Spaghetti (sauce can be made in the crock pot)

-1, 15 oz can diced tomatoes
-2, 15oz cans of tomato sauce
-1 chopped onion (or 2 T dried onions)
-2 T chopped garlic or (1 T garlic powder)
-1 T Oregano
-1 T honey (or sugar)
-1/2-1 lb lean ground beef or ground turkey or ground sausage
-salt & pepper to taste
-Spaghetti noodles, cooked
Directions for crock pot

1-Add the thawed (or frozen) ground beef or turkey to the crock pot. Dump in the cans of tomatoes and tomato sauce, and the spices.
2-Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours. Stir occasionally and break up the meat.
3-When done cooking, break up the ground meat a bit more and salt to taste.
4-Serve right away with some prepared pasta, or package for freezing.

Directions for stove top
1-Brown the ground beef and drain the fat (or grab a bag of browned ground beef from the freezer if you did this tip when you got home from shopping)
2-Dump in all the cans of tomatoes, and break the ground meat up with a large spoon. Stir in the spices.
3-Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours.
4-When done cooking, break up the ground meat a bit more and salt to taste.
5-Serve right away with some prepared pasta, or package for freezing.




Angel Chicken Pasta (crock pot or oven)

-2-3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, about 4 breasts or 6 thighs (I use frozen)
-1/4 cup butter
1 (.7 ounce) package dry Italian-style salad                  
dressing mix
1 cup apple juice (water works in a pinch)
2 (10.75 ounce) cans condensed GOLDEN MUSHROOM soup (not cream of mushroom!)
4 ounces cream cheese
1 pound angel hair pasta or any pasta you like
Crock Pot directions
1-Place the chicken in crock pot.
2-Add butter, Italian salad dressing mix, can of soup, & apple juice (or water) Not the cream cheese yet over the chicken.
3-Cook on low in the crock pot for 4-5 hours.
4- Add the cream cheese and cook it for another 30 minutes to let the cream cheese melt and stir it all together.
4-Eat over cooked angel hair pasta or other noodles or rice.


Oven directions
1-Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
2-In a large saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Stir in the package of dressing mix. Blend in apple juice and golden mushroom soup. Mix in cream cheese, and stir until smooth. Heat through, but do not boil. 
3-Arrange chicken in a single layer in a 9×13 inch baking dish. Pour sauce over.
4-Bake for 60 minutes in the preheated oven.
5-Twenty minutes before the chicken is done, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a rolling boil. Cook pasta until al dente, about 5 minutes. Drain. Serve chicken and sauce over pasta.



Baked Pesto Chicken

2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts (can be frozen or fresh)
salt and ground black pepper for seasoning chicken
1/2 cup basil pesto (I used the Costco Pesto and freeze the rest in about ½ c amounts)
2 oz. (1/2 cup) grated mozzarella cheese
Fresh or frozen green beans or asparagus (optional)

1- Preheat oven to 350 F.
2-Spray a 9″ x 12″ (or 8.5″ X 12.5″) baking dish with oil spray and put the chicken inside(can be frozen or not),
3-Spread 1/2 cup basil pesto over the chicken.  
4-Bake for 30 minutes (or 1 hr if chicken is frozen) until chicken is no longer pink inside.  Sprinkle grated mozzarella on top & cook a little longer to melt it, about 10 minutes.  You can also add fresh green beans or asparagus at this point & they’ll be ready to serve with the chicken.

Serve with brown rice, potatoes or pasta.  You may want to heat up more pesto to serve with the pasta.


Three Cheese Pasta Bake (no boiling the noodles beforehand)

This is one of the most popular of my recipes that I share in my meal planning classes. This recipe is so simple and fast to whip up and is delicious. Kind of like a lasagna that is really quick. You can also add chopped spinach, or broccoli or peas if you like. Yum!
2 (15 oz) cans tomato sauce
1 can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cups water
1 t oregano
1 t garlic powder
(OR 1 jar pasta sauce (26oz) and 1 1/2 cups water)
15 oz (2 cups) ricotta or cottage cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella, divided
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 lb ground beef or sausage, cooked and crumbled (optional)
8 oz (or about 3.5 cups) uncooked pasta like penne
1-Preheat oven to 400 degrees or get out crock pot.
2-Lightly grease 9×13 pan; or crock pot and set aside.
3-Combine sauce, water, ricotta or cottage cheese, 1 cup of mozzarella, meat (if using that), Parmesan and uncooked pasta. Pour into 9×13 pan and cover with foil. Bake for 55 minutes.  or pour into crock pot and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.
4-Remove foil and top with remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake for 5 to 10 minutes, until cheese is slightly browned or sprinkle cheese on top of pasta on crock pot and as soon as the cheese melts it’s ready to serve.
I originally found this recipe at and adapted it to my liking.  
I originally found this recipe at and adapted it to my liking. We love it and it’s in our monthly meal rotation.

Sundried Tomato & Chicken Pasta

6 tablespoons butter, plus more for baking dishes
salt and black pepper
1/2 pound penne rigate or macaroni noodles or spirals or whatever you like
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves or thighs (about 8 ounces each), halved horizontally (I used some leftover cooked chicken)
Diced fresh or frozen spinach (optional)
2 cups milk
2 Tbs. butter
¼ C cornstarch
1 Tbs chicken bullion (I use “Better Than Bouillon”)
1/4 tsp. ground pepper
3 garlic cloves, finely minced (or 1 tsp Garlic powder)
1/2 cup sliced oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained
1 cup shredded provolone (6 ounces) (or an Italian blend or mozzarella)
½ cup grated Parmesan (fresh is delicious but dried works as well)

1-Preheat oven to 400.
2-Butter 1 shallow 2-quart baking dish (I use a glass 9×13 pan.)
3-In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta 3 minutes short of al dente (see instructions on the box); drain pasta and set aside.
4-While pasta is boiling, get another pot of water and add 1 T “Better Than Bouillon”, dash of salt and pepper and  1 or 2 chicken breasts (or thighs) to it and turn to high & let it boil until the chicken is no longer pink.  Drain and cut the chicken into bite size pieces.  (I usually do several breasts/thighs at once and save the extra in the freezer in a zip loc freezer bag and then you can skip this step and just pull out a bag, defrost it in the microwave while you’re boiling the noodles and use it.)
5-Combine milk, butter, corn starch, Better Than Bouillon, salt and pepper in a sauce pan and turn to medium heat while whisking.  Add the sun dried tomatoes, spinach and chicken; cook 1 minute. Take the pan off the heat and and gradually stir in provolone and 1/2 cup Parmesan.
6-Add sauce to the pasta; season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour into your baking dish.  Sprinkle extra Parmesan on top.
7-Bake, uncovered, until top is golden and bubbling, about 25 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

*To freeze, prepare through step 4 and then let pasta cool.  Cover pan well with plastic wrap.  Place extra cheese in baggie (for topping) on top and then cover entire pan well with foil.  Freeze for up to 3 months.  To bake, preheat oven to 400.  Remove foil and plastic from pan and set cheese baggie aside.  Place foil back on pan and bake for about 1 1/2 hours.  Remove foil, stir pasta, and top with cheese.  Return pan to oven and bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes or until mixture is hot and bubbly throughout.