Beef Rigatoni Recipe

By | Budget Meals, Cooking, Main Dishes | No Comments

Thank you to Hunt’s for sponsoring this post and encouraging my culinary skills! Visit HuntsSignatureRecipeCollection to find tons of delicious ideas for using Hunt’s tomatoes in your meals.

Getting dinner on the table fast, but still serve a delicious, healthy meal can sometimes be a struggle. Just like many of you, with all the practices, games and work schedules in our house, dinner time is a little hectic.

Hunt’s tomatoes to the rescue! I’ve made lots of Italian Pasta dinners over the years, but truthfully never really thought to change it up. We usually enjoy the typical Lasagna or Spaghetti with Meatballs. But not anymore…Hunt’s has some delicious new recipes in their Signature Recipe Collection, like the Beef Rigatoni Arrabbiata.

I changed up the recipe a bit to fit our taste, and also use the Hunt’s Tomatoes that I had in the pantry. I typically buy just the regular diced tomatoes, but did you know that Hunt’s has a variety of different canned tomatoes, like Diced Tomatoes with Fennel & Red Pepper or Diced Tomatoes with Green Pepper, Celery & Onion? They even have no salt added tomatoes.

I see a little more variety to our dinners in the near future!

This Beef Rigatoni went together really quickly. I mixed it all up in the afternoon, and then added it to the Slow Cooker to keep it warm until dinner time. Doug and I actually went out for the evening to find some supplies for a new desk that Doug is building me…yay! So the boys enjoyed a home cooked dinner and we didn’t have to order pizza. There was also plenty of leftovers for lunch the next day.


Beef Rigatoni Recipe

An easy meal your family will love. Recipe from

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 small onion
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 {about 1/2 cup} red bell pepper, chopped
  • 8-10 {about 1/2 cup} mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 – 14.5 oz. can Hunt’s Petite Tomatoes
  • 1 – 8 oz. can Hunt’s Tomato Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon each oregano, basil and parsley flakes
  • 1 – 16 oz. box Rigatoni Pasta
  • 1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese {you can use part-skim}


  1. Brown ground beef until most of the pink is gone
  2. Add the chopped onions and garlic, cook about 2-3 minutes until onions are tender
  3. Add mushrooms and peppers and cook until tender, continue cooking until beef is fully cooked, drain and return to pan
  4. Add Hunt’s Tomatoes and Sauce
  5. Add spices and stir until combined
  6. Cook about 5-10 minutes until sauce is thick and bubbly
  7. While sauce is cooking, boil water for pasta and cook according to directions on box, drain pasta
  8. In a large pot, combine Rigatoni and sauce
  9. Heat through. Serve with a sprinkle of mozzarella cheese
  10. You can also easily add this to a Slow Cooker, turn on low and keep warm until dinner time

Thank you again to Hunt’s for sponsoring my post. Find more ideas for cooking with tomatoes at HuntsSignatureRecipeCollection.

Disclosure: I was selected for this opportunity by the Clever Girls Collective. All opinions expressed here are my own. #HuntsRecipe #spon

CrockStar Confession: How to stretch your budget

By | Budget Meals, Cooking | One Comment

I LOVE my Slow Cooker, so when I was asked by Walmart and Rival to share a tip on how I use my Slow Cooker, I couldn’t pass up the chance. 

Head on over to the CrockStar page on Facebook, grab some recipes and check out the Confessions.

AND while you are there enter for a chance to win $2,500!!  Every day they are sharing a video with a CrockStar Confession, answer the questions and you could win! Wow! I would be thrilled if one of my readers won!!

Disclosure: This post is part of a campaign I am participating in with the Walmart Moms. Walmart has provided me with compensation  for this post. My participation is voluntary and opinions, as always are my own.

Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Sauteed Mushrooms and Jarlsberg Cheese

By | Budget Meals, Cooking, Kid Friendly/Special Events | 11 Comments

Grilled Cheese Sandwiches are one of those very versatile sandwiches, pair it with a bowl of soup for a hearty lunch or add a salad for a great dinner.

Raising 3 boys, I have made my share of Grilled Cheese, but I will have to admit, probably 99% of them have been the normal, everyday, Grilled Cheese Sandwich made with American cheese and white bread.

I was recently challenged by Jarlsberg Cheese and Kitchen Play to come up with an unique Grilled Cheese Sandwich. Jarlsberg Cheese is a Norwegian cheese that is reminiscent of Swiss cheese, but with a nutty, buttery flavor.

My husband, Doug and I, put on our thinking caps and created this Grilled Cheese Sandwich. And let me tell you…it’s nothing short of fantastic! I had two of them and made a special trip to the store for more cheese because I was craving another one the next day.

Grilled Cheese Sandwich Recipe:

  • Garlic Parmesan French Bread
  • Jarlsberg or Jarlsberg Lite Cheese {I found it in the deli area, near the specialty cheeses}
  • Tomato {2 slices per sandwich}
  • Mushrooms {2 per sandwich} cleaned and sliced
  • Garlic {1 clove per 4-5 mushrooms}
  • 2 tablespoons butter for mushrooms
  • Butter for bread


Melt butter in a small saucepan, add sliced mushrooms. Slightly saute and then add minced garlic. Cook until mushrooms are lightly brown and soft. Set aside.

Slice bread on an angle and butter one side. Slice cheese and tomato thinly. Heat Electric Griddle and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Add bread, buttered side down. Butter other side of bread. When the bread is toasted flip over.

Add several slices of cheese.

Add a couple slices of tomato.

Add sauteed  mushrooms.

Add the top piece of bread. Place a heavy pan on top to press sandwich down and grill until cheese is melted and bread is browned. Serve with a mixture of mayonnaise and Dijon mustard. And a pickle spear on the side if you like.

Did you know?? April is Grilled Cheese month!

During the month of April, Jarlsberg will be giving away “Toastabags” on its website. Making a Grilled Cheese Sandwich in your toaster! How cool is that? Just submit your favorite grilled cheese sandwich recipe and receive a ToastaBag and a $1 off coupon for your next purchase of Jarlsberg Cheese. You can join them on Facebook too!

What is your favorite Grilled Cheese Sandwich? Visit KitchenPlay for more great sandwich ideas!

Disclosure: I was compensated for this post by Jarlsberg Cheese. All the opinions and photos are my own.

I’m linking to…Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, Delicious Dishes

Mandarin Chicken Stir-Fry Recipe for #WeeknightMeals

By | Budget Meals, Cooking, Main Dishes | 2 Comments

We have talked a lot about planning meals, cooking on a budget and creating meals that are quick, easy and something that your family will love. Kroger and ConAgra Foods have teamed up to make your meal planning a little easier.

They have launched a new website, Give Every Night New Flavor, lets you choose from 4 different Cuisines, time you have to prepare and how many people you are cooking for.

I chose, Asian, less than 30 minutes and 4 people. The website generated a list of 5 different meals, and I chose Mandarin Chicken Stir-Fry. It was definitely easy, delicious and heathly too.


Mandarin Chicken Stir-Fry Recipe

Make Mandarin Chicken Stir-Fry from for a quick, easy, and delicious weeknight dinner!


  • 2 tablespoons Wesson Oil, divided
  • 1 package Stir-Fry Vegetables {I bought Kroger brand and they were only $1 this week}
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken, cut into strips
  • 1/3 cup La Choy Teriyaki Marinade & Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 can (11 oz) Mandarin Oranges, drained


  1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large skillet or wok over high heat.
  2. Add vegetables; cook and stir 4 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender.
  3. Remove from skillet; set aside.
  4. Pour remaining 1 tablespoon oil into skillet.
  5. Add chicken; cook and stir 4 minutes or until no longer pink.
  6. Return vegetables to skillet.
  7. Whisk together teriyaki sauce and cornstarch in small bowl until smooth.
  8. Add sauce mixture to skillet; cook and stir 1 minute or until sauce thickens.
  9. Add oranges; stir gently.
  10. Serve with white rice, egg rolls or chow mein noodles.

You can read all about what GiveEveryNightNewFlavor and my shopping trip to Kroger my Whrrl.

Disclosure: This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias. All experiences and opinions are my own.

I’m linking to…Delicious Dishes, Ultimate Recipe Swap

Chicken Phillies and Our Menu Plan

By | Budget Meals, Cooking, Main Dishes, Menu Planning | 7 Comments

We all know the cost of groceries are continually rising. It can be difficult to cook a healthy, budget friendly meal for your family that they will love. Walmart challenged me to create a great tasting, budget friendly meal. Since we are approaching grilling season, we decided on Chicken Phillies, Quick & Easy Noodles and a side Salad.

I put together a video showing you what ingredients we bought, how to assemble the sandwiches and our yummy dinner for just over $2 per person.

The Chicken Phillies can also be made up ahead, just grill the veggies and chicken, place in a sealed container and in the fridge until you are ready to assemble sandwiches.


Chicken Phillies

Chicken Phillies is a delicious and budget-friendly recipe from

  • Yield: 4 servings


  • 2 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
  • 1/3 bottle Zesty Italian Dressing
  • 1 cup Mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 4 hoagie buns
  • 1 green, 1 orange and 1 red pepper
  • 1 large onion


  1. Split chicken breasts open and place in container, pour dressing over and place in refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
  2. Meanwhile, clean peppers and onions. Cut into quarters.
  3. Grill veggies first, then add the chicken. It took about 20 minutes for the veggies, and 10 minutes for the chicken.
  4. Place on plate and let cool slightly.
  5. Slice veggies and chicken.
  6. Place a few pieces of chicken, then peppers and onions.
  7. Top with a sprinkle of cheese, wrap in foil and place on a cookie sheet.
  8. Bake at 400 degrees for about 5-10 minutes until the cheese is all melted.
  9. While sandwiches are in the oven, cook the noodles and put together the salad.

Cost of meal…

  • Chicken  $2.50
  • Dressing $.50
  • Buns  $1.00
  • Peppers and Onions $1.25
  • Cheese $.93
  • Noodles $1.00
  • Salad $1.38
  • Dressing $.25

Total for meal $8.81…$2.20 per person

Here is what we are eating this week…

Our Menu Plan

Monday ~ Breakfast – Make Ahead Sausage Casserole and Fruit

Tuesday ~ Chicken N’ Noodles, Mashed Potatoes and Corn

Wednesday ~ Taco Ring and Rice

Thursday ~ Chicken Phillies, Noodles and Salad

Friday ~ April Fool’s Day Dinner {watch for ideas on Wed}

Saturday ~ Soup & Sandwich

Sunday ~ Lasagna Skillet {recipe from Lauren’s Latest}, Salad, Garlic Biscuits

What’s on your menu this week? Are you ready for grilling season?

Disclosure: This post is part of a campaign I am participating in with the Walmart Moms. Walmart has provided me with compensation and product for this post. My participation is voluntary and opinions, as always are my own. 

Don’t miss my current giveaway for Home Ec 101 Book!!

I’m linking to…Menu Plan Monday


Teriyaki Chicken and Our Menu Plan

By | Budget Meals, Cooking, Main Dishes, Menu Planning | 7 Comments

Happy Monday! Here we are…another new week ahead of us. Spring is making it’s way to us…slowly, but at least it is warming up a little. With our Baseball season beginning next week, I will be fixing more make ahead and crockpot meals. Over the weekend I wrote the schedule on my calendar, and was once again, surprised at the amount of games Nick has. My time at home, especially during dinner hour, will be very limited for the next 3 months.

This Teriyaki Chicken is one of those perfect make ahead meals. You can use whole chicken breasts or thighs, this time I used strips of chicken breasts. I bought a package of boneless skinless breasts and divided it up for 3 meals. I originally shared this recipe last year when I reviewed Make-Ahead Meals for Busy Moms, created a weekly plan from the cookbook, and had a special cooking day.


Teriyaki Chicken

Quick and easy Teriyaki Chicken recipe from


  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce (less sodium is fine)
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 8-10 skinless, boneless chicken thighs or 1 – 2 lbs. chicken breast


  1. In a gallon freezer bag, combine all ingredients except the chicken.
  2. Mix thoroughly.
  3. Add the chicken and seal.
  4. Refrigerate up to 24 hours before cooking or freeze in a labeled freezer bag for up to 3 months.

Cooking Directions

  1. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Place the chicken and all of the liquid in a 13×9 pan, uncovered and bake for 30 minutes, turn the pieces over and bake for 30 minutes more.
  4. For chicken strips, drain the liquid. Add 1-2 tablespoons oil to the heavy frying pan or Wok.
  5. Cook chicken about 8-10 minutes or until all pink is gone.
  6. This chicken can also be grilled for about 12 – 14 minutes on each side. It is done when the juice runs clear.
  7. Serve with white or chicken fried rice.


This meal was super fast, probably 20 minutes tops. I started the rice and while that was cooking, I heated up the pan for the chicken, drained the liquid and cooked the chicken.

Our Menu Plan…

Monday ~ BBQ Chicken Sliders, Chips and Fruit

Tuesday ~ Teriyaki Chicken, Rice

Wednesday ~ Have-it-Your-Way Tacos {recipe from Meal Makeover Moms}

Thursday ~ Baked Ravioli

Friday ~ Stuffed Crust Pizza

Saturday ~ Chili Nachos {recipe from Mommy Hates Cooking}

Sunday ~ Grilled Hamburgers, Deli-Style Pasta Salad, Deviled Eggs

What’s on your menu this week? Don’t forget to join us for Cupcake Tuesday tomorrow! AND, if you have a craft or DIY project to share, add it to the Show Me How Party!

I’m linking to…Delicious Dishes, Menu Plan Monday, Mouthwatering Mondays

Easy Taco Bake

By | Budget Meals, Cooking, Main Dishes | 12 Comments

When fellow Hoosier, Amy from a Latte’ with Ott, told me about her Iron Chef Challenge, I knew I would want to join in. In January, the Challenge was Duck and in February it was Lamb, both of which I just don’t cook. But this month, is Red Gold Tomatoes, so I knew for sure I could come up with a recipe with tomatoes. And especially since they are grown in Indiana…did you know that?


Easy Taco Bake

Easy Taco Bake recipe from

  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes


  • 2 pounds Ground Beef, cooked and drained
  • 1 package Taco Seasoning
  • water
  • 1 can Red Gold Tomatoes with Green Chilies
  • 2 cups Bisquick or other baking mix
  • 2/3 cup water


  • cheese
  • shredded lettuce
  • sour cream
  • Red Gold Diced Tomatoes


  1. Spray a 13×9 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Cook and drain ground beef, return to pan and add taco seasoning and water according to directions on package.
  3. Drain tomatoes with chilies and add to taco meat, cook until most of the liquid is gone.
  4. Meanwhile, while meat is cooking, add Bisquick to a small bowl, add water and mix until soft dough forms.
  5. Press into baking dish evenly.
  6. Top with taco meat and bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
  7. Remove from oven and add cheese.
  8. Serve with toppings of your choice.


This recipe fits in a 13×9 pan, but can be easily cut in half for a smaller family.

For more Red Gold Tomato and other recipes visit the Iron Chef Challenge

I’m linking to: Saturday Night Special

Disclosure: Red Gold sent me a package with canned tomatoes. All the opinions, photos and recipe are my own.

Bacon Cheeseburgers in the Crockpot

By | Budget Meals, Cooking, Main Dishes | 12 Comments

A couple months ago, I discovered a new recipe on the Delicious Dishes linky party on It’s A Blog Party, Crockpot Cheeseburgers served up by Linda’s Lunacy.

They were quick, easy and very tasty. Andrew, our oldest son, who is a very picky eater, loved them, and suggested that I make them with bacon. So, the Bacon Cheeseburgers in the Crockpot meal was added to the Monthly Menu Plan.

I made a few changes to the original recipe from Linda, and added bacon. While the original calls for Velvetta, I decided this time to make my own cheese sauce. It’s actually very easy to make, and we prefer the taste to Velvetta or a store brand cheese spread.


Bacon Cheeseburgers in the Crockpot

Crockpot Bacon Cheeseburger recipe from

  • Cook Time: 2 hours
  • Total Time: 2 hours


Crockpot Bacon Cheeseburgers

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 8-10 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder or garlic salt
  • 1 cup green pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup onion, diced
  • Cheese Sauce (recipe below)
  • Hamburger Buns

Cheese Sauce

  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 1/2 – 3 cups milk, depending on how thin or thick you want it
  • 8 oz of cheese, I use a mix of colby and cheddar


Crockpot Bacon Cheeseburgers

  1. Cook bacon in oven.
  2. Cook ground beef, garlic, onion and green pepper, drain and place in Crockpot.
  3. Sprinkle with garlic powder.
  4. Cook cheese sauce and add to crockpot.
  5. Crumble bacon and stir into meat mixture, heat thru, about 2 hours on low.
  6. You could also just mix everything on top of the stove. After everything is cooked, it’s really just simply heating it thru.

Cheese Sauce

  1. Melt butter in saucepan on stovetop, whisk in flour and cook a few minutes, being careful not to get the flour too brown.
  2. Slowly add the milk and whisk.
  3. Add cubed cheese slowly, stirring after each addition until cheese is melted.
  4. Let sauce come to a small bubble, whisking until thick.
  5. Add to crockpot.

How to cook bacon in the oven:

I used to cook my bacon in the oven, by just laying it on a foil lined cookie sheet, but then a reader suggested to place it on a rack so that the grease drips down.

Line cookie sheet with foil, place cooling rack on top and slightly spray with cooking spray. Place bacon on rack and cook at 450 degrees for about 15 minutes.

Serve your Bacon Cheeseburgers on Hamburger buns, you could keep it simple like we did with some veggies and chips, or you could add Fried Potatoes or Potato Skins.

Don’t forget! Tomorrow is Celebrating Autumn here at Hoosier Homemade! Come back and add your favorite Autumn recipe! And there will be a giveaway you WON’T want to miss!!

 Linking to Life As Mom

Chicken on the Grill and Our Menu Plan

By | Budget Meals, Cooking, Main Dishes, Menu Planning | 10 Comments

Well, here we are again, another week has just flown by! Are you enjoying your Summer? Are you staying cool? It’s been pretty hot here, like most everywhere, but not unbearable. Although, I love the heat and the sun, so most of the time, it doesn’t bother me. I have been trying to cook our meals in small sections, cooking Make Ahead Meals like the Sloppy Joes that I shared with you last week not only keeps the temperature down in the kitchen, it also saves on time.

We don’t use our Grill a ton during the Summer, mostly because we have a charcoal grill and by the time Doug gets home during the week, it’s too late to start grilling. I do enjoy firing it up on the weekends though, and I try to grill enough meat for a couple meals.

The Chicken we cooked on the Grill tonight was simple and very tasty. I started with a bag of frozen Chicken breasts from Aldi’s, they are $5.99 per bag and there were 6 really big breasts in the bag. I thawed them, then laid them in a 13×9 and sprinkled them with Lipton Onion Soup Mix, a drizzle of oil and a big splash of Soy Sauce, covered them with plastic wrap and put them in the fridge for about an hour.

We have enough Chicken left over to make the BLT Chicken Salad Sandwiches on Tuesday night.

Here is Our Menu Plan for the rest of the week…

Monday ~ Strawberry Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast, Fruit Smoothies (still haven’t had a chance to try this)

Tuesday ~ BLT Chicken Salad Sandwiches and Pasta Salad

Wednesday ~ BBQ Meatballs, Oven Fries

Thursday ~ Chicken Stir-Fry, Rice

Friday ~ Summer Salad

Saturday ~ Chicken Quesadillas, Chips & Salsa

Have you heard about the Cupcake Challenge that I’m hosting in August? Be sure to mark your calendars, and join in the fun! There will be great prizes and the author of What’s New, Cupcake? is the guest judge!! How cool is that?

And if you are looking to get a jump on your Holidays this year, hop on over and grab some ideas from the Homemade for the Holidays Party!

Cupcake Tuesday is tomorrow! Another really fun cupcake and video for you, don’t miss this one!

 I’m linking to the Blog Parties in my footer, please visit them! You might just find one or two that are new to you! 

Quick Recipes


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