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Freezer Friendly Chicken Spaghetti

By Polly Conner

Chicken spaghetti is an easy, cheesy, make-it-again-soon-please, casserole that your whole family will love. We teach you how to make it fresh AND how to prep it to be a freezer meal. A great meal for groups of people too!

Freezer friendly chicken spaghetti

Chicken Casserole: A Family Favorite Dinner

When I made this chicken spaghetti recipe for the first time last week, my husband ate it for about 5 meals in a row and proceeded to ask me to make it again the next week.

My kids eagerly scarfed it down as well. Tonight’s batch ended up on about every area of exposed skin on my 18 month old, but I take that as a sign he liked it. Needless to say, this recipe is a keeper!

While this chicken casserole recipe is baked in a 9×13 dish, I oftentimes split it into two, 8×8 dishes and freeze one for later. More on that soon though!

Chicken spaghetti with a side salad

Short Video Tutorial for Making Chicken Spaghetti

How to Make Chicken Spaghetti

Here is what you’ll need:

Ingredients for chicken spaghetti

Ingredients ready? Let’s do this.

Cook the pasta according to the package instructions, until al dente (slightly undercooked). Undercooking it keeps it from getting mushy while baking. This is especially important to do if you are going to make this a freezer meal.

While that pasta is cooking is a great time to sautee those chopped veggies. Multitasking is your friend for this recipe.

In a large mixing bowl, gently stir together the cooked pasta, cream of mushroom soup, chicken broth, chicken, veggies and seasoning.

Now please take note of this: Add in only 1 1/2 cups of the cheese. I always get moving too fast and add it ALL in at this point. You need some to sprinkle over the top so restrain yourself!

Chicken spaghetti being prepared in a mixing bowl

Here it is all mixed up. Yum. Or yuck. Not sure.

Either split it up between two 8×8 dishes or put it all in one 9×13 dish. Top with remaining cheese. Assuming you listened to my warning above about not mixing in all of the cheese, that is.

Chicken spaghetti prepped for the freezer

How to Freeze Chicken Spaghetti

Freeze for Later: Here’s the fun part: If you have split it into two 8×8 dishes, you’ve just made two dinners! To freeze one of the 8×8 Chicken Spaghetti portions, simply wrap it tightly or place a lid (if you have one) on your baking dish. (Here are the freezing containers we use and recommend for recipes like this.) You can freeze it for 4+ months! Even longer if you’ve packaged it well.

Prepare From Frozen: Place frozen casserole into the fridge and let thaw for 24+ hours. Follow step 5!

Chicken spaghetti on a white plate with green salad

What to Serve with Chicken Spaghetti

Here are some recipe ideas that would go well with your Chicken Spaghetti:

Done and done.

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Chicken Spaghetti

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 50 mins
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: Freezer Meal
  • Method: Casserole
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This freezer-friendly Chicken Spaghetti Casserole will keep your family coming back for more deliciousness. 


Ingredients

  • 1 pound whole wheat pasta
  • Two (10 and 3/4-ounce) cans organic cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 23 chicken breasts, fully cooked and chopped or shredded (roughly 3 cups)
  • 1/2 cup finely diced green bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup finely diced red bell pepper
  • 1 small or medium onion, finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt, such as Lawry’s Seasoned Salt or use this DIY recipe
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar, divided

Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9×13 inch casserole dish or two 8×8 dishes with cooking spray.
  2. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions, until al dente (slightly undercooked). When the pasta is done, drain it in a colander over the sink.
  3. While pasta is cooking, saute the bell peppers & onions in a bit of olive oil until they begin to soften (about 4-5 minutes).
  4. In a large mixing bowl, gently stir together the cooked pasta with the cream of mushroom soup, chicken broth, chicken, sauteed veggies, seasoned salt, cayenne, and 1 1/2 cups of the cheese. Sprinkle it all with salt and pepper, to your preference.
  5. Place the mixture in the dish (or dishes) and top with the remaining 1 cup of cheese. (Freezing instructions begin here.)
  6. Bake until bubbly around the edges, about 40-45 minutes. (If the cheese on top starts to get too dark, cover with foil.)

Freeze For Later: Follow steps 1-5 (do not bake). Cover the casserole dishes with a few layers of plastic wrap and foil. Squeeze out any excess air and freeze.

Prepare From Frozen: Thaw. (Here are three safe ways to thaw freezer meals.) Follow step 6. If it’s still slightly frozen in the middle, you’ll just have to cook it longer than the recipe calls for or defrost a bit in the microwave before baking. Cover it with foil if the top gets too brown in the oven.


Notes

We get our meat from ButcherBox*. The chicken is organic, curated from small, trusted farms, and absolutely delicious. We highly recommend this service to source all your healthy meat, from grass-fed beef to uncured bacon, and have used it for years ourselves. *Disclaimer: We are an affiliate of ButcherBox.

Freezer friendly chicken spaghetti in a white baking dish

Beefy Baked Ravioli: An Easy Fake-Out Lasagna

By Rachel Tiemeyer

This fake-out lasagna is a dinnertime favorite in my home. Beefy Baked Ravioli is very easy to make too! It’s super filling and makes a great beef freezer meal. My kids love it.

Beef baked ravioli

Some affiliate links included.

Since my grass-fed, organic beef was delivered a few weeks ago, I’ve been thumbing through some “oldies but goodies” beef recipes and came upon Beefy Baked Ravioli. This recipe is one that my freezer club–that’s my small group of friends who cook and swap healthy freezer meals for each other once a month–has been making for years. I don’t know a man, woman or child alive who wouldn’t like this lasagna of sorts.

Beefy Baked Ravioli in a baking dish

What Makes Beefy Baked Ravioli a Winner Dinner

There are several things I think you’ll love about this recipe, besides that it’s comfort food at its best…

1 – Using the cheese ravioli enables you to skip the ricotta cheese/egg mixture step which saves time and mess. I buy the fresh or dried cheese ravioli at Trader Joe’s because there are no additives or preservatives unlike many of the frozen varieties. The ingredients are simple, pantry ingredients that you likely already have.

Ingredients for Beefy Baked Ravioli in  while bowls

2 – You can easily transform Beefy Baked Ravioli into a cheaper, easier, and vegetarian meal by leaving out the meat and adding in some chopped spinach, thus making it similar to my Spinach Lasagna Roll-Ups. You might need to rename it, though. 🙂

3 – It makes a great freezer meal!! That means it’s easy to make in bulk for your own family or to share with a friend, neighbor, or new mom who could benefit from a meal.

How to Make Beefy Baked Ravioli a Freezer Meal

Turning this recipe into a freezer meal is a cinch. Simple follow the cooking instructions right up until the point you bake it but STOP. DON’T BAKE IT! Wrap it tightly and freeze it for up to 6 months (even longer if you are able to package it correctly.) When you want to make it, use one of our safe thawing instructions to prepare it.

It may have to thaw in the fridge for 24-48 hours. Baking time may take longer because it will be so cold, so factor in another 20-30 minutes to the cooking timeBoom, you now have a fabulous ground beef freezer meal ready to roll on a busy night.

How to Assemble Beefy Baked Ravioli

Like to see things before you do them? Here is a layout of the steps you’ll be doing to make this yummy dinner.

Step by step images for beefy baked ravioli

Here’s a shot of our Beefy Baked Ravioli after we devoured most of it for dinner…

What Storage Container to Freeze Beefy Baked Ravioli In

We recommend using a freezer-friendly, resealable glass container or dish. While it may be easier to buy the disposable plastic containers, it really makes sense to stock up on some quality, safe dishes that you can bake AND store in. After searching long and hard, here are the freezer storage containers we recommend. We both have collected a huge stash of them over the years!

Freezer containers for beefy baked ravioli

A Short Video on How to Make Beefy Baked Ravioli

Make life simpler with this easy, fake-out lasagna tonight. Your family will thank you for this one.

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Baked Beef Ravioli Recipe: An Easy Fake-Out Lasagna

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 60 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 810 servings 1x
  • Category: Pasta
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: Italian

Description

This fake-out lasagna is a dinner time favorite in my home. Very easy to make, super filling and is freezer friendly. My kids love this meal!


Ingredients

  • 25 ounces fresh or frozen cheese ravioli
  • olive oil or avocado oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 23 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lb lean ground beef (preferably grass-fed, organic)
  • 1/2 lb pork sausage (here’s where we get ours from)
  • 2 (24-28 ounce) jars marinara sauce (or 6 cups Homemade Marinara Sauce)
  • 1 1/22 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 1/22 cups shredded Italian mix cheese (or more shredded mozzarella)
  • grated Parmesan cheese, optional for serving

*Note: Our original recipe called for 1 can (15 ounce) crushed Italian tomatoes, but in further tests we found it to be too saucy. We removed this ingredient.


Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. If using frozen ravioli, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the ravioli according to package instructions, just until al dente. (Note: If using fresh ravioli from the refrigerator section, skip this step. No need to cook it in advance.) 
  2. While the ravioli cooks, preheat oven to 375°F. Spray a 9×13 inch pan (or two 8×8 inch pans) with cooking spray.
  3. Drain the ravioli in a colander, gently toss with a little oil to keep from sticking, and set aside.
  4. In large skillet over medium-high heat, saute onions until soft, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and stir for 1 minute but don’t let it burn. Next, add beef and sausage to the onion mixture and turn up the heat to medium-high. Cook until browned and no longer pink, breaking it up with a wooden spoon as it cooks. Drain off the grease, then stir in the sauce and remove from heat.
  5. In the baking dish(es), spread a thin layer of the meat sauce into the bottom. Arrange a layer of half the ravioli over the sauce. Sprinkle about 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese and about 1 cup of the Italian cheese over the ravioli. Pour half of the remaining sauce over the cheese and spread it with the back of a spoon. Repeat layers, ending with the rest of the sauce on top. (Freezing instructions begin here.)
  6. Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake for 45 minutes until hot throughout. Take foil off and bake about 15 minutes more or until bubbly at edges.
  7. Let rest for about 10 minutes before slicing. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese before serving.

Freeze For Later:

Prepare the casserole through Step 5, but do not bake. Wrap the unbaked casserole(s) tightly with plastic wrap and foil before putting in the freezer, making sure to squeeze out any excess air.

Prepare From Frozen:

Thaw in the fridge (may take up to 48 hours) or thaw in the microwave on defrost setting. Bake according to instructions, beginning with Step 6.

If cooking directly from frozen state, baking time will increase.

A bite of beefy baked ravioli

Looking for more ground beef recipes?

Check out our Top 10 Ground Beef Freezer Meals!

Ground Beef Freezer Meals

*Posts may contain affiliate links. If you purchase a product through an affiliate link, your costs will be the same but Thriving Home will receive a small commission. This helps cover some of the costs for this site. We appreciate your support!

Honey Garlic Skillet Shrimp {Freezer Meal}

By Polly Conner
This honey garlic soy shrimp marinade makes a great healthy dinner. I love the sweet savory flavor and that the shrimp can be used in a variety of ways. This recipe also includes how to make a freezer friendly version! So, if you're looking for a healthy freezer meal, look no further.

Through all the recipe testing for our cookbook, I’m learning that I instantly gravitate towards any sweet-savory flavored recipe. Any combination of a honey-soy-garlic marinade is pretty much going to be a win in my book. So it comes as no surprise that this shrimp recipe received a big thumbs up in my opinion. It’s pretty easy to make too. 

This honey garlic soy shrimp marinade makes a great healthy dinner. I love the sweet savory flavor and that the shrimp can be used in a variety of ways. This recipe also includes how to make a freezer friendly version! So, if you're looking for a healthy freezer meal, look no further.

Start by whisking together a simple marinade of soy, honey, minced garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil.

This honey garlic soy shrimp marinade makes a great healthy dinner. I love the sweet savory flavor and that the shrimp can be used in a variety of ways. This recipe also includes how to make a freezer friendly version! So, if you're looking for a healthy freezer meal, look no further.

Pour it over your shrimp in a plastic bag or bowl. 

This honey garlic soy shrimp marinade makes a great healthy dinner. I love the sweet savory flavor and that the shrimp can be used in a variety of ways. This recipe also includes how to make a freezer friendly version! So, if you're looking for a healthy freezer meal, look no further.

Let those flavors infuse for 20-30 minutes in the fridge.

This honey garlic soy shrimp marinade makes a great healthy dinner. I love the sweet savory flavor and that the shrimp can be used in a variety of ways. This recipe also includes how to make a freezer friendly version! So, if you're looking for a healthy freezer meal, look no further.

Preheat a saute pan to medium-high heat. Remove the shrimp from the marinade and toss them in the hot pan. Cook for about 1-2 minutes on each side until shrimp is opaque all the way through.

This honey garlic soy shrimp marinade makes a great healthy dinner. I love the sweet savory flavor and that the shrimp can be used in a variety of ways. This recipe also includes how to make a freezer friendly version! So, if you're looking for a healthy freezer meal, look no further.

This shrimp is super versatile. You could toss it in some pasta or whip up some brown rice (which is what I did).

This honey garlic soy shrimp marinade makes a great healthy dinner. I love the sweet savory flavor and that the shrimp can be used in a variety of ways. This recipe also includes how to make a freezer friendly version! So, if you're looking for a healthy freezer meal, look no further.

Yummo!

This honey garlic soy shrimp marinade makes a great healthy dinner. I love the sweet savory flavor and that the shrimp can be used in a variety of ways. This recipe also includes how to make a freezer friendly version! So, if you're looking for a healthy freezer meal, look no further.
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Honey Garlic Shrimp {Freezer Friendly}

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 35 minutes
  • Cook Time: 4 minutes
  • Total Time: 11 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Seafood
  • Method: Stove top
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This honey garlic soy shrimp marinade makes a great healthy dinner. I love the sweet savory flavor and that the shrimp can be used in a variety of ways. This recipe also includes how to make a freezer friendly version!


Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound of raw, peeled, deveined shrimp

Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. To a medium-sized mixing bowl (or gallon-sized freezer bag), mix together the oil, soy sauce, honey, pepper, and garlic. (Freezing instructions begin here.)
  2. Add the shrimp to the marinade and toss to coat. Cover/seal and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes.
  3. In a large skillet, heat 1-2 teaspoons of oil over medium-high heat until it’s shimmery.
  4. Remove shrimp from the marinade* using tongs or a slotted spoon and add them to the skillet in a single layer. Cook for 1-2 minutes on each side or until shrimp is opaque/pink. 

Freeze For Later: In a gallon-sized freezer bag, mix together the oil, soy sauce, honey, pepper, and garlic. Freeze it alongside the bag of shrimp. (Do not add the shrimp to the marinade because it will make the shrimp mushy).

Prepare From Frozen: Thaw the marinade and shrimp overnight in the refrigerator. Drain the shrimp in a colander over the sink and pat dry. Follow Steps 2-4.


Notes

*What To Do With the Marinade: Either discard the used marinade OR boil it in a small pot for a few minutes. After boiling the marinade is safe to use as a sauce and is delicious over shrimp, rice, and stir-fried veggies.

Light and Easy Chicken Cacciatore {Freezer Meal}

By Rachel Tiemeyer

Crispy chicken bites atop a tomato-based, veggie-rich sauce are served over whole grain pasta. This healthy and satisfying classic Italian dish tastes like it’s been simmering away all day long.

How can something so easy be so complex-tasting? This dish is what our tastebuds need--flavor, texture, and a beautiful dish to boot.

Although this recipe was a little out of my comfort zone, my husband and I (and my neighbor friend, Kelley, who is my trusted taste-tester) really enjoyed this Light and Easy Chicken Cacciatore. Now it is the week after holiday binge eating, so I feel obligated to tell you that this recipe is low fat and loaded with veggies. But what I really want to tell you…

…is about the tomato-based, vegetable-rich sauce. Oh my. It reduces down and develops this deep rustic Italian flavor while it simmers away. How can something so easy be so complex-tasting? Look, friends, if we’re going to eat healthfully in the New Year, this dish is what our tastebuds need–flavor, texture, and a beautiful dish to boot. 

How can something so easy be so complex-tasting? This dish is what our tastebuds need--flavor, texture, and a beautiful dish to boot.

My updated twist on this classic includes adding in browned chicken breast bites at the end, assuring the chicken doesn’t overcook (which was my mistake the first time around!) and still retains its crispy texture. Serve over whole grain pasta, brown rice, or quinoa for a healthy, comforting dinner. Don’t forget to add a glass of good red wine for an added “heart healthy” boost.

How can something so easy be so complex-tasting? This dish is what our tastebuds need--flavor, texture, and a beautiful dish to boot.

Bonus: The leftovers are great the next day or to freeze for later.

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Light and Easy Chicken Cacciatore: How can something so easy be so complex-tasting? Look, friends, if we're going to eat healthfully in the New Year, this dish is what our tastebuds need--flavor, texture, and a beautiful dish to

Light and Easy Chicken Cacciatore

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Pasta
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian

Description

Crispy chicken bites atop a tomato-based, veggie-rich sauce are served over whole grain pasta. This healthy and satisfying classic Italian dish tastes like it’s been simmering away all day long.


Ingredients

  • 4 (about 2 lbs) chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white whole wheat or unbleached flour
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 large celery stalks, sliced
  • 8 ounces white button mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine (or dry white wine or chicken broth)
  • 1 (28 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes, juice and all
  • Cooked pasta, rice, or quinoa, for serving
  • Optional: freshly grated Parmesan cheese, fresh chopped Italian parsley

Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. Season chicken pieces lightly with salt and pepper. Toss with a little olive oil to coat.
  2. Add whole wheat flour to a gallon-sized zip top bag. Add chicken pieces to the bag, close, and shake until pieces are coated.
  3. Sauté chicken in 1-2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat until cooked through and browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
  4. Turn heat down to medium and swirl 1 tablespoon olive oil in pan. Add peppers, onion, celery, mushrooms, and garlic, and sauté until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Season vegetables with red pepper flakes, dried oregano, dried basil, salt and pepper (to taste) while they are cooking.
  5. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of flour over the vegetables and stir and cook for 1-2 minutes. (Note: You can omit this step, but the sauce will be thinner.) Add wine and tomatoes to vegetable mixture. Bring to a boil, scraping up any bits off the bottom of the pan, and reduce to simmer.
  6. Simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced some and smells fragrant. Taste and adjust seasoning. (Freezing instructions begin here.)
  7. Add chicken pieces back into the sauce (or place them on top of pasta and add sauce over the top on each individual plate).
  8. Serve over whole grain pasta or brown rice with some fresh Parmesan cheese and fresh chopped Italian parsley on top.

Freeze For Later: Follow steps 1-6. Let sauce cool, then stir in the chicken. Place in a freezer bag or container, making sure to squeeze out any air and seal tightly. Label and freeze for up to 3 months. Prepare From Frozen: Thaw the sauce and chicken overnight in the refrigerator. Warm in a medium saucepan over low heat on the stovetop, stirring regularly. Serve as directed in step 8.

 

Mediterranean Shrimp {Freezer Meal}

By Polly Conner

This freezer-friendly shrimp will make even the most reluctant seafood eaters happy! It's a fun one to serve for family dinner or as a party appetizer. #freezermeal #realfood

Disclaimer: This recipe was created in partnership with Frigidaire. But the opinions are all ours!

I love the versatility of this Mediterranean Shrimp recipe. It takes minutes to make, is freezer-friendly and is also kid-friendly. The marinade flavor is wonderful and there are several ways you can cook the shrimp.

One option of making Mediterranean Shrimp is throwing the shrimp on skewers (don’t they look pretty?). Broil in the oven or grill them in just minutes this way. If you don’t have skewers on hand, you can also sauté the shrimp in a skillet. Shrimp cooks very quickly so it’s important not to overcook it or it can get tough.

This freezer-friendly shrimp will make even the most reluctant seafood eaters happy! It's a fun one to serve for family dinner or as a party appetizer. #freezermeal #realfood

After you’ve cooked the shrimp, throw it on some brown rice or whole wheat pasta topped with some feta for a delicious, healthy dinner.

Freezer Friendly Mediterranean Shrimp. Even the most reluctant seafood eaters will enjoy this succulent lemony shrimp. Broiling for only a few minutes on each side creates a crisp exterior while maintaining a juicy interior. The skewers and beautiful garnishes make this easy dish a fun one to serve for family dinner or as a party appetizer.

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Mediterranean Shrimp {Freezer Meal}

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Seafood
  • Method: Broil
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Even the most reluctant seafood eaters will enjoy this succulent lemony shrimp. Broiling for only a few minutes on each side creates a crisp exterior while maintaining a juicy interior. The skewers and beautiful garnishes make this easy dish a fun one to serve for family dinner or as a party appetizer.


Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (juice of about 1 1/2 lemons)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic (23 garlic cloves, minced)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 pound raw deveined large (16/20 count) shrimp (peeled or shell on)
  • Fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish
  • Lemon wedges, for garnish
  • Crumbled feta cheese, for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, combine all marinade ingredients, from olive oil through dried basil.
  2. Pat dry the shrimp with paper towels. Then add to the marinade and toss. Set in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to marinate. Stir occasionally.
  3. Preheat oven broiler. Line a baking sheet with foil for easy cleanup.
  4. Optional: Thread four or five shrimp on each skewer. Set shrimp on baking sheet. Discard the rest of the marinade (or boil marinade and use as sauce per serving instructions below.)
  5. Broil shrimp for 2 minutes on the first side and then flip the shrimp. Broil for another 2 minutes on the second side. Shrimp is done when it is pink. Do not overcook.
  6. Garnish shrimp with some minced parsley, a squeeze of lemon, and some crumbled feta. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Serving Suggestion:

  1. Boil the leftover marinade in small pot on the stovetop for 4-5 minutes and then pour over shrimp and pasta or rice. Then top with parsley, lemon, and feta.

Notes

Freezer Meal Instructions:
To Freeze:
Combine the ingredients for the marinade in a ziptop bag. Then rinse, pat dry, and skewer the shrimp, if desired. Place skewers or shrimp in a separate freezer bag. Seal the bags well and freeze.
To Prepare:
When ready to cook, submerge sealed freezer bags in cold water until the shrimp is mostly thawed (about 15 minutes). Then cook and serve according to directions, starting with marinating the shrimp in the refrigerator.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/4 pound of shrimp

Healthy Homemade Chef Boyardee Pasta

By Rachel Tiemeyer

Skip the canned junk and make this delicious and nutritious pasta dish for your family instead. So much sneaky nutrition in this one-pot wonder!

Healthy Homemade Chef Boyardee Pasta: Skip the canned junk and make this delicious and nutritious pasta dish for your family instead.

Quick vote: What was your canned Chef Boyardee pasta of choice as a kid?

a. Spaghetti and Meatballs

b. Beefaroni

c. Beef or Cheese Ravioli

Me? I was a Beef Ravioli kid all the way. But, alas, I know too much these days about what goes into a canned product like that to enjoy it, much to my husband’s chagrin sometimes.

If you want to know more about what’s in this kid favorite, you might check out this post. Or take my word for it and make something that tastes far better and is full of good-for-you, recognizable ingredients. This Healthy Homemade Chef Boyardee Pasta has the same saucy deliciousness and comforting pasta that we grew up on, but it knocks the socks off the canned junk.

With the use of the blender, you’ll remove any noticeable vegetable chunks for keen little eyes and also easily whip up this flavor-rich pasta sauce. You can certainly add in some browned ground beef after blending the sauce, if your family prefers a meaty sauce. But, I loved the texture as is. The end result is somewhere between a plate of pasta and a bowl of tomato soup with pasta in it.

Voila! I give you Healthy Homemade Chef Boyardee Pasta.

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Healthy Homemade Chef Boyardee Pasta: Skip the canned junk and make this delicious and nutritious pasta dish for your family instead.

Homemade Chef Boyardee Pasta

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 46 servings 1x
  • Category: Pasta
  • Method: Stove top
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Skip the canned junk and make this delicious and nutritious pasta dish for your family instead. So much sneaky nutrition in this one-pot wonder!


Ingredients

  • 8 cups (or 2 cartons) organic chicken broth
  • 1 (28 ounce) can organic tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 6 ounces of whole wheat pasta, like rotini, elbows or broken up lasagna noodles
  • Optional: shredded Parmesan cheese or mozzarella cheese

Instructions

  1. Stir together all ingredients EXCEPT the pasta in a large pot. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, stirring occasionally for 10-15 minutes, or until carrots and onions are softened and sauce has reduced some. Remove the bay leaf.
  2. Using an immersion blender or carefully spooning mixture into blender, blend sauce until smooth. Note: Be sure to fit lid tightly and hold down with a kitchen towel, if using an upright blender.) Return sauce to the pot. Taste and season and add more salt and pepper, as needed.
  3. Bring sauce up to a simmer again. Stir in the pasta. Simmer and stir occasionally until pasta is tender, usually about 8-10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning again.
  4. Serve warm in a bowl with shredded Parmesan or mozzarella on top.

Light & Easy Penne Rosa Pasta: 15 Minute One-Pot Dinner

By Rachel Tiemeyer

This four-ingredient pasta dish is so simple to make and has fantastic flavor. Garnish it with some basil and parmesan cheese for a meal you're sure to love.

Many nights of the week, I’m looking for a meal that I can pull together in just minutes and that doesn’t dirty up the kitchen. Penne Rosa Pasta fits the bill! Plus, this cheesy and filling pasta dish is also light and tasty! I like to steam some broccoli florets in a colander over the boiling pasta for a fast and healthy side. You’ll have this meal on the table in about 15 minutes. Score.

light and easy penne rosa pasta

This four-ingredient pasta dish is so simple to make and has fantastic flavor. Garnish it with some basil and parmesan cheese for a meal you're sure to love.

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Penne Rosa Pasta

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This four-ingredient pasta dish is so simple to make and has fantastic flavor. Garnish it with some basil and parmesan cheese for a meal you’re sure to love.


Ingredients

  • 12 ounces whole wheat penne pasta
  • 2 cups marinara (either homemade or a good store-bought one)
  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese (low fat works)
  • 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt (fat-free works)
  • Optional garnishes: chopped fresh parsley and/or basil, freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Cook penne pasta according to directions. Drain pasta.
  2. Combine hot pasta with marinara, cream cheese, and yogurt in the pot. Stir over low heat until cheese is melted.
  3. Serve warm with chopped parsley or basil and/or shredded Parmesan cheese on top.

Chicken Pesto Pasta

By Rachel Tiemeyer

Chicken Pesto Pasta

Basil. If there’s one thing I think is worth planting in your garden, a mulch bed or a pot, basil is it. I use it on pizzas, pasta dishes, in marinades, but most importantly in PESTO. In fact, my husband calls pesto my other lover. For those who have the pesto-loving gene, you know the robust and addicting flavor. Maybe, like me, you salivate just at the name of your lover pesto.

Now, parents, let’s discuss kids and pesto for a minute. Reality is that pesto is green. And green foods are automatically suspect to little people. Last week was one of the first times I’ve made it with my 3, 5, and 7-year-olds. Then I daringly offered green pasta to them for dinner. Oh, I’m crazy like that. Low and behold, though, Chicken Pesto Pasta was a great success with all but my pesto-repulsed (maybe just jealous?) husband. I shall not speak his name here.

If you want to get your kids to delve into the world of pesto, here’s how it worked in our house:

a) The kids helped me plant our garden. They’ve been an active part of watering our basil and other plants for a few months already this season. By gardening with me and my mom over the years, the children have felt ownership over our produce. And they have tried so many new foods as a result. It really does work.

b) I had my kiddos pick the basil and help me measure out all the ingredients. We also all taste-tested the pine nuts, which they actually liked. This is one of those other tricks you’ve probably heard a million times, but getting the kids to cook with you often results in an expanded palette.

c) We nicknamed the Chicken Pesto Pasta “Green Alien Pasta” and my kids thought it was hilarious. I’m not suggesting you trick your kids, but this just made the dinner fun.

Honestly, though, this simple Chicken Pesto Pasta recipe is delicious without all the fanfare. If your kids will give it one try, I think they’ll be hooked. And so will you.

One last point that you know I have to slip in is that pesto is one of the most nutrient-dense foods you can eat this summer. Healthy fats from the olive oil and pine nuts and antioxidants from the basil and garlic make pesto a winner. So eat up…in moderation!
Pesto is one of the most nutrient-dense foods you can eat. Healthy fats from the olive oil and pine nuts and antioxidants from the basil and garlic make this meal a winner.

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Chicken Pesto Pasta

Chicken Pesto Pasta

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: Pasta
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: Italian

Description

Pesto is one of the most nutrient-dense foods you can eat. Healthy fats from the olive oil and pine nuts and antioxidants from the basil and garlic make this meal a winner!


Ingredients

  • 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 pound whole wheat rotini pasta, cooked according to package directions
  • 2, seasoned and grilled chicken breasts, diced

Instructions

  1. Combine the basil, garlic, pine nuts and cheese in a food processor or high-speed blender and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add the oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  2. Toss the pesto with the cooked pasta and grilled, diced chicken. Top with more Parmesan cheese, if desired. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Creamy Citrus Pasta Recipe

By Polly Conner

While this pasta dish is warm and creamy, the citrus flavor makes it seem fresh and light. It is a flavorful dish that you'll love to serve up.

I seriously can’t believe it has taken me this long to share this citrus pasta recipe. After my friend Sara shared this dish with me that she found in a Rachel Ray cookbook, I’ve been making it for years. I’ve made a few tweaks, but it’s pretty close to the original. Its creamy sauce is full of flavor and has proven to be a hit with all ages.

I really like to serve it with roasted broccoli and wheat dinner rolls. It can be a great pasta dish for the summer, too. While it’s warm and creamy, the citrus flavor makes it seem fresh and light.

Give it a whirl if you are looking for a new recipe!

While this pasta dish is warm and creamy, the citrus flavor makes it seem fresh and light. It is a flavorful dish that you'll love to serve up.

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Creamy Citrus Pasta Recipe

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Pasta
  • Method: Stove top
  • Cuisine: Italian

Description

While this pasta dish is warm and creamy, the citrus flavor makes it seem fresh and light. It is a flavorful dish that you’ll love to serve up.


Ingredients

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons cognac or 2 tablespoons dry sherry
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • zest of 1 navel orange
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped (I leave this out)
  • 12 leaves fresh basil, chopped or torn
  • 1/2 pound whole wheat linguine, cooked al dente
  • 1/2 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese (I just use Parmesan)
  • (optional: add 1 lb of cooked shrimp to the pasta. I love it this way!)

Instructions

  1. Boil a pot of water and add linguine.
  2. While pasta is cooking, warm the cream over low-medium heat.
  3. Add in the cognac or dry sherry, lemon and orange zest, and salt; simmer 7-10 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and add mint and basil.
  5. Toss the hot, drained pasta with the sauce and grated cheese.
  6. Serve immediately.
  7. (I like to throw a small handful of Parmesan cheese on top of each dish right before I serve it.)

Mini Turkey and Veggie Meatballs {Freezer Meal}

By Rachel Tiemeyer

This little meatball is full of zucchini, whole wheat bread crumbs, ground turkey, and Parmesan cheese. They are sure to become a family favorite!

My entire family really enjoyed these Mini Turkey and Veggie Meatballs over spaghetti the other night. The finnicky 3-year-old took one bite, announced “MMM!”, and proceeded to eat quite a few. The lovable, yet opinionated husband said, “This should be in the regular rotation of meals for sure.”

These little orbs actually include all four food groups and are quite healthy. They are full of zucchini, whole wheat bread crumbs, low fat ground turkey, and some Parmesan cheese. Plus, they are cooked in a tomato sauce, which makes for a pretty well-rounded meal when served on top of whole wheat spaghetti.

This little meatball is full of zucchini, whole wheat bread crumbs, ground turkey, and Parmesan cheese. They are sure to become a family favorite!

Perhaps the best part was that I had plenty leftover for lunch the next day and to freeze for meatball subs later. I stored them in our favorite freezer container by MightyNest called the 8×8 Square Glass Cake Pan with TrueFit Lid (affiliate link). We use this for all kinds of freezer meals. (Read more about our favorite Freezer Storage containers here.)

This little meatball is full of zucchini, whole wheat bread crumbs, ground turkey, and Parmesan cheese. They are sure to become a family favorite!

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Mini Turkey and Veggie Meatballs

Mini Turkey and Veggie Meatballs

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 40 mini meatballs (about 1 inch diameter each) 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This little meatball is full of zucchini, whole wheat bread crumbs, ground turkey, and Parmesan cheese. They are sure to become a family favorite!


Ingredients

  • 1 pound lean ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded zucchini (or finely shredded carrots will work)
  • 1/2 cup fresh, finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3 tablespoons organic ketchup
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 5 cups organic marinara sauce (about 2 regular-sized jars)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add the turkey, zucchini, Parmesan, bread crumbs, garlic, egg, ketchup, salt, and pepper. Mix well using your hands.
  3. Shape the turkey mixture into about 1-inch diameter meatballs. Place meatballs in rows on the baking sheet, making sure to leave a little room between each one. Wash your hands well.
  4. Note: If you like your meatballs browned on the outside, saute them in a large pan with a little oil over medium-high heat until browned on all sides. You will NOT cook them through this way. I almost always skip this step because it’s messier and doesn’t make a huge flavor/texture difference to me.
  5. Place baking sheet on middle rack in the oven. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or internal temp reaches 165°F. (Note: If you browned the meatballs first, baking time will decrease to 15-20 minutes. Use a meat thermometer to determine doneness.)
  6. Place all the meatballs and marinara sauce in a stockpot. Turn the heat to medium-low and simmer until the sauce thickens slightly and the flavors blend, about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally. (Make sure to put the lid on. It splatters!)
  7. Serve over whole grain spaghetti or angel hair pasta. Top with freshly shredded Parmesan cheese.

Notes

Freezer Meal Instructions:

To Freeze: Roll meatball mixture into 1-inch meatballs and store in single layers in a freezer container or bag. Divide layers by parchment paper. Seal well and freeze. Note: DO NOT brown the meatballs before freezing. It is not safe to freeze partially cooked foods.

To Prepare: Thaw in the refrigerator for about 24 hours. Cook according to instructions.