I was fortunate enough to encounter a lovely and very helpful foodie in there, going by the name of Rouxbe-Foodie. He regularly posts Cooking School videos which I have found incredibly helpful!
His videos eventually led me to the Rouxbe site.
I was curious... Having some time to myself on Sunday-Alex had some friends over and was more than happy to leave me to my own devices, for a change lol-I decided to join the Cooking School on the site and spent most of the time doing the classes.
Well, I say most of the time but, in fact, I mean all of the time-and low and behold, dinner time crept up on me and I hadn't even gone shopping yet.
With 3 starving boys in the house I started to panic.
Decided to turn to my Foodbuzz buddy Rouxbe-Foodie' s recipes on the Rouxbe site (where he is known as Steve Ellis). They all looked amazing but the one that jumped out to me, was the Baked Spinach and Chicken Bechamel Pasta as I had all of the ingredients in my fridge.
45 minutes later, I had 3 very happy boys, smiling after their second helpings!
Now, this is a very important point! My six year old is a poor eater and never finishes his food, nevermind second helpings!
The compliments were amazing- 'thats my most favorite pasta ever!', 'I want this everyday' , 'I want my mom to cook my pasta like this, can you tell her please?' lol
Errm...I better not, but I then realised this recipe needs to get out there, into the big wide world And so here it is.
By the way, I made a huge tray of it and all I got was a spoonful but, oh boy, it did taste divine!!!
So to Mr. Ellis, the man behind the camera, please take a stand and accept my gratitude for making my son like his mummy's cooking, for once lol
Oh and these are my pictures of the recipe :)
The original recipe can be found here
1 box of Pasta-I used Pennnoni
1 box of frozen spinach- I used fresh that I blanched before hand
2 cups of Roast chicken
500 ml mozzarella cheese
1 bunch fresh basil
parmasean cheese- I used pecorino but all the same
salt to taste
For the Bechamel:
6 tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup flour
3 1/2 cups milk
salt to taste
1/2 tsp nutmeg
salt to taste
white pepper to taste
Cook the Spinach, if you are using fresh. Drain and squeeze well. Cut into pieces.
Boil the water for the pasta, add salt and pasta.
Make the bechamel (step by Step instructions according To Steve Ellis which I followed and turned out perfect!)
'First finely dice the shallot and emincé the garlic.
Over medium high heat melt the butter and add the shallot and garlic.
After a minute continue making the roux.
Be sure to add the milk slowly a bit at a time and always allow it to come to temperature before mixing or adding more.
We want a béchamel about the consistency of yogurt.'
'When the pasta is done drain it and put it back into the pot and add just enough of the bechamel to keep the pasta from sticking to it's self.'
'Add the diced chicken and spinach to the pot with the pasta already combined with sauce and fold together. Now your ready to assemble.'
And a great tip on the Roast Chicken:
'I wouldn't roast a chicken specifically for this dish instead I make this dish with the left overs the day after making a roast chicken for the family. You just want to remove all the bones and dice into bit size pieces. 2 cups is just a guide use as much as you wish or non at all if you want the dish to be vegetarian.'
'Grate up the cheese and have the basil washed and ready to go. Don't cut it up as it will turn brown, always tear basil leaves to preserve their color.
In a large casserole dish spread a layer of the pasta mix. Spread a thin layer of bechamel sauce. Tear up basil leaves all over the sauce and lastly spread a layer of grated mozzarella cheese. Season to taste. Repeat that order two more times for three layers total.
I always run short on mozzarella cheese so I grate Parmesan all over the top and then give a nice thin layer of olive oil on top of that. I always make sure to wipe anything that may have split off the edges of the casserole dish or it will burn.
Place into a 375 degree oven for 30 to 40 minutes or till it just looks amazing whichever comes first.'
I followed these instructions religiously and this was the final result!!! Truly delicious! Guess I need to make some more to have all to myself lol