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Delicious Chicken Alfredo Bake

My kids are huge lovers of Alfredo. They will eat Alfredo on just about anything. But Matt is not such a big fan of Alfredo sauce so I have to doctor it up a bit to make him eat it without complaint. I use Zatarins Cajun seasoning to add some spice and it’s delicious! If you don’t like food with a lot of spiciness then you will want to go easy on this seasoning. We like it really spicy so I add a good amount. 

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Ingredients:
3-4 chicken breasts
1 box penne pasta
2 jars (15oz each) Alfredo sauce
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Zatarins Cajun seasoning

Directions:
1. Put chicken breasts in bottom of crockpot and cover with 4-6 cups of water.
2. Cook on High for 4 hours.
3. Shred chicken in bowl and mix with Zatarins Cajun seasoning (taste as you go for desired spiciness)
4. Cook and drain pasta.
5. Pour pasta in baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.
6. Add chicken and Alfredo sauce and mix well.
7. Cover with shredded cheese.
8. Sprinkle with more Zatarins Cajun seasoning.
9. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

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We never have any leftovers when I make this dinner. The kids clean the pan every single time and are still disappointed to not have any left. Sometimes I add steamed broccoli before baking instead of on the side. 

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Fast & Simple Taco Bake

We are huge lovers of tacos in this house and taco Tuesday is something we all look forward to! But sometimes I like to mix it up and do something different with the tacos. I recently made a delicious taco bake that was such a huge hit in my house that I needed to share it with you. The kids devoured this dinner. Seriously. It was gone before I could even think about getting seconds!

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Ingredients:
2 cups nacho doritos, crushed
1 lb ground beef
1/2 cup onion, diced
1 pkt taco seasoning
2 cups shredded Mexican cheese
shredded lettuce, sour cream, chopped tomato, taco sauce for topping

Directions:
1. Cook ground beef and onions; drain.
2. Add taco seasoning and 1/4 cup water; simmer for 5 minutes.
3. Lay crushed Dorito chips in bottom of 13×9 pan.
4. Spoon meat mixture evenly over top.
5. Top with shredded cheese.
6. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.
7. Top with lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, and taco sauce.

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I cannot wait to make this again. And one of the best parts is how much I was able to make for the price. Normally when I make tacos I have to use at least 3 lbs of ground beef. This recipe only used 1 lb! That’s a huge amount of money saved! Give this one a try, you will not be sorry!

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5 Tips For Easy Meal Planning

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I’m a big fan of meal planning. I’ve been able to cut our monthly grocery bill in half by dedicated meal planning. I do my meal planning every week now. I toyed with doing it monthly but for some reason it was harder to stick to so I went back to weekly. 

1. Make a list. Or two. I have a list of our family favorite meals and a second list of meals that I want to try out. I generally attempt to include one new meal every week. Some of our current family favorite dinners started out on the new dinner list. 

2. Know what you have. I don’t overbuy as a general rule so it’s easier to know what I have on hand in the pantries, fridges, and freezers. When I start my weekly meal plan I check to see what I have first and choose dinners that use those ingredients if I can. 

3. Be flexible. I usually don’t assign dinners to specific nights. I’m a rebel and if I see that I’m scheduled to make spaghetti on Thursday then I automatically want pizza. Ha! So I just choose the meals in no specific order. The only exception would be nights that I need to use my crockpot because of sports or activities. 

4. Keep easy dinners on hand. I always keep the ingredients for a couple of easy, fast dinners on hand for those nights that just go wrong and the meal plan flies out the window. 

5. Use a recipe app. I use a free app called OrganizEat and it’s amazing. I have all my dinner recipes organized into categories and I reference this app when I do my meal plan. It literally takes me 10 minutes to do my weekly meal plan. 

Meal planning doesn’t have to be a chore or a pain. It can be so easy and extremely helpful, especially if you’re on a tight budget like we always seem to be. The kids are happy because their favorite dinners make it into the meal plan and Matt is happy because we’re not spending money eating out. 

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Ultimate Baked Chicken Taco Nachos

My kids love anything remotely Mexican for dinner in this house. They are always asking for nachos and I finally made some delicious ones awhile back. Tyler had a big group of friends over and they were looking for something to nosh on while they watched a basketball game. I had all the ingredients on hand so I tossed together a big pan of Chicken Taco Nachos. They were so good! 

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Ingredients:
1 bag tortilla chips
2-3 cups chicken, cooked and shredded
1 packet taco seasoning
1 bottle taco sauce
2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
Black olives, chopped tomatoes, sour cream for topping

Directions:
1. Line a baking dish with foil sprayed with cooking spray.
2. Spread out tortilla chips on foil.
3. In small bowl, combine cooked chicken with taco seasoning and 3 Tbsp water. Add 2 Tbsp taco sauce and mix well.
4. Spoon chicken mixture over top of tortilla chips.
5. Spread black beans on top of chicken.
6. Cover with shredded cheese.
7. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.
8. Serve with sour cream, tomatoes, olives, and more taco sauce.

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The guys devoured this. I had to make a second pan for everyone else because the first pan was gone so fast. I will definitely be making this one again- it’ll be great in the summer time!

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Easy Cheesy Chicken Quesadillas

I am always searching for new ideas for fast weeknight dinners that my kids will eat without whining and this one is a winner for sure! I literally threw this together with leftover taco chicken and ingredients I had in the pantry and fridge. And the kids ate it without complaint and even asked for seconds! That’s a win, y’all. 

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Ingredients:
3-4 chicken breasts
1 pkt taco seasoning
8oz shredded Mexican blend cheese
1 pkg flour tortillas
Toppings: Sour Cream, Guacamole, Pico de Gallo

Directions:
1. Cook chicken breasts in crockpot with 4 cups of water on High for 4 hours.
2. Shred chicken; in large bowl combine chicken, taco seasoning, 1/4 cup water, and shredded cheese.
3. Lightly butter one side of 2 tortillas.
4. Lay buttered side down in heated skillet, top with enough chicken mixture to cover, and lay non-buttered side of second tortilla down on top of chicken mix.
5. Cook and flip until both sides are crispy and browned.
6. Serve with toppings of choice.

I used my grilled cheese maker to brown the tortillas because I’m lazy and it was super fast on a busy night. It took maybe 5 minutes to make these in the grilled cheese maker. I really love that thing. It’s probably the most used small appliance in my kitchen after the coffee maker. Because let’s be real. Coffee=life in this house. I will definitely be making this again!

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