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Eating at Home

I have been on a mission this New Year to curb my habit of eating out. It got a little out of control in the lead-up to the holidays, so it was way past time to reel that back in. We are now sticking to only eating out once per week. So far, it’s been going really well, but that does lead me to figure out what I will be cooking six days a week.

Luckily, I enjoy cooking, so it’s not much of a hardship, but figuring out a menu each week can certainly be a daunting task.

Personally, I find it easier to sit down on Saturday or Sunday and plan out the entire week of meals. If I take it day-by-day, I spend more money and sometimes find myself wanting to give in to the take-out instead of figuring out that night’s dinner. If it’s all laid out for me, I have no excuse and am better at sticking to my plan.

Also, by pre-planning the week, I can base what we eat on what’s on sale at the grocery store that week, saving me even more money. I’m also able to get up and go through my freezer/fridge/cupboards so I know exactly what I do and don’t have, and I’m not spending extra money because I’m not totally sure if I have sour cream in the fridge or not.

So, what have we been eating? What have I found that’s new? Or that we’ve really enjoyed? Well, let me share!

There has been one big recipe that has been a surprise hit — Cheeseburger Mac and Cheese. I wasn’t sure how this one would land because of the inclusion of tomato soup, but this one was a winner-winner-cheeseburger-dinner, so now I need to share it with y’all.

There’s a bonus recipe here too, so hopefully, I’ll make your meal planning this week a little easier!

Cheeseburger Mac and Cheese
– 1 box Velveeta Shells & Cheese
– 1.5 lbs. ground beef
– (2) 10 oz. cans tomato soup
– 1.5 cups shredded cheddar
– 1/5 cups shredded mozzarella
– salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder

Preheat oven to 375°, and grease a 9×13 baking dish.

Cook shells according to package directions and set aside. Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water.

While shells are cooking, cook ground beef until no longer pink. Season the ground beef with salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, garlic, and onion to taste.

Add ground beef, pasta, tomato soup, half of each of the shredded cheeses, half the packet of the Velveeta cheese, and reserved pasta water to the baking dish and stir to combine.

Top with remaining shredded cheese and cover with foil. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 10 minutes. If you would like, you can pop it under the broiler for a couple of minutes to brown the cheese further.

This is a great, family-friendly recipe and, like I said, has been a huge hit in my home and has become one of the most requested dinners!

Next up is one I haven’t actually made yet. Well, technically, by the time you read this, I will have made it, but as I’m typing, it’s on the schedule for dinner tonight.

Chicken Noodle Casserole
– 3 oz. package of real bacon bits
– 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
– 1 can (10 oz.) cream of chicken soup
– 1 cup sour cream
– 1 cup milk
– 1 teaspoon salt
– 1/4 teaspoon pepper
– 2 cups diced rotisserie chicken or cooked chicken breast
– 4 cups cooked wide egg noodle pasta (cooked al dente in lightly salted water)
– 2 cups frozen broccoli florets, prepared according to package directions
– 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
– 2 tablespoons melted butter

Preheat the oven to 350°F and gather the rest of your ingredients.

Combine the bacon, cheese, cream of chicken soup, sour cream, milk, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Carefully stir in the chicken, noodles, and broccoli. Pour into a lightly greased 9×13-inch casserole dish.

Combine the breadcrumbs and butter in a small bowl. Evenly sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the casserole. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover, increase the temperature to 400°F, and bake another 5-10 minutes or until the breadcrumbs are golden.