Tag Archives: Recipe

Chicken and Spinach Pesto Lasagna

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Chicken and Spinach Pesto Lasagna

Chicken Spinach Pesto Lasagna 2

 

A few people have asked about this recipe so here it is!  Even my 1 year old likes it, and that’s saying something.  The original recipe is from a mozzarella cheese wrapper and the first time I made it, I followed the recipe exactly.  It was a bit boring- not incredibly flavorful or special.  The pesto flavor got lost in the noodles and cheese and was never found….  So I tried the recipe again recently and made a few key changes. The difference was astounding!  My changes are in red….

Chicken Spinach Pesto Lasagna 

12 uncooked lasagna noodles (I used whole wheat noodles)

3 Tbsp olive oil

1 cup onions, chopped

3 cloves garlic, crushed

2 packages (12oz each) frozen chopped spinach (I used one package spinach and a bunch of kale I had on hand)

1/2 c prepared pesto sauce plus 2 tbsp (you can find my easy pesto recipe here)

3/4 c grated parmesan cheese (I excluded this- I just didn’t have any!)

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

3 cups cooked diced chicken (I used canned chicken…. it’s just easier!)

1/2 tsp salt (or a bit more- I try to season at every step)

1/2 tsp pepper

(2 cups ricotta cheese I used a package of soft herbed goat cheese- this was the game changer!)

1 large egg

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Spray 13×9 in casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.  Partially cook lasagna noodles according to the package.  Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat.  Cook and stir onions and garlic until transparent.  Add spinach (and kale); cook and stir about 5 min. Add chicken and stir about 5 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.

In a large bowl, mix together ricotta cheese (goat cheese), egg, pesto, and parmesan cheese until thoroughly blended.  Add chicken and spinach mixture to bowl and stir to combine.  Spread extra 2 tbsp of pesto in bottom of pan.  Layer 4 noodles, slightly overlapping.  Top with 1/3 of spinach/ricotta mixture and 1/3 mozzarella cheese.  Repeat layers twice.  Bake 35-40 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

 

The goat cheese really is the star in my version- so if you don’t have pesto on hand just chop up some basil leaves or your favorite italian spices.  If you don’t have goat cheese- maybe add more pesto- and season every step! 

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Pesto Presto!

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Here’s another garden favorite- hopefully you’re all still harvesting!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This recipe comes from the Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book and can also be found on their website here.  It is super yummy and although I haven’t figured out exactly how much it costs, I’m sure it’s cheaper than buying pesto, especially if you grow your own basil.  Here’s the recipe with my own comments in parenthesis.

Homemade Pesto

1/4 cup olive oil or cooking oil

1/2 cup chopped walnuts and/or pine nuts

2 cups firmly packed fresh basil leaves

1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese (or you could leave the cheese out like I did.  Still yummy.)

4 cloves garlic, peeled and quartered

1/4 teaspoon salt

Black pepper

In a food processor bowl or blender container combine oil, nuts, basil, cheese, garlic, and salt. Cover and process or blend until nearly smooth, stopping and scraping sides as necessary.  Add pepper to taste.  If you’re not serving the pesto immediately, divide it into 3 portions. Place each portion in a small airtight container and chill for 1 to 2 days or freeze for up to three months.

Super yummy and super fast! Pesto is great on pasta, bread with cheese and tomato slices, baked potatoes, or stirred into mayonnaise for a stellar chicken or pasta salad.  I love that it can be frozen so I can enjoy that basil taste any time of year!

Homemade pesto on baguette slices topped with mozzarella cheese and garden tomatoes

 

Garden Tomato Gazpacho

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It’s harvesting time!  My corn and peppers this year are a little sparse, but the tomatoes and  zucchini are producing in abundance.  I thought I’d share a few of my favorite summertime recipes that will use a lot of that fresh garden veg.  Can’t let it go bad!

Today’s comes from an amazing cookbook called The Food of Spain I picked up from Borders a few years ago.  It not only has great recipes, but it’s full of the history of regional Spanish cuisine and beautiful photographs.  I don’t cook from it very often, but I do love sitting down and looking at the pictures from time to time.

Gazpacho is a Spanish chilled tomato soup- it’s easy to make and very refreshing.  A must have on a hot summer’s day!  Here’s a classic recipe with my own comments on the side.

Ingredients:

2 slices day-old white crusty bread, broken into pieces (I used fresh wheat bread.)

2 lbs 4 oz vine-ripened tomatoes, peeled*, seeded and chopped

1 red pepper, seeded and roughly chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 small green chili, chopped (optional)

1 teaspoon sugar

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar (I used balsamic vinegar)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

*(the secret to peeling tomatoes is to score the bottoms, put the tomatoes in boiling water for 10 seconds and then immediately  plunge them into cold water and the peels should come right off.  Also, all of these ingredients that are going into the food processor don’t need to be chopped much.)

Garnish Ingredients:

1 cucumber, finely diced

1/2 red pepper, finely diced

1/2 green pepper, finely diced

1/2 red onion, finely diced

1/2 ripe tomato, diced

Soak the bread in cold water for 5 minutes, then squeeze out any excess liquid.  Put the bread in a food processor with the tomato, pepper, garlic, chili, sugar and vinegar and process until smooth.

With the motor running, gradually add the oil to make a smooth creamy mixture. Season to taste. Refrigerate for at least two hours.  Add a little of the extra vinegar, if desired.

To make the garnish, mix together the ingredients. Spoon the chilled gazpacho into soup bowls, top with a little of the garnish and serve the remaining garnish in separate bowls on the side.

I like to serve it with french bread or a baguette. Enjoy!

Slow Cooker Apple Butter

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Assorted Red and Green Apples 2120px

Image via Wikipedia

It’s fall!  And since I grew up in the middle of an apple orchard, nothing says fall to me like apples, especially homemade apple butter.  I have always loved apple butter and I often wondered why my mom didn’t make it very often.  Then I tried making some myself.  After standing in front of a hot stove for the better part of 2 hours and getting hot butter splattered on me for the last half, I understood.  So when I found a recipe for apple butter in a slow cooker I was pretty excited.  I ended up combining my favorite apple butter recipe from my Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving with the instructions I found.  Here is my version, with pictures! Read the rest of this entry