Buffalo Chicken Lasagna

My goodness, what a week it has been! First week back at work from vacation is usually rough…but things got very interesting!

So, I have 3 amazing and adorable nephews from my wonderful Biffer and bro-in-law. Well, my sister was scheduled to be induced for baby #4 on Thursday, which was frustrating because she has ALWAYS wanted the movie moment of going into labor! She has tried everything – even got a ticket on her way to get spicy food for baby #3!

Monday she came over to drop off some garage sale stuff and was then en route to get the spiciest dish at her favorite Chinese restaurant. I offered to take her to Wal-Mart if she wanted to test the “stress induces labor” theory. She declined, because she can’t stand the place.

However, I totally think it worked cause guess what happened Tuesday morning? She went into labor! And Tuesday afternoon, my precious baby nephew #4 was born!

Proud Aunt moment:

Now, I won’t take full credit – as the spicy food probably had something to do with as well. So, I thought I’d share one of my new favorite spicy recipes with y’all on this Friday – and since it’s buffalo flavored, it obviously means good weekend food! It is also great for leftover lunches or dinners – serve with some bread or a crisp salad!

Buffalo Chicken Lasagna (Makes 8 servings / 7 WW pts. each)

1 pound chicken breast, raw

3 cups spaghetti sauce (Ragu light)

1 1/2 cups Frank’s Red Hot sauce (this is spicy – so use less if you are hesitant about spice!)

1 1/4 cups water

1/2 cup chopped celery

15 oz. reduced-fat ricotta cheese

1/2 cup egg beaters

1 Tbsp. ranch seasoning

1/2 cup reduced-fat blue cheese crumbles

10-12 pieces whole wheat lasagna

Preheat oven to 350 and lightly grease a 9×13 baking dish.

Cook chicken (either boil or bake) and shred.

In a small bowl, mix together ricotta cheese, egg beaters and ranch seasoning.

In a medium bowl, mix together spaghetti sauce, hot sauce, water, celery and chicken.

Pour a small amount of the sauce in the baking dish. Layer with 3 1/2 pieces of lasagna. Spread with 1/3 ricotta cheese and another layer of sauce. Repeat noodle, cheese, sauce until left with sauce on top.

Sprinkle blue cheese crumbles on top.

Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour. Remove foil and bake another 15 minutes…

Slice into 8 pieces…

And devour!

Happy Friday everybody, hope you have a great weekend!

Advertisements

Spicy Peanut Chicken Salad

I feel like I did a marathon this weekend!

I was so fortunate to be able to drive up to St. Louis this past weekend for one of my dear friend’s bachelorette parties.

St. Louis Arch

Clydesdale at Anheuser-Busch: St. Louis

Home of the World Series Champions!

Since I went to school at Penn State and live in Memphis, it’s very rare that I get to spend a weekend with my best friends from college. Like, seriously, we hail from Florida, Pennsylvania (Philadelphia and Pittsburgh both represented), Connecticut and Illinois. So getting together can be a challenge – but when we do, there is no shortage on fun – which includes choreographed dances and Beauty and the Beast sing-a-longs! More to come too – because since November, three of my girls have gotten engaged!

So before I had headed out on my solo road trip that involved a lot of jamming out to my favorite artist (Eric Church) – I made a delicious pasta salad-type dish with an Asian twist.

I could totally eat this for dinner, but it made up a lot of my lunches last week. And man, were my lunches good. Like, seriously. You don’t even have to wait in line for a microwave in your break room at work – because you eat it cold. And dear goodness, it is incredibly delicious.

And only 8 WW points. I know, I know. You love me. =)

It’s a lot of ingredients – but don’t be intimidated! You won’t regret making the full recipe – or even doubling it if you are one of those people (aka me) who let produce die in your refrigerator drawers after 1-2 uses.

(Oh, and I am certain this would make a great vegetarian dish if you just omit the chicken – so let me know, well, if you try it either way what you think!)

Spicy Peanut Chicken Salad– (6 servings)

1 cup red or orange bell pepper, Julienne

1 cup carrots, shredded

1 cup raw zucchini, shredded

1/2 cup raw broccoli, chopped

1/2 cup green onion, chopped

8 oz. raw chicken breast (boneless/skinless)

8 oz. whole wheat spaghetti

For Dressing:

6 Tbsp. soy sauce

2 Tbsp. water

2 Tbsp. reduced-fat peanut butter

2 Tbsp. sesame oil (Vegetable oil is okay)

1 Tbsp. rice vinegar (regular works too)

1/2 Tbsp. honey

1 Tbsp. pickled ginger, chopped

1/2 tsp. minced garlic

1 tsp. sugar

1 tsp. Sriracha (I promise this isn’t too spicy – I actually added more to each serving)

3 Tbsp. chopped peanuts

Boil pasta according to directions. Drain, set aside and let cool in a large bowl.

Boil chicken breast for 8-10 minutes until cooked through. Cool 3-5 minutes. Shred with two forks.

Add bell pepper, carrots, zucchini, green onions and broccoli on top of pasta.

Add chicken.

For dressing:

In a food processor, add soy sauce, water, peanut butter, sesame oil, rice vinegar, honey, ginger, garlic and Sriracha. Pulse until smooth. Add peanuts and pulse a few more times.

Pour dressing over chicken/veggie/noodle mixture and toss until combined.

Chill at least 1 hour.

Serve and devour. I did add a little more Sriracha and soy to the top of mine and mmmmmmmm was it delicious…

Clearly my goal in life is to make your co-workers jealous…

Guest Blog: Brittany From “Everyday Thoughts”

I am so excited to be the guest blogger today on Cooking on the Bright Side! Mary and I have been great friends for just over five years. We met in a senior-level college class at the University of Memphis and found commonality in our love for beer, boys, and big ten football (a great starting point for any friendship). I learned quickly how much Mary values and loves her family and that’s something I really admire about her. We shared our love for family and food one evening when my mom was in Memphis visiting. Mary invited my mom and I over for dinner with her and her dad. We enjoyed a beautiful meal. We drank wine and laughed, we drank more wine and cried and by the end of the night I left with this incredible sense that I had found a friend for life. That time around the dinner table was so important to our friendship and its a memory that I’ll carry with me forever.

Our lives are so busy but I think it’s important to make time for the people who matter most in your life and what better way to slow down than some time at the dinner table. The very first time my husband (then boyfriend) prepared a meal for guests we made this recipe. So every time we prepare it we eat at the table. This is one of those meals that just helps us slow down. I hope you enjoy:

Cajun Shrimp and Sausage Pasta

1 box Bowtie Pasta (14 Oz)
1 pound Peeled And Deveined Shrimp
2 Tablespoons Slap Ya Mama Cajun Seasoning, Divided
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil, Divided
12 ounces, weight Andouille Sausage, Sliced
1 Yellow Pepper, Stem And Seeds Removed, Then Sliced Into Strips
1 Red Pepper, Stem And Seeds Removed Then Sliced Into Strips
1 Onion, Sliced
4 cloves Garlic, Minced
½ cups Mozzarella Cheese

Preparation Instructions:
Cook the pasta according to package instructions, then drain and set aside.

Place shrimp in a large bowl and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of theSlap Ya Mama Cajun Seasoning. Stir so that the shrimp is well coated, set aside.

Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat add peppers and onions. Saute the vegetables for 2-3 minutes. 

Add an additional 1 tablespoon of the oil to the skillet and add shrimp to the vegetable mixture.

Cook the shrimp for about 3-4 minutes or until theshrimp turns pink and is fully cooked.

Similar to the shrimp, use the remaining 1 tablespoon of Slap YaMama Cajun Seasoning to coat the andouille sausage. Add the remaining oil to the skillet if necessary and cook theandouille sausage in with the shrimp and vegetable mixture for about 3 minutes or until sausage is fully cooked.

Stir in the garlic and cook an additional minute.

Remove from heat.

If you’d like to add a little heat stir in some crushed red pepper (to taste).

In a large pot combine the pasta and the entire shrimp and sausage mixture.

Sprinkle with cheese and serve.

Sit at a dinner table with someone you love and enjoy.

Thanks so much for reading. I hope you take a second and check out my blog if you have a minute www.everydaythoughtsbybrittany.blogspot.com

Brittany (of Everyday Thoughts)

Shrimp Scampi

Once upon a time, when we weren’t married and didn’t own a home, the husband (previously “the boyfriend”) and I would spend time at each others residences. I lived in an apartment and he shared a house with 2 other guys, which was surprisingly way cleaner than you would ever imagine.

So, I loved going over there and cooking! We’d rotate weeks – particularly when our favorite show “24” came on each Monday night. It was fun – I loved that he could cook. And as I said before, he loved that about me as well – in fact, I think that’s how I tricked him into marrying me! 😉

We were craving something with seafood and pasta one night – but something that just tasted light and was easy. So, I introduced him to Shrimp Scampi. Now, back then – we were okay loading up on the pasta and the butter. Obviously, that’s not so WW friendly. But have no fear my followers (or people who I guilt into coming here by posting my recipes on Facebook!) – this one was easy to lighten up. And it’s easy to make. And, of course, it’s totally delicious.

Shrimp Scampi (serves 2)

8 oz. cooked shrimp, tails removed

4 oz. whole wheat spaghetti

2 Tbsp. reduced-calorie margarine

2 tsp. olive oil

1 clove minced garlic

Lemons – (1/2 of one lemon zested, 1/2 Tbsp. juice, 1/2 a lemon sliced)

2 tsp. kosher salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

2 Tbsp. parsley

Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan for the pasta. Add pasta to water and cook according to directions.

Melt butter and olive oil in a medium skillet and add garlic. Stir until melted and cook about 1 minute.

Remove tails from shrimp and pat dry. Add to skillet along with salt and pepper. Cook about 3 minutes, then flip and cook an additional 3-4 minutes until cooked through.

On the side, prepare your lemon zest. I find it’s easiest to zest over wax paper. I have to say that my zester is my favorite kitchen gadget – you just move it back and forth over the lemon and collect the zest on the wax paper.

When shrimp are done cooking, remove from heat and add parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, lemon slices and red pepper flakes. Toss to combine.

Drain cooked pasta and add back to pot. Pour shrimp and sauce over pasta and toss to coat.

And voila, dinner is done in less than 30 minutes! Goes great with some crusty bread or a crisp salad.

Thanks for reading!