Chicken Alfredo Bake

Well it may come as a surprise to some, but this recipe did not, I repeat, did NOT come from Pinterest. At least that’s not how I got ahold of this recipe. My coworker mentioned that her roommate made this and absolutely loved it, so I texted her and asked for the recipe. The original recipe came from The Plaid & Paisley Kitchen, what a cute sounding kitchen. Anyways, as I was looking to upload and edit the pictures I took on my ‘big’ camera I noticed that the pictures didn’t come out! Super sad, I’m going to have to go and get it fixed, so I must apologize for the state of the picture before hand, this was just one I snapped mid meal with my iPhone.

Chicken Alfredo Bake  The actual dish is to the top right hand corner. If you were wondering what wine I had it was Millanova’s Brandon’s Blend. Millanova is a local Kentucky winery and to be honest it’s my favorite winery, I’ve tried several different wines from them and none has been a disappointment.

Alright now on the the actual recipe:

 

Chicken Alfredo Bake

Ingredients:

1 rotisserie chicken, pull and shred the chicken
3/4 box of your favorite pasta shape
1 jar alfredo sauce
2 cups mozzarella cheese
salt, pepper and garlic, to taste
 

Directions:

1. Cook the pasta until al dente. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Shred the chicken and place in a medium size mixing bowl. Sprinkle the chicken with salt, pepper and garlic powder, add 1 cup of mozzarella cheese.
3. Once the pasta is cooked, drain it, and I like to run it under some cool water. Add the pasta to the bowl with the chicken, now pour the jar of alfredo sauce over everything, and toss to coat. When everything is coated place in an 8×8 cooking dish, sprayed with some Pam. Add the second cup of mozzarella cheese on top.
4. Last but not least place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Take out and ENJOY!!
 

*You can substitute 3 chicken breasts in place of the rotisserie chicken if desired. Make sure to cook the chicken prior to placing in the bowl to mix with the other ingredients.

 

Baked Mac and Cheese at Zillafest!

This weekend was Zillafest 2013! What is a Zillafest? Well to start with this is a Zilla:
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It was his birthday and so we threw a party, not just any party but one that impacts countless people’s lives. Instead of getting gifts on his birthday he asks all his friends to either make a dish, or donate so that we can all go out to the park and feed the less fortunate. The week or so leading up to Zillafest the guys go out to the neighboring areas and hand out fliers letting people know. This has been going on now for several years, what fun! This year I teamed up with my friend Theresa , you may recognize her from this post, and we made a big double batch of Mac and Cheese for this event. I have never made mac and cheese that wasn’t out of a box, I know I know, but now I have, and like with other things I’ve made from scratch I will never go back to the mac and cheese in a box!

Theresa’s Baked Mac And Cheese

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Ingredients:
8 oz macaroni
4 tbsp butter
4 tbsp flour
1 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
½ tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 cups cheddar cheese
½ cup breadcrumbs, buttered

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Cook and drain pasta al dente according to package and set aside
3. In a large pan melt the butter. Add the flour, salt and pepper, mix until well blended
4. Gradually pour in the milk and cream, stirring constantly
5. Bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes, reduce heat and cook for 10 minutes, stirring constantly.
6. Add shredded cheese, little by little. Once all the cheese is added, cook for 5 more minutes, or until all the cheese is melted.
7. Add macaroni to the pan with the cheese sauce. Toss to coat and transfer the mac and cheese to a buttered baking dish (I used an 8×8)
8. Sprinkle with buttered breadcrumbs (just melt butter, add to the breadcrumbs, and mix). Bake for 20 minutes, it will be bubbly and delicious!

It was so good even the Pastasaurus tried to eat some!!!

20130726-101134.jpg but I said no!!! If you are ever wondering how to get into my good graces and exponentially increase my chances of cooking for you is this:

20130726-101528.jpg Theresa literally took dishes out of the dishwasher!! She is my all time favorite and I will cook food for her whenever she wants! For real though, I really will.

Some other great baked pasta recipes:
Mac and Cheese Baked Cups
Chicken Alfredo Roll Ups

Spaghetti and Meatballs

I love pasta, and have a weird hoarding compulsion in regards to it. I’m currently at my lowest inventory of pasta in 5 years! With less than 4 lbs of pasta left, I’ll be heading to the store to stock back up. I’m kidding! Pasta is an easy dish, with so many dishes that can use it. This is not some crazy out of the way dish though; this is your plain Jane spaghetti and meatballs. This is a combination recipe; the ingredients in the recipe are what my mother uses, but the technique is from a recipe I found online.

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Meatballs

Ingredients:
1 lb ground beef
¼ cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
1 egg
1 ½ tsp onion soup mix
1 tbsp each of fresh basil, rosemary, oregano
1 lb pasta of your choice
1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. In a medium size bowl fill with water, a dash of salt and set to boil. Once the water is boiling add the uncooked pasta and cook per the directions on the box. Drain and set aside once cooked.
3. In a large bowl mix all the ingredients except the last two. When thoroughly mixed roll into 1-inch balls and place is in a casserole pan (I say this because there will be grease, and if it’s on a cookie sheet the grease will run over the sides and onto the bottom of the stove. This will cause massive amounts of smoke, possibly a fire, your fire alarm will go off and all your neighbors will think you are a horrible cook! Trust me on this, learn from my failure and put the meatballs in something that has decent sized sides) Bake for 25 minutes or until cooked through.

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4. About 3-5 minutes before the meatballs are finished cooking, empty the pasta sauce of your choice (Might I recommend what i recently tried myself: Trader Joe’s Creamy Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce)

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into a sauce pan and set to medium heat.
5. Once the meatballs are cooked add them to the pan with the pasta sauce and make sure the sauce is heated through. Divide the pasta onto dinner plates and top with the sauce and meatballs

This will conclude my intake of Italian food for a while, next off I’m hoping to go on a culinary whirlwind adventure with Asian cooking. Not to worry there are several Asian pasta recipes I’ve seen. Let’s all pray I don’t set my apartment on fire! I think my first trial recipe will be beef with Bok Choy, hopefully it’ll be very soon.

Other fresh herb recipes
Fettuccine with Tomato Cream Sauce
Guacamole
Cilantro Lime Rice

Artichoke, Spinach, Feta Stuffed Shells

Ever have something and realize, you really like it and can’t believe you’ve missed eating that your entire life?! Well that is how I felt when I first encounter artichokes; I know right, not what you were expecting but it’s awesome, for real. The first time I remember having it and falling in love with it, was last year at a friend’s house it was a cheese and artichoke dip, WONDERFUL! Now I know that I’ve got your hopes up, but that is not the recipe I’m about to tell you about. For a couple of reasons, I haven’t made that recipe yet, so I cannot blog about it, and the reason I haven’t made it yet is because I’m nervous I will sit and eat ALL of it without sharing and that wouldn’t be good for anyone. Another great recipe is this:

Artichoke, Spinach and Feta Stuffed Shells
Original here

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Ingredients:
1 teaspoon dried oregano
¼ cup chopped pepperoncini peppers
1 (28 oz) can fire roasted crushed tomatoes
1 (8 oz) can no salt added tomato sauce
2 cup shredded provolone cheese, divided (I used Italian blend cheese)
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
½ cup (4 oz) cream cheese, softened
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 (9 oz) package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and chopped
5 oz fresh chopped spinach
2 garlic cloves, minced
25 jumbo cooked shell pasta
Cooking spray

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Boil water and cook pasta

2. Combine first 4 ingredients in a medium saucepan. Place over medium heat; cook 12 minutes or until slightly thick, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; set aside.

3. Combine 1 cup Italian blend cheese and the next 6 ingredients (through garlic) in a medium bowl. Spoon or pipe filling into the shells; place stuffed shells in a 13×9 inch backing dish coated with cooking spray. Spoon tomato mixture over shells; sprinkle the remaining cup of cheese on top. Bake at 375, for 25 minutes or until thoroughly heated and cheese melts.

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This was my first time making stuffed shells, and it was a lot less intense than I had always thought! Not only have that, the leftover heated up great.

Other recipes to try:
Chicken Alfredo Roll Ups

Fettuccine with Tomato Cream Sauce

You know how some people are considered “crazy cat lady”? Well I think I’m well on my way to becoming a “crazy plant lady”. Example:

20130619-220301.jpg In my defense I do like to cook a lot and don’t have a balcony in my apartment so my plants are all in my living room, as it is the only room in my place that gets awesome sun! However now that I have added herbs to my plants, my living room is starting to resemble a jungle. Not that I mind, I love it actually, however I think it may sometimes come as a surprise to people coming over for the first time. I wouldn’t do anything different though, because cooking with fresh herbs is so worth it! Like the below recipe, from Cooking Light, the original recipe called for olives and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Well I don’t like olives and that cheese was pretty expensive so I omitted the olives and went with an Italian blend cheese.

Fettuccine with Tomato Cream Sauce

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Ingredients:

8 oz uncooked fettuccine
½ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped garlic
1 (28 oz) can whole peeled tomatoes, I cut up the tomatoes
3 oz cream cheese
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
¼ cup small fresh basil leaves, I used bigger leaves and cup them up
½ oz cheese

Directions:

1. Cook pasta in 4 quarts boiling water with ¼ teaspoon salt for 8 minutes or until noodles are almost al dente. Drain pasta and reserve ½ cup pasta cooking water.

2. Heat a large skillet over med-low heat. Add oil to the pan, swirl to coat. Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes until fragrant, stirring occasionally. Stir in the rest of the salt and tomatoes; cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Sir in reserve pasta water, and bring to a boil. Add the cream cheese; stir until smooth. Add pasta and red pepper; cook 3 minutes or until pasta is al dente, tossing to coat. Divide pasta mixture among 4 bowls, top each with fresh basil and cheese.

**I paired this with some local red wine and had baked zucchini (recipe here) as a side, yummy**

Other pasta recipes I like:
Penne With Sun-Dried Tomatoes in Cream Sauce

Mac and Cheese Baked Cups

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One of my favorite things about having people over is being able to cook for them. It may seem a little strange, but I love trying out new recipes and if I don’t give them to someone else I’m bound to eat them all myself! There is also something about all the fun appetizer size recipes that are super fun to try out as well. For example this Mac and Cheese cup recipe that I originally found here.

Another thing I love is cheese; I may currently have 6-7 different types of cheese in my fridge at this very moment. This may not be the healthiest recipe I make, but making these in muffin tins does help with portions. Although I did just have a friend of mine tell me he has been thinking about these at night ever since he had them at my place, these are some really good muffin mac and cheese! This recipe is easy to double or triple if you are having a lot of people over.

Mac and Cheese Baked Cups

Ingredients:
2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
1 tbsp butter
1 egg beaten
1 cup milk
1 ½ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese
½ cup season dry bread crumbs (I used Italian flavor)
2 tsp olive oil
½ tsp salt

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease muffin tin with non stick cooking spray. In a small bowl, stir together breadcrumbs, olive oil and salt, set aside
2. Bring a large pot of slightly salted water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook for about 8 minutes, the pasta should still be firm. Remove from heat, drain and return to pan; stir in the butter and egg until evenly coated. (I used the butter first so that it would melt faster). Reserve ½ cup cheddar cheese and stir in the remaining cheddar cheese, milk and mozzarella cheese into the pasta. Spoon into the prepared muffin tin. Sprinkle the reserved cheese (I added extra) and then the bread crumb mixture over the top of each of the muffins.
3. Bake for 30 minutes or until the tip is nicely browned. Allow the muffins to cool for several minutes before removing them from the pan. This will allow the cheese to set and they will hold their muffin shape.

Chicken Alfredo Roll Ups

With Halloween around the corner I have the perfect recipe that will repel vampires! For real though, if you are not a fan of garlic then this is not the recipe for you. A friend of mine is in her senior year of college and the sorority she is in just built their house on campus, so she is living there. Fun, because the pictures I’ve seen of the house look amazing, a little sad though because she won’t be able to cook anywhere near the amount that she normally does. She came over recently and we decided on cooking an Italian dish, a feast really! We choose this dish from mmmcafe. I was excited and nervous at the same time about preparing this meal, excited because it sounded amazing, nervous because it seemed very fancy and there is something intimidating to me about cooking Italian meals for some reason. Like I mentioned before, make sure you are a fan of garlic if you are making this, we could literally smell the garlic in the sauce in the other room. This is an awesome recipe, because not only it is simple, easy to make, comes out delicious, but it also has homemade alfredo sauce! The original recipe calls for 9 individual rollups, but I think that 10 would fit pretty well in the 8×8 dish (actually from experience I know that I can squeeze 11 in that dish). This is a great dish when it’s fresh and heats up well too, the sauce separated when I reheated it, but it didn’t affect the taste at all. I just realized that the reason the sauce may have separated was because I forgot one of the ingredients, sad, but it will be even more tasty the next time I make it! It was the parmesan cheese that I forgot to add. Below are the recipes for both the Alfredo Sauce and the Alfredo Chicken Roll ups

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Alfredo sauce:
Ingredients:
½ cup butter
2 oz cream cheese
2 cups heavy cream
2 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp fresh minced garlic
Salt and pepper, freshly ground
½ tsp dried oregano
2/3 cup parmesan cheese

Directions:
1. In a medium to large sauce pan melt the butter over medium heat. Add the freshly minced garlic and cook for about 1 minute.
2. Add the cream cheese and whisk until smooth and melted.
3. Whisk in heavy cream, season with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and whisk frequently until sauce thickens, around 15 minutes.
4. Stir in both the cheeses and when melted remove from heat and serve.

Roll Ups:
Ingredients:
10 Lasagna noodles
2 ½ cups alfredo sauce (the above recipe makes just that amount!)
2 cups cooked shredded chicken
Oregano
Garlic salt
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Spray a 8×8 pan with non stick spray pour just enough sauce on the bottom to cover it
3. Boil 8-10 cups of salted water in a large pan, cook noodles until al dente. Drain and rinse the noodles with cold water to prevent them from sticking to one another. Then lay out each noodle individually and blot dry with a paper towel (Make sure to remove any noodles that may be laying on a paper towel otherwise they will stick to it…)

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4. Cook chicken, I season mine with salt, pepper, rosemary and a bit of poultry seasoning. Once no longer pink remove from heat, take two forks and shred
5. lay out the cooked noodles and prepare to assemble. Leaving about ¾ an inch of space on each side of the noodle, spread about 1 ½ tbsp of sauce onto each noodle. Sprinkle with oregano and garlic powder on top of the sauce. Divide your chicken into 10 even piles and place one pile of chicken per noodle, then to p with about 2-3 tbsp cheese.

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6. Once all assembled, pour any remaining sauce over the top, and put cheese on top of that. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

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Penne with Sun Dried Tomatoes in Cream Sauce

Through deciding to try out all these different types of recipes I’ve come to realize that I truly know where nothing is in the grocery! I mean I know where the brad and the meat are, but I had to ask the employees and occasionally a stranger where something might be, and something what something was! Such was the case when I tried to find the dun dried tomatoes. I eat pasta like it’s going out of style, mostly because I have this odd habit of buying pasta ALL THE TIME! I may have mentioned it before, but in the 4 years that I have lived by myself I don’t think I’ve ever gone under having at least 5 lbs of pasta on hand. This was a quick dinner fix, taking no more than 30 minutes to both prepare and to fix.

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Penne with Sun Dried Tomatoes in Cream Sauce
By: Very Best Cooking

Ingredients:
2 cups dry penne pasta
8 sun dried tomatoes chopped
1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk low fat 2% milk
2 cup shredded Italian style cheese
1 tsp dried basil
¼ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp ground pepper

Directions:
1. Prepare pasta according to package, adding the sun dried tomatoes to the boiling water for the last two minutes of the cooking time, drain.

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2. Combine evaporated milk, cheese, basil, garlic powder, and pepper in a medium sauce pan. Cook over medium-low heat until cheese is melted. Remove from heat.

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3. Add pasta and sun dried tomatoes to cheese sauce, stir until combined.

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*Note* This was good re-heated, but the sauce was really thick and didn’t really melt again after it was once in the fridge. This would be delicious for having a few friends over for dinner

Lemon Garlic Pasta

If you are a lemon fan like me then this quick and easy recipe is a must. Everything that I needed I already had at the house, which is always a plus. I did omit one of the ingredients from the original recipe from I Nom Things and that was the pine nuts, I didn’t have those, but will need to add those next time.

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Ingredients:
4 oz dry pasta
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 clove garlic
1/2 lemon
5-6 basil leaves

Directions:
1. In a pan boil salted water and cook pasta al dente.
2. While pasta is cooking start the garlic oil. Pour the oil into a small pan and add the chopped garlic. Let it cook on low until garlic starts to brown, then immediately remove from heat.
3. In a large bowl mix the garlic oil, and squeeze the juice of the lemon into the bowl. Add the basil, when pasta is cooked drain and add pasta to the sauce, tossing to mix. Place grated Parmesan cheese on top and serve.

Lemon Garlic Pasta

If you are a lemon fan like me then this quick and easy recipe is a must. Everything that I needed I already had at the house, which is always a plus. I did omit one of the ingredients from the original recipe from I Nom Things and that was the pine nuts, I didn’t have those, but will need to add those next time.

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Ingredients:
4 oz dry pasta
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 clove garlic
1/2 lemon
5-6 basil leaves

Directions:
1. In a pan boil salted water and cook pasta al dente.
2. While pasta is cooking start the garlic oil. Pour the oil into a small pan and add the chopped garlic. Let it cook on low until garlic starts to brown, then immediately remove from heat.
3. In a large bowl mix the garlic oil, and squeeze the juice of the lemon into the bowl. Add the basil, when pasta is cooked drain and add pasta to the sauce, tossing to mix. Place grated Parmesan cheese on top and serve.