In the Kitchen: Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken with Pasta Croquettes and Tiramisu Cupcakes

I’m sure there is a proper way to pound meat, and a proper tool for doing such. But, as with all things in life, if you don’t have what you need, improvise. In this house that means a big rubber mallet. Did it get the job done? You bet. Was it perfect? Not even close. But in addition to an impressive meal, I also got a workout.

Now this meal requires some serious patience in the kitchen, and if you have anything less than an over abundance, don’t even attempt a single part of it. But if you’re feeling frisky, then go or it — and revel in the beautiful bounty you have created. Read on for all the yummy details and find printable recipe cards at the end of the post.

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6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1/4 cup shallots, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
6 oz frozen spinach, thawed and well drained
1 cup (4 oz) shredded mozzarella cheese
4 Tbsp pine nuts, toasted
1/4 cup seasoned fine bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp olive oil

To toast the pine nuts, place them in a dry skillet over medium high heat and cook until they start to brown and become fragrant.

If you’ve never used a shallot, it’s kind of like an onion that looks like a big purple bulb of garlic. You can find them in the produce section of your market near the onions or garlic. Peel off the skin, just like you would garlic, and chop em up.
To make the filling, saute the shallot and garlic in a skillet with some olive oil until tender. Remove from heat and stir in the spinach, mozzarella and pine nuts. Set aside.

And now we pound the meat. As I mentioned, I’m sure there are better tools to do this that a rubber mallet, but it gets the job done. I placed the breast, one at a time, in a gallon zip loc bag and pounded, pushing out a bit, until the breast was about 1/8 thick.
Once all the breasts are flattened, season with salt and pepper if desired. Working one at a time, spoon about 2-3 Tbsp of filling in the center.

Fold in one of the short sides, then the two long sides (as shown in the upper left photo above). Starting at the folded short end, roll the chicken, keeping the sides tucked in, towards the unfolded end and secure with toothpicks.
Brush each rolled breast with olive oil.

Mix the breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese in a bowl and roll each breast until coated. Place seam side down in a shallow baking dish and bake at 400° for about 25 minutes until chicken is tender and no longer pink.
Remove the toothpicks before serving. They may be a little hard to pull out, so feel free to utilize more tools (like a pair of pliers) if needed 🙂
If you’d like a crispier breading, saute the crumb coated breasts in a skillet with a little oil until browned before baking. These are delicious served as is or you can top with a little marinara or white sauce.
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8 oz egg noodles
6 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp green onions, chopped
6 Tbsp flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg (fresh is best!)
2 cups milk
3/4 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
1 egg, beaten

For breading
2 eggs beaten with 2 Tbsp water
Panko bread crumbs
Oil for frying

Prepare the noodles according to package directions and drain well. Even though my package of noodles said ‘wide’, I wouldn’t consider them wide. They are about the size of fettucini and flat – these will work best.
To make the sauce, melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the green onions and saute until tender. It may look like a lot of onion, especially if you’re not a huge onion fan, but it is important to the flavor, which is not a strong onion flavor, so use them all!
Stir in the flour, salt and pepper and stir well. Cook until it begins to bubble. Stir in the milk and cook until thickened and bubbly, stirring almost constantly.
Stir in the parmesan cheese and once melted, add a little of the mixture to the beaten egg in a small bowl then add the egg mixture back to the saucepan and cook until it just begins to boil.

Mix the sauce with the noodles and press into a greased 8″ or 9″ pan. Cover tightly with aluminum foil, pressing down on the noodles, and chill in the refrigerator for several hours or preferably, overnight.

To finish the croquettes, cut the chilled pasta into squares and working a few at a time, first thoroughly coat the squares with flour. Next dip them in the beaten egg/water mixture and finally coat them completely with the breadcrumbs.

Fry them in oil until crispy and brown on all sides, turning as you go. I used canola oil, you can also use vegetable or any oil of your choice. Set them on a paper towel to drain until all squares are done.
Place them on a baking sheet or in a baking dish and heat in the oven for about 15 – 20 minutes (you can put them in with the chicken), until thoroughly heated throughout. Depending on how you fry them and the type of pan and oil you use, they may be heated through after frying, but putting them in the oven won’t hurt them and it keeps them all warm until ready to serve.
I prefer these with a little marinara on top, it really pulls all the flavors together, but you can also serve them plain or top them with a slice of provolone cheese when you put them in the oven and let it melt on top. Mmmmm! I just can’t get enough of this dish.
You can store any leftovers covered in the fridge, but reheat in the oven, rather than the microwave, and they will come out tasting like you just made them.
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1 1/4 cup cake flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup milk
1 vanilla bean, halved and seeds scraped
4 Tbsp butter, room temp and cut into pieces
3 large eggs plus 3 egg yolks, room temp
1 cup sugar
Coffee-Marsala Syrup
1/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp strong brewed coffee or espresso
1 ounce sweet Marsala wine
1/4 cup sugar
Mascarpone Frosting
1 cup heavy cream
8 oz mascarpone cream, room temp
1/2 cup powdered sugar
Preheat the oven to 325° and line 16 standard muffin tins with paper liners or grease and flour the cups.

If you’ve never used a vanilla bean, it will be a fun adventure. They are expensive and a little bit of work, but well worth the flavor in a dish like this.

Cut one vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds, placing them, along with the empty pod, into a medium saucepan with the milk. Heat over medium until bubbles appear around the edges. Remove from heat and whisk in the butter until melted.
Let stand about 15 minutes and strain through a fine sieve or strainer into a bowl. Discard the bean pod and set the butter mixture aside.

Sift or whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt, set aside.
With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat together the whole eggs, egg yolks and sugar in a heat safe bowl until combined. Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water and whisk by hand until all the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is warm to the touch.
Remove the bowl from heat and beat again with the electric mixer on high until pale and fluffy and thick enough to hold a ribbon on the surface for several seconds.
Gently fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture in three batches. Stir 1/2 cup batter into the strained butter mixture then fold it back into the batter stirring gently until just combined.
Divide the batter among the cups, filling about 3/4 cup full and bake for about 20 minutes, rotating tins halfway through, until center is set and edges are light golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

To prepare the syrup, stir together the coffee, marsala wine and sugar until dissolved. Brush the syrup on top of the cupcakes, repeating until all syrup has been used. The tops will get soggy, but they will be covered with frosting so it’s ok!

To prepare the frosting, beat the cream with an electric mixer on medium speed until stiff peaks form. In another bowl, whisk together the mascarpone cheese and powdered sugar until smooth. Gently fold the two together until thoroughly mixed.
Dollop the frosting onto the cupcakes and dust with cocoa powder before serving. I guarantee everyone will be impressed by the amazingly light, spongy texture of the cupcakes and the rich creaminess of the frosting.
If you don’t plan on gobbling them all up at once, I recommend keeping the frosting and cakes separate and topping each before enjoying. They get a little soggy and the frosting starts to thin out after a day or two.
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I told you it was a lot of work, but this is definitely a meal to impress. I made it for my Dad on Father’s Day and plan to try it out on some chef friends of ours – it’s that good. At least I think so, and I hope you do to.
I’d love to hear what you think and how it goes if you try out any of these recipes! Have fun 🙂

In the Kitchen: Jalapeño Lime Chicken Pasta

I’ll start by saying that my photos of this dish don’t quite do it justice. I’m usually racing against the setting sun (and my grumbling belly) when I make and shoot dinner dishes, plus pasta with a thin sauce is always a tough one to capture, so you’ll just have to trust me when I say that it’s a plate full of creamy deliciousness. A blend of yummy, fresh ingredients give this dish a unique kick and the use of lime juice really turns up the flavor eliminating the need for excess salt. Don’t let the jalapeno scare you away, it’s not that spicy, and you can cut back the quantity if desired. You can also make this dish meatless or swap out the veggies to suit your tastes. If you’re looking for a new, unique pasta dish, definitely give this one a try.
Ingredients (about 4 servings)
8 oz uncooked spinach fettuccine
1/2 to 1lb boneless skinless chicken, cut into pieces
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and finely chopped
2 red or yellow bell peppers, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
4 Tablespoons lime juice (about 2 limes, divided use)
1 teaspoon garlic salt (divided use)
1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
3/4 cup fat free evaporated milk
3/4 cup reserved water from fettuccine
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
freshly ground pepper
Cook the fettuccine according to the package directions and drain, reserving 3/4 cup of the cooking water. If you can’t find or don’t like spinach fettuccine, use whole wheat.
Cut up the chicken, onion, jalapeno and red pepper and saute in a large skillet until the chicken is cooked through.
Add the chicken broth and 2 Tbsp lime juice. Saute for 5 – 10 minutes longer until most of the liquid has cooked away but the mixture is still moist.
Stir in 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt. Add the pasta to the skillet along with the evaporated milk, reserved cooking water, parmesan cheese, remaining 2 Tbsp lime juice and 1/2 tsp garlic salt and toss gently to combine. Give it a taste at this point and add additional lime juice or garlic salt if desired, but do note that with both flavors, a little goes a long way so add slowly.
Continue cooking a few minutes until the noodles are heated through and the liquid cooks down a bit. Add the chopped cilantro and a pinch of fresh ground pepper, serve and enjoy! Garnish with additional grated parmesan if desired.
It may look like this is a drier pasta dish, but there really is plenty of sauce to go around. Since it’s thinner, it tends to sink to the bottom when you’re sitting around snapping photos instead of gobbling it up, but I have found that serving it in a shallow bowl makes scooping creamy deliciousness with every bite a little bit easier.
And find more easy and delicious recipes here.

In the Kitchen: Slow Cooker Tex Mex Chili and Whole Wheat Cornbread

With the official arrival of Spring, we may be on the tail end of chili season for some, but I love a good hearty bowl anytime of year. It’s easy to make and always leaves you feeling full and satisfied. You can’t go wrong adding a side of cornbread and this nutritious, whole wheat version is a tasty, and far healthier, alternative to box mixes but is just about as quick and easy to make. Read on for directions and printable recipe cards.



Two 16oz cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
28oz diced, stewed or whole tomatoes, chop large pieces
1 lb ground beef or turkey, browned and drained
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
2 Tbsp minced garlic
3 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cumin
6 oz sliced jalapenos with juice

If you use canned beans, look for low sodium or no salt added varieties. It’s always healthier to add salt to taste after cooking then to add a bunch in with all your ingredients. You use far less in the end. You can also use dried beans, 32 oz soaked and rinsed.

You can use ground beef or ground turkey in this dish, I use half of each and freeze the other halves for later use. You can also make it meatless and add more peppers and beans.
Lastly, if you don’t want it really spicy, use a can of diced green chilies in place of the jalapenos. Or if you want extra spice, add 2 Tbsp of Tabasco sauce.

Mix all ingredients in a slow cooked and heat on low for 7 – 8 hours.
To make it on the stovetop, simmer in a stockpot or dutch oven for 45 minutes to an hour.

Garnish with a dollop of sour cream and cheese, if desired, and enjoy!

If you’re a chili fan, in a few weeks I’ll have a delicious sweet potato chicken chili for you, so stay tuned!
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1 cup coarse stone ground cornmeal
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp sugar*
1 egg
1 cup milk
1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
*The sugar in this recipe is optional, but it’s a small amount and adds a nice flavor. If you like a slightly sweeter cornbread (such as Jiffy Mix), use 2 Tbsp + 1 1/2 tsp sugar.
If you’d like a slightly healthier alternative to refined white sugar, try using Turbinado sugar in your recipes. Also known as Sugar in the Raw, Turbinado sugar is all natural, unrefined and has less calories than granulated sugar. It also contains some nutrients lost during the processing of white sugar. It does still have the same basic effects on blood sugar levels as white sugar, but it’s less processed and has a slightly richer taste to it.

Sift together dry ingredients in a bowl. I prefer to use coarse ground cornmeal for plain old cornbread like this, but the regular or fine ground cornmeal works, too.

Mix the egg, milk and butter in a small bowl until just blended.

Add wet mixture to the dry ingredients and beat with a spoon until smooth, about one minute, but do not overbreat. The mixture will be a little lumpy.
Bake in a greased 8-inch square pan at 425° for 20 minutes or until golden brown on top.

Cut into squares and serve warm, plain or topped with a little butter. Delicious!
And find more easy and delicious recipes here.

Valorie’s in my Kitchen: Hawaiian Tacos

I had the great pleasure of hanging out with my ‘cousin-in-law’, Valorie, last week when she came in for a visit from Colorado. You may have seen her In the Kitchen posts here over the last few months so what did we do during her trip? Cook, of course! First we made a delicious homemade carrot cake with cream cheese frosting, which I will be posting soon, and on Sunday night Valorie shared a favorite of hers, Hawaiian Tacos! I’ll let her take it from here…
Someone I knew once made me tacos with teriyaki-marinated chicken. Other than the teriyaki flavor, these were pretty standard tacos, but I remember the uniqueness of the Asian-style chicken in the Mexican dish and like it quite well. Maybe that’s what people mean by Asian Fusion? I’ve taken the idea of teriyaki-marinated chicken and blended it with pineapple, salsa, and cilantro. Yes, it sounds odd, but I’ve never met anyone who tried it and didn’t like it. You’ll find a link to a printable recipe card at the end of this post.

Prep time: 30 min | Serves about 4

6-8 eight-inch corn tortillas
2-4 tablespoons canola oil
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into pieces
8oz can of crushed pineapple or pineapple tidbits
1/4 cup thick teriyaki sauce or marinade
shredded cheddar cheese
roasted, diced green Chile peppers
fresh cilantro, finely chopped
fresh lime wedges
sour cream, salsa, guacamole

If you have time, marinate the chicken in the teriyaki sauce and pineapple juice for 2-6 hours. Alternatively, add uncooked chicken, teriyaki sauce and the can of pineapple (with juice) to a nonstick skillet. Simmer over medium heat until chicken is cooked, liquid is evaporated, and sauce is thick and slightly sticky, about 20 minutes.

To prepare the tortillas, heat canola oil in a skillet over medium flame. Well-seasoned cast iron or non-stick finish works best, as stainless steel tends to stick and require more oil. Heat tortillas in canola oil for about 30 seconds on each side, or just until the tortilla forms air bubbles inside. Set aside on a paper towel to catch any oil.
Assemble tacos with chicken and pineapple mixture, cheese, fresh cilantro, green chiles, salsa, guacamole, sour cream and a squeeze of fresh lime juice (this really adds to it!). We couldn’t find fresh, ripe avocados so had to pass on the guac this time, but I’ll share my homemade recipe here soon.
Delicious with a side of black beans jazzed up with fresh cilantro, diced tomatoes, chopped green chilies and your favorite seasonings.
Pile high, fold and enjoy!

And find more easy and delicious recipes here.

In the Kitchen: Biscuit-Topped Pot Pie

Did I have you at biscuit? Yeah, thought so. This non-traditional pot pie couldn’t be much easier to make but it’s just as rich, hearty and delicious. Make it with chicken, turkey or just veggies – which can be customized to your preferences. You will find a link to a printable recipe card at the end of this post.

Prep time: 20 min | Cook Time: 50 min | Serves about 6 – 8

1/2 – 1 lb boneless skinless chicken or turkey, optional
1 bag frozen mixed veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, carrots)
1 cup celery, chopped
2 cans cream soup of your choice (chicken, mushroom, celery)
1 cup milk
1 tsp onion powder
2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp pepper
1 package grands biscuits (not flaky layers)
Preheat oven to 350°. Place the frozen veggies in a 13×9 baking dish. I use broccoli, carrots and cauliflower, but you can customize your choices to suit your likes.
In a skillet, melt 1 tbsp butter and cook the celery, add to baking dish. Next cube the chicken or turkey (if using) and cook in skillet until done. Add to the baking dish.

In a medium bowl mix 2 cans cream soup (I use one chicken and one celery), milk and spices. Stir until blended.

Pour sauce over meat and veggie mixture and bake at 350° for about 30 minutes.
Remove from oven and place uncooked biscuits on top. I cut mine in half to better cover the surface. Return to the oven and bake for an additional 20 – 30 minutes or until biscuits are cooked through.

Served with a bowl of fruit or just alone, this dish is sure to bring the entire family back for more!

And find more easy and delicious recipes here.

In the Kitchen: Southwest White Chili

This delicious dish is not your typical chili, but it will warm you right through on these cold winter days just the same. As with most of my favorites, this meal is quick and easy to make and the leftovers are even better the second time around. It can be made meatless or with chicken and spiced up any way you like it. You will find a link to a printable recipe card at the end of this post.

Prep time: 15 min | Cook Time: 20 min | Serves about 4

1 lb boneless skinless chicken, optional
2 medium potatoes
1/4 cup chopped onion, optional
1 can chicken broth
1 small can (4-6 oz) chopped green chilies
1 can great northern beans
1 can cannellini beans (white kidney beans)
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp oregano leaves
1 tsp cilantro
1/4 tsp group red pepper
I don’t have step-by-step photos today because this is so easy to make!
In a large pot add the chicken broth, chiles (undrained), both cans of beans (undrained) and all the seasonings. Stir until blended and simmer over medium heat.
While that is heating, chop the potatoes into bite size cubes and cook via your preferred method. I cook mine on a plate in the microwave for about 6 minutes or so to soften them up, then I fry them in a pan with a bit of oil just to crisp up the edges and make sure they are cooked through. You can also bake the cubes on a baking sheet in the oven, but this would take longer and should be done ahead of time.
Once the potatoes are cooked, add them to the pot and continue cooking. Next cube the chicken and heat in the skillet along with the onion until cooked through. Both of these ingredients are optional, the chili is delicious with or without. If not using onion, I suggest a few shakes of onion powder for some added flavor.
Add the chicken and onion mixture to the chili and it’s ready to serve!

You can add additional ground red pepper or some crushed red pepper flakes if you like it extra spicy and you can also half this recipe with no problem. Leftovers store well in the fridge or freezer.
I serve this up with cheddar garlic biscuits which you can make from scratch or Bisquick makes a delicious bag mix, all you need to do is add water. Enjoy!

And find more easy and delicious recipes here.

In Valorie’s Kitchen: A Little Butternut Love

The leaves have turned, the air is crisp and cool. It is definitely fall, and pumpkins are beginning to appear in every nook and cranny throughout the neighborhood. They’re also turning up in just about every edible delight this time of year, too, from pie and bread to soup, chili and even coffee.

I love pumpkins, both to look at and to eat. However, the pumpkin varieties worthy of a good recipe are only available in the fall and can even be hard to find in a traditional grocery store. Add to that the inferiority of canned pumpkin, and you have a very short time span when enjoying recipes with fresh pumpkin is possible.

Enter the butternut. A winter squash, butternut has bright orange flesh with a texture and sweetness similar to pumpkin. Available amost anywhere and at most times of year, it makes a good substitute for fresh pumpkin. Not only is it perfect in sweet recipes like pie, bread, and cookies, it fits nicely in the savory scene as well. I love to use butternut in fillings for homemade ravioli, or baked and topped with butter as a simple side dish. Most of all, I adore the creamy texture and rich flavor of a butternut squash soup.

What you’ll need:
1 large butternut squash, about 3lbs
1 medium shallot, peeled and finely minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon madras curry powder
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4-6 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup heavy cream
First, prepare the butternut squash by cutting it in half lengthwise and scraping away the seeds and any stringy, tough flesh from the center. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lay the halves flesh-side-down onto the paper. Bake at 350° for 45-50 minutes, or until the texture is soft under gentle pressure. The skin beginning to shrivel slightly and the juices starting to caramelize around the edges are good signs that it’s done. Remove the pan from the oven and let it cool.

Use a spoon to scrape the cooled flesh out of the shells and into a large (8-quart or bigger) sauce pan. Set this aside.
In a small skillet, warm the olive oil. Add the shallots and sautee them with a pinch of salt until they are soft and begin to brown slightly. Add the remaining salt, curry powder, pepper, and nutmeg. Mix and continue cooking for about a minute more when the combination becomes fragrant.
Add this mixture to the squash. Add about 4 cups of the chicken stock to the sauce pan. Using an immersion blender, puree the squash until the texture is smooth and free of any chunks. Add additional stock, as needed. Alternatively, the shallot & squash mixture can be pureed in a food processer in small batches.
Heat the mixture over a medium flame until it reaches a very gentle and slow boil. Add the maple syrup and cider vinegar, mix, and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Next, add the cream, stir, and cook for five minutes longer. Remove from the stove and serve immediately topped with a little grated parmesan or a drizzle of maple syrup. This is great as a cup-sized starter with fresh bread and butter, or in bigger portions, as a main course along side a green salad.

Yields 4 to 6 1.5 cup servings

> Click here for a printable recipe card.

I hope you enjoyed Valorie’s contribution to the lillyella kitchen this week! Stop back on December 15 when she’ll be sharing a delicious recipe for Stuffed Shells and I’ll have one more pumpkin recipe for you on December 1!
You can browse more of Valorie’s recipes on her site Kitchen Improv and find previous In The Kitchen posts here.

In the Kitchen: Chicken Stroganoff

This recipe is one of the most complicated I make, but only because it strays from my usual ‘throw everything in one pan and let it cook’ method of making dinner, though the little extra time spent is well worth it. This dish is nice and hearty for the fall weather ahead and can be made a little healthier by using margarine or olive oil, low sodium broth and fat free sour cream, all of which I use. You will find a printable recipe card at the end of this post.

Cook time: 30 min | Serves about 4 – 6
8 ounces egg noodles
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 – 1 1/2 pounds chicken tenderloins
4 tablespoons butter, divided
mushrooms, cut into quarters
1 chopped onion (optional)
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1 can chicken broth
1 cup sour cream

Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces. Mix 4 tablespoons flour with the salt and pepper in a small bowl. Add the chicken and toss to coat.

Heat two tablespoons of butter in large skillet over medium heat until melted. Cook the chicken, stirring often, until browned.

Cut the mushrooms into quarters (I like to use a lot!). If you are using onion, also add it now. I use a bit of onion powder instead. Heat until mushrooms are cooked through then remove the mixture from the pan and set aside.

In the meantime, cook the noodles according to package directions.
Add remaining two tablespoons butter to the skillet along with remaining two tablespoons flour and the dry mustard, mix well.

Gradually stir in broth, then sour cream and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until smooth. Return chicken and mushrooms back to pan and cook until heated through.

Serve over noodles with a side of veggies and some crescent rolls – yum!

You can find more easy and delicious recipes here.

In the Kitchen: Cheesy Shell Lasagna

I’ve mentioned this recipe a few times and finally, here it is! I thought 
it was a little odd the first time I was cooking it but the results were surprisingly delicious and now I crave it. I’m not a fan of traditional lasagna, ricotta cheese kinda freaks me out, plus it’s such a pain cooking those noodles, so this easy variation was perfect for me. You can modify the ingredients to suit your tastes (or make it meatless) and will find a link to a printable recipe card at the end of this post.
Prep Time: 30 min | Cook time: 40 min |  Serves 12
1lb ground meat (beef or turkey, meat optional)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced (I used minced garlic from a jar)
1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes
1 jar (14 oz) meatless spaghetti sauce
1 cup sliced mushrooms
8 ounces small shell pasta
16 oz sour cream
10 slices provolone cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

In a large/deep skillet, brown the meat (I use half turkey and half beef), onions and garlic until cooked through. Drain well.
Stir in the diced tomatoes, spaghetti sauce and mushrooms. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes. 
Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package directions, drain.
Place half the pasta in an ungreased 13×9 deep baking dish and top with half the sauce mixture. 
Next spread half the sour cream on top of the sauce and then 5 slices of provolone.
Repeat the layers of pasta, sauce, sour cream and provolone and add the mozzarella last on top. 
Cover with foil and bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes or until the cheese begins to brown. Let stand about 10 minutes before serving.
Add a side salad and some garlic bread and you’d be hard pressed to find someone who wouldn’t gobble this right up. If you’re a fan of pasta and cheese, I definitely recommend you give this one a try. I’d love to hear what you think!

You can find more easy and delicious recipes here.

In the Kitchen: Mexican Lasagna

I was going to share an easy and delicious recipe for banana pineapple cake with you today, but after a slight banana mishap, I am now sharing an easy and delicious recipe for Mexican Lasagna instead! Mostly basic ingredients, one skillet, a baking dish and 30 min in the oven makes you a hearty pan of stick to your guts goodness that is sure to please. You can easily customize this recipe to suit your tastes by adding or changing ingredients and any leftovers reheat well in the oven or microwave. You will find a printable recipe card at the end of this post.

Prep time: 20 min | Cook time: 30 min | Serves 6-8

What you’ll need:
1 lb. ground beef or turkey (I use turkey)
2 cans (8 oz) tomato sauce
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can whole kernel corn, half drained
1 small can chopped green chilies or jalapenos
2 Tbsp chili powder
2 Tbsp minced onion
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp oregano leaves
6 small flour tortillas (soft taco size)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350°. Brown the meat in a deep skillet, add the tomato sauce, beans, corn and chilies. Stir in the five seasonings. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.
In a 2 quart baking dish, coated with cooking spray, line the bottom with three tortillas. I place one whole tortilla in the middle then I tear about 1/3 off the other two, place the larger pieces on either end, tear the small strip in two again and fill the gaps. 
Top with half of the meat mixture.
Next top with half of the shredded cheese and repeat with another layer or tortillas, the remaining meat mixture and the remaining cheese.
Bake at 350° for about 30 minutes until mixture begins to bubble and the cheese melts. Let stand for about 10-15 minutes before serving to allow the center to cool and set. 
Though I’ve never made this recipe with chicken, I imagine it would be equally as delicious. You can also leave the meat out completely for a vegetarian dish. I serve it with my Fiesta Breadsticks and occasionally a side of spanish rice though it’s hearty enough to stand alone. It’s also good with a dollop of sour cream on top. Enjoy!

> Click here for a printable recipe card.