Living Outside the Stacks

Navigating through life away from the library


Throwback Thursday: Easy Vegetable Lasagna {In the Kitchen}

In honor of Throwback Thursday, a repost from 6 March 2012. Enjoy!

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted about Meatless Monday, I guess because we’ve mostly been eating soups on those days but last night was totally different. I made a Vegetable Lasagna that was to die for… OK, truth, the girls and I loved it, the guys not so much. So while it may not be a total guy pleaser, I think it’s well worth trying.

Easy Vegetable Lasagna {Living Outside the Stacks}


4 Zucchini (sliced)

1 Green Pepper (diced)

1 Red Onion (diced)

1 Package Frozen Spinach (defrosted)

Mushrooms (sliced)

Garlic Powder

Salt & Pepper

1 Package lasagna noodles

2 (15 oz) Ricotta Cheese

1 Package Mozzarella Cheese

3 Eggs

1 (26 oz) can Hunt’s Chunky Vegetable Spaghetti Sauce (I love that stuff )

3 TBS Butter or Olive Oil


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook lasagna noodles according to directions.
  2. In a pan, melt butter or heat olive oil, add all vegetables except for the spinach and cook until tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. In a bowl, mix the cheeses, eggs and spinach. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Spread enough spaghetti sauce on the bottom of a lasagna pan to coat it so that your noodles don’t stick. Layer noodles so that the edges are touching. Add a generous layer of veggies, top with cheese mixture, top with noodles. Keep layering until you run out of veggies. Mine ended up being two layers. Pour sauce over noodles and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Cover with foil.
  5. Bake for 45 minutes.
  6. When you remove it from the oven, let the lasagna sit for about 10 or 15 minutes before you cut into it so that everything “sets”.

Just a couple of notes, I’m not a professional recipe maker~upper so these are just the amounts that I used. I also have a large family so you may need to tweak for your family. I would encourage you to use more veggies such as eggplant, carrots, broccoli, tomatoes, etc just so that it’s heartier and has a little more color to it. I love colorful food. I just used what I had on hand so that’s why I didn’t add those things, but next time I definitely will be doing so.

If you try it, let me know what you think. I’d also be interested in knowing how you adjust the ingredients/recipe for your family.

Daenel T


Cranberry Glazed Chicken {In the Kitchen}

Cranberry Glazed Chicken {Living Outside the Stacks}

I should not be allowed to grocery shop when I’m hungry. It never ends well. Or, at least, it almost never ends well. Case in point: I bought a bag of fresh cranberries with the intentions of making Orange Cranberry Bread. Only I forgot to buy the orange juice and the oranges. So the cranberries sat and sat and sat until they finally got to the “use them or lose them” stage in my fridge. I decided to use them. For chicken.

I mean, cranberries and turkey go together like… something, I don’t know, my creativity fizzled after last night’s dinner…

Anyway, I was pretty impressed with the final outcome so I’m sharing the recipe.


  • 2 lbs chicken pieces {I used legs and thighs}
  • 2 cups whole cranberries {rinsed}
  • 1/2 white onion {thinly sliced}
  • 1 1/2 cups barbecue sauce
  • 1 tbs brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup Dr. Pepper {use this to thin the glaze if it gets too thick}
  • salt
  • pepper
  • butter
  • vegetable oil


  1. Preheat oven to 350º.
  2. Rinse and dry your chicken pieces. I pulled the skinned off. Season both sides with salt and pepper.
  3. Coat the bottom of your skillet with vegetable oil. Melt 2 tbs of butter on medium~high heat. Add onion slices and cook until carmelized. Once they’re finished, put them in the saucepan you intend to use for the glaze.
  4. Add the chicken to the pan that you used to carmelize the onions and brown on both sides. I covered my pan with a lid so that the heat would be retained. Make sure you scrape the bottom of the pan to collect all the bits and pieces.
  5. While the chicken is cooking, add the cranberries, brown sugar, barbecue sauce, and 1/4 cup of Dr. Pepper to the saucepan with the carmelized onions. Bring to a boil and continue boiling until the cranberries have popped. If the sauce gets too thick, add more of the Dr. Pepper. Stir frequently.
  6. Transfer the chicken to a glass dish. Cover with the cranberry glaze, making sure each piece is completely covered.
  7. Bake for 45 minutes.

Serving suggestion: brussel sprouts and rice. Yum!

Let me know if you like it!

Daenel T


Throwback Thursday: Homemade Potato, Corn and Shrimp Chowder {In the Kitchen}

Originally posted: 8 November 2012

Have you ever wanted to eat something so badly that you thought about it all day long? That’s how I was the other night. I wanted Shrimp and Grits with Fried Chicken. Desperately. So I quickly drove home and, guess what? No grits anywhere in the house. So I started thinking and thinking and thinking and when I finally accepted the fact that I wasn’t going to get in my car and drive back in to town just for some grits, I decided to make chowder. Best decision ever. Here’s the recipe, I hope you agree.

Potato Corn and Shrimp Chowder {Living Outside the Stacks}

What you need:

  • 1/2 lb Shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 cans Corn, drained
  • 6 strips Bacon, crumbled
  • 4 cups Red Potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1/4 cup Onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Butter
  • 1/2 cup All Purpose Flour
  • 3 cups Chicken Broth
  • 4 cups Milk
  • 1 tbs Lemon Juice
  • Salt and Pepper

What you do:

  1. Place potatoes, corn and onions in a large pot with the chicken broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender.
  2. While potatoes simmer, combine butter, milk and flour in a saucepan over medium~low heat and cook until smooth and thick. Stir constantly.
  3. Pour milk mixture into the cooked vegetables, add the bacon and shrimp. Cook until the shrimp is no longer opaque.
  4. Remove from heat. Add lemon juice. Salt and pepper to taste.

Now you eat

  • Can be eaten as is or you can add shredded cheddar cheese

If you make it, let me know how you like it!

Daenel T


Throwback Thursday: Meatloaf Mice {In the Kitchen}

Originally posted: 31 October 2009

Meatloaf Mice {Living Outside the Stacks}On Wednesday afternoon, I received an email from my husband asking if I could come up with something to cook for a Halloween themed party he was having at work.

Hmmmm….interesting request, especially since I hate Halloween {chalk it up to my upbringing, those who know my parents understand}. Anyway, I sat up all night Wednesday trying to come up with something delicious and Halloweeny. The best I could come up with was Meatloaf Mice.

What you’ll need:

  • Ground beef to make mouse shaped meatloaf {you can make mini ones like I did or big ones}
  • Cooked spaghetti noodles for the tails {I separated them on wax paper to let them cool}
  • Baby Bella mushrooms for the ears {try to match the sizes so their ears are symmetrical}
  • Toothpicks to attach the ears to the body
  • Spinach and bread crumbs for the “grass”

To make:
Meatloaf Mice {Living Outside the Stacks}Shape your favorite meatloaf recipe (my recipe is posted on flickr) into a mouse shape – rounded end for the butt, pointy end for the face. After you’ve finished baking, set the “mice” on wax paper to cool and begin prepping the “grass.”

Coat a glass baking dish with olive oil, add spinach and season with salt and pepper, sprinkle with plain bread crumbs and bake in the oven for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

After mice have cooled, begin assembling: use a toothpick to attach mushroom “ears” to either side of the mouse head and place on the grass. After you have arranged the mice the way you like them, place a piece of spaghetti under the rounded end to form a tail.


For fun, you can put a dried tomato in the center of the body before cooking to form a “heart”. I also made a dipping sauce to go with the mice:
  • 1/2 c ketchup
  • 1/2 c honey mustard
  • 2 tbs molasses
  • 2 tbs honey
  • 2 tbs brown sugar
  • 1/2 small onion chopped
  • red pepper flakes to taste
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
Heat until warm and bubbly.
Do you have a twist on a family fave? Share the link in the comments.

Daenel T


Chicken Noodle Soup with Cheddar Drop Biscuits {On the Table}

Have you ever roasted two whole chickens because your family swore up and down they were starving and then they only ate like half of one so you’re left with all of this chicken and you’re thinking what do I do with this? That’s what happened to me last week. I had one and a half delicious fresh roasted chickens sitting in my fridge; I didn’t want to toss it and I wasn’t in the mood for more roasted chicken. So I started thinking and thinking and thinking and it hit me: Chicken Noodle Soup. And a side of Cheddar Drop Biscuits. My family was all kinds of excited and I was too.

Chicken Noodle Soup and Cheddar Drop Biscuit Dinner {Living Outside the Stacks}

Naturally, I had to share the recipe with you, so here it is:


For the Soup

  • Roughly chopped roasted chicken (seasoned well; I used 1 and 1/2 chickens)
  • 3 cups frozen mixed vegetables
  • 2 cups chopped spinach
  • 1 box Stelline pasta
  • 4 cups chicken broth (to make your own by boil chicken, vegetables, seasoning; strain and retain the liquid)

For the Cheddar Drop Biscuits

  • 2 1/4 cups Original Bisquick mix
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese


For the Soup

  1. Bring the chicken stock to a boil in a large pot
  2. Add vegetables. Boil for about 15 minutes. Add Stelline Pasta and chicken, reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Turn off heat and let sit for 20 minutes so that the flavors blend.

For the Cheddar Drop Biscuits

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F
  2. Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl
  3. Drop by the spoonful onto an ungreased cookie sheet
  4. Bake 8~10 minutes or until golden brown

Serving Suggestions

  • Serve hot with the biscuit in the bowl
  • You can also sprinkle the soup with Parmesan Cheese
  • To up the flavor factor on the biscuits, add a smidge of garlic powder

If you make it, let me know how you like it!

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