Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Artichoke, Chicken, and Spinach Lasagna

I'm moving in 10 days! Pretty soon I'll have a whole new kitchen to cook in! Before that happens, I need to get some things posted. I made this lasagna last week and LOVED it! Will definitely want to make it again, so here it is!
Artichoke, Chicken, and Spinach Lasagna
adapted from cinnamonspiceandeverythingnice.com
2 TBSPs olive oil
1/4 cup diced onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. boneless chicken breasts, cut into cubes
1 tsp Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper
2 (14 ounce) cans artichoke hearts, well-drained and chopped
1 15 oz. container ricotta cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1 beaten egg
1 TBSP fresh chopped parsley
3 cups fresh baby spinach leaves, stacked and cut into thin strips (stems removed)
9 lasagna noodles, cooked
4 TBSPs butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk
Dash of nutmeg
1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper

1. In a large skillet heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the onion, garlic, chicken, Italian seasoning and season well with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often until chicken is cooked through. Add artichokes and stir them into the chicken. Cook 3 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
2. In a large mixing bowl combine the ricotta, 1 1/2 cups of mozzarella, the egg and parsley. Add spinach strips and mix them into the ricotta mixture.
3. Make the sauce: In a large, heavy duty saucepan melt the butter over medium-low heat. Whisk in flour and cook 3 - 4 minutes, whisking often. Slowly whisk in milk, turn heat up and bring to a simmer. Maintain a simmer for 4 minutes, stirring often. Turn heat down to low and stir in nutmeg, Parmesan cheese and a pinch or two each of salt and pepper, continue stirring until cheese is melted. Remove from heat.
4. Assemble the lasagna: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 9 x 13-inch casserole dish. Add a very thin layer of sauce over bottom of the pan, then a layer of 3 noodles. Spread 1/2 the ricotta mixture evenly over the noodles, then top with 1/3 of the chicken mixture. Pour 1/3 of remaining sauce over the chicken as evenly as possible followed by another layer of noodles, and then the remaining 1/2 of ricotta, 1/3 of the chicken and 1/3 of the sauce. Cover with another layer of noodles followed by the remaining sauce, the remaining chicken mixture and the 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese. Bake 45 - 50 minutes until bubbly and hot in the middle. If the top starts to get too brown tent with aluminum foil. Allow to set 5 - 10 minutes before cutting into squares and serving.

Here's the order of layers in a list (easier for me to follow).
Tiny bit of sauce
3 noodles
1/2 of ricotta
1/3 of chicken
1/3 of sauce
3 noodles
1/2 ricotta
1/3 chicken
1/3 sauce
3 noodles
rest of sauce
rest of chicken
1/2 cup cheese

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Whipped Nutella Mousse

What could be better than this?! These 3 ingredients would make anything taste amazing! I was directed to this recipe by my sister. You can use it as a fruit dip or cupcake filling, but I put it in crepes. This is the crepe recipe I use here. The crepes were seriously so good with a little of this mousse, strawberries, and bananas. YUM!!

Whipped Nutella Mousse
1 cup Nutella
1 8oz pkg cream cheese, softened
1 cup Cool Whip or other whipped topping

1. Combine Nutella and cream cheese in a mixing bowl. Beat until combined and smooth.
2. Add Cool Whip and stir with a spoon until combined.
3. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

 Note: Refrigerating the mixture will make it stiffen up.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Cocoa Dyno-Bites Marshmallow Treats

I got 2 giant bags of this cereal from Winco for only $1.48 each, just to turn them into this! 

Cocoa Dyno-Bites Marshmallow Treats
4 TBSPs butter or margarine
10.5oz mini marshmallows (about 6 cups)
7 cups Cocoa Dyno-Bites Cereal

1. Prepare a 9x13in pan by spraying with non-stick cooking spray. Spray a spatula.
2. In a large microwave safe bowl, melt butter.
3. Add marshmallows to butter. Stir to coat. Microwave an additional 90 seconds. Remove and stir.
3. Add cereal. Stir until well coated.
4. Using spatula evenly press mixture into prepared pan. Cool. Cut into squares.

Best if served the same day. Store no more than two days at room temperature in airtight container.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Easy Candied Pecans

When a recipe calls for candied pecans and you've got to make some quick, this is for you! You toast the nuts on the stove top and then coat them with a syrup. Really easy, and they aren't like those super hard ones that'll crack your teeth! I listed a few of my recipes below that use candied pecans.

Easy Candied Pecans
1½ TBSPs packed brown sugar
1½ tsps water
⅛ tsp vanilla
⅛ tsp salt
1 cup pecan pieces

1. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, water, vanilla, and salt, stirring to combine (don't worry that the sugar and salt won't all be dissolved). Set this at-the-ready, next to your stove, as this recipe goes really quickly.
2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, toast pecans for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. When you begin to smell a lovely, nutty aroma, they're done.
3. Quickly drizzle the sugar mixture into the pan, on top of the pecans, stirring the nuts as you drizzle. Stir constantly for about 15 seconds, until the pecans are thoroughly coated in the sugar mixture. Immediately remove from heat so they don't burn.
4. Spread the pecans on a piece of parchment to cool. Once cooled, you can break the nuts apart, if needed.

Enjoy immediately or store in an airtight container. The pecans will be slightly sticky at first, but the coating hardens further within a few hours.

Perfect for these recipes:
Spinach and Strawberry Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing
Gorgonzola Pear Toasts
Pear Pomegranate Salad

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

BBQ Chicken and Broccoli Cheese Baked Potato - Meal Idea

This meal once was a made up leftover idea all piled on top of a potato. I had leftover Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken and leftover Broccoli Cheese Soup during the week and decided they'd be good together. It didn't disappoint! Since then, it has become a real dinner, but I still use leftover BBQ chicken and leftover soup (which is thick like a sauce). I also tried cooking my potatoes in the slow cooker which worked really well. I like to put a little butter on my baked potato, top with the shredded chicken and then pour on the soup. A little salt and pepper never hurts either. 

Links to the soup and the chicken:
Broccoli Cheese Soup 
Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Lucky Charms Treats

Here's an easy St. Patrick's Day treat that takes only 3 ingredients and about 5 minutes to make! 

Lucky Charms Treats

5 TBSPs butter
1 16oz bag marshmallows
1 11.5oz box Lucky Charms Cereal

1. In a large microwave safe bowl, microwave the butter and marshmallows on high for 2 minutes. Remove from microwave and stir. If butter isn't completely melted, return to microwave for 1 more minute.
2. After the marshmallow and butter mixture has been mixed well, add the cereal. Stir making sure to coat all the cereal with the marshmallow mixture. It helps to coat your spoon with cooking spray so that it doesn't stick.
3. Spray a 9x13 in pan with cooking spray and dump the cereal mixture into the pan. Press down with your spoon or a spatula making sure to even it out.
4. Let cool and cut into squares. Best served the same day, but can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for a couple of days.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Cake Mix Cookies

These cookies have endless possibilities! I made some for Valentine's Day with a strawberry cake mix and chocolate chips, but there are so many potential combinations! I got 30 cookies from this recipe and they were gone in 3 days. Can't tell you how many I ate...or won't. ;) One of the tricks with these is to shape the dough balls a little taller than normal on the pan, almost like a cylinder, before baking to make sure that they don't get too flat. I'm planning on trying some different cake mixes and I'll post more pics as I do.

Devil's Food and Mint Chips

Cake Mix Cookies
adapted from sallysbakingaddiction.com
1 box (18.25 oz) cake mix, I used Pillsbury
1 tsp baking powder
2 large eggs
1/3 cup canola oil
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

1.  Preheat oven to 350F. Line large baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, mix together the cake mix and baking powder. Set aside.
3. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, and vanilla by hand.
4. Add the egg mixture to the cake mixture and stir to form a dough. Continue mixing until egg mixture is incorporated and no dry cake mix remains. Gently mix in the chocolate chips.
5. Drop rounded balls of dough (about 2 TBSPs) onto prepared baking sheet, keeping the ball more tall than wide. Top with a few more chocolate chips, if desired.
6. Bake for 10 minutes. Do not let the cookies brown. Cool on baking sheet for 3 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes about 2 1/2 dozen cookies

Strawberry and Semi Sweet Choc Chips