Thursday, March 11, 2010

Chicken and Roasted Asparagus Lasagna

Note: This photograph does not do justice to this dish!

few tablespoons of olive oil
1/2 of a red onion - chopped finely
3 cloves garlic - minced
2 tablespoons flour
1 can chicken broth
1 cup of low fat milk
teaspoon or so of lemon juice
handful of coarsely chopped Italian parsley
teaspoon garlic salt
few dashes of white pepper (black pepper is fine too, white is just prettier)
one teeny little dash of cayenne pepper
about 2 cups of shredded Italian blend cheeses (Kraft)
2 cups shredded chicken
one bunch of asparagus
low-fat ricotta cheese
package of no-boil lasagna noodles

Saute your onion and garlic in your pan with some olive oil until onions are transparent. Next, scoot your onion and garlic to the side of the pan, add a tablespoon of olive oil in the middle of the pan. Once it gets hot, sprinkle your flour slowly into the oil until it dissolves. Now you can mix it all back together. Your onion mixture will be thick and gooey. Now pour in the rest of the broth, the milk and lemon juice. Whisk until it thickens and is nice and creamy. Then add your parsley, garlic salt, pepper and cayenne pepper, about 1 cup of the Italian cheese blend, chicken, asparagus and salt and pepper to taste.

To being your layering, grease a 9x13 pan. Start with a very thin layer of your sauce and chicken mixture. Then noodles. Now spoon some ricotta cheese over your noodles and smooth it out. Now another layer of your sauce. Repeat layers until all ingredients are used up. Sprinkle the top with the rest of your shredded cheese and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes or until cheese and sauce is nice and bubbly!

Tip - If you aren't a huge fan of asparagus, try spinach or broccoli!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Fresh Vegetable and Parmesan Fettuccine

2-3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1/2 of a small red onion - sliced or chopped, however you prefer it
3 garlic cloves - finely chopped
a handful of fresh oregano - coarsely chopped (or about a tablespoon of dried oregano)
a handful of fresh Italian parsley - coarsely chopped
1 medium bell pepper (I prefer yellow but any will work)
about 3/4 cup of a dry white wine (you can also use the cooking sherry found in the salad dressing aisle, I used a Chardonnay)
about 4 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese
a few dashes of chili powder
fresh ground black pepper
a dash of garlic salt
2 good handfuls of fresh spinach
freshly shaved Parmesan
fettuccine (really any pasta will work)

Start by drizzling a couple tablespoons of oil into a large frying pan. If you didn't use enough, you will soon know to add more and can do so without any harm done. If you used too much... well, you can't use too much olive oil so don't fret, you didn't ruin anything! Now, add your onion, garlic, oregano, parsley and bell pepper to the pan. These ingredients are called your aromatics. Saute until onion starts to soften. Pour your wine down over the pan, this is called deglazing your pan. Deglazing simply means pouring cold liquid over a very hot pan, loosening up those yummy little brown bits that get stuck to the bottom, that's where all the flavor is! Anyway... back to it... let your wine and aromatics simmer for a few minutes and then add your Parmesan. Sprinkle in your chili powder (a little goes a long way), salt, pepper and garlic salt. Once your sauce gets a nice creamy texture, add in your fresh, chopped spinach. You just want it to wilt so remove the pan from the heat. Spoon mixture over a nest of fettuccine, sprinkle with shaved Parmesan and serve!

Now... there is a LOT of room for creativity here! For some variation... here are some suggestions...

Try adding some fresh basil and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Saute some diced chicken or shrimp with your aromatics.

Add some broccoli, diced zucchini and matchstick carrots.

Add a can of diced tomatoes after you deglaze the pan with the wine.

The possibilities are endless!! Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Oooiest, Gooiest, Yummiest Chocolately Chip Cookies Ever (No Seriously)

Okay... so I decided to start out with a classic. Not a healthy one but hey... I wanted to celebrate with the first recipe! These are truly the best chocolate chip cookies you will ever eat. Crisp around the edges and soft and chewy in the center, the pinnacle of chocolate chip perfection! I should know, I think I have tried just about every recipe out there! These are what my daughter would call, "Yummy-olla"!

And for my measurement fanatics out there... this one actually has EXACT measurements! I've tried 'winging it' with cookies and um, no. Doesn't work so well with baking! Enjoy because few of my recipes are this precise!

My number one tip for chocolate chip cookies (most cookies actually) is 'popping' them about halfway through the baking process. To do this, pull the cookies out of the oven somewhere near the halfway mark. Using a large metal spoon, 'pop' the tops of the cookies, causing them to fall in the center. This will ensure that you get a chewy center every time! It is a MUST! Once you learn the art of 'popping', you'll never look back, your days of crunchy cookies will be over!

The Oooiest, Gooiest, Yummiest Chocolately Chip Cookies Ever (No Seriously)

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (or more if you are like me and obsess over chocolate!)

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease cookie sheets.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, blend together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
  3. In your mixer, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand using a spoon. Drop cookie dough a heaping tablespoon at a time onto the prepared cookie sheets. Cookies should be about 3 inches apart.
  4. Bake for about 10 minutes, pull out and using a large spoon, 'pop' the tops of the cookies. Put them back in for approx another 7-9 mintues or until the edges are lightly toasted.
  5. Cool (or don't and serve warm with ice cold milk) and enjoy!
And there you have it... the most amazing cookies in the world!


Hi there and thanks for joining me as I begin this new blogging journey! My passion for cooking is what has led me here! I love to cook, but mostly I love to 'create in the kitchen'! Cooking is an art and with my family, creativity is key! My husband is the pickiest eater I've ever met. Meat, potatoes and broccoli. That's about the extent of his likes. My daughter and I however, prefer the vegetarian life! This makes my job as head chef a bit challenging!

Another thing that makes my cooking a little different is my lack of structure in the kitchen! I have all of the weaknesses of a sanguine personality. I tend to be a little scatter brained and disorganized. I don't follow instructions very well either. That being said, I never use recipes and my dishes are almost always a little different! After having multiple requests for my 'recipes' and finding it near impossible to share them because I never document measurements... or even WHAT I put in everything, I decided to devise my own measuring system! Pinch and Wiggle Measurements are as follows...

A Pinch - approximately a teaspoon
A Wiggle - somewhere between a teaspoon and a tablespoon
A Dash - just a shake or two
A Sprinkle - a good dusting all over
A Toss - grab a palm-full and toss it in
A Pour - about a 1/2 to 1 cup

Okay, so now that you get the point... please don't be intimidated! None of my 'recipes' require exactness, just let loose and get creative! Cooking, or creating as I call it, shouldn't be viewed as scary! So we all have bad days in the kitchen... we ALL do, that is part of the learning experience!

I try to do my very best at preparing fresh, healthy meals but I won't make any promises! I also never claimed to be an eloquent writer so don't say you weren't warned! My hope is to inspire others to just let loose in the kitchen and not be afraid to experiment! I also hope to gain a sort of 'diary' of my own recipes through this... so that I can remember how to make my own meals!

Let's take this journey together, for better or for worse...