Wednesday, February 3, 2010

pretty pictures & yummy deliciousness

Get ready for the Ultimate Hodge Podge Post!

First up... Photos from this past weekend in Austin!

Saturday morning started off with a bang: (a long overdue) brunch with some of my very first "internet friends" at Sagra... (a) FUN and (b) DELISH.  There are lots of reasons I would love to move back to Austin... laid-back, fun people like this top that list!

{clockwise from the left: Kelly, Shannon, Me, Kelly, Jessica, Victoria, Jill}

Saturday evening we attended A & B's gorgeous wedding... A is my oldest friend in the world - we met on the playground at church when we were both four.  We are not as in-touch as I wish (my fault) but her friendship will always occupy a very special corner of my heart.  Also... have you ever seen a more stunning bride?  I'm pretty sure this dress was made just for her - I can't imagine anyone else pulling it off with such grace. 

Oh! And it was a pretty awesome party too!

Now on to... Photos from Evs' Birthday! 

These might be a snooze to everyone save for me since they are just snapshots of the tiny elements of our little, low-key celebration, but its my blog and I love details!  However, soldier on and you will be rewarded with a delicious recipe for Smoked Chicken & Spinach Lasagna Rolls! 

letterpress from Satsuma Press
everyone deserves a little luxury on their birthday...
especially when that someone continually spoils me rotten!
Cinnamon Cookie Cake from Creme de la Cookie - YUM

Smoked Chicken & Spinach Lasagna Rolls
- (majorly) adapted from Giada de Laurentis' recipe for Lasagna Rolls 

  • 1 container (15 oz) of whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 package (10 oz) of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1 cup + 2 T of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • meat from 1 rotisserie chicken, shredded
  • 1 whole egg, beaten
  • Kosher salt / ground pepper to taste
  • red chili flakes (as much as you like!)
  • 15 lasagna noodles
  • 4-5 cups of pasta sauce**
++ This recipe is extremely forgiving.  The original calls for a bechamel sauce on the bottom of the pan but I prefer more tomato sauce.  The original calls for prosciutto, but I am married to the only man on earth who doesn't love bacon-y flavor so its smoked rotisserie chicken for us. I've also made this as a vegetarian dish with julienned carrots, squash, and zucchini in addition to the spinach.  Play around!  Lasagne Rolls are your oyster!  

** I usually like to make my own... this recipe for Arrabiata sauce is one of my favorites if I'm actually using a recipe (often I just throw a bunch of tomatoes, basil, onion, and garlic into the food mill and rock out) and I've heard rave reviews about Smitten Kitchen's butter tomato sauce.  Last night, because of time, I cheated and used Mario Bartali's Arrabiata Sauce. Its pretty delicious and its not full of processed crap. 


Preheat oven to 450 degrees. 

Cook pasta until tender but still firm to bite.  Drain and lay on a cooking sheet or pieces of aluminum foil. 

Mix egg, ricotta, 1 c. of Parmesan, spinach, and chicken together in a bowl.  Stir in salt, pepper, and chili flakes. 

Pour half of your chosen pasta sauce into the bottom of a 9x13'' baking dish.  Set the remainder aside. 

Spoon filling mixture on top of noodles, spreading the filling along the length of the noodles and leaving about half an inch of "naked pasta" on one end. 

Starting at the "non-naked" end of the pasta, roll up the noodle (Giada says "like a jelly roll") toward the "naked" end.  {Not having any filling at the very end of your roll allows the seam to seal better and keep all the yummy filling inside the roll}  Place the rolls, seam-side down, in rows in the baking dish. 

Spread the remainder of the sauce over the rolls.  Sprinkle Parmesan over the entire kit-n-kaboodle (ummmm I may have used slightly more than 2 T of Parm on the top... so sue me).  

Cover dish with foil and bake for 15 minutes.  Remove foil and bake for another 5 minutes or until cheese and sauce are bubbling.  Allow to stand for 10 minutes before serving. 

Mmmmm HEAVEN.  Evs doesn't like lasagna but this feels much lighter than traditional lasagna and was a huge hit for the birthday dinner! 

Yields 7.5 (2 rolls) regular servings / 5 (3 rolls) man-sized servings 


  1. These look so good! But ricotta cheese doesn't do well with me, so I'd have to use an alternative..ok, now I'm hungry!

  2. You are making me sad I have to stay away from cheese, when cheese is my favorite. thing.ever. Ok, I might just deal and make these anyway!

  3. Show us the Hermes goodies! Nothing makes me happier than unwrapping a present and seeing an orange box. Maybe that's a lie, I love blue boxes too...

    And have you ever been told you look like the girl from Dear John? She could be your facebook dobbleganger which makes me jealous because i don't have one. POOR POOR ME!

  4. Yummy Recipe. I have made something similar but in vegetarian style. Def. going to add chicken next time! Glad you guys had a good day. I am in love with that wedding dress! Stunning!

  5. 1) Totally in love with that wedding dress. Tres unique! 2) I heart Creme de la Cookie :) 3) That lasagna is definitely a must try!

  6. That recipe looks delish! Will have to try it soon.

  7. I brought D back a Hermes tie from Paris a few years ago and I think I appreciate it more than he does! Something about an orange box...

    The whole birthday celebration looks wonderful :)

  8. It was so fabulous to finally meet you! Your friend's dress is gorgeous, and I HAVE to try that recipe soon. yum.

  9. those lasagna rolls look delicious, and I am dying over your friends wedding gown...

    Trust me when the day comes for me to plan a wedding I will be inundating your inbox to harvest all the great ideas you and your friends have come up with!

  10. Um are you kidding me? Those rolls look AMAZING!!!

  11. Wow, that looks super yummy! love it!

  12. It was soo great to meet you! That recipe looks wonderful!

  13. yum! that recipe looks delish...

    did i mention (er, over at itpitb) that i'm mad i didn't get the brunch invite! how are we going to continue being long-lost sisters if we dont hang out more often... :)

  14. I love Creme de la Cookie...definitely craving a cake ball right now.

    And I can't wait to try out that recipe.

  15. I love the letterpress bike card. I would love to own a tandem bike. Wouldn't that be fun?!?

  16. So I'm pretty sure I'm about to reveal myself as a TV-aholic but... I, too, LOVE your friend's dress and immediately recognized it as the wedding dress of Dina Manzo of Real Housewives of New Jersey. Way before she was on Real Housewives, there was a show on VH1 called My Big Fat Fabulous Wedding and hers was featured. I loved that dress then and thought it was so unique. I remember thinking that a "real person" would never be able to pull it off but I was flat out wrong because your friend looks AMAZING in it!

  17. Oh my goodness her wedding dress! Gorgeous. And I'd love one of those special orange boxes, I don't even think I care what comes in it, haha! The recipe sounds delicious and looks great too - thanks for sharing, I'm thinking this will be a good recipe for a little get together.

  18. Happy Birthday to Evs! And also, the recipe looks like something I could actually make, which is uber limited. Thanks for the idea :)

  19. 1.) I think I ALWAYS top with more cheese than the recipes call for.

    2.) You HAVE to try Deb's tomato sauce. It's amazing how much flavor you get from just a can of tomatoes, butter, and an onion. And a little bit of salt. I loved it so much I made more for lunch the next day. That's probably too much pasta in 2 days, but the sauce was THAT good. I think it could also easily be "dressed up" if you wanted to add garlic or basil or parsley or oregano. Or all of the above. I plan on experimenting soon. Maybe this weekend.

  20. The lasgana rolls look delish!

  21. Not to be a weird Internet stalker or anything, but my goodness you certainly are a pretty girl. There. I said it.

  22. a) i love, love, LOVE your blog! such a fun read.
    b) that wedding dress is stunning!
    c) i might have to plan a trip to dallas just to try creme de la cookie. YUM


    d) hermes? i die.

  23. The lasagna rolls look amazing! I cannot wait to try out your modified recipe. I almost always add at least 1/4 cup more cheese to everything. It's a habit I refuse to break ;)

  24. I make these rolls all the time, they're one of my favorites.

    And that dress is amazing.


happy little comments!