Creamy Turkey and Bacon Alfredo Lasagna Recipe

Many years ago, I had a random burst of inspiration to create a non-traditional lasagna as a surprise dinner for my over-worked boyfriend.  I had never actually made a lasagna before, and was only basing the recipe on a few items I wanted to include.  Ground turkey, bacon, smoked cheese, and spinach.  I researched a few different lasagna recipes to get a sense of other ingredients I would need, as well as the mechanics of cooking a lasagna.  I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t as hard as I thought!  The stars aligned for this Alfredo lasagna recipe – after an hour or so of winging it, I had one of the most delicious lasagnas I’ve ever eaten!

Turkey and Bacon Alfredo Lasagna

I’ve continued to make this lasagna recipe throughout the years, always trying to remember exactly what I did by looking at pictures.  It had been a while since I last made this lasagna, I decided this was the perfect opportunity to finally write out the recipe.  That way I’d finally have it, and best of all, I’d get to share it with all of you!

I hope you all enjoy my Turkey and Bacon Alfredo Lasagna recipe!

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 16 oz. bags of frozen spinach, defrosted and drained
  • 16 oz. of ricotta
  • 1 box lasagna noodles
  • 1 lb. of ground turkey
  • 1 package of turkey bacon, diced
  • 3/4 medium onion, chopped
  • 3/4 medium bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 cups of mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 TBSP oregano
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 12 oz. smoked cheese blend, shredded
  • 2 jars Alfredo sauce

Here’s what you do:

Preheat oven to 375.

In a large skillet, brown turkey over medium heat.  Once turkey is cooked through, drain on paper towel and set aside.

Brown Ground Turkey for Alfredo Lasagna

I like to cook everything in the same pan, so all the flavors meld together.  If you’re short on time, you could certainly use multiple pans.  After you’ve cooked the ground turkey, lightly brown the bacon over medium heat for about 5 minutes.

Lightly Brown Turkey Bacon for Alfredo Lasagna

Set bacon aside.  Saute the onion and bell pepper over medium heat for about 5 minutes.  Add mushrooms and cook for an additional 2 minutes.  Then add your spices and garlic, cooking for another 2 minutes.

Sauteed Vegetables for Alfredo Lasagna Filling

Combine Ground Turkey and Sauteed VegetablesIn a large bowl, combine ground turkey and your sauteed vegetables.  Set aside about a 1/3 of the diced bacon; this will be for topping the lasagna.  In a medium bowl, combine the rest of the bacon, ricotta, and drained spinach.  You really want to make sure you get all the liquid out of the spinach, so it doesn’t make the lasagna watery.

You now have all the components to assemble your lasagna!  Lightly coat a 9×13 casserole dish with cooking spray, and then spread a thin layer of Alfredo sauce on the bottom.  Layer lasagna noodles on top of the sauce, and sprinkle 1/4 of cheese over the noodles.

I previously mentioned in my Spinach and Prosciutto Lasagna recipe, I use no boil noodles, because that’s the only kind Trader Joe’s carries.  If you choose to use no boil noodles as well, I like to soak them in hot water for about 5-10 minutes.  They will be more pliable and you won’t have any crunchy noodles in your lasagna!

Crumble 1/3 of the ricotta mixture on top of the noodles.  Layer 1/3 of the ground turkey mixture on top of that.  Evenly spread 1/2 cup of sauce, smoothing out slightly with the back of a spoon.  Don’t worry if your sauce isn’t spreading everywhere, all the ingredients will meld together while the lasagna bakes.  Repeat all layers two more times.

Crumble Spinach Mixture Over the Ground Turkey

Place one final layer of noodles, and evenly spread 1 cup of sauce over that.  Sprinkle the remaining cheese and bacon on top.  Note:  if you can’t find a smoked cheese blend, you could always buy smoked mozzarella and shred it yourself.  Just be sure to measure the cheese after shredding.

Top Lasagna with Cheese and Turkey Bacon

Back uncovered for about 20-25 minutes, or until cheese is bubbling and the edges have browned.  Let rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Creamy Turkey and Bacon Alfredo Lasagna
Turkey and Bacon Alfredo Lasagna Recipe

Creamy Turkey and Bacon Alfredo Lasagna RecipeThis delicious lasagna serves 12 huge portions; even more if you like smaller portions!  I love how different this Alfredo lasagna recipe is from a traditional lasagna.  The smokiness from the cheese and bacon, mixed with the creamy Alfredo sauce is an amazing combination of flavor!

As always, let me know if you make this recipe and how it turns out!  Happy eating!

Total Body 10-Minute Workouts

Hello out there!  I’m super excited to have a free moment and finally make a new blog post!  It’s been awhile – I hope all of you had a terrific holiday, New Years and a great start to 2015 thus far.  Like most people, one of my goals in the new year is to be healthier.  So far, I’ve been trying to make better food choices, cut back on sugar and alcohol, and be more active.

One struggle I’ve had in the past is trying to fit a workout into a busy schedule.  I’m sure many of you can relate with that!  I started seeing a lot of articles with research showing it’s not necessarily the length of time, but the intensity of a workout that’s beneficial.  That’s when I started to hunt for high intensity, 10-minute workouts.  While I try to exercise a little longer than that (when I have the time), if I can at least get in a 10-minute workout, I feel much better at the end of the day.

I’ve been waiting to make this post until I felt like I found the perfect videos to share with you all.  I’m so happy the day is finally here!  So, without further ado…

Victoria's Secret Model 10-Minute Workout

This is the very first video I found, and it’s still my favorite!  I love that it’s a full body workout, and how high the intensity level is.

When I first started, I couldn’t even finish the routine all the way through without pausing several times!  I can do the whole workout now, but I’m still out of breath by the end of it.

10-Minute Tush-Toning Pilates WorkoutThis butt workout is killer!  My legs burn and shake throughout, and I’m still working on being able to do the whole routine without pausing!

I like how many different parts of the butt and thigh area are targeted.  I especially love the moves that focus on the hip flexors!  For just 10-minutes out of my day, I really feel like my butt and inner thighs are getting an awesome workout!  

Barre3 Arms and Leg WorkoutNot only does this video work out your arms and legs, but you’ll also get your heart rate up and a full body workout!

This video is great for adding some strength training into your routine.  I have to put my weights down from time-to-time, but it’s fun to know I have something to work up to!  I love the barre3 techniques used in this workout.  There’s a focus on keeping your spine upright, and evening out your lower body by working your glutes more than your quads.

Tone Abs Without Crunches in 5 MinutesI have yet to find a 10-minute, high intensity ab workout that doesn’t hurt my back.  If anyone has a favorite ab workout, please share in the comments section below!

Although this video is only 5 minutes, you can definitely tell how each move is working to define your abs.  I really love how this routine is standing and crunchless, and it’s short enough to add at the end of any workout.  Once you get the hang of all the moves, you could also do more reps to make the workout last longer!

You’ll notice that all of these videos are from Popsugar Fitness.  Out of all the videos I’ve tried, I always go back to Popsugar.  I’ve found that their instructors are the most personable and very encouraging.  They’re also really great about explaining proper form, and what areas each move is targeting.  And while each video has a specific target area, they all work out your entire body, so you really feel like you’re getting a great workout in only 10 minutes!

These 10-minute workouts have helped me sneak exercise into my busy schedule, and I hope they will help you as well!  They are great on their own, but also fun to combine when you have the extra time.  I hope you all continue to have a wonderful year and achieve your goals, whatever they may be!

Beard Hat Pattern Christmas Knitting Kit

Hello, faithful readers!  How’s everyone’s Christmas shopping going?  I still have quite a bit left to do and not a whole lot of time to do it!  If you’re like me, I’m always looking for new easy and inexpensive ideas.  If holiday shopping and DIY gift-making is your plan this week, I’ve got a special treat for you today!

DIY Knit Beard Hat PatternI’m sure many of you remember the DIY Beard Hat Pattern I shared earlier this year.  I made this beard hat for Daniel as a Christmas gift last year.  He loved it so much, I wanted to share it with all of you, since I know I had a hard time finding the perfect pattern.  I had no idea so many of you would love it too!

Knitting a beard hat for someone is a great DIY Christmas gift on its own, but if you know someone that wants to learn to knit, there’s an even better way to present this gift.  A knitting kit!

I had a very sweet and talented reader contact me with this great idea.  She’s a graphic designer from Spain, and she created a wonderful printed tutorial based on my beard hat pattern.  She originally created it for her sister-in-law to include in a knitting kit for her, but she generously wants to share it with all of you as well!

You can download the Beard Hat Pattern tutorial here, and then simply print out the guide on standard letter sized paper.  You’ll notice there are small black lines on each corner.  Those are just guide lines for cutting each side, as the graphic is smaller than the paper.

She also included this handy guide on how to fold the printed tutorial.

Knit Beard Printed Tutorial How To Fold

Here’s how I followed the guide:

  1. With the blank side of the paper facing up, and the Knit Beard Pattern cover closest to me.  Fold the cover side up.  You will now have steps 7-16 facing up and upside down.  This is Step 2 on the graphic.
  2. Fold over the right side of the tutorial, you will now have steps 3-6 facing up (upside down).  This is Step 3 on the graphic.  This is just to create a crease, so then you will unfold the right side of the tutorial.
  3. I then flipped the tutorial over, so steps 1-6 were facing up.  Then following Step 4 on the graphic, I folded both the left side and right side of the tutorial to the crease I just made.  You will now see the Knit Beard Pattern cover and steps 7-10 facing up.
  4. I then folded the right side of the tutorial back (steps 7-10).  You should now be left with a little accordion booklet, with the cover facing up at you.  You can flip through to make sure all the steps are in order.

Knit Beard Pattern Knit Kit TutorialHere’s the finished Beard Hat Pattern printed tutorial!  Super cute, right?

This is such a great idea to include with a knitting kit, and a really easy, fast and inexpensive DIY Christmas gift!

If you’re not sure what to include in a knitting kit, you could always buy a pre-made kit.  This is actually the one I got as a kid, and how I taught myself to knit.  I still use a lot of the tools that came with it!

Here are a few more options for those that like to comparative shop:  Red Heart Knitting Made Easy Kit and the Learn Knitting! Kit.

I want to say a BIG thank you to Laia for her awesome idea for a printed tutorial and knitting kit.  And especially for being so kind and sharing her wonderful tutorial.  Be sure to head over to her website and check out more of her work!

Chocolate and Salted Caramel Whiskey Cake Recipe

Heellllooo out there!  Long time no see!  I’m so excited that I finally have the chance to create a brand new post for all of you.  This one is a pretty sweet one… literally!

When Daniel’s birthday comes around, I always love to bake him a delicious and unique treat.  In the past I’ve made him cheesecake, as that’s one of his favorite desserts.  This year, however, I was very inspired by all the boozy cupcake recipes I had been seeing on Pinterest.  After hinting a little at some possible ideas, Daniel told me he’d rather have a cake over cupcakes.  So I looked at various recipes for some ideas, and eventually created this Chocolate and Salted Caramel Whiskey Cake recipe!  Then I found a Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting to top it with.  Excited?  Check it out!

Ingredients for Chocolate and Salted Caramel Whiskey Cake

The Cake – Here’s what you need:

  • 1 box of chocolate cake mix
  • 2 TBSP of whiskey
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • Milk
  • Butter
  • Eggs
  • 1 jar of salted caramel sauce

Ok, I know some people believe using a cake mix is blasphemous, but I was running on limited time and needed that little bit of extra help (did I mention I was also making Daniel a birthday dinner?).  I obviously wanted to serve a delicious cake, so I looked up some tips on how to make cake mix taste homemade.

Here’s what you do:

Follow the directions for the cake mix, BUT replace water with milk and vegetable oil with softened butter.  Also, add in one extra egg than the cake mix calls for.  Also add 1 tsp of vanilla extract and 2 TBSP of whiskey.  Mix until combined.

Divide batter into two, lightly oiled 8-inch or 9-inch round cake pans.  Swirl about 1 TBSP of salted caramel sauce into each pan.

Salted Caramel Drizzle in Cake Batter

Bake as directed, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Allow cakes to cool completely on cooling racks.

Finished Cake Layers

While your cakes are cooling you can make the Salted Caramel Frosting!  I followed this recipe, except I doubled it so I would have enough to frost a two-layer cake and add decorative piping.

Ingredients for Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting

The Frosting – Here’s what you need:

  • 2 cups of butter (room temperature)
  • 2/3 cup salted caramel sauce
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups of powdered sugar
  • 2 pinches of salt

Here’s what you do:

  1. In a large bowl, beat butter for 1 minute with an electric mixer.
  2. Add salted caramel and vanilla extract, beat for 2 minutes, occasionally scraping the sides of your bowl.
  3. On a low speed, beat in powdered sugar and salt until incorporated.
  4. Increase speed and beat for an additional 2-3 minutes, or until frosting is creamy and well-combined.

If you prefer desserts that aren’t too sweet, you will probably want to find a different frosting, as this one is pretty sugary!

Once your cakes have cooled, use a serrated knife to slice off the rounded top layer of each cake, making cakes flat on both sides.

Spread Buttercream Frosting Between Both Cake Layers

Spread about a 1/4-1/2 in. layer of frosting on one cake and top with the other.  Then all that’s left is to frost the whole cake and add some decorative piping.  I also drizzled more salted caramel sauce on top and sprinkled a little coarse salt for garnish.  Take a look at the finished cake below!

Chocolate and Salted Caramel Whiskey Cake

Chocolate and Salted Caramel Whiskey Cake with Salted Caramel Frosting

Chocolate and Salted Caramel Whiskey Birthday Cake

Daniel with his Chocolate and Salted Caramel Whiskey Birthday Cake

I’m happy to say Daniel loved the cake (can you tell?), as did I!  I hope all of you will enjoy it as well!

Note:  The whiskey flavor is subtle.  If you want more pronounced flavor, I suggest sprinkling whiskey on the cakes as soon as they come out of the oven, allowing the cakes to absorb the liquid while they cool.

As always, let me know in the comments section if you make the cake and how it turns out!  Can’t wait to hear from you.  Happy Eating!

Bonus!  You all know how I love to share gift wrapping that I’ve done.  For Daniel’s birthday I decided to focus on a modern color scheme – check it out!

Blue and Green Color Scheme Gift Wrapping

[The “To My Human” card is from our cat!]

Beatles Birthday Gift Wrapping

Blue and Green Gift Wrapping Close Up

Close Up of Blue and Green Gift Wrapping

Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas Recipe

HELLO, everyone!  I am back after a SUPER long hiatus!  Gosh, things have been so busy – I haven’t been able to devote the time I wish I could for this blog.  Thank you to anyone who continues to visit, and I promise I’ll keep posting even if it’s sporadically!

Today I’m going to share one of our favorite staple dinners – a Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas recipe! It’s super fast and easy, which makes it the perfect weeknight dinner.

Daniel LOVES Mexican food, and after living in Los Angeles for 4 years (and dating Daniel), I’ve grown to love it as well. While we often make tacos and burritos, we didn’t start making enchiladas until we saw enchilada sauce at Trader Joes. Once we realized how easy they were to make (and how delicious), we couldn’t get enough of them!

We followed some of the basics and ingredients from this recipe. You know us though, we added our own touches and switched things up a bit! Check out our Chicken Enchiladas recipe below!

Here’s what you need:

  • 5 chicken tenderloins
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1/2 pint of sour cream
  • 1 jar enchilada sauce
  • 3/4 cup sliced black olives
  • 1 and 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 avocados
  • 6 large flour tortillas
  • 3/4 bell pepper, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3/4 cup frozen corn
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • Tomatoes, diced (for garnish)

Here’s what you do:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat olive oil over medium heat and cook chicken. [You can read what kind of chicken I like to keep on hand, and how I cook it here]. When the chicken is cooked through, dice and set aside.

Cook Chicken for Cheesey Enchiladas

Set aside about a 1/4 cup of onion for topping, and sauté the rest of the onion and bell pepper until tender. About 5-6 minutes. Add corn and cook for another 2-3 minutes.  Add 1 cup of cheese, sour cream, spices, garlic, 1/2 cup of olives, and the chicken. Heat over low heat until cheese melts, stirring occasionally.

Add Frozen Corn to Onion and Pepper

Spread a thin layer of enchilada sauce on the bottom of pan. Fill each tortilla with equal amounts of filling, roll, and arrange in pan.  Evenly spread remaining sauce over enchiladas and top with cheese. You can also top with the remaining olives and onion, or add them after baking.

Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas Recipe

Chicken Enchiladas with Rice and BeansBake, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes, and then top with a dollop of sour cream, a few slices of avocado and diced tomatoes (also the onion and olives if you didn’t already add them). Serve with your favorite rice and beans, and enjoy! This recipes makes 6 servings.

These can be a little tricky to get out of the pan. We like to use 2 large spoons and pick them up from both ends. It’s inevitable that some of the filling will spill out though, so have your plate ready and close by!

Easy Cheesey Chicken Enchiladas RecipeThis meal is so delicious, and as you can see, very quick and easy! We recently substituted chicken with ground turkey the last time we made this. It was a tasty way to switch things up, but I think I still prefer using chicken. Try them both out and let me know which one is your favorite!

I hope you enjoy this Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas recipe! Let me know if you try the recipe in the comments section below! Happy eating!