Archive of ‘Pasta’ category

Mexican Stuffed Pasta Shells

Mexican Stuffed Pasta Shells are a delicious twist on traditional stuffed pasta. Ground beef, cheese and onion filled shells are baked in enchilada sauce, then topped with cheese, cilantro, tomatoes, and garnished with a dollop of sour cream, for a flavor-filled dinner! Mexican Stuffed Pasta Shells / The Grateful Girl Cooks! Stuffed pasta shells with a Mexican twist! Seasoned beef, cheese and onion filled shells are baked, and topped with cheese, cilantro, tomatoes, and sour cream!
Last Spring I made Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo Stuffed Shells and we really enjoyed them.  Now fast forward to about 4 months later when I started thinking about how much my husband and I absolutely LOVE Mexican food. A lightbulb went off in my head and I decided to experiment and make more stuffed shells, but this time create a recipe with a Mexican twist!  We really enjoyed them, so am sharing the details on the ol’ blog today.

These stuffed shells are really easy to prepare.  Start by cooking 1 pound of ground beef with sliced green onions in large skillet on medium heat.  Once meat is cooked, drain grease from pan (discard grease). Add one taco seasoning packet and cook according to seasoning package instructions.

Once meat has been cooked and seasoned, transfer it to a large mixing bowl and let it cool down for 4-5 minutes.  3 Tablespoons enchilada sauce and grated cheddar and jack cheeses; stir to combine. Set aside.

Mexican Stuffed Pasta Shells / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Mexican Stuffed Pasta Shells / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook jumbo pasta shells according to package directions.  When pasta is done cooking, drain, then place shells in a single layer on wax paper or parchment paper.

Mexican Stuffed Pasta Shells / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Place several heaping spoonfuls of enchilada sauce on the bottom of a baking dish (enough to just barely cover the bottom of dish). Fill the cooked pasta shells with the ground beef mixture, then place into baking dish in a single layer.

Mexican Stuffed Pasta Shells / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Mexican Stuffed Pasta Shells / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Once all shells are filled and in the baking dish, spoon the rest of the enchilada sauce over the shells to cover.  Sprinkle with the remaining half of the cheddar and jack cheeses.

Mexican Stuffed Pasta Shells / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Cover dish with aluminum foil and bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes total.  Remove the foil for the last 10 minutes of baking.  Sauce and cheese should be bubbly when done.  Remove dish from oven.

Mexican Stuffed Pasta Shells / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

To serve, top with additional cheese, tomato, cilantro and green onions, for a great splash of color (and added flavor)!

Mexican Stuffed Pasta Shells / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Mexican Stuffed Pasta Shells / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Place 2-3 shells onto each individual serving plate, and top each shell with a small dollop of sour cream. Serve… and enjoy!

Mexican Stuffed Pasta Shells / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Hope you will consider making these flavor-filled stuffed pasta shells for an upcoming meal.  I served them with a simple mixed green salad on the side, and they were quite filling.  Have a great day!

Mexican Stuffed Pasta Shells / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Mexican Stuffed Pasta Shells
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
45 mins
 
Stuffed pasta shells with a Mexican twist! Seasoned beef, cheese and onion filled shells are baked, and topped with cheese, cilantro, tomatoes, and sour cream!
Category: Entree
Servings: 6 servings
Author: JB at The Grateful Girl Cooks!
Ingredients
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 green onions (sliced, use green stalk and white bulb)
  • 1 envelope taco seasoning
  • 3 Tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese , DIVIDED
  • 1/2 cup grated jack cheese , DIVIDED
  • 1 can red enchilada sauce (19 ounces)
  • Approx. 1/2 box jumbo pasta shells (I used 18 shells)
For Garnish (use as little or as much as you desire)
  • Chopped tomato
  • Sliced green onion
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Grated cheese
  • Sour cream
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place several large spoonfuls of enchilada sauce on the bottom of a baking dish (enough to just cover the bottom). Set aside.
  2. Cook ground beef with chopped green onions in large skillet on medium heat. When meat is cooked, drain and discard grease. Add taco seasoning packet and cook according to seasoning package instructions. Once meat has finished cooking, transfer it to a bowl, and let cool down for 4-5 minutes. Discard grease from pan. Add 3 Tablespoons enchilada sauce and HALF of the grated cheddar and jack cheeses to the meat; stir to combine. Set aside.
  3. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook jumbo pasta shells according to package directions. When pasta is done cooking, drain, then place shells in a single layer on wax paper or parchment paper. Fill cooked pasta shells with the ground beef mixture, then place into baking dish (on top of sauce) in a single layer.
  4. Once all shells are filled and in baking dish, spoon the rest of the enchilada sauce over shells to cover. Sprinkle with the remaining half of the cheddar and jack cheeses.
  5. Cover dish with aluminum foil and bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes total. Remove foil for the last 10 minutes of baking. Sauce and cheese should be bubbly when done. Remove dish from oven.
  6. To serve, garnish with additional cheese, chopped tomato, chopped cilantro, and green onions, for a great splash of color and flavor! Place 2-3 shells onto each person's plate; top each shell with a small dollop of sour cream. Serve and enjoy!

Here’s one more to pin on your Pinterest boards!Mexican Stuffed Pasta Shells / The Grateful Girl Cooks! Stuffed pasta shells with a Mexican twist! Seasoned beef, cheese and onion filled shells are baked, and topped with cheese, cilantro, tomatoes, and sour cream!

 

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Easy Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese

Creamy, cheesy, satisfying and delicious are words I would use to describe this family-friendly recipe for Easy Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese! Best part? This simple, filling comfort food can be on the table in 15 minutes!Easy Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese / The Grateful Girl Cooks! Macaroni and cheese is a creamy, delicious, family-friendly comfort food - quick and easy to make on the stovetop in 15 minutes!

A friend of ours had surgery recently and I was grateful for the opportunity to take her family dinner once she returned home from the hospital.  My husband grilled some chicken and one of the side dishes I made was this easy stovetop macaroni and cheese. I really hoped her two children would enjoy this creamy, cheesy side dish!

I made a second batch for my husband and I because it tasted so GOOD (Yep… I sampled it when I made it for my friends… quality-control)!  The recipe is incredibly simple to make, and if you enjoy satisfying comfort foods, you’ll enjoy this mac and cheese. My theory is that you can never go wrong with a basic cheese sauce and pasta! Here’s how easy it is to make this simple dish in about 15 minutes!

Cook elbow macaroni (or other small shaped pasta) according to package directions.  While pasta is cooking, in a separate sauce pan, melt butter and stir in flour, salt, onion and garlic powders until well blended.

Easy Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Add milk to pan. Cook on medium-high heat, stirring (or whisking) often, until the mixture comes to a boil.  Turn heat down to low, and continue to simmer (stirring often), until the sauce has thickened. This should take about 2 minutes.

Once sauce has thickened, remove pan from heat. Immediately stir in the grated cheddar cheese and a couple dashes of hot pepper sauce (or more if you like the heat). Stir until cheese has completely melted.

Easy Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

When the pasta has finished cooking, drain, then immediately place hot pasta back into the pan you used to cook it.

Easy Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Pour hot, thickened cheese sauce over the hot drained pasta, and stir well to combine.

Easy Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Taste test…add additional salt (and pepper), if desired.  I added an extra handful of cheddar cheese at this point, as well (but that is completely optional… we are big cheese lovers!). Stir well to make sure pasta is fully coated with cheese sauce.

Easy Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

That’s all there is to it!  Serve the macaroni and cheese while it is hot… and enjoy a bowl of this creamy, satisfying comfort food! If you like mac and cheese, perhaps you would also be interested in a Pasta, Ham and Gruyere Cheese Casserole (baked), or a Cheesy Ham, Spinach and Macaroni Bake.

NOTE: The leftovers are really good, too. Store in an air-tight container in refrigerator. Before you reheat, you might need to add a tiny bit of milk and stir, to “re-vitalize” it!

Easy Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

I hope you can see how EASY it is to make this side dish OR main dish in no time at all!  If you cook the pasta at the same time you’re making the sauce, the whole “cheesy” meal can be ready in about 15 minutes… perfect for a main course, a side dish, or a quick lunch! I hope you will consider giving this recipe a try! Have a great day.

Easy Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese
Prep Time
15 mins
Total Time
15 mins
 
Macaroni and cheese is a creamy, delicious, family-friendly comfort food - quick and easy to make on the stovetop in 15 minutes!
Category: Entree
Servings: 4 -6 servings
Author: JB at The Grateful Girl Cooks!
Ingredients
  • 3 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 cups low-fat milk
  • cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • couple dashes of hot pepper sauce (approx 1/8 teaspoon)
Instructions
  1. Cook elbow macaroni (or other small shaped pasta) according to package directions.
  2. While pasta is cooking, in a separate sauce pan, melt butter; stir in flour, salt, onion and garlic powders until well blended. Add milk to pan. Cook on medium-high heat, stirring (or whisking) often, until mixture comes to a boil. Turn heat down to low; continue to simmer (stirring often), until sauce has thickened. This should take about 2 minutes. Once sauce has thickened, remove pan from heat. Immediately stir in grated cheese and a couple dashes of hot pepper sauce (or more if you like the heat). Stir until cheese has completely melted.
  3. When pasta has finished cooking, drain, then immediately place pasta back into the pan you used to cook it. Pour the hot, thickened cheese sauce over the hot drained pasta, and stir well to combine. Taste test...add additional salt, if desired. I added an extra handful of cheddar cheese at this point, as well (but that is optional. Stir well to make sure pasta is fully coated with cheese sauce. Serve the macaroni and cheese while it's hot... and enjoy!
Recipe Notes
Serving size is about a cup. If you wish to make this dish lower in calories, consider substituting fat-free skim milk and low-fat cheddar cheese for the ingredients listed.

Here’s one more to pin on your Pinterest boards!Easy Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese / The Grateful Girl Cooks! Macaroni and cheese is a creamy, delicious, family-friendly comfort food - quick and easy to make on the stovetop in 15 minutes!

Cajun Chicken Pasta

I recently celebrated a birthday, and one of the first things I did with a gift card I received was to purchase a new cookbook for my collection.  The first recipe I made from that cookbook was this delicious “lightened-up” recipe for Cajun Chicken Pasta. We LOVED it, so I want to share it with you today!Cajun Chicken Pasta / The Grateful Girl Cooks! This "lightened-up" dish is packed with veggies, chicken and great flavor!
The original version is a popular restaurant item in a famous restaurant, but in this version, it has been lightened up, and prepared as written, will be under 400 calories per 1½ cup serving!  It’s absolutely delicious!

Look at all those fresh colorful veggies that are in this dish! The best tip I can give you is to prep them before beginning!  If you have all ingredients ready to go, you can prepare the dish while the pasta cooks and it should be ready in about the same amount of time!  Also to save time… bring a large pot of salted water to a boil right at the start (for the pasta).

Cajun Chicken Pasta / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Combine milk, cream cheese and flour in a blender. Mix until well blended. Set aside.  This is a “slurry” that will be used to thicken the Cajun sauce later.

Cajun Chicken Pasta / The Grateful Girl Cooks!
Cook the pasta in the boiling water according to package directions. Drain and set aside. Prepare chicken and sauce while pasta is cooking.

Cajun Chicken Pasta / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

While pasta is cooking, prepare the chicken. Season chicken pieces with 1 teaspoon of the Cajun seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Spray a non-stick skillet with cooking spray and heat to medium-high. When hot, add chicken (may need to work in batches depending on size of skillet).

Cook chicken about 3 minutes (till golden brown on bottom), then flip and cook other side about 3 minutes.  When done, remove the chicken to a plate. Set aside.

Cajun Chicken Pasta / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Cajun Chicken Pasta / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Cajun Chicken Pasta / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Add olive oil to the skillet (same one you cooked the chicken in).  Turn heat down to medium.  Add the bell pepper and onion slices.  Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Cajun Chicken Pasta / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Once veggies are tender, add the mushrooms and tomatoes to skillet. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then add minced garlic, and cook for an additional minute, stirring often.  Add the rest of the garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper.  Stir to blend and continue cooking.

Cajun Chicken Pasta / The Grateful Girl Cooks!Cajun Chicken Pasta / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Turn heat down to medium-low.  Pour in the “slurry” ( milk/cream cheese/flour mixture) and a cup of chicken broth. Stir well, to blend. Cook for a couple minutes, stirring often, until the sauce has started to thicken.

Cajun Chicken Pasta / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Add the chicken back into the skillet.  Add 1/8 teaspoon salt and the rest of the Cajun seasoning (1/4 teaspoon).  Stir and cook until chicken has been heated through (1-2 minutes).  Once mixed, add the cooked pasta to the skillet, and gently stir and toss, to fully coat pasta and chicken with Cajun sauce.

Cajun Chicken Pasta / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Cajun Chicken Pasta / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

When heated through, it is ready to serve!  Garnish each serving of chicken and pasta with sliced green onions… and serve while hot!

Cajun Chicken Pasta / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

We absolutely loved this meal!  So much flavor!  I also highly recommend Gina Homolka’s cookbook “The Skinnytaste Cookbook” for anyone looking to cut some calories out of their meals! It is a wonderful cookbook with some delicious recipes!

Have a great day.  Be kind out there, people!  It’s such a small thing… but your kindness really can have a huge impact on others!

Cajun Chicken Pasta / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Recipe Source:  The Skinnytaste Cookbook” by Gina Homolka, Published 2014, Clarkson Potter/Publishers, pages 187-187.

Cajun Chicken Pasta
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 
Category: Chicken
Servings: 5 servings
Author: JB at The Grateful Girl Cooks!
Ingredients
  • 1/3 cup fat-free milk
  • 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour (Gluten-free, use sweet rice flour)
  • 3 Tablespoons light cream cheese
  • 8 ounces penne pasta or linguine (Gluten-free, use brown rice pasta-check label)
  • Salt
  • 1 pound boneless , skinless chicken breast, sliced into thin strips
  • teaspoons Cajun seasoning (divided)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder (divided)
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium red bell pepper , seeds removed, cut in thin slices
  • 1 medium yellow bell pepper , seeds removed, cut in thin slices
  • 1/2 medium red onion , thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves , minced
  • 8 ounces button mushrooms , sliced
  • 2 medium tomatoes , chopped
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 medium scallions (green onions), chopped
Instructions
  1. First... prep veggies, gather ingredients, and heat large pot of salted water to boiling.
  2. Combine milk, cream cheese and flour in a blender. Mix until well blended. Set aside.
  3. Cook pasta in boiling water according to package directions. Drain; set aside. Prepare chicken/sauce while pasta cooks.
  4. Season chicken pieces with 1 tsp.Cajun seasoning, 1/2 tsp. garlic powder, and 1/4 tsp. salt. Spray a non-stick skillet with cooking spray; heat to medium-high. When hot, add chicken. Cook chicken about 3 minutes (till golden brown on bottom), turn, cook other side about 3 minutes. When done, remove chicken to a plate. Set aside.
  5. Add olive oil to skillet. Turn heat down to medium. Add bell pepper and onion. Cook about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once veggies are tender, add mushrooms and tomatoes. Cook 2-3 minutes, then add minced garlic, and cook for an additional minute, stirring often. Add the rest of the garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper. Stir to blend.
  6. Turn heat down to medium-low. Pour in the "slurry" (milk/cream cheese/flour mixture) and a cup of chicken broth. Stir well. Cook for a couple minutes, stirring, until sauce has started to thicken.
  7. Add chicken back into skillet. Add 1/8 teaspoon salt and the rest of the Cajun seasoning (1/4 tsp). Stir and cook until chicken is heated through (1-2 minutes). Once mixed, add cooked pasta to skillet, and gently toss, to coat pasta and chicken with sauce. When heated through, it's ready! Garnish each serving with sliced green onions... and serve hot!

Here’s one more to pin to your Pinterest boards!Cajun Chicken Pasta / The Grateful Girl Cooks! This "lightened-up" dish is packed with veggies, chicken and great flavor!

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Fresh Tomato, Bacon and Onion Fettucine

A few days ago our oldest son popped in for a visit, and ended up staying to have dinner with us. I made this yummy, quick recipe for Fresh Tomato, Bacon and Onion Fettucine, and we enjoyed it very much!Fresh Tomato, Bacon and Onion Fettucine / The Grateful Girl Cooks!
The recipe is one I’ve had for years and years, but do not know the original source, since only the recipe was written down on a little 3×5 card.  I’ve made a few changes to the recipe over the years to suit my taste buds, and let me tell you… it is good!

The basic recipe is actually quite simple… cook bacon, cook pasta, cook a few simple fresh ingredients, combine and serve in about 20 minutes! It tastes wonderful, too!  Here’s how you make this dish:

In a skillet, cook bacon pieces until crisp. Transfer bacon pieces to paper towel to absorb grease.. Drain bacon drippings, BUT LEAVE 1 TABLESPOON BACON DRIPPINGS IN SKILLET (sorry for the slightly blurry photo). **Tip: While bacon is cooking, bring water for pasta to boiling, then cook in separate pot**.

Fresh Tomato, Bacon and Onion Fettucine / The Grateful Girl Cooks!
Add chopped onion, tomato, basil and crispy cooked bacon pieces to reserved Tablespoon of bacon drippings in skillet. The photo below is before I added the cooked bacon. (I used a variety of colored tomatoes, but any fresh tomatoes will be perfectly fine!). Cook 3-4 minutes until onion is tender, and tomatoes have begun to break down. Add minced garlic and a couple Tablespoons of starchy water from the pasta that is cooking. Stir well, to combine. Cook, stirring occasionally, until heated completely through on medium heat.

Fresh Tomato, Bacon and Onion Fettucine / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Fresh Tomato, Bacon and Onion Fettucine / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Heat lightly salted water in large pot for pasta. When boiling, add pasta, and cook according to package directions. (Note:  I did this while cooking the bacon and sauce to save time).  I made the fettucine from scratch with my little pasta machine earlier in the day just for fun!  Isn’t it beautiful?  I used it in this meal (because I find it relaxing to make homemade pasta), but absolutely recommend using store bought pasta for the easiest way to make this dish!

Fresh Tomato, Bacon and Onion Fettucine / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Fresh Tomato, Bacon and Onion Fettucine / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

When pasta is finished cooking, drain and add pasta to skillet with the sauce. Gently toss with tongs, to thoroughly coat the pasta with sauce. Cook until heated through, adding an additional touch of water if necessary to thin the sauce to cover.

Fresh Tomato, Bacon and Onion Fettucine / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Fresh Tomato, Bacon and Onion Fettucine / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Place pasta and sauce onto serving dishes, then garnish with grated Parmesan cheese and a sprinkle of dried or fresh parsley. Serve, and enjoy!

Fresh Tomato, Bacon and Onion Fettucine / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Fresh Tomato, Bacon and Onion Fettucine / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

We really enjoyed this pasta dish with a simple mixed green salad on the side.  The recipe, as written, makes 3 main course servings or 4-5 small side servings.

As I write this blog today, my heart is broken over the Hurricane Harvey destruction and horrific flooding occurring in Texas and Louisiana this week. We are continuing to pray for our fellow citizens impacted by this event, and are hopeful God will meet their needs physically, emotionally and spiritually during and after this tragedy. He is “a very present help in times of trouble”.

Have a good day, friends. May you know God’s unconditional love, no matter what you are going through!

Fresh Tomato, Bacon and Onion Fettucine / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Original Recipe Source: unknown (recipe handwritten on a 3×5 card many years ago)

Fresh Tomato, Bacon and Onion Fettucine
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
20 mins
 
Category: Main Course
Servings: 3 main or 4 side
Author: JB at The Grateful Girl Cooks!
Ingredients
  • 6 ounces fettucine noodles
  • 3 slices raw bacon , cut into 1/2 inch slices
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped tomato
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil (or 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil)
  • 2-3 Tablespoons starchy pasta water
  • Grated Parmesan cheese (for garnish)
  • Dried parsley (for garnish)
Instructions
  1. Heat lightly salted water in large pot. When boiling, add pasta, and cook according to package directions. (I did this at same time I was cooking bacon and sauce).
  2. In a skillet, cook bacon pieces until crisp. Transfer bacon pieces to paper towel to absorb grease. Drain grease from skillet, BUT LEAVE 1 TABLESPOON BACON GREASE IN SKILLET.
  3. Add chopped onion, tomato, basil and bacon pieces to bacon drippings in skillet. Cook 3-4 minutes until onion is tender, and tomatoes have begun to break down. Add minced garlic and a couple Tablespoons of water from the pasta that is cooking. Stir well, to combine. Cook, stirring occasionally, until heated completely through on medium heat.
  4. When pasta is finished cooking, drain and add pasta to skillet with the sauce. Gently toss to coat the pasta with the sauce. Heat until hot throughout. Place pasta and sauce onto serving plates, and garnish with grated Parmesan cheese and a sprinkle of dried parsley. Serve, and enjoy!

Here’s one more to pin on your Pinterest boards!Fresh Tomato, Bacon and Onion Fettucine / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

 

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Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo Stuffed Shells

If you like chicken and broccoli, you will LOVE these Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo Stuffed Shells! Such a “comfort food” dish… with cheesy Alfredo sauce coating the chicken and broccoli inside jumbo sized pasta shells! Yum!Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo Stuffed Shells / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

There are so many ways to enjoy stuffed pasta shells, and this recipe caught my attention.  How can you go wrong with pasta, chicken, broccoli, AND cheesy Alfredo sauce?  We really enjoyed this fairly simple to prepare dinner.   We also enjoyed finishing off the leftovers the next day!  Here’s how to make these delicious stuffed shells:

Prepare the jumbo pasta shells by cooking according to the package directions. Cook until the pasta is al dente, then drain and place pasta shells on a large baking sheet to cool, separating them so they don’t stick together while cooling. Set aside.

Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo Stuffed Shells / The Grateful Girl Cooks!
While pasta is cooking/cooling, prepare the Alfredo sauce by combining butter, garlic, heavy whipping cream and milk in a pan on medium heat. Stir together ingredients and bring them to a low simmer (do NOT boil).  Place the egg yolks in a small bowl, beat until blended, then temper the eggs (this slowly raises the temperature of the egg yolks to prevent them from scrambling when they hit the simmering hot Alfredo sauce). To temper the eggs, add a spoonful of the hot Alfredo sauce to the egg yolks, whisking the mixture as you add. Repeat the process with several more spoonfuls, one at a time, whisking each spoonful into the eggs. Once you have done this, slowly drizzle the egg yolk mixture into the Alfredo sauce, whisking as you add.  Stir mixture well to combine, then remove pan from the heat.

Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo Stuffed Shells / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

After pan has been removed from heat, stir in 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese and the Parmesan cheese. Stir to combine.  Season to taste, with salt and black pepper. Set aside.

Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo Stuffed Shells / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

In a large mixing bowl, combine shredded/chopped chicken, chopped steamed broccoli and 1/2 cup of the Alfredo sauce. Stir to combine.

Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo Stuffed Shells / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

To assemble: Place a couple spoonfuls of Alfredo sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 cake pan.  Place a large spoonful of the chicken/broccoli mixture into each pasta shell.  Place filled shells on top of sauce in pan.  Divide remaining sauce over the tops of the pasta shells, then sprinkle with the rest of the mozzarella cheese (1/2 cup).

Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo Stuffed Shells / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Bake, uncovered in a preheated 350 degree oven for 25 minutes. When done, the cheese sauce will be bubbling up around the shells, and cheese will be melted on top of shells. Remove pan to a wire rack, and let pasta shells cool for a minute before serving.

Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo Stuffed Shells / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Place pasta shells onto individual serving plates and spoon some of the remaining Alfredo sauce over the top.  Sprinkle with dried parsley flakes, if desired… and enjoy this delicious meal!

Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo Stuffed Shells / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

I hope you enjoy trying this stuffed shell recipe. My husband and I really appreciated the leftovers, as well (just as good the second time around).  Have a wonderful day, and strive to be kind. It’s so simple to do… and can really encourage or make an impact on someone who might be hurting.  May God bless you.

Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo Stuffed Shells / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Recipe Adapted From: http://tastesbetterfromscratch.com/chicken-broccoli-alfredo-stuffed-shells/

Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo Stuffed Shells
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
40 mins
 
Chicken and broccoli bake inside jumbo pasta shells atop a delicious creamy Alfredo sauce.
Category: Entree
Servings: 4 servings
Author: JB at The Grateful Girl Cooks!
Ingredients
  • 1 (12 ounce) box of jumbo pasta shells
  • 3 cups cooked chicken , chopped (rotisserie chicken works well)
  • cups chopped/steamed broccoli
For Alfredo Sauce:
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 3 cloves garlic , minced
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • cup whole milk
  • 2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Mozzarella cheese
  • 2 large egg yolks , beaten
  • Salt and black pepper , to taste
Garnish:
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Mozzarella Cheese
  • Dried parsley flakes
Instructions
  1. Prepare pasta shells according to package directions until pasta is al dente; drain and place pasta shells on baking sheet to cool, separating them so they don't stick together.
  2. While pasta is cooling, prepare Alfredo sauce by combining butter, garlic, heavy whipping cream and milk in a pan set on medium heat. Stir ingredients and bring them to a low simmer (do NOT boil). Place egg yolks in a bowl, beat until blended, then temper the eggs (this slowly raises the temp. of the egg yolks to prevent them from scrambling when they hit the simmering Alfredo sauce). To temper eggs, add a spoonful of the hot Alfredo sauce to the egg yolks, whisking as you add. Repeat process with 3-4 more spoonfuls, one at a time, whisking while adding. Slowly drizzle egg yolk mixture into the Alfredo sauce, whisking as you add. Whisk mixture well; remove pan from heat.
  3. Add 1/2 cup Mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese. Stir. Add salt and pepper; season to taste.
  4. In mixing bowl, combine chicken, cooked broccoli and 1/2 cup Alfredo sauce. Stir. Place a couple spoonfuls of Alfredo sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 cake pan. Place a large spoonful of the chicken/broccoli mixture into each shell. Place filled shells on top of sauce in pan.
  5. Spoon remaining sauce over the top of the shells; sprinkle with 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese.
  6. Bake (uncovered) at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. When done, the cheese sauce will be bubbling, and cheese will be melted on top. Remove pan to wire rack; let shells cool a minute before serving. Transfer shells to individual serving plates and spoon remaining Alfredo sauce over the top. Garnish with dried parsley flakes. Serve and enjoy!

Here’s another to pin on your Pinterest boards!Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo Stuffed Shells / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

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EASY CHEESY Penne Pasta And Spinach Bake

This EASY CHEESY Penne Pasta and Spinach Bake may not be the poster child for “Good-Looking” meals, but what it lacks in looks, it makes up for in TASTE! This meatless pasta dish, with three Italian cheeses, tastes wonderful, and is incredibly easy to prepare!EASY CHEESY Penne Pasta and Spinach Bake / The Grateful Girl Cooks!
I came up with this simple recipe one day while brainstorming what to make for dinner. After taking stock of what I had in my refrigerator and pantry, I decided to make this recipe using what I already had in the house. The results? A really good, SIMPLE to prepare meal!  Since I was creating a meal off the top of my head, I didn’t document the process too well with photos.  So these photos are just to give you an idea… trust me, the meal tastes a LOT better than it looks in these pictures.

The recipe is very straightforward.  Penne pasta is cooked and drained, then spaghetti sauce (flavor/variety of your choice-homemade or store-bought), three cheeses (mozzarella, Parmesan and ricotta), garlic powder and fresh chopped spinach  are added and mixed together.  The pasta is then placed into a 9×13 pan that has been sprayed with a non-stick spray.

EASY CHEESY Penne Pasta And Spinach Bake / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

The pasta is then topped with additional mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.

EASY CHEESY Penne Pasta And Spinach Bake / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Pasta is baked (covered with aluminum foil) for 20 minutes, then foil is removed and continues baking for 5 more minutes (uncovered). That’s it!  Serve the pasta hot… and enjoy! It may not be the most “appetizing” looking photo I’ve ever taken, but it really is GOOD!

EASY CHEESY Penne Pasta And Spinach Bake / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Hope you will give this recipe a try! It is filling, filled with flavor, and is a cinch to prepare!  The leftovers were good, too!

EASY CHEESY Penne Pasta And Spinach Bake / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

EASY CHEESY Penne Pasta And Spinach Bake
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
40 mins
 
Penne Pasta is baked with spaghetti sauce, three cheeses, and fresh spinach in this easy, tasty, and filling casserole.
Category: Casserole
Servings: 4 -6 servings
Author: JB at The Grateful Girl Cooks!
Ingredients
  • 3/4 pound penna pasta
  • Marinara sauce (homemade or use a jar of sauce-need enough for 4 servings)
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup Ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • cups chopped fresh spinach
  • Additional Mozzarella and Parmesan cheese for topping casserole (1/4 cup each)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 pan with non-stick spray.
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain. Place pasta in large mixing bowl.
  3. Add spaghetti sauce, mozzarella, Parmesan and ricotta cheeses, fresh chopped spinach, plus garlic powder. Stir into pasta until ingredients are fully coated and combined.
  4. Pour pasta into prepared 9x13 pan. Add additional mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses to top.
  5. Cover pan with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove foil and cook for 5 more minutes. Remove pan from oven and serve pasta immediately.
Recipe Notes
Number of servings will depend on the size portion you serve.

Here’s one more to pin on your Pinterest boards!EASY CHEESY Penne Pasta and Spinach Bake / The Grateful Girl Cooks! EASY to prepare, delicious and filling, this simple casserole features 3 Italian cheeses!

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Chicken, Parmesan & Spinach Gnocchi

What do you get when you combine chicken, fluffy Italian potato dumplings, Parmesan cheese sauce and spinach into an easy meal? This recipe for Chicken, Parmesan & Spinach Gnocchi, that’s what… a simple, yet absolutely delicious entree!  If you’re a Vegetarian, you can simply leave the chicken out and still enjoy this wonderful dish!Chicken, Parmesan & Spinach Gnocchi / The Grateful Girl Cooks! Enjoy this simple yet delicious meal in about 30 minutes from start to finish!
I found the original recipe on Pinterest, and decided to fix it for dinner recently.  It was sooooo good!  The recipe serves 4, and only takes about 30 minutes to prepare, from start to finish!  Talk about Italian comfort food! Whoa… the potato gnocchi are a classic Italian pasta, the chicken breast chunks provide protein, the creamy Parmesan sauce is amazing, and the fresh spinach used in the recipe would make even Popeye proud!

Here’s how simple this recipe is to prepare:  Cut 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts into bite sized pieces. Lightly season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  Heat olive oil in skillet on medium high heat. Once oil is hot, add chicken and cook 3-4 minutes, turning occasionally until cooked through.  Remove chicken from skillet; keep warm.

Chicken, Parmesan & Spinach Gnocchi / The Grateful Girl Cooks!Chicken, Parmesan & Spinach Gnocchi / The Grateful Girl Cooks!
Prepare gnocchi according to package directions. Basically, you add them to boiling water, cook, and when they float to the surface they are done.  This typically takes only a few minutes.  Drain the gnocchi. Set aside. Place the empty pan back on the stove.

Chicken, Parmesan & Spinach Gnocchi / The Grateful Girl Cooks!Chicken, Parmesan & Spinach Gnocchi / The Grateful Girl Cooks!
Add butter to pan and heat on medium until melted. Add minced garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring well.  Add flour; stir well to remove lumps and form a roux (thick paste). Cook and stir for 30 seconds, just to “cook out” the raw flour taste. Add milk slowly to roux; stir or whisk it well to remove any remaining lumps. Cook this for 2-3 minutes only until the sauce has begun to thicken.

Chicken, Parmesan & Spinach Gnocchi / The Grateful Girl Cooks!
This is what the sauce will look like as it begins to thicken.

Chicken, Parmesan & Spinach Gnocchi / The Grateful Girl Cooks!
Add chopped fresh spinach; stir well.  Cook for 3-4 minutes until the sauce has thickened and spinach has wilted.  Add Parmesan cheese, then cooked chicken into sauce. Stir well to combine.  Add a bit more milk if the sauce is too thick. (I added about 1/4 cup additional milk).  Taste sauce, then season with additional salt and pepper, if necessary.

Chicken, Parmesan & Spinach Gnocchi / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Remove the pan from the heat, and add cooked, drained gnocchi. Gently stir until all ingredients are combined.  If necessary, reheat through on low. Serve this dish immediately upon reaching desired heat.

Chicken, Parmesan & Spinach Gnocchi / The Grateful Girl Cooks!
Chicken, Parmesan & Spinach Gnocchi / The Grateful Girl Cooks!
I dished up the gnocchi onto individual serving plates, then garnished with grated Parmesan cheese (can never have too much Parmesan, right?). Serve, and enjoy this wonderful chicken dish! It’s creamy, has great flavor, and is delicious and filling!

Chicken, Parmesan & Spinach Gnocchi / The Grateful Girl Cooks!
I really hope you will consider making this chicken recipe. I think you will be surprised at just how simple it is to make in such a short time.  Have a wonderful day… and be KIND as you journey through this 24 hours you’ve been given!

Chicken, Parmesan & Spinach Gnocchi / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Recipe Adapted From:  http://www.lifeasastrawberry.com/parmesan-spinach-gnocchi/

Chicken, Parmesan & Spinach Gnocchi
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 
Category: Entree
Servings: 4 servings
Author: JB at The Grateful Girl Cooks!
Ingredients
  • 2 chicken breasts (boneless, skinless)
  • Salt , pepper and garlic powder (to lightly season chicken)
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 16 ounces potato gnocchi (found in pasta section)
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 clove garlic , minced
  • 2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
  • cups milk
  • 3 cups fresh spinach , chopped
  • Additional salt/pepper and milk , if necessary
  • 1 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese (plus more for garnish, if desired)
Instructions
  1. Cut chicken into bite sized pieces. Lightly season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Heat olive oil in skillet on medium high heat. Once oil is hot, add chicken and cook 3-4 minutes, turning occasionally until cooked through. Remove chicken from skillet and keep warm.
  2. Prepare gnocchi according to pkg. directions (add to boiling water, cook, and when they float to surface they're done - 3-4 minutes). Drain gnocchi. Set aside. Place empty pan back on stove.
  3. Add butter to pan; heat on medium until melted. Add minced garlic; cook for 1 minute, stirring well. Add flour; whisk well to remove lumps and form a roux (thick paste). Cook and stir for 30-60 seconds to "cook out" flour taste. Add milk slowly to roux; stir well. Cook for 2-3 minutes only until sauce has begun to thicken.
  4. Add chopped spinach; stir well. Cook for 3-4 minutes until sauce has thickened and spinach has wilted. Add Parmesan cheese, then add cooked chicken to sauce. Stir well. Add a bit more milk if sauce is too thick. Taste sauce; season with additional salt and pepper, if necessary.
  5. Remove pan from heat; add cooked and drained gnocchi. Gently stir until all ingredients are combined. If necessary, reheat through on low. Serve immediately upon reaching desired heat.
  6. Serve, garnishing each portion with grated Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

Here’s one more to pin on your Pinterest boards!Chicken, Parmesan & Spinach Gnocchi / The Grateful Girl Cooks! Enjoy this simple yet delicious meal in about 30 minutes from start to finish!

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Pasta With Italian Sausage, Sun-Dried Tomatoes And Summer Squash

Ever have those nights when you need to come up with something for dinner and don’t really feel inspired? Well, I did recently, but came up with this recipe for Pasta With Italian Sausage, Sun-Dried Tomatoes And Summer Squash… and it was a big hit.. and oh so delicious!Pasta With Italian Sausage, Sun-Dried Tomatoes And Summer Squash / The Grateful Girl Cooks!
This pasta dish is not swimming in a traditional sauce, but rather is a lightly seasoned portion of pasta, topped with a quick to prepare topping of Italian sausage, fresh vegetables and sun-dried tomatoes, then topped with a generous dusting of freshly grated Parmesan cheese!

I used 2 Italian sausages that I scavenged out of our freezer, added summer squash from our garden, and some sun-dried tomatoes (packed in oil) from our garden, as well, so it certainly wasn’t a budget buster! But it WAS packed with great flavor! I made the sausage topping while the pasta was cooking, so the entire meal was quick to put together!

Pasta With Italian Sausage, Sun-Dried Tomatoes And Summer Squash / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

While pasta was cooking, I cooked the ingredients (Italian sausage, chopped onion, green peppers, yellow squash, sun-dried tomatoes, fresh basil, minced garlic, and other spices).

Pasta With Italian Sausage, Sun-Dried Tomatoes And Summer Squash / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

When done, I drained the little amount of grease (from the Italian sausage) from the skillet.

Pasta With Italian Sausage, Sun-Dried Tomatoes And Summer Squash / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

I prepared spaghetti noodles (any pasta will do, though) according to package directions. When done, I drained pasta (don’t rinse), then put it back in the pan. I tossed the hot pasta with butter, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, oregano, garlic powder, and salt and pepper, to taste.

Pasta With Italian Sausage, Sun-Dried Tomatoes And Summer Squash / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Divide the hot, seasoned pasta into serving dishes. Top with the Italian sausage mixture. Generously sprinkle pasta with additional Parmesan cheese, to finish.

Pasta With Italian Sausage, Sun-Dried Tomatoes And Summer Squash / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Grab a fork, and enjoy this tasty pasta dish!

Pasta With Italian Sausage, Sun-Dried Tomatoes And Summer Squash / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Hope you enjoy this dish! I made it up as I went along (which is ALWAYS an adventure!), but was quite pleasantly surprised at how delicious it was… full of flavor!  My husband and I LOVED this simple meal.  Have a great day, friends.

Pasta With Italian Sausage, Sun-Dried Tomatoes And Summer Squash / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Recipe Source: My hungry brain.

Pasta With Italian Sausage, Sun-Dried Tomatoes And Summer Squash
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
20 mins
 
Category: Entree
Servings: 2 servings
Author: JB at The Grateful Girl Cooks!
Ingredients
For Pasta "Sauce":
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 Italian sausages , casing removed
  • 1/4 cup chopped brown onion
  • 1/3 cup chopped green peppers
  • 1/2 cup chopped yellow squash
  • 1/3 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes (packed in oil)
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh basil leaves , chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
For Pasta:
  • 8 ounces pasta (½ pound)- I used spaghetti noodles, cooked and drained
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt and Pepper , to taste
  • Additional shredded Parmesan cheese (for garnish)
Instructions
  1. Bring large pot of salted water to a boil (for pasta). When fully boiling, add pasta and cook per package instructions.
  2. While pasta is cooking, prepare the "sauce", by heating olive oil on medium high in large skillet. Add crumbled Italian sausage, chopped onion, green peppers, yellow squash, sun-dried tomatoes, basil, oregano and minced garlic. Cook for approx. 7-8 minutes, until done. Drain any grease from pan. Keep warm.
  3. When pasta is done cooking, drain, then return to pan. While pasta is hot, add butter, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, oregano, garlic powder, and salt and pepper, to taste. Toss well, to combine.
  4. Place seasoned pasta in serving bowls. Top with hot sausage mixture.
  5. Garnish (liberally) with additional shredded Parmesan cheese. Serve and enjoy!

 

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Macaroni and Cheese with Smoked Gouda and Spinach

My husband and I tried a new recipe a few weeks ago for “Macaroni and Cheese with Smoked Gouda and Spinach”. Let me tell you… it was a fantastic, very flavorful, “meatless” dinner, and must be totally “HEALTHY” because it has spinach in it, right? (snicker, snicker)Macaroni and Cheese with Smoked Gouda and Spinach / The Grateful Girl Cooks!
It actually was very delicious and EASY to prepare! I found the recipe online and played around with it just a bit to suit our taste buds, and boom! Mac and Cheese with ATTITUDE! Here’s how easy it is to make:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Cook and drain macaroni noodles, according to the package directions (then set aside).  Melt butter in a large skillet on medium heat. Add chopped green onion; cook & stir for a couple minutes, then add minced garlic and cook for one more minute.

Macaroni and Cheese with Smoked Gouda and Spinach / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Stir (or whisk) in flour. Continue cooking for one minute.

Macaroni and Cheese with Smoked Gouda and Spinach / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Add in half and half and milk, stirring continuously. Turn the heat on the stove up to medium-high. While stirring, bring the mixture to a boil. Continue stirring. This should take several minutes. The sauce will thicken and smooth out.

Macaroni and Cheese with Smoked Gouda and Spinach / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Once the sauce has come to a boil and has thickened (see photo below), add salt and pepper, to taste.

Macaroni and Cheese with Smoked Gouda and Spinach / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Turn heat down to medium-low. Stir in the smoked Gouda and freshly grated Parmesan cheeses. Mix well to melt cheeses.

Macaroni and Cheese with Smoked Gouda and Spinach / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Once cheese has melted, add in the chopped spinach and the cooked and drained macaroni noodles. Stir to combine.

Macaroni and Cheese with Smoked Gouda and Spinach / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Once dish is fully mixed, taste sauce. If necessary, add additional salt and pepper, to suit your taste.

Macaroni and Cheese with Smoked Gouda and Spinach / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Spray a 2 quart baking dish with nonstick spray, then pour macaroni mixture in. Sprinkle the top with dried bread crumbs. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake it for 10 minutes in a 350 degree oven. After 15 minutes, remove the foil , and continue baking for approximately 6-7 additional minutes, until the cheese sauce is nice and bubbly!

Macaroni and Cheese with Smoked Gouda and Spinach / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Here’s what it looked like straight out of the oven. Can you see the bubbling sauce on the edges of the pan?

Macaroni and Cheese with Smoked Gouda and Spinach / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

We let it cool down just a touch, then dished up our servings! It was really delicious! The combination of flavor from Smoked Gouda Cheese and Parmesan really give this comfort food dish a LOT of flavor! I sure hope you will give this recipe a try. It’s that kind of recipe that makes you want to curl up on the couch (in sweatpants) with a big bowl of this comfort food after a long day. No matter HOW you eat this, I think you’ll LOVE it!

Macaroni and Cheese with Smoked Gouda and Spinach / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Recipe Adapted From:  http://www.recipegirl.com/2011/03/21/spinach-macaroni-and-cheese/

Macaroni and Cheese with Smoked Gouda and Spinach
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
22 mins
Total Time
37 mins
 
Creamy and cheesy, this comfort food meal features Smoked Gouda and Parmesan cheeses... and fresh spinach!
Servings: 4 -6 servings
Author: JB at The Grateful Girl Cooks!
Ingredients
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onion , thinly sliced (stem and bulb)
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 cups Half and Half
  • 2 cups low-fat milk (I used 1%)
  • Salt and Pepper , to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups Smoked Gouda cheese , grated
  • 1/2 cup fresh Parmesan cheese , grated
  • 4 cups fresh spinach leaves , cut into 1/2 inch strips
  • 3/4 pound elbow macaroni , cooked and drained (use pkg. directions)
  • 1/2 cup dried bread crumbs
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook macaroni, according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  2. Melt the butter over medium heat, in a large skillet or saucepan. Add chopped green onion. Cook for 3-4 minutes, then add minced garlic and cook for additional minute. (do not burn garlic!)
  3. Stir or whisk in flour. Cook for additional minute.
  4. Add half and half and milk. Stir or whisk in to the flour mixture in pan to fully combine. Turn heat up to medium high. Continue cooking, stirring often until mixture comes to a boil. This will take several minutes. The sauce will thicken quite a bit. Once thickened, season to taste with a little bit of salt and black pepper. Turn heat down to medium-low.
  5. Stir in Smoked Gouda and Parmesan cheeses. Stir to combine. Add chopped spinach and cooked & drained macaroni noodles. Stir well to fully mix ingredients together. Once mixed, taste it again. Add additional salt and pepper, if desired.
  6. Spray a 1 quart baking dish with non stick spray. Pour macaroni mixture into dish. Sprinkle the dried bread crumbs evenly over the top of macaroni. Cover pan with foil.
  7. Place covered dish in 350 degree oven and bake for 15 minutes. Remove foil from dish, then continue baking for 6-7 minutes. When done, the sauce is hot and bubbly around the edges of the pan.
  8. Remove from oven, let it rest for about a minute, then serve it up! YUM. Enjoy!
Recipe Notes
Any combo of cheeses would probably work in this dish... Just be sure that the total amount of cheese added is 2 cups! Have fun creating your OWN version!

 

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Chicken Club Pasta Salad

The weather has finally warmed up here this week, so to celebrate the sunshine I made a Chicken Club Pasta Salad for dinner the other night. I served it with some fresh fruit on the side – and boy, was it good! It FELT like it was summer (at the end of March!)!Chicken Club Pasta Salad / The Grateful Girl Cooks!
I found this recipe on Pinterest, and decided to give it a try, because any salad with chicken and bacon in it has to be good! Add to that cheddar cheese, tomatoes, fresh herbs, and a creamy ranch dressing… and it sounded like a winner! And it was… we REALLY enjoyed this entree salad (and I got to use fresh parsley and chives from my garden in it, also!)

This is a very easy salad to prepare. Most of the prep work (and it’s not too tedious) involves cooking bacon, a piece of chicken, and some pasta (I like to call it “multi-tasking!”). The rest comes together quickly and with little to no fuss! My kind of meal! I made the entire salad up in the early afternoon, tossed it with a bit of the dressing (to keep it from drying out) and refrigerated it until dinner time. Then I added more salad dressing right before serving!  Here’s how you make it:

First cook a large chicken breast. (Boil it, grill it, bake it… or use leftovers… just get enough cooked chicken for 2 cups, and cut it into 1″ cubes and set aside).  Next thing is to cook the bacon until fairly crisp. Drain and cool, then cut. I used kitchen shears to cut it into small pieces.

Chicken Club Pasta Salad / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Cut the bacon, cheddar cheese and tomato into small pieces. Set aside.

Chicken Club Pasta Salad / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Add all dressing ingredients to a medium sized bowl. Whisk to fully combine. Refrigerate until ready to add to salad.

Chicken Club Pasta Salad / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Chicken Club Pasta Salad / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water, until pasta is completely cooled off. (I used tri-color rotini pasta for the color it added, but you could also use shells, macaroni noodles or mini-penne pasta for this dish).

Chicken Club Pasta Salad / the Grateful Girl Cooks!

Add cooled pasta, bacon, chicken, cheddar cheese and tomato to a large salad bowl.

Chicken Club Pasta Salad / The Grateful Girl Cooks!
Pour some of the dressing over the salad and stir to combine. If making this up early in the day, add only enough dressing to cover the pasta so it won’t dry out in the fridge. When ready to serve later, add additional dressing, to taste.  If you are making and serving this salad immediately, add enough dressing to taste and coat all ingredients (there will be some leftover dressing no matter which way you choose to prepare this!)

Chicken Club Pasta Salad / The Grateful Girl Cooks!
Serve the salad up, dig in, and enjoy this delicious, filling main course salad!  It tastes wonderful the next day, as well. Hooray for leftovers at lunchtime!

Chicken Club Pasta Salad / The Grateful Girl Cooks!
We really enjoyed this meal. I think it would be perfect on a HOT summer’s night, or to serve at a luncheon or potluck with friends! Hope you will consider giving this a try!  Have a fantastic day, and may God bless the work of your hands!

Chicken Club Pasta Salad / The Grateful Girl Cooks!Recipe Adapted From:  http://www.spendwithpennies.com/chicken-club-pasta-salad/

Chicken Club Pasta Salad
Prep Time
20 mins
Total Time
20 mins
 
Enjoy this delicious and filling salad featuring rotini pasta, chicken, bacon, tomato, cheese, etc. in a creamy homemade ranch dressing.
Category: Entree
Servings: 4 servings
Author: JB at The Grateful Girl Cooks!
Ingredients
For The Salad:
  • 8 ounce pasta (I used rotini tri-color pasta)
  • 8 slices bacon , cooked crisp, then cut into small pieces.
  • 2 cups cooked chicken breast , cut into 1" cubes
  • 1 to mato , seeded and diced
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese , cut into 1" cubes
For The Ranch Dressing:
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh chives , chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon dried dill weed (or chopped fresh dill)
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh parsley , chopped
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt & black pepper , to taste
Instructions
  1. Prep ingredients (cook chicken and bacon / chop tomatoes, cheese). Set aside.
  2. Make the salad dressing. Set aside.
  3. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Rinse with cold water, until pasta has completely cooled off; drain well.
  4. Put salad ingredients into a large salad bowl (except for the salad dressing). Mix.
  5. Add salad dressing to taste. You will NOT have to use all the dressing. If eating salad immediately, just add enough to toss and coat all ingredients well. If making salad early in day, add enough salad dressing to lightly coat all ingredients, stir, then cover dish and refrigerate until ready to serve. At serving time, add additional salad dressing to taste (since pasta will absorb some of the dressing while refrigerated). Stir to combine. Serve, and enjoy!
Recipe Notes
Note: I used 1 really large chicken breast, which provided me with the 2 cups chicken.
Original recipe also called for 1/2 of an avocado, diced. Didn't have one when I made this, but I'm sure it would be great in this salad, as well.

 

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