Monday, April 30, 2018

Chicken Parmesan Lasagna

This recipe is lightened up, but has big Italian flavor!
I use ground chicken here, which is hearty, and full of protein.  I also cut the ricotta cheese waaaaaay down. Many recipes call for up to 2 pounds! I used 2 cups in this recipe, and still found it plenty creamy. I also cut calories by only using the Parmesan and Panko on top of the lasagna.

P.S. For the sauce in this recipe feel free to use your favorite store-bought brand, or try making it homemade!


For the Ground Chicken:
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil (I used extra virgin but use whatever brand/variety you like best)
  • 3 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes, optional (but they give a nice kick!)
  • 1 lb. Ground Chicken
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
For the Panko:
  • 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1/3 cup Whole Wheat Panko Bread Crumbs
For Lasagna:
  • 12 Lasagna Noodles, boiled according to package
  • 2 1/2 cups Ricotta Cheese (I used whole-milk here, but you may use skim)
  • 1 large egg + 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
  • 3 1/2 cups Marinara Sauce, Store-bought or Homemade will work OK
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese, finely grated
  • Fresh Basil and Parsley, chopped


For the Ground Chicken:
  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-heat. Add the garlic, Italian seasoning, and crushed red pepper flakes (if using); saute for 2-3 minutes. Add in ground chicken, salt, and pepper and cook - breaking the meat up with a wooden spoon - until golden brown and cooked all the way through; 6-8 minutes. Transfer the chicken mixture to a clean plate; set aside. Return empty pan to the burner - you will use this again for the panko.
For the Panko:
  1. Heat the olive oil (in the same skillet you used for the chicken) over medium-high heat. Add in the panko bread crumbs and cook, stirring frequently, until crispy and golden. Remove from heat and transfer breadcrumbs to a small bowl; set aside.
For the Lasagna:
  1. Boil 12 lasagna noodles according to package directions. While they're boiling, prepare the ricotta cheese.
For the Ricotta:
  1. In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, egg, egg yolk, salt, pepper, parsley, and basil; set aside.
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees (F). Spread a 1/4 of marinara sauce on the bottom of a 9x13 pan. Layer with 4 lasagna noodles, 1/3 of the chicken mixture, 1/4 cup of the marinara sauce, and 1/2 cup of the ricotta cheese, and a 1/4 cup of the mozzarella cheese. Repeat this two more times, topping the final layer of noodles with remaining meat, sauce, ricotta, mozzarella, panko bread crumbs, and finally, the Parmesan cheese, in that order. Cover the lasagna tightly with a piece of lightly oiled foil. Bake for 40 minutes, then remove the foil and bake uncovered for 15 more minutes. Allow the lasagna to rest for 10 minutes before cutting and serving. Garnish with fresh parsley and basil.

Creamy Herb Chicken

Quick And Easy Creamy Herb Chicken, filled with so much flavor, ready and on your table in 15 minutes! You won't believe how easy this is!  Perfect served over rice or noodles.

For The Chicken:
  • 4 chicken breasts (pounded 1/2-inch thin)
  • 2 teaspoons each of onion powder and garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon fresh chopped parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon each of dried thyme and dried rosemary*
  • salt and pepper , to season
For The Sauce:
  • 4 cloves garlic , minced (or 1 tablespoon minced garlic)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh chopped parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon each of dried thyme and dried rosemary
  • 1 cup milk (or half and half)*
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper , to taste
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon water , until smooth
  1. Coat chicken breasts with the onion and garlic powders and herbs. Season generously with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil a large pan or skillet over medium-high heat and cook chicken breasts until opaque and no longer pink inside (about 5 minutes each side, depending on thickness). Transfer to a plate; set aside.
  3. To the same pan or skillet, heat another 2 teaspoons of olive oil and sauté garlic, with parsley, thyme and rosemary, for about 1 minute, or until fragrant.
  4. Stir in milk (or cream); season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  5. Bring to a boil; add the cornstarch mixture to the center of the pan, quickly stirring, until sauce has thickened slightly. Reduce heat and simmer gently for a further minute to allow the sauce to thicken more.
  6. Return chicken to the skillet. Sprinkle with extra herbs if desired. Serve immediately.
Recipe Notes
*If you don't like Thyme or Rosemary, substitute these with Basil and Oregano, or use Tarragon.
**For a dairy free option, I find Cashew milk the best in flavor. You can also use almond milk or rice milk.
Yes, heavy cream can be substituted!

This Recipe comes from CafeDelites

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Springfield Nature Center Experience

Today's blog is not about food, but rather healthy living.
I truly believe, as part of our healthy living, we should spend time in nature every single day.

The Springfield Nature Center is close to my home and just down the road from Harter House on Republic Road.  So visit the Nature Center, then come visit me at Harter House!  

After the rains of this past week, I knew I wanted to walk at the Nature Center.  I love when the creeks are up and the streams are flowing.

It is still cloudy today and perfectly cool while walking.  We saw 11 dear today scattered out along the trails.

The Nature Center features eighty acres of forests, fields and creeks, along with frontage on Lake Springfield, and nearly three miles of trails,
as short as a fifth of a mile, and as long as two miles.

Experience the wildlife, including deer, foxes, mink, muskrat, raccoons, squirrels, birds, turtles, turkeys, frogs, bugs and just about everything else that lives in the Ozarks


Follow the boardwalk over the marshy shallows of the lake.
This is the Boardwalk

See a map of the all the trails here
Springfield Nature Center Trail Map.

This area is on the long trail, on the back side of the bluff.

Can you hear the sounds of waterfalls as they flow downstream?  It's absolutely lovely!

 I love watching the little kids on the trail.
                                      They love seeing the wildlife so up close and personal.
                                              Their pure joy and enthusiasm is contagious.

It's nice to walk with someone.
Today, bring a friend!

Learn More Here
Springfield Conservation Nature Center

4601 S. Nature Center Way
Springfield, MO 65804-4920

Phone: (417) 888-4237
Fax: (417) 888-4241