Loaded Baked Potato and Chicken Casserole

Who does not love a baked potato, especially when it is LOADED??? I must admit that it is one of my favourite things. This recipe is straight forward and comes together in a matter of minutes. You could use frozen potato cubes, but fresh is so easy. I was able to use frozen chicken breast cubes to simplify the preparation. Your toppings are your choice!

Potato and Chicken Casserole (Loaded Baked)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cubed raw chicken breast, marinated* (if you can find frozen, no need to thaw)
  • 1 or 2 potatoes, cubed with skins or cubed frozen potatoes
  • Spice Mix (See below)
  • Lawry’s Lemon Pepper Marinade

Spice Mix

  • 1 T. garlic powder
  • ½ tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. dried rosemary
  • ½ tsp. black pepper

Toppings

  • 1 cup shredded cheese
  • ½ cup cooked bacon chopped
  • 3 green onions thinly chopped
  • Sour cream

Instructions

Grease an 8 x 10 Pyrex baking dish with cooking spray.

Place cubed chicken into a bowl and drizzle with lemon pepper marinade (unless pre-marinated). Set aside.

Add cubed potatoes to the Pyrex dish. Sprinkle with spice mix and mix well.

Add the marinated cubed chicken.

Combine the potatoes and chicken.

 Bake at 400 F for 50 minutes, stirring once or twice during baking.

When the potatoes and chicken are done, remove from the oven and top with shredded cheddar cheese and return to oven until cheese is melted.

Serve immediately with the optional toppings.

Easy Chicken Enchiladas

I actually made this recipe several weeks ago, and although it tasted great, I was not all that happy with how it turned-out. Freezing the second half of the recipe turned out to really enhance it! It did not hurt to add more sauce to it the second time around! Go ahead and add the beans if you like them. My spouse does not, so I omitted them from the recipe. Rather than make a separate sauce, I opted for PACE Salsa MEDIUM. It simplified the recipe for me.

The photo below shows the second casserole, previously frozen, thawed and rebaked with generous dollops of sour cream when served! It certainly does not look great BUT the taste was awesome!

Easy Chicken Enchiladas

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into small bite sized pieces
  • 1/2 red onion diced
  • 4 ounce can of green chiles
  • 1 pack taco seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 1/2 cups red enchilada sauce OR 1 jar of PACE Medium Salsa
  • 8 large Mexican flour tortillas
  • 15-ounce refried beans OPTIONAL
  • 16 ounces shredded cheese sharp cheddar, Monterey jack, pepper jack.
  • diced onion, cilantro, sour cream for toppings.

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees then add two tablespoons of oil to a large skillet and heat over medium high heat.  Add the small chunks of chicken to the skillet and stirring often, cook until browned and no longer pink inside. 

Add in the taco seasoning, spices, diced onion, 1/2 a cup of Pace salsa and green chiles. Stir to combine and simmer for 2-3 minutes then remove from heat. 

Next, line up your Easy Chicken Enchiladas ingredients and grab a large 9×13 baking pan. Add a small amount of sauce at the bottom of the pan and spread out evenly.

To assemble the Easy Chicken Enchiladas, lay out a tortilla and spread a line of beans (OPTIONAL) down the middle of the tortilla along with a line of the chicken and some of the shredded cheese. Roll the tortilla and place in the baking pan. Repeat with the remaining ingredients and then top with more sauce and the remaining shredded cheese. Bake uncovered for 25 minutes. Remove and serve immediately.

Corned Beef Hash

Whenever I travel back to Ontario , I usually have breakfast in Waterloo where I can have corned beef hash with two poached eggs. The best place for this is Sunset Grill (a chain with several locations in Ontario). I am never disappointed! Here in Mexico, corned beef is rarely, if ever, found. Never have I found corned beef hash on a breakfast menu! Recently, I have found corned beef in Costco, which sent me on a mission to find a recipe for the hash. It really turned out better than my expectations. Hopefully you will try this recipe if you are also a fan? While the hash is cooking, prepare two poached eggs.

Corned Beef Hash

Ingredients

  • 1 cup potato cooked, chopped. If raw, microwave potatoes 3 minutes on high
  • 1 cup corn beef cooked, chopped
  • 0.5 small onion chopped or grated
  • 0.5 tbsp whole grain mustard
  • 0.25 tsp garlic powder
  • 0.13 tsp cayenne pepper optional
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste

1. Heat a skillet to medium and add butter

2. When the butter has melted, add chopped onion and saute until translucent.

3. While the onions are sauteing, mix corned beef, potatoes, and spices together in a bowl.

4. When the onions are translucent, add contents of the bowl to the skillet and increase to medium-high heat.

5. Stir to combine fully and cook for about 5 minutes until the hash starts to brown.

6. Using a spatula, pat mixture down firmly and cook for 7-10 minutes until it starts to form a crispy crust.

7. Flip the hash by either cutting into sections and turning each or place a plate upon the hash and holding the plate firmly, flip the pan onto the plate then slide the whole hash back into the pan.

8. Cook the other side for 7-10 minutes until hash has a crispy crust.

9. Remove from the heat to a serving platter. Top with the two eggs.

10. Serve hot, season with salt and pepper to taste.

Baked Pork Tenderloin

Normally when I prepare pork tenderloin, I make a marinade, meaning it needs to sit in the marinade for several hours or overnight. NOT this one, which makes it very simple. The end result was juicy and very flavourful. We like to remove ours from the oven while it is still slightly pink in the middle, so you need to adjust the timing. This one reached 140 F between 15 and 20 minutes and I removed it from the oven and let it sit about 10 minutes. It was perfectly a little pink inside.

Baked Pork Tenderloin

Ingredients

  • 1 or 2 ½ pound pork tenderloins
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon, lime, or orange juice (or 1 tablespoon of each)
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika (optional but highly recommended)
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and lightly grease a large baking/casserole dish. Pierce tenderloins all over with a fork. Rub oil onto all sides of the meat.

2. Whisk together Italian seasoning, garlic powder, cumin, salt, chili powder, smoked paprika (if using) and black pepper. Sprinkle mixture over tenderloin(s), patting it onto the surface of the meat on all sides. Place in prepared baking dish and drizzle lemon/lime juice over the top.

3. Bake for 25-35 minutes until outside is browned and crispy and centers are cooked through to desired doneness (you can take them out on the early side if you like the centers a little pink).

4. Spoon juices from the dish over the meat. Allow to rest on a cutting board or in the baking dish for 5-10 minutes. Slice into 1-inch pieces. Spoon any remaining juices from the pan over the slices, garnish with fresh chopped cilantro if desired, and serve.

Easy Keto Chili NO Beans

Unheard of, where we are in Mexico, is chili as we know it in our country. Some northern chili has beans and some do not. This is the latter.

Easy Keto Chili NO Beans!

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds ground beef or turkey
  • 1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (10 ounce) can tomatoes with green chilies, undrained
  • 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (32 ounce) carton beef broth
  • 1 (7 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder*
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

*If you enjoy spicy chili, I would increase this to 3 tablespoons of chili powder.

Instructions

1. Brown the meat over medium heat in a medium size sauce pot or Dutch oven. Drain off any grease.

2. Add the remaining ingredients and stir well.

3. Allow chili to simmer over medium low heat uncovered for approximately 30 minutes until the tomato juice has reduced and thickened.

Serving size is 1.5 cups Calories 301

Carbs 11.1 gm. Net carbs 8.5 gm. Fiber 2.6 gm. Protein 24.3 gm. Sugar 7.6 gm.

Baked Chicken Drumsticks

In consideration of buying an air fryer, we had purchased some chicken drumsticks quite a while back. Discovering that there were still 5 in the freezer, I began a Pinterest search. Thankfully there were quite a few recipes for doing them in a regular oven. (We eventually talked ourselves out of the air fryer (too much electricity here in Mexico). I can happily say that both of us thought these were far superior to the AF recipe! AND, so very easy to prep, too.

Baked Chicken Drumsticks

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds chicken drumsticks (I used 5 but six would have been better than sharing the 5th one)
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon chopped parsley
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cracked pepper

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray.

2. Add all of the ingredients to a large zip top bag and seal. Smush the chicken around in the bag to coat in the seasoning.

3. Arrange chicken on the baking sheet and bake for 40-45 minutes or until a thermometer reads 165 degrees.

4. Serve immediately.

Italian Romaine Salad and Dressing for Two

Since we are back trying to shed some pre-Christmas pounds/kilos, I find we are eating more salads. This one is very similar to a well known Italian restaurant chain in the US! It’s fresh and very tasty, as well as filling.

Italian Romaine Salad 204 calories per serving

  • 1 head romaine lettuce or 2 small romaine hearts, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 Medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup Grated, parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup Pepperoncini, sliced
  • 1/2 cup Black olives, sliced or whole
  • 1 pint Cherry or grape tomatoes
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Croutons, store bought or homemade OPTIONAL

Italian Dressing

  • 1 tsp Garlic powder
  • 1 tsp Dried oregano
  • 1 tsp Dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp Sea salt
  • 1/2 cup Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar

Oven Baked Dry Rub Ribs

Time certainly brings out the essence of these ribs, even if you do not follow up with the BBQ sauce. I actually prefer them without the sauce, but that is a personal choice. If you follow the recipe to a T, you cannot go wrong one way or the other. FYI…they were so tasty we ate them all before I remembered a photo. Serve with a great coleslaw…

Oven Baked Dry Rub Ribs

For the dry rub

  • 1/2 a cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon mustard powder
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder

Instructions

Take your ribs and trim off any excess fat, then place them in a baking dish or you could use the disposable foil baking dish.

Preheat your oven to 130°C/266°F

Take your rub mixture and rub it on the pork ribs one by one ensuring that you coat every piece of meat.

Once you have finished rubbing each and every rib, place them in your baking tray and cover it up with aluminium foil and place it into the oven.

OPTIONAL After 2 and 1/2 hours, remove them from the oven, apply your fav BBQ sauce. Coat each rib with the sauce using a spoon or brush then put them back in the oven but this time don’t cover them.

Let them continue cooking for the last 30 minutes brushing them frequently with the sauce.

Spaghetti Squash and Shrimp Alfredo

Most of you are aware of fettuccini Alfredo with its rich creamy sauce. This version replaces the fettuccini (pasta) with shredded spaghetti squash. The recipe includes directions for baking the squash, but in my case I had baked a whole squash the day before for another spaghetti squash recipe with pesto sauce. Since there are only two of us, one squash is enough for two meals. First night – pesto. Second night, reheated squash with shrimp Alfredo sauce. Since this was prebaked squash, I did not keep the shells, obviously.

To simplify both recipes, I used a jar of pesto sauce the first night, and a jar of Alfredo sauce the second night. In both cases, it simplified the preparation! FYI…I wasn’t too thrilled with my photo…LOL. A few leaves of basil would have been a great improvement, but the garden had none.

Spaghetti Squash Shrimp Alfredo (KETO, depending on your sauce)

  • 2 small spaghetti squash, 1.5 – 2 lb
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 lb shrimp thawed if frozen, peeled, deveined, and tails removed
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1.5 cups Alfredo sauce*
  • 1/4 cup fresh herbs, such as parsley and/or basil, chopped
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese

1. Preheat oven to 375F. Cut the spaghetti squash in half length-wise. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. Brush the inside of each half with half the olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Place on a large baking sheet with the cut side facing up. Season with salt and pepper. Roast the squash at 375F for about 30 minutes, or until the squash flakes easily when pierced with a fork. Set aside to cool for a few minutes, but keep the oven on – you’ll need it in a few minutes.

2. Use a fork to scrape all the spaghetti squash strands out of each squash, taking care not to pierce the squash skin (read the recipe post for tips for flaking the squash, and what to do if you pierce the skin!). Place the spaghetti strands into a large bowl.

3. While the spaghetti squash is roasting, prepare the rest of the ingredients: Chop the herbs.

4. Grate the cheese.

5. In a medium bowl, combine the peeled, thawed shrimp with the salt, garlic powder, paprika, and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Mix with a fork.

6. Heat a large skillet, and add the shrimp to the skillet in a single layer. Cook for 2 minutes, then use tongs to flip each shrimp over. Cook for another 2 minutes, or until the shrimp are fully cooked. Remove from heat.

7. In a large bowl, combine the cooked spaghetti squash, cooked shrimp, 1.5 cups Alfredo sauce, ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese, and the herbs. Mix well, and place into the 4 spaghetti squash boat shells.

8. OPTIONAL if you are using leftover squash – Arrange the spaghetti squash boats on the same large baking sheet. Top each filled spaghetti squash boat with about a tablespoon of freshly grated Parmesan cheese, and about ¼ cup shredded mozzarella. Bake at 375F for 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is all melted.

Southwest Chicken and Pasta Casserole

Another round of what to do with leftover rotisserie chicken…LOL. Just cannot resist a freshly cooked rotisserie chicken, but it usually lasts for three meals with only two of us. Came across this one, as usual, on Pinterest. It was a great marriage of southwest flavours! The recipe made enough to reheat the second day.

Great way to use up those little bits of dried pasta. If you look carefully, you will see shells and penne.

Southwest Chicken and Pasta Casserole

Ingredients

  • 2 cups uncooked spiral pasta
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup salsa ( I love Pace Picante Sauce for this recipe)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 can (15 oz) corn (drained)
  • 1 can (15 oz) black beans (drained & rinsed)
  • 2 cups cooked shredded/chunked chicken
  • 2 cups shredded cheese

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9×13 baking dish and spray with cooking spray. Set aside.

2. Cook pasta according to package directions. Don’t forget to salt the pasta water. I use about 1 teaspoon salt.

3. While pasta is cooking, combine sour cream, salsa, cumin, garlic powder, and onion powder in a large mixing bowl.

4. Drain the pasta when it’s done cooking and add into the sour cream mixture. Stir to combine. Add in the corn, black beans, chicken, and 1 cup of the shredded cheese. Stir together to combine.

5. Pour into the baking dish and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Cover with tin foil and cook for 20 minutes.

6. Take the tin foil off and let cook an additional 5 minutes. Garnish with green onions,, sour cream and more Pace Picante Sauce..