Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Buffalo Chicken Lasagne

The hubby and the oldest little love anything and everything spicy. In fact, they tend to add hot sauce, pepper, etc to everything they eat! When I came across this recipe, I have to admit I was a bit skeptical. Buffalo chicken in lasagne form sounded just plain awful to me. I'll take my lasagne in Italian form thankyouverymuch.

I was wrong. This was delicious! Now, for me, a little bit of buffalo goes a long way, so I was only able to devour a small piece. But the the little and the hubby LOVED it! It was an easy dish packed full of flavor! Anyone who loves buffalo sauce will love this dish!

Buffalo Chicken Lasagne
Serves 6

2 t. Canola oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 1/4 lb. ground chicken
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
1 12 oz. bottle of wing sauce (I recommend Frank's buffalo wing sauce)
1/2 c. water
1 t. Italian seasoning
1/2 t. pepper
8 no boil lasagne noodles (Barilla makes great ones)
15 oz. ricotta cheese
1 egg
5 oz. blue cheese crumbles, divided
1 c. mozzarella cheese
2 c. Shredded cheddar blend (I used 4 State Cheddar by Sargento)

Heat oil in a medium Dutch oven. Add onion, carrots and celery and sauté for a few minutes. Add in ground chicken and cook until no longer pink. Add in garlic and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Add In tomatoes, buffalo sauce, water, Italian seasoning and pepper. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine ricotta, egg, and half of the blue cheese crumbles.

Preheat oven to 375.

After sauce has simmered, spray an 8x8 dish with non stick spray. Ladle about 1 1/2 c. of sauce in the bottom of the dish. Lay 2 no boil noodles on top. Place 1/3 ricotta mixture on top followed by 1/3 of each of the mozzarella and cheddar cheese. Layer 2 more noodles, followed by another couple ladles of sauce. Followed by the cheeses. Repeat. On the top layer, finish with the sauce, rest of the shredded cheeses followed by the blue cheese. Cover and bake for 45-50 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

Be sure to have that water handy!


Monday, March 11, 2013

Summer Pasta Salad

I know what you are thinking. It's NOT summer. Well, at least not in my part of the world. This colorful salad will have you thinking summer in no time. This is SO easy - those of you who claim not to cook can even do it! My family loves this and is a staple in those dog days of summer.

I made this recently - the temps almost hit 50, which made me long for warmer days.

For this salad, I SWEAR by the Olive Garden Italian dressing. If you live near a Sam's Club, you need to run and go by it right now. It makes an amazing pasta salad! If you can't find it, any favorite Italian dressing will do. You can easily make this with your own favorite veggies!

Summer Pasta Salad

12 oz. tri-color rotini pasta, cooked, drained, rinsed and cooled
6 oz. halved grape tomatoes
4 oz. can sliced black olives
8 oz. chopped fresh broccoli
8 oz. cheese crumbles (we like Kraft Three Cheese crumbles)
Half bottle Italian dressing (more or less to taste)

In a large bowl combine pasta and veggies. Pour Italian dressing over and toss well. Chill for 2 hours. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Perfect Blueberry Muffins

Who doesn't love a blueberry muffin for breakfast? Fluffy, tart and sweet, classic blueberry muffin finished off with a slab of butter. (Did I say that?!)

My littles adore these muffins. They are the perfect breakfast, quick and healthy. We make these several times a month, and they continue to devour them time and time again.

Classic Blueberry Muffins
Adapted from: Smitten Kitchen
Makes 11-12 standard size muffins

5 T. Unsalted butter, a bit soft
1/2 c. Sugar
1 large egg
3/4 c. sour cream
1 1/2 c. flour
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1 c. fresh blueberries, rinsed and drained

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a muffin pan with 11-12 liners.

Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in egg and spur cream until well blended. Sift half of the dry ingredients into the bowl and mix until incorporated, then sift the remaining in. Mix until fully incorporated, then fold in blueberries. Use an ice cream scoop to fill liners about 3/4 of the way full - keep in mind the batter will be very thick. Bake for 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Slather them with some butter and grab your coffee.



Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Creamy Chicken & Wild Rice Soup

I love Panera. They certainly have some delicious belly-warming soups. This soup is so very similar to their Chicken & Wild Rice soup and has become a staple at our house.

I am always on the lookout for great soup recipes to feed my hungry boys. Last night was a perfect opportunity to do so. We got several inches of the white stuff yesterday and when hubs came in from snow blowing I knew he would want something satisfying. This always does the trick. Even the pickiest little ate two bowls of this soup!

Creamy Chicken & Wild Rice Soup
Adapted from Tidy Mom

3 T. olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 c. celery, diced
3/4 c. carrots, diced
4 c. natural chicken broth
2 c. water
3 c. shredded cooked chicken
1 package (4-4.6 oz) quick cooking long grain and wild rice with seasoning packet. (I use Rice a Roni naturals)
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
3/4 c. all purpose flour
1 stick butter
1 c. half & half
1 c. heavy cream

Melt butter in large pot. Add garlic and cook a minute. Add carrots and celery and sauté until soft, about 5-8 minutes, stirring often.

Add chicken broth, water, and chicken and bring to a boil. Stir in rice only (reserve seasoning packet), cover and remove from heat.

In a medium saucepan, melt butter. In a small bowl, combine flour, salt and pepper. Once butter is melted, add seasoning packet and cook until bubbly. Begin adding flour mixture, a tablespoon at a time until combined completely. Cook until mixture thickens and forms a roux, being careful not to burn! Beginning adding cream/half and half mixture in small amounts. Stir constantly to combine and once all is added, cook until the mixture is thick.

Place chicken/rice mixture back on heat and slowly add cream mixture, stirring constantly. Heat soup on low for another 15-20 minutes.

Enjoy!!! Happy eating!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Cheddar Cheese Risotto - Breville Risotto Plus

I am always looking for a lovely side dish. Something that goes with anything and everything. What better to prepare for my family but this cheddar cheese risotto? After all, who doesn't love cheese??

My amazing Mama gifted me the phenomenal Breville Risotto Plus for Christmas. I am forever loving this woman! See, I adore risotto. So does my family. However, I don't always have an extra hour to slave over the hot stove. In comes in this Breville Risotto maker - and voila! Perfect no-stir risotto. Seriously - where have you been all my life?!? Therefore, instead of eating risotto every once in a blue moon (or when the hubby is home to entertain the monkeys hanging from my legs), we have have it (gasp!) almost weekly. Heaven, I tell you!

I will give you the directions for the traditional method of preparing the risotto, I'll also share a blurb on the off-chance you own one of these amazing machines.

*Please note - these are all my own opinions. Breville has no idea that I even exist!

Cheddar Cheese Risotto
Adapted from: Nigella Lawson

1 T. Butter
1 T. Olive oil
2 leeks, chopped
1 1/4 c. risotto
1/2 c. white wine
1/2 t. Dijon mustard
4 c. vegetable stock (hot if preparing the traditional method)
1 1/2 c. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 c. chopped green onion

Melt butter in large saucepan. Add olive oil and sauté leeks until soft. Add risotto and stir for 2 minutes. Add wine and dijon and stir constantly until absorbed. Begin ladling hot stock into the risotto, a ladle at a time, stirring frequently until absorbed. Continue to add liquid stock until risotto is very creamy - about 25 minutes. Add cheddar cheese and stir until melted. Remove from heat. Garnish with green onion. Enjoy!

*If using the Breville Risotto plus - place butter and oil together after maker is warm on the sauté setting. Sauté leeks until soft and add risotto and Dijon. Add wine and stir until absorbed. Pour in stock - turn maker to risotto setting and let sit until done - about 20 min or until the maker beeps. Add cheddar and stir until melted. Garnish with green onion. Enjoy!!