token valentine’s day dinner

Another Valentine’s Day over. Two years ago Lu and I were in Kentucky for our first Valentine’s Day together. We had an amazing couples massage followed by dinner at this quaint, romantic mansion. I remember what I wore, what he wore, and what we talked about. I remember it was snowing, and it made me anxious that we had to drive twenty minutes on the slippery roads. I vividly remember the grand old home. Walking in, my mind wandered to the early 1900s. I pictured women in lavish dresses and men in top hats puffing on cigars. A far cry from my silk Banana Republic blouse and dark denim jeans. I really should wear dresses more. Anyway, we had a splendid evening together.  After such a memorable evening, one might assume we would continue to have unforgettable Valentine’s Day celebrations.  So last year we…. umm…. does anyone know what we did?! Because Lu and I cannot remember for the life of us. But that’s ok. It’s pretty safe to say that no matter what we did (or didn’t do), we had a fabulous time together.

This year, I got off work at 8am and proceeded to sleep all. day. long. At least Lu had classes much of the day so I didn’t feel guilty about leaving him to fend for himself while I was snoozing in bed.  I was, however, prepared to make a feast and celebrate the best way we know how, by eating & drinking. On the menu was my chicken pesto lasagna inspired by Bethenny’s pesto vegetarian lasagna.  Of course, vegetarian does not fly in this household so I had to make the recipe my own by adding some meat and a few extra tasty ingredients. Cook dinner, we did. Lu and I made everything together and exchanged laughs during the process. 

Chicken pesto lasagna

The lasagna turned out really, really good. We dined and listened to music. I learned that if Lu had to choose one song to be his most favorite song in the world it would be Blame it on the Boogie. Probably because he just can’t control his feet. We drank riesling and ate chocolate covered strawberries. 

Our evening ended on the couch with a couple episodes of Friends (of course). One of which was Chandler and Monica’s proposal, a fitting episode. And that concluded our Valentine’s Day 2012. Although, we could repeat it again tonight because we have so much left over lasagna. And it tastes pretty good cold the next morning, too. Not that I would know…

Here is the motified recipe from Bethenny’s original recipe:

Chicken Pesto Lasagna

8 oz whole wheat lasagna noodles
about 2 cups packaged pesto (or make your own)
4 cups spinach
4 chicken breasts
15 oz part-skim ricotta cheese
1/3 cup chopped basil
1/2 toasted pine nuts
8 oz mozzarella cheese
parmesan cheese

Cook pasta noodles per box instructions. Lay out to dry. Boil chicken breast in water until thoroughly cooked. Shred chicken with forks. Saute spinach in olive oil. Combine ricotta, toasted pine nuts, and chopped basil in a bowl and set aside. 

To assemble lasagna: use a 9×9 baking dish. Spread some pesto on the bottom of the dish. Cover with one layer of noodles. Apply another layer of pesto, followed by one layer of the ricotta-herb mixture, one layer of sauteed spinach, one layer of shredded chicken, top with mozzarella cheese and sprinkle with parmesan. Add a second layer of noodles and repeat toppings. Add a third layer of noodles, which is the top layer.  Spread pesto and cheeses on top, omitting spinach and chicken on this layer.  Bake in 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until cheese is browned and bubbling. 

xo. ltw 

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