Rotisserie Chicken Makeover, Part 2

Pesto Chicken Lasagna Roll-ups

Recipe 2 in my series Rotisserie Chicken Makeovers is one of my favorites. It is so simple to make, can be made ahead, and is absolutely mouthwatering!

Pesto Chicken Lasagna Roll-ups need just 5 ingredients and a few minutes of prep time to become a fabulous meal! Let the kids help out by rolling up the filled lasagna noodles. They’ll have fun and so will you.

Click here for the recipe for Pesto Chicken Lasagna Roll-ups.


Pesto Chicken Lasagna Roll-ups

If you haven’t already, check out the first recipe in the series Chicken Salad with Roasted Asparagus, Red Pepper and Cucumber.


Chicken Salad with Roasted Asparagus, Red Pepper and Cucumber

Rotiserie Chicken Makeover

Slow Cooker Chicken and Artichoke Pasta

Slow Cooker Chicken and Artichoke Pasta | Black Girl Chef's Whites



I love to make enough food that I have leftovers. In fact, I don’t really know how to make small portions. Much of that is due to having a mother and grandmother from the south. They cooked enough to feed an army, as the saying goes. Mainly because they believed if someone should drop by the house, you had better have enough food to feed them. Whether they were hungry or not.

Slow Cooker Chicken and Artichokes is a perfect “make it once, eat it twice” dish. The chicken is so meltingly tender, adding it to soup or making it into chicken salad are great options.  Another great option is this fusilli pasta salad.


Slow Cooker Chicken and Artichoke Pasta | Black Girl Chef's Whites



Recipe: Slow Cooker Chicken and Artichoke Pasta


  • 8 ounces fusilli pasta
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh marjoram leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 artichoke hearts, diced
  • 2 cups shredded chicken
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice


  1. Cook the pasta according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium low heat.
  3. Add the garlic, thyme, marjoram, salt and pepper to the skillet, stirring occasionally, cook for 2 -3 minutes.
  4. Add the artichoke, chicken and lemon juice, stirring to combine.
  5. When the pasta is done, drain well and add to the skillet, stirring until combined.
  6. Adjust the seasoning as needed.

Preparation time:

Cooking time:

Copyright © Cheryl D Lee.

Pesto Tortelonni with Pancetta and Greens

Tortelonni with Pancetta and Greens | Black Girl Chef's Whites


Some days all you want to cook is something simple and easy. Something that tastes good, but only takes you a few minutes to throw together. This is that recipe.

This is basically a one dish meal (if you don’t count having to cook the pasta beforehand.) And there are only 5 ingredients, some even already prepped for you! Such as the pancetta, which you can buy already diced. And the greens, which are salad greens but are also wonderful cooked. And practically every market has fresh packaged pasta.

You know what? This is barely a recipe! I really just tossed a few high quality pre-packaged ingredients together, and made a fabulous meal! But what’s really important is that the six year old asked for seconds.

If you can’t find pesto tortelonni, use a plain tortelonni or tortelinni. The only difference between tortelonni and tortelinni is size. Tortelonni are bigger.

This pasta would be just as good using only baby spinach, or even arugula. Try different variations until you find the one that you like the best.


Tortelonni with Pancetta and Greens | Black Girl Chef's Whites


Recipe: Pesto Tortelonni with Pancetta and Greens


  • 1 4 ounce package fresh pesto tortelloni
  • 4 ounces diced pancetta
  • 1 10 ounce package organic mixed baby kale, baby chard and baby spinach
  • ½ cup Pinot Grigio wine
  • 1 tablespoon cold butter, cut into pieces


  1. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium high heat, cook the pancetta until crispy and cooked through. Remove the pancetta from the pan, set aside.
  3. Drain all but a tablespoon of fat from the pan.
  4. Add the greens, stirring often. Cook 1 – 2 minutes, until wilted.
  5. Add the wine, reserved tortelonni and pancetta. Cook for 3 – 4 minutes, or until the wine is almost completely evaporated.
  6. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter pieces.
  7. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Cooking time: 10 minute(s)

Copyright © Cheryl D Lee.

Tortelonni with Pancetta and Greens | Black Girl Chef's Whites


A Budget Friendly Valentine’s Day Dinner

Valentine’s Day is here. Have you gotten something for a loved one? Is it the same old thing you always get your loved one?  Why not try something new, and maybe get a little spice and romance out of it?

I saw a news report recently stating that the average amount spent for Valentine’s Day is around $80.  If you are on a strict budget you may not have that much to spend, but still want to do something special.  Here is a great idea for Valentine’s Day on a budget, or anytime for that matter. I went to my local Smart & Final store, and with a budget of $25 I started shopping.

Cooking a meal with someone, then sharing that meal can be so romantic. Stirring the pot, licking the spoon, feeding each other the lovingly created meal by candle light while gazing deep into each other eyes.  Ah, romance.

But not everyone is comfortable in the kitchen, or may have very limited culinary skills.  Those with skills sometimes get overambitious and get in way over their heads in the kitchen.  Keeping it simple is the way to go. And one of the simplest, but most loved meals is pasta.

While cruising the aisles of the store, I saw a promotion that was perfect for this meal. Buy a bottle of wine, and get a free bag of pasta. Into my cart went a bottle of merlot and a bag of penne. To save time I then grabbed a bottle of tomato- basil marinara, so there would be more time for the romance part. No need to simmer the marinara for hours, just open the jar. I headed over to the cheese section and got a  very nice three cheese blend, to garnish the pasta.

Now for dessert. Since it is Valentine’s Day, I had to buy the traditional heart shaped box of chocolates!  Come on, it really is not Valentines Day without one!

And those beautiful red roses pictured on the box made me feel like I got flowers too!

And the grand total for all my purchases? $18.31.  I LOVE THAT! That is a Valentine’s Day gift that will not break anyone’s budget.

Remember, cooking together shouldn’t just be for a holiday or special occasion.  It can be done anytime.  And if you have children, get them involved and make it a family affair!

*I received a gift card from Smart & Final to buy these items, because I am a member of Collective Bias.  In full disclosure I am being compensated for this post, but my opinions are my own and cannot be bought.

Quick and Easy Pasta with Slow Roasted Tomatoes

Sometimes making a meal can be a real pain.  You’re tired, the kids are screaming and you don’t feel like cooking.  But fast food is not an option (again) and you want your family to eat a healthy meal.  This pasta takes only about 20 minutes to make and is sure to make everyone happy, including you.

I previously posted a recipe for slow roasted tomatoes which is an ingredient in this hearty pasta. If you do not have the roasted tomatoes on hand, substitute with a can of chopped tomatoes seasoned with Italian herbs.

Sausage, Roasted Tomatoes and Pasta
Sausage, Roasted Tomatoes and Pasta

Quick and Easy Pasta with Slow Roasted Tomatoes

12 oz farfalle pasta

2 TB olive oil from slow roasted tomatoes

4 (one 12 oz package) Spinach, Fontina & Roasted Garlic Chicken Sausage* or cooked sausage of your choice, sliced

1 portion of slow roasted tomatoes, chopped, with reserved olive oil

Kosher salt

freshly ground black pepper

freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

In a large pot of salted, boiling water cook pasta according to directions.  While pasta is cooking, heat the oil over medium flame in large skillet.   Cook sausage for 4-5 minutes, until lightly browned.  Stirring, add chopped tomatoes and remaining olive oil.  Carefully ladle about 1-2 cups of the pasta cooking water into the skillet.  Bring sauce to a boil, lower heat to simmer, let sauce thicken slightly.  If needed add more pasta water if sauce is too dry.  When pasta is done, add it to the skillet.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Grate Parmesan cheese over the top if desired.

Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes
Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes

*found at Trader Joe’s Markets