Pizza sauce is one of the easiest things to make and can be done in seconds. There is no need to purchase jarred sauce if you have basic spices in your pantry. I use tomato sauce. If you are out, tomato puree or another tomato based product would work.

Pizza sauce is one of those things I never measure ingredients on. I add a shake of this and a shake of that. The past few times I’ve made it, I’ve pulled out the measuring spoons to get this recipe. Feel free to switch it up and taste and adjust at the end. Sometimes I’ll add thyme and in the summer when I have fresh herbs I love to add them instead of dried ones.

4.7 from 3 reviews
Homemade Pizza Sauce
 
Ingredients
  • 16 ounces tomato sauce
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon marjoram
  • pinch of rosemary
  • pinch of fennel seeds, optional
  • small pinch of red pepper flakes
  • freshly cracked pepper
Instructions
  1. Combine everything in a small saucepan and gently heat on low to let the flavors combine.
  2. I use approximately ½ cup per pizza. This recipe makes enough for three pizzas.
  3. Freeze in pizza size portions if you aren't going to use it all.

 

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Homemade Pizza Crust

Almost every Friday night, you’ll find an oven blazing with a round baking stone heating up inside. Homemade pizzas were made weekly when I was growing up and we’ve continued the tradition.

Last week I shared some ways to make homemade pizza frugally so that even if you are on a budget you’ll still be able to enjoy pizza night and my sauce recipe is here. Today I have my crust recipe and baking instructions for you!

Homemade Pizza Crust | We love this recipe and there are my top tips for a great homemade pizza!

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My number one tip for a successful homemade pizza: A baking stone! We have a 15 inch round stone from Pampered Chef. It has become well seasoned over the years and is well worth the investment. 

My second tip: Don’t roll all of the air bubbles out of the dough. I use a combination of stretching, tossing, and rolling. I like to use my mini pizza and pastry roller (one similar to this).

My third tip: Preheat the oven and the stone. Give it longer than when your oven says it’s ready. You want the stone good and hot.

My fourth tip: Use a high temperature. I turn the oven to 475 degrees.

I know crust thickness is somewhat a personal preference. This crust recipe fits a 15 inch stone. If you like super thin and crispy, cut the flour back to 2 cups. If you like your crust thicker, increase it to 2 3/4 cups. Don’t forget, this means the water amounts will change as well. Gradually add the water to the flour until you come up with the right dough consistency. The first time you make this, it will be a little bit of a guessing game. Simply tweak it the next time to your family’s preference.

I prefer to let this dough rise for several hours but when I’ve been in a rush I’ve made and used it after a short 15-30 minute resting period and it was still good.

We’ve also used part whole wheat flour and all whole wheat flour. This will change the texture slightly and you’ll end up using more water.

Homemade Pizza Crust
 
Ingredients
  • 2½ cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¾ cup warm water
  • 1 tablespoon yeast
Instructions
Dough
  1. Place flour in mixer bowl.
  2. Top with salt, sugar, and yeast.
  3. Add water and oil. Should make a soft dough that isn't sticky at all.
  4. Knead until dough is smooth and elastic.
  5. Cover mixing bowl and let dough rise until at least doubled - a couple of hours. It's okay if it goes longer.
Preheat
  1. Thirty to sixty minutes before you are going to bake your pizza, preheat the oven and stone to 475 degrees.
Rolling the Dough
  1. Gently put the dough on a lightly floured surface.
  2. Next roll, stretch, and toss your dough into a 15 inch circle. When rolling, do it gently so not to deflate all of the air bubbles. I prefer to use my mini roller.
Topping
  1. Remove the stone from the oven and carefully carry and place the crust onto it.
  2. Spread with sauce of choice.
  3. Top with meats, vegetables, and cheese.
Bake
  1. Bake for 8-15 minutes.
  2. Cut and serve

 

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Butter Chicken

Butter Chicken is a favorite in our house. This is one of our go to options for company and even though most haven’t had it before, this dish is loved by everyone. Serve with naan for an extra tasty meal or simply have a salad to round out the meal.

Don’t let the list of ingredients scare you. This recipe is actually easy and comes together quickly. All of the ingredients except garam masala  are ones you already have and trust me, garam masala is worth purchasing. You’ll want to make this many times and this Indian Layer Dip also uses it.

The leftovers taste just as good so this is a meal you could prepare the night before and pull out and gently reheat on the stove while the rice is cooking on a Sunday after church.

If you enjoy Indian food, you’ll want to see next Friday’s recipe – one of my favorite breads ever (and a great option to serve along side this dish)!

Butter Chicken | This recipe is one of our favorites. Great for company too - everyone loves it

4.5 from 2 reviews
Butter Chicken
Recipe type: Main Dish
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
Sauce
  • ½ cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 T. finely minced garlic or garlic paste
  • 1 T. finely minced ginger or ginger paste
  • 2 T. butter
  • 2 T. lemon juice
  • 2 t. garam masala
  • 1½ t. cumin
  • 1 t. chili powder
  • ¼ cayenne pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1½ cups tomato puree
  • 1½ cups half and half
  • ¼ cup plain yogurt
  • 1 t. salt
  • pepper
Chicken
  • oil
  • 1½ pounds chicken cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 t. garam masala
  • ⅛ t. cayenne pepper
  • salt
  • 1 T. arrowroot powder (or cornstarch)
  • ¼ cup water
  • Cooked rice for serving
Instructions
Sauce
  1. In a large pan saute onions until tender. Add in ginger, garlic, butter, lemon juice, garam masala, cayenne, cumin, chili powder, and bay leaf.
  2. Cook until ginger and garlic are done.
  3. Add tomato puree and stir and heat through.
  4. Add in half and half and yogurt. Let simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste. Adjust other seasonings if needed.
Chicken
  1. In a skillet heat a small amount of oil and brown chicken.
  2. Add garam masala, cayenne pepper, and a little salt
  3. Add a few spoonfuls of cooked sauce and let the chicken finish cooking.
  4. Add cooked chicken to the sauce mixture.
Finish
  1. Combine and arrowroot powder and water and add to the butter chicken. Cook until the mixture thickens and is heated through.
  2. Serve over hot cooked rice.

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Hamburger Noodle Casserole

Hamburger Noodle Casserole. Freezes great and is kid friendly.

I’m excited for my first post as a contributor to The Best Blog Recipes!

My family stumbled across this simple recipe for Hamburger Noodle Casserole, using ingredients likely on hand, in a magazine years ago. It became a family favorite.

This recipe works well for freezing and as a meal to bring to another family. As a mom with little kids on a budget, I don’t have time, energy, or money to necessarily go and do a lot of things. I’m already feeding my family, though, and one way that I can minister to others is through providing supper for someone. Maybe a baby has just been born, there has been a death, or maybe it’s sickness. This would be a great meal to deliver and bless them with.

Bring it in a disposable pan and you won’t have to worry about getting your dish back. If it’s for a small family, divide it between two 8 or 9 inch square pans and bring one packaged for their freezer. Be sure to label it with contents and baking instructions. They will then be able to enjoy a meal on another stressful day. If you are making it for your family, I highly recommend you make extra for your freezer as well. Make the best use of your time in the kitchen and get two meals made at once.

My husband isn’t a lover of cream cheese or sour cream so what I do when making this recipe for our family is to cut the amount of cream cheese in half. He doesn’t even know either ingredient is in there. (Don’t tell him!)

FREEZING INSTRUCTIONS: Completely assemble the dish as the recipe states. Also, put the shredded cheese and green onions on the top before you cover with foil and freeze. Bake covered at 350 degrees for 60 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 15 minutes or until heated through.

You can also let the unbaked dish sit in the refrigerator a day or two before baking.

Head over to my post on The Best Blog Recipes for the full recipe and directions!

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Best Alfredo Sauce

This is one of the easiest meals in the world to make and it is super tasty! We had a pasta bar when we were visiting my family earlier this year and my brother-in-law declared this the best alfredo sauce he’d ever had!

The best alfredo sauce. So creamy, flavorful, and super easy! We love this recipe.

Most recipes say this amount will cover a pound of noodles. Not even close! Please make a double or triple batch if you are needing enough for that much pasta. This recipe will serve 4-6 depending on portion size, what else you are serving with the meal etc. Sliced blackened chicken would taste amazing served on top of the pasta.

Leftovers of the sauce will turn solid in the refrigerator. Slowly reheat and whisk to combine again and it will be perfect.


4.5 from 2 reviews
Best Alfredo Sauce
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
  • 2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 small clove garlic, finely minced
  • salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Place the butter and garlic in a skillet and melt butter.
  2. After butter is melted add heavy cream and whisk. The mixture will be separated, just keep whisking as it heats and the butter and cream will combine.
  3. After mixture is hot and combined, turned off heat and whisk in the cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Stir until cheese is melted.
  4. Serve immediately over your choice of noodles.
Notes
Optional - can top with a little freshly grated nutmeg.

 

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