Simple Crock Pot Pizza Casserole

Of all the Simple Recipes I’ve been sharing around here, this Simple Crock Pot Pizza Casserole has proven to be the very simplest. Get this: No cooking necessary to make this recipe. A two-year-old could make this. Or a very busy adult. Either one will do.

pizza casserole1

This Simple Meal requires one dish (a crock pot) and thirty-seconds of prep (dump/stir/plug in). Your meal cooks itself.

As you can see from the above picture, I even cheated on my veggie side dish by simply setting out mixed greens and grape tomatoes. Therefore absolutely nothing about this meal took any work or actual cooking.

Now, you can add other cooked meats to this if you want. You can chop in some mushrooms and peppers if you want. None of those tasks take long, but they do take a few more minutes of prep. Sometimes I throw those veggies onto the table as side dishes, along with a can of black olives. Or, in a pinch, sometimes I skip it all and just throw out the mixed greens.

Either way, this meal is completely effortless, very inexpensive, and ridiculously good.

This spring, we’ve found this meal great to throw together before leaving for the soccer field. When we get home, we immediately get to sit down to an awesome, warm dinner. (Spring soccer is cold. I have done this cold soccer season for 15 years. When does it end?! Good thing my kids are worth it. Good thing I have a really great coat, and hat, and gloves, and fuzzy blanket. Good thing I can come home to warm comfort food at the end of my wind-blown, drizzly soccer cheering experience.)

Look how effortless this is —>

Simple Crock Pot Pizza Casserole

Simple Crock Pot Pizza Casserole
 
Author:
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 16-ounces UNCOOKED whole grain pasta
  • 50-ounces pizza or spaghetti sauce
  • 2 cups shredded cheese
  • 6-ounces pepperoni
  • Optional: additional cooked meat, sliced olives, chopped sweet pepper, and/or sliced mushrooms
Instructions
  1. Stir uncooked pasta and pizza sauce in a crock pot.
  2. Cook on low for 3-4 hours.
  3. Stir.
  4. Top with shredded cheese and pepperoni.
  5. Cook for an additional 10 minutes on low to melt cheese.

Simple Crock Pot Pizza Casserole

Will your family love this, or what? But trust me: no one will love it as much as you. Because this recipes allows you to cook without cooking. It provides you a great meal without working for it.

And now, if we could all find ourselves such a thing as a Self-Cleaning Crock Pot. (Tip, I soak my crock overnight and everything comes clean easily in the morning. No need to scrub when soaking does the hard work for us, am I right?)

Want to enjoy more Simple Recipes? We’ve got a bunch!

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Simple Crock Pot Shredded Ranch Chicken (for Tacos or Salad)

Once again, feel free to make this new recipe even if you failed to thaw chicken ahead of time. (See also: Simple Crock Pot Chicken Soup with a KickSimple Overnight Saucy Crock Pot ChickenSimple Overnight Melt-in-Your-Mouth Beef Roast, and Simple Garlic Butter Shrimp – all recipes that do not require thawing meat ahead of time.)

You might be thinking, “Do you ever plan ahead? Don’t you ever thaw your meat? This is what lists are for, Laura. Get yourself a planner!”

ranch chicken salad1

I do have a planner. And a calendar. And several phone reminder alarms that go off all week to remind me of important things to do and places to be.

But my planner, calendar, and phone can’t walk to the freezer to get out the chicken, now can they? So basically, frozen meat is what I have learned to deal with in this life, and there’s nothing that can be done about it. My crock pot gently says, “I’m here for you. I’ll thaw and cook your meat – all at the same time. So you just quickly throw it in here and go about your day.”

Hmm. I think I like my crock pot better than my planner. My crock pot saves my neck, makes my house smell amazing so as to make people think I’m actually working at today’s food, then kindly provides my family with dinner. Meanwhile my planner just bosses me around and tells me what to do all day. Rude.

Planner? You could learn a thing or two from Crock Pot. And Phone Alarms? You need to just sssshhhhhhhhhussshhh once in a while. I heard you the first four times you went off. I know I have a deadline. Can you not see that I’m down on the floor trying to sort through these tax forms? Seeing as you are way over there in the other room, one cannot expect me to just bounce off the floor and spring into the kitchen to swipe your sound off. I can’t afford to be inflicted with a strained muscle if I want to try and keep up with everything Planner is making me do.

And Calendar? I’d much appreciate it if you stop staring at me, mocking me with all your words and appointments. Why don’t you just say, “Stay home. Relax.” once in a while? But no. You’re all, “Take your kid to this, head over to that, so-and-so and such-and-such, be sure to, and don’t forget.”

It’s possible that I may need anger management classes as I learn to deal with the organizational tools that help me handle all my responsibilities. In the meantime, I will happily forget to thaw my meat and let my BFF, the Crock Pot, save me once again with another Simple Recipe.

Simple Shredded Ranch Chicken (for tacos or salad)

5.0 from 1 reviews
Simple Shredded Ranch Chicken (for tacos or salad)
 
Author:
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 2-3 pounds boneless chicken thighs or breasts
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 Tablespoons Taco Seasoning*
  • 3 Tablespoons dry Ranch Seasoning**
Instructions
  1. Place chicken in the bottom of a crock pot.
  2. Drizzle on olive oil.
  3. Sprinkle on seasoning mixes.
  4. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  5. Shred chicken and serve with favorite taco toppings on hard or soft shells.

*Here’s my Homemade Taco Seasoning recipe.
**Here’s my Homemade Ranch Seasoning recipe.

Simple Crock Pot Shredded Ranch Chicken (for Tacos or Salad)

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Simple Honey Mustard Chicken Legs

When people ask me if I have a Honey Mustard Dressing recipe, I feel kind of silly. How weird am I to answer, “Yes. I mix honey with mustard. I call it Honey Mustard.”

There’s probably a more detailed option for making Honey Mustard Dressing. But why go to the trouble to look that up when you can just mix the two ingredients together and call it a day?

Spreading my “special” honey-mustard concoction over chicken legs is ridiculously simple and tastes fantastic. So who’s up for another recipe that only takes 5-minutes to prepare?

honey-mustard-chicken1

Simple Honey Mustard Chicken Legs

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Simple Honey Mustard Chicken Legs
 
Author:
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds (give or take) chicken legs (or any variety of chicken pieces you like)
  • 3 Tablespoons mustard
  • 2-3 teaspoons honey
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
Instructions
  1. Place chicken pieces in a 9x13 inch baking dish.
  2. Mix remaining ingredients in a bowl and spread over the top of the chicken.
  3. Bake uncovered in a 350 degree oven for 50-60 minutes or until chicken is golden brown and juices run clear.

simple-honey-mustard-chicken-legs

 

Here’s a tip that works well for me: Watch for chicken pieces marked down in the meat section. I often get Smart Chicken legs for $1.49/pound as they reach their “sell by” date. I buy every package and freeze it to use in simple meals like this one. Talk about an inexpensive way to feed my family!

Here are more Simple Recipes you’ll love!

Truly, all of these recipes are ridiculously easy, good, and nourishing.

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Simple Last-Minute Nacho Plate

This Simple Last-Minute Nacho Plate comes together very quickly and is a huge crowd-pleaser at my house!

easy-nacho-plate

It’s almost embarrassing the amount of salsa we have been going through lately. Though I suppose our family goes through an embarrassing amount of pretty much everything, so never mind.

I was at Aldi a few weeks ago and put two cases of their organic salsa in my cart. Why get 1 jar when you can get 24, right? While in the check-out line, the lady behind me asked, “Oh! Did I miss a sale on salsa?” Nope. It’s a “we eat massive amounts of food at our house because of all the teenage boys” situation. That and I don’t live close to an Aldi and don’t get to shop there very often.

The great thing about any of the recipes I share that involve salsa is that you can use your favorite brand and your preferred mild-to-hot level.

Here are the latest Simple Recipes I’ve shared that involve salsa:

Other recipes you can find on my site that include salsa:

With all these recipes being so tasty and easy, it any wonder that I bought 24 jars of salsa at once?

This newest recipe idea, Simple Last-Minute Nacho Plate, is the result of what happened when I made a big batch of Meat and Cheese Burritos and had leftover filling. I didn’t have time (or desire) to make more tortillas, so I put the leftover meat/cheese/salsa mixture in the fridge. The next day we warmed up the mixture for lunch. We threw the delicious meaty goodness on top of tortilla chips with a few greens and whatever other toppings (olives, tomatoes, etc) that each person wanted.

It was then that I said to myself, “Why have I not done this before?” And a new Simple Recipe was born.

Now, take note that while this is called a “Last-Minute” recipe, you most certainly do not have to wait until the last minute to make it. Sure, it’s a recipe that can save your neck if you didn’t plan ahead and you need a meal on the fly. But the meat mixture stays good in the fridge for several days so you can make it ahead of time and pull it out to warm up as needed. It also freezes well, so you can make a double or triple batch and freeze it in meal-sized portions for your family to thaw and re-heat on busy days.

Simple Last-Minute Nacho PlateYum

Simple Last-Minute Nacho Plate
 
Author:
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 1½ pounds ground beef
  • 15-ounces salsa
  • 1 cup shredded cheese
  • Tortilla chips and your favorite nacho fixin's
Instructions
  1. Brown hamburger meat until it is no longer pink.
  2. Stir in salsa and cheese.
  3. Serve on a plate of tortilla chips with your favorite nacho fixin's.

simple-last-minute-nacho-plate

Here are more Simple Recipes you will love:

Those simple recipes are just the beginning. We’re taking it all to the next level so that not only are our recipes easy and nourishing – you don’t even have to think about what to prepare or purchase! Jump in with all the others who have joined…

Simple Meals

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Here’s what Michelle said about Simple Meals: YAY. I love it. I am very thankful you are doing the “work” part of meals for me.

Hey, our pleasure. We love it too. :)

Question: How much do you love salsa at your house?

Simple Taco Rice Dinner (with a dairy free option)

You know the tried and true recipes you always fall back on? Those are the best, right? Those are the dishes you can make without even thinking. Those are the recipes you always have ingredients on hand for. Those are the recipes that keep us sane and our families fed.

Suddenly I’m finding that my list of such go-to recipes is growing! I love it that there are so many recipes that don’t require much thought or effort to put together. I love it that my family keeps raving about all of these.

And I love it that I’m not compromising one bit with these recipes when it comes to nutrition. I’m certainly not compromising on taste, and not even on the budget. These are happy, happy, happy simple recipes!

Other Simple Recipes I’ve Shared Recently:

Today’s Simple Recipe is Taco Rice Dinner. This goes together very quickly, can be tweaked according to your preferences and food sensitivities. Plus it is absolutely yummy. (My kids don’t care much about the rest of it, as long as it tastes great!) We all love the flavor of this dish.

taco-rice-dinner

Simple Taco Rice DinnerYum

Simple Taco Rice Dinner
 
Author:
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Sea salt to taste
  • 15-ounces (give or take) salsa
  • 15-ounces cooked black beans
  • 1-2 cups shredded cheddar or Colby jack cheese
Instructions
  1. Boil two cups of water, add rice, turn down to very low heat, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes until rice is cooked.
  2. In the meantime, brown ground beef in a separate skillet until no longer pink.
  3. Add chili powder, garlic powder, and salt.
  4. Stir together cooked rice, cooked meat, salsa, and black beans.
  5. Serve as-is if you need to avoid dairy. Or sprinkle cheese on top and serve!

simple-taco-rice-dinner

Just like with all the other Simple Recipes, all you have to do is throw out salad fixin’s and some fruit to go with this dish.

TIP: If you didn’t plan ahead to thaw hamburger meat (story of my life!) just do this. It’ll quickly thaw you’re meat and you’ll be on your way!

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Simple Sweet and Sour Baked Chicken Legs

Everybody come get yourselves some Sweet and Sour Baked Chicken Legs.

sweet-and-sour-chicken

A meal like this is one of my favorite to prepare. It goes something like this:

  1. Plop some chicken in a dish.
  2. Mix up 5 ingredients to spread over chicken.
  3. Put the chicken in the oven and walk away.
  4. Just before dinnertime, throw frozen veggies in a pot to steam.
  5. Get out salad stuff.
  6. Ring the cow bell.

If you don’t have a cow bell, I guess you can still make this chicken.

Ringing the cow bell (to alert the men in the field that dinner was ready) was one of my favorite things to do at Grandma’s house. I’ve decided that I need one for my house. My men aren’t out in the field, but they are often wearing headphones. Perhaps they could hear a cow bell better than they hear my sweet (but wimpy) voice calling them for dinner?

Either way, check out how easy this new recipe is:

Simple Sweet and Sour Baked Chicken LegsYum

Simple Sweet and Sour Baked Chicken Legs
 
Author:
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 3 pounds chicken legs (other pieces work fine too but may require more baking time)
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Lay chicken legs in a 9x13 inch baking dish.
  2. Mix honey, soy sauce, ketchup, and garlic in a small saucepan. Heat briefly to melt honey and to make sure ingredients are well combined.
  3. Spread mixture over chicken legs.
  4. Cover and bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes. Turn chicken over in the sauce, cover, and cook for 15 minutes more.

Be sure the soy sauce is gluten free if this is a need for you!

simple-sweet-and-sour-baked-chicken-legs

You will love this simple main dish!

Don’t miss our other Simple Recipe ideas shared here so far:

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2-Ingredient Cranberry Sauce ~ It’s Too Easy

cranberry sauce

Why? Why do we make it hard? And the most important question of all, who loves how the cranberry sauce from the store plops out of the can and remains forever in the shape of the can? How do they do that, anyway?

Don’t answer that. I already know. It’s made with gelatin. I could make my cranberry sauce with gelatin too, if I wanted. It might be kind of fun, actually. I could use a tin can to make a cranberry sauce mold and I could plop it out on Thanksgiving morning. It would bring back fun memories of my childhood, because that was one of my favorite holiday jobs. I could re-live that suction sound it made as the jellied variety of cranberry sauce came out of the can. That would be way, way, way better than my memories of the sound a can of biscuits makes when it opens. I can’t even handle thinking about that one. (I’m a canned biscuit big baby scaredy cat chicken.)

So homemade cranberry sauce. It is so easy. I’d never even made it before last week because I figured it might be hard. Really, Laura? You put cranberries and sugar in a pot and you cook it for a few minutes to create cranberry sauce. Well, I had no idea.

This recipe is a total no-brainer. It’s as easy as Stir-and-Pour Bread. In fact, this sauce tastes very good on top of a slice of that particular bread. I promise to continue to make all of our real food cooking as easy as possible.

Please note though that while this is easy and made with real food – this recipe is very full of sugar. I tried to cut down the sugar – you know – to prove like so many other recipes that all the sugar is ridiculous. Unfortunately, this dish mocked me to my face. (Literally, to my very puckered up face.) It was like, “I dare you to cut the sugar down and not make weird faces. Go ahead. Try it. Heh. Nice face.”

Fine. My face was unbecoming. Make this cranberry sauce of the low sugar variety at your own risk. Keep your camera handy. Your cranberry sauce face photos will be a delight for years to come.

Whatever your sugar content choice, I promise you will love how ridiculously easy this side dish is to make. I will be making mine a couple days before Thanksgiving so that I can simply pull it out of the fridge to serve. I got my fresh cranberries for 99¢ so I was very excited. You probably wanted to know that.

2-Ingredient Cranberry Sauce

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5.0 from 1 reviews
2-Ingredient Cranberry Sauce ~ It's Too Easy
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups fresh cranberries (12 ounce bag)
  • ⅓ to 1 cup sucanat or sugar
Instructions
  1. Rinse cranberries.
  2. Combine cranberries and sucanat in a small sauce pan.
  3. Cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes. Your work here is done.
  4. Place cranberry sauce in a serving dish, cover, and refrigerate for at least two hours before serving.

Ten Minute ~ Two Ingredient Cranberry Sauce

Make this several days before serving if you wish. Yes! It is another make-ahead dish to save you time on Thanksgiving or Christmas (or some Friday in February). Add this recipe to your Getting Ahead for the Holidays Check-List.

Have you tried making Cranberry Sauce? Ever tried it low sugar? Whoa. Who loves the canned, jellied cranberry sauce suction plop? Ah, the memories.

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While I’ve got you, I am pleased to announce the three Getting Ahead for the Holidays winners of the $25 Gift Certificates good toward any of our eCourses or downloadable items in theHeavenly Homemakers Shop!

  • Jane J.: bnwalker@
  • Shelby: sixforemans@
  • Karen: kloumc21@

Winners, email me (laura at heavenlyhomemakers.com) and I’ll send you a certificate!