Mushroom Noodle Bake

Ever have those nights where you have the perfect main dish planned out, but can't think of a side to go with it? This easy mushroom noodle bake is the perfect side dish for pretty much any meat, or can be served on it's own for a delightful vegetarian casserole. Plus, since it's only got 5 ingredients, it's a great option for throwing together-- fast!

I love a good side dish. You know, those sides that can take an average dinner of chicken breasts thrown on the George Foreman from good to, well, great. I like a side dish that is hearty, that helps stretch a meal (because come on, guys, you have to eat more than just meat, right?) and, most importantly, takes very little time, effort, and crazy ingredients to make. Luckily, this mushroom noodle bake has only 5 ingredients, takes just a few minutes to throw together before popping it in the oven, and pairs well with literally any meat dish. And hey, if you’re not a carnivore, it actually makes a pretty great vegetarian casserole option, too!

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“The Chicken or the Egg” Hashbrown Casserole

This casserole is for breakfast. Wait! No. It's for dinner. Wait! No. Brunch. Actually, it's for anytime!  This casserole won't answer the age-old question of which came first, but it does put chicken and egg and hashbrown in one delicious casserole.

This casserole is for breakfast. Wait! No. It’s for dinner. Wait! No. Brunch. Actually, it’s for anytime!  This casserole won’t answer the age-old question of which came first, but it does put chicken and egg and hashbrown in one delicious casserole… which is pretty special, actually.

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Enchilada-Style Ham and Cheese

Everyone loves comfort food, right? From dumplings to chicken and noodle soup, comfort foods keep us happy and make us feel… well, comforted. One of my favorite comfort foods growing up was grilled cheese with tomato soup for dipping. Who doesn’t love rich, hearty tomato soup with a hot, gooey, melty grilled cheese sandwich?

I remember the first time that it occurred to me in my first apartment that, while making a grilled cheese on my George Foreman, I could add ham to make it better. Obviously, that’s nothing new. Hot ham and cheese sandwiches are pretty standard, but it blew my mind at the time.

The other day, I picked up a can of tomato soup at the store and realized I could combine a few of my favorite things for something unique, and that’s how this recipe sort of came about… it’s the best of comfort foods with a special twist.

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Pollo Magnifico–For the Freezer!

I love going out to eat. I think a lot of that is because we just so rarely do go out, so when we do, it’s a real treat. Almost every time that I get to pick where we go, I ask to go to Jose Peppers, because I’m addicted to a certain item on their menu… Pollo Magnifico. It makes sense why they’d call it that. It really is a magnificent chicken dish. At Jose Peppers, they’re sharing seasoned shredded chicken wrapped in a tortilla, then slathered with a jalapeno cream cheese, sprinkled with cheese, and then baked. I love the flavor, but I needed something that would freeze well, and I knew individually sauced tops wouldn’t. For me, that can only mean one thing… it was time to get creative. So, I made this Pollo Magnifico copycat that tastes just like the real thing, but freezes well with no sauce on top.

Start with everything pictured… 3 chicken breasts, 8 burrito-sized tortillas, 2 packages of Cream Cheese (I like Philadelphia), a package of Mexican Blend Cheese (I like Kraft), and tomato and lettuce to garnish. Because I was serving it to people who just didn’t love spice, I left out one jalapeno, so you’ll want to add a finely diced jalapeno in. If you’re still not a fan of spice, you can nix the jalapeno and use taco seasoning instead, or you can do without either and dip it in salsa. It’s your choice, and all of the options will have a great result.

Start by shredding and seasoning your cooked chicken breasts. If you have jalapenos, now is the time to add them in.

Now, mix in the two packages cream cheese and one cup of the shredded cheese. You’ll reserve the other half for a garnish later. Once the mixture is thoroughly blended together, I like to smooth it out and use a knife to make lines so I know about how much to put in each tortilla. But you can totally eyeball it. I’m just really obsessed with filling them all exactly the same.

Spoon your filling onto your burrito-sized tortilla. There’s just enough filling for the 8 tortillas that come in the package Great Value sells, but if you have more or less tortillas, it’s easy to adjust the recipe. Because these freeze very well, you could bake a month’s worth for lunches and then seal them in an airtight bag or container.

Fold the tortilla envelope-style around the mixture, as shown in the steps above. You’ll be placing the tortilla envelopes seam-side down on a pam-sprayed cookie sheet.

Spraying the tops lightly with the cooking spray will also help them brown nicely. Preheat the oven to 350, and bake them for 15 minutes on one side.

Turn them over and you’ll see that they’re browning nicely and the tortillas will now stay shut. Bake another 15 minutes. This allows the cheese inside to melt, as well as the cream cheese, which will ensure that these get the same flavor as that delicious Jose Peppers recipe, but without the mess of a sauced top.

Once they’re done baking, allow any that you’re freezing to cool so they can be frozen and microwaved later. For those that you’re eating immediately, sprinkle the hot tops with cheese so it’ll melt.

Dinner is served. And lunch. And every day you want these after that. They’re so easy to prepare and they’re delicious, restaurant-style stuff. Plus, they pack nicely in a lunch and can be eaten cold or hot. You can’t lose with these.

Of course, making this Pollo Magnifico copycat doesn’t change my choice when we go out to eat. I’ll still be going to Jose Peppers for dinner… maybe I’ll even branch out and order something different! (I wouldn’t bet on it, though…)

 

 

Looking for more easy dinners? Try out my Southwest Chicken and Rice Bake or 3 Different Twists on Pigs in a Blanket! Want to get your family chatting around the table? I have some ideas for opening up dinnertime conversation, too.

What’s your favorite meal to eat when you have the chance to go out to eat? Do you always eat the same thing, or pick something different each time? Let me know in the comments below!