Buffalo Chicken Lasagna

One of my all-time favorite stories about Dave’s horrendous spelling, is that he once spelled “Lasagna” “Liggisana”.  Every time I see the word I say it the way he spelled it.  It just cracks me up.  I literally can’t think, spell, or say the word “Lasagna” without thinking about him.  I love it… too funny.

I suppose the reason for my inspiration to try a Buffalo Chicken Lasagna was perhaps because that Liggisana spelling Dave was in the back of my head telling my subconscious to make a new Buff Chick creation… they’re his favorite.  First we tried Buffalo Chicken Dip which is a classic in our house.  Then we did some Buffalo Spiced Peanuts (yum!), my favorite- Buffalo Stuffed Baked Potatoes, and a new hit- the Buffalo Chicken Soup.  We’ve got a whole lotta buffalo goin’ on over here.  This Liggisana takes our Buffalo Chicken loving to a whole new level.  

The inspiration for this recipe took me to googling some yummy treats.  My favorite out of the few that I found came from one of my go-to healthy recipe bloggers, Prevention RD.  I have saved so so many of her recipes, they are out of this world.  

Check out the recipe for the lasagna below, but also make sure you read my notes afterwards… my lasagna didn’t turn out as perfect as Nicole from Prev. RD’s did!  I think I need to read up on some “do’s” and “don’t’s” on Lasagna… hmmm……

Buffalo Chicken Lasagna

Ingredients:

1 lb White Meat Chicken Breast, cooked and cubed (I boiled mine)

3 cups Low-Sodium Marinara Sauce

1 cup Frank’s Hot Sauce or Buffalo Wing Sauce

1/3 cup Water

15oz Fat Free Ricotta Cheese 

2 Large Eggs

1 teaspoon Kosher Salt

1/2 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper

Cayenne Pepper if desired

16 Whole Wheat Lasagna Noodles, uncooked

9 slices Pepper Jack Cheese

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350 F.

2.  Combine chicken, marinara, wing sauce, and water.  In a separate bowl, combine ricotta cheese, eggs, salt, pepper, and cayenne if using.

3.  Spray a 9×13 inch pan with cooking spray.  Spread enough sauce to coat the bottom of the pan.  Arrange 4 noodles over the sauce before spreading more sauce, then a layer of the ricotta mixture.  Add another layer noodles and of sauce repeating the process until you end with a final layer of sauce.

4.  Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight or bake immediately for one hour.  Uncover and place the pepper jack cheese slices on top.  Bake an extra 8-10 minutes uncovered so the cheese gets nice and melty.  Let stand 10 minutes before serving to firm up so you can get nice slices.

Recipe barely adapted from:  Prevention RD

Sauce on the right, ricotta mixture on the left.

Sauce on the right, ricotta mixture on the left.

Layered and baked!

Layered and baked!

Gotta love the lasagna cross-section shot

Gotta love the lasagna cross-section shot

Served these babies with a plate full of Ceasar Salad- the creamy dressing was a nice compliment to the spicy sauce.

Served these babies with a plate full of Ceasar Salad- the creamy dressing was a nice compliment to the spicy sauce.

So as I fairly warned you earlier… mine did NOT turn out as gorgeous and perfect as I’d liked it to.  Lasagna failures is a common topic in my foodie magazines, so I don’t feel that alone… right?  I’ve done some research and figured out I have a few problems that I’d love to tell YOU about so you don’t make the same mistakes that I have.

First of all… silly little me… all this time I thought my big pyrex was 9×13… it WASNT!  My dish was way too long for this lasagna.  I just couldn’t figure out why it didn’t stack right!  That’s why.  DUH.  I really shouldn’t have told you that, it’s really embarrassing.

One of the KEY tips that will help make your lasagna perfect and not dried out… is the sauce.  Make DOUBLE if you’re worried.  Have extra on hand.  Spreading the sauce on the bottom is key.  Even more key?  The sauce ontop.  You want this sauce to completely coat every inch of pasta on the top of the stacks.  This is what will keep the lasagna noodles from drying out.  

Also, I’ve commented on the original recipe at Prevention RD, and she highly recommended the refrigeration process before baking the dish.  I’ll try that next time!

Buffalo Chicken Soup

We’re a little spicy food obsessed over here in the It’s Good to be the Cook family… if you couldn’t tell.

The latest and greatest creation, also which has now been named one of Dave’s “Top 5” favorite dinners (whoa!) is this Buffalo Chicken Soup recipe.  It’s got all of the good stuff you’d normally find in and around and dipped with wings put together in a warm, hearty soup.

What could be bad?? (Not rhetorical… the answer is NOTHING!  🙂 )

Buffalo Chicken Soup

Recipe based on:  Bake Your Day

Serves:  4

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup uncooked Orzo Pasta
  • 2 teaspoons EVOO
  • 1/2 Sweet Onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 2 Carrots, peeled, and cut into half moons
  • 2 stalks Celery, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons Ranch Dressing Seasoning Mix (you can get in the salad dressing aisle in little $1 packets)
  • 1 teaspoon Freeze-Dried Chives (my new fav thing ever)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh Cilantro, divided
  • 32 ounces Low-Sodium, FF, Chicken Stock
  • 1 cup Frank’s Buffalo Wing Sauce*
  • 1/2 cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded (red. fat)
  • 3/4 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
  • 2 cups Cooked Chicken Breast, shredded/”pulled” **
  • ¼ cup blue cheese crumbles
Instructions:
  1. Cook orzo according to package directions until about half way done. Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven (yay I got to use mine!!). Sauté yellow onion, garlic, freeze-dried chives in the olive oil for 5 minutes until the onions soften up a bit.  Stir so the garlic does not burn.
  3. Add carrots, celery, ranch mix and 2 tablespoons of chopped cilantro. Stir and saute until the carrots are starting to soften.  **Meanwhile, this is a good time that you can cook your chicken if you haven’t yet! I just cooked it in a sprayed pan with some salt and pepper sprinkled on.**
  4. Once the veggies are nice and soft, add chicken broth, buffalo sauce, cheddar, parmesan and shredded chicken (i shredded with two forks). Stir to combine and bring to a simmer.
  5. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, until the carrots are fully tender.  Bring to a boil, add the orzo, and stir until the orzo is cooked through.
  6. Serve in a big bowl with a sprinkle of blue cheese crumbles and cilantro.

I decided to plug this recipe into my nutrition calculator that I just LOVE… just to see how “bad” this was.  You’ll be happy to hear this soup clocks in at UNDER 400 CALORIES!!  3-4 Buffalo wings generally bring in about 500 calories and (my favorite) Buffalo Chicken Dip can bring in almost 300 calories in 5 Tablespoons without including chips!  This soup is a great alternative without losing any flavor!  YUM!

…I may have to replace my famous Buff Chick Dip with this soup for the Superbowl this year!

Everything gettin' all toasty in my new dutch oven!!

Everything gettin’ all toasty in my new dutch oven!!

photo 3 (9)

YUM!  The blue cheese gets all melty when you mix it in.

YUM! The blue cheese gets all melty when you mix it in.

Buff Chick Soup

You may also like…

Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Baked Potato

Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Baked Potato

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Buffalo Spiced Peanuts

Buffalo Spiced Peanuts

Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Baked Potato

I have a new obsession:  Shredded Chicken.

But first, my original inspiration for making dinner on this particular night was a recipe I have had my eyes on for like, a year.  What’s really weird is that the post on The Girl Who Ate Everything came out exactly 2 years ago today!  I was finally all ready to make her Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese when I spotted a big bag of potatoes.  I totally forgot I even had them.  Hm… what can I do with the potatoes?  I got it:  Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Baked Potatoes.  YUP- that’s it!

The inspiration! From The Girl Who Ate Everything- one of my favorite blogs

So, for this recipe… you really only need to use one chicken breast for every two servings (potatoes) if you’re using the normal sized chicken breasts.  If you use the thin sliced cutlets, you probably want to use one chicken per potato.  Everything else has no measurements because you can really do whatever you want with it!

Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Baked Potatoes

Ingredients:

Baking Potato

Chicken Breast

Carrot

Celery

Cilantro & Green Onion

Hot Sauce- Frank’s… duh

Butter

Blue Cheese

Blue Cheese Dressing (I super-duper recommend THIS dressing… it’s NOT bad for you at all and it tastes amazing)

Directions:

1.  Wash the potatoes and pat them dry.  Cut a line down the middle (lengthwise) so the potatoes don’t burst.  Put them right in the oven that’s preheated to 400 degrees.  Don’t use any oil, salt, foil, etc.  Just stick them in there, cut-side-up and bake them for an hour.

2.  Meanwhile, cook the chicken breasts either by boiling them or sprinkle a touch of salt and pepper and heat them on a cooking spray coated grill pan.  Remove from heat and cool.

3.  Now, chop up some celery and carrots.  I used a handful of baby carrots and two celery stalks.  Put aside. 

4.  Take the chicken and shred them using two forks.  Put the shredded chicken in a medium-sized saucepan with a Tablespoon of butter and as much hot sauce as you’d like.  I probably started with 1/4 cup.  Let the butter melt and mix everything together.  Keep on warm/low heat.

5.  Remove potatoes from the oven.  You’ll know when they’re done when a fork can easily go in and be removed.  Squeeze each end of the potato to open up the cut you did earlier.  Stuff with a spoonful or two of the chicken, then put on some celery and carrots, and a teaspoon of Blue Cheese Crumbles.  Repeat.  Now garnish with some Cilantro and Green Onion, Hot Sauce and Blue Cheese Dressing.  

Shredded chicken soaking in the butter and hot sauce mixture

This is the Blue Cheese Dressing I was telling you about- I really like it, and they have a few other flavors too. It’s in the refrigerated salad/dressing section

Steamin’ hot!

I want another now! So yummy!

So, this ended up being a great idea, right?  OMG.  YUMMMM.  First of all, it tasted just as good as it looks in these pictures.  For real.  Also, I had so much chicken leftover, that I was able to use it in two other meals I made that week.  Shredding the chicken makes it look like there’s so much more… and I guess it makes it last longer too.  The sauce can also get all nice and soaked up in the chicken.  This one’s a winner, and I’ll DEF be making it again.

Now, if I can only get my act together to make that Buff Chick Macaroni and Cheese!