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White chicken lasagna

March 23, 2011

White Chicken Lasagna

As much as I love white pizza with spinach, I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to make a pasta version.  We really enjoyed this dinner, and next time I’ll use whole wheat lasagna noodles to bump of the nutrition factor a bit more.  The biggest perk for me, other than the yummy factor, was that everyone ate butternut squash and didn’t even mind!

{one year ago:  oatmeal cookie bars}
{two years ago:  3 cheese and beer quick bread}

Recipe:  White Chicken Lasagna

(adapted from allrecipes)

lasagna noodles  (I used no-bake noodles – about one and a half boxes.)

1/2 c. butter

1 onion, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 c. flour

1/2 tsp. salt

ground black pepper, to taste

2 c. chicken broth

2 c. nonfat milk  (Trust me, the white sauce was totally creamy!)

4 c. mozzarella cheese, divided  (I didn’t actually measure out my cheeses… just use what looks good to you!)

1 c. shredded or grated Parmesan cheese, divided

1 tsp. basil

1 tsp. oregano

1 c. part-skim ricotta cheese

1 1/2 c. cooked and shredded chicken

1 small box frozen spinach, thawed and drained; liquid squeezed out

1 small box frozen butternut squash puree, thawed

Melt butter in a large saucepot.  Add onions and garlic and cook over medium heat until translucent.  Add flour, salt, and pepper.  Cook flour mixture 1-2 minutes.  Add chicken broth and milk.  Bring to a boil; cook and stir 1 minute.  Turn off heat and add 2 cups mozzarella cheese and 1/4 c. Parmesan cheese.  Stir in dried spices.

Lightly spray a 9×13″ baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.  Ladle some cheese sauce onto the bottom to thinly cover.  Add a layer of lasagna noodles.  Layer with more cheese sauce, the chicken, and the ricotta cheese.  Add another layer of pasta.  Top with cheese sauce, spinach, and 1 c. mozzarella cheese.  Add another layer of pasta.  Top with cheese sauce.  Using a spoon, spread the butternut squash puree over the cheese sauce.  Top with remaining 1 c. mozzarella cheese and 1/2 c. Parmesan cheese.  Add final layer of lasagna.  Top with remaining cheese sauce and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.  Remove foil and continue to cook until bubbly.  If cheese doesn’t brown on top, turn on the broiler for the last couple minutes.  Allow lasagna to sit about 15 minutes before serving for easier slicing.


Sliders in under a minute

March 18, 2011

Frozen Homemade Sliders

Most of us love a good burger, but how about a slider that goes from freezer to plate in 45 seconds and it’s homemade?  My friend Robin Sue, from Big Red Kitchen, is the brains behind this yummy idea, and my son thinks she’s all that and a bag of chips.  I should have recorded the reaction I got from him when he came home from school and saw a big bag of sliders headed to the freezer.  He snagged a couple before they made it that far and dubbed them a huge hit.

(sliders straight from the freezer)

I’ll definitely be making these again, both because they’re really convenient to have in the freezer and because Sam has begged me to.  I’m going to try lightening up the beef though, with at least an 85/15 blend.  I know a burger purist would say 80/20 is the way to go, but seeing all that fat was just a little much.  I’ll let ya know how they turn out.

{one year ago:  dessert tacos}
{two years ago:  lentil taco meat}

Recipe:  Frozen Sliders

(first drooled over at Big Red Kitchen)

3 lbs. ground beef  (80/20 is recommended, but I’m going to try a leaner blend next time)

dried minced onions

hamburger seasoning blend  (such as Emeril’s Essence ~ homemade version follows recipe)

cheddar cheese slices

slider rolls

Sprinkle minced onions onto a large rimmed cookie sheet.  Press ground beef onto the cookie sheet.  Sprinkle with Emeril’s Essence or other seasoning blend.  Bake at 375 degrees for 18 minutes.  The hamburger will shrink up as it cooks and the onions will soften.  Remove from oven and cut hamburger into equal squares that will fit onto your rolls.  Place each burger (onion side up) onto a clean cookie sheet, top with a piece of cheese, and place in freezer for 1 hour.  Transfer each burger to a bun and wrap in waxed paper.  Secure with a small piece of masking tape and store in the same bag the rolls came in.

When ready to eat a slider, reheat in the waxed paper for 45 seconds in the microwave and top with your favorite toppings.

Homemade Emeril’s Essence:

(from Food Network)

2 1/2 tablespoons paprika

2 tablespoons salt

2 tablespoons garlic powder

1 tablespoon black pepper

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 tablespoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon dried thyme

Store in airtight container.


National napping day

March 14, 2011

Today is National Napping Day.  So go ahead and take a nap, after all, it’s a national holiday!


Cake batter rice krispie treats

March 12, 2011

Cake Batter Rice Krispie Treats

These kick your traditional marshmallow cereal treats into high gear.  They’ve become the snack of choice around here for my kids and their cohorts, and if any happen to last more than a day, they get packed into lunchboxes for school.  But trust me, they don’t last long.  They’re very hard to resist.

{one year ago:  white chicken chili}
{two years ago:  chocolate mint brownies}

Recipe:  Cake Batter Rice Krispie Treats

(recipe from How Sweet It Is)

3 Tbsp. butter

10 oz. bag of marshmallows

1/4 c. dry yellow cake batter

6 c. Rice Krispie cereal  (Cheerios are great too!)

sprinkles or jimmies

Lightly coat a 9 x 13″ baking pan with cooking spray.  Melt butter in a large saucepan over low heat and add marshmallows. Stir until they begin to melt, adding in cake mix one spoonful at a time so its combined.  Stir in cereal so it is completely coated with marshmallow mixture.  Sprinkle in half of the sprinkles and mix.  Press into baking pan and top with remaining sprinkles.  Allow to cool before cutting.

Texas brittle

March 6, 2011

Texas Brittle

I apologize for the whining you’re about to read, but I’ve been sick.  Blah.  It started exactly one week ago and I’ve been down and out and in a haze of decongestants and cough meds all week.  Nothing has tasted good, or even close to good, until yesterday.  Yesterday was the day I dragged myself out to the kitchen and made some Texas brittle.  Yep, those are Fritos you see there.  And pretzels.  And some chopped and toasted pecan pieces.  Then lots and lots of melted milk chocolate.  And guess what?  I could taste all its sweet and salty wonderfulness and life was good.  I’m still sick, unfortunately, so it was no miracle cure, but it definitely made me feel better!

{one year ago:  Jamaican coffee soda}
{two years ago:  zebra cake}

Recipe:  Texas Brittle

(many, many thanks to Karly from Buns in My Oven for the recipe)

Scatter a few handfuls of pretzel sticks on a cookie sheet.  Top with a few handfuls of corn chips, followed by about 4 oz. of melted milk chocolate and chopped pecans.  (I toasted my pecans in a skillet for a few minutes ahead of time, but you don’t have to do that.)  Place the cookie sheet in the freezer until the chocolate sets up.  Break into chunks and pieces and enjoy!


Wish I’d thought of that…

March 4, 2011

photo credit: homework

For those of you who begin your dreams of Spring by planting seeds, this idea is for you.  What a great upcycled gardening project!  These little seed pots are made from paper towel rolls and you can find the original post at homework.  Carolyn has so many wonderful ideas on her blog, that I know you’re going to want to take some time to look around while you’re there.  You are sure to be inpsired!


Crockpot chicken curry

March 2, 2011

Crockpot Chicken Curry

We’ve had this chicken so many times that I don’t know why I haven’t posted it before now.  Crockpot meals are so easy and this one requires just a couple of ingredients.  You can use whatever cuts of skinless chicken you like and I’ve probably tried them all, but I prefer boneless skinless chicken breasts.  I’ve served this chicken curry with mashed potatoes, rice, and egg noodles; and we even like the leftovers in wraps.  It’s great to know I can grab a couple things from the pantry or freezer and know that we’re going to have a good dinner at the end of the day.

{one year ago:  marshmallows}
{two years ago:  s’mores cookie bars}

Recipe:  Crockpot Chicken Curry

(from Kraft Foods)

2-3 lbs. of skinless chicken, whatever cuts you prefer

2 c. chunky salsa

1 onion, diced

2 Tbsp. curry powder

1 c. sour cream

Place chicken in the slow cooker.  Combine salsa, onion, and curry powder in a bowl and pour over chicken.  Replace lid and cook on low 8-10 hours (or on high for 5 hours).

Remove chicken to serving platter and cover with foil.  Add sour cream to crockpot and stir until well blended.  Serve sauce over chicken.