Penny Pinching Peach


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You Can Have Your Cheese and Tomato Sauce, Too, Pasta Casserole!

pasta casserole image 1

Don’t want to choose between a tomato or cheese sauce for your pasta dinner? Neither did I!

I didn’t know any recipes that had both separately like I wanted them, so I made up this recipe using ingredients I had on hand. It was so delicious, my husband said he liked it better than Olive Garden! If you knew my husband’s opinion of Olive Garden (which I have never tried, btw) that is high praise!
I made this delicious pasta dish a second time, and decided to take photos and write it up so y’all can get in on this yummy goodness, too! It’s really easy to throw together, and we are able to eat two filling meals out of just one casserole. It would also freeze well. I haven’t done it with this particular casserole yet, but this type always seems to do well frozen.
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You Can Have Your Cheese and Tomato Sauce, Too, Pasta Casserole!

pasta casserole image 2

1 lb. ground beef
1 box bow tie or rotini pasta
1 bag frozen spinach
2 cups shredded mozzarella
  • Preheat oven to 400 F.
  • Start the ground beef browning in a skillet and the pasta boiling in a pot.
  • Cook spinach according to directions on package.
  • Spray a 13 x 9 Inch Pan like this one I love with cooking spray.
  • While all of that is cooking, get two large bowls like the bigger ones in this Mixing Bowl Set and dump the tomato sauce in one and the cheese sauce in the other.
  • Once cooked, mix the ground into the tomato sauce and the pasta & spinach into the cheese sauce.
  • Layer half of the cheese mixture in the bottom of the pan, half of the tomato mixture on top of that and sprinkle Parmesan and half of the mozzarella on top of that.
  • Repeat.
  • Put it all in the oven and bake at 400º F for 30 minutes.

This is one of my family’s favorite meals already!

Seriously, my family loves this recipe so much! It’s even simpler than it sounds. You can easily get it all together in just over the time it takes to boil noodles.
As far as serving suggestions go, I like to serve it with garlic bread of some kind. It works as a one pan meal or you can serve it with more veggies in the form of a salad, green beans, corn on the cob, broccoli or anything else that tickles your taste buds.
For more great dinner ideas, check out my Weeknight Dinners and 10 Family Friendly Crockpot Meals!

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Grandma’s Sunday Special Ritz Cracker Chicken

A Family Favorite!

A Family Favorite!

This is a treasured family recipe, dating back at least to my great-grandma. My mom told stories of going every Sunday to her grandma’s house for this Ritz cracker chicken and a good time with her huge, close-knit clan of kinfolks. This was one of her stand-by meals for our family growing up, and one we looked forward to every time. When I was dating my now-husband, I fixed this chicken for him. He had a fit over it, and insisted on taking me to his parents’ house and having me fix it for him. Maybe it brought on a proposal? 😉 He requests it from time to time, and my little Princess Peach and her baby brother are already in love with what she also calls Grandma’s Special Ritz Cracker Chicken. She thinks it is a “recipe from Heaven”, though, because it is so yummy and she knows it is a recipe I learned from her Grandma, whom she never met ’cause she went to live in Heaven before Princess Peach was born. This recipe has so many good memories attached to it for me, in addition to being delicious! I’m happy to share it with you, and hope you can make memories with your own family while feeding them this scrumptious chicken treat.

We don’t always make this with chicken breast, for the record. You can use any pieces you want. We just like breast meat better in our house, so I buy huge packs when we find it on sale. I also frequently add chicken liver, made the same way, in with our chicken breast. It stretches the budget, and  the hubby and I love liver. I usually serve this chicken with mashed taters and either green beans, corn, baked beans or mac & cheese, but it would go well with just about anything. It is truly that good! 🙂

With no further ado…

Grandma's Sunday Special Ritz Cracker Chicken

Grandma’s Sunday Special Ritz Cracker Chicken

♥Grandma’s Sunday Special Ritz Cracker Chicken

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into large strips

1 sleeve Ritz crackers, crushed

1 stick butter, melted

1/4 tsp. black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Mix crushed Ritz crackers, melted butter and black pepper until all is moistened.

Coat each piece of chicken well with the Ritz cracker mixture, and place in medium sized baking pan.

 Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until cooked through and lightly browned.

Enjoy!

She was enjoying her chicken and wouldn't stop to pose. :)

She was enjoying her chicken and wouldn’t stop to pose. 🙂

This recipe doubles well, and I usually do at least double the recipe so we can eat it

Chewing his chicken with a cheesy grin

Chewing his chicken with a cheesy grin

multiple times. You just have to cook it a few minutes longer for the extra chicken. The pan shown is about double the recipe, for reference. We love it so much that we’re always happy to eat the leftovers the next day!

No coupons this week, but this is a super frugal main dish.

So, now that I’ve shared one of my favorite family recipes with you, what’s a dish your family has long term ties with? If you don’t have a recipe like that, what dish do you fix that appears to have the potential to become “Grandma’s special recipe” for your own future generations?

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