Homemade Hamburger Helper

Homemade Hamburger Helper is an easy and delicious dinner that tastes amazing and is just as fast to make as the boxed version…only made with real ingredients! This is one of my go-to, weeknight ground beef recipes that I just love. Ready in a flash and cooked in only one pan, too.

big spoon of homemade hamburger helper

Homemade Hamburger Helper | The Easiest Dinner Ever

I really like having these fast “I don’t have to think about it” dinners in my back pocket. While I never really grew up eating the boxed Hamburger Helper, I certainly enjoyed my fair share in college. But now that I’m a mother, I definitely can appreciate the point of a fast dish like Hamburger Helper, but much prefer making it homemade. And, funny thing is it doesn’t take that much longer to make it from scratch and it tastes waaaayyy better.

What is Hamburger Helper?

Hamburger Helper is an easy boxed pasta dish that you can find in the grocery store next to the boxed mac and cheese. It usually comes with dry pasta and a seasoning packet which you then cook with meat (usually ground beef).

pouring tomato sauce into pan over macaroni

Main Ingredients Needed

Okay I admit, this list is long, but this recipe could not be any easier! Here’s everything you’ll need to make homemade Hamburger Helper:

  • Olive Oil – this is used to cook the ground beef and onion.
  • Ground Beef + Onion – I used a 93/7 blend of ground beef and yellow onion, but you could just as easily use a white onion or ground turkey.
  • Elbow Macaroni – you can use whatever shape of pasta you’d like, I just kept it classic by using macaroni.
  • Beef Broth – this helps cook the pasta while still providing flavor.
  • Tomato Sauce – this is the base of the sauce.
  • Milk – this also helps cook the pasta while keeping things creamy.
  • Garlic Powder, Chili Powder + Ground Mustard – some seasonings to give it that classic Hamburger Helper taste.
  • Worcestershire Sauce – another flavoring agent, a little goes a long way!
  • Salt + Pepper – and don’t forget to season as you go, these make everything better.
  • Cheddar Cheese – you can make this as cheesy (or not) as you’d like.
  • Half & Half – or use heavy cream. This really makes the sauce creamy and dreamy.
  • Parsley – this is a garnish and is optional.

Can You Make Hamburger Helper without Milk?

Yes, you sure can! While the milk adds a creamy flavor and I’d suggest using it, there are other ingredients you can add that could be considered good substitutes:

  • canned evaporated milk
  • nonfat dried milk whisked together with water, according to package directions
  • almond milk
  • coconut milk
  • extra beef broth + 1-2 tablespoons butter

If you love Homemade Hamburger Helper, try these other ground beef + pasta recipes:

cooked hamburger helper in skillet

How to Make Homemade Hamburger Helper

For full details on how to make Homemade Hamburger Helper, see the recipe card down below 🙂

Cook Ground Beef + Onions

In a large skillet with deep sides, heat olive oil over medium heat. Brown onions and ground beef, breaking apart as it cooks.

Create Sauce and Cook Pasta

After onions are tender and ground beef is completely cooked, add in macaroni, beef broth, tomato sauce and milk. Add in spices, Worcestershire sauce and plenty of salt and pepper. Stir well and cover. We are going to cook the pasta in the broth/sauce mix we just created. Bring it to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer, stirring every 5 minutes or so to help prevent sticking and scorching. This should take 10-12 minutes total, depending on how long it takes for your pasta to cook.

Add Half & Half + Cheese

After your noodles are completely cooked through and sauce mostly absorbed. Stir in half & half and grated cheddar cheese. Taste, adjust seasonings, top with parsley and serve.

homemade hamburger helper on white plate

What to Serve with Homemade Hamburger Helper

An easy dinner needs an easy side dish or two! Here are some of my go-to’s. With pasta, I love adding salad or some kind of cooked veggie. And garlic bread is always delicious.

big spoon of homemade hamburger helper

Print

Homemade Hamburger Helper

Homemade Hamburger Helper has tons of delicious flavor minus all of the chemicals and preservatives found in the boxed version!
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Keyword hamburger helper, homemade hamburger helper
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 608kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound ground beef 93/7
  • 1 1/2 cups onion diced
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 8 oz tomato sauce
  • 1 cup low fat milk
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese or more
  • 3/4 cup fat free half and half or heavy cream
  • chopped fresh parsley for garnish, optional

Instructions

  • In a large skillet with deep sides, heat olive oil over medium heat. Brown onions and ground beef, breaking apart as it cooks.
    cooked ground beef and onions in skillet
  • After onions are tender and ground beef is completely cooked, add in macaroni, beef broth, tomato sauce and milk.
    pouring milk into skillet for homemade hamburger helper
  • Add in spices, Worcestershire sauce and plenty of salt and pepper. Stir well and cover. Bring to boil and then reduce heat to simmer, stirring every 5 minutes or so to help prevent sticking and scorching.
    adding Worcestershire sauce to skillet
  • After 12 minutes*, your noodles should be completely cooked through and sauce mostly absorbed.
    cooked hamburger helper in skillet
  • Stir in half & half and grated cheddar cheese. Taste and adjust seasonings.
    adding grated cheese into homemade hamburger helper
  • Top with parsley (optional) and serve hot.
    homemade hamburger helper in large skillet

Notes

*Your cook time with vary based on the pasta you’re using. Check the packaging for estimated cook times.

Nutrition

Calories: 608kcal | Carbohydrates: 68g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 68mg | Sodium: 839mg | Potassium: 781mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 360IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 197mg | Iron: 3mg

The post Homemade Hamburger Helper appeared first on Lauren’s Latest.

Originally posted at Laurens Latest

Chicken Cacciatore

Who doesn’t love Chicken Cacciatore?! It’s delicious slow cooked flavor in an Italian Stew with chicken thighs, peppers, mushrooms with a flavorful sauce. Served over pasta and topped with parmesan cheese and parsley. It’s so so tasty! Delicious served with Garlic Bread and Salad.

chicken cacciatore in bowl

Chicken Cacciatore | An Italian Stew

I never grew up eating Chicken Cacciatore. Having Hungarian and German family history, we ate a lot of Goulash and Chicken Paprikash. Both are delicious stews in their own right, but when I first tried Chicken Cacciatore, I was smitten. It was so flavorful and comforting! Extremely tender chicken and veggies that have been cooked down into this amazing and flavorful stew.

But First, What is Chicken Cacciatore?

The word ‘cacciatore’ literally translates to hunter in Italian. In cooking, alla cacciatora refers to the way the meal is prepared: “hunter-style”. This means it is made like a stew with onions, herbs, tomatoes, bell peppers, and sometimes wine. Traditionally it is made with chicken or rabbit.

pot of chicken cacciatore

Main Ingredients Needed

I know this ingredients list may look intimidating but don’t worry, every ingredient has its purpose and perfectly comes together to create this hearty Chicken Cacciatore. Here’s what you need:

  • Chicken Thighs – you could use chicken breasts here but I find that chicken thighs come out way more tender and flavorful. I use boneless, skinless thighs, but you can definitely use bone-in thighs. Just make sure you remove the skin before you use them.
  • Salt + Pepper – always important to season in order to bring out the most flavor.
  • Olive Oil – this is used to cook our chicken and to saute some vegetables.
  • Onion + Garlic – the basic building blocks of flavor for any italian dish.
  • Carrot– grated carrot adds a sweetness and cooks way down so it adds nice flavor while going mostly undetected.
  • Green Bell Pepper + Red Bell Pepper – two types of bell peppers for color and slightly different flavors.
  • Baby Bella Mushrooms + Criminis – feel free to use all baby bella mushrooms or omit completely if mushrooms aren’t your jam. If you have mushroom haters in your family, you can always halve the amount listed and chop them small so they go undetected. 
  • Tomato Paste– this adds intense tomato flavor.
  • Crushed Tomatoes – I like crushed tomatoes over diced tomatoes because it’s a little more like a sauce versus tomato chunks. If you don’t have crushed tomatoes, blend diced tomatoes for similar results.
  • Chicken Broth – use good quality chicken broth for best results!
  • Soy Sauce – Adds depth of flavor and salt without it tasting obviously salty.
  • Sugar – to balance out all of the savory and to cut some of the acidity from the tomatoes.
  • Italian Seasoning, Basil + Oregano – lots of herbs here to take this dish to the next level.
  • Butter – I finish off this stew recipe with butter for a silky smooth texture.

Should I add Wine?

This is personal preference. Lots of recipes call for the addition of red or white wine into their chicken cacciatore recipes. While I didn’t use any in my recipe, you are welcome to add some in (1-2 cups) with the garlic and tomato paste, reduce it down by at least half, and then add in the remaining ingredients. This is step 2 in the recipe card.

piece of chicken on spoon

How to Make Chicken Cacciatore

For full details in how to make Chicken Cacciatore, see the recipe card down below 🙂

Brown Chicken Thighs + Add Veggies

Blot chicken thighs with a paper towel to dry. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set aside.In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Brown chicken thighs on both sides and remove from pot.

Saute onion, peppers, and mushrooms with a little extra salt and pepper until mostly tender, 7 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook another minute until fragrant.

Add Tomatoes and Seasonings

Stir in crushed tomatoes, chicken broth, soy sauce, sugar, Italian seasoning, basil, and oregano. Bring sauce to boil, then reduce to simmer. Add chicken thighs back into the pot.

Simmer + Serve

Simmer gently for 30 minutes or up to 1 hour (but expect the chicken to fall apart as it cooks…which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.) As it cooks, stir occasionally, adding in chicken broth if the sauce gets too thick. Taste and adjust seasonings. Melt a little butter in to the Chicken Cacciatore to finish the sauce and serve with pasta, parmesan cheese and parsley.

chicken cacciatore in bowl

How to Serve Chicken Cacciatore

I like to serve my chicken cacciatore with pasta and I think it is traditionally served with pasta, but you can definitely also serve it with:

  • extra wide egg noodles
  • couscous
  • rice
  • mashed potatoes
  • orzo
  • polenta (yum!)
  • crusty bread

If you’re feeling particularly decadent, melt some butter and parmesan cheese onto your pasta before topping with chicken cacciatore. So good! And of course top it all off with a sprinkling of freshly grated parmesan cheese and parsley!

plate of chicken cacciatore

What to Serve with Chicken Cacciatore

If you loved this chicken cacciatore you’re going to love these other similar recipes! Give them a try soon 🙂

The printable recipe card is below, enjoy!

chicken cacciatore in bowl

Print

Chicken Cacciatore

Chicken Cacciatore is a tomato-based slow-cooked Italian stew that tastes amazing over pasta with parmesan cheese! So good!
Course Dinner
Cuisine Italian
Keyword Chicken Cacciatore
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 278kcal

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs about 6
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 whole onion diced
  • 1 carrot peeled and grated
  • 1 whole green bell pepper diced
  • 1 whole red bell pepper diced
  • 8 oz baby bella mushrooms chopped
  • 4 oz criminis chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 28 oz crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • pasta, parmesan cheese, parsley optional for serving

Instructions

  • Blot chicken thighs with paper towel to dry. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set aside.

    In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Brown chicken thighs on both sides and remove from pot.

  • Saute onion, carrot, peppers and mushrooms with a little extra salt and pepper until mostly tender, 7 minutes. Stir in garlic and tomato paste and cook another 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
  • Stir in crushed tomatoes, chicken broth, soy sauce, sugar, Italian seasoning, basil and oregano. Bring sauce to boil, then reduce to simmer. Add chicken thighs back into the pot. Simmer gently for 30 minutes or up to 1 hour (but expect the chicken to fall apart as it cooks…which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.) As it cooks, stir occasionally, adding in chicken broth if sauce gets too thick.
  • Taste and adjust seasonings. Melt in butter to finish sauce and serve with pasta and parmesan cheese. Top with chopped parsley.

Notes

Feel free to use all baby bella mushrooms or omit completely is mushrooms aren’t your jam. If you have mushroom haters in your family, you can always halve the amount listed and chop them small so they go undetected. 

Nutrition

Calories: 278kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 118mg | Sodium: 624mg | Potassium: 980mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 450IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 89mg | Iron: 4mg

The post Chicken Cacciatore appeared first on Lauren’s Latest.

Originally posted at Laurens Latest

Minestrone Soup

This flavorful classic Minestrone Soup recipe is warm, satisfying, and packed full of nutrition. Perfect for the colder months and even more perfect in a homemade bread bowl.

ladling minestrone soup out of pot

What is Minestrone Soup?

Minestrone Soup is a hearty Italian soup that includes vegetables, broth, and pasta (or rice). It’s one of those great soups that are delicious, vegetarian, and packed full of nutrition. I personally love the stuff and could eat the entire pot. It’s warm, satisfying and one bowl will fill you up! Like lots of other dishes, the longer it cooks the better it tastes. I’d recommend lightly simmering this soup for as long as you can and then 10 minutes before serving, put in the pasta to cook OR just cook it separately and serve it alongside. Top the whole dish with some parmesan cheese and crusty bread and that’s dinner!

Main Ingredients Needed

Overall, Minestrone Soup is a pretty healthy meal! If you don’t like certain vegetables in the recipe then you can omit them or substitute them for other ones. Here’s what you need:

  • Olive Oil – this is used to saute the veggies that need a little more cooking time than the rest.
  • Onion, Carrots + Celery – these three form the base of this soup. Lots of vitamins and minerals here.
  • Chicken Broth – use a high-quality chicken broth for the best results. If you are looking to keep this recipe vegetarian, replace the chicken broth with vegetable broth.
  • Dark Kidney Beans + Garbanzo Beans – rinsed and drained. I used these to add in some protein to make this meal more filling.
  • Tomato Sauce + Diced Tomatoes – these are added to help make and flavor the broth.
  • Cabbage – if you don’t like cabbage then substitute it for zucchini. Zucchini is a pretty traditional ingredient for Minestrone–I didn’t have any on hand but feel free to add it in.
  • Basil, Oregano, Salt + Pepper – don’t forget the salt and pepper when it comes to the seasonings.
  • Short Cut Pasta – I used mini shells but you could use whatever short cut pasta you have, or even use rice or couscous!
beans in colander getting poured into minestrone soup

Variations

I am a firm believer that you should use ingredients that you have on hand or ingredients that you like. Because of this I encourage my reader’s to make variations to my recipes if they want to. Here are a couple ideas for Minestrone Soup:

  • Add Meat: I made a meatless soup but you can easily add in ground beef, chicken, Italian sausage or another type of protein.
  • More Vegetables to Use: you could sub out any of the vegetables listed about to make this soup your own. Some ideas include: spinach, potatoes, corn, zucchini, kale, green beans, peas, butternut squash, or collard greans.
  • Flavor Enhancing Ingredients: this could be anything from adding garlic to adding lemon juice/zest. There are a lot of variations out there so go crazy and experiment away.

How to Make Minestrone Soup

For full details on how to make Minestrone Soup, see the recipe card down below 🙂

Saute Veggies

In a large pot, sauté onions, carrots and celery in olive oil over medium heat until slightly softened (the rest of the cooking will continue later in the recipe)

Add Broth + Other Ingredients

Stir in broth, beans, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, seasonings and cabbage.

Simmer + Cook Pasta

Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer for at least 20 minutes. The longer it cooks the better the flavor becomes. 10 minutes before serving, pour in pasta to cook or boil it separately.

Top with Parmesan

Serve with parmesan cheese and good quality crusty bread.

close up of minestrone soup

Storing Minestrone Soup

Any leftover Minestrone Soup can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. If the soup seems too thick after storing it, just add some more broth when you are heating it back up in the microwave or on the stove top.

Freezing Instructions

Because this is a broth-based soup it freezes beautifully! Cool completely then simply store in a freezer-safe container, leaving an inch or two of space at the top to account for expansion, for up to 3 months. To serve, thaw in the fridge overnight then heat over the stovetop.

close up of minestrone soup

More Italian Soups to Try!

If you liked this Minestrone Soup you are bound to like my other Italian soup recipes!

The printable recipe card is down below, enjoy 🙂

ladling minestrone soup out of pot

Print

Minestrone Soup

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This flavorful classic Minestrone Soup recipe is warm, satisfying, and packed full of nutrition. Perfect for the colder months!
Course Dinner, Soup
Cuisine Italian
Keyword minestrone soup
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 242kcal
Author Lauren

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 2 large carrots peeled and diced
  • 2 ribs celery washed and chopped
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 15 oz dark kidney beans 1 can, rinsed and drained
  • 15 oz garbanzo beans 1 can, rinsed and drained
  • 15 oz tomato sauce 1 can
  • 14.5 oz diced tomatoes 1 can
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 tablespoon basil
  • 1 teaspoon oregano or marjoram
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup short cut pasta such as shells

Instructions

  • In a large pot, sauté onions, carrots, and celery in butter and oil over medium heat for 7-10 minutes.
    sauteed vegetables in big pot
  • Stir in water, bouillon, beans, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, seasonings, and cabbage.
    cabbage and spices in minestrone
  • Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer for at least 20 minutes. 10 minutes before serving, pour in pasta to cook or boil it separately.
    adding pasta to soup
  • Serve with parmesan cheese and good quality crusty bread.
    ladling minestrone soup out of pot

Nutrition

Calories: 242kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 949mg | Potassium: 888mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 905IU | Vitamin C: 30mg | Calcium: 96mg | Iron: 5mg

The post Minestrone Soup appeared first on Lauren’s Latest.

Originally posted at Laurens Latest

Instant Pot Split Pea Soup

Instant Pot Split Pea Soup recipe is quick and easy to make but tastes like it’s been on the stove all day!

One pot is all it takes to prep and cook this belly warming meal. Serve it with a side salad and some crusty bread for dipping.

Instant Pot Split Pea Soup in bowls with instant pot in the back

A Flavorful Favorite

  • Split Pea Soup is a hearty entrée soup that we love.
  • It’s such a great way to use up that leftover ham from any occasion.
  • We love this recipe because it makes a traditional split pea soup recipe super quick without sacrificing flavor!
  • This budget-friendly favorite uses simple ingredients yet has great flavor.

ingredients to make Instant Pot Split Pea Soup

Ingredients

HAM I use both bacon & ham for an extra boost of flavor. If you only have one or the other, double up the amount.

If you’re lucky enough to have a hambone, cook it right in the split peas, and remove it later and add the meat from the bone into the soup.

SPLIT PEAS Split pea soup is similar to Lentil Soup, but it’s richer and creamier. Use green or yellow split peas.

CHICKEN BROTH adds extra savory flavor, especially for this Instant Pot version. Traditional ham bone broth can sometimes take hours to cook, but using premade chicken broth makes this soup just as savory!

VEGETABLES Fresh veggies like carrots, celery, garlic, & onion are staples for split pea and ham soup and add to the base flavor. Don’t forget the herbs, thyme and parsley, bay leaf and black pepper!

process of adding ingredients to instant pot to make Instant Pot Split Pea Soup

How to Make Instant Pot Split Pea Soup

Instant Pot Split Pea Soup is a breeze to make.

  1. Sauté veggies with chopped bacon in the Instant Pot. Add garlic last.
  2. Add remaining ingredients & pressure cook (per recipe below).
  3. Stir in fresh parsley, season, and serve.

To Soak or Not to Soak?

Technically, split peas don’t need to be soaked, especially when cooking in the Instant Pot.

But if you want to make sure that split peas will be easier to digest, soak them with a bay leaf for at least 4 hours or overnight. Rinse thoroughly before adding to the soup. Cook time can be reduced by about 5-6 minutes.

top view of cooked Instant Pot Split Pea Soup

Tips & Tricks

  • If you have the time, try making homemade bone broth by covering the ham bone with water and simmering in the Crockpot for 8 hours or overnight. Then make split pea and ham soup with the broth from the ham bone instead of, (or in addition to) chicken broth. Leftover broth can be frozen and used in other recipes.
  • No energy to make soup the day after a big feast? No problem. Just freeze the ham bone for another time when a bowl of delicious soup is in the plan!
  • For an extra creamy soup, use an immersion blender in the soup, before adding in parsley and chopped ham. Leave some chunkiness for texture, or purée, if desired.

Leftovers

Split Pea & Ham soup can be kept in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. It freezes really well, too, making it great for batch cooking or meal prep! It will keep its flavor in the freezer for at least 3 months, and up to 6. To store, ladle cooled soup into individual serving-sized freezer bags or meal prep containers & mark with the date. Thaw desired portions in the refrigerator, then reheat on the stovetop. For best results use defrosted portions within 2 days.

Our Fave Savory Soups

Did your family enjoy this Instant Pot Split Pea Soup? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below! 

close up of Instant Pot Split Pea Soup with ham

Instant Pot Split Pea Soup

Split Pea Soup made in the Instant Pot is healthy, hearty, & oh-so-flavorful!
Course Dinner, Instant Pot, Soup
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 689
Author Holly Nilsson

Ingredients

  • 1 pound dried split peas green or yellow green or yellow
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 slices bacon uncooked, finely diced
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 3 ribs celery diced
  • 2 large carrots diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 meaty ham bone or 2 cups leftover ham
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon thyme leaves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley

Instructions

  • Rinse peas and drain well.
  • Turn a 6QT Instant Pot on to saute. Heat olive oil. Add bacon, onion, celery, and carrots.
  • Cook 3-5 minutes or until onions are tender. Stir in garlic.
  • Add remaining ingredients except for the parsley.
  • Select manual, high pressure and set the timer to 17 minutes. Once time is up, allow to naturally release for 15 minutes. Release any remaining pressure.
  • Discard bay leaf. If using a ham bone, remove any meat from the bone and stir back into the soup. Discard bone.
  • Stir in parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Notes

Makes approximately 7 cups. 

Nutrition

Calories: 689 | Carbohydrates: 79g | Protein: 47g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 51mg | Sodium: 2262mg | Potassium: 1881mg | Fiber: 31g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 6427IU | Vitamin C: 35mg | Calcium: 128mg | Iron: 7mg
Instant Pot Split Pea Soup in the instant pot and plated with a title
Instant Pot Split Pea Soup in bowls with instant pot in the back with writing
Instant Pot Split Pea Soup in bowls with writing
Instant Pot Split Pea Soup in the instant pot with a title

Originally posted at Spend with Pennies

Potato Bacon Soup

This Potato Bacon Soup is rich and creamy and packed with smoky bacon! 

A creamy broth, chunks of potato, and of course it wouldn’t be a bacon soup without lots of bacon. This dish is easy to make and will satisfy even the heartiest of appetites!

potato bacon soup in a bowl

Savory Potato Bacon Soup

This is a great soup recipe. We love it because:

  • this soup is fast enough for a weeknight meal
  • most of the ingredients are things I usually have on hand
  • we love the rich flavors
  • it keeps for about 4 days and reheats well for lunches

ingredients for Potato Bacon Soup on a marble board

Ingredients

BACON A bacon soup needs bacon and lots of it! We prefer a thick cut bacon.

If you don’t have bacon, you can use pre-cooked bacon crumbles. Brown them in a pan with a bit of oil before cooking the onion. This crisps the bacon and flavors the oil at the same time.

DAIRY I use a bit of heavy cream in the broth. If you’d like you can substitute either light cream or a bit of evaporated milk. Regular milk can be used but the soup won’t be as creamy and you’ll need to increase the cornstarch a little bit.

BROTH Use low sodium so the soup isn’t too salty, or make your own homemade chicken stock for use in lots of recipes.

POTATOES  Baking potatoes (russets or Idaho potatoes) are nice and starchy and for great flavor and texture.

Potato Bacon Soup ingredients in a pot

Variations

  • We like to add sliced leek, cheddar cheese, cooked sausage, or even leftover chicken.
  • A dollop of sour cream is great on top!
  • Feel free to add other mix-ins like jalapenos, green chilis, sundried tomato, chopped basil, or even sliced black olives.

How to Make Potato Bacon Soup

This delicious soup is really easy to put together!

  1. Cook & drain bacon. Sauté onion, garlic, & celery in bacon grease per printable recipe below.
  2. Stir in broth, potatoes, thyme, & simmer, then stir in cream.
  3. Thicken with a cornstarch slurry to desired texture and stir in half the bacon.

Season, serve immediately with Parmesan, bacon, & sliced green onions on top.

Potato Bacon Soup in a pot with a ladle

Recipe Perfection

  • For a thicker soup, mash or blend a portion (or all) of the soup.
  • If using a thin skinned potato (red or Yukon gold) you can leave some of the peels on the potatoes for a rustic look and a bit more fiber.
  • Adding shredded cheddar cheese will make the soup extra creamy.
  • Stir in some of the bacon for flavor but reserve some for the top so it stays nice and crispy.

Leftovers

  • Keep leftovers in a covered container in the refrigerator for about 3 to 4 days. The flavor will actually improve!
  • Reheat soup on the stovetop or in individual servings in the microwave.
  • Freeze potato soup in zippered bags with the date labeled on the outside and it will keep for about 3 months. When it’s thawed, it may be grainy because cream and potatoes don’t freeze well, but that can be remedied by adding fresh potatoes, a dash of cream, and fresh seasonings.

More Rich Soups We Love

Easy Cauliflower Soup

Broccoli Soup – 20 minute meal

Split Pea Soup

Crock Pot Potato Soup

Fresh Tomato Soup – reader favorite

Did you love this Potato Bacon Soup? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below! 

Potato Bacon Soup in a bowl with a spoon

Potato Bacon Soup

Creamy, hearty, and flavorful, this Potato Bacon Soup is perfect for lunch or dinner on a cold day.
Course Dinner, Lunch, Soup
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 506
Author Holly Nilsson

Ingredients

  • 8 slices bacon chopped
  • ½ onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 ribs celery diced
  • 3 cups chicken broth low sodium
  • 16 ounces baking potatoes peeled and diced ½”, about 2 medium potatoes
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • cayenne pinch
  • parmesan cheese & sliced green onions for garnish

Instructions

  • Cook bacon in a large saucepan over medium heat until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  • Add onion, garlic, and celery to the bacon fat and cook 3-4 minutes or until onion softens slightly.
  • Stir in chicken broth, potatoes, and thyme. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook covered 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Stir in cream and simmer for 5 minutes longer.
  • Combine cornstarch and 1 tablespoon of water to create a slurry. Whisk into the simmering soup and simmer 1 minute. Stir in half of the bacon. Season with salt, pepper, and cayenne to taste.
  • Spoon into bowls, top with parmesan cheese, remaining bacon and green onions.

Notes

To make prep quick: Chop the onions & celery while the bacon is cooking. While the onion is cooking, peel and dice the potatoes.

For a thicker soup, mash or blend a portion (or all) of the soup before adding the bacon.

If using a thin skinned potato (red or Yukon gold) you can leave some of the peels on the potatoes for a rustic look and a bit more fiber.

Cheddar cheese is a great addition to this soup. Stir in some of the bacon for flavor but reserve some for the top so it stays nice and crispy.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.25cup | Calories: 506 | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 40g | Saturated Fat: 20g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 111mg | Sodium: 982mg | Potassium: 824mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 988IU | Vitamin C: 21mg | Calcium: 81mg | Iron: 2mg
Potato Bacon Soup in a bowl with a title
Potato Bacon Soup in a bowl with writing
Potato Bacon Soup in a bowl with a spoon and text
Potato Bacon Soup with bacon and a title

Originally posted at Spend with Pennies

Crock Pot Lasagna

Crockpot Lasagna has all of the rich zesty flavors, creamy cheese, and tender, juicy ground beef found in a traditional lasagna recipe!

The slow cooker is an easy way to prepare this favorite and let it cook all day while you’re away. Nothing is as good as a ready meal after a busy day.

close up of plated Crock Pot Lasagna

An Easy Crockpot Meal

We love any and all Crockpot recipes, but this one has a special place in our kitchen!

  • This recipe is easy to put together and no pre-cooking the noodles required.
  • It’s great to make ahead (even the day before) and cook while you’re out or at work.
  • It’s the perfect entrée to add to a potluck or dinner party since all you need to do is plug the Crockpot in to keep it warm.
  • It’s versatile, too, and can easily be changed up with other favorite lasagna ingredients.

ingredients to make Crock Pot Lasagna

Lasagna Ingredients

3-CHEESE FILLING Traditional lasagna uses ricotta cheese, but cottage cheese works. Cottage cheese can sometimes produce a bit more liquid. Parmesan adds flavor while mozzarella makes it gooey and cheesy.

SAUCE This easy ground beef version uses a marinara sauce that’s already seasoned, but we add some of our own homemade Italian seasoning. If you have the time, you can make your own easy marinara sauce, too! If you have leftover meatsauce, that can be used too.

OPTIONAL ADD-INS

      • Add some fresh or frozen spinach to the cheese mixture.
      • Layer in cooked veggies like peppers or mushrooms.
      • Swap half of the ground beef for Italian sausage.

Crock Pot Lasagna ingredients in bowls

How To Make Crockpot Lasagna

Let the slow cooker do all the work for this delish dish!

  1. Brown ground beef, onion, and garlic. Add sauce, tomatoes, and seasonings.
  2. Combine cheese filling.
  3. Layer cheese mixture, meat sauce, and noodles until the final layer is pasta sauce topped with cheese.
  4. Cover and cook per recipe below.

process of adding layers to pot to make Crock Pot Lasagna

Important Tip

Once cooked, be sure to let the lasagna rest with the lid ajar for at least 30 minutes (or up to 40 minutes). This allows it to cool slightly and the layers to set up.

What To Serve With Lasagna

Lasagna doesn’t need much more than a fresh, crispy salad and garlic toast! Here are a few of our favorites!

Salads:  tossed salad, Italian salad, Caesar salad

Breads: homemade garlic bread, dinner rolls, French Bread, no knead bread

top view of Crock Pot Lasagna

How to Store Leftovers

Lasagna keeps very well in the refrigerator for about 4 days. Make sure it is covered tightly. Sprinkle a little extra mozzarella and Parmesan cheese on top and reheat in the microwave.

As with any lasagna, this recipe freezes well!

Lasagna Recipes

Did your family love this Crockpot Lasagna? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below!

close up of Crockpot Lasagna with bread and a slow cooker in the back

Crock Pot Lasagna

Crockpot Lasagna is an easy set-it-and-forget-it meal that tastes just like the oven version. Layers of lasagna noodles, meat sauce, & loads of gooey cheese make an unforgettable Italian favorite in the slow cooker!
Course Beef, Casserole, Dinner, Entree, Main Course, Pasta, Slow Cooker
Cuisine American, Italian
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Resting Time 30 minutes
Total Time 4 hours 30 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 611
Author Holly Nilsson

Ingredients

  • 9 lasagna noodles uncooked
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese shredded
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese grated

Sauce

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 15 ounces petite diced tomatoes
  • 36 ounces marinara sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

Cheese Filling

  • 24 oz ricotta cheese or cottage cheese
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese shredded
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese grated
  • 1 egg

Instructions

  • Cook ground beef, onion, and garlic in a large saucepan until no pink remains. Drain fat.
  • Stir in sauce, diced tomatoes with juices and seasoning. Simmer 5-7 minutes or until thickened. Season with salt & pepper to taste.
  • Meanwhile, mix cheese filling ingredients.
  • Spread 1 ½ cups sauce in the bottom of a 6 qt slow cooker. Top with a layer of uncooked lasagna noodles (break them to fit in the slow cooker as needed).
  • Create layers of cheese mixture, sauce, and noodles. End with pasta sauce and finally top with remaining mozzarella and parmesan.
  • Cover and cook on low for 3 to 3.5 hours or until pasta is cooked through (the edges will be brown and crispy). Turn the slow cooker off, open lid slightly to allow steam to escape and let rest 30 minutes to set.

Notes

Layering order (you may or may not be able to fit 3 whole noodles on each layer depending on the shape of your slow cooker):

1.5 cups of sauce- 2 ½ to 3 noodles- 1/3 of cheese mixture 

1.5 cups of sauce- 2 ½ to 3 noodles- 1/3 of cheese mixture

1.5 cups of sauce- 2 ½ to 3 noodles- 1/3 of cheese mixture

remaining sauce – mozzarella

Be sure to let the lasagna rest uncovered at least 20 minutes (or up to 30 minutes). This allows it to cool slightly and the layers to set up.

Nutrition

Calories: 611 | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 40g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 142mg | Sodium: 1271mg | Potassium: 975mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 1437IU | Vitamin C: 15mg | Calcium: 561mg | Iron: 4mg

plated Crock Pot Lasagna with Crockpot in the back with a title

Crock Pot Lasagna in the air fryer and and plated with a title

 

plated Crock Pot Lasagna with writing

 

plated Crock Pot Lasagna with a title

 

 

Originally posted at Spend with Pennies

Cheesy Veggie Pizza For Friday Night

Ingredients

Dough

1 teaspoon instant yeast

1 teaspoon honey

1 cup lukewarm water

3 cups bread flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Topping

1 medium zucchini, finely diced

1 yellow bell pepper, finely diced

2 plum tomatoes, seeded and finely diced

One-quarter of a large red onion, finely diced

16 oz block whole milk mozzarella cheese, sliced thin

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

1 teaspoon dried oregano

Salt and pepper to taste

Crushed red pepper flakes for serving

Directions

Combine all the ingredients for the dough in the large bowl of an electric mixer and with the paddle attachment mix until the ingredients come together around the paddle. Attach the dough hook and knead the dough for 5-6 minutes.

Place in a greased bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled.

For an overnight rise:  Spray a large ziplock plastic bag with olive oil cooking spray. Place the dough in the bag and close the top. Place the bag in the refrigerator overnight. When ready to make the pizza, remove the bag from the refrigerator 30 minutes before making the pizza.

Turn the oven to 450 degrees F and let the oven heat for 30 minutes.

Prepare the crust: flour your hands lightly and pat the dough evenly into a lightly oiled 16″ pizza pan.

Top the crust in the following order: slices of mozzarella, vegetables, oregano, salt, pepper, and shredded mozzarella cheese.

Bake the pizza on the bottom rack of the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the crust is golden. Let stand 5 minutes before slicing.

Originally posted at Jovina Cooks Italian

Easy Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed Peppers seem fancy but it’s an easy way to serve peppers! Tender bell peppers stuffed with a zesty ground beef, sausage, rice, and tomato filling. Top it all with cheese and bake until bubbly. 

Serve these with a fresh salad and some crusty bread (for sopping up any sauce).

Stuffed Peppers in clear glass baking dish

Ingredients

Stuffed Bell Peppers are easy to make and everyone loves them!

  • MEAT We fill these with a mixture of beef and sausage but you can use one or the other (or even ground turkey if you prefer)
  • RICE I use long grain white rice but I do sometimes replace the rice with Cauliflower Rice.
  • SAUCE Use your fave marinara sauce or pasta sauce. Add in some herbs (fresh if you’ve got them) and onions. If you like a little heat, stir in some chili flakes.

Peppers for Stuffed Peppers

While I used green peppers in this recipe, any color bell pepper (red/yellow/orange) will work just fine. The peppers do have different flavors so it can depend on your personal taste preference.

  • Green peppers are a bit zestier and we love the flavor with the filling mixture.
  • If you like sweeter peppers, red, yellow, or orange are great options.

Stuffed Pepper recipe ingredients in a pot

How to make Stuffed Peppers

My friends often ask me how to make stuffed bell peppers and my response is always the same – it’s so easy! While these may look difficult, if you follow these easy steps, you will have perfect stuffed peppers every time!

  1. Brown meat, onion, and garlic (per recipe below). Add tomato sauce, rice and seasonings and cook until rice is tender.
  2. While the filling is cooking, prepare your peppers by simmering 5 minutes to soften or even bake them in the oven for 15 minutes if you’d like.
  3. Fill peppers with pasta sauce, meat and rice mixture. Top with cheese and bake until bubbly!

I usually cut my peppers across the top but you can also cut them top to bottom to make smaller portions (like in these Mexican Stuffed Peppers).

Do You Have to Pre-cook the Peppers Before Stuffing Them?  No you don’t have to precook the peppers, but they do stay quite crisp if you don’t pre-cook them. I think they’re better if you pre-cook them a bit.

Stuffed Peppers in baking dish with tomato sauce

How Long to Cook Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed peppers should be cooked at about 350°F for about 45 minutes. Be sure to cover with foil during the initial 30-35 minutes to ensure they do not dry out. Uncover and top with cheese and bake for the remaining 10 minutes or so until brown and bubbly.

Great Sides

This dish goes well with a fresh salad and bread. Here are some favorites:

Stuffed Pepper being lifted out of baking dish

Make Ahead & Leftovers

Stuffed peppers can be frozen and they are a great make-ahead meal!

To Freeze Stuffed Peppers prepare and bake as directed below. They can be frozen individually or together in a baking dish. To re-heat, simply thaw in the fridge overnight and bake in a 350°F oven until heated through.

Stuffed Pepper being lifted out of baking dish

Stuffed Peppers

Tender bell peppers stuffed with a zesty beef and rice filling with tomato sauce are baked until bubbly.
Course Beef, Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 385
Author Holly Nilsson

Ingredients

  • 6 bell peppers
  • ½ pound lean ground beef
  • ½ pound Italian sausage
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 can small diced tomatoes 14 ½ ounces
  • ½ cup white rice uncooked
  • 1 ¼ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 ½ cups marinara sauce divided
  • ½ cup cheddar cheese shredded

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Cut the tops off the peppers (reserve the tops), remove seeds and membranes and discard. Chop tops of the peppers to add to the filling.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook peppers 5 minutes. Remove and drain well.
  • In a large skillet, brown beef, sausage, onion & garlic over medium high heat until no pink remains. Drain any fat. 
  • Stir in the diced tomatoes with juice, rice, 1 ¼ cup water, diced pepper tops, Worcestershire sauce, and Italian seasoning.
  • Bring to a simmer, reduce heat and cover. Cook 15-20 minutes or until rice is tender. You can add more water if needed. Stir in ½ cup marinara sauce.
  • Place 1 ½ cups of marinara sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 pan. Fill each pepper with the rice mixture. Spoon remaining marinara sauce over peppers.
  • Cover with foil and bake 35 minutes. Remove foil, baste peppers with any sauce in the bottom. Top with cheddar and bake an additional 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and peppers are tender.

Video

Notes

If you firmer/tender-crisp peppers, skip the boiling step and bake as directed.

Nutrition

Calories: 385 | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 64mg | Sodium: 922mg | Potassium: 933mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 4255IU | Vitamin C: 166.8mg | Calcium: 137mg | Iron: 3.7mg

 

 

Stuffed Peppers with a title

Originally posted at Spend with Pennies

Air Fryer Meatloaf

Air fryer meatloaf is so juicy and cooks in a fraction of the time and clean up is a breeze.

This meatloaf contains a mixture of meat & seasonings and its topped with a delicious zesty topping!

sliced Air Fryer Meatloaf

Why Make Meatloaf in the Air Fryer

A classic meatloaf is a favorite meal and we love this air fryer version for a quick weeknight dinner.

  • this can baked in about half of the time compared to an oven recipe.
  • the fat drips away into the pan so the meat doesn’t cook in the fat.
  • this makes 2 smaller meatloaves so they’re easier to handle (and you get more of the crispy edges)
  • cleanup is a breeze (I have the Cosori 5.8QT XL and a quick rinse and it goes into the dishwasher

No Air Fryer? No problem!

ingredients to make Air Fryer Meatloaf

Ingredients

MEAT We use lean ground beef (80/20), however, a combination of ground beef and ground turkey or pork can work just as well.

VEGGIES Finely diced bell pepper, onions, parsley, and garlic add flavor.

BINDER & SEASONINGS Breadcrumbs are mixed together with milk and egg yolk, Parmesan cheese, and a handful of Italian seasoning.

Ingredient Info

The topping in this recipe contains chili sauce (which is not spicy) and ketchup and it’s my favorite part of meatloaf.

If you’ve never had chili sauce, it is like a very zesty tangy ketchup with tons of flavor. It’s amazing combined with BBQ sauce and put on burgers and ribs.

process of making Air Fryer Meatloaf

How to Make Air Fryer Meatloaf

Air fryer meatloaf is a super quick and easy way to put a delicious meal on the table, and it takes just a few easy steps!

  1. Mix all of the ingredients, shape them into two equally-sized loaves (per the recipe below).
  2. Place meatloaves in the air fryer basket & cook for about 20 minutes.
  3. Add topping and cook an additional 15 minutes or until the meatloaf reaches 165°F.

Remove meatloaves from the air fryer & allow to rest 5 minutes before slicing.

close up of Air Fryer Meatloaf in the air fryer

Recipe Tips

  • Don’t overmix the meat, mix just until combined.
  • Preheat the air fryer before adding the meatloaf.
  • Air Fryers can vary so be sure to use an instant read thermometer to check the internal temperature of the meatloaf and ensure it reaches 165° F.
  • Check the meatloaf early to ensure it doesn’t overcook. Add more time as needed.
  • Rest the meatloaf before slicing so it doesn’t fall apart.
  • Keep leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days and reheat in the air fryer or the microwave.

Air Fryer Faves

Did your family love this Air Fryer Meatloaf? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below! 

sliced Air Fryer Meatloaf

Air Fryer Meatloaf

Juicy & tender, this Air Fryer Meatloaf is easy to make and full of flavor.
Course Air Fryer, Beef, Dinner, Entree, Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Rest Time 5 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 340
Author Holly Nilsson

Ingredients

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • ½ green bell pepper finely diced
  • cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup onion* finely diced, see note
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese grated
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley chopped
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Topping

Instructions

  • Preheat air fryer to 350°F.
  • Mix all meatloaf ingredients in a large bowl just until combined.
  • Divide the mixture into 2 and shape into small meatloaves, about 5″ long by 2″ wide.
  • Cook in the air fryer for 20 minutes.
  • Combine topping ingredients in a small bowl. Add topping and cook an additional 5-7 minutes or until meatloaf reaches 165°F.
  • Rest 5 minutes before serving.

Notes

For a milder onion flavor, fry the onion in 1 tablespoon butter until tender. Cool completely before adding.

Don’t overmix the meat, mix just until combined.

Preheat the air fryer before adding the meatloaf.

Air Fryers can vary so be sure to use an instant read thermometer to check the internal temperature of the meatloaf and ensure it reaches 165° F.

Check the meatloaf early to ensure it doesn’t overcook. Add more time as needed.

Rest the meatloaf before slicing so it doesn’t fall apart.

Nutrition

Calories: 340 | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 128mg | Sodium: 709mg | Potassium: 542mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 445IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 96mg | Iron: 4mg
close up of Air Fryer Meatloaf with writing
Air Fryer Meatloaf in the air fryer and sliced with a title
sliced Air Fryer Meatloaf with a title
close up of Air Fryer Meatloaf with a title

Originally posted at Spend with Pennies