Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Chicken and Asparagus Casserole

I love shopping at many of the local farms in my area.  I often find great deals on produce as it becomes ready for sale.  My kids enjoy the experience of shopping at a market with farm fresh products. It is almost a field trip for us; we check out all the veggies and fruits; we ask the workers questions about the produce. Sometimes, we bring home a delicious dessert or chocolate milk in the glass bottle!

This casserole was perfect for my family. This recipe is a bit more involved than typical recipes I try, but it is summer so I have a bit more time.


  • 1 bunch of asparagus, cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 4 cooked chicken breasts (I boiled mine)
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 T flour
  • 3 cups milk, divided
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 8 oz wide egg noodles
  • cheddar cheese
  • 3/4 cups breadcrumbs
  • 2 T olive oil
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Melt 2 T butter in saucepan. Throw in onion to saute for about 3 minutes. Add garlic. Saute for 2 more minutes. Throw in 2 T flour to make a roux. Stir. Add 1 cup cold milk. Stir well. Add 2 more cups cold milk. Stir. Add cream of mushroom soup and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Allow to simmer and thicken.
  3. While working with saucepan, allow a large pot of salted water to come to a boil.
  4. Boil asparagus for 1 minute. Remove with slotted spoon. Set aside.
  5. Using the same pot of boiling water, cook egg noodles one minute less than directed.
  6. Drain noodles. Put back in pot. Pour in cream of mushroom mixture. Stir. Add cooked chicken stir. Add asparagus. Stir. Add 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese. Stir.
  7. Transfer noodle mixture to 11 x 14 casserole dish. Moisten bread crumbs with olive oil. Put moistened bread crumbs on top of casserole. Top with a bit more cheese.
  8. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes.
Difficulty: Medium (I was using lots of ingredients and pots, but it was worth it!)
Time: an hour or so
Source: Food Wishes with Chef John

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Cinnamon Breakfast Squares with Yogurt and Fruit

My family is big on breakfast.  We like variety and substance - we don't want to be hungry again an hour after we've finished.  When Honey Bunches of Oats e-mailed us with a new recipe to try, I was all about it.  In fact, as the last day of school approached, I decided that I would make this for my kids as a special "last day of school breakfast."  The cereal alone is great, but they absolutely loved this protein-packed, fiber and antioxidant-rich morning meal - and so did I!

  • 1 cup Honey Bunches of Oats Morning Energy Cinnamon Crunch cereal
  • 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup nonfat milk
  • 2 Tablespoons melted butter, cooled
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • yogurt (original recipe calls for Greek, but I used regular, vanilla yogurt)
  • fresh berries (blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries) or favorite fruit of choice
  • Honey, for drizzling (optional)
  • Nutmeg or Cinnamon, for sprinkling (optional)

  1. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly butter and flour an 8-inch square pan, or coat lightly with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a mixing bowl, stir together the cereal, flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and cinnamon.While stirring, slightly crush the cereal using the back of the spoon or rubber scraper; set aside. 
  3. In another bowl, beat eggs until well blended. Add milk, melted butter and vanilla, and mix well. Combine egg mixture with flour mixture. Pour batter (it will be thin) into prepared baking pan. 
  4. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until it is set when lightly touched in the middle. Remove from oven and set on wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. To serve, cut into 6 equal-sized bars and place on serving plates. Top each square with a dollop of yogurt, surround with fruit, and drizzle with honey. Sprinkle with nutmeg or cinnamon and serve immediately. Serves 6.

Difficulty: easy
Time: 15 minutes prep, 45 minutes total
Source: Honey Bunches of Oats recipe

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Shortcut Asian Beef and Noodles

Considering I have a friend who cooks gourmet Korean cuisine that is to die for, I have to say I am a touch hesitant to call this recipe Asian Beef and Noodles.  Don't be fooled - it is not the "real deal."  However, this is a recipe that my kids love and is tasty, super quick, and easy, so it fits the bill perfectly for the busy mom.  The ingredients are few and inexpensive, the prep is easy, the cooking is in one pan, the cleanup is a breeze.  Maybe later this summer, I will post the recipe for a more authentic dish. :)


  •  1 lb lean ground beef
  • 2 packages (3 oz each) Oriental ramen noodles, crumbled
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 2 cups frozen broccoli stir-fry vegetable blend
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 Tbsp thinly sliced green onion

  1. In a large skillet, cook the beef over medium heat for 4-5 minutes or until no longer pink; drain.  Add the contents of one ramen noodle flavoring packet; stir until dissolved.  Remove beef and keep warm.
  2. In the same skillet, combine the water, veggies, ginger, noodles, and the contents of the remaining flavoring packet.  Bring to a boil.  
  3. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 3-4 minutes or until noodles are tender, stirring occasionally.  Return beef to the pan; cook for 2-3 minutes or until heated through.  Stir in onion.

Difficulty: very easy
Time: 20 minutes
Source: Taste of Home "Summer Busy Family Recipes" magazine; July 5, 2010

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Pierogi Casserole

Growing up in the Pittsburgh area, people make pierogies.  I love eating them hot at a nearby Nationality Day festival. I tried this amazing casserole at a Steeler-themed party.  I scoured my friend Jennifer's Pinterest boards to find this recipe; it was not there.  I searched myself and tried a few variations; this is the easiest and quickest.  Some of my fails included using oven-ready lasagna noodles; they dried out and making my own mashed potatoes; too heavy.

This dish would be a great side but could also be a stand-alone meal.  I look forward to bringing this to many picnics this summer!


  • 1 box of farfalle, cooked
  • 6 servings of instant mashed potatoes
  • 1 pound Velveeta cheese, cubed and divided
  • 1 stick butter, divided
  • 1 medium onion, diced


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  
  2. Prepare farfalle as directed.
  3. Melt 1/2 stick of butter and pour into 9 x 13 pan.  Pour prepared noodles into pan.  Mix into butter.
  4. Prepare mashed potatoes; add 3/4 cubed Velveeta and mix 
  5. Spread potatoes over noodles.
  6. Saute onion in 1/2 stick butter. Pour over noodle mixture.
  7. Top with reserved Velveeta.
  8. Bake 30 minutes until warm.

Difficulty: Easy
Time: 20 minute prep; 30 minute baking time
Source: combination of a few different recipes