Main Dishes

When I made this casserole today, I felt like a 50’s housewife. Like the kinda gal who spends all day chopping vegetables while wearing three inch heels, a floral apron, and a face full of perfectly done make-up. There’s just something about casseroles that remind me of Mrs. Arnold from the “Wonder Years” and June Cleaver. That no-nonsense idea of spending all day in the kitchen with every curl perfectly in place.

But back to 2012 where in reality, I was in my kitchen wearing a T-shirt and flip flops with my hair on top of my head. I decided to try my own take on a chicken, rice, and vegetable casserole figuring as long as I got a can of creamed soup in there, It’d qualify as a casserole. I basically used whatever we had in the fridge, and it turned out just as I thought it would, warm, comforting, and tasty.

I didn’t use exact measurements in this recipe, so it’s more of a guide rather than something you need to follow perfectly.

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When I have no idea what to make and want something quick and guaranteed to be good–I always end up picking pasta. After searching through all my favorite blogs, I came across a Giada recipe I had bookmarked months ago and promised a total cook time of 25 minutes. Okay, easy enough.

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I have had Giada’s Roman-style chicken recipe bookmarked on my computer for months now. It is her most reviewed recipe on the Food Network site and with over 800 reviews that mostly say how delicious, healthy, and easy it is– I finally gave in and made this dish.

I added mushrooms and omitted the capers, so this Roman chicken ended up being a lot like Chicken Cacciatore—which is fine by me since it’s one of my all-time favorites. My Mom used to make Chicken Cacciatore in the crock-pot when I was younger, so this dish paired with rice is one that brings me right back to eating dinner in my plaid uniform at our old house on Vermeer Drive.

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This weekend marks the beginning of the NFL playoff season, so that means rooting on the Steelers to a victory and making a bunch of food that my friends will love and will sop up the beer in my belly.

Here are some past recipes that will keep your friends full, happy, and ready to watch the game.

Old School Sloppy Joes

Ham and Cheese Sliders

Roast Beef Sliders

Spinach Dip Cups

Creamy Pasta Salad

Chicken Caesar Wraps

Beans and Greens

Shredded Beef Tacos with Queso

Kielbasa and Sauerkraut Sliders

Homemade Ranch Dressing


I first fell in love with linguine with clam sauce when I studied abroad in London and became quite attached to the little Italian restaurant, Cotto, just up the street from my dorm. The small, family-owned restaurant full of delicious comfort food was a nice change from eating fish and chips all the time. And then when I had Linguine con Vongole in Rome, I realized my love for this dish was going to outlast my six-month stay abroad and be a long-term love affair.

Linguine with clam sauce is one of those pasta dishes that you virtually can’t screw up. Butter, white wine, and garlic will work together no matter what and will have your guests, and in my case my family, licking their plates clean. Plus it’s a quick dish, maybe a half hour from start to finish. Serve with a green salad and fresh bread to sop up the sauce with.

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I’ve never been much of a picky eater and unlike some kids who thought meatloaf was gross and weird….I liked it. And I still do. There’s something home-y and comforting about it like mashed potatoes….which also happens to be the perfect side dish for this meal. Anyways, this is the first meatloaf I’ve ever made and I took some tips from my beloved Ina. Ina suggests sauteing the veggies first, then blending them in a food processor, and adding them to the meat mixture. This makes for a meatloaf that has the same texture throughout, not a chunk of pepper there and hunk of mushroom there.

Also–It’s really hard to take a good looking picture of a meatloaf. It’s just so….brown. Oh well, this is the best I could do.

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I have been meaning to try the method of cooking fish in packets for months now, but finally got the push I needed from my friend Katie over at Gluten Free Blondie when she posted her recipe for them. They’re fast, healthy, and there’s little clean-up— the trifecta of weeknight cooking.

The method really is easy as 1-2-3, all you need is some fresh veggies, a good piece of fish, and your favorite seasonings and spices and you’re good to go. You can use any veggies and seasonings that suit your mood or season, so don’t be afraid to stray from the directions. It’s more of a method, than a recipe. When they were done, the fish packet made for a healthy dinner that I served it with brown rice and my creamy corn.

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