About a year ago, two of my friends and I started a monthly get-together for a nice dinner. I think the idea was to pass it around and change the location each time, but it always ended up being at my place. I was happy about this – I didn’t really want to share the burden. Around then, I started realizing that I enjoyed cooking almost as much as I enjoyed baking. There’s something incredibly depressing about preparing a really wonderful meal and having no one to share it with.
Over the summer, I was able to share some really nice food with them: maple-glazed pork chops with gnocchi and parmesan cheese; East Indian curry (served on jasmine rice, topped with choices of fruit, peppers, and nuts); Dutch babies for a Christmas-style brunch in the middle of October; slowcooker turkey and cranberry dressing, pizza with carmelized onions, halved grapes & balsamic glaze….all usually paired with wine or beer brought by Nicole or Andrea, and then ending with dessert (french silk pie eaten directly from the pan, frozen yogurt with canteloupe…) we ate while sprawled on the couch, complaining that we felt enormous. Somewhere along the line, they gave me the nickname B-Crocks – an ironic abbreviation of Betty Crocker that made me feel simultaneously adorable and badass. I solidified the badassery by temporarily tagging my kitchen wall.
When I had my housewarming party a few weeks ago, Andrea and Nicole presented me with a gift of a hula hoop (which I used once and has been leaning against a wall after it fell around my ankles) and a handmade installment of miniature frames that spell out B-Crox. It looks pretty awesome in my kitchen.
Nicole was actually the one who gave me the idea for a weekly B-Crox post, and in a picturesque turn of events, Andrea joined me for my first meal of Brunch with B-Crox: White Cheese & Chicken Lasagna.
This is a recipe I found on Pinterest (where else do people get recipes?) and modified for a smaller sized pan (I think a giant pan of lasagna is about as depressing as just eating cookie dough for dinner). If you’re cooking for a large group, a family, have room in the freezer, or want to see fancy pictures and well-written directions, you can use the original recipe. The only real difference between this recipe and the one below is that I used fresh mozzarella that was marinated in olive oil and italian seasoning instead of plain shredded mozzarella – mainly because it was on sale and I really wanted fresh mozzarella.
White Cheese & Chicken Lasagna
- 4-5 lasagna noodles, cooked (because duh)
- 1/4 cup butter (that’s half a stick, Einstein)
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced (avoid cutting off finger tips)
- a few shakes of salt
- 1 cup Chicken broth (the cheapest, because ain’t nobody got cash for that, Swanson)
- 3/4 cup milk (not melk, you mouth-breather)
- 8oz. fresh mozzerella cheese (Oh, you think you all fancy, don’t you?)
- 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (get the stuff that is cheaper that Kraft and has a more attractive label)
- 1 teaspoon basil
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- a few grinds of black pepper
- 1 cup ricotta cheese (good luck finding something to do with the leftovers)
- 2 disturbingly large chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
- 1/2 package (10 oz) frozen chopped spinach, thawed & drained
- 1/2 tablespoon of fresh parsley you don’t actually need because it tastes like nothing, so don’t waste your time
- Invite your friend over for dinner via text/call/direct tweet. Inform her you’re making something awesome and she’s going to want to eat it. Turn on some good music (I chose Dead Horses after seeing them a few nights earlier) and cook your noodles. Let your friend in the front door.
- Melt the butter in a saucepan, then add the onion and garlic, cooking till tender. Stir it too. You don’t want to scrub that crap. Shake the salt over the mixture a bit, and then add the flour. Simmer till it’s bubbly and looks weird.
- Tell your friend to mix in the broth and milk and boil because you just realized you have to cube and cook the chicken. Make sure she stirs it constantly, then throw half of the fresh mozzarella and a bunch of the parmesan in her pan while you cook the chicken in olive oil & oregano.
- Season the sauce with basil, oregano and that freshly ground pepper. Grind that pepper, baby!
- Using a 9×9 cake pan you might have taken from your mother, layer your lasagna in the following order: 1/3 sauce on bottom, 1/3 of the noodles, ALL of the ricotta & chicken, 1/3 of the noodles, 1/4 of the sauce, the spinach (lookit that green stuff! You so fancy!), the remaining mozzarella cheese (if it’s in the little balls like mine was, cut these into thirds and distribute evenly) and a bunch of parmesan cheese.
- Top with the last of the noodles and remaining sauce. If you were stupid and bought parsley, I guess you can sprinkle it now. Otherwise, just put a little more basil, ground pepper, and parmesan cheese over the sauce.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving with pink lemonade and eating on your front porch while groaning and saying “Omigod. This is so good.”
- Go back inside because there are too many spiders and weird bugs.
Enjoy your food! There are starving kids in Ethiopia that won’t benefit from your gluttony.