Ricotta Spinach Chicken Individual Casseroles

Ricotta Spinach Chicken-6-poppopcooks.com

You can do Ricotta Spinach Chicken in a lot of different variations of this basic recipe like Chicken Florentine or Chicken Cordon Bleu. And, if you butterfly the chicken breasts instead of slicing them all the way thru you could stuff them with the spinach and ricotta and bake them. After doing it all of the above ways and more we always come back to this. Its easy to put together and the individual casseroles make it easy to serve and clean up.

Put a skillet on at medium high with about a tablespoon of olive oil. Set the oven at 400°F/204°C. First you’re gonna split the chicken breasts with a sharp chef’s knife. That red in the background is a plastic, dishwasher safe, cutting board that I use when working with raw chicken.

Ricotta Spinach Chicken-poppopcooks.com

 

Lightly salt, black pepper and garlic powder one side of the chicken. If your feeling a little spicy some red pepper flakes also, but, that’s up to you. Put the chicken in the skillet spicy side down.

Ricotta Spinach Chicken-2-poppopcooks.com

 

Then go ahead and spice up the other side. Give them about 3 to 5 minutes a side depending on the thickness. They will be ok when they are firm to a poke and/or the juices are running clear. Put the filets into the casserole dishes.

Ricotta Spinach Chicken-3-poppopcooks.com

 

Add a tablespoon of butter to the pan and as it melts use a wooden spoon to scrape the bits off the bottom of the pan. Don’t remove the bits, they are going to add to the flavor of the spinach. Speaking of which put the spinach into the skillet and turn it over a few times as it wilts a little.

Ricotta Spinach Chicken-4-poppopcooks.com

 

It’s time to put it together. Here’s where you can do it your own way. You could put a slice of ham, some avocado slices, some roasted red peppers or just about anything that will fit between the chicken and the cheese. Anything edible that is. We like slices of fresh tomatoes. Then the spinach. Then the ricotta cheese. Drizzle it with olive oil. Lightly sprinkle some dried basil and some grated parmesan cheese.

Ricotta Spinach Chicken-5-poppopcooks.com

 

In the oven they go, until the juices in the bottom of the casserole dishes are bubbling, about 5 minutes. Then serve up your Ricotta Spinach Chicken. Some Spaghetti aglio e olio and some Chianti go real good with this.

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Ricotta cheese on a chicken filet in individual casserole dishes.
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Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
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Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
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Instructions
  1. Put a skillet on at medium high with about a tablespoon of olive oil. Set the oven at 350°F/175°C. First you're gonna trim the fat off the chicken breasts and split them with a sharp chef's knife. That red in the background is a plastic, dishwasher safe, cutting board that I use when working with raw chicken.
  2. Lightly salt, black pepper and garlic powder one side of the chicken. If your feeling a little spicy some red pepper flakes also, but, that's up to you. Put the chicken in the skillet spicy side down.Then go ahead and spice up the other side. Give them about five or six minutes a side depending on the thickness. They will be ok when they are firm to a poke and/or the juices are running clear. Put the filets into the casserole dishes.
  3. Turn the burner down to medium low and add a tablespoon of butter. As the butter melts use a wooden spoon to scrape the bits off the bottom of the pan. Don't remove the bits they are going to add to the flavor of the spinach. Speaking of which put the spinach into the skillet and turn it over a few times as it wilts a little.
  4. It's time to put it together. Here's where you can do it your own way. You could put a slice of ham, some avocado slices, some roasted red peppers or just about anything that will fit between the chicken and the cheese. Anything edible that is. We like slices of fresh tomatoes. Then the spinach. Then the ricotta cheese. Drizzle it with olive oil. Lightly sprinkle some dried basil and some grated parmesan cheese.
  5. In the oven they go, until the juices in the bottom of the casserole dishes are bubbling. Then serve up your Ricotta Spinach Chicken. Some Spaghetti aglio e olio and some Chianti go real good with this.
    Ricotta Spinach Chicken-6-poppopcooks.com
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Traditional Lasagna

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Traditional Lasagna is not quick and easy. It’s more like for a Sunday when you’re having the gang over for a nice sit down dinner in the dining room. For the leftovers -if there are any-leave them in the pan and put it in the fridge overnight. Then the next day they will be real easy to divvy up into portions and slip into ziplock bags for storing in the freezer.

Our real nice neighbor, Inez, has boosted my blog with her FB friends so I made a double batch and brought one of the pans over to her and her super good kids.

The recipe amounts are for one 9″x13″ deep lasagna pan. Which will give you 12-15 servings. I made two pans so some of the pics will look to be too much for just one.

You could use the “oven ready” lasagna noodles. It eliminates the boiling and oiling and cooling process. They are okay but not as good as the Traditional Lasagna real thing.

Put a large stock pot of water on, at high, that will be plenty big enough for the noodles. Add about 2 tbsp. salt and about a half cup of olive oil. When it comes to a boil add the noodles, reduce it to medium high and immediately, gently, stir them as they get soft to keep them from sticking together.

Traditional Lasagna6 poppopcooks.com

Continue to regularly stir them as they cook. Spray a cookie sheet with oil. When the noodles are easily pliable but still firm strain them and return them to the pot. Drizzle some olive oil on them and very gently stir them around to get them all coated with the oil.

Traditional Lasagna7 poppopcooks.com

Spread them out on the cookie sheet in layers to cool while you finish up with the meat.

Take the skins off the sausage.

Traditional Lasagna2 poppopcooks.com

Multi task while the pasta operation is moving along and put a large saute pan on at medium high with 2 tbsp. of olive oil. Pre heat the oven to 350°F. Chop up the onion and the garlic. Put the onion in the pan first and add 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. black pepper. Cook it until it begins to get translucent then add the garlic and cook just for a minute more. You don’t want the garlic to get brown. Put the sausage in the pan and break it up with a flipper or a wooden spoon.

Traditional Lasagna3

Then add the ground beef. Break that up and mix it all together.

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Stir and flip it all every minute or so until the meat is all browned. Remove the pan from the stove and have it nearby as you start putting the lasagna together.

Lightly spread some marinara sauce (click for the recipe) over the bottom of the pan and put a layer of noodles on it. Or, you could use any good store bought marinara sauce. I recommend Barilla or Buitoni.

Traditional Lasagna8 poppopcooks.com

Then a layer of the meat mixture. The next layer is provolone cheese. Cover the provolone with some marinara sauce, then noodles and then meat.

Traditional Lasagna9 poppopcooks.com

Repeat the process with Ricotta cheese this time.

Traditional Lasagna10 poppopcooks.com

Do it all again but with mozzarella cheese.

Spread the mozzarella with sauce and cover it with grated Parmesan cheese. Drizzle some olive oil over it and sprinkle some dried basil and oregano.Traditional Lasagna11

Cover the pan with enough aluminum foil to be able to wrap the foil tightly  around the edges.

If you put the pan on a cookie sheet in the oven it will be a lot easier to handle when you take it out.

Bake for 45 min. covered then remove the foil and bake an additional 15 min. uncovered. Check it and when the sauce is bubbling around the edges and you poke a finger down into the middle of the lasagna and it is hot, it is ready. Remove the pan and let it rest for about 5 minutes.

Traditional Lasagna

While it is resting heat up enough marinara sauce to be able to cover however many portions you will be serving at this sitting. 

Put the portions on plates, cover with the hot marinara and some freshly grated parmesan cheese. Bon Appetito!!

Traditional Lasagna12 poppopcooks.com

Of course some homemade bread, some chianti and some Caprese Salad would round everything out real good. Enjoy your Traditional Lasagna done the old fashioned way.

 

 

 

 

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Traditional Italian Lasagna done the old fashioned way.
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Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 90 minutes
Servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 90 minutes
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Instructions
  1. The recipe amounts are for one 9"x13" deep lasagna pan. Which will give you 12-15 servings. I made two pans so some of the pics will look to be too much for just one. You could use the "oven ready" lasagna noodles. It eliminates the boiling and oiling and cooling process. They are okay but not quite as good as the real thing. Put a pot of water on, at high, that will be plenty big enough for the noodles. Add about 2 tbsp. salt and about a half cup of olive oil. When it comes to a boil add the noodles, reduce it to medium high and immediately gently stir them as they get soft to keep them from sticking together.
  2. Continue to regularly stir them as they cook. Spray a cookie sheet with oil. When the noodles are easily pliable but still firm strain them and return them to the pot. Drizzle some olive oil on them and very gently stir them around to get them all coated with the oil. Spread them out on the cookie sheet in layers to cool while you finish up with the meat.
  3. Take the skins off the sausage. Multi task while the pasta operation is moving along and put a large saute pan on at medium high with 2 tbsp. of olive oil. Pre heat the oven to 350°F. Chop up the onion and the garlic. Put the onion in the pan first and cook it until it begins to get translucent then add the garlic and cook just for a minute more.You don't want the garlic to get brown. Put the sausage in the pan and break it up with a flipper or a wooden spoon. Then add the ground beef. Break that up and mix it all together.Stir and flip it all every minute or so until the meat is all browned. Remove the pan from the stove and have it nearby as you start putting the lasagna together.
  4. Lightly spread some marinara sauce over the bottom of the pan and put a layer of noodles on it. Then a layer of the meat mixture. The next layer is provolone cheese. Cover the provolone with some marinara sauce, then noodles and then the meat mixture.
  5. Repeat the process with Ricotta cheese this time.
  6. Do it all again but with mozzarella cheese this time. Spread the mozzarella with sauce and cover it with grated Parmesan cheese. Drizzle some olive oil over it and sprinkle some dried basil and oregano.
  7. Cover the pan with enough aluminum foil to be able to wrap the foil tightly around the edges. If you put the pan on a cookie sheet in the oven it will be a lot easier to handle when you take it out. Bake for 45 min. covered then remove the foil and bake an additional 15 min. uncovered. Check it and when the sauce is bubbling around the edges and you poke a finger down into the middle of the lasagna and it is hot, it is ready. Remove the pan and let it rest for about 5 minutes.
  8. While it is resting heat up enough marinara sauce to be able to cover however many portions you will be serving at this sitting.
  9. Put the portions on plates, cover with the hot marinara and some freshly grated parmesan cheese. Bon Appetito!!
    Traditional Lasagna12 poppopcooks.com
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Baked Rigatoni with Chicken and Eggplant

Baked Rigatoni with Chicken and Eggplant poppopcooks.com

We asked our daughter and her boyfriend over for dinner on sorta short notice and I had about 45 minutes to put something together. There was an eggplant leftover from a batch of Eggplant Lasagna the other night and we always have some chicken in the freezer. They both like pasta and our Marinara Sauce (of course) so I threw together some Baked Rigatoni with Chicken and Eggplant.

Baked Rigatoni with Chicken and Eggplant poppopcooks.comRigatoni is a short, large pasta noodle but you can use just about any kind of pasta you want. Get a pot of salted water on to boil and start the oven to preheating at 350F. When the water starts to boil add about half of a 1 lb. box of the pasta and stir it right away. Also stir it a few times as it cooks. When it is just slightly softened turn the heat off and let it sit.

Baked rigatoni with Chicken and Eggplant poppopcooks.comWhile the pasta routine is carrying on put a large skillet on medium high and add 2 tbsp. of olive oil. Cut two boneless skinless chicken breasts (or six boneless skinless thighs) into about half inch cubes. Put the chicken in the pan and toss right away. Keep tossing regularly as you get after the eggplant.

Baked Rigatoni with Chicken and Eggplant poppopcooks.comCut the ends off of a small eggplant and cut it up into the same size cubes as the chicken. If you only have a larger eggplant use half and save the unused half in the fridge with some plastic wrap covering the exposed part to keep it from turning brown. Add the eggplant to the pan and toss right away. Sprinkle about a tbsp. each of salt and pepper. Toss regularly so it all cooks evenly.

Baked Rigatoni with Chicken and Eggplant poppopcooks.comWhen the edges of the chicken and eggplant start to brown turn off the heat.

Baked rigatoni with Chicken and Eggplant poppopcooks.comIn a 9″ x 13″ baking pan very thinly spread some marinara sauce or canned  marinara sauce,  Optional, put some extra marinara in a sauce pan and gently heat it up for topping off the servings.  Then about a half of the pasta then about a half of the chicken/eggplant. Then a  thin layer of any good cheese you have on hand. We had some ricotta left over from a batch of Cheater Cannoli the other night.  Repeat the layer routine and this time with some sliced mozzarella. Thinly spread some sauce over the top and sprinkle some parmesan cheese all over it. Drizzle with some olive oil. Cover it with a piece of aluminum foil big enough to wrap it around the edges. Put it in the oven and bake it for about 20 minutes with the foil on. Remove the foil and bake it about another 10 minutes or until the mozzarella has melted and just starts to bubble.

Baked Rigatoni with Chicken and Eggplant poppopcooks.comServe up your Baked Rigatoni! Of course with some Chianti and some of your good homemade bread.

 

 

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Course Main Dish
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Rigatoni is a short, large pasta noodle but you can use just about any kind of pasta you want. Get a pot of salted water on to boil and start the oven to preheating at 350F. When the water starts to boil add about half of a 1 lb. box of the pasta and stir it right away. Also stir it a few times as it cooks. When it is just slightly softened turn the heat off and let it sit.
  2. While the pasta routine is carrying on put a large skillet on medium high and add 2 tbsp. of olive oil. Cut two boneless skinless chicken breasts (or six boneless skinless thighs) into about half inch cubes. Put the chicken in the pan and toss right away. Keep tossing regularly as you get after the eggplant
  3. Cut the ends off of a small eggplant and cut it up into the same size cubes as the chicken. If you only have a larger eggplant use half and save the unused half in the fridge with some plastic wrap covering the exposed part to keep it from turning brown. Add the eggplant to the pan and toss right away. Sprinkle about a tbsp. each of salt and pepper. Toss regularly so it all cooks evenly. When the edges of the chicken and eggplant start to brown turn off the heat.
  4. In a 9" x 13" baking pan very thinly spread some marinara sauce or canned marinara sauce, Optional, put some extra marinara in a sauce pan and gently heat it up for topping off the servings. Then about a half of the pasta then about a half of the chicken/eggplant. Then a thin layer of any good cheese you have on hand. We had some ricotta left over from a batch of Cheater Cannoli the other night. Repeat the layer routine and this time with some sliced mozzarella. Thinly spread some sauce over the top and sprinkle some parmesan cheese all over it. Drizzle with some olive oil. Cover it with a piece of aluminum foil big enough to wrap it around the edges. Put it in the oven and bake it for about 20 minutes with the foil on. Remove the foil and bake it about another 10 minutes or until the mozzarella has melted and just starts to bubble.
  5. Serve it up! With some Chianti and some of your good bread.
    Baked Rigatoni with Chicken and Eggplant poppopcooks.com
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Cheater Cannoli

I’ll bet that you love cannoli. I’ll also bet that you have never made them. I agree. Who wants to fry those tubes in deep hot oil? I thought this was my brilliant idea until I read up on cannoli and found out that starting in the 1930’s people that were as lazy as me had started making them with pizzelles.

Cheater Cannoli poppopcooks.com

First you are going to need a pizzelle iron.  You can find them at Bed Bath and Beyond or Kohlers or click on the link for amazon. We have always had one. Sometimes the grandkids help me make a batch of pizzelles and they take home a bag of them, covered in powdered sugar. Plug in the iron and set it at about 3/4 of the way from lowest to highest. Wipe off the cooking surfaces and spray them with oil. spray again for each batch. Melt the butter in the microwave or on the stove. Mix the flour and the baking powder in a bowl and set aside. Put the eggs and the sugar in another bowl and whisk together or do it with a hand held mixer for 2-3 minutes until it thickens up. Slowly add the butter and the vanilla mixing as you go. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and mix it all together. You can over mix this so just get it smooth. Add a dollop of the dough to each hot spot. You will make some too big and some too small until you get the size right for your pizzelles. The pizzelle iron that  these links take you to has a light that tells you when the pizzelles are done.

Cheater Cannoli poppopcooks.com

When they are done lift them out with a fork and right away wrap them around Cannoli tubes set them on a mopeen, er, towel with the seam side down and a weight on the top like the cooks fork and the honing steel you see in the pic.

Cheater Cannoli poppopcooks.com

It just takes a couple of minutes to cool off and keep their shape as you are cooking up the next pair.

Cheater Cannoli poppopcooks.com

When you are done making your tubes. You make the filling. It’s super easy. Just mix the powdered sugar and the ricotta cheese together. Add some extras if you want. The most common is chocolate chips then comes ground up pistachios. You can add just about anything. We’ve seen them with cherries, raisons, chopped up walnuts and on and on. Or, you could just use the filling with nothing else added.

IMG_0316

Enjoy! With some espresso and some samboca.

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Course Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings
Cannoli
Ingredients
Filling
Course Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings
Cannoli
Ingredients
Filling
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
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Instructions
  1. First you are going to need a pizzelle iron. You can find them at Bed Bath and Beyond or Kohlers or click on the link for amazon. We have always had one. Sometimes the grandkids help me make a batch of pizzelles and they take home a bag of them, covered in powdered sugar. Plug in the iron and set it at about 3/4 of the way from lowest to highest. Wipe it off the cooking surfaces and spray them with oil. Respray for each batch. Melt the butter in the microwave or on the stove. Mix the flour and the baking powder in a bowl and set aside. Put the eggs and the sugar in another bowl and whisk together or do it with a hand held mixer for 2-3 minutes until it thickens up. Slowly add the butter and the vanilla mixing as you go. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and mix it all together. You can over mix this so just get it smooth. Add a dollop of the dough to each hot spot. You will make some too big and some too small until you get the dollop size down pat. The pizzelle iron that these links take you to has a light that tells you when the pizzelles are done.
  2. When they are done lift them out with a table fork and right away wrap them around Cannoli tubes. Set them on a mopeen, er, towel with the seam side down and a weight on the top like the cooks fork and the honing steel you see in the pic. It just takes a couple of minutes to cool off and keep their shape as you are cooking up the next pair.
  3. When you are done making your tubes. You make the filling. It's super easy. Just mix the powdered sugar and the ricotta cheese together. Add some extras if you want. The most common is chocolate chips then comes ground up pistachios. You can add just about anything. We've seen them with cherries, raisons, chopped up walnuts and on and on. Or, you could just use the filling with nothing else added.
  4. Enjoy! With some espresso and some samboca.
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