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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Impersonating Sandra Lee

This is a smorgasboard of a post!

But first, I want to share this awesome recipe I tried last night for supper.  My family loved it, even my little four year old who is eating these days like a 14 year old!

The recipe comes from Sandra Lee, you know the Semi-Homemade lady from FoodNetwork.  I am a FoodNetwork junky by the way!!  Although I do not care for Ms Lee's communication style, I love the idea behind her recipes:  easy, few and easy to find ingredients, and cost conscious menus.

Creamy Penne Pesto Bake

8 ounces penne pasta
1 1/2 cups Alfredo sauce
1 5 ounce jar pesto sauce
1 can (13.75 oz.) artichoke hearts, drained/rinsed
2 cups shredded Italian cheese blend
2 packets grilled chicken strips
1/2 cup roasted red peppers, chopped
1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 375. Lightly spray a 2 1/2 casserole dish with cooking spray.
In a large saucepan of boiling water, cook pasta for 1 minute less than directed on package.  Drain and set aside.
For creamy pesto, in a medium bowl, stir together Alfredo sauce and pesto sauce; set aside.
In a large bowl, toss to combine artichoke hearts, Italian cheese blend, chicken, and roasted red peppers.  Add cooked pasta and creamy pesto;  using rubber spatula, fold together until well mixed. Transfer to prepared casserole dish.
In a small bowl, combine bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese,and oil; sprinkle over pasta.
Bake in a preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until golden brown and bubbling.

*I made a few adjustments when I made this last night.  First I doubled everything, because my family loves chicken alfredo and like I said the 4 year old has the appetite these days of a monster!  I also left out the artichoke hearts, because I didn't think Mike and Cecily would care for them, although they said they would be willing to try it again with them added .  I also seared my own chicken breast in a pan seasoned with garlic powder and Italian seasoning.  The already cooked chicken strips are a little pricey.  I also covered the dish with foil when I baked it in the oven.

We are resting today a little, because we have a big night tonight at church.  It is Northside's annual Fall Festival.  Our parking lot at the church will turn into a carnival of sorts with bounce houses, obstacle courses and lots of booths with fun games. We also serve hotdogs, chips and drinks.  We offer this to our community all for free.  Last year we had approximately 700 people come through.  We expect that many and more this year with family's on the search for fun things to do with their family in this crazy economy.  I am looking forward to spending the evening with my church family along with the cutest Gypsie, New Orleans Saints football player and tiny ballerina you have ever seen!!!!  Yes, grandparents, I will post pictures!!!

Finally, thank you to everyone who responded to me in the comments or on facebook to Monday's post regarding my parenting question.  This kind of thing hurts especially when you don't expect it to come from where it came! If you haven't had a chance to read Monday's post, please scroll down and read and leave any advice you may have for me!

Counting it all Joy,