Chicken, Artichoke and Mushroom Lasagna

  I warned you there are more ham recipes coming…there are, but not today.  Today it’s chicken.  And mushrooms.  And artichokes.  Yum.

16 oz lasagna noodles
8 oz mushrooms, sliced 
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 cans artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 rotisserie chicken, chopped
1 egg
2 c ricotta cheese
2 c mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 c Parmesan cheese,  shredded
~25 oz spaghetti sauce
  Start by boiling your noodles.  While they cook, preheat your oven to  375°.  When the noodles are done cooking, drain them and set them to the side.
  Meanwhile, heat your olive oil in a large pan and saute your mushroom for about 4 minutes, until they are lightly browned.
  In a large bowl, combine your chicken, cooked mushrooms, artichokes, egg, ricotta, 1 c Parmesan and 1 c mozzarella and mix. 
  Next, spread 1/2 c of your tomato sauce on the bottom of your lasagna dish.  Layer noodles, chicken mixture and then cheese in layers until all of your ingredients are used.  You may need to use more than one dish.
  Cover your dish with foil and bake it for around 40 minutes.  Remove the foil and cook another 10 to brown the cheese.  Allow to cool slightly before serving.
  Man I love a good lasagna…and so does my family.  This one is no exception.  I’m really enjoying artichokes in things lately too…they give such a great, tart flavor that contrasts with other flavors so nicely.  G dug into this, so no claiming you can’t make food with artichokes because you have little ones, try it out!

Pasta with Creamy Pumpkin-Sage Sauce, Spinach, and Chicken

  It’s autumn, so obviously pumpkin is everywhere.  Who am I to try and fight it?
1 lb whole grain pasta
1 lb chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 Tbsp flour
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ c chicken stock
1 bay leaf
¾ tsp ground sage
¼ tsp nutmeg or allspice
Pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
1 c unsweetened pumpkin puree
½ c heavy cream
3 c baby spinach
Salt and pepper
  Start by cooking your pasta.  Drain it and set it aside.  Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat your oil over medium high heat.  When the oil is heated through, sprinkle flour, salt and pepper on your chicken pieces to coat them and add them to the oil. Cook for 5-8 minutes, until the chicken is browned and cooked through.  Remove the chicken and set aside.

  Add your onion to the same pan and cook it for 5 minutes before adding your garlic and continuing to cook for another 2 minutes.  Add your stock, bay leaf, sage, nutmeg, allspice, red pepper and pumpkin puree.  Cook for 10 minutes, allowing to simmer before adding your cream.  Return your chicken to the pan and simmer everything until it reaches your desired thickness.  Finally, add your spinach and cook until it wilts (around 3 minutes).  Mix in your pasta and toss to coat.  Top with Parmesan if desired.

  This is a great recipe, the pumpkin combines with the cream and almost comes across like cheese sauce.  G signed off on it despite it being a lot of vegetables and that means it’s definitely going to be on the menu again!

Country Club Chicken

  Sharp cheddar, wine, mushrooms and bacon…what else do you want on your chicken tonight?
1 lb spaghetti*
4 chicken breasts
1 large onion, minced
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
4 or 5 slices bacon, cooked**
1/4 c dry white wine
2/3 c sharp cheddar, shredded
1 apple, chopped
butter or oil
salt & pepper
*We made “noodles” out of zucchini, since we’ve found they’re a good substitution in the past
**Don’t clean the pan!  You want the grease to cook in.
  Start by seasoning your chicken with salt and pepper.  Add a bit of butter to your bacon fat and brown your chicken breasts on both sides over medium heat.  When the outsides are brown, set your chicken aside in a casserole dish.  Start your oven preheating to 350 degrees.
  Add your onions to the pan and cook for a few minutes before adding your mushrooms.  Allow the mushrooms and onions to cook another few minutes before adding the apple.  Cook everything for 3-4 minutes and then add your wine, crumbled bacon, soup and cheese.  Mix everything together to form a sauce and pour it over your chicken.
  Place your casserole dish into your preheated oven and allow to cook for about half an hour.  In the meantime, prepare your noodles.  Serve together when the chicken is cooked through.
  This wasn’t bad per say, it just was kind of one-dimensional and uninspiring.  A little bland.  I’m not sure I understand why…with the ingredients in it this should have turned out wonderfully, but it just kind of fell flat.  I wouldn’t discourage you from trying it, but I don’t think it’ll be going on our “cook again” list.

Baked Chicken with Apples

  It’s after Labor Day…that means no more wearing white (ha, yeah right) and fall is in the air!  Regardless of the weather, it’s time to start thinking about apple cider and hay rides and changing leaves and Halloween.  Today’s recipe is perfect for getting us in the right mindset.
2 Tbsp butter
6 chicken breasts
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 c. celery, sliced
1 c. red onion, sliced
1 c. carrot, sliced
3 apples, sliced
1 Tbsp curry
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c. chicken broth
1/2 c. apple juice
   Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees.  While it preheats, melt your butter in an oven proof skillet over medium heat.  Season your chicken with salt and pepper and add to the pan.  Cook until it’s browned on both sides (about 3 minutes) and set it aside.
  Add your celery, onions, carrot and apples to the same skillet and allow to cook over medium heat for around 5 minutes, until the onions become tender.  Add curry, cinnamon, thyme and 1/4 tsp of salt and cook for 1 minute.  Add your liquids and stir everything to combine it.
  Re-add your chicken to the skillet (or place everything in a baking dish if you don’t have an ovenproof skillet), cover everything with a lid or tin foil and place in the preheated oven.
  Cook for 25-30 minutes (using your probe thermometer to double check it’s cooked to 165 of course!) and serve.
  Oh I love baked apples!  Adding them to this dish gives it such great flavor.  Definitely a wonderful autumn dish that we’ll be making again!

Cheesy Broccoli and Chicken

  You know, I really hate it when people make versions of super easy meals that are, well, not super easy.  They tempt you in making you think “sweet, I’m just going to dump everything in a pot and go!” and then it winds up you have to hand-make noodles from wheat grown in the Himalayans or something.  Not cool.

1 package Stuffing mix; chicken flavor 
1.25 c water
4 chicken breast halves, chopped into bite sized pieces
4 c broccoli, chopped into florettes
1 c cheddar cheese, shredded
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled 
4 Tbsp Ranch dressing, divided
  So we didn’t follow the instructions for this one at all.  The whole point of the original recipe is that it’s a tin foil pack like a hobo stew, but my Mr decided (and I agree) that when you have to cook ingredients before putting it all in the pack it defeats the purpose.  Okay, okay, it’s not Himalayan wheat noodles, but pre-cooking the bacon is an extra step that gets a pan dirty, so we made this on the stove top instead.
  The bacon is the first to get cooked, followed by the chicken, then the broccoli.  Once all of those are cooked through and softened up, everything else on the list gets added in, stirred up and heated through.
  This was alright, but it was exceptionally salty.  I think perhaps some low sodium bacon…or stuffing mix if you can find that in a low sodium (or both), would help.  I’m not sure that we’ll make it again.  It certainly wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t anything I was all that blown away with that I wouldn’t rather try another new recipe instead.

Basil Lime Grilled Chicken

  Happy 4th of July everybody!  In honor of the holiday I thought I’d break out a grilling recipe.
  This recipe is one that got made as a tag-team effort.  The Mr. and I have kind of crazy Wednesdays…we both do our respective workouts and basically have time in between to quickly eat dinner and tag hands to trade off parent duty.
  Since this recipe actually has two marinades, I made the first one before I left for my class and my Mr. grilled it and made the second while I was gone.
  Here’s what you need:
3 limes
3 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 c  olive oil
3 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce*
~1 Tbsp fish sauce*
3 Tbsp soy sauce
6 green onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp basil, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
3 lbs chicken breasts
*The original recipe calls for 3 Tbsp of Worcestershire sauce.  We ran out at 1/2, so we added fish sauce.
  Start by combining zest and juice from two of your limes, your 3 Tbsp olive oil, mustard, Worcestershire, fish sauce*, soy, 3 green onions, 2 garlic cloves and salt and pepper.  Cut your chicken into strips (not so small they’ll fall through the grill!) and place everything in a gallon sized bag.  Marinate for around an hour.
  Preheat your grill and when it is hot, cook your chicken for about 7 minutes.  Flip it and cook until a thermometer placed inside reads 165.  Take it off of the grill and allow to rest while you prepare the second marinade.
  Combine the juice and zest of your final lime with your remaining olive oil, green onions, garlic cloves and all of your basil.  Cut your chicken into bite-sized piece and mix together with your sauce.
  This makes a ton of chicken.  I would almost suggest cutting the recipe in half, but it is so delicious, and I think it might get even better as a leftover.  I used leftovers of this on salad and we put some into a frittata we made and it was just great with everything.  Definitely a recipe worth trying if you don’t already have something planned for your grill today!

Parmesan and Sour Cream Chicken

  Today’s recipe came from a broken pin.  The idea sounded great, but when I clicked through to find the recipe, there was nothing there!  I found a recipe by the same name elsewhere with the same basic instructions, but man I hate it when I can’t give credit where credit is due!
  Here’s what you need:
4 chicken breasts
1/2 c sour cream
1/4 c Parmesan cheese
Italian bread crumbs
fresh chives, finely chopped (optional)
  Start by mixing together your sour cream and your parmesan.  Spread it across your chicken breasts and coat the whole thing with a mixture of bread crumbs and chives.  Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for around 40 minutes, or until your chicken is cooked through.
  This isn’t a crazy flavorful recipe, but it’s a great way to get really tender, juicy chicken.  If you’re looking for something with a lot of complexity and mixed flavors, you’re gonna be disappointed, but if you’re just looking for a way to showcase some good chicken in a simple way, this is a great recipe. 

Chicken with Garlic Scape Pesto

  Well, after much saute-ing, soup making and general garlicky-ness, we’re getting close to the end of our garlic scapes.  We smell amazing.  I did have one last scape recipe I had to try though: pesto.
1 c Parmesan cheese, grated
1–2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4 lb roughly chopped scapes
1/2 c olive oil
salt to taste
1/4 c hemp seeds (optional, but we added them in place of pesto’s usual nuts)
  Place all of your ingredients except for the salt and cheese into a food processor and pulse until you achieve your preferred texture.  Gently stir in your cheese.  Taste and add salt and more lemon as needed.
  Our chicken was simply pan fried and served with the pesto on top!  Delicious, and my understanding is that this pesto freezes exceptionally well.  I’ll definitely be stashing some away for those cold winter days when I’m just dying for something green.

Slow Cooker Balsamic Chicken with Pears and Portabella

  Ok, who wants to be in charge of stenciling the words “no chicken breasts” onto the top of my crock pot?  I did it again and slow cooked chicken and was disappointed.  Those flavor combinations just sounded too tempting though!
1lb skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 large or 2 medium pears, cored and sliced thick
10 oz portabella mushrooms, sliced thick
1/2 c balsamic vinegar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
  Put everything into the crock pot and let cook it for about 4-6 hours on low, or until chicken falls apart easily.
  There wasn’t enough moisture and the chicken wound up dry and tough.  I should know by now!  The flavors were really good together, but good flavor on shoe leather still isn’t particularly appetizing.  We do have a few ideas for making this either on the stove top or in the oven to take advantage of the flavor combination, but for now we’re going to call this a fail!

Mango Chicken with Chinese Noodles

  What is it about warm weather and limes?  There’s just something about the combination that can’t be beat.  Luckily, I’ve found a good handful of new recipes that make good use of them, including today’s recipe.
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, sliced thin
2 cloves garlic, minced 
3 Tbsp peanut oil
1 c red pepper, diced 
salt and pepper to season
1/3 c orange juice
1/3 c lime juice
1/2 c Hoisin sauce
4 Tbsp rice wine or Chinese cooking wine
3 Tbsp rice wine vinegar (or apple cider vinegar in a pinch)
3 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp chili paste (optional or to taste)
2 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
2 Tbsp fresh ginger root, grated 
1 tsp Chinese five spice powder
1 tsp cornstarch
1 large, ripe mango, cubed
zest of one lime, finely minced
Chinese noodles
Heat your oil in a wok or skillet over high heat. Add the garlic and chicken, season with salt and pepper and stir fry over high heat for 3-4 minutes. Add the peppers and stir fry for another 30 seconds or so. Remove the chicken and peppers from the pan and set aside.
Add your orange and lime juices and simmer to reduce by half before adding your hoisin sauce, Chinese cooking wine, rice wine vinegar, brown sugar, chili paste, soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger root and Chinese five spice powder.  While the juices reduce, begin cooking your noodles.
Simmer for a couple of minutes and then return the chicken and peppers to the pan with the sauce. Bring to a boil and thicken with a mixture of 1 tsp corn starch dissolved in an ounce of cold water. 
Once everything has thickened, add your chopped mango and your lime zest.  Toss everything to combine and serve over your noodles.
  This is a crazy good recipe.  The fruits and peppers play off of the chicken in such a delicious way.  If you don’t do much Asian themed cooking, there are probably a lot of ingredients that you’ll need to pick up for this, but do it…all of them are great additions to lots of recipes!