Chicken Taco Bowl

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From start to finish, this dish couldn’t be easier. My crockpot cooks at odd temperatures, so you may not want to follow my cooking time. The original recipe calls for the dish to be cooked on low for 8 hours. My pot cooked this dish in under two hours on the low setting. BudgetBytes always offers up delicious and wallet friendly dishes!

Ingredients
1½ lbs. chicken breasts
1 (16 oz.) jar salsa
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained
½ lb. (8 oz.) frozen corn
1 Tbsp chili powder
½ Tbsp cumin
½ Tbsp minced garlic
½ tsp dried oregano
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
¼ tsp salt
to taste cracked pepper
2 cups dry rice
8 oz. shredded cheddar
½ bunch cilantro (optional)

Directions
Add everything except the rice, cheese, and cilantro to the slow cooker along with ¼ cup of water (for good measure). Give everything a good stir and make sure the chicken is covered in the mixture.

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Secure the lid on your slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hrs. Near the end of the cooking time, cook the two cups of rice according to the package directions.
After 8 hours, or however long your crockpot normally takes to cook chicken, carefully remove the lid of the slow cooker. Using two forks shred the chicken (it should be super tender and will shred easily). Build the taco bowls by placing rice on the bottom, then the taco chicken mix, shredded cheese and fresh cilantro.

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Enjoy! Thanks again, Budget Bytes!

Buffalo Chicken Baked Shells

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I’ve been pinning various recipes lately, in hopes to find meals that all three family members will enjoy. When I came across these Buffalo Chicken Baked Shells on Baked by Rachel, I was sure I found a winner. I added an extra chicken breast and mushrooms to the recipe. I made 22 shells, 12 I baked the night that I prepared the meal, 10 I froze to be cooked at another date.

Ingredients

1 chicken breast ( I used 2 )
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 tsp salt
3/8 tsp pepper, divided
3/8 tsp celery seed, divided ( I didn’t have any, so it was left out)
1/4 cup buffalo sauce, plus additional for topping ( I used Texas Pete’s Hot Sauce)
1/4 cup celery, chopped
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1 tbsp butter or olive oil
12-15 jumbo shells
1 cup ricotta cheese
3 tbsp Parmesan cheese
1 egg
1/4 cup blue cheese crumbles
1/4 cup mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup mushrooms

Directions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees

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20140218-212209.jpgIn a slow cooker, add chicken and broth. Cook for two hours on high, then shred meat. My slow cooker has issues, so I cooked my frozen chicken for 1.5 hours on high. Discard liquid. Shred chicken and chop onion, celery and mushrooms. Season shredded meat with 1/4 tsp celery seed and 1/4 pepper and salt. Toss with buffalo sauce until meat is coated. Set aside.
In a large pasta pot bring water to a boil, add 12-15 jumbo shells to the water. Cook 9-12 minutes or until desired consistency is reached. Drain and let cool on a baking sheet or nonstick surface.

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In a small skillet over medium heat, add onion, mushrooms, celery and butter or olive oil. Sauté until tender and onions are translucent.

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In a large bowl, mix ricotta cheese, parmesan, egg, 1/8 tsp pepper, 1/8 tsp celery seed, blue cheese crumbles and vegetables. Add chicken mixture and stir well.

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Prepare baking dish with a light coating of olive oil and a few spoonfuls of buffalo sauce. Fill one shell at a time with spoonfuls of chicken and cheese mixture. Carefully arrange in prepared baking dish. Drizzle with spoonfuls of buffalo sauce and sprinkle with shredded mozzarella cheese. Baked for 20-25 minutes. I wrapped the tin tray tightly in plastic wrap and then closed in freezer friendly bag for use at a later date.

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Totally yummy! Thanks Baked by Rachel !

Mac & Cheese with bacon, because everything’s better with bacon

J had a midterm yesterday and I always like to make him something special after a big test. Although I’m really the one that deserves a treat because it usually means more time alone with the kids for me while he studies! The old saying that the way to a mans heart is through his stomach could not be more true when it comes to my husband. This dish truly is a “comfort” food. Perfect for the single digit temperatures we’ve had around here lately. However if you are one of the few that are still sticking to your New Years resolution to lose weight and eat healthy then this definitely is not the recipe for you. Loaded with five different cheeses it is for sure a treat reserved for special occasions around here. This recipe is adapted from Patti Labelle’s Over the Rainbow Mac and Cheese recipe found here

1 box (16 oz) elbow macaroni
1/2 cup ( 1 stick) butter
4 oz each mild cheddar, sharp cheddar, muenster, and Monterey Jack cheeses, shredded
8 oz velveeta
2 cups half and half
1 egg, beaten
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 pound bacon, chopped (optional)

First boil a large pot of water and cook pasta for about 8 minutes or until al dente

Drain and return pasta to pot. Then add in butter until melted.

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Next stir in shredded and cubed cheeses, reserving about half a cup of shredded cheese

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Pour in half and half and beaten egg

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Stir in the bacon and season with salt and pepper.

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Next put into a 2 1/2 quart casserole dish and sprinkle remaining cheese on top.

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Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until sides are bubbling.

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Feel free to add in other ingredients. We sometimes like to use peas or broccoli but in my husbands opinion bacon just makes everything better :)