Homemade Potato Skins – Crispy and Delicious!

Homemade Potato Skins are one of my absolute favorite appetizer recipes! These easy baked potato skins are deliciously crispy with a garlic buttered exterior and then fully loaded with bacon, cheese and green onions!

Serve these at any party for the perfect spread alongside Pigs in a BlanketSpinach Artichoke Dip and Baked Buffalo Wings!

Dipping a cheesy baked potato skin into sour cream

Loaded Potato Skins

Potato skins are delicious and easy to make.  We use russet potatoes as the skins hold up well (but save the skins from baked sweet potatoes, because you can eat sweet potato skins and they’re amazing in this recipe too)!

Most restaurant style potato skins are deep fried and then the toppings are added and they’re broiled. While I love them, I don’t love how greasy they can be (and homemade potato skins are so much better).

This recipe bakes the potato skins until crisp and then adds toppings and they bake a few minutes more until the cheese is melted.

Golden, homemade potato skins lined up on a white baking dish and garnished with chives and green onion

How to Make Potato Skins

Potato skins are simple to make and they taste amazing! They’re easy to crisp up in the oven and can be prepped ahead of time if you’re having guests.

Potatoes

  • Choose smaller potatoes to make bite sized snacks.
  • Use russet potatoes and bake potatoes in the oven until tender.
  • Cool completely before cutting. Save the inside for Baked Potato Soup or use to make Mashed Potatoes.
  • Cut lengthwise and use a spoon to scoop out the flesh. I usually leave about 1/4″ of potato in the shell. You need enough to allow the potato to hold up.

Toppings for Baked Potato Skins

Fill the skins with your favorite toppings and bake. Add cheese and bacon or turn these into a meal with heartier toppings. The possibilities are endless:

  • Bacon, cheddar and chive/onions dipped in sour cream for the classic potato skin recipe
  • Ground beef seasoned with Taco Seasoning, cheese and cilantro
  • Leftover Crock Pot Pulled Pork (with Mac and Cheese in the bottom of if you have some)
  • Create Jalapeno Popper Potato Skins for a spicy twist on the usual
  • Fill with Sloppy Joe meat and cheese for a fun potato skins meal

A platter full of loaded baked potato skins with sour cream for a dipper

Can Potato Skins Be Made Ahead of Time

Yes they sure can! If I am making a recipe that needs cooked potatoes (like Loaded Mashed Potato Cakes or Twice Baked Potato Casserole) I simply bake the potatoes and scoop out the flesh.

Freeze the empty shells on a baking pan and then once frozen, stack them in a freezer bag. They’ll keep for several months in the freezer. Bake these easy potato skins starting right from frozen, no need to defrost first!

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Crispy Oven Baked Potato Skins

Crispy garlic buttered potato skins filled with cheese and bacon are the perfect appetizer!

  • 5 baked potatoes (small)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (melted)
  • 1/2 teaspoon parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3 slices cooked bacon (finely chopped or 3 tablespoons bacon bits)
  • 2 tablespoons chives (or green onions)
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese
  • sour cream (for serving)
  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Combine butter, parsley, seasoned salt and garlic powder in a small bowl. Set aside.

  2. Ensure baked potatoes are cooled. Cut potatoes in half lengthwise. Using a small spoon, scoop out the flesh leaving a 1/4″ shell (or more if you’d prefer).

  3. Brush both the inside and outside of the potatoes with the butter mixture. Place potatoes cut side down in baking dish. Bake 15 minutes.

  4. Flip potatoes over and bake an additional 5 minutes or until slightly browned and crisp.

  5. Fill each potato with cheese and bacon. Return to the oven for another 5-7 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

  6. Remove from the oven, top with chives and serve with sour cream.

Baked Potato Skins are so easy to make and equally delicious to eat! #spendwithpennies #bakedpotatoskins #homemadepotatoskins #easyrecipe #appetizer #easyappetizer #withcheese #snack
Baked Potato Skins are so easy to make and equally delicious to eat! #spendwithpennies #bakedpotatoskins #homemadepotatoskins #easyrecipe #appetizer #easyappetizer #withcheese #snack

The BEST Chicken Lasagna Recipe

This chicken lasagna recipe is one of our favorite comfort foods. Tender chicken is layered with veggies, cheese, and lasagna noodles in a rich creamy alfredo inspired sauce. Serve it alongside a caesar salad and garlic bread for a comfort meal that’s perfect for any time of the year!

Having simple dinner recipes that I can make during the week and that reheat well to make a few meals is a complete game changer. Cue, this chicken alfredo lasagna recipe!

A slice of cheesy chicken lasagna on a white plate topped with fresh parsley.

Chicken Lasagna Alfredo

I love using leftover roast chicken for this recipe, but poached chicken, grilled chicken breasts, or even store bought rotisserie chicken work great in a pinch. If you have leftover frozen turkey, that is a great substitution too!

Making the sauce homemade alfredo style sauce adds so much flavor to this white lasagna recipe. It makes it so creamy, dreamy, and delicious!

Chicken lasagna being layered with chicken and veggies in a baking dish.

How To Make Chicken Lasagna

Lasagna has a few steps but this dish is worth every second! To make this chicken lasagna recipe:

  • Make the cheesy cream sauce
  • Combine cottage cheese, parsley, eggs, and spinach for the cheese layer
  • Layer noodles, sauce, cheese, vegetables, and chicken, end with a noodles and sauce layer
  • Bake for 40 minutes covered
  • Uncovered, top with cheese, and bake for an additional 20 minutes

When you layer lasagna, the trick is to keep things as even as possible throughout the dish to ensure even baking. The lasagna noodles should be cooked al dente as they’ll cook a little bit longer in the oven.

A slice of white chicken lasagna on a white plate ready to eat.

What Temp To Bake Lasagna

I bake this chicken lasagna at 350°F for about 60 minutes in total. Adding the cheese towards the end of baking ensure it doesn’t fall into the rest of the dish or overcook and crisps up nicely.

If you notice the cheese isn’t as browned and bubbly as you’d like, turn the oven to broil right before you remove the chicken lasagna from the oven.

Alternatively if the topping is done to your liking and you still have some cooking time left, cover the lasagna with foil to prevent further browning while it finishes off.

A cheesy white lasagna fresh from the oven in a casserole dish.

As with all Lasagna recipes, make sure you let this casserole sit at least 10-15 minutes before cutting. This gives it a chance to set up.

Serve this lasagna alongside a fresh kale salad for the perfect meal!

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Chicken Lasagna

A delicious chicken lasagna with a creamy cheese sauce is a family favorite!

  • 12 lasagna noodles (cooked and cooled)
  • 4 cups cooked chicken
  • 3 cups vegetables (cooked and cooled)
  • 10 oz frozen chopped spinach (defrosted and squeezed dry)
  • 2 cups cottage cheese (or ricotta cheese)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons parsley
  • 4 cups mozzarella (divided)
  • 2/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese (divided)

Sauce

  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 onion (diced)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon oregano

Sauce

  1. To make the sauce, melt butter, onion and garlic over medium low heat. Cook until onion is softened, about 3 minutes. Add flour and cook for 1-2 minutes.

  2. Reduce heat to low. Combine milk and broth. Add a small amount at a time whisking to thicken. The mixture will become very thick, continue adding a little bit of liquid at a time whisking until smooth.

    Once all of the liquid has been added, stir in cream cheese until melted.

  3. Remove from heat and add in 1/3 cup parmesan and 1 cup mozzarella cheese.

Assembly

  1. Combine cottage cheese, eggs, parsley and spinach. Set aside.

  2. In a 9×13 pan, layer 4 noodles, sauce, cooked vegetables and half of the chicken. Sprinkle with 1/2 mozza, 1/4 cup parmesan and 1/3 of the sauce.

  3. Add another layer of noodles, chicken, cottage cheese mixture, sauce.  Top with noodles and sauce. Cover and bake 40 minutes.

  4. Uncover, top with cheese and bake 20-30 minutes more.

For cooked vegetables I use steamed broccoli and carrots. Any combination of veggies works in this recipe, mushrooms, asparagus, bell peppers or zucchini are great choices.

 

Shrimp and Grits (So Easy!)

Shrimp and Grits go together like… well… shrimp and grits! Cheesy grits are topped with bacon, peppers, and juicy shrimp to create a favorite I can’t resist.

Much like my love for collard greens and a creamy mac and cheese recipe, this classic southern combo couldn’t be more comforting.  

A bowl of shrimp and grits topped with crumbled bacon, juicy shrimp, peppers. and parsley.

Shrimp and Grits are SO Easy!

Along with Bang Bang Shrimp and Shrimp Linguine, this easy recipe is one of my favorites.  

There’s something magical about the combo of buttery grits topped with juicy shrimp. This whole dish is really quick to make, while the grits are simmering I prep and fry the shrimp and it’s all ready to serve in no time at all!

What are Grits?

Grits are similar in texture to cream of wheat, but they are made from corn. They are super versatile, meaning you can add basically any mixin’s or spices to them that you’d like (sweet or savory)!

I use regular grits in this recipe but you can use quick cooking (a finer grind) or stone ground (a coarser grind that takes longer to cook.

Plump and juicy shrimp on a bed of cheesy grits with bacon and parsley.

How To Make Shrimp and Grits

Shrimp and grits is a simple dish to execute and the flavor is off the charts. Grits don’t get strained (similar to cream of wheat),  and depending on the grits you use, the cooking time will differ slightly (check your package to be sure)!

  1. Put grits on the stove top with broth.
  2. While the grits cook, fry bacon. Set aside.
  3. Fry shrimp and peppers in bacon grease with seasoning.
  4. Stir some sharp shredded cheddar cheese and butter into the grits

Voila!! Top the cheesy grits with shrimp/pepper/bacon deliciousness. Grits change in texture when they cool down, so make sure you enjoy it while it is hot!

TIP: If I am serving my family, I remove the tails for easy eating. For guests, I often leave the tails on for a pretty presentation, the choice is yours.

What To Serve With Shrimp and Grits

Shrimp and grits are pretty rich and filling, so if you’re pairing the meal with something keep it on the lighter side.

I love serving this easy shrimp and grits recipe alongside a simple tossed salad or even just with some dinner rolls to sop up the leftover butter from the shrimp. It is definitely a complete and filling meal on its own!

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Shrimp and Grits

This classic southern combo couldn’t be more comforting. Cheesy grits are topped with bacon, peppers, and juicy shrimp to create a mouthwatering dish you will not just have one bowl of!

  • 4 slices bacon (chopped)
  • 1/3 cup onion (diced)
  • 1/3 cup green bell pepper (diced)
  • 1 pound shrimp (peeled and deveined)
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (fresh)
  • 2 tablespoons parsley (fresh, chopped)

Cheese Grits

  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese (shredded)
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 cup grits
  1. Bring water, chicken broth and garlic powder to a boil in a medium pot. Add grits and cook for 18-20 minutes or thick and creamy (or follow times listed on your grits package). Remove from heat and stir in cheese and butter until melted.

  2. Meanwhile, chop bacon. Fry in a medium sized pan until crispy. Remove from pan leaving drippings in the pan (should be about 1 tablespoon).

  3. Saute onions in the bacon grease 3-4 minutes or until slightly softened. Add bell peppers and cook until tender, about 3 minutes more. Remove the peppers and onions from the pan and set aside.

  4. Toss the shrimp with garlic powder and Old Bay seasoning. Cook in the pan 2-3 minutes on each side. Add onion mixture back in along with lemon juice and parsley.

  5. Serve shrimp mixture overtop of grits. Garnish with crumbled bacon, parsley, and lemon wedges. 

If using quick cooking grits reduced cooking time to about 10 minutes or until creamy.

 

These cheesy shrimp and grits are a comfort food classic, and couldn't be easier! I am in love with this dish! #spendwithpennies #shrimp #grits #shrimpandgrits #peppers #bacon #southern
These cheesy shrimp and grits are a comfort food classic, and couldn't be easier! I am in love with this dish! #spendwithpennies #shrimp #grits #shrimpandgrits #peppers #bacon #southern

The Best 7 Layer Dip

7 layer dip is one of the best party appetizers ever. Layers of fresh salsa, refried beans, guacamole, cheddar cheese, and our favorite toppings create a colorful addition to any appie spread.

We love entertaining and always serve our favorite snacks like jalapeno popper dip and pigs in a blanket. I serve this 7 layer bean dip recipe with some tortilla chips and veggies (which can also go alongside other dips like spinach dip for a great party spread).

7 layer bean dip with tortilla chips, cheddar cheese, olives, and green onions.

Whats In 7 Layer Dip

7 layer dip has (obviously) 7 layers to it, and creating the layers isn’t difficult. The classic 7 layers are:

  • Refried beans
  • Sour cream (mixed with cream cheese and taco seasoning)
  • Guacamole
  • Salsa (drained)
  • Cheese
  • Green onions
  • Olives or tomatoes

You can easily swap these out for your own favorite toppings. Jalapenos and cilantro are also great toppers for this Mexican 7 layer dip. Get creative!

7 layer dip with a scoop out of it showing sour cream, guacamole, salsa, and cheese.

How To Make 7 Layer Dip

Seven layer bean dip begins with a layer of refried beans mixed with milk. Using a hand mixer not only makes the mixing easy, it helps with a creamy consistency so your chips don’t break as you scoop it! I use the same process with the cream cheese to make the layer fluffy and easy to scoop. 

Next layer the guacamole and salsa (guacamole in the middle so it doesn’t brown).

End this easy 7 layer dip with shredded cheese, green onions, and olives or tomatoes. I also love adding diced jalapenos if there are spicy fans out there!

Before serving, chill the 7 layer dip for about an hour., this  brings the flavors together!

Ingredients for 7 layer dip like salsa, cheddar cheese, refried beans, and guacamole.

How Long Does 7 Layer Dip Last In Fridge

7 layer dip lasts 3-4 days in the fridge. The longer it is stored, the more the layers will bleed together and it can get a bit watery (I just drain it off). After the first 24 hours, it may not look pretty, but I can assure you it will still taste uh-maz-ing!

If you have extra leftover, add it into enchilada casserole or taco soup!

7 layer dip in a clear serving bowl surrounded by tortilla chips.

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7 Layer Dip

A delicious seasoned dip filled with our favorite fiesta flavors!

  • 1 1/4 cups salsa
  • 16 oz. refried beans (canned)
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 8 oz cream cheese (softened)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons taco seasoning
  • 1 cup guacamole (prepared)
  • 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup black olives or tomatoes
  • 4 sliced green onions
  1. Place salsa in a sieve to drain any liquid (this keeps your dip from getting runny).
  2. Combine refried beans and milk (or you can use the liquid from the salsa if you prefer) until smooth. Spread in the bottom of a 9×13 pan.
  3. Combine cream cheese, sour cream and taco seasoning with a mixer on medium. Spread over refried beans.
  4. Spoon guacamole over cream cheese and gently spread. Repeat with drained salsa.
  5. Top with cheese, olives/tomatoes and green onions.
  6. Chill 1 hour before serving. Serve with tortilla chips or crackers.

 

Simple and delicious, this easy 7 layer dip recipe is the perfect appetizer. Everyone will love it, trust me! #spendwithpennies #7layerdip #layerdip #sevelayerdip #7layerbeandip #beandip
Simple and delicious, this easy 7 layer dip recipe is the perfect appetizer. Everyone will love it, trust me! #spendwithpennies #7layerdip #layerdip #sevelayerdip #7layerbeandip #beandip

The Easiest Cheesiest Snack for a Crowd!

Loaded Nachos are the best snack food! Making baked nachos is not only easy, they’re perfect for a party, an easy dinner or a midnight snack!

Crispy tortilla chips are topped with seasoned chicken, cheese, Pico de Gallo, and other favorite nacho toppings. Bake them until the cheese is bubbly and don’t forget your favorite dips like Homemade Salsa and sour cream!

Fully loaded nachos with baked cheese and chicken - ready to serve!

Baked Nachos are the ultimate appetizer and the perfect food for sharing! It’s one of our favorite things to order when we go out and I’m always searching for the perfect Nacho toppings!

These sheet pan nachos are such a fun share plate. Loads of melted cheese, chicken, ground beef, tomatoes, onions, and other great toppings.

How To Make Nachos

I think the best part about baked nachos is how easy they are. Minimal prep, quick baking, and you’re ready to enjoy! I use chicken in this nachos recipe which is perfect for leftovers.  If you have leftover taco meat (ground beef), Crockpot Chicken Tacos or even leftover Easy Chicken Fajitas, they will all work well in this recipe!

  1. Prep the toppings – dice the tomatoes and onions, season the chicken, and shred the cheese.
  2. Arrange the nacho chips in a single layer on a sheet pan
  3. Add your toppings, and smother everything in cheese
  4. Bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly

Layering cheese and chicken on baked nachos on a pan.

How Long To Bake Nachos

Once the cheese is melted, you will know that the baked nachos are ready. I like to bake them for about 10 minutes, but it depends on how many toppings you have added. If you decide to double layer the baked nachos to create a nacho bake casserole, add a bit of cooking time.

Tortilla chips can burn fairly easily, so make sure you don’t over bake. As soon as they start to brown, you should take them out of the oven!

How To Reheat Nachos

If you have leftovers (I’d be surprised, our’s are always gone fast), keep them in the fridge until you’re ready to reheat them. Arrange them on a parchment lined baking sheet and reheat in the oven until the cheese has melted again. Make sure you watch so the tortilla chips don’t burn!

If you added lettuce to the sheet pan baked nachos, remove it before you reheat them so it doesn’t become soggy!

Cheesy Chicken Nachos topped with our favorite toppings

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The Best Loaded Nachos

Crispy tortilla chips topped with black beans, seasoned chicken and lots of melted cheese makes the perfect snack for sharing!

  • 1 chicken breast (cooked and shredded)
  • 2/3 cup salsa
  • 1 tablespoon taco seasoning
  • 2/3 cup black beans
  • 8 oz tortilla chips
  • 3 cups shredded shredded Cheddar and/or Monterey Jack
  • 4 green onions (sliced and divided)
  • pico de gallo
  • toppings as desired
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Combine shredded chicken, salsa and taco seasoning in a small pan. Add salsa and taco seasoning. Cook over medium high heat until heated through and most of the liquid from the salsa has evaporated.
  3. Place tortilla chips on a baking sheet. Top with 1/2 of the cheese, chicken, beans, remaining cheese and half of the green onions.
  4. Bake 8-10 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.
  5. Remove from oven and add pico de gallo and desired toppings. Serve hot.

Optional Toppings:

black olives, jalapenos, cilantro, sour cream, diced tomatoes, avocado,  

Loaded Nachos are the best snack food, perfect for a party, an easy dinner or a midnight snack! Crispy tortilla chips are topped with seasoned chicken, cheese, and baked until the cheese is bubbly! #spendwithpennies #nachos #loadednachos #easyrecipe #chickennachos
Loaded Nachos are the best snack food, perfect for a party, an easy dinner or a midnight snack! Crispy tortilla chips are topped with seasoned chicken, cheese, and baked until the cheese is bubbly! #spendwithpennies #nachos #loadednachos #easyrecipe #chickennachos

The Best Mac & Cheese You’ve Ever Had!

Homemade Mac and Cheese

Homemade Mac and Cheese is a rich, creamy casserole that is truly a show stopper!

Not only is this creamy macaroni and cheese recipe easy to make it, has a special ingredient making it extra delicious!

This dish has so much velvety cheese in a quick homemade sauce that, once you try it, this is going to be the only baked macaroni & cheese dish you’ll ever need!

Scooping mac and cheese out of a white casserole dish

Follow Spend With Pennies on Pinterest for more great recipes!

Hello, my name is Holly and I am addicted to Macaroni and Cheese.  It is literally my favorite thing to eat on the whole planet! It doesn’t even have to be fancy, I love crock pot mac & cheese, stove top mac and cheese or even out of a little blue box.

Of all of the mac and cheese recipes, *this* little gem right here is like striking mac and cheese gold. It is definitely the best mac and cheese recipe ever and always gets rave reviews! Take it from me, I definitely should know!

How to Make Homemade Mac and Cheese

Making homemade macaroni and cheese (including this 5-star recipe) is surprisingly easy and quick!

This mac and cheese casserole starts with tender macaroni noodles that are slightly undercooked so they don’t get mushy when it’s baked.

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese on Plate next to serving dish

About This Mac and Cheese Sauce

The sauce for this easy homemade mac and cheese is a classic roux based cheese sauce.  Roux sounds very fancy but truthfully once you make a roux, you’ll realize how easy it is! It’s just butter and flour cooked and then milk added so don’t let it scare you away!

The results of creating a roux based sauce means your macaroni and cheese is going luscious and velvety smooth every single time. This allows the cheeses to melt in evenly and perfectly for this casserole.

To add to the creaminess of this dish, I combine a little bit of milk and a little bit of light cream (I use a cream that is about 10-12%MF or half and half).

Homemade mac and cheese in serving dish with scoop taken out

What Cheese Is Best For Mac and Cheese?

Now, this recipe has a special ingredient that is a little bit unconventional but makes it extra yummy…  AND it is optional.

The addition of cheddar soup makes the sauce a little bit extra velvety and just adds a little something.

Mac and cheese with Velveeta, I personally prefer to make it without!  The addition of the cheddar cheese soup to this recipe is something you definitely should try!  (You can find it at your local grocery store with the other condensed soups or online here).

If you don’t happen to have cheese soup on hand (or if you just don’t want to use it), this baked mac and cheese recipe is still ridiculously great without.

You might be wondering what cheese is best for mac and cheese, and it’s one with lots of flavor!

I generally use a sharp cheddar in this recipe as I love the flavor however you can certainly use your favorite cheeses in this recipe too. Sometimes I mix up the cheeses and use a bit of gruyere, or even pepperjack for a little kick. If you have bits of cheese leftover, you can combine them all together in this easy homemade mac and cheese sauce.

I would suggest buying a block of cheese and shredding it yourself as pre-shredded cheeses don’t melt the same way as they have additives to keep them from clumping/sticking.

Making Homemade Macaroni and Cheese is not difficult but below are a few simple tips to make sure it turns out absolutely perfectly every single time!

A serving spoon of gooey macaroni and cheese with on the table

Tips to Make Creamy Mac and Cheese

  • Cook your pasta al dente (firm) as the noodles cook extra in the sauce and you don’t want them mushy.
  • Don’t forget to salt your pasta water.
  • While not everyone agrees with rinsing the pasta after cooking, in this particular recipe it stops the noodles from cooking and the sauce is created with a texture that pairs perfectly with the rinsed noodles.
  • A sharper cheddar cheese will add a stronger cheese flavor.
  • Pre-shredded cheeses contain additives to keep it from sticking together which affects the way it melts.  The sauce is best if you shred your own cheeses.
  • Allowing the baked macaroni and cheese to rest for a few minutes after baking will thicken the sauce.
  • Most importantly of all… Do not over bake this recipe.

When cooking your macaroni noodles, cook them according to the package directions but you want them to be still firm.  If your package says 6-8 minutes, just cook them 6…  you get the idea. I choose not to top this baked macaroni casserole with a bread crumb mixture but if you really like bread crumbs on your macaroni and cheese, by all means, add some!

How to Make a Bread Crumb Topping for Mac & Cheese

Combine the following and sprinkle over your casserole before baking.

  • 3/4 cup bread crumbs (Panko Bread Crumbs are best)
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 tablespoon parsley (optional)

This recipe makes an extra saucy creamy macaroni.  Do not over-bake this recipe.  You want it creamy and rich, over-baking will cause it to dry out.

I find that 20 minutes was perfect in my oven…  note that the recipe will thicken slightly while standing.

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Homemade Mac and Cheese Casserole

This homemade Mac and Cheese Casserole is the best you’ve ever had. Tender noodles in a velvety sauce for the perfectly irresistible dish!!

  • 12 oz dry macaroni
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 cup light cream (about 10-12% MF)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 can condensed cream of cheddar soup (optional 10.75oz)
  • 4 cups sharp cheddar (divided)
  • 1/2 cup fresh parmesan cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Cook macaroni according to package directions. Drain and run under cold water.
  3. Melt butter over medium heat in a large saucepan. Whisk in flour and let cook 2 minutes while stirring. Slowly whisk in cream, milk, mustard powder onion powder, salt and pepper to taste. Cook over medium heat while stirring until thickened.

  4. Remove from heat and stir in parmesan cheese & 3 cups cheddar cheese until melted. Add soup if using.
  5. Toss cheese sauce & macaroni noodles together. Pour into a greased 9×13 pan. Top with remaining cheese.
  6. Bake 18-24 minutes or until bubbly. Do not over cook. Cool 10-15 minutes before serving.

Creamy Mac and Cheese Casserole

This Creamy Macaroni and Cheese Casserole is a show stopper! It's easy to make with tons of rich cheese sauce and a specail ingredient making it extra delicious!

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Crock Pot Mac and Cheese

Cheese and Macaroni in a Crockpot

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese in a white bowl with fork

 

 

This homemade Mac and Cheese Casserole is a show stopper with oodles of noodles and and luscious cheesy sauce! #spendwithpennies #macandcheese #macaroniandcheese #bakedmacaroni #macandcheesecasserole
This homemade Mac and Cheese Casserole is a show stopper with oodles of noodles and and luscious cheesy sauce! #spendwithpennies #macandcheese #macaroniandcheese #bakedmacaroni #macandcheesecasserole

Delicious Brussel Sprouts Gratin – Super Cheesy!

This Baked Brussel Sprouts Gratin recipe is one of the easiest ways to enjoy these colorful veggies. Brussel sprouts are baked in a cream and cheese sauce until hot and bubbly.

Serve them alongside chicken parmesan or crockpot meatloaf for the perfect meal!

Baked brussel sprouts gratin covered in cheese fresh from the oven with a spoon.

Flavorful Brussels Sprouts

Do you remember the way your mom used to make baked brussel sprouts when you were a kid? They often turn out bland. Even creamed brussel sprouts can be bland, but this recipe kicks up the flavor with loads and loads of cheddar and parmesan cheese!

Brussel sprouts have come into their own as a healthy, low carb alternative to other starchy vegetables like potatoes and corn. Not only are brussel sprouts packed with fiber, but this cheesy brussel sprouts recipe is low carb and keto friendly!

Feel free to add bits of bacon, sliced water chestnuts or even chicken for a full entrée! Everyone will be asking for seconds!

Cheese sauce being poured over brussel sprouts gratin from a clear jar.

How to Cut Brussel Sprouts

Brussel sprouts are usually sold by the pound and pre-washed in bags at the supermarket. If you happen to find them at a farmer’s market or in the organic section, they might still be on their stalk, which can be anywhere from twelve inches to twenty four inches long!

Remove any torn or discolored leaves and rinse the brussel sprouts carefully. Pat them dry before cutting so they are easier to hold onto before cutting.

The best way to cut brussel sprouts is to slice them from the base off the stalk and then slice them vertically from the base all the way through, cleanly separating the halves.

Colorful brussel sprouts in a baking dish for baked brussel sprouts gratin.

How to Bake Brussel Sprouts Gratin

Rather than a thick cheesy sauce (like a Homemade Mac and Cheese has) these Brussels are sauteed and then baked with a simple light sauce so the flavor of the brussels really stands out.

  1. Season the cut brussel sprouts with salt and pepper.
  2. Saute in olive oil until just tender and slightly browned.  
  3. Bring cream to a boil and whisk in cheese.
  4. Toss with brussels sprouts and bake!

A good brussel sprouts au gratin recipe calls for the perfect blend of cheese, in this case I use cheddar and parmesan cheese. Be sure the cheese is fully melted before pouring over the brussel sprouts.

This cheesy creamy brussel sprout gratin is easy to freeze and reheat, too! Chill overnight in the refrigerator before portioning into freezer bags. Label each back with the name and date and pop it in the freezer for an easy weeknight side dish everyone will love!

Brussel sprouts gratin with a scoop taken from it in a white baking dish.

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Brussel sprouts gratin

Brussel sprouts gratin is one of the easiest ways to enjoy these colorful veggies. Brussel sprouts are baked in a cream and cheese sauce until hot and bubbly.

  • 2 lbs Brussel sprouts (halved lengthwise (quartered if large))
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 1/3 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (divided)
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese (shredded)
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Season Brussel sprouts with salt and pepper. Cook in a skillet over medium high heat 5-6 minutes or until tender crisp and slightly browned. Pour into a 2 qt (8×8) dish.
  3. In the same pan, heat heavy cream, onion powder, salt and pepper to boiling. Reduce heat and let simmer 2 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and whisk in parmesan cheese and 1 cup of cheddar cheese.  Pour over Brussel sprouts.

  5. Top with remaining 1/3 cup cheddar cheese and bake 20-25 minutes or until browned and bubbly.

This baked brussel sprouts gratin is a delicous way to enjoy everyone's favorite veggie. This is the perfect side dish! #spendwithpennies #brusselsprouts #brusselsproutsgratin #bakedbrusselsprouts #cheesybrusselsprouts

Cheesy Hashbrown Casserole – 5 minutes prep!

Hashbrown Casserole

Hashbrown Casserole is easy, cheesy and totally delicious!  This simple casserole is made easy with frozen hashbrowns! 

Copy Cat Cracker Barrel Hashbrown casserole needs just 5 minutes of prep making it the a great side or potluck dish! The perfect breakfast casserole!

Serving spoon of Hashbrown Casserole in a casserole dish

The Hashbrowns, That’s Why

I love Cracker Barrel but the truth is… I only show up for the hashbrown casserole.  That’s it. Just the hashbrowns people.

My friend shared her version of that yummy, oh so creamy and cheesy easy Hashbrown Casserole with me and WOW!  Tender shredded hash browns in a rich and creamy cheese sauce, topped with more cheese and baked until hot and bubbly!

This is a perfect breakfast casserole for any holiday morning or just when you’re getting the family together for a delicious breakfast or brunch.  It also makes a perfect side dish for Crispy Oven Parmesan Chicken or even served alongside a Ranch 7 Layer Salad for lunch!

Close up of cheesy baked hashbrown casserole in a white casserole dish

Better Than the Original

There are lots of recipes out there for this cheesy casserole but this is the one I’ve found to be the closest! This hashbrown casserole is made with condensed cream of chicken soup.  I’ve also made it with cream of cheddar soup if you can find it.  Both work perfectly in this recipe! While I’ve had a version of hashbrown casserole without sour cream, I definitely prefer it with, it adds a little bit of creaminess and tang to the recipe. Since this is a copy cat hashbrown casserole recipe, my list of ingredients is inevitably different than the original but the flavor is just like my favorite Cracker Barrel Hashbrown Casserole (in fact, it’s even BETTER in my opinion)!

How to Make Cheesy Hashbrown Casserole

One of the best things about hashbrown casserole is that it’s super quick to prepare (5 minutes). I literally cannot stop eating it; dinner, bedtime snack and then breakfast if there is any left!

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Spread into a 9×13 dish.
  3. Top with cheese and bake. Voila!

It’s that easy!  If you’d like you can add leftover chicken, ham or ground beef to this easy recipe. Stir in your favorite veggies as well, Steamed Broccoli, peas or frozen veggies work well too!

Cheesy hashbrown casserole on a stack of white plates.

Toppings

I like to top it with cheese to keep it close to the version I’ve had at Cracker Barrel but if you prefer a nice crunchy topping on your hashbrown casserole, this is also great with cornflakes.  Gently crush 2 cups of cornflakes and toss with 1/4 cup of melted butter, sprinkle over the casserole before baking.

How to Freeze Hashbrown Casserole

This easy cheesy hashbrown casserole can easily be frozen. We usually prepare as directed and freeze any leftovers in individual servings making them the perfect lunch or quick dinner.

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Cracker Barrel Hashbrown Casserole

This is my favorite casserole ever! Cracker Barrel Hashbrown Casserole needs just 5 minutes of prep and is absolutely cheesy, delicious and completely irresistible! The perfect breakfast casserole!

  • 32 oz frozen shredded hash browns (defrosted)
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1 10 1/4 ounce can of cream of chicken soup (or cream of cheddar)
  • 1 pint of sour cream
  • 1/2 cup onion finely chopped
  • 2 cups grated colby cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl reserving 1/2 cup of cheese for topping.
  3. Place in a greased 9×13 casserole dish and top with reserved cheese.
  4. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

 

Note:  This recipe originally appeared on SpendWithPennies.com April, 2013. 

More Must Try Cheesy Casseroles

Creamy Macaroni and Cheese CasseroleCreamy Macaroni and Cheese Casserole

Broccoli Cheese Casserole with HamBroccoli Cheese Macaroni with Ham

Cheesy Beef & Macaroni Casserole

Copy Cat Cracker Barrel Hashbrown casserole needs just 5 minutes of prep and is absolutely cheesy, delicious and completely irresistible! The perfect breakfast casserole! #spendwithpennies #hashbrowncasserole #easycasserole #casserole #potatocasserole #easyrecipe #sidedish #easyside #holidays
Copy Cat Cracker Barrel Hashbrown casserole needs just 5 minutes of prep and is absolutely cheesy, delicious and completely irresistible! The perfect breakfast casserole! #spendwithpennies #hashbrowncasserole #easycasserole #casserole #potatocasserole #easyrecipe #sidedish #easyside #holidays

The BEST Make Ahead Bacon Breakfast Casserole

Overnight Christmas Breakfast Casserole on Plate

This easy Overnight Breakfast Casserole is quick to prep in the evening and then baked up fresh and delicious in the morning!  Cheese, bacon, bell peppers and green onions are layered with bread and soaked in a seasoned egg mixture.  This is the perfect meal to serve on a holiday morning or for guests.

Overnight Breakfast Casserole With Bacon ready for holiday breakfast

A Breakfast Casserole Known By Many Names

I have eaten this casserole on Christmas morning for as long as I can remember.  My mom always made it when I was young and I looked forward to this casserole every year at Christmas Breakfast!

We have always called it wife saver but it’s also known as a strata which is basically bread and eggs with yummy add ins.

It’s great because it’s really easy to make and it’s made the night before (or at least 3-4 hours ahead of time). In the morning just put it in the oven to cook while your family is doing other fun activities (like opening stockings or egg hunting!) or even if you have a house full of guests to feed!

Large Overnight Breakfast Casserole in Baking Pan

Cutting or Leaving the Crust

I find a lot of breakfast items are on the sweeter side like pancakes and waffles but I’m a savory girl so this is my favorite. Since we have a large family, I usually make this and a sweeter Overnight Apple Pie French Toast for my kids (or sometimes Blueberry Cream Cheese French Toast).

I think every family seems to have a slightly different version of this meal.

My mother in law adds a crunchy topping to hers (and uses brown bread) while my sister cuts off the crusts and leaves her slices whole. I always leave the crusts and cube my bread since I really can’t tell the difference and let’s face it, less work is better.

Single Slice of Breakfast Casserole with Bacon on Plate

Casserole Preparation & Add-ins

You can certainly add in whatever you like, ham or sausage are great in this as well!  We’ve added everything from ham and asparagus to artichokes and mushrooms (pre-cook the mushrooms so they don’t get watery). Of all the versions I’ve had, this one is definitely my favorite.

It’s so easy to put together and a great way to feed breakfast to a crowd so I often make it when we have guests over!  If you’re the kind of person that likes to eat breakfast for dinner, this is a super simple prep ahead meal and if you are lucky enough to have any leftovers, this is great reheated too!

Note:  It’s best to take the casserole out of the fridge first thing and let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes.  If you are cooking two pans, baking time will increase by about 20-30 minutes.

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Overnight Breakfast Casserole

Delicious Overnight Breakfast Casserole with bacon, green onions, bell peppers, and cheese.

  • 12 slices egg bread (or any type of bread will work, cubed)
  • 12 slices crispy bacon (crumbled (or 1 cup diced ham))
  • 3 green onions (sliced)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper (finely diced)
  • 4 cups grated cheese (cheddar works well)
  • 6 eggs
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon each dry mustard (salt & black pepper)
  1. Cube bread and leave out overnight or place in the oven at 300 degrees for about 10 minutes to dry slightly. (Do not brown or toast it).
  2. Combine eggs, milk, & seasonings.
  3. Layer 1/2 of the cubes in a greased 9×13 pan. Top with 1/2 of the bacon, green onions, red peppers and cheese. Repeat layers one more time.
  4. Pour egg mixture over top. Cover and refrigerate overnight (or at least 3 hours).
  5. Remove from fridge and let sit on the counter while preheating the oven to 350 degrees. Bake covered with foil 45-55 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. (If you are baking 2 pans increase cooking time to 60-80 minutes).

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Overnight Apple Pie French Toast

Overnight Apple Pie French Toast Casserole

Overnight Breakfast Casserole with Sausage

 

This easy Overnight Breakfast Casserole is quick to prep in the evening and then baked up fresh and delicious in the morning!  Cheese, bacon, bell peppers and green onions are layered with bread and soaked in a seasoned egg mixture.  This is the perfect meal to serve on a holiday morning or for guests.
This easy Overnight Breakfast Casserole is quick to prep in the evening and then baked up fresh and delicious in the morning!  Cheese, bacon, bell peppers and green onions are layered with bread and soaked in a seasoned egg mixture.  This is the perfect meal to serve on a holiday morning or for guests.

Easy Make Ahead Egg Muffins

Egg Muffins are a delicious and tasty breakfast, naturally low carb and easy to make ahead of time. We prepare these little egg cups with our favorite veggies or sausage or bacon (often using leftovers).

We make these easy egg muffins ahead of time and reheat them throughout the week for a perfect meal on the go!

Egg Muffins on a plate ready for morning breakfast.

We love having breakfast ready to go like our favorite Mango Berry Overnight Oats or Blueberry Baked Oatmeal. And these Egg Muffins are definitely one of my favorite breakfast items!

Egg Muffins

Egg muffins are naturally low carb, keto friendly and easy to make! Just like Overnight Oats, they’re great to have in the fridge for a quick breakfast or lunch!

We prepare them on the weekend and heat them in the microwave for a minute. They’re perfect on their own if you’re looking for a low carb breakfast or tucked between a couple of pieces of toast or an english muffin.

How To Make Egg Muffins

These little egg cups are very simple to make. Breakfast egg muffins consist of meats, cheeses and veggies with eggs.

  1. Grease your muffin tin well (or they’ll stick) and add in your favorite toppings and a bit of cheese.
  2. Next combine eggs and egg whites. Egg whites make the texture a bit lighter (I use store bought egg whites in a carton).
  3. If you’d prefer to use whole eggs, replace the 1 cup of egg whites in the recipe and use 12 eggs total. (1 egg per cup).
  4. Bake and enjoy!

Pouring eggs into a muffin pan to make egg muffins

A Make-Ahead Breakfast Made Your Way

While these egg muffins contain turkey sausage and cheese, you can use any combination of ingredients you like!  A few of my favorites include:

  • ham & broccoli
  • bacon or sausage, peppers and mushrooms
  • spinach egg muffins with feta
  • bacon, cheddar and green onion
  • asparagus & brie

If you prefer a veggie egg muffin, skip the meat and add extra cooked veggies. We often use leftovers from the weekend to put in them and change up the cheeses depending on what we have on hand.

Naturally low carb egg cups make an easy make ahead breakfast

How Do you Store Egg Muffins?

Refrigerator: These egg muffins will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days for a quick and easy make-ahead breakfast on the go!

Freezer: If you’d like to keep them longer, I would suggest freezing your egg muffins. We place them in a freezer bag and lay it flat until frozen.

To Reheat Egg Muffins

To reheat egg muffins, simply microwave them for about 20 seconds or so from the refrigerator. If they’re frozen, they’ll need a bit longer about 60-90 seconds.

You can also reheat these in a toaster oven for about 10 minutes at 350°F.

As for these delicious egg cups, I prefer to eat them as is and my husband loves to put them on English muffins to make a sandwich.  Either way, these little egg muffins are the perfect way to start your day! 

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Make Ahead Egg Muffins

Egg muffins are a delicious and tasty breakfast, naturally low carb and easy to make ahead of time.

  • 1 lb ground turkey sausage (or pork)
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 cup egg whites
  • 1/2 red pepper (diced)
  • 3 tablespoons minced onion
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Brown turkey sausage over medium high until no pink remains.
  3. Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray. Divide the red pepper, onion, cooked sausage and cheeses over 12 wells.
  4. In a large bowl combine eggs, egg whites and salt & pepper to taste. Pour egg mixture over the sausage in each well.
  5. Bake 22-25 minutes or until set.
  6. Remove from cups and serve warm or let cool completely and refrigerate or freeze.

Microwaves can vary greatly, time may need to be adjusted.

Looking for more quick and easy breakfast ideas?

Here are a few we love:

 

Delicious Make-Ahead Egg Muffins are the perfect breakfast on the go! Cheese & eggs loaded with your favorite toppings are quick & easy and heat in just 30 seconds!
Delicious Make-Ahead Egg Muffins are the perfect breakfast on the go! Cheese & eggs loaded with your favorite toppings are quick & easy and heat in just 30 seconds!
Delicious Make-Ahead Egg Muffins are the perfect breakfast on the go! Cheese and eggs loaded with your favorite toppings are quick, easy and heat in just 30 seconds! #spendwithpennies #easyrecipe #makeahead #eggmuffins #holidays #brunchrecipe #withcheese #easybreakfast
Delicious Make-Ahead Egg Muffins are the perfect breakfast on the go! Cheese and eggs loaded with your favorite toppings are quick, easy and heat in just 30 seconds! #spendwithpennies #easyrecipe #makeahead #eggmuffins #holidays #brunchrecipe #withcheese #easybreakfast