Buffalo Chicken Lasagna

Happy Saturday, foodies! I hope your weekend is going well. It’s been thunderstorming here for most of the day, so my sister, Mal, and I have been wonderfully lazy. We slept in, watched “Crazy Stupid Love,” made lunch, and then went back to sleep. I didn’t even shower until 5:00 tonight, and that was only because I had a dinner date with my friend, Megan. (You’re lucky I love you, Meg.) After dinner, Megan and I did a little shopping. I’m back home now and literally two seconds away from putting on my pajamas. Ah, the lazy life.

I decided to give this buffalo chicken lasagna recipe a try after my mom sent it to me on Facebook earlier this week…and then it was popping up all over my newsfeed. Usually, I make a recipe more than once before I post, just to make sure it all turns out right the second time, but it was unbelievably good, so I’m taking my chances. I did make some changes from the original, and made a smaller amount, perfect for 1-2 people. I hope you love this as much as I do. Let me know what you think!

Buffalo Chicken Lasagna

Adapted from All in All

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What I’m Listening to: rain…lots of rain

Ingredients (makes one 11×7 pan)

-1 tbsp olive oil

-1 tbsp butter

-1/2 of a large Vidalia onion, diced

-2 cloves of garlic

-1 8 oz block of cream cheese, cut into cubes

-1 cup of buffalo sauce

-2/3 cup of ranch dressing

-2 large chicken breasts, shredded

-9 lasagna noodles, cooked according to the package (DO NOT use the no-boil noodles…they don’t work with this recipe!)

-3 cups of mozzarella cheese, shredded

Cook your chicken first. I had plenty of time, so I put mine in the crockpot, covered them with water, and let them cook on high for two hours. If you don’t have time for that, you can cook them however you’d like. Shred the chicken with two forks, or with an electric mixer. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350. Fill a large stockpot with water. Salt it, and bring to a boil. Add the noodles and a small amount of vegetable oil to prevent sticking, and cook according to the package directions. When the noodles are done, drain.

While your water is boiling, place the butter and olive oil in a large skillet and cook on medium high heat until melted. Add the onions, and stir frequently until translucent. Add the garlic, and continue to stir for 3-4 minutes. Turn the heat down to medium low and add the cream cheese cubes, stirring constantly until melted. Pour in the buffalo sauce and ranch. Mix well and remove from the heat.

Spray an 11×7 pan with cooking spray. Spoon a small amount of sauce into the pan and spread to coat the bottom. Add the chicken to the remaining sauce, and stir well. Layer three of the noodles over the bottom of the pan, so they are slightly overlapping. Cover with 1/3 of the chicken mixture and spread evenly. Top with one cup of mozzarella cheese. Repeat the layers twice, ending with mozzarella on top. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly. Serve with ranch or blue cheese dressing (it helps offset the heat) and asiago bread.

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Chicken Pasta Salad

How is it that a week can move so slowly, but time within the day moves so quickly? I have had the best intentions of finally posting this recipe this week. I get home from work each night, unpack my bag, and suddenly, it’s 11pm and I’m half asleep on the couch. Every night this week. Every. Night. But, I managed to pull it together tonight. You’re welcome.

This recipe came from an old school or church recipe book…I’m talking circa 5th grade. (A big thank you to “Kim V” for sharing it.) Although this is technically a side dish pasta salad, I’ve also eaten it as a main dish.  Because this is not your ordinary pasta salad. It’s better. Much better.

Chicken Pasta Salad

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-1/2 a box of small pasta shapes (I used Campanelle)

-1/2 a white onion, diced

-1/2 cup of carrots, diced

-1/2 cup peas

-1-2 small cans of chicken, shredded

-1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk

-1/8 cup vinegar

-1 cup of mayo

-shredded cheddar cheese

Boil the pasta, adding the peas for the last two minutes. In a large bowl, mix together the milk, vinegar, and mayo. Drain the pasta and peas. Place in the mixing bowl, along with the vegetables. Mix well and chill for 30 minutes. Add the chicken and cheese; mix. Chill overnight. 

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Ranch Cheddar Chicken

Guys…I used a drill for the first time tonight! I know, I know…you’re super impressed. To be fair, I’ve used a drill before; just not a power drill. Long story short, I had a complicated mini-blind project, so my friend, Elizabeth, brought her drill over and we had dinner, laughed a whole lot, and then used the drill like the independent ladies that we are and hung my mini-blinds. Cue: applause.

I don’t think I’ve mentioned it before, but Elizabeth and her husband, Tyler, are my dinner buddies. We try to do dinner together every week or every other, and rotate who hosts. It started  about four years ago, when we were living in the same apartment complex. Elizabeth and I went to the same college, and had lost touch for about a year, but we reconnected over a heaping plate of sausage and basil lasagna. Since then, she has become one of my best friends, Tyler has become my honorary husband, and they are Aunt and Uncle to my kitties. They are some of my biggest cheerleaders, but also very honest with me, especially when it comes to my cooking. I’ve made this ranch cheddar chicken for Elizabeth twice now, and tonight, she Instagrammed it, put it on Facebook, and proclaimed that I could definitely make this again…which is pretty much like saying it was the best food she’s ever eaten. 

Ranch Cheddar Chicken

Adapted from Buns in My Oven

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What I’m Listening to: Elizabeth telling me about work and life

Ingredients (makes 4 small pieces)

-2 large chicken breasts, cut in half

-1 small container of Greek Yogurt

-1 package of dry ranch dressing mix

-1/4 cup of shredded cheddar cheese

-Panko bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 425. In a small bowl, mix together the Greek Yogurt, ranch mix, and cheddar cheese. Set aside. Place the chicken in a greased 8×8 pan. Spoon the ranch mixture generously over each piece, spreading it to cover the chicken completely. Gently shake the Panko to cover each piece of chicken. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Serve with mashed potatoes and your favorite steamed vegetable.

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Meat Lover’s Baked Beans

Guys, I have a cold…in August. What the crap?! This isn’t supposed to happen! I’m not supposed to be drinking hot tea, taking DayQuil, and wearing fuzzy socks in AUGUST! But alas. I don’t normally let a cold take me down, but I ended up staying home from work today, due to lack of oxygen and my awful Roz from “Monster’s Inc” voice. I’m feeling considerably better, but I really hope this is out of my system by tomorrow. I only have four weeks until dance classes start up again, and a to-do list a mile long. Send healing thoughts, people. I’d appreciate it!

In my opinion, one of the best things about summer is grilling out. I love grill food, and I love hosting, so I try to have a cookout at my house at least once a month while the weather is nice. I had some friends over two weekends ago, and figured it would be a great opportunity to bust out some of my favorite recipes, and some new ones too. This recipe is a newbie, but man oh man, am I glad I tried it! It definitely feeds more than one, so file this under “food you can share.” (Because everyone has to cook for someone else at some point, right?) Did I mention it’s a crockpot recipe? And it has bacon? And it’s delicious?  I really can’t take credit for the recipe itself, but here is my take on baked beans.

Meat Lover’s Baked Beans

Adapted from Cooking on the Front Burners

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What I’m Listening to: Ed Sheeran’s “Sing” on repeat

Ingredients (feeds an army!)

-A 28 oz can of Bush’s Original Baked Beans

-A 28 oz can of Bush’s Onion Baked Beans

-1 lb of ground beef

-Lawry’s Seasoned Salt

-1/2 large onion, diced

-1 lb. bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

-3/4 cup of ketchup

-3/4 cup brown sugar

-1/8 cup yellow mustard

-1 tbsp chili powder

In a large skillet, fry the ground beef and onion. Sprinkle generously with Lawry’s while cooking. When the meat is browned, drain the grease and set the meat mixture aside. In the same skillet, fry the bacon until crispy. Place all ingredients in a crockpot and mix well. Cook on low for four hours, stirring occasionally. 

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