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Pantry Chicken Pasta

3 Aug

Even though I am back to grocery shopping this month, I am still on a quest to see what needs to be used up so that our pantry stock stays rotated and fresh.  There were a couple of boxes of partially used pasta and some chopped cooked chicken that needed to be used.  There was also this can of tomatoes I had been wanting to try in some kind of dish:

I cannot begin to express to you my love for Red Gold tomatoes.  Not all canned tomatoes are created equal, my friends.  I am not a tomato lover, and Red Gold tomatoes make my mouth sing!  I do use other brands when I have to (after all, I get them free!), however, when I want something to taste amazing I go to a can of Red Gold.  I absolutely love petite diced tomatoes over regular diced.  Regular diced are way too chunky for my liking.  This can was flavored with garlic and olive oil and they were amazing.  If you have regular diced tomatoes, be sure to add a couple cloves of garlic and a splash of olive oil.

Pantry Chicken Pasta

1 lb. pasta, any shape

1 can cream of chicken soup

8 oz. processed cheese spread (just use a couple of cups of shredded cheddar if the thought of processed cheese makes your stomach do flip flops)

1 15 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained (be sure to add the garlic and olive oil if your tomatoes are unflavored, it adds so much!)

1/2 cup milk

2 cups diced chicken

Cooked your pasta al dente and drain.  Throw it back in the pot and add the rest of the ingredients and stir until all is heated through and cheese is melted.


Three Cheese Pasta

19 Jul

So tonight was the night that I struggled with wanting to rush out the door to Steak and Shake for a yummy steakburger.  However, unlike the pizza, what I made was nothing like a steakburger.  Oh well.  You can’t win them all, but I am still sticking to our goals!  This recipe didn’t come from anywhere.  It was a random concoction and it was rich and delicious.  Enjoy.

Three Cheese Pasta

8 oz cream cheese

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella

1/4 cup grated parmesan

1 jar spaghetti sauce

1 lb. box of pasta shape of your choice

While your pasta is cooking according to the box directions, put the cheeses and spaghetti sauce in a saucepan and start heating on med-low heat.  Cover and stir frequently so it doesn’t burn.  I whisked it several times at the end, just to get any remaining big cheese chunks to smooth out.  Then, drain your pasta, stick it in a serving bowl and pour the sauce on:

Stir it all up and serve with super yummy take and bake bread you got on Saturday at the food bank. 🙂

Creamy Pasta and Chicken

14 Jul

We get breaded chicken donated by Brakebush chicken on a regular basis.  Sometimes we get tired of eating it, or just want to do something different with it.  This is how I was feeling today, so I made up a recipe to use up some of the chicken and to finish up my carton of half and half.   It was tasty and filled our bellies.


approx. 1-1.5 pounds of breaded chicken tenders (or chunks, whatever you have as you will chop them up anyway)

2 cups half and half (I’d imagine milk would work too)

1 packet vegetable soup mix

2 cups shredded cheese (any kind you prefer, I used colby)

1 pound pasta, cooked and drained (I used multi color bow tie)

First, toss your breaded chicken tenders in the oven to cook.  I used approximately 12 tenders and cooked them at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

As your pasta is cooking, whisk together your half and half and your soup mix.  Let that cook on medium until the vegetables are tender, whisking frequently.  When the vegetables are tender, add in the cheese and whisk until smooth.

Meanwhile, chop up your cooked chicken into bite size pieces.  Drain your pasta.  Place pasta and chicken  in a large bowl.  Pour in your sauce and mix well, till all is coated.  Enjoy!

Macaroni and Tomatoes

12 Jul

I am not normally a pasta eater.  I am not Italian.  I great up in a home where our pasta meals were spaghetti and lasagna.  Those were infrequent at best.  When I got married I went crazy and occasionally made Alfredo sauce.  With chicken if I was feeling particularly wild. All that to say, I have a ton of pasta in my pantry and I need to learn how to use it.  Tonight I made macaroni and tomatoes.  My Mother-In-Love makes it and hers was much better than mine.  She has some secret ingredient, I’m just sure of it.  If this is something you make, leave a comment and tell me what I’m missing and how to make it better next time.  It was tasty enough, but was lacking something for sure.  I served it with a side of toasted Sun Dried Tomato bread from Panera, who kindly donates bread to the Seminary every Thursday and Friday. Those who eschew tomato products in this house had buttered noodles.

Macaroni and Tomatoes

1 lb. Elbow macaroni, cooked al dente and drained
1 can petite diced tomatoes, undrained
6oz. chili sauce

Cook macaroni as directed. Drain. Meanwhile, warm tomatoes and chili sauce. Mix in a bowl and serve with Parmesan cheese if desired.

Eating Out of The Pantry

11 Jul

Sometimes finances for students here at Concordia Seminary dictate some frugal food creativity.  For July, we are not spending any money on food (or anything else!) except for milk and if we absolutely have to, eggs.  We get fresh fruits and vegetables (that are at the end of life and need to be used up in a few days) on Saturdays at our Sem food bank.  We also get bread at the food bank and twice a month we get canned staples and a few frozen items.  Obviously, we can do a little more with that to work with then someone who does not have these resources.  Hopefully this will still inspire you to dig around if your freezer and cabinets and eat the food you have!

Here are a couple recipes to get you started.  I will try to get pictures of our food from here on out.  I’m not a food stylist.  Please don’t judge. 😉

Great macaroni salad that I took as our contribution to our weekly community BBQ:

Picnic Macaroni Salad from Fresh Plate

Saturday I made Spanish Rice and served it with Cheese Roll Ups:

Spanish Rice:

2 T. olive oil (or whatever you have)

1/4 cup chopped onions

1 small green pepper, chopped

1 can diced tomatoes, undrained

1 1/2 cups water

1/2 cup chili sauce

1 cup quick cooking rice

Cook the onions and pepper in oil until slightly soft.  Add tomatoes, water and chili sauce and bring to a boil.  Add rice.  Cover and cook five minutes.  Uncover and let cook until liquid is mostly evaporated and rice is tender.  I’m sure you could do this with long grain rice too, just adjusting the liquid and cooking times.

Cheese Roll Ups

8 flour tortillas

4oz. cheddar cheese, shredded

Spray an 8.5×11 pan with cooking spray.  Roll shredded cheese in tortillas and place in pan.  Cook at 350 degrees for 10 minutes, or until cheese is just melted.  Don’t let your tortillas get too crunchy. 🙂

Happy Cooking!