Chicken Veggie Alfredo Lasagna

Quite a few fellow bloggers have been making lasagnas recently and having a hodge podge of random ingredients on hand, I figured I’d jump the bandwagon and use up the miscellaneous amounts of items in my fridge. I didn’t have any tomato/pasta sauce on hand (which is a reminder for me to make a big batch soon!) so I searched online for a quick alfredo sauce to use up the cream I had. I came across This Recipe from AllRecipes.com to use as a guide and made my adaptations outlined below (and this is not a figure friendly dish as written!):

Quick & Easy Alfredo Sauce
adapted from Allrecipes.com

1 stick butter
10 oz cream cheese (1 brick + 2 oz cream cheese)
1 tablespoon garlic salt (I used The Spice house brand)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1-2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
1-2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil

In a saucepan, melt butter.
Add cream cheese and whisk to melt until smooth.
Add garlic salt and stir in heavy cream.
Allow to boil for 1-2 minutes until heated through.
Stir in fresh herbs and toss with pasta…. or use in a lasagna as I did below:

Chicken Veggie Alfredo Lasagna
original Joelen recipe
(to use up random ingredients on hand)

1 cooked chicken breast, sliced
1 small yellow squash, halved lengthwise and sliced into half moons
1 small zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced into half moons
1 cup sliced white button mushrooms
1 cup shredded colby jack cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
9 lasagna pasta sheets (dry)

– Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
– In a baking dish, spread 1-2 tablespoons of prepared alfredo sauce.
– Place a layer of 3 dry lasagna pasta sheets.
– Top with half of the chicken, squash, zucchini and mushrooms.
– Sprinkle with half of the cheeses.
– Place another layer of 3 dry lasagna pasta sheets.
– Spread enough prepared alfredo sauce over pasta sheets to cover.
– Top with remaining chicken, squash, zucchini and mushrooms.
– Sprinkle with half of the remaining cheeses.
– Place top layer of 3 dry lasagna pasta sheets.
– Spread enough prepared alfredo sauce over pasta sheets to cover.
– Sprinkle with remaining cheeses.
– Bake in preheated oven for 45-50 minutes until pasta is cooked and cheese is golden brown & bubbly.

Advertisements

Curried pear & butternut squash soup

This soup was made for my Soup & Sandwich Swap event, which you can read about HERE for more recipes and pictures.

Megan & Matt’s curried pear & butternut squash soup
1 butternut squash (about 2 3/4 pounds)
1 tablespoon butter
2 cups chopped peeled Bartlett pear (about 1 pound)
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced onion
2 1/3 cups water
1 cup pear nectar
2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans vegetable broth
2 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup half-and-half
1 small Bartlett pear, cored and thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 375°. Cut squash in half lengthwise; discard seeds and membrane. Place squash halves, cut sides down, on a baking sheet; bake at 375° for 45 minutes or until tender. Cool. Peel squash; mash pulp. Set aside 3 1/2 cups pulp, reserving remaining squash for another use.

Melt butter in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add chopped pear and onion; sauté 10 minutes or until lightly browned.

Add squash pulp, water, and next 5 ingredients (water through pepper). Bring to a boil; partially cover, reduce heat, and simmer 40 minutes.

Place one-third of squash mixture in a blender; process until smooth. Pour puréed mixture into a large bowl; repeat procedure with remaining squash mixture.

Return squash mixture to pan; stir in half-and-half. Cook over low heat 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Ladle soup into bowls, and garnish with pear slices.

Serves 8 (serving size: 1 1/4 cups)

Butternut Squash Gratin

The following recipe was prepared during my International Chefs Dinner. You can read about it and check out the other recipes that were made for the event HERE.

Butternut Squash Gratin
shared at the event by Laura
recipe courtesy of Jacques Pepin

1 large butternut squash (3 1/4 pounds), peeled and seeded (2 1/2 pounds)

1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Cut off and discard the stem of the squash, then cut the squash into two pieces by cutting through it horizontally at the bottom of the neck. This will make it easier to peel.

Peel the cylindrical neck lengthwise, removing enough skin so that the orange flesh underneath is revealed. (Under the outer skin there is a layer of green, which should be removed.) Peel the round part of the squash by cutting around it in a spiral fashion with a sharp knife; it is easier to peel a round object in this manner. Cut the rounded part in half lengthwise, and, using a spoon, scoop out the seeds. Then cut the squash into 1/8-to-1/4-inch slices either with a knife or in a food processor fitted with the slicing blade.


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the squash slices in a large saucepan, cover them with water, and bring to a boil. Boil over high heat for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, then drain in a colander. The pieces will break a little in cooking. Arrange pieces in a gratin dish, and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Pour on the cream, and stir gently with a fork to distribute the additions properly. Cover with the cheese, and bake for about 30 minutes.


At serving time, brown the top of the gratin by placing it under a hot broiler for 4 to 5 minutes. Serve immediately.


Autumn in my Kitchen

I love the fall weather! To celebrate the first weekend of fall-like weather here in Chicago, I prepared maple braised pork ribs which I served with a butternut squash risotto.

Here is my recipe for the maple braised pork ribs, which is versatile enough for making in both a crockpot or conventional oven:

1-2 lbs pork ribs
maple rub (recipe below)

Maple Rub
2 tablespoons real maple syrup
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon brown sugar
splash of worchestershire sauce
salt & pepper to taste

Combine above ingredients in a bowl.
Consistency will slightly clumpy and paste like.
Coat pork ribs with this paste using your hands – a basting brush isn’t as effective.
Place coated pork in a dutch oven or shallow baking pan.
Bake in a preheated oven at 300 degrees for 3-4 hours OR
Place coated pork in your crockpot and cook on low for 6 hours.

I served this with a butternut squash risotto, using a jarred butternut squash puree which I got from Wiliams Sonoma.

When I made my basic risotto recipe, I used chicken broth and about 1/2 cup of the puree I stirred in while my risotto cooked. I also added 2 cloves of minced garlic, finely chopped small onion and a few springs of fresh thyme leaves.

Let’s Squash This…Seriously!

Well I’m on a healthy kick and tonight I finally made a recipe using spaghetti squash! It’s a new favorite of mine and definitely a healthy alternative to standard pasta.
Averaging from 4 to 8 pounds, the cylinder shaped spaghetti squash is generally available year-round with a peak season from early fall through winter. While a true spaghetti squash is pale ivory to pale yellow in color, in the early 1990’s, an orange spaghetti squash, known as “Orangetti” was developed and this is what is frequently found in today’s supermarkets. Higher in beta carotene, the orange variety is also bit sweeter than its paler counterpart, although both have a mild flavor that is easily enhanced by the food served with or on it. A dieter’s dream, a four-ounce serving of spaghetti squash has only 37 calories!Here is the recipe for my Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Bake which was inspired by my friend Cara:

2 cups cooked spaghetti squash
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 onion, chopped
olive oil
1 cup sliced mushrooms
ground black pepper to taste
10 oz chopped, cooked & drained spinach
2 links of chicken sausage, such as spinach asiago (Optional – can omit completely)
1 cup pasta sauce
1/2 cup italian cheese blend

– Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
– In a 9×13 pan, grease it well with cooking spray.
– Layer the cooked spaghetti squash on the bottom of the pan.
– In a pan, saute garlic, onions in olive oil and cook until softened.
– Add mushrooms and spinach, cooking until heated through.
– Add black pepper to taste.
– Layer the mushroom/spinach mixture on top of spaghetti squash in pan.
– (If using sausage – Cut the sausage links into thin slices and layer over mushroom/spinach mixture in pan.)
– Top with pasta sauce.
– Sprinkle italian cheese on top.
– Bake for 30-40 minutes; let it sit for 10 minutes before serving.