Friday, October 7, 2011

October 7, 2011

Another week come and gone...we tried a few new recipes this week, including a few that didn't make it here. One was a quick brownie, which was good but not great. The other was crock pot applesauce, which I liked but my kids thought was a bit too overpowering. So I am going to make that again this week and I hope to have that for the blog next week. It was so easy to make, and I got to use my immersion blender! I will definitely be making it again this week with different apple varieties and a bit of a change to the additional spices. Keep your fingers crossed that it gets a few more keeper votes this next time around!

But, what did qualify as keepers? A brilliantly easy "lasagna" and some very crunchy chicken. My family loves lasagna, and when I make it I typically make a few and freeze them. Lasagna freezes fantastically well and if you are going to go to all the trouble to make it and really mess up your kitchen and about 10 pots and pans, you might as well make 6! So when a friend passed this recipe on to me from one of our favorite sites (, I had to try it. We all loved it. It is basically baked ravioli, but you do get the flavors of lasagna, and it truly couldn't be easier to throw together.

As for the chicken - you could use this breading on whole chicken breasts in the oven, or cut the chicken up to nugget or tender size pieces. There are quite a few spices in the mixture, and the panko really helps make it so crunchy! At the table the chicken was dipped in ketchup, wing sauce, hot sauce and eaten as presented. Everyone enjoyed it, and I hope you will too!

I already have my eye on two crock put dinners for this coming week, and another pumpkin recipe! We'll see how many keepers I have next week!

New Recipes

Savory & Crunchy Chicken
"Thrown together in 5 minutes" Lasagna

Savory & Crunchy Chicken


* 1 cup panko
* 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
* 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
* 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
* 1 teaspoon dried oregano
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
* Pinch ground red pepper
* chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch strips
* 1/2 cup (1 stick) melted butter


1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Combine the panko, Parmesan, thyme, basil, oregano, salt, garlic powder, and red pepper.
3. Dip the chicken strips in the melted butter, then dredge them in the bread crumb mixture.
4. Place the chicken strips in a single layer on a lightly greased baking sheet.
5. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes depending on how thick you've cut your chicken (before removing it from them oven make sure it is cooked through and any juices run clear).

My kids love chicken nuggets, but using this mixture really elevates them from Shake n' Bake to something tasty! Use as much red pepper as you'd like (or leave it out if your family isn't into spicy food). These do get really crunchy in the oven, so keep and eye on them and take them out before they get over-done.

"Thrown together in 5 Minutes" Lasagna


* 26 ounce jar Spaghetti sauce (your favorite)
* 1 (25 - 30 ounce) bag Frozen large cheese ravioli, unthawed
* 1 (10 ounce) package Frozen spinach, thawed and drained (optional)
* 8 ounces Mozzarella, shredded
* 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Lightly grease a 13-x-9-inch baking dish and spoon in about 1/3 of the sauce.
3. Arrange 12 of the raviolis on top; then evenly lay all the spinach over the top of the raviolis. Top that with half of each cheese. Now cover with another layer of raviolis, the remaining sauce and the remaining cheese.
4. Tent with foil (don't let cheese touch the foil or it will stick) and bake 45 minutes; then uncover it and bake for 10 to 15 minutes more until bubbly.

This is an ingenious idea! Ravioli has the cheese filling that you put together for lasagna, so this works great and can be thrown together in a snap on a weeknight. And adding spinach makes this even more nutritious, and adds flavor! I think I will try this with fresh baby spinach next time, just for a bit fresher texture and taste. I used my own meat sauce that I keep in the freezer for pasta rather than jarred sauce, but just use whatever you have on hand. And the picture isn't that great - but that is because we were devouring it before I took a photo! Next time I make it I will snap a new one.