TEX MEX BACON CHEESEBURGER CASSEROLE

This is the ultimate cheeseburger experience FULL of your favorite flavors from a standard cheeseburger with a TEX-MEX flair, WITHOUT the carbs from the bun AND is gluten free!!

TEX MEX BACON CHEESEBURGER CASSEROLE

1 pound ground round
1 bunch green onions, sliced and separated
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons Pampered Chef taco seasoning

1/2 pound bacon, diced, cooked and crumbled
4 LARGE eggs
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 LARGE can green chiles, drained WELL OR 1 can original ROTEL, drained WELL
1/3-1/2 cup der Weinerschitzel chili OPTIONAL
1 1/2 cups SHARP grated cheddar cheese
Mexican sour cream
Salsa

  • Spray 9×9 baking dish with non-stick spray.
  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Add beef and onion whites to a large skillet over medium-high heat, browning 5-7 minutes until crumbly and cooked through.
  • Sprinkle with taco seasoning.
  • Add garlic, stirring a minute more until fragrant.
  • Drain off excess grease.
  • Fold in bacon pieces, rotel tomatoes or green chiles and chili if using. Set aside to cool.
  • Whisk together the eggs, heavy cream and FRESH ground salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl.
  • Add half the cheese.
  • Fold cooled meat mixture into the egg mixture, blending well.
  • Spread into prepared baking dish.
  • Top with remaining cheese.
  • Bake 35-40 minutes or until top is golden.
  • Garnish as desired with green onion tops and ENJOY!
  • Add a dollop of salsa or sour cream for an added OOMPH!

NOTES:

  • ANY creamy non-bean chili can be substituted.
  • This recipes double or even triples easily for a crowd.

OVEN BAKED CHICKEN & RICE

OVEN BAKED CHICKEN & RICE

Buttery, garlicky, tender and made entirely in the oven! Dish is flavored well without the gravy, but I highly recommend the super quiclk, easy and flavorful gravy to take it over the top.

6 boneless, skinless chicken thigh fillets or 3 LARGE breasts, halved
1 LARGE Vidalia onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup FINELY chopped carrots
2 cups frozen corn
3 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
1 1/2 cups uncooked white rice (see notes)
1 1/2 cups HOT homemade chicken stock
1 1/4 cups HOT water

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Scatter onions, carrot pieces and garlic in a LARGE 10×15 inch baking dish placing butter in the center.
  • Bake for 15 minutes, stirring mid way to coat well with the melted butter.
  • Meanwhile, mix together the Chicken Rub.

CHICKEN RUB (see notes)
1 teaspoon SMOKED paprika
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper

GARNISH
Fresh thyme leaves or finely chopped parsley, if desired

  • Sprinkle on both sides of the chicken with the rub, coating well.
  • Remove baking dish from the oven.
  • Add rice and corn thoroughly mixing with the onion carrot mixture.
  • Whisk together the chicken stock and water.
  • Pour stock mixture evenly over rice, stirring together.
  • Cover with foil and bake 25 minutes more.
  • Remove foil and place seasoned chicken pieces on rice. Replace foil and bake another 20 minutes.
  • Remove foil, brush chicken with melted butter.
  • Return to oven uncovered and bake for another 20-25 minutes more or until ALL excess liquid is absorbed.
Stand for 5 minutes.
  • Remove chicken and fluff up rice.
  • Garnish with parsley or thyme.
  • Serve and enjoy!

GRAVY
2 teaspoons chicken bouillon or 2 “cubes”
2 1/4 cups boiling water
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 tablespoons WONDRA flour
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper

  • Whisk in powder or crumble cubes into boiling water, mixing to dissolve.
  • Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
Whisk in flour, onion powder, salt and pepper.
  • While constantly stirring, slowly pour in half the liquid until well blended.
  • Add remaining liquid and whisk constantly 2-3 minutes – it will thicken quickly.
  • Adjust seasonings if needed.

NOTES:

  • The Chicken Rub can be substituted with any seasonings you want! Lemon Pepper Seasoning, Italian Herb Mix…
  • Chicken breast tenders are also a great substitute. This recipe is VERY forgiving!
  • Rice – Any normal white rice works great here. Long grain white rice will yield the fluffiest rice. Short and medium grain will work fine too but by its very nature, is a bit stickier. Basmati and jasmine are terrific too. If using brown rice add an extra 1/2 cup hot water and bake covered for 1 hour before adding the chicken. DO NOT USE MINUTE RICE or RISOTTO!!!
  • The BIGGEST secret tip is the baking of the onion with garlic with the butter before adding the rice, liquids and chicken! You can short cut this step, but it adds a great flavor base!

 

BBQ MEATBALLS & BACON CHEDDAR BAKED POTATOES

BBQ MEATBALLS & BACON CHEDDAR BAKED POTATOES serves 4
This quick and easy, but also budget friendly meal is flavor packed for a quick weeknight meal.

MEATBALLS
2 tablespoons butter
1 pound ground beef
2/3 cup FRESH breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons + 3/4 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce
1/2 cup beef broth
1 LARGE egg
1/4 cup FINELY chopped red onion
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
2 tablespoons FRESH chopped parsley, + more for garnish

  • In a large bowl combine ground beef, breadcrumbs, egg, red onion, 2 tablespoons parsley and 2 tablespoons BBQ sauce gently mixing JUST until combined.
  • Divide into 12 meatballs.
  • In a large ovenproof skillet melt butter over medium high heat making sure to coat sides also.
  • Add meatballs and brown 5-7 minutes until all sides are browned.
  • In a small bowl whisk together the 3/4 cup BBQ sauce and beef broth.
  • Pour into skillet around meatballs. Turn meatballs to coat.
  • Bring to a LOW boil, reduce heat and cover, simmer 5-7 minutes until sauce is heated through and meatballs are well coated.
  • Heat broiler.
  • Sprinkle cheese evenly over meatballs.
  • Broil 2 minutes until cheese is melted and golden.
  • Garnish with parsley.

POTATOES
4 LARGE Yukon gold potatoes
2-3 slices bacon, diced
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/3 cup FULL fat sour cream
4 tablespoons butter, divided and softened
2 green onions, FINELY diced

  • Preheat oven 400°.
  • Line baking sheet with foil.
  • Wash potatoes and pierce with fork.
  • Add potatoes to baking sheet.
  • Bake 1 hour until tender.
  • While potatoes are bacon, crisp up bacon in skillet and drain on paper toweling.
  • When potatoes are tender, slit them open.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of butter to each potato and generously sprinkle with
  • FRESH ground salt and pepper.
  • Add bacon pieces and cheese.
  • Increase heat to broil.
  • Add potatoes, broiling 2-3 minutes until cheese melts and becomes golden.
  • Add a dollop of sour cream and sprinkle with green onions or chives.

ARROZ con POLLO con QUESO

ARROZ con POLLO con QUESO Servings 4-6

A Mexican food lovers dream comes true with this abbreviated short cut version PERFECT for any weeknight meal, but as satisfying as grandma’s Sunday dinner. I serve this with charred corn, but many times everyone just mixes it all together 😀 YUMMY!

4 slices bacon, diced
1 tablespoon avocado oil (if necessary)
4 large boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bit sized pieces
1 tablespoon KINDERS taco seasoning
1 tablespoon KINDERS fajita seasoning
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups INSTANT white rice
1 cup ON THE BORDER queso blanco
1 cup ON THE BORDER salsa
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
1 can HATCH chopped Green Chiles
3 green onions, sliced thin
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
1 1/2 cups Mexican taco blend cheese

  • In a mixing bowl, toss chicken pieces with taco and fajita seasonings until well coated. Set aside.
  • In a large skillet over medium-high heat cook bacon until crisp.
  • Remove with a slotted spoon to drain on paper toweling.
  • Add oil to bacon drippings (if necessary) to equal 2 tablespoons.
  • Add chicken pieces and all loose seasoning to sizzling skillet, sautéing until cooked through and tender.
  • While chicken is cooking, add heavy cream and rice to a saute pan, stirring to combine. Bring JUST to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and add quest, salsa, green chiles and cilantro, simmering 5 minutes until rice is tender and fluffy.
  • Stir in most of the bacon pieces, tomatoes and green onions. Saving the remainder for garnish.
  • Nestle chicken pieces into the rice.
  • Top with cheese.
  • Broil 3-5 minutes until cheese is melted and golden.
  • Garnish and serve.

 

MEATBALL POTATO GRATIN

MEATBALL POTATO GRATIN
2 cans sliced potatoes, drained WELL
1 can NIBLETS corn, drained
1 small bunch green onions, chopped
1 can cream of potato soup
1/2 cup sour cream
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
3/4 pound frozen cooked meatballs, thawed
1/2 cup shredded baby Swiss cheese
Chopped FRESH parsley for garnish

  • Preheat oven to 375°.
  • Spray baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Blend together the soup, sour cream, green onions, salt and pepper.
  • Add potatoes, gently tossing to coat.
  • Spread potato mixture into baking dish.
  • Nestle meatballs into the potato mixture.
  • Even sprinkle cheese.
  • Bake 35-40 minutes until golden and bubbly.
  • Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

BAKED FRENCH ONION RICE

BAKED FRENCH ONION RICE
1 cup long grained rice
10.5 ounce can French onion soup
2 cups beef broth
1 tablespoon + 1/4 cup butter, sliced
1/2 pound mushrooms cleaned and diced
1 shallot, minced

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Lightly grease a 2 quart casserole.
  • Melt 1 tablespoon butter in skillet over medium heat.
  • Add shallots, sauteing 2 minutes until beginning to soften.
  • Add mushrooms, cooking 5 minutes more until beginning to caramelize.
  • Add rice, stirring to coat.
  • In a bowl whisk together the beef broth and french onion soup.
  • Stir in the rice mixture.
  • Spread rice mixture into prepared casserole.
  • Dot with butter slices.
  • Cover.
  • Bake 50 minutes.

CHEESY ARTICHOKE CHICKEN

CHEESY ARTICHOKE CHICKEN
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 sleeve Ritz crackers, crushed
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 tablespoon FRESH chopped tarragon
1 tablespoon FRESH chopped thyme
1 tablespoon FRESH chopped Italian flat leaf parsley
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, flattened to 1/4 inch thickness
1/2 cup chopped and drained marinated artichoke hearts

  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Spray 9×13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Stir together the cream cheese, mayonnaise, Italian seasoning, two thirds of the artichoke pieces and half of the tarragon, thyme and parsley.
  • Melt butter and stir together with the crushed crackers and half of the remaining thyme, tarragon and parsley. Set aside.
  • Generously season chicken breasts with FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper.
  • Sprinkle half of the cracker crumb mixture on the bottom of the baking dish.
  • Arrange chicken breasts in a single layer on top of the crackers crumbs.
  • Spread cream cheese mixture on top of the chicken breasts.
  • Sprinkle the remaining cracker crumbs over the cheese mixture.
  • Loosely tent with foil and bake 20 minutes.
  • Uncover and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
  • Bake 5-10 minutes more until chicken is cooked through.
  • Let sit 5 minutes.
  • Sprinkle remaining chopped herbs and serve immediately.

RED RICE & BEANS

You know how red beans and rice is a big thing in the south? Yeah, well I HATE red beans so we’re having red rice and beans 😀

RED RICE & BEANS – serves 6 adapted from Jamie Oliver
2 carrots, peeled and FINELY diced
2 LARGE shallots, FINELY diced
2 red + 2 yellow + 2 orange mini peppers (capsicums), de-seeded and FINELY diced
Avocado oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced
28 ounce can QUALITY crushed tomatoes
2 cups homemade chicken bone broth
1 1/4 cup long grain white rice, rinsed
14 ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup mozzarella, grated or quartered small balls (optional)
5 LARGE basil leaves
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste

  • Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a skillet over medium heat.
  • Add carrots, shallots, garlic and peppers, stirring until softened and beginning to caramelize. Set aside to cool.
  • Add the tomatoes into a saute’ pan over medium heat.
  • Season with FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper.
  • Whisk in bone broth and basil.
  • Add rice and bring to a quick boil.
  • Reduce heat to low and simmer 20 minutes or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed.
  • Stir in beans during last 5 minutes.
  • Top with minced basil leaves and mozzarella.

5 CHEESE PASTA

5 CHEESE PASTA adapted from Red Drummond serves 8

1 pound fusilli or similar type pasta
6 slices thick-cut bacon, diced
1 tablespoon chopped FRESH thyme
1 large shallot, diced
1-2 cloves garlic, FINELY minced
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup grated Fontina cheese
1/2 cup W
hite Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
1/2 cup grated Gruyère cheese
FRESH ground black pepper
1 cup mozzarella balls, halved
3 green onions, sliced thin

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  • Add the fusilli and cook for 1 to 2 minutes less than the package instructions.
  • Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water, then drain and set aside.
  • Cook the bacon in a cast iron skillet over medium heat until crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. With a slotted spoon remove to a paper towel-lined plate and remove all but 2 tablespoons of the grease from the skillet.
  • Add the thyme, shallots and garlic to the skillet and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the wine and cook until mostly evaporated, 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Add the cream and heat until bubbly, 30 seconds.
  • Gradually add the Fontina, cheddar, Romano and Gruyère in handfuls, letting each combine with the cream before adding the next.
  • Add the pasta to the skillet along with a good pinch of salt and pepper. Toss everything together, thinning with the reserved pasta water if needed.
  • Divide the pasta into lightly sprayed with non stick cooking spray individual gratin dishes or 1 baking dish.
  • Place casserole on a baking sheet.
  • Divide the mozzarella pearls over the top of the pasta.
  • Position an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to broil.
  • Broil 3-4 minutes on the center rack until the mozzarella pearls are brown and the pasta is bubbling.
  • Remove and garnish with the cooked bacon and sliced green onions.

BAKED TOMATOES with PARMESAN BROCCOLI STUFFING

BAKED TOMATOES with PARMESAN BROCCOLI STUFFING Serves 4

4 LARGE tomatoes
2 cups minced broccoli florets
¼ cup FINELY shredded mozzarella cheese
3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons FINELY minced onion
2 tablespoons chopped FRESH basil
Juice from 1 LARGE lemon

FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste

  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Cut tomatoes in half crosswise.
  • Using a spoon, scoop out pulp.
  • Chop tomato pulp, place in medium bowl and add broccoli, cheeses, garlic, onion, basil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
  • Arrange tomato halves, cut sides up, on baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt then evenly fill with stuffing mixture.
  • Bake 15 minutes or until tomatoes are tender and heated through.

NOTES & HINTS:

  • Tomatoes can be assembled a day ahead, covered and stored on a baking sheet in refrigerator.
  • A grapefruit spoon with serrated edges works well for cleaning out the tomatoes from their pulp.

PORCUPINE MEATBALLS

PORCUPINE MEATBALLS 4-6 servings

This is a super simple weeknight meal – it can even be prepared in advance and be all the better for it as the flavors meld to make deep and rich sauce!

So why are they called “PORCUPINE”? As the meatballs bake in the incredible sauce and the rice bakes it plumps up and starts sticking out the sides just like porcupine quills. 😀

1 pound QUALITY 80/20 ground beef
1 LARGE egg, lightly beaten
1/2 small onion, finely diced
1/2 cup long-grain white rice
1 tablespoon chopped FRESH parsley
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
2 cloves garlic, FINELY minced
FRESH ground sea salt & black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons avocado oil
One 28-ounce can tomato puree
1/4 cup jalapeno ketchup

  • Preheat the oven to 350°.
  • Use your hands to mix together the ground beef, egg, onion, rice, parsley, 1/2 teaspoon of the Italian seasoning, half the garlic, 1 teaspoon salt and several grinds of pepper in a large bowl until well combined.
  • Roll the meat mixture into 24 golf ball sized meatballs.
  • Heat the avocado oil in an oven-proof skillet over medium high heat.
    Once shimmering, add the meatballs and cooking 1-2 minutes  on each side until lightly browned all over.
  • Reduce the heat to medium.
  • Whisk together the tomato puree, ketchup, remaining Italian seasoning, remaining garlic, FRESH ground sea salt and pepper to taste.
  • Stir into pan, simmering until the  sauce is WELL combined and meatballs are WELL coated.
  • Cover tightly and transfer to the oven.
  • Bake 45-60 minutes until the meatballs are cooked through and no longer pink, the rice is tender and poking out and the sauce has reduced slightly.
  • Garnish with more chopped parsley and serve.

HAMBURGER HASH

Toss out the hamburger helper and make this instead. Another tasty one pot meal full of flavor and texture that’s quick and easy for classic comfort food weeknight family meal. The beauty of this recipe is that it is super easy to adjust the servings. I’m making most recipes for 2 these days, but just double or triple up and feed 4-6 in a jif.

HAMBURGER HASH – serves 2 adapted from SpaceShips and Laser Beams
Prep Time 15 mins Cook Time 20 mins Total Time 35 mins

1 SMALL russet potatoes, peeled and chopped into bite size pieces
1 small turnip or rutabaga, peeled and chopped into bite size pieces

3/4 pound lean ground beef
1/2 Vidalia onion, diced
2 teaspoons avocado oil
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon Garden Gourmet Italian seasoning (or 2 teaspoons dried)
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
1/4 cup beef broth

1 1/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

  • Boil potatoes 3-5 minutes until tender, BUT NOT too soft.
  • Drain and set potatoes aside.
  • In a large nonstick or greased skillet, over high heat, cook ground beef until browned. Drain off fat. Set cooked beef aside.
  • 
Using the same skillet over medium heat avocado oil.
  • Add onion, potatoes, Italian seasoning, minced garlic, salt, and pepper. Toss well to evenly coat potatoes and onions in seasoning, cooking 10-15 minutes and stirring often until potatoes and onions have started to brown and crisp.
  • Fold ground beef back to the skillet, stirring well to mix.
  • Add broth and simmer until broth is mostly absorbed.
  • Add cheese, stirring until well mixed and melted.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Serve hot. 


NOTES

  • ALWAYS start your potatoes in cold water. Adding them directly to boiling water will immediately cook the outsides while the insides will take longer. Use a fork to gently pierce the potatoes while they are boiling. When the fork will pierce the potato easily but not break it apart, your potatoes are ready.
  • If using dried herbs, use a mortar and pestle or rub them between your clean dry palms to break them up and revive their flavor essence before adding them to your recipe.