Main living area

Our main living area is less finished. We need to work on curtains (Chris needs to fashion a rod to fit the bay window), shelving in the dining room above the desk, and wall art. We also intend to purchase more substantial seating for by the window and touch up the dining chairs. Overall though, it’s very workable and gives Clara a large area to play. The table is also usually set up for a friend. 🙂 I’ll switch out the coral for fall and winter. I’m thinking red and/or dark purple.

We purchased the couch for this space, but everything else we’ve made do with what we had or found for free/really cheap. The 2 dark end tables were purchased for $6 total. The cream end table/file cabinet we grabbed from by the dumpster. People put things there when they move out. With a placemat and a magic eraser, it works great for now. I may refinish it and the tv stand eventually, but they’re not on the top of my list of priorities.

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Master bedroom

Now that our apartment is mostly put together, I think it’s time to share some “finished” pictures. Nothing is ever really finished for me, though! I like to change things around.

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I didn’t put either of our duvet covers on yet. I’m enjoying the simple look of the cream. I’ll put the fall/winter cover on once September rolls around. Other than that and changing out the pictures, the bedroom will stay like this for a while.

Roasted Butternut Squash, Spinach, Caramelized Onion, and Chicken Lasagna

I found a recipe for this delicious lasagna last fall, on The Kitchy Kitchen. (Her picture will always look more delicious than mine!) I made it once as the directions suggest, and I loved it. If you have a lot of time on your hands, or multiple people cooking, it’s worth it to make the homemade sauce and use all of the fresh ingredients. That is not usually the case for me, so I’ve adapted the recipe to make it a little simpler and include meat. It is still a time intensive recipe, so I suggest doing the assembly during naptime if you’re at home with kids, or maybe the evening before if you work. Since it’s lasagna, it refrigerates, and likely freezes, well!

Roasted Butternut Squash, Spinach, Caramelized Onion, and Chicken Lasagna

I’m on the I-pad and couldn’t customize very well, so the finished picture is at the bottom!

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups butternut squash, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (I peel it and then chop it up. A sharp peeler is a must. Trader Joe’s also sells pre-chopped squash if you don’t want the work.)
  • 3/4 lb – 1lb chicken breast, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 18 oz spinach, washed and dried
  • 2 very large or 3 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • roughly 12 oz lasagna noodles (I used Trader Joe’s that don’t require cooking. It was a 1 lb box and I used maybe 2/3rds of it.)
  • 12-15oz ricotta
  • 12oz shredded mozzarella cheese (you can use more or less depending on how cheesy you want your lasagna to be)
  • grated Parmesan cheese (like Kraft)
  • 1 jar of alfredo sauce (I would have actually liked a little more sauce, but I just used what I had)
  • Minced garlic
  • nutmeg
  • red pepper flakes
  • black pepper
  • dried parsley
  • dried basil
  • olive oil
  • butter
Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place squash on a cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Toss in salt and pepper, and then roast for roughly 30 minutes – until soft. Stir occasionally.
  • While the squash cooks, continue working on the other ingredients. Heat 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a heavy pan over medium heat. Add the onion and a large pinch of salt. Caramelize for 30-40 minutes, stirring frequently, until dark brown.

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(Once the onion was caramelized and been removed from the pan, I deglazed the pan with some red wine vinegar. Any vinegar should work. This made clean up much easier!)

  • Saute the chicken in 1 tablespoon of butter until browned and cooked through. I seasoned it with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
  • Saute the spinach in 2 tablespoons of olive oil and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Once it is thoroughly wilted, drain off excess liquid on some paper towels.
  • Combine the squash, chicken, and onion.

Image(Here are all of my ingredients before I mixed the caramelized onion in with the squash and chicken.)

  • To make the sauce, dump the alfredo sauce into a medium sized bowl. Add the following, to taste:
    • 3/4 tsp nutmeg
    • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
    • 1/2 tsp basil
    • 1/2 tsp parsley
    • 1/2 tsp black pepper

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  • Mix 1 tsp of basil with the ricotta

You’re finally ready to assemble the lasagna!

  • Spray the bottom and sides of a 9×13 baking dish.
  • Place a small amount of sauce in the bottom of the pan.
  • Layer noodles on the bottom of the pan, breaking them as needed to fit.
  • Add 1/2 of the ricotta cheese and spread evenly.
  • Add 1/2 of the veggie mix and 1/2 of the spinach.
  • Top this mixture with roughly 1/3 of the remaining sauce.
  • Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
  • Repeat another layer of noodles, filling, sauce, and cheese.
  • Top with 1 final layer of noodles and remaining sauce.
  • Cover as desired with the mozzarella cheese.
  • Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and dried basil
  • Refrigerate until ready to cook, or cook immediately.
  • Cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.
  • Remove foil and continue baking until bubbly and browning on top.
  • Cut into generous portions and enjoy! This pairs nicely with crusty bread and a salad.

I have served this lasagna to a group of med students and at a bridal shower. Both groups enjoyed it thoroughly. This is a versatile lasagna, and can easily be made vegetarian by omitting the chicken. I imagine that roasted red peppers and mushrooms would also be ingredients that would pair well with the sauce. My favorite part about this meal is that I won’t have to cook for Clara and I the 2 nights that Chris has call this week! Simply heat a few slices in the microwave and we’re good to go!

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Roasted butternut squash, caramelized onion, spinach, and chicken lasagna