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Southern Style Baked Macaroni & Cheese

My kids are huge lovers of macaroni and cheese. HUGE. And it cannot be the boxed Kraft Macaroni and Cheese with the powder cheese. Oh no. These spoiled kids are too good for powdered cheese. They want the real deal. I experimented with different recipes and ingredients for years until I finally hit on to the perfect combination. My kids request this macaroni and cheese at least twice a week. Don’t worry, I don’t make it for them twice a week. I make it twice a month and I make 2 pans at a time because they gobble this up like hungry vultures. This is a really versatile macaroni recipe. Sometimes I add ham, other times I add sausage, or shrimp…or just plain macaroni as a side dish when we grill burgers and brats! 

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Ingredients:
1 box elbow noodles
8 oz cottage cheese
12 oz sour cream
1 cup shredded Pepper Jack cheese*
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Directions:
1. Boil noodles as directed on package; drain.
2. In baking dish sprayed with cooking spray, combine cooked noodles, cottage cheese, sour cream, shredded Pepper Jack cheese and 1 1/2 cups of sharp cheddar cheese.
3. Optional: Add sliced sausage, diced ham, or shredded chicken.
4. Top with remaining sharp cheddar cheese.
5. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

*My family likes a little spice so I use Pepper Jack cheese. You can substitute Colby Jack if you’d prefer. I’ve made it both ways and it’s equally delicious!

This is the dish I typically make whenever we go to any pot lucks or cookouts. It’s always a crowd pleaser and it makes a bunch. 

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Easy BBQ Bacon Cheesy Chicken Sliders

Sliders are one of my favorite things to make during the Spring and Summer and during Football season. I love all the options I have with sliders. Any kind of meat, different cheeses, toppings….it’s fabulous. My kids would eat sliders every single night if I made them. This recipe is one of our favorites. It’s so simple but the flavors just explode in  your mouth. I make this at least twice a month, sometimes even more when the kids request it.

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Ingredients:
3-4 chicken breasts
1 bottle favorite BBQ sauce
1 packet dry ranch dressing mix
1 bottle ranch dressing
6 slices favorite cheese
2 cups bacon, cooked and crumbled

Direction:
1. Place chicken in bottom of crockpot and add 4 cups of water, enough to cover.
2. Cook on High for 4 hours.
3. Shred chicken into mixing bowl, add half bottle of BBQ sauce and dry ranch dressing packet; combine well.*
4. Slice sliders in half and lay bottom half in a baking pan sprayed with cooking spray.
5. Spoon BBQ chicken mixture over top.
6. Spread bacon over chicken and top with 6 slices of cheese.
7. Add a bit of ranch dressing on top of cheese.
8. Cover with the top half of the slider rolls.
9. Brush top of slider rolls with a bit of melted butter.
10. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

Seriously, how easy is that for a delicious home cooked meal? I serve it with either french fries or pasta salad on the side. We never have leftovers- Tyler could eat the entire pan by himself if I turned my back for longer than 30 seconds! 

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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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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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