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!

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.

Southern Spice Roasted Asparagus

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Nothing more delicious than oven roasted asparagus in springtime.  This recipe uses your favorite cajun spice to add a kick to this healthy, low calorie side.

Maybe I’m weird, but I always want a warm vegetable with my meal.  Cold salads always seem to leave something to be desired.  I never get tired of roasted vegetables, especially roasted asparagus.

Inspiration came from our local farmer’s market. Asparagus is in season, and it was offered by several vendors at the Farmer’s market this week. I try to always jump at the chance to eat seasonally and locally!

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