Tag Archives: Comfort Food

Crock Pot Baked Potato Soup

Sorry I forgot to post yesterday. I fell asleep on my couch around 10 and didn’t wake up until 1 a.m. Oops! Gotta love it when your body decides it needs sleep, whether you’re going to give in or not. Anyway, here’s what I was planning to post yesterday.

I’m not sure I’ve ever had baked potato soup, in fact I’ve never been a huge fan of baked potatoes. But for some reason, when I stumbled across this recipe for a healthier version of baked potato soup, I suddenly wanted to try it. The only problem was, it called for an immersion blender which I don’t have. I probably could have called Brittany and asked her to use her Macgyver-like skills in the kitchen to help me figure out a way around using an immersion blender. But truth be told, it just seemed like too many steps and I didn’t want to try it that badly. so I forgot all about it.

fast forward several months. One day recently while on facebook, I saw a link to a post by Ruthie from The Chronicles of Ruthie Hart. she had posted a recipe she’d found on Pinterest for crock pot baked potato soup *cue angelic music* Let’s just say that lately, “crock pot” has become the magic word for me. I just love forgetting that my dinner for that night is already cooking until I walk in the door and smell it cooking. And this recipe is not only delicious, it’s literally only two steps (if you chop the onions ahead of time or buy them pre chopped). You have to try this recipe asap! (I followed it exactly)


1 30oz bag of frozen, shredded hash browns
3 14oz cans of chicken broth (or a whole 32 oz carton of chicken broth plus 10 oz. of another carton)
1 can of cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1 package cream cheese (FYI: unfortunately, fat-free won’t melt fully and store brands also seem to have this problem)
*shredded cheese, green onions, bacon, sour cream, etc for garnish
1. Place all the ingredients in a crock pot and cook on low for 6-8 hours (I’m not exactly sure how long mine cooked, but this recipe can definitely cook for longer if necessary). The shape of the frozen hash browns didn’t quite fit in the crock pot at first, but pouring the chicken broth over them quickly melted them enough that I could break them up
2. About an hour before serving, add the cream cheese. Stirring regularly will help it melt faster. Then top with desired garnishes, serve and enjoy!
The only thing I didn’t like about this recipe, is that leftovers were much thicker the next day. it was more like eating a bowl of mashed potatoes than a bowl of soup. But all in all, this is a great recipe that I’ll definitely be making again!

Leave a comment

Filed under Recipes by Vanessa

Best Ever Macaroni & Cheese

Let me preface this post by saying that I’ve been searching for the perfect mac & cheese recipe forever. I love macaroni and cheese. But then, who doesn’t? It’s like the quintessential comfort food. My mom and my best friend both make awesome mac & cheese. But my mom doesn’t follow a recipe and Samantha’s recipe is a family secret. I do have one mac & cheese recipe by Paula Deen and it’s the first baked macaroni and cheese I ever made. It’s okay but not great, and I knew there had to be something better out there. So I started searching the internet.

Call me picky, but I also wanted something that didn’t require a hundred steps. Most of the recipes I found were either too far removed from good old-fashioned mac & cheese or they required a roux. A roux-based sauce is time consuming and something I’m not particularly good at. Yesterday, I got the brilliant idea to type “classic mac & cheese without a roux” into Google. Lo and behold, I found this recipe. Oh my God. Why couldn’t I have found this recipe sooner?! This is the best mac and cheese you will ever eat without using a more involved recipe. Only time will tell how well this freezes and reheats (part of the reason so many recipes call for a roux is that real dairy products do not like to be melted and then reheated. A roux acts as a binding agent and helps with reheating). But since it made a ton and is so good, I’m really hoping it freezes well! Anyway, I’ll stop rambling on and get to the recipe. I changed several things and totally forgot to add the milk. Oops! So definitely click on the above link if you want the original recipe. Here’s my version:

P.S. This is not a healthy recipe by any means, so save this for when you really need some comfort food!


1 pound macaroni (or any other noodle of choice)

1 1/2 pints heavy cream (3 cups) (for less fat, 2% milk might work in place of cream. But don’t quote me on that)

Approx. 1 1/2 pounds shredded cheddar cheese (I used 1 pound but eyeballed the last half pound)

1 10 oz. package Cracker Barrel extra sharp cheddar cheese, cut into pieces (smaller pieces melt better but it will all melt eventually in the oven)

Oregano and black pepper to taste (garlic powder, italian seasoning, dried basil, etc could work as well)

1 tsp salt

1/4 cup butter, melted

2/3 cup bread crumbs

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees

2. Cook macaroni in salted water until al dente (approximately 1 minute less than the box recommends) and set aside

3. While pasta is boiling, melt butter and combine in a bowl with bread crumbs and parmesan cheese. Stir until well combined

4. In a large bowl, combine the salt and all cheddar cheese

look at all that cheese!

5. Pour the cream into a small sauce pan, and add the oregano and black pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer and remove from heat. Be careful not to scorch it!

6. Pour cream over cheese immediately and stir until cheese is melted (the cheese isn’t going to melt completely, but it will in the oven)

7. Add pasta to cream and cheese mixture and stir well

8. Pour macaroni into a baking dish and cover with bread crumbs (if you want to save even more time, skip the bread crumbs, this mac and cheese is wonderful on its own as well)

9. Bake for 30 minutes or until top is golden brown and cheese is bubbling

10. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving (I’m not entirely sure why/if this is necessary, but the recipe called for it so I did it. LOL)


11. Enjoy!

* The leftovers taste great. But due to all the heavy cream, reheating creates a lot of extra oil. For best results, reheat slowly in the oven rather than nuking it in the microwave

* I tried making this with fat free milk to save some calories. And while it still tasted good, it definitely wasn’t as good as before. Aside from not being as rich, I ended up with noodles and clumps of cheese rather than a cohesive dish. Maybe I was going too fast and the milk isn’t to blame. But personally, I think I’ll stick with the original recipe and just save it for special occasions. However, I did like it better without breadcrumbs.



Filed under Recipes by Vanessa

“Feel Good Cream of Mushroom Chicken & Rice”

For the last two nights, I’ve had so much homework that I’ve had leftovers for dinner- and ate them directly out of the leftover container. not very glamorous, I know. But that’s the life of a college senior taking 18 credit hours. Thankfully, I don’t have any classes on Fridays, so Thursdays I take a break from homework. Tonight I’m catching up on all the TV I had to record because I was busy doing homework (welcome back prime time TV!). And I also desperately wanted to make a real meal.

Tomorrow is the first official day of Fall! And while the temperatures don’t quite reflect that yet, I decided to celebrate with a warm feel good recipe that’s so good and super easy. I got this recipe from my best friend and it never fails to hit the spot. The only change I made is using canned mushrooms instead of sauteing fresh ones (I’m rarely that ambitious). And I bake the chicken instead of cooking it in a skillet because it just seems easier to me. I’ll stop yammering on now and just give you the recipe.


3 Boneless skinless chicken breasts  ( You’ll probably need more soup if you use more chicken)

2 cans cream of mushroom soup

1 can/jar mushrooms or fresh mushrooms to taste (optional)

1 box brown or white rice

Seasonings to taste (I used garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, and adobo per my friend’s recommendation)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2. Rinse chicken breasts and place in a bowl or on a plate. Season the chicken with seasonings of your choice and gently rub them into the chicken. Then flip the breasts and repeat on the other side (I did this by sight, so I don’t have any measurements for you). Then , if you can stand to wait, let the chicken sit in the fridge for 15 minutes or so.

3. In a bowl, combine soup, mushrooms (drain the mushrooms if you’re using canned), enough water to loosen the soup, and mix well. I like a lot of soup on my chicken, so I used two cans of soup for three chicken breasts. But it’s really a matter of taste.

4. Place chicken breasts in an oven safe dish and pour the soup over the chicken. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 45 minutes.

5. While the chicken is baking, prepare the rice according to the directions on the box and set aside

6. When the chicken has 15 minutes left, remove foil and continue baking

7. When the chicken is done, serve over rice and enjoy!

Fall means the return of pumpkin spice lattes, plaid pajama pants, prime time TV, and blessedly cool temperatures. I can’t wait! I know I’ll be making this dish a lot more this Fall, and I hope you all enjoy it!

Question of the night: Which returning or new TV shows are you most looking forward too/ already enjoying this Fall?

1 Comment

Filed under Recipes by Vanessa