chicken

I am a horrible person/Three Cheese Chicken Alfredo Bake

I am a horrible person/Three Cheese Chicken Alfredo Bake

Don’t hate me.

No really, don’t. It has been [insert unfathomable number of days here] since my last post. This makes me a horrible person and a really bad blogger. One of those people who never gets sponsors or subscribers or friends. Hello have you met me? I plant flowers [more on that soon, I swearonmymother] and have cats. They’re pretty much the only things that can depend on me… and the flowers are questionable. I promise I’m going to make an effort to do better with this blogging thing because [gasp] people have been asking for it. That’s right, you asked for it.

Now that the self-loathing portion of this post is over, let’s talk about a recipe I just tried out. I follow a lot of lovely blogs on bloglovin’. It’s a problem. My feed is filled with food, fashion, exercise (ha, okay, maybe one of those kinds of blogs), and even some blogs qualified as “lifestyle” which I think means “whatever I feel like telling you about today.” So yeah, I’m a lifestyle blogger, y’all. One food blogger I find myself going back to over and over again is Plain Chicken (aka Stephanie). I was pretty excited when I found out she’s from Alabama! I was kinda pissed when I found out she’s an Auburn fan. Despite her flaws, she makes good food and updates her blog very regularly (shut up). Check her out at http://www.plainchicken.com

This weekend she posted her weekly menu and it included a Three Cheese Chicken Alfredo Bake that she adapted from a Southern Living recipe. My mom always told me I need to eat things with color (as she filled my plate with a baked potato, a piece of chicken, and corn… sorrynotsorry, mom) so I initially felt a little guilty about making this. It’s colorless. It’s also loaded with calories and things that are insanely bad for you. Not one, not two, but THREE cheeses. Alfredo. Sour cream (which, by the way, I loathe – but after a quick Instagram conversation with Stephanie @PlainChicken, she assured me I wouldn’t be able to taste it. She doesn’t lie!). Okay fine. It sounded delicious. I promised myself I would eat it in tiny portions over the next week. Or two. Freeze half of it?

Here are the details (copied and pasted exactly from Plain Chicken’s website):

1 (16-ounce) package penne or elbow macaroni
2 (10-ounce) containers refrigerated Alfredo sauce
1 (8-ounce) container sour cream
1 (15-ounce) container ricotta cheese
2 garlic clove, minced
3 cups cooked chicken, chopped
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 cups mozzarella cheese

Prepare pasta according to package directions; drain and return to pot. Stir together all ingredients except mozzarella cheese. Spread mixture into a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Sprinkle evenly with mozzarella cheese. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until bubbly.

My notes: The recipe above will easily feed 12+ people. I split the recipe in half and would say it made 6-8 single servings. I only had the little spiral-y pasta (very scientific: spiral-y) at my house so that’s what I used and it was fantastic. I know there’s a pasta guru out there who will tell me why you should or shouldn’t use certain shapes of pasta in certain dishes but to me, it’s all the same. Use what you have or what you like! I like garlic. I don’t like buying a whole head of garlic just to use a clove or two. My solution? Buy a jar of minced stuff. It keeps *forever*, the measurement guide is right on the jar (ie 1/2 a teaspoon equals one minced clove. I think. Maybe you shouldn’t quote me on that.), and your fingers don’t get all stinky. I use Spice World brand and it’s fab. Get some. I forgot to mix the parm into the mixture so I sprinkled it on top with the mozz; it was fine. I had the carton of eggs on the counter but forgot to add the egg; it was fine. I am obviously awesome at following step-by-step directions. If you want your cheese to get brown and a little toasty on top, you’ll probably have to turn on the broiler for like two minutes and fifteen seconds. I’m not kidding. Watch that sucker. Broilers don’t mess around. Two minutes and sixteen seconds and you’re ordering a pizza.

Verdict: this stuff is good. It’s better than your standard “dump a can of condensed soup and some chicken into dish” kind of casserole. Mine actually came out a little dry. It could be because I didn’t use quite as much sour cream as it called for (it’s gross and I didn’t trust Stephanie. I’m sorry.). It’s also possible that I suck at measuring pasta and I used a little too much. If you have a magical way to measure pasta, namely the spiral-y kind, please share.

PS please excuse the not-so-pretty picture. This is not my favorite depiction of this dish. You’ll live. I’m a *lifestyle blogger* not a photographer, remember?

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Snow Day & Enchiladas!

Snow Day & Enchiladas!

Okay, so if you haven’t heard about all of the snow down South, you live under a rock. I also want to know where this rock is so I can come visit to get away from my mother in law. You know, when I get a MIL. Although, I’m sure my MIL will be *splendid*. Moving on…

We got to leave work at 11:30 yesterday because the forecast went from “light dusting” to “EVERYBODY PANIC!” It took everyone I know anywhere from two hours to never-made-it-past-the-hill-let’s-turn-this-party-bus-around to get home. Thankfully, I chose some very random back roads to weave my way home and, by the grace of God, I made it without incident. If the conditions hadn’t been so dangerous, it actually would have been a beautiful scene. I love how quiet everything is when there’s a layer of snow on it!

Eventually, work announced that there would be no work today and I immediately did my happy SNOW DAY dance! Of course, it was tempered by my “and also Lord, I pray for those who are currently stranded on the interstate” dance. Because whoa, there were lots of people stranded in lots of places. My brother and sis-in-law were stuck at their respective places of employment overnight while many others were peeing in bottles in their cars (because yes, that’s what I think of… where will they pee?!) until traffic cleared up.

Anyway, with an impending mid-week snow day, I decided it would be the perfect time to attempt a new recipe a friend had passed along. Baked enchiladas filled with cheese and salsa and chicken! My friend’s exact recipe is in this post below, but here is how it went down for me:

First, don’t forget to grease the pan. I’m not confirming or denying that this happened to me, but should it happen to you, it might suck. Grease the pan.

Second, the recipe calls for 6-inch tortillas. Those are wee baby tortillas. I couldn’t find that size in the flour variety (and let’s be real, flour tortillas > corn tortillas). So I ended up with four pretty big enchiladas rather than 6-8 that the recipe predicts. All was good in the hood; the chicken filling is pre-cooked so the size of your enchiladas is moot, irrelevant, innocuous.. I could go on, but I won’t.

You know I didn’t use onions because, let’s say it together, onions are evil. But do whatever you want, I won’t judge.

I used a rotisserie chicken from Publix and it was delish. I recommend.

Verdict: semi-success. These were a little bland. I might try this recipe one more time with a few tweaks (my fingers wanted to type “twerks” there, why?). For one, better salsa from a local Mexican restaurant. Also, I might look harder for smaller tortillas. I think having more enchiladas in the [greased] pan, pushed against one another while baking, covered in better salsa would actually make these turn out more like enchiladas than just hot soft tacos. I ended up sprinkling Tony Chachere’s on it to kick up the salt and the spice, because hey, I put it on everything anyway. The best news is: this is a super easy recipe to customize your way!

Here’s the recipe:

1 Medium onion / chopped
2 Tbs margarine
1-2 cups shredded chicken (about 2 cooked breasts or buy pre-cooked)
1 12-16oz jar of salsa
3oz cream cheese
1 tsp cumin
2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
8 6inch flour tortillas

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Cook onion in margarine until tender. Stir in chicken, 1/4 cup of salsa, cream cheese, and cumin. Cook until thoroughly heated. Stir in one cup of cheddar cheese.
Spoon 1/3 cup of mixture in center of tortilla, roll up, and place seam down into greased 12×7 dish. Top with remaining salsa and shredded cheese
Bake for 15 minutes

Serving suggestion: serve with iceberg lettuce salad with tomato and cucumber.