Mama Mia, It’s a Chittie Dinner!

For dinner tonight, we are having a neighborhood party with my fellow “Chitties,” girlfriends who I’ve met through a local women’s group. These gals are wonderful… with all our married life stories and just sharing our ups and downs of living in our awesome city of Chicago. It’s just our luck that many live in the new neighborhood we moved into. So now that we’re pretty much settled into our place, we’ve invited them over to feast on my Italian menu. The dinner I’ve prepared for us tonight includes:

Fresh Bruschetta
on garlic crostini

Spinach & Artichoke Dip
with sweet pepper strips & baby carrots

Chicken Mushroom & Spinach Stuffed Jumbo Shells
with alfredo sauce

My Special Meat Lasagna Bolognese
with parmesan bechamel sauce

Ceasar Salad
Three Cheese Breadsticks

Strawberry & Vanilla Pudding Angel Cake Trifle

Here are pics from my dinner party:
(as the food coma sits in…)

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Mama Mia, It’s a Chittie Dinner!

For dinner tonight, we are having a neighborhood party with my fellow “Chitties,” girlfriends who I’ve met through a local women’s group. These gals are wonderful… with all our married life stories and just sharing our ups and downs of living in our awesome city of Chicago. It’s just our luck that many live in the new neighborhood we moved into. So now that we’re pretty much settled into our place, we’ve invited them over to feast on my Italian menu. The dinner I’ve prepared for us tonight includes:

Fresh Bruschetta
on garlic crostini

Spinach & Artichoke Dip
with sweet pepper strips & baby carrots

Chicken Mushroom & Spinach Stuffed Jumbo Shells
with alfredo sauce

My Special Meat Lasagna Bolognese
with parmesan bechamel sauce

Ceasar Salad
Three Cheese Breadsticks

Strawberry & Vanilla Pudding Angel Cake Trifle

Here are pics from my dinner party:
(as the food coma sits in…)

Chicken Spinach & Mushroom Stuffed Jumbo Shells

Chicken Spinach & Mushroom Stuffed Jumbo Shells
8oz. white mushrooms, sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 large vidalia onion, diced
1/2 bag of fresh leaf spinach, sliced thin
olive oil for cooking
2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, shredded
kosher salt
1 tablespoon italian seasoning
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 tub of ricotta cheese
1 box jumbo pasta shells, cooked
1 jar alfredo sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Cook pasta shells as directed.
Boil chicken breasts until cooked through.
Cool chicken breasts and shred.
In a saute pan, saute mushrooms, onions, garlic and spinach in olive oil under cooked through.
Place veggie mixture in a large bowl.
Add shredded chicken to bowl.
Add spices/seasonings to bowl.
Add ricotta cheese to bowl.
Toss to combine.

In a 13 x 9 baking pan, lightly grease with cooking spray.
Fill cooked pasta shells with filling & place in greased pan.
Continue to fill all pasta shells.
Once baking pan is full, pour alfredo sauce over the top of the filled shells.

Top with shredded mozzarella cheese.
Bake at 350 for 45 – 60 minutes.

Lasagna Bolognese with Parmesan Bechamel Sauce

Lasagna Bolognese with Parmesan Bechamel Sauce

Bolognese Sauce:
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large finely chopped onion
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup finely chopped carrots
1/2 bunch fresh & finely chopped basil
1 cup sliced white mushrooms
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork
2 tablespoons italian seasoning
1 pound canned or fresh tomatoes
1 jar prepared pasta sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium in a large pan.
Add the onions, garlic, carrots, and mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.
Place cooked vegetable mixture in your crockpot.
In a bowl, combine ground beef, pork and italian seasoning.
Mix thoroughly and add the meat mixture to the same pan.
Brown meat, breaking up any big chunks of meat.
When browned, add to crockpot.
Add the remaining ingredients to the crockpot and stir.
Cook sauce on low for 6-8 hours.

Parmesan Bechamel Sauce:
1/2 stick butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup heavy cream or half & half
Freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 cup parmesan or italian blend shredded cheese

In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat.
Whisk in the flour and cook until the mixture is creamy and no longer smells floury.
Whisk in spices/seasonings.
Take off heat and slowly stir in shredded cheese.
Stir until smooth.

To assemble lasagna:
1 box no-boil lasagna pasta sheets
bolognese sauce above
parmesan bechamel sauce above
shredded mozzarella cheese
teaspoon dried italian seasoning

In the bottom of a 13×9 baking pan, grease lightly with cooking spray.
Add a tablespoon of the bolognese sauce to the bottom of the pan.
Add 1 row of no-boil pasta.
Add a layer of the bolognese sauce over pasta.
Add a layer of the bechamel sauce.
Top with shredded mozzarella.
Repeat until you have used up all the bolognese and bechamel sauce.
Top layer should end with shredded mozzarella cheese.
Sprinkle dried italian seasoning over the top cheese layer.
Bake in a 350 oven for 1 hour.

Chicken Spinach & Mushroom Stuffed Jumbo Shells

Chicken Spinach & Mushroom Stuffed Jumbo Shells
8oz. white mushrooms, sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 large vidalia onion, diced
1/2 bag of fresh leaf spinach, sliced thin
olive oil for cooking
2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, shredded
kosher salt
1 tablespoon italian seasoning
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 tub of ricotta cheese
1 box jumbo pasta shells, cooked
1 jar alfredo sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Cook pasta shells as directed.
Boil chicken breasts until cooked through.
Cool chicken breasts and shred.
In a saute pan, saute mushrooms, onions, garlic and spinach in olive oil under cooked through.
Place veggie mixture in a large bowl.
Add shredded chicken to bowl.
Add spices/seasonings to bowl.
Add ricotta cheese to bowl.
Toss to combine.

In a 13 x 9 baking pan, lightly grease with cooking spray.
Fill cooked pasta shells with filling & place in greased pan.
Continue to fill all pasta shells.
Once baking pan is full, pour alfredo sauce over the top of the filled shells.

Top with shredded mozzarella cheese.
Bake at 350 for 45 – 60 minutes.

Lasagna Bolognese with Parmesan Bechamel Sauce

Lasagna Bolognese with Parmesan Bechamel Sauce

Bolognese Sauce:
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large finely chopped onion
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup finely chopped carrots
1/2 bunch fresh & finely chopped basil
1 cup sliced white mushrooms
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork
2 tablespoons italian seasoning
1 pound canned or fresh tomatoes
1 jar prepared pasta sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium in a large pan.
Add the onions, garlic, carrots, and mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.
Place cooked vegetable mixture in your crockpot.
In a bowl, combine ground beef, pork and italian seasoning.
Mix thoroughly and add the meat mixture to the same pan.
Brown meat, breaking up any big chunks of meat.
When browned, add to crockpot.
Add the remaining ingredients to the crockpot and stir.
Cook sauce on low for 6-8 hours.

Parmesan Bechamel Sauce:
1/2 stick butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup heavy cream or half & half
Freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 cup parmesan or italian blend shredded cheese

In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat.
Whisk in the flour and cook until the mixture is creamy and no longer smells floury.
Whisk in spices/seasonings.
Take off heat and slowly stir in shredded cheese.
Stir until smooth.

To assemble lasagna:
1 box no-boil lasagna pasta sheets
bolognese sauce above
parmesan bechamel sauce above
shredded mozzarella cheese
teaspoon dried italian seasoning

In the bottom of a 13×9 baking pan, grease lightly with cooking spray.
Add a tablespoon of the bolognese sauce to the bottom of the pan.
Add 1 row of no-boil pasta.
Add a layer of the bolognese sauce over pasta.
Add a layer of the bechamel sauce.
Top with shredded mozzarella.
Repeat until you have used up all the bolognese and bechamel sauce.
Top layer should end with shredded mozzarella cheese.
Sprinkle dried italian seasoning over the top cheese layer.
Bake in a 350 oven for 1 hour.

Preparing My Chittie Dinner

Here are main dish recipes I made for the Chittie dinner above…
Chicken Spinach & Mushroom Stuffed Jumbo Shells:
8oz. white mushrooms, sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 large vidalia onion, diced
1/2 bag of fresh leaf spinached, sliced thin
olive oil for cooking
2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, shredded
kosher salt
1 tablespoon italian seasoning
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 tub of ricotta cheese
1 box jumbo pasta shells, cooked
1 jar alfredo sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Cook pasta shells as directed.
Boil chicken breasts until cooked through.
Cool chicken breasts and shred.
In a saute pan, saute mushrooms, onions, garlic and spinach in olive oil under cooked through.
Place veggie mixture in a large bowl.
Add shredded chicken to bowl.
Add spices/seasonings to bowl.
Add ricotta cheese to bowl.
Toss to combine.

In a 13 x 9 baking pan, lightly grease with cooking spray.
Fill cooked pasta shells with filling & place in greased pan.
Continue to fill all pasta shells.
Once baking pan is full, pour alfredo sauce over the top of the filled shells.

Top with shredded mozzarella cheese.
Bake at 350 for 45 – 60 minutes.

Lasagna Bolognese with Parmesan Bechamel Sauce:

Bolognese Sauce:
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large finely chopped onion
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup finely chopped carrots
1/2 bunch fresh & finely chopped basil
1 cup sliced white mushrooms
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork
2 tablespoons italian seasoning
1 pound canned or fresh tomatoes
1 jar prepared pasta sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium in a large pan.
Add the onions, garlic, carrots, and mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.
Place cooked vegetable mixture in your crockpot.
In a bowl, combine ground beef, pork and italian seasoning.
Mix thoroughly and add the meat mixture to the same pan.
Brown meat, breaking up any big chunks of meat.
When browned, add to crockpot.
Add the remaining ingredients to the crockpot and stir.
Cook sauce on low for 6-8 hours.

Parmesan Bechamel Sauce:
1/2 stick butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup heavy cream or half & half
Freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 cup parmesan or italian blend shredded cheese

In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat.
Whisk in the flour and cook until the mixture is creamy and no longer smells floury.
Whisk in spices/seasonings.
Take off heat and slowly stir in shredded cheese.
Stir until smooth.

To assemble lasagna:
1 box no-boil lasagna pasta sheets
bolognese sauce above
parmesan bechamel sauce above
shredded mozzarella cheese
teaspoon dried italian seasoning

In the bottom of a 13×9 baking pan, grease lightly with cooking spray.
Add a tablespoon of the bolognese sauce to the bottom of the pan.
Add 1 row of no-boil pasta.
Add a layer of the bolognese sauce over pasta.
Add a layer of the bechamel sauce.
Top with shredded mozzarella.
Repeat until you have used up all the bolognese and bechamel sauce.
Top layer should end with shredded mozzarella cheese.
Sprinkle dried italian seasoning over the top cheese layer.
Bake in a 350 oven for 1 hour.