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Chicken and Spinach Lasagna Roll Ups

November 19, 2010

Everyone is always looking for new things to do with chicken.  To me chicken is a blank canvas, it is so versatile and there are so many things that can be done with this type of meat.  If I’m ever in a cooking rut I know I can always pull out some chicken and come up with some dish that will be a crowd pleaser.  This meal was definitely a crowd pleaser; it combined a classic favorite, lasagna, but then changed up a little by adding chicken and spinach rather than the traditional beef and red sauce. 

These roll-ups were so delicious and packed with so much flavor.  The creamy chicken filling with the sauce of cheesy goodness was absolute perfection!  Everything is packed in this one little roll; it’s a great spin on a traditional dish and it’s also a fun dish for kids to eat since it’s all packaged in one lasagna noodle.  This is a great way to get kids to eat their veggies since they are combined with the cheese and chicken; this meal would satisfy even the pickiest of eaters. 

Another bonus of this dish is that it could be made ahead of time and then add the sauce and bake when you’re ready to serve.  I, like a lot of people, have a limited amount of time to get supper on the table in the evenings so I’m alway looking for great make ahead, fast or crockpot meals.  This one definitely fits the bill for a make ahead meal and if you use a rotisserie chicken it would also be a quick meal!  Whether you’re looking for a meal that can be made in advance or one that would be perfect for Sunday lunch, this definitely won’t let you down.

Chicken and Spinach Roll-Ups

Yields 8 roll-ups

Ingredients:

For the roll-ups-

Lasagna noodles

1-10 ounce package frozen spinach, thawed and drained

2 Cups chicken, cooked and chopped (you can also use a rotisserie chicken)

2 Cups Ricotta

1/2 Teaspoon pepper

1 Teaspoon salt

Dash nutmeg

1/8 Teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 Cup mozzarella

For the sauce-

1 1/2 Tablespoons flour

1 Medium onion, diced

4 Tablespoons butter

1/2 Cup milk

1 Cup chicken broth

1/2 Cup cheddar

1 Cup mozzarella

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F.

For the roll-ups-

Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil  Salt the water and add the pasta, cook until nooldes are soft enough to bend and roll, about 3-4 minutes (since they will continue to cook in the oven). 

While the pasta is cooking mix the spinach, chicken, ricotta, salt, pepper, nutmeg and mozzarella. 

To assemble, place a lasagna noodle on a flat surface and spoon 1/8 of the mixture down the center of the noodle, leaving 1/4 inch of space at each end.  Roll the noodle up, secure with a toothpick , and place in a 9×13 pan.  Repeat the process until all of the rolls are assembled.

For the sauce-

Saute the diced onion in 1 tablespoon of butter until the onions become translucent.  Remove onions from the pan and place the remaining butter in the pan to melt, over low-medium heat.  Once butter is melted, add the flour and stir continuously to form a rue.  Once the rue is formed, slowly add the milk and broth and stir until mixture is smooth.  Keep the mixture over a low heat and continue to stir until thickened and add onions and cheese, stir until cheese has melted.  Season with salt and pepper and pour over the roll-ups.

 Place the roll-ups into the oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until warmed throughout. 

Recipe Source: A Lynsey original

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Ribbon Pasta with Tomato, Dill and Ricotta

November 13, 2010

I am always looking for new meals that are quick and easy to cook during the week.  It’s nice to be able to come home and do very little to prepare a meal and have the end result be something delicious.  When I saw this pasta in the October issue of “Everyday with Rachael Ray” I knew I had to try it; it looked great and very low fuss.  

This recipe hit the mark!  It was sooo good, very light but filling.  I loved the juicy sweetness from the tomatoes, the tartness of the dill and the ricotta topped everything off and mixed nicely with all the flavors.  This is a great meal for the weeknight; just serve with some nice, crusty bread and even a salad and you’re all set.  This would also make a great side dish to accompany some type of chicken or pork, no matter what you serve this with you will not be disappointed.    

Ribbon Pasta with Tomato, Dill and Ricotta

Ingredients:

Salt and Pepper

1 Pound egg tagliatelle, fettuccine, or pappardelle pasta

3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 Cloves garlic, crushed

2 Pints cherry tomatoes, halved

1/4 Cup finely chopped fresh dill

4 Cups loosely packed baby arugala leaves

3/4 Cup fresh ricotta cheese

Directions:

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Once water comes to a boil, add salt and pasta and cook until al dente (follow directions on pasta box for al dente pasta).  Drain pasta and return to pot, reserving 3/4 cup of pasta water. 

While the pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in a large skillet and add garlic and cook over medium-high heat for about 2 minutes, stirring often.  After 2 minutes discard the garlic and add the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper, cook for 4 minutes and then add dill and reserved pasta water. 

Add the tomatoes and arugala to the pasta and season with salt and pepper.  Serve the pasta in shallow dishes topped with ricotta.

Recipes Source: “Everyday with Rachael Ray” October 2010

Chocolate Pie with Fresh Whipped Cream

November 7, 2010

I have gotten a little behind in my blog updates from the summer; I just had so much going on that I didn’t really get a chance to update some of the delicious things I made over the summer.  I’m finally getting to post some of these great recipes I made for some folks over the summer and I’m so excited!  It seems like summer is birthday season, I know quite a few people that have birthdays over the summer months and I have been fortunate enough for them to request desserts from me! 

This particular person LOVES pies; I don’t know if there’s a pie that he hasn’t met or tried but two of his favorites are chocolate and coconut. Can you guess what I made for him???  That’s right, a chocolate pie with fresh whipped cream and a coconut meringue pie with mounds of meringue (because in his eyes there can never be too much meringue)! 

I have never made a chocolate or coconut pie, and I wanted these to be perfect, so when I knew his birthday was approaching I knew exactly who to ask for recipes and tips on making these pies.  There are some awesome cooks at my parent’s church, I always looked forward to the potlucks growing up because those people didn’t joke around when it came to food and they still don’t, if I happen to be visiting my parents on a weekend the church is having a potluck I get so excited!  There are two ladies that are infamous for their desserts; everyone always looks forward to gobbling up their goodies so they were my “go to” people when it came to making these pies.  Their pies are always incredible, and not only are they delicious they are picture perfect every time!  My dad called one of the ladies and asked if she would be so kind to share her recipe and some pointers with me and she was more than willing to do so, so after getting the information from her I knew I was armed with a “no fail” recipe and some tips and I was ready to bake.  Thanks Ms. Vicki, the pies were great! 

Both the chocolate and coconut meringue (recipe to come) turned out incredible.  The filling was perfectly silky, my fork just glided through it and it was full of so much flavor.  Everyone raved and raved about them, but most importantly the birthday boy approved not only of the taste but even the way they looked!

Chocolate Pie

 

Ingredients:

1 Cup sugar
1 Pinch of salt
3 Tablespoons flour
3 Egg yolks
1 1/2 Cups PET Milk (1 Can)
1/2 Cup milk
3 Tabelspoons butter
1 Teaspoon vanilla
3 Tablespoons cocoa powder
1 Tabspoon Nestle Nesquick

Directions:

In a medium bowl, mix dry ingredients together.
Place a medium saucepan over low-medium heat and add the egg yolks and whisk, gradually add the milk and continue stirring the entire time (to ensure t here is no clumping).  Once ingredients are combined mix in the cocoa powder and stir until it’s completely incorporated into the mixture.  Add the butter and vanilla and cook until thick, about 10 minutes or so. 
***If the mixture has not thickened to the desired consistency add more milk and flour. 
Pour the mixture into a prepared pie crust that has already been baked.  Let the pie set and cool and then top with fresh whipped cream. 
Pour the mixture in a baked pie shell and place in the refrigerator until set.  Top with fresh whipped cream and chocolate shavings.

For the whipped cream:

2 Cups heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 Tablespoons sugar
Place cream and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and whip on high until stiffs peaks form, about 3 minutes.  Don’t overwhip, the mixture will separate and look dry.

Recipe Source: Chocolate pie-A family friend, Ms. Vicki

Whole Wheat Pitas

November 5, 2010

 I made these pitas to serve with these chicken gyros.  They were very good, and I was very pleased with the results, especially since this was my first time making pitas.  They had a little crispiness on the outside but the inside with soft and fluffy, a great combination but a little different from the traditional pita bread.   

Next time I make these, I will make them a little more thin to start out with since they do rise for a bit before they cook.  Other than them being a little too thick for my taste they were very delicious and had a great flavor, they also complimented the gyros very well.  Not only did we use these to make gyros, we also cut them into triangles and ate them with roated red pepper hummus.  Oh yes, that recipe will be coming very shortly.

All in all these were pretty easy to make.  Don’t be intimidated by food from different ethnicities; be a little adventurous and branch out from time to time.  You’ll never know if you can make your favorite dish at home if you don’t try! 

Whole Wheat Pitas

Ingredients:

2 1/4 Cups whole wheat flour

1 1/2 Tablespoons wheat gluten (I used Hodgson Mill)

1 Teaspoon salt

3 Teaspoons raw honey

2 1/4 (1 package)  Teaspoons yeast

1 1/2 Cups warm water

Directions:

Place the raw honey in a small, microwave safe dish and warm until softened.  Add honey to the water and stir together.

In a large bowl, mix 1 cup of the flour, gluten, salt and yeat and whisk together until combined.  Pour the water and honey mixture into the bowl with the flour mixture and mix until combined.  Gradually add the remainder of the flour until the dough becomes tacky, kneeding for approximately 5 minutes.

Separate the dough into 8 balls.  Roll each ball into a circle that is about 1/4 inch thick and 6 inches in diameter.  Sprinkle with cornmeal (on both sides) and place on lightly greased pan.  Let rise for 30-45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 450.

Place the pitas in the oven and bake for 4 minutes, flip and bake 4 more minutes. 

Remove from oven and immediately wrap in a dish towel for 4-6 minutes.

Recipe source: A Lynsey Original

Potato Salad

November 4, 2010

Potato salad is one of my all time favorite side dishes.  I’ve had many different versions and I haven’t had any that can top my MaMaw’s, it was awesome!  While I LOVE my MaMaw’s recipe and make it often, there is another potato salad that ranks very close to my MaMaw’s and that is the potato salad from Whole Hog Cafe

Every time I go to Whole Hog I always get double potato salad for my sides; I love it…I honestly think I’m addicted!  It’s a good addiction though; it’s an addiction that has encouraged me to try to duplicate their recipe. I have to say that my interpretation came extremely close to the original, and I had multiple people confirm that it was pretty close.  Spencer and I had some people over to watch football and I made this as a side to go along with ribs and a few other things.  One of the girls that was there is a die hard fan of Whole Hog potato salad and she absolutely LOVED it!  It was a hit with everyone, and people couldn’t wait to get the recipe!  I love this potato salad; it’s not too much of any flavor and when all the ingredients are combined it’s the absolute perfect flavor combinations. 

I hope you enjoy this as much as my friends and I do!    

Potato Salad

Ingredients:

3 Pounds potatoes

1 1/2 Cups mayonnaise

1 1/4 Cups sour cream

1 Teaspoon salt

1 Teaspoon pepper

10 Slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

3 Tablespoons + 1 Tablespoon chives, chopped

Directions:

Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil.

Clean the potatoes and slice, cut slices about1/8 inch thick.  Once water has come to a boil, place the potatoes in the boiling water and boil for about 5 minutes or until potatoes are tender but not falling apart.

Drain the potatoes and let cool. 

Once the potatoes have cooled place in a large bowl and mix with the mayonnaise, sour cream, salt and pepper, bacon and 3 tablespoons chives.

Once mixed refrigerate until ready to serve.  Garnish with 1 tablespoon chives.

Recipe Source: A Lynsey original inspired by Whole Hog Cafe

Daring Baker’s October Challenge

October 27, 2010

I don’t know anyone who has met a doughnut they didn’t like, sure everyone has their favorites but I’ve never had anyone turn one down because of where they are from.  I was so excited to find out this month’s daring baker’s challenge was homemade doughnuts.  This challenge came at the perfect time; Spencer and I had just been talking about homemade doughnuts, how good they were and the fact that we needed to make some!  I’ve made homemade doughnuts before but I’ve just made them using store bought biscuit dough, so I was so excited to see that this challenge was not only for homemade doughnuts but to also make them from scratch. 

 The October 2010 Daring Bakers challenge was hosted by Lori of butter me up. Lori chose to challenge DBers to make doughnuts. She used several sources for her recipes including Alton Brown, Nancy Silverton, Kate Neumann and Epicurious.

In this challenge Lori provided us with a few different recipes to choose from; although all of the options looked delicious (and I will be trying them all in the near future) I just had to make the old fashioned buttermilk cake doughnuts.  I absolutely LOVE cake doughnuts, I literally have to drag myself away from the bakery section when I see them.  I don’t know why I’ve never searched for a recipe and attempted to make my own before, but for some unknown reason I haven’t, so I jumped on the opportunity to try these doughnuts!  So thank you soooo much Lori for providing this recipe! 

These turned out perfectly, I honestly couldn’t have asked for anything better!  The outside was golden and crisp while the inside was soft and fluffy; it was pure perfection.  If you’re a cake doughnut lover, like me, you have to try these…you won’t be disappointed, I promise!

Old-Fashioned Buttermilk Cake Doughnuts

Ingredients:

For the doughnuts-

1/4 Cup sour cream

3 1/4 Cups all purpose flour

3/4 Cup sugar

1/2 Teaspoon baking soda

1 Teaspoon baking powder

1 Teaspoon kosher salt (if using table salt, use only 1/2 teaspoon)

1/2 Teaspoon grated nutmeg

1 1/8 Teaspoons active dry yeast

3/4 Cup + 2 Tablespoons buttermilk

1 Large egg

2 Large egg yolks

1 Tablespoon pure, vanilla extract

For the glaze-

2 Cups powdered sugar

4 Tablespoons heavy cream (use more if needed to get desired consistency)

Directions:

For the doughnuts-

Fill a medium saucepan half way with water and place over high heat.  Bring the water to a boil and place a heat safe bowl over the top of the boiling water and add the sour cream, heat just until warm.

Heat the oil, in a large pot, to 375F/190C.

Over a large bowl, sift the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and nutmeg.  Make a well, hole, and pour the sour cream over the flour mixture.  Let set until softened, about 1 minute.

Pour the buttermilk, egg, egg yolks and vanilla into the well.  Using one hand, gradually draw in the dry ingredients.  Make sure the mixture is smooth before drawing in more of the flour mixture.  Mix until the flour and wet ingredients are completely incorporated, the dough will be sticky. 

Prepare working surface with flour, be generous with flour to ensure the doughnuts don’t stick to the surface.  Dust hands with flour and then remove the dough from the bowl.  Sprinkle the dough with flour and gently pat the dough into a circle that is 1/2 inch in thickness.  Place cutter in the flour and begin cutting doughnuts, cut them as close as possible and remove cut doughnuts and holes to a floured surface.  Continue the process until all the dough is used. 

Drop 3 to 4 doughnuts at a time in the hot oil.  Once they turn golden brown, turn them and cook the other side.  The cooking times may vary, but it typically takes 20-30 seconds per side.  Remove from oil to a papertowel lined baking sheet to let cool. 

While the doughnuts are cooling, make the glaze.

For the glaze-

In a large bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar and whipping cream.  Whisk in additional cream, 1 tablespoon at a time, to form a medium thick glaze. 

Place doughnuts on a cooling rack that is set on a cookie sheet.  Drizzle the doughnuts with the glaze and let stand for 30 minutes before serving.

***pictures to come

Recipe source:

For the cake doughnuts- Nancy Silverton, Serious Eats

For the glaze-Epicurious

French Toast

October 26, 2010

We love breakfast food in our house; we not only eat it for breakfast but many times we’ll have it for lunch or supper, I think Spencer would be completely content if I made it three times a day everyday.  It’s just the type of food that you can have any time of day and be totally satisfied after you’re finished eating.  The other night was one of those nights where we had breakfast food for supper and it was delicious.

We had bacon, scrambled eggs, and Alton Brown’s french toast.  Let me tell ya, the french toast was amazing; it was crispy, crunchy and fluffy and soft all at the same time.  The “custard” that the bread was soaked in gave it so much flavor, it was so much more than “fried” bread with no true taste other than the syrup that covered it.  The toast itself had so much taste that I could have eaten it without any toppings.  

If you’re looking for a wonderful breakfast dish, look no further, this french toast is amazing.  We had this toast along with scrambled eggs and bacon, but I could make a meal out of only toast…yes, it was that good!          

French Toast

Ingredients:

1 Cup half and half

3 Large eggs

2 Tablespoons honey, warmed in microwave for 20 seconds

1/4 Teaspoon salt

8 Slices day old or stale country loaf, briochi or challah bread

4 Tablespoons butter

Directions:

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the half and half, eggs, honey and salt.  (This can be done in advance)

When you are ready to cook; pour the custard mix in a shallow dish and set aside. 

Preheat oven to 375.

Place a cooling rack on a sheet pan.

Dip the bread into the custard mixture and allow to set for 30 seconds on each side; remove and place on the cooling rack sitting on the sheet pan, and allow to sit for 1-2 minutes. 

Over medium-low heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a medium non-stick skillet.  Place 2 slices of bread at a time in the skillet and cook until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes per side.  Remove from the skillet and place on a rack in the oven for about 5 minutes.  Repeat with all eight slices. 

Serve with syrup, maple syrup, or fresh whipped cream and fruit.

Recipe Source: Food Network, Alton Brown