Perfect Veggie Spaghetti Pie

This Perfect Veggie Spaghetti Pie recipe uses frozen vegetables and a quick sauce in the crockpot to create two meals in one! This easy baked cheese casserole is one of our family's favorite comfort foods, and the leftover sauce creates an extremely easy freezer meal to save for later with no extra time. It makes two easy freezer meals for new moms!
Brohgan Dieker

Brohgan Dieker

Brohgan Dieker is dedicated to answering the "what's for dinner" question with healthy, quick recipes that can accommodate busy schedules. She is a devout Christian, a wife and mother, and a lover of words and books. She lives in the beautiful Flint Hills of Kansas and holds a degree in English from Kansas State University.
Brohgan Dieker

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This is a recipe that keeps on giving.

Do you ever feel the need to give a friend a freezer meal? Maybe they just had a baby? Or, they’re recovering from surgery? Or, they’re just having a hard time?

Or, when you sense a busy season of life ahead, do you wish to stock up your freezer with a few extra meals, but struggle to find the time?

There is a reason this is the perfect recipe: it is two huge, family sized meals in one easy recipe!

Just toss the sauce in the crock pot over lunch, and you’re only a couple of quick and easy steps away that evening from dinner for that night PLUS a bonus meal to stick in the freezer for later or share!

Even better, there’s no chopping involved!

This Perfect Veggie Spaghetti Pie recipe uses frozen vegetables and a quick sauce in the crockpot to create two meals in one! This easy baked cheese casserole is one of our family's favorite comfort foods, and the leftover sauce creates an extremely easy freezer meal to save for later with no extra time. It makes two easy freezer meals for new moms!

It’s a wonderful recipe to have in your back pocket in preparation for the holidays!

I chose an Italian mixture for my frozen veggies. It contained zucchini, yellow squash, carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli.

You can also easily use any fresh veggies that you may have in your refrigerator. I chose to use frozen to save time, but fresh would also be very tasty!

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Ingredients

Sauce

  • 1 lb bag of frozen mixed Italian veggies
  • 1 15.5 oz can cannellini beans white kidney beans
  • 2 oz cream cheese 1/4 block
  • 1 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 c water
  • 1 tsp vegetable bouillon concentrate such as 'Better Than Bouillon' seasoned vegetable base

Spaghetti

  • 2 lbs spaghetti whole grain preferred
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 c mozzarella cheese grated
  • 1 1/2 c swiss cheese grated
  • 1 2.5 galleon freezer bag

Instructions

  1. These instructions are for 1 dinner to enjoy immediately and 1 dinner to freeze for later.

  2. Add first 10 ingredients (veggies through bouillon) to a 3 quart or larger crockpot, and cook on low for 4-5 hours.

  3. After veggie sauce has cooked 4-5 hours, prepare spaghetti per package instructions. Drain, and drizzle with parsley and olive oil. Mix well until parsley is distributed.

  4. Combine mozzarella cheese and swiss cheese in a bowl. Set aside.

  5. Line a 9x13 inch casserole dish with excess foil, to allow top of casserole to be completely covered in foil. (Or, you can use a 9x13 inch disposable foil pan and cover with foil.)

  6. Place half of the spaghetti in a foil-lined 9x13 inch pan (or disposable foil pan). Cover spaghetti with half of the veggie sauce from crockpot. Top with half of cheese mixture (1 1/2 cups). Cover with foil, refrigerate overnight.

  7. After removing half of sauce, stir the remaining pound cooked spaghetti into the remaining sauce in crockpot. Top with remaining 1 1/2 cups of cheese mixture. Cook in crockpot on low until the cheese is completely melted. Serve immediately.

  8. The next morning, transfer the foil package from the 9x13 inch pan (or entire disposable pan) into a large 2.5 galleon freezer bag. Write recipe name, date, and cooking instructions on bag. Store in freezer for up to 3 months.

  9. To cook freezer meal: Remove from freezer bag. Carefully transfer foil package to 9x13 inch pan. Thaw casserole 24 hours, or overnight, in refrigerator. Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. Bake, covered, for 20 minutes. Remove foil covering from the top, and bake another 5-10 minutes until cheese is turning golden brown. (Allow for additional 10-20 minutes of covered baking time if casserole is not completely thawed.)

This Perfect Veggie Spaghetti Pie recipe uses frozen vegetables and a quick sauce in the crockpot to create two meals in one! This easy baked cheese casserole is one of our family's favorite comfort foods, and the leftover sauce creates an extremely easy freezer meal to save for later with no extra time. It makes two easy freezer meals for new moms!

Pesto Ricotta Pita Pizzas

Brohgan Dieker

Brohgan Dieker

Brohgan Dieker is dedicated to answering the "what's for dinner" question with healthy, quick recipes that can accommodate busy schedules. She is a devout Christian, a wife and mother, and a lover of words and books. She lives in the beautiful Flint Hills of Kansas and holds a degree in English from Kansas State University.
Brohgan Dieker

Latest posts by Brohgan Dieker (see all)

Personal pita pizzas smothered in a garlic three cheese mixture (ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan) and topped with a thin decadent layer of pesto. Such a simple recipe. This personal pizza only takes minutes to assemble and bake. Perfect for a quick meal or even as a snack!

There are days when you just need to partake in something distinctly adult.

(Especially when you are a stay-at-home parent.)

Some people turn to wine. Some people turn to coffee. Some people turn to chocolate.

On this particular day, I chose to make myself a personal pita pizza. (Just look at those pretty little colorful tomatoes from my produce co-op! LOVE!)

These pizzas never fail to amaze me with their simplicity and their elegant flavor.

Plus, pizza = fun. I need more fun in my life, always!

Smothered in pesto and a ricotta-mozzerella-garlic mashup, this pizza is a recipe passed down from my mother to me. On busy days, these are a must make for me.

After my last final of college, I remember coming home to an empty house and quickly making myself one of these. It’s really the ultimate comfort food! Especially when things are feeling rushed or stressful.

It only takes minutes to assemble and uses ingredients that are often already stocked in my fridge. And, if you use foil like me, making this only dirties one bowl.

ONE BOWL. How often are you able to quickly make yourself a warm, cheesy comfort food without leaving a trail of dishes behind??! ALMOST NEVER.

Pop it in the oven until the garlic-y cheese ooze and the pesto glistens. Then enjoy as slowly as life allows!

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Pesto Ricotta Pita Pizzas

Personal pita pizzas smothered in a garlic three cheese mixture (ricotta, mozarella, parmesan) and topped with a thin decadent layer of pesto. Such a simple recipe. This personal pizza only takes minutes to assemble and bake. Perfect for a quick meal or even as a snack!
Servings 2

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup Mozzerella
  • 1 tbsp fresh Parmesan plus additional for topping
  • 1 tsp minced garlic jarred
  • 1/2 cup fresh Ricotta
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 pitas
  • 2 tsp jarred pesto
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Combine first four ingredients in a medium sized bowl with a fork until combined.
  3. Line a baking sheet with foil, and set pitas out on pan.
  4. Using fork, place half of the cheese mixture onto each pita and gently smooth evenly across surface.
  5. Spoon a tsp of pesto onto the middle of each pita. Gently smooth across cheese until there is an even coating.
  6. Bake in oven for 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted.
  7. Allow a few minutes to cool, add salt/pepper/parmesan as desired, then enjoy!

Summer Vegetable Ravioli Salad

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A time saving weeknight dinner to save for the upcoming back to school nights! The simplest of recipes: frozen ravioli, steamed fresh summer vegetables, bottled pesto, and parmesan cheese. So yummy, nobody will believe that it only took minutes! Leftovers make great cold lunches too!

A time saving weeknight dinner to save for the upcoming back to school nights! The simplest of recipes: frozen ravioli, steamed fresh summer vegetables, bottled pesto, and parmesan cheese. So yummy, nobody will believe that it only took minutes! Leftovers make great cold lunches too!

 

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I have alluded to the fact that I often avoid the traditional grocery store when it comes to buying food, especially produce.  I did my time working at a grocery store after college, and as someone who has worked the back end of a produce department, I’m really not impressed.

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I started using a national produce co-op called Bountiful Baskets about five months ago.  The co-op is saving us money while encouraging us to eat more produce.  It is not local, but at least it is generally fresher and better quality than my local grocery store produce. My goal is to finish the co-op produce within the week to ensure that we’re getting enough fruits and vegetables in our diet. The co-op basket is often the inspiration for recipes that I come up with that week.

I’m not getting money for representing the co-op or anything. I just think their service is good and worth mentioning.  (Note to local readers: they normally deliver to Manhattan, but the local coordinators took a break for the summer, so I had to pick it up in Junction City the last couple of months.)

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The other night I just tossed a few of our co-op vegetables into the steamer basket and pulled some cheese ravioli out of the freezer. The entire dish only took about 3 minutes plus the amount of time it takes to boil water.  Way easy.

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So simple! So pretty!

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Sooooooo yummy!

Ingredients

  • 3 c summer vegetables, chopped. I used yellow squash, bok choy, and broccoli, but sweet potato, cauliflower, peppers, kale, spinach or other types of squash would also be yummy.
  • One bag of frozen cheese ravioli
  • 1/2 c Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp pesto
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Put a large pot of water on the stove on high and bring to a boil for the ravioli.
  2. Chop the vegetables.  Add an inch of water to the bottom of a medium pan with a steamer basket. Add vegetables to basket and bring to boil. Steam until desired texture is achieved.
  3. Add ravioli to boiling water and cook per package instructions or until all the ravioli begins to float.
  4. Drain ravioli and return to pan. Add steamed vegetables, cheese, pesto to pan and gently stir to combine. Salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Serve immediately. Serves 4

Optional tip: spoon leftovers into small containers to use as lunches throughout the week! Leftover ravioli salad is great cold too!

Have you ever tried a meat or produce co-op before?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!  The comments are open!

One Pot Brown Fried Rice

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This simple one pot recipe uses brown rice, frozen veggies, eggs, and soy sauce to make fried rice.  It’s great for those evenings when even takeout seems likes too much effort.  Brown rice provides whole grains and fiber, which are an essential part of a healthy diet.

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Today, I’m feeling a little frayed around the edges. “Thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread,” as Bilbo Baggins says.  You know those kinds of days?

Oh sweet baby, please never outgrow your slobbery kisses and morning time coos! Forever, hold my face in both your little hands and beam from ear to ear; I’ll never grow tired of it. May you light up with smiles every time you see me for a long, long time!

But anytime you would like to sleep through the night would be absolutely fine, mmmkay?

So temporary? Maybe. People love to remind me how temporary and short this phase in life is, but that advice doesn’t keep all the pieces of life I’m juggling from crashing down today.

Simplifying everything does keep my world running a bit more smoothly. Oh, and prayer. And a little coffee.

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The first kitchen purchase after I had a baby? A rice cooker.

There is nothing simpler: Rice + water + on switch. Combine with a few veggies and a meat (or beans… rice + beans create a complete protein), maybe some broth, and you could end up with a hundred easy and budget friendly dinner options. If you don’t have a rice cooker, minute rice and boil in bag are also great options. I relied on those products for years.

Rice feeds more than half the world’s population on any given day and is a major staple in many cultures cuisine. It comes in two basic varieties: brown and white, the former being whole grain holds the most nutritional value. It has been credited to be beneficial for your skin, your metabolism, your blood pressure, and your lower digestive system. Some scientists even say it prevents cancer.

This simple recipe is one of the big guns in my “surviving the crazy of real life” arsenal; so simple and basically healthy, especially compared to the other foods we Americans typically turn to when life gets crazy.  The ingredients are easy to keep on hand, and it only takes minutes to dump and cook. (I especially appreciate my rice cooker on days like this. Smartest purchase I’ve ever made.) And only one pan to clean!

May this recipe make your life a little easier. And yummier. 🙂

 

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One Pot Brown Fried Rice

This simple one pot recipe uses brown rice, frozen veggies, eggs, and soy sauce to make fried rice. It’s great for those evenings when even takeout seems likes too much effort. Brown rice provides whole grains and fiber, which are an essential part of a healthy diet.
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked brown rice
  • 2 cup water
  • 6 oz frozen mixed veggies: corn carrots, peas (approximately half a bag)
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce, plus 1 tsp separated

Instructions

  1. Add brown rice, water, 2 tbsp soy sauce, and frozen veggies to a rice cooker. (Or, cook rice on the stovetop per package instructions, and add frozen veggies to water with rice.)
  2. When rice is almost cooked, crack eggs into a small microwave safe bowl. Cook in the microwave on high, stirring with a fork in 15 second increments until completely cooked.
  3. Stir cooked egg into pot of rice and veggies after rice is completely cooked.

Recipe Notes

Optional: mix in cooked chicken or shrimp with the egg if you have it on hand!

This simple one pot recipe uses brown rice, frozen veggies, eggs, and soy sauce to make fried rice. It's great for those evenings when even takeout seems likes too much effort. Brown rice provides whole grains and fiber, which are an essential part of a healthy diet.

Savory Blackberry Basil Pizza

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The mild flavor of blackberries sings in perfect harmony when paired with mozzarella,  parmesan, and ricotta cheeses.  Green onion and fresh basil add interest to this unusual savory pizza. The soft, baked berries act as both the sauce and and as a topping, and their hint of sweetness combined with the salty and creamy cheeses and tangy green onions creates a memorable, delicious flavor. This simple pizza recipe results in complicated flavor using healthy, fresh ingredients.

Have I mentioned that we have a new baby?  A new, very cute baby who turned life, including dinnertime, upside down?

I have to say, I was stuck in a deep rut before I made this pizza.  Every meal was about what made me think the least. My creativity was nonexistent. I was in pure survival mode.

That is what life with a newborn does to you. You live completely in the moment. You walk around constantly looking like you’re in shock or in the middle of some sort of trauma.

Parenting is wonderfully rewarding, but it’s completely exhausting.

In the midst of newborn craziness, I saw this pizza on Pinterest, and I couldn’t get it out of my head. I couldn’t quite inagine what it would taste like. Was it sweet? Was it savory? Was it creamy? I HAD TO MAKE IT.

It literally took weeks before I managed to accomplish my goal. So worth the wait! It’s mostly cheese and blackberry, so there is really no going wrong!  A hint of sweetness, like pineapple or sweetened tomato sauce, combined with traditional white pie toppings. All flavors I love on a pizza!

The ricotta was honestly my favorite part. And the berries. And the onion. Ok, all of it.

After having my life dictated by an infant, this pizza just felt like the most adult-like thing I had done in a long time.  And it only took less than 10 minutes to toss together.

Ingredients:

-your favorite pizza crust (I cheated and used a store bought crust because, well, remember how I mentioned that new baby earlier?)

-1 tbsp olive oil

-1 C fresh blackberries, divided

-1 C shredded parmesan

-1 C mozzarella cheese

-1/4 C chopped green onion

-2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Drizzle olive oil over your pizza crust and spread evenly using a  brush or the back of a spoon.
  3. Use a fork to mash up 1/2 C blackberries. Spread evenly over the crust. (This is the pizza sauce.) Top evenly with the parmesan and the mozzarella cheeses.
  4. Use a spoon to generously dollop on the ricotta cheese over the top. (And my mouth is watering again. This was my favorite part!)
  5. Sprinkle on remaining whole blackberries, green onions, and basil.
  6. Bake 8-10 minutes or until the cheese begins to brown.
  7. Serve immediately.