Chicken Pesto Ring

Y’all know I love a good ring made with crescent rolls! Y’all seem to love them too and this one will be no different! I mean one of the things I’m most known for is the infamous Taco Ring lol. So I decided to take the Chicken Pesto Ranch recipe we enjoy so much and added to a ring and it was the bomb.com (do people still say that? well I just did). I came about this when I made pepperoni rolls and because my kids are greedy I decided to make a chicken version as well. Sometimes their greed pays off lol. Let’s make this ring!

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 chicken breasts or chicken tenderloins
  • Jarred pesto
  • 1/2 cup to Half and half or heavy whipping cream
  • 2 cans of crescent rolls
  • 1-2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup to 1 cup of grated or shredded Parmesan cheese
  • Dry ranch dressing mix
  • Seasoning- I used Montreal Chicken, garlic powder, garlic salt
  • 1-2 tbsp of lemon juice
  • Bacon bits (optional)
  • 2 tbsp of butter

Directions:

Preheat oven on 375. Season chicken with seasoning, ranch dressing mix, and you can also add a tbsp of pesto. Cook chicken on stove or grill or in the oven until cooked thru. Set aside to cool. Don’t chop until cooled or you will dry it out. Now let’s make a sauce. Melt butter in saucepan on medium high heat, then add half and half or heavy whipping cream. Add garlic salt, 2 tbsp of pesto and bring to a simmer. Whisk in Parmesan cheese until melted. Turn off sauce and it will thicken when it cools. Chop chicken in bite size pieces. Lay out crescent rolls in star pattern in sheet pan. Add thin layer of sauce. Add layer of chicken then bacon bits of using and then cheese. Fold over crescent rolls points. Bake in oven for 15 to 20 minutes until crescent rolls are baked fully.

I paired this with Caprese salad and it was soo good. Easy to make too so it’s perfect for a Saturday meal or lunch. Make sure to tag me if you make this @severalpeoplesmama on IG!

Love Ricki

Shrimp Stuffed Shells with Easy Garlic Bread

This recipe right here!!! If you know us you know we absolutely LOVE seafood and almost any recipe that uses it is a winner in our book. This dinner did not disappoint! We used shrimp but you could add crab meat or crawfish or switch it out completely and use chicken. And the garlic bread is so easy to prep and make and tastes so much better than store bought. We truly enjoyed this meal and we hope you try it and enjoy it as well. Let’s cook!

Ingredients (For Shells)

  • 1 box of jumbo shells
  • 1/2 to 1 lb of shrimp (you can use precooked but I prefer raw so the shrimp are not overcooked)
  • 4 tbsp of butter, divided
  • 2-3 tbsp of olive oil
  • 3 tbsp of minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 bag of fresh spinach (can use frozen just pre cook in microwave and make sure to squeeze out as much liquid as you can)
  • 1 block of cream cheese (softened)
  • 1-2 cups of shredded cheese, Italian mix
  • 1-2 cups of shredded cheese, Mozzarella
  • 1-2 cups of Parmesan cheese (you can use grated but I prefer the fresh for this recipe. You can find it in the refrigerated section of your grocery store)
  • 2 cups of half and half or heavy whipping cream or combo of both
  • 1/2 cup of white wine (optional or you can use chicken broth or water and a bouillon cube)
  • 1 cup of sliced mushrooms (optional)
  • Seasonings: I used garlic salt & powder, onion powder, ranch dressing mix, Cajun seasoning and Italian seasoning

Directions:

Cook shells was directed. I add oil and salt to my water. Drain and set aside to cool. Reserve a cup of pasta water. Spray with cooking spray so your shells won’t stick together. Melt 1-2 tbsp of butter with the olive oil in a skillet on medium. Add onions and 2 tbsp of garlic and sauté. Add mushrooms if using. Cook til soft. Add spinach and sauté til wilted. Finally add shrimp. I did preseason my shrimp with garlic powder and Cajun seasoning. Cook shrimp til almost thru. Do not overcook. Drain shrimp and veggie mixture and add to a bowl with softened cream cheese. Keep the liquid and place back in the pan after draining as this is the base for our sauce. Combine shrimp mixture with cream cheese and add Italian mix cheese and Parmesan cheese if using. Lightly season mixture with garlic powder, ranch dressing mix and onion powder.

Now let’s make the sauce. With liquid in pan turn on high heat. Add white wine and let alcohol cook off which should be 3-5 minutes. Turn heat to medium high and add another tablespoon butter and the remaining tbsp of minced garlic. Stir til melted. Whisk in half and half or heavy whipping cream. Once it starts simmering add Parmesan cheese by whisking in slowly and add seasonings. Turn heat to medium low and let simmer for about 3-5 minutes. Don’t walk away because you don’t want to burn your sauce. Make sure to taste sauce to see if you need additional seasoning. Turn off and cover. While sauce is sitting it will thicken. If you need to thin it out add pasta water while on low heat. Add 1/4 cup of sauce to bottom of 9×13 baking dish. Go ahead and stuff your shells with the shrimp mixture and add to dish. Once dish is full cover the shells with sauce. Spread layer of Italian cheese mix and Mozzarella on top. I also sprinkled Parmesan cheese and a shake of Italian seasoning. Bake on 350 for about 20-25 minutes until cheese is melted thru. I also placed my dish under the broiler for 2-3 minutes because I love those brown bits of cheese. Enjoy with Easy Garlic Bread and a side salad.

Easy Garlic Bread

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick of softened butter (not melted) just let it sit out on the counter that morning
  • 1 tbsp of minced garlic
  • 1 tsp of garlic salt
  • 1 tsp of Italian seasoning
  • Fresh basil (optional)
  • 1 squeeze of fresh lemon (optional)
  • 1 loaf of French or Italian bread cut in half lengthwise
  • Italian cheese (optional)

Directions:

Turn on broiler. Mix butter and seasonings & lemon juice together. Spread on bread. I add cheese to one half of the loaf and leave the other half with just the butter. Put under broiler for 2-3 minutes. Watch closely and don’t walk away or you will burn the bread (ask me how I know lol). Serve with your favorite pasta dish.

I can’t tell y’all again how delicious this meal was! We will be adding this to our dinner rotation. I added video from when I made this in my highlights on my IG page so go there if you need a little help and I am always available in the DMs! Also tag me if you make this!

Love Ricki

Instant Pot Zuppa Toscana and Homemade Breadsticks

Yesterday I decided to try my hand at making a soup I’ve made a few times before, Zuppa Toscana in the Instant Pot and it turned out delicious and super easy. I am sharing that recipe below as well as homemade breadsticks made by scratch but took no time to whip up with a stand mixer. I would suggest if you can make your breadsticks an hour before you start the soup as they need time for two rises. Let’s cook!!!

Ingredients for Breadsticks:

  • 2 cups of warm water (not hot)
  • 2 tbsp of sugar
  • 1 packet of fast acting yeast (this equals 2 1/4 tsp)
  • 2 tbsp of butter
  • 4-5 cups of flour
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 stick of butter melted
  • 1 tbsp of minced garlic
  • 1 tsp of garlic salt
  • Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Directions for Breadsticks:

Add water and sugar to mixing bowl of stand mixer and stir. Add yeast and stir and let stand 5-10 minutes until yeast is foamy. Add butter, salt and 3 cups of flour. Mix with paddle until dough starts forming. Change out for dough hook and then add more flour a cup at a time as needed. You want dough to not be sticky but you don’t want it to be dry. It should not stick to your hands when touching. Take dough and form in the shape of a ball, spray or oil your bowl and then add ball and cover with towel. So my dough rises nicely. I place my bowl on my stove and turn my oven on to 170 degrees and the heat is just enough to help it rise nicely. Once doubled in size punch down with fist. Remove from bowl and shape in a rectangle. With a sharp nice cut into strips vertically. Place strips on well oiled cookie sheet. Turn stove up to 350 degrees and set cookie sheet on stove covered while you make your soup. After a 30 minute rise remove towel and place the breadsticks in the oven for about 15-20 minutes. Combine melted butter, minced garlic and garlic salt and pour over breadsticks after they come out of the oven. Top with grated Parmesan cheese if desired.

Ingredients for soup:

  • Ground sausage (I use breakfast sausage)
  • 3 peeled potatoes
  • 1/4 cup of onion
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 3/4 cup of heavy whipping cream
  • 4-6 cups of water ( or you can use 3 cups of chicken broth)
  • 1-2 chicken bouillon cubes
  • 1 bag of spinach or you can use the traditional kale
  • Seasonings – I used Italian, ranch, seasoned salt, garlic and onion powder and basil

Directions for soup:

Turn on sauté function on Instant Pot. Add olive oil, onions and garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Add ground sausage and cook til browned. Once browned you can drain any excess oil. Add water and chicken bouillon cubes or chicken broth if using. Add potatoes and seasonings. Place lid on and set o high pressure for 10 minutes. When finished let natural release for 5 minutes then switch to quick release to release rest of pressure. Add heavy whipping cream and stir. Add spinach and kale and let sit on warm for 5 minutes while spinach wilts. Taste for seasoning and add if necessary. Top with Parmesan cheese and fresh basil if desired. Serve it up with the breadsticks and salad for a complete meal.

The soup can easily be made on the stovetop just let lightly boil on stove for 15 minutes so potatoes can get tender before adding heavy whipping cream and spinach.

I hope you make and enjoy both recipes and as always if you make it tag me on IG @severalpeoplesmama

Love Ricki

Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole

Listen!!! I was brunchin’ Sunday- Quarantine style! I don’t even like sausage but this casserole was so delicious and sooo filling!!! You could have this for breakfast, lunch or dinner. And you can use any combination of veggies as well. Let’s get cooking, shall we?

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of breakfast sausage ( I also added some leftovers Italian sausage I had in my freezer)
  • 1/2 onion diced
  • 1 clove of garlic minced
  • 1/2 cup of mushrooms chopped
  • 1 bag of frozen tater tots (no need to thaw)
  • 8 eggs
  • 1 cup of half and half
  • 1/2 bag real bacon bits or cooked bacon (optional)
  • Seasonings of choice – I used onion and garlic powder, seasoned salt, ranch and Italian and roasted garlic seasonings
  • 1-2 cups of shredded cheese of choice

Directions: Spray 9X13 pan with cooking spray and layer the tater tots on the bottom. In a separate pan brown sausage, add onions, garlic, mushrooms. If you have peppers or spinach this would be good to add as well. Drain fat and add meat mixture on top of tater tots. I also added some leftover bacon bits but this is optional. Mix eggs with half and half and seasonings. Pour over tater tots and meat mixture. Let eggs soak into tater tots and meat mixture for at least 30 minutes. Don’t skip this step. You can actually make this the night before and bake in the morning. Top with cheese and back on 400 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Let set for 15 minutes, cut into squares and serve.

I topped mine with salsa. Sour cream and avocados would work as well or plain ole ketchup!

If you try this recipe as always tag me on Instagram @severalpeoplesmama. You can also see how I made this in my highlights.

Also check out my Grocery Store Vlog and Haul in my YouTube channel!!!

Hope you enjoy!

Love Ricki

Broccoli Cheese & Rice Casserole with Chicken

Sorry this recipe is sooo late but it is definitely worth sharing! This is an old school casserole with leftover chicken added in to make it a complete meal. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 3 to 4 cups of freshly cooked rice (you want it warm to melt the cheese)
  • 1 cup or more if desired chopped and cooked chicken (make sure your chicken is seasoned because we won’t be adding any additional)
  • 1 1/2 cups of cooked or steamed until tender broccoli. Can be frozen or fresh and you can chop or leave whole.
  • 1/2 a block of Processed cheese (Velveeta) chopped into cubes
  • 1 can of each soup – cream of mushroom, cream of chicken and cream of celery (DONT leave out the cream of celery, it doesn’t overpower and it makes the dish!)
  • 1 cup of shredded cheese of choice

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all 3 soups in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Combine rice and broccoli and chicken in a separate bowl. Add soup mixture. Add processed cheese and mix well. Spread in a greased casserole dish and top with cheese. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven and let casserole sit for 15-20 so it can set. Serve. You have proteins, carbs and veggies already in it so add a bread if desire and dinner is done! This makes great leftovers so make a big batch and eat for lunch as well!

I hope you try this! If so tag me on IG @severalpeoplesmama

Love Ricki

How to stretch food and get full

We are all at home whether by ourselves or with our family and the number one thing you will probably think about is what are we(I) gonna eat. And if you have kids, you will hear I’m hungry ALL DAY LONG! To combat being a short order cook, you need to make meals that will STRETCH! We want our family to be full while stretchier our budgets. So I’m here to help. With that dreaded C virus going around we may not be able to find ingredients (like meat) readily available so we have to be able to cook filling meals with little protein. Here’s a list of recipes or meal ideas that can keep you & yours full and content at least for a few days.

Pasta – Pasta is cheap and easy to make and very filling. You can add less protein or none at all and just pack it full of veggies (frozen or canned if you can’t find fresh).

Recipes with pasta:

Marry Me Chicken – Use less chicken and cut it up into cubes. Make the spinach lemon pasta and make it with penne or bow tie instead of orzo and add the chicken and sauce. Add mushrooms and spinach to “beef” it up.

Taco Pasta- Use Rotini pasta, ground beef (or not), cheese and beans & corn and a can of rotel or take the Mexican stuffed shells recipe and instead of stuffing individual shells take the filling and enchilada sauce and add to small shells. Top with cheese and serve.

Spaghetti- A big pot of spaghetti always works. Use ground beef or Italian sausage or even breakfast pork sausage (cheap and good) and sauce and pasta and you’re done. Also try spaghetti mac using macaroni pasta and Velveeta cheese and baked in the oven.

Shrimp Scampi- Use chicken instead if you don’t have shrimp and use spaghetti or fettuccine noodles to bulk it up. Add a can of peas or spinach or even zucchini.

Skillet pasta- make some bow tie pasta. Sauté some sausage, zucchini, tomatoes and whatever else and some half and half and Parmesan cheese, add pasta and mix.

Ramen- Yup that cheap stuff can be billed up by adding a bunch of stir fry veggies, less protein and a dash of soy sauce and seasonings.

Another staple that can stretch a meal and a budget is rice. The recipes below can be bulked up by adding more rice and less protein.

Cheesy Chicken Burrito Skillet– Cut the amount of chicken in half and add another can of beans, you can even use pinto instead of black beans.

Goulash– I usually serve this over rice so why not double the okra and sauce and cut back on the shrimp/chicken or just add sausage. Combine with rice and serve.

Fried Rice– add more veggies and leave out the meat. Make a huge batch and some crab wontons or egg rolls on the side.

Broccoli, rice and cheese casserole- I plan on sharing a recipe for my version soon. But you can easily add bacon bits or few chunks of chicken and go overboard on the broccoli and rice and have a full meal.

I love soups or chili anytime of the year & if your kids are hungry enough they will too.

Cream cheese chicken chili – cut the chicken in half and add more beans.

Baked potatoe soup– to lighten this up serve it in a cup with a huge salad of choice.

Taco soup- as you guessed cut the meat down by adding beans or omit the meat all together. Make a huge batch and serve over nachos and as the filling for burritos and chimichangas on two additional nights.

Chicken soup- cut the chicken add more veggies and noodles and bake some bread of biscuits or even cornbread. You can also add some grilled cheese sandwiches.

Another way to get someone full is add bread. Or make bread the main part of the meal.

This maybe more kid friendly because my body can’t take all those carbs but this will fill up your family. These are also great lunch options.

Taco or Cheeseburger ring-serve with your favorite taco or cheeseburger fixins’

Stuffed breads- I’ll be sharing a recipe soon for Bread stuffed pizza and we can use plain marinara sauce for a dip and serve with a salad.

Top your favorite casserole/dish with a bread- like a pot pie. You can make a chili and add a layer of cornbread on top and bake in the oven.

Or make a chicken soup filled with veggies and add biscuits (from the can is absolutely fine) in top.

These are just some ideas and hoped they get your creative juices flowing and have you thinking of your everyday meals in a different way. We may have to use our imagination to create meals but sometimes that leads to the favorites! I will be sharing a post later this week on snack ideas for our little snackers.

Let me know in the comments some other meals you can think of that are filling and make great leftovers!

Love Ricki

Easy Weeknight Dinner Part 2 – Pesto Ranch Chicken Sheet Pan Dinner

Need another easy weeknight dinner? I got you!!! This is also a remix of a main dish featured in my Cook Yo Meals Dinner Inspiration Cookbook that I usually make in the crockpot or Instapot. But I have to honestly say I enjoy just as much this way to! So let’s get cooking!

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 boneless skinless chicken breast butterflied in half (check my highlights on Instagram to see what I mean)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup of olive oil
  • 1 dry ranch seasoning packet
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup prepared pesto
  • 1 package of petite gold or red potatoes
  • 2 – 3 cups of broccoli and cauliflower
  • Seasoning (I used garlic salt and powder, onion powder, lemon pepper and black pepper
  • 1/2 onion finely chopped
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic minced
  • Bacon bits (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Start by rinsing and drying your veggies and potatoes. Make sure you dry them! Especially the potatoes or they won’t crisp up in the oven. Add veggies to a bowl and add 2 – 3 tablespoons of olive oil, your seasonings and 1/3 of the ranch seasoning. You can also add some pesto but I just added bacon bits instead. Add a dash of the chopped onions and garlic. Mix together thoroughly and make sure the veggies are coated in the oil and seasoning and then spread on 1/3 of the sheet pan or a 9 x 13 glass dish. Repeat steps with potatoes in same bowl. I added pesto to the potatoes and left out the bacon bits this time. Add to the pan. Finally in same bowl add chicken and repeat steps to season. Add to sheet pan and place in oven for 25 minutes. Turn meat, potatoes and veggies so it can cook on all sides. Bake for an additional 25 to 30 minutes until chicken is tender and clear juices come out when pierced with a fork. You can turn on the broiler for about 5 minutes to give everything a crispier texture but I found everything was cooked perfectly and the potatoes were almost perfect!

I love this dish because I only dirtied a bowl and a sheet pan. And the veggies! Y’all if you never roasted your veggies in the oven you’re playing yourself! Even Lil Diva likes them and she’s my resident veggie hater.

If you try this please tag me on Instagram @severalpeoplesmama and also highlights of both this recipe and the Goulash recipe are posted on my page to guide you in making a delicious dinner for you and/or your family!!!

Love Ricki

Make this and wings for the Super Bowl! Naked Chicken Fries (Tenders) in 2 Sauces

In my next cookbook I want to focus on foods that will be quick, easy, budget & kid friendly (Lil Diva approved)! This recipe is all of those things! And it’s Keto Friendly to boot!  I would make these along with wings for your next Super Bowl party, you can just double the recipe for the sauces and use it to dip your wings and the chicken fries. Let’s cook!

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 Chicken breasts cut into thin strips
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups of vegetable and canola oil
  • Seasoning of choice – I used dry ranch dressing mix, Tony’s creole seasoning and garlic and onion powder
  • 2 sticks of salted butter
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Juice of 1 lemon, as well as zest
  • 2 teaspoons of cracked black pepper, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon of lemon pepper seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon of garlic salt
  • Grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Pre-heat oven and 350 degrees and heat oil in skillet. I use an electric skillet that was under $20 bucks from Walmart and I only use it for frying. I love it because you can set the temperature so you know what you’re cooking at. Season the chicken. Don’t go heavy on the seasoning, if you just use salt and pepper that’s fine because you will be coating the chicken in sauce. Drop chicken in oil. Watch closely, the chicken is thin and cooks up quickly.

While cooking melt butter in microwave for about a minute. Separate butter in two bowls big enough for the chicken to sit in. Add minced garlic and garlic salt to one bowl and the lemon juice, zest, 1 tsp of black pepper and the lemon pepper seasoning to the other. Once chicken is done drain on paper towel for 1-2 minutes and then add to sauces. Mix chicken in sauces and let sit for 3-5 minutes.

Then add to a cookie sheet. Repeat til all chicken is coated in the sauce. Sprinkle garlic parmesan chicken with grated parmesan and the lemon pepper chicken with the other teaspoon of cracked black pepper. Bake in oven for 3-5 minutes, we just want to bake the sauce in the chicken really well.

Enjoy with ranch or blue cheese dressing and carrots & celery sticks.

You can have a simple Super Bowl or any type of party at home by making these and the Easy Cheesesteak Slider and you are set! Well I would add a little adult beverage and then I’m set lol! Let me know if you try this and make sure to tag me on IG @severalpeoplesmama or share in the Cook Yo Meals Facebook Group!

Love Ricki

 

Money Saving White Queso

Hi y’all! I wanted to share a quick and easy alternative to the Velveeta and Rotel combo we always use when we want nachos! If you haven’t noticed a block of Velveeta is almost $8!!! I actually stopped buying the brand awhile ago and usual get the store generic brand but even that can get pricey. Enter White Queso which comes together easy and fast using only a few ingredients. You can also add whatever else you want to it to suit your tastes but I have included the basic recipe below. If you try this tag me on Instagram @severalpeoplesmama and let me know what you think!

White Queso

Ingredients:

  • One package of American white cheese (you can find this in the cheese section, but I wouldn’t suggest you get the individually wrapped slices)
  • One small can of green chiles
  • 1/2. Cup of Half and Half or Milk
  • 1-2 Teaspoons of diced tomatoes with green chilies (rotel) or diced tomatoes (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon of taco seasoning (or add more to taste) You can also use salt to taste.

Directions:

Shred cheese or chop into little cubes. Spray pot and spoon you will be using to make the Queso, this will make for easier clean up. Add half and half or milk and warm. Add cheese a little at a time stirring in until melted. Add can of green chilies. Add diced tomatoes or rotel if using. I wouldn’t use too much as you want to keep this the milky white color. Add seasoning to taste.

And you’re done! Of course I’m extra so prior to adding the half and half I sauté a few chopped onions and a clove of minced garlic. I also add fresh chopped cilantro at the end. Feel free to add whatever flavors you want. The cheese used is not strong so it takes flavor really well!

Also a lot of you asked how I prepare my taco meat. It’s super easy and makes for a thicker consistency (similar to Taco Bell). I brown my ground beef then drain any grease. I think add a packet of taco seasoning (I use Aldi version) and half a pack of dry ranch dressing mix. I will add a tablespoon of so of water but I never add as much water as the package says. I will also add more taco seasoning/ranch seasoning to taste. It’s important you taste your food! You know #itsbetterwhenitsseasoned around here!!!

I hope you enjoy the recipe! And in the comments let me know what else quick and easy recipes you’d like me to make. I’ll also be adding the IGTV video as well (IG is making me trim it so I’m still editing ugh) My Cook Yo Meals FB group is coming soon and I look forward to all the fun we’re going to have over there!

Love Ricki

Cook with Me: Taco Ring

Hi Y’all! I recently filmed a Grocery Haul & Cook with Me on YouTube sharing the infamous Taco Ring Recipe. I figured I would also write it out for anyone that wants to try it! Hope you enjoy and don’t forget to like, comment and subscribe to this blog and my YouTube channel for more content on the single mama life on a budget!

Looking for more recipes like these? Check out my new cookbook available for purchase here: https://payhip.com/b/WN19

Love Ricki