Chicken Spinach Lasagna

{rating: 9.5}
I have to say, I was more than skeptical for this lasagna because I decided to use the 'oven ready' noodles thinking it might cut the time down. It cut the prep time in half, but made up in the bake time. I'm not writing oven ready noodles off entirely, but I think I prefer the regular ones, then again, it did save the me the expensive of washing an extra pot. "...both are favorites!"
One half a bag (10 oz.) baby spinach, cooked and well drained
9 oven ready uncooked lasagna noodles
1 cup cottage cheese (low fat, if that's your thing)
1 egg
2 cooked and chopped chicken breast
2 cups grated Mozzarella
1 cup grated Parmesan
3 cups of your favorite pasta sauce
1 cup water
Italian seasoning
Parsley flakes

Start by mixing the pasta sauce with the cup of water in a medium pot, bring to a boil. While you're waiting (by the way, don't forget to stir on occasion) mix the cottage cheese with spinach, chicken, and (eww...) the egg- I almost lost it when the egg was added to the mix... but that's just me, and the Parmesan and Italian seasoning, just a dash. Once your sauce has reached a boil, spoon a few spoonfuls on to the bottom of the 9x13 inch baking dish. Layer with uncooked noodles, then the chicken mixture. Add another layer of noodles, a few more spoonfuls of sauce, then chicken mixture. Repeat until all the noodles and chicken mixture are used up. For the top layer, add remaining sauce and top with Mozzarella cheese. Garish with Parsley flakes. Cover with foil and bake for 40-45 minutes at 375F. Remove foil and continue baking for 15 minutes. Remove from oven (turn off oven... heehee!) and let sit for about 10 minutes so it's not so soupy. Enjoy!
...mmm, bubbly.


Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes

{I dream in... cupcakes}
Strawberry lemonade, one of the best inventions since sliced bread, improved only when put into a cupcake! Now, I have to admit (because part of growth is making mistakes) I messed up on these pretty badly. I was so upset when I realized my mistake, but I couldn't just throw them out- I had to see them to the end. While I was at the store picking up some lemonade concentrate, I got flustered because the lemonade was no where to be found; this was the last item I needed and I was anxious to get home. What kind of a store doesn't have lemonade?! Rude! So in my fluster, I finally spotted what I thought was lemonade on the very bottom shelve all the way at the back. It was yellow and had lemons on it, so I just grabbed it and left. The recipe calls for a lemonade syrup that you put on the cupcakes before frosting- it was after I had done this to every single cupcake that I realized I didn't buy lemonade concentrate, but grapefruit juice concentrate- no wonder it tasted so bitter. I kind of started to cry, but remembered my favorite quote "there is no nobility in being superior to others; true nobility lies in being superior to your former self" (Hindu Proverb). So despite my small set back, I finished the cupcakes and even tried one to see how horrible they tasted, and to my surprise, they weren't that bad! I will definitely have to explain to everyone why they taste a little off, but overall... not bad! Hopefully you can pay better attention than I can!
Ingredients for cake:
1 White cake mix , and the ingredients to make it (yeah, that's how I roll)
2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 cups fresh strawberries, chopped up really small

Ingredients for syrup:
1 cup lemonade concentrate, thawed
3/4 cup powdered sugar

Ingredients for frosting:
1 (12 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
18 tablespoons butter (that sounded like way too much, so I only used a few heaping tablespoons)
2 2/3 cups powdered sugar
3 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoons vanilla extract

Mix cake batter as according to package directions. Fold in lemon zest and strawberries- don't over mix. Divide batter up into cupcake pan, filling half to 3/4 of the way full. Bake according to box directions. Once cupcakes have baked and cooled, poke several holes through the tops of the cupcakes, mix lemonade concentrate and powdered sugar together well. Spoon lemonade syrup over the top of the cupcakes. Let stand about 20 minutes so the syrup can soak in. Beat the cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl on medium speed until light and very fluffy (about 5 minutes). Add the powdered sugar, and mix until smooth. Add lemon juice and vanilla, mix well. Frost cupcakes as desired and garnish with lemon slices and strawberries.
Original recipe adapted from Annie's Eats.


Un-holy Macaroni

{you in the mood for something utterly unhealthy?}
Comfort food at it's most indulgent form. I can't even tell you how many calories are in this, but I'm guessing a lot. You only need a small portion of this sinful goodness...
16 oz. Tortellini pasta
2 cups (500 mL) half and half creamer (you can substitute milk for the creamer, makes it less heavy) 
3 cups cheddar cheese, grated (I used 2 cups of cheddar, and 1 cup Mozzarella)
1 can cheddar cheese soup
1/2 cup butter (I only used 2 spoon fulls)
1 cup broccoli, chopped into small pieces (you can use more if you'd like, or not use any at all)
2 cloves garlic, minced
teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
dash of onion powder
salt and pepper to taste

Boil pasta for 5-7 minutes, then add broccoli and cook until pasta is al dente. In crock pot, add soup, creamer, and garlic- whisk together. Once pasta/broccoli is cooked, strain and add to crock pot. Add cheese, onion powder, Worcestershire sauce and butter. Mix well to incorporate. Cook on high for about an hour to an hour and a half. Top with American cheese slices, Velveeta works even works better, before serving.
Now, go hit the treadmill... you'll need it after this!


Stuffed Shells

{hi, my name is Kelsey and I am addicted to Italian food}
If you love Italian food, like me, you will love this! It's so easy and inexpensive! I'm seriously considering taking this to Italy and sharing it with the locals.

16-18 Jumbo pasta shells
2 cups of your favorite pasta sauce (or homemade if you want)
1 (10 oz) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed (I used about a half bag of fresh spinach)
1 cup cottage cheese (you can use low-fat if you'd like)
1 cup Mozzarella, grated
1/2 grated onion (I felt it was a bit onion-y, so maybe half that unless onion-y is your thing)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning
1 teaspoon Garlic Salt

Prepare pasta as per directions, while pasta is cooking, cook spinach. My bag of spinach didn't have any directions, so I had to look that up (in a sauce pan, melt a couple tablespoons of butter on medium heat, then add your spinach and cover. Takes about 5 or so minutes). Drain spinach thoroughly in a strainer and press spinach with a spoon to get all the liquid out. In a medium bowl combine spinach with cottage cheese, mozzarella, onion, and seasonings. When pasta is cooked, drain well. Return to pot and fill it cold water, drain again. Preheat oven to 375F, and spoon cheese mixture into shells. Place shells in a lightly greased 9x13 inch baking dish. Pour pasta sauce over shells. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes.
Original recipe adapted from The Essential Mormon Cookbook.


Chicken Salad Sandwiches

{the easiest thing to make on the planet}
I don't know about you, but chicken salad sandwiches sound so good during the summer. Plus, you can serve them on basically any kind of bread you want, and they will still taste delicious!

3 cans of cooked white chicken breast (the ones found by the tuna fish)
1 red delicious apple, cut up into small pieces
1/2 cup Swiss cheese, cubed
1 cup red or green grapes, halved
1 1/2 cups of Mayo
2 stalks of celery (optional)
1 cup of walnuts (optional)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt and Pepper to taste 

Half the grapes, this is quite the tedious task if you ask me. Then cube your Swiss, and cup up your apple. Add all of that into a bowl, and then add the lemon juice. This keeps your apples from turning brown. Then add your celery and nuts, if you so choose (I didn't), and then drain your chicken and add that to your bowl. Measure out your Mayo and mix it with all your ingredients, add Worcestershire sauce and salt and pepper, mix well. Serve immediately on your favorite bread or croissant, or cover and refrigerate. 



Pizza Bites

{um, can you say... yum?!}
I was blog stalking one of my favorite cooking blogs, Annie's Eats, and I came across this delectable little recipe. I thought about it for weeks, and finally I decided to try it out. Holy cow, if I never eat a Little Caesar's Pizza again, this will be the reason why.
Photo updated 02/08/2011
1 recipe pizza dough (I'd give you mine, but it's actually a family recipe that I can't share, but here is a good one
4 string cheese's (yeah, I know- you can use normal Mozzarella, don't worry)
40 pieces of Pepperoni 
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Italian Seasoning
Garlic Salt

Take a small amount of pizza dough, and roll into a ball- should be about the size of golf ball or slightly larger. Then take a chunk of cheese (I cut up my string cheese into 6 equal pieces) and two slices of pepperoni and fold them together inside the pizza dough. To close the little ball of dough, pinch it closed so that there are no holes for cheese to leak out of. Once you have all your little pizza bites made, which you should end up with about 20 or so, place them in a greased 9 inch pie dish and brush with olive oil, then sprinkled with garlic salt and Italian seasoning. Bake at 400F for about 15 minutes or until the tops are slightly golden brown. Serve them with your favorite pizza sauce! 
 Photo updated 02/08/2011

Original recipe from Annie's Eats.


Chicken Enchiladas II

{another uber good chicken enchilada recipe from yours truly}
I wanted to try this recipe since I was growing bored with the ones I normally make. I have to admit, these ones were good but I think I still prefer my originals better. These however, are a bit more healthy and have more of a spicy kick!
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
1 cup sour cream
1 (7 oz.) can chopped green chilies
1/2 onion, chopped 
2 tablespoons butter
4 cups shredded Kraft Tex Mex mix cheese
8 flour tortillas
1 1/2 cup taco sauce (mild)
1 cup chunky salsa

Combine chicken, sour cream, and green chilies. Set aside. In another pan saute onions in butter until golden. Add onion, and 2 cups cheese to chicken mixture. Spoon about 2-3 spoon fulls of the chicken mixture into each tortilla. Roll up and place close together in greased pan (I had to use one 9x13 and one 8x8). Mix taco sauce and salsa together in a bowl, and spoon 3 spoon fulls on to each enchilada. Cover with remaining cheese and bake at 350F for 20 to 30 minutes. 



Savory Pot Roast and Veggies

{just like momma used to make}
Sometimes it just sounds good. This also includes a quick way of making gravy, which just ties everything together.
1 (2 lb.) chuck roast
4-5 medium potatoes, peeled quartered (I didn't add potatoes, I prefer mashed)
4 large carrots (or 12-15 baby carrots)
1 onion, quartered
1 (14 oz.) can beef broth
2 tablespoons cornstarch

Spray 4-5 quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Place potatoes, onion and carrots in slow cooker and mix well. Place roast over vegetables. Pour in 1 1/2 cup beef broth. Cover and cook on low for 8 to 9 hours. Don't forget to season!
About 5 minutes before serving, remove beef and veggies with slotted spoon and place on serving platter. Pour liquid from slow cooker into medium saucepan. In a small bowl blend remaining 1/2 cup broth and cornstarch until smooth and add to liquid in saucepan. Boil 1 minute and stir constantly. Serve!


Bear Lake Raspberry Pie

{there are no words to describe the magnificence that is this pie}
One of my favorite things about summer, is the raspberries. I get it from my mom. She grew up in Southeastern Idaho, and if you know anything about southeastern Idaho and Northern Utah, you know about Bear Lake Raspberries. No words can describe my happiness.

1 recipe Graham Cracker Crust (see below)
1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 pint whipping cream
1 recipe Raspberry Filling (see below)

Prepare crust and chill until firm. In a large bowl beat together cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla. In a separate bowl whip cream. Fold whipped cream into cream cheese mixture and spread over prepared crust. Top with raspberry filling. Refrigerate over night.

Graham Cracker Crust:
2 cups crushed graham crackers
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup powdered sugar
Mix together and press into a greased, 9 inch pie plate. Refrigerate until firm.

Raspberry Filling:
1 1/4 cups water
1 (6 oz) package raspberry flavored gelatin
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 (10 oz) package frozen raspberries, or equal fresh

Bring water to boil. Combine all ingredients except the raspberries in a medium bowl. Allow mixture to cool in refrigerator until syrupy. Thaw frozen raspberries slightly in microwave. Stir into cooled gelatin mixture. Use immediately to top cream cheese layer of pie.



Lemon Pepper Chicken

{so simple, you think I'm joking}
I actually got this recipe from my dear, older sister. She's a genius.
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, halved
4-8 tablespoons lemon juice (more or less to your tastes)
Lemon Pepper
Salt and Pepper to taste

Cut and wash chicken breasts. Take 4 pieces of aluminum foil, at least 6 inches long, and place one chicken breast on each piece of foil. Fold up the edges of the foil to create a boat around the chicken, this makes it easier when pouring the lemon juice on so it doesn't run all over the place. Next pour your desired amount of lemon juice onto chicken. Then generously sprinkle each chicken breast with Lemon Pepper, and just a dash of salt and pepper. You could even add a little Thyme to mix. Close all the edges of the foil to create a pocket. Place each chicken pocket on a cookie sheet and bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes. Careful, the steam from the pockets will be hot! 

 Bon Appetit! 


Sugar Cookies

{soft, chewy, melt in your mouth delicious}
Sometimes I crave these because they are not only yummy but fun to make and give away to friends. I came across this perfect recipe by trial and error, believe it or not. 
1/3 cup margarine or butter, softened
1/3 cup shortening
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 egg
3 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
dash of salt

Beat butter and shortening with electric mixer on medium for 30 seconds. Add half of the flour, egg, sugar, vanilla, milk, baking powder and salt. Mix well, then add the remaining flour and mix (you may have to use a big wooden spoon or your hands to finish combining the flour.) Once it's all mixed together, lump it together, cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes. You can also freeze it and use it later. To thaw, just leave it out on the counter until you are able to roll it out with out breaking your rolling pin *wink*. 
Roll out and use cookie cutters to create shapes. Place on greased cookie sheet, bake at 350F for 7-9 minutes. 

And of course, don't forget to frost them! Here is a quick and easy icing:
1 cup powdered sugar (icing sugar if you are Canadian)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
Lemon Juice (milk works well, too)
Mix together until drizzling consistency. Add food coloring, optional. 
  Tips: With making sugar cookies, or all cookie for that matter, I've come across some interesting facts. With sugar cookies, it's always best to chill them before you roll them out and especially if you plan on using cookie cutters. The firmness of the dough allows it to more easily be handled by warm hands- it also keeps the dough from, in a sense, melting! If the oven is too hot, the dough will run like crazy and your cookies will be crunchy and flat! Remember, cookies will keep baking once you take them out of the oven because of how hot the cookie sheet is- and always let them cool a bit before you transfer them.

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