egg and chicken casseroles

Two Favorite Snow Day Recipes

Snow this weekend meant some fun cooking time. After posting tasty pics of my kitchen escapades yesterday, requests for the recipes poured in. (This is not a sponsored post, it’s what I like to eat 🙂)

I made two options with chicken thighs purchased on a great unadvertised special. Leaving room for sales is a smart way to manage food budget, especially when it’s something you know you like. Keeping the pantry stocked with ingredients used regularly for favorite recipes is a great way to efficiently manage planning, too.

two casseroles in ovenKnowing my oven could hold two big dishes, and wanting to use the energy efficiently, I put these together while the snow flew. Happy for a warm meal later plus stocking the freezer with meals for busy days to come.

The first recipe, Spinach Feta Chicken, has been a favorite since I was the spokesperson for our national brands when I worked for Jewel-Osco. I did a weekly commercial on FOX news, featuring sale items and tips for nutritious meals with an eye to budget and easy preparation. This one was in the first season – I did these weekly commercials for three years, so that puts it around 2009.  The recipe developer, Genie, is amazing. We would put our heads together to come up with balanced, easy meals. It freezes perfectly, so a giant amount is not intimidating for a small household.

SPINACH & FETA CHICKEN

This recipe takes about 30 minutes to prepare and makes 4+ servings – I’ve used 6 breasts or thighs with the same amount of topping and it came out great.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup diced onion (I used one whole yellow onion)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic (I used about a 1/2 tsp garlic powder)
  • 1/8 teaspoon Ground Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/2 (16 ounce) package Frozen Cut Leaf Spinach thawed, well drained
  • 1 cup Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce (I used one can of Italian style diced tomato)
  • 1 (4 ounce) package crumbled feta cheese (I used reduced fat)
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I used bone in chicken thighs, skin removed)
  • 1/4 cup Panko Bread Crumbs

DIRECTIONS

spinach tomato onion cheese mixtureIn large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Saute onions, garlic (or garlic powder) and pepper until onions are softened (about 3-5 minutes). Add spinach and saute until most liquid is absorbed. Salt and pepper to taste. Cool slightly. Stir in pasta sauce and cheese.

Place chicken in a baking pan sprayed with cooking spray. Top chicken with spinach mixture. Sprinkle with bread crumbs. Generously spray with cooking spray.

Bake in a preheated 400 F oven ~30 minutes or until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 170 F and juices run clear.

Kitchen tip: Remove the skin before adding this topping to save calories and fat. The topping keeps the chicken so juicy, you won’t believe it. Be sure to pre-portion your chicken. I like to have each piece about 3 ounces. Back in the day we’d say about the size of a deck of cards. You can also use a computer mouse as a guesstimate if you don’t play cards. 😉

Recipe (shown above with my modifications) from: Wild Harvest

The second recipe was a new one. I accidentally grabbed a can of cream of chicken soup instead of cream of mushroom soup. It happens. While cream soups aren’t a usual menu rotation item, I like the cream of mushroom for a dish my mom makes. It’s rice, the can of soup, some milk or water, and chicken. Totally easy, totally tasty. Serve with a salad and you’ve got yourself a nice meal.

I searched for a recipe using this can of soup that also incorporated veggies, because I like a one dish meal with all the goodies included. Easy prep, easy cleanup, balanced nutrition. Found it:

cheesy chicken veggie casserole

Easy Baked Chicken & Rice (and veggies) Casserole

This recipe takes about 15-20 minutes to prepare and serves four or more. Because I added extra cheese and used milk instead of water, it made a few additional meals without chicken (cheesy rice and veggies).

  • 1 can Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup
  • 1 1/3 cups water (I used 1% milk)
  • ¾ cup uncooked long grain white rice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder (I used one whole diced yellow onion)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cups fresh broccoli florets (I used two whole “crowns”)
  • 1 cup baby-cut carrots, cut in half diagonally (I used~8 whole carrots, peeled, washed, and sliced)
  • 1/3 cup shredded reduced fat Colby cheese (I used a full 8 oz brick of reduced fat sharp cheddar that I shredded myself)
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika
  • 1¼ pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, 3-4 ounces each (I used skinless, bone in chicken thighs)

Directions:

mix of veggies and ricePreheat the oven to 350°F. Stir together the soup, water (or milk), rice, lemon juice, Italian seasoning, onion powder, black pepper, broccoli and carrots in an 11×8×2-inch baking dish. (I put it in a mixing bowl to mix, then transferred to the dish that I sprayed with cooking spray).

Place the chicken on the rice mixture. Season the chicken with additional black pepper and sprinkle with the paprika. Cover the baking dish. (I covered it with aluminum foil that I sprayed with cooking spray so my chicken wouldn’t stick).

Bake for 50 minutes or until the chicken is thoroughly cooked and the rice is done. Top with the cheese. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes. (I put the cheese on and put it back in the oven, then checked my temperature after 10 minutes to ensure it was thoroughly cooked).

Recipe (shown above with my modifications) from: Campbell’s

I like recipes that use canned, fresh, and frozen items. This extends the possibilities and offers great options even if you travel frequently and/or have a small household. Stock up the pantry and freezer with nutritious choices to make balanced, yummy meals today and tomorrow.

What will you cook next?