Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Christmas!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and were able to spend time with your friends and family.  Christmas was different for me this year.  It's my first year not being in school so I don't get a month off for winter break and let me tell you, that was a rude awakening.  I guess I'm really an adult now.  Lame.

Despite my disappointment at not having a month off, I still managed to have a pretty fabulous Christmas.  Last week, we had a Christmas party at work and a "Tacky Christmas Sweater" contest.

Guess who won?  Yes, that would be me.  What you can't tell from the picture is that instead of buttons there were little jingle bells.  Pretty sure I drove everyone crazy at work, but if you are going to be tacky you better go all out.  Am I right?

Mr. Geek Squad didn't want to miss out on the tacky-action.  We gave this picture framed to his brother and sister in law as a joke.  Unfortunately I'm pretty sure it's going to be displayed in their house.  P.S. I hope you notice the amazing shoulder pads in the sweaters.  That is one trend (of many) that I hope never come back in style. 

Anyway, I spent Christmas Eve with some of Mr. Geek Squad's family.  It's the first year I didn't spend Christmas Eve with my family and while I missed our traditional tamale dinner it was really nice to spend part of the holidays with Mr. G.S. and his family.  Plus, his aunt made an awesome peach cobbler that I definitely need to get the recipe for (note to self).  I left their party early (around 7:30) and drove the 3 hours down to my parents' house and got there just in time to watch "A Christmas Story" with them (another family tradition).  

Christmas morning we woke up, had cinnamon rolls, and got ridiculously spoiled by my parents.  I got, among other things, a hand mixer (!), a white peacoat, a couple new games, some new clothes, and jewelry.  Santa was good to me this year.  I was especially happy because I managed to surprise my mom with her present this year.  She is the hardest person to surprise, but I got her a Kindle and she had NO idea.  

We ended the night with a delicious dinner of prime rib, twice baked potatoes, salad and chocolate chip Kahlua cake and 2 rousing games of Scrabble.  We know how to party.  

And just to prove to you that we don't wear tacky sweaters all the time, here is a normal picture of me and Mr. G.S. in front of my Christmas tree.  

Love you, mean it. 

~Just A Girl~

Sunday, December 4, 2011

White Chicken Artichoke Lasagna

Have you entered my giveaway yet?  If not, what the heck are you waiting for?  Go do it now, I'll wait for you to come back.

Okay, now that we have that taken care of I have some other important business to attend to.  Chicken and artichoke lasagna.  I'll admit, I never was the biggest fan of lasagna.  I always felt like it took forever to make and was basically spaghetti in casserole form.  Besides, I was never the biggest fan of cheese.  Please don't hate me.

Anyway, I saw this recipe on Pinterest (justagirl623, if you're interested in following me) and I happen to love artichoke hearts and sundried tomatoes so I figured I'd try it despite my feelings toward lasagna.

So here's what you need (not everything is pictured because I get impatient.  I'm working on it.):

2 cups shredded chicken
1 can artichoke hearts
1 bag mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (I definitely used more)
2 pkgs cream cheese
1 cup milk
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes (or more, if you want)
Lasagna noodes
Garlic and/or garlic powder
Basil/Italian seasoning

So first, you need to cook some chicken so you can shred it.  Alternatively, you could buy a whole rotisserie chicken at the grocery store and shred up some of that.  Or you could use canned chicken, if you want.  You should also set a pot of water to boil for the noodles. 

Then you want to blend the cream cheese and milk together along with the garlic powder and basil/italian seasoning.  Unfortunately, we do not have mixer/blender at Mr. Geek Squad's house, so I can tell you first hand that you CAN do this by hand.  Is it fun?  No, but you will get a nice arm work out and it turns out just fine, so don't worry if you don't have a mixer, okay?  You can still make this recipe.  I promise.  Also, while you are doing all this mixing have your boyfriend chop up the artichoke hearts and sundried tomatoes.  

Now, your chicken should be done cooking.  Go ahead and shred that stuff right up.  Use two forks and pull in the opposite direction.  Easy shmeasy.  Your water will probably also be boiling for the noodles by now.  Put those bad boys in the pot and cook them according to the directions on the box.  Don't overcook them though, please. 

Mix the shredded chicken, artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes, 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese, and the parmesan cheese into half of the cream cheese and milk mixture.  Put the other half aside, we'll be using it soon. 

Spread half of the leftover cream cheese and milk mixture on the bottom of a glass casserole dish.

Put three lasagna noodles on top of that.

Spread 1/3 of the chicken mixture on top of those noodles.  Looks delicious right?  Repeat layer of noodles and chicken twice. 

Top off with the last of the noodles, the other half of the cream cheese and milk mixture, the rest of the mozzarella cheese, and some parmesan too if you want.  A little extra cheese never hurt anybody.

Bake in a 350* oven for 25 minutes until the cheese is all nice and melty and delicious looking and everything is heated through.

Serve with a nice salad, and a glass of wine (not pictured because I was probably busy drinking it).

Special thanks to my boyfriend for being an awesome photographer, and sous chef.  

As always, let me know what you think if you try out this recipe and stay tuned for more exciting recipes in the future.

Love you, mean it.

~Just A Girl~