We’ve been eating a lot of chicken lately, so I decided to break things up with a delightful little pasta dish. This is a Cheesy Spinach Casserole: http://pinterest.com/pin/91901648616857851/. This was a nice, easy dish to make and was quite tasty. Good for a night when you need a quick, hot meal.
My friend Jennifer and I scheduled another cook/play date. We have different tastes, so I try to be a little more adventurous when we are looking at recipes together. We finally agreed on a recipe for creamy white chicken and artichoke lasagna http://pinterest.com/pin/91901648616108929/.
We met at Jennifer’s apartment again to cook. Jennifer invited another friend with kids over and all the littles played. I picked up a box of No Bake Noodles hoping that it would make our meal cook a little quicker, but the cook time was actually longer by 20 minutes. Live and Learn.
The hubbies all finished work in time and were able to join us as well. It was quite a nice little dinner party.
The end result was pretty good. It was perfectly tasty, I could see that anyone who is an artichoke fan will love this dish. But for me it was just a nice dish to try, but I probably won’t make it again.
If you like artichokes, this is the dish for you:
Creamy white chicken and artichoke lasagna
- 2/3 cup butter, divided
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 3 cups milk
- 1-3/4 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips and halved
- 2 cans (14 ounces each) water-packed artichoke hearts, rinsed, drained and quartered
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 9 lasagna noodles, cooked and drained
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- In a large saucepan, melt 1/3 cup butter. Stir in the flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, nutmeg and pepper until smooth. Gradually stir in milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.
- In large a skillet, cook chicken in remaining butter until no longer pink. Stir in the artichokes, thyme and remaining salt; heat through.
- In a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish, layer about 1/3 cup white sauce, three noodles, 1/2 cup sauce, 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese and about 3 cups chicken mixture. Repeat layers. Top with remaining noodles, sauce and Parmesan cheese.
- Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 35-40 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting. Yield: 12 servings.
I invited my friend, Tawny, over for dinner tonight. Because I was feeling brave, I decided to try another new meal, Baked Ziti and Summer Veggies: http://pinterest.com/pin/91901648616737878/. I followed the recipe to a “T”, only substituting Rigatoni Noodles because that is what I had on hand. The meal looked and smelled delicious. But taste wise, I would probably only give it a “B”. It was a little dry. If I make Baked Ziti and Summer Veggies again, I’ll add a tomato sauce to the Ricotta cheese sauce.
I’m a mom to a very active 18 month old. I have a couple “Mom Friends” and we schedule playdates for our little ones. During a recent playdate I was telling my friend, Jennifer, about my cooking challenge. She likes to cook, so she suggested that we cook together sometime. I jumped at the chance.So we looked around Pinterest and Jennifer found a recipe for linguine with zucchini pesto, roasted pine nuts and dried tomatoes: http://pinterest.com/pin/91901648616799440/.
Upon first look, I would have guessed it was too difficult. And had too many steps. I’m still a beginner, afterall. But Jennifer was confident we could make it.
We met at Jennifer’s apartment. Our kiddos played and colored while we cut and sauteed the zucchini. I learned a lot from cooking with Jennifer. Little things, like adding salt to the zucchini, will speed up the process of cooking. And Jennifer had made pesto before so she added a few things to the recipe. Such as fresh basil, which was not included in the recipe we found, but is apparently used in most pesto recipes. She also suggested we add chicken to the recipe.
The end result was DELICIOUS. And both our kids loved it too! That was the really kicker. You just never know with kids. And Jennifer suggested we double the recipe so that we had enough for both our hubbies as well. And we had PLENTY of leftovers.
PASTA WITH ZUCCHINI CREAM AND A SUN-DRIED TOMATO AND PINE NUT TOPPING
400 g pasta
8 small zucchini
3 whole sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
3 tblsp pine nuts
1 clove garlic, optional
chili pepper in flakes and powder
extra-virgin olive oil
Cook the pasta.
While the pasta is cooking you slice the zucchini and slowly cook it in olive oil, chili pepper and the garlic cut in 4 until the zucchini is golden.
Put the zucchini, garlic and some of the olive oil in a blender and run it until they are smooth and creamy.
Mix the freshly cooked pasta with the zucchini cream and serve topped with the chopped sun-dried tomatoes and some pine nuts.
As soon as I spotted a pin for Lasagna Roll Ups, I knew it was meant to be: http://pinterest.com/pin/91901648616699279/
I love Lasagna. The only downfall is the long prep and hour of baking. Lasagna roll ups only take 25-30 minutes to cook. I was sold.
Being a non-cooker, I thought the prep for this recipe would take a long time. But is wasn’t too bad. I cooked the noodles according to the package. While they were cooking, I mixed together the spinach, ricotta and other ingredients. After the noodles were done, I laid them out on a cutting board and spread on the ricotta mixture. After rolling up each individual noodle, I placed them in my square baking dish. Once the dish was filled, I topped them with a jarred Vodka Sauce from Trader Joe’s.
30 minutes later, dinner was ready. And the presentation is quite nice. My husband was pleased. This is DEFINITELY a “make again”!