One thing that Sean and I absolutely looooooove to do is entertain. We are always planning some kind of fun outing or party at our loft, because we have the most fun when we are making our friends happy. Last night, we had three of our close friends over for a small dinner party. This is a big deal, because within the past year I've really been branching outside of my comfort zone by experimenting in the kitchen. I've always been pretty good at baking, but up until recently the only ''meals'' I could make came right out of a box or a soup can. I was starting to worry that when Sean went away on business trips, our future children would be stuck eating frozen pizza and cereal. Not that I don't love pizza and cereal (two of my favorite foods!)... but I need to learn how to cook actual meals.
Last night I baked a very popular dish in our house. It doesn't really have a name, so we usually refer to it as a ''healthier'' version of Baked Spaghetti. And I use the term healthier very loosly. It's absolutely delicious (I can't wait to eat the leftovers for lunch!)
It's a pretty easy thing to make, and it only takes about 30 minutes to prepare. But, it's a good recipe for newbies, because there are a lot of steps and different things that need to be done -- so it's a good way to practice multitasking in the kitchen, and it's also a pretty hard dish to screw up.
What you will need:
- We always buy frozen chicken strips, and for this recipe I use about 6 (if you have chicken breasts, then use about 3)
- 1 bottle of Italian Vinaigrette Dressing
- Spices -- I always use Italian Seasoning, Basil, and Rosemary or Parsley (about 1 TBS of each)
- 2 TBS Garlic
- 2 TBS Pesto
- 1 Box of Whole Wheat Pasta
- Mozzarella Cheese
 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
 Boil a pot of water on the stove, and cook pasta
 While pasta is being prepped, start to thaw the chicken and then cut the chicken into cubes
 Once the pasta is cooked, drain & set to the side
 On a skillet, add 4 TBS Italian Dressing and cook chicken until no longer raw
 In a small bowl, mix together 2/3 of the bottle of Italian Dressing and add pesto, garlic, and spices
 Add pasta to the chicken on the skillet, add the Italian Dressing mixture, and stir for 3-5 minutes on medium heat
 Add mixture to a casserol dish and add mozzarella cheese to taste (I use the whole bag!)
 Place into the over for 15 minutes, or until the cheese is fully melted
 E N J O Y!!!!!
serving size: 6
I like to make what I call ''ghetto garlic bread'' with any pasta dish (Sean argues that this isn't realy ghetto and that most people do this... not just my family growing up) -- all you do is take bread of any kind and add butter, garlic, and oregano. It's delish.
Sean also insists that we have a vegetable with every meal (and thanks to him I'm actually starting to LOVE our veggie sides!) I used broccoli with this dish, but I think green beans or brussel sprouts would also go well.
And for dessert, I made sugar cookies the night before. Nothing special, just the typical recipie that you can find several versions of online. If you can't tell by the picture, I like extra sprinkles :)
We really, really love eating this version of baked spaghetti! Let me know if you try it, or if you have any other recipies that are great for beginners!