Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Cajun Chicken Lasagna

I made the yummiest dinner tonight! Definitely not the healthiest, though. I made some changes from the original, so that makes it my own, right? At any rate, it's adapted from

Cajun Chicken Lasagna
12 lasagna noodles
1 whole chicken breast, cooked & shredded or diced small
1# sliced andouille sausage OR Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup each diced red & green bell pepper
1 Tbs. minced garlic
1 tsp. sage
2 tsp. Cajun seasoning, or to taste (depending on how spicy your sausage is)
1 can seasoned diced tomatoes, undrained
2 jars Classico creamy alfredo sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup grated Parmesan (I used less, just sprinkled it on)
3/4 cup water

To start off with, you can preboil the lasagna noodles if you like. I NEVER do; if you want to, just omit the 2/3 cup sauce on the bottom of the baking dish, and also omit the water.

Combine sausage, veggies, garlic and sage in a large skillet; cook over medium heat until sausage is cooked through. Drain off fat or excess liquid. Add cooked chicken, Cajun seasoning (start with just 1 tsp.), stir in tomatoes and one jar of the alfredo sauce. Taste and add more seasoning if desired.

From the second jar of sauce, pour 2/3 cup of this in the bottom of an ungreased 9x13 baking dish. If you preboiled your noodles, skip this step and lightly spray the dish. Place 4 of the lasagna noodles on top of the sauce (I do 3 lengthwise and 1 crosswise), then half the meat/veggies mixture. Repeat layers, and add another layer of noodles on top. Pour the remaining jar of alfredo sauce over this. top with cheeses. Pour 3/4 cup water around the edges of the dish, cover in tinfoil.

Bake at 350 for 1 hour, let stand 15 minutes before serving. Serves 12.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Happy New Year?

Yeah, it's February 20. I know.

So, some terrible things and some great things have happened since I last blogged.

First, the terrible, so I can end on a happy note. My stepdad (who is just my dad, since 1980; I've never called him stepdad, because my biological dad passed away when I was just a baby), got cancer. They found it in the colon when he had a colonoscopy mid-November because of some abdominal discomfort he'd been having for a few weeks. When they went in to remove the tumor, the surgeon discovered there was already fluid building up around his organs, and tumors everywhere. Talk about shocking news. A mere two months prior, my dad had ridden his mountain bike from their house (Southport area) all the way to OUR house (Hawktree area).

After one doctor told us there was no hope and we should just go home and have hospice care, we got a different oncologist who was ready to help fight it. Unfortunately, we never got to that point, and Dad passed away three weeks after the surgery. It was the day after his birthday, and only my mom, brother and I were at his side. I don't want to go into much detail beyond that, because it's a very personal and private thing. But I will just say - being present at someone's passing out of this world is both the most awful thing I've been through, yet I feel so honored to have been a part of it, and wouldn't want it any other way.

You add that to the fact that my dad's mom passed away 5 weeks before, and his dad passed away a few weeks ago, and it's been a rough few months.

So, onto the good stuff?

After several weeks of phone calls and emails shared with Concordia, I finally got my B. A.! How did this happen, 15 years after actually going through graduation? Well... I failed a class senior year, so I never technically got my degree (even though I possess a signed diploma.. hmm). It was Physics: The Science of Sound. Concordia axed the class as a requirement for a music education major in 1997. I graduated in 1996. So, yes - I should've argued this point right after graduation, had them move my grad date to 1997, and moved on with my life, owning my degree. But.. I didn't. Fast forward to January, and during my time off, I called them. She had the Education and Music departments each review my transcript, and - long story short - I was awarded my B. A. last week.

Also, Adam received his First Degree Black Belt Recommended in Taekwondo last week! Here he is:

Recommended black belt means he's not a black belt yet. His belt is half red, half back. He has around 6 months to a year until he earns black belt, and even then it's completely dependent upon how hard he works. If you slack off, it'll take you a couple of years; if you show up for every class and really work, you'll earn it in 6 months.

Which is a nice segue into other news: Mason and I have started Taekwondo too! He looks so cute in his little uniform - it's hard to believe Adam was ever that little, but he must have been, since it's his old uniform.

The winter weather is still craptacular, I hope this is our last winter storm of the season. But I'm really NOT counting on it!