Sweet Baked Life

my sweet journey through life…


Cheesy Chicken Tortilla Squares

Warm, cheesy and yummy! These Cheesy Chicken Tortilla Squares are one of my all-time favorite, super easy, go-to dinner recipes.

Cheesy Chicken Tortilla Squares | Simple and delicious! | Sweet Baked LIfe

If you are looking for the perfect week night meal to prepare for your family — look no further. This recipe literally takes 5 minutes to assemble and 1 hour to bake. The outcome is super tasty and just as satisfying! I only wish all dinners could be this easy to prepare.

This one-dish wonder incorporates soft white corn tortillas layered with succulent chicken, tangy cheese, smooth sour cream, mild green salsa and roasted chiles and baked to a golden perfection. Once you take a bite of this spicy and creamy concoction you’ll be hooked.

To make this recipe even easier to prepare, use a store-bought roasted chicken. I do have to admit, I make this as often as possible — the flavor combination and simplicity win me over every time!

And with any leftovers, I pack them up into single serving pieces and bring with me to the office for a delicious lunch. All you have to do is just zap it in the microwave for a minute or so and your set. So perfect for me, as my husband usually will not eat leftovers!

A great, quick dinner! Cheesy Chicken Tortilla Squares | Sweet Baked Life

Cheesy Chicken Tortilla Squares

2 cups shredded or chopped cooked chicken (you can use a store-bought roasted chicken)
1 cup sour cream
1 cup green salsa
1 (4 oz.) can fire roasted diced chiles
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 cups shredded cheese (I use the Mexican blend)
8 corn tortillas, cut into quarters
Cilantro, for garnish

Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 11×9-inch baking dish with non-stick spray and set aside.

In a large bowl combine the chicken, sour cream, green salsa, chiles, cumin and 1 cup of cheese. Mix  until well combined.

In the baking dish, layer 1/2 of the tortillas, overlapping slightly, then spoon 1/2 of the mixture over tortillas and spread evenly and top with 1/2 cup of cheese. Repeat once ending with the cheese.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking for another 30 minutes or until cheese is bubbling. Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes before cutting into squares. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve with additional green salsa and sour cream.

You can even prepare these Cheesy Chicken Tortilla Squares in the morning, put into your refrigerator and when you get home from work or after a busy day, pop the dish into the oven and you’ll have a home-cooked meal for your family to enjoy in no-time!



{recipe adapted from Layered Mexican Chicken with Corn Tortillas, Shape Magazine, June 1999}



Orange Chicken

Thinking about take-out tonight? Maybe you should re-think that! As I’ve got the perfect alternative — easy and sweet Orange Chicken. Just like the stuff you get at your favorite Chinese restaurant; only much better in my opinion!

Orange Chicken

My family is crazy about Orange Chicken. What about yours? But sometimes I get tired of the same old food, from the same old restaurants, and feeling the same way after eating there — full and bloated. So, I decided to make a more healthy version of our favorite Chinese dish at home.

Orange Chicken

You start by cutting up some chicken, lightly coating it, then you let it sizzle to golden perfection it in a bit of oil. After it gets nice and browned, you pour over a delicious orange and soy sauce concoction, let it simmer. While it’s cooking make some sticky white rice and your set.

Orange Chicken

Orange Chicken

For the chicken
2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil

For the Orange Sauce
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
zest of 1 large orange
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup sesame oil
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Garnish: green onions, sliced, sesame seeds, and red pepper flakes

In a medium bowl mix the flour, cornstarch, salt and pepper and stir until combined. Start by placing your chicken pieces, a few at a time, into the flour mixture and coat using your hands. Shake off any excess and place the chicken pieces on a platter. Repeat until all of the chicken is coated.

Heat the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add chicken — make sure you have a large enough pan so that the chicken is in one layer. Let brown on one side, and then turn to get the other side browned and cooked through. This takes about 3-5 minutes per side.

As the chicken is cooking make the sauce: in a medium bowl, whisk together the orange juice, orange zest, honey, soy sauce, sesame oil, vinegar, cornstarch and ginger.

When the chicken is done, pour the orange sauce over the cooked chicken and stir to combine. Bring to a boil and let cook for about 1-2 minutes, or until thickened. Remove from heat and serve immediately over rice. Garnish with green onions, sesame seeds and red pepper flakes.

I’m sure your family will love this Orange Chicken — it’s pure sweet deliciousness for dinner!



(recipe adapted from Gimme Some Oven)


Meat Lover Lasagna

It’s raining. It’s pouring. Do you know what that means around my house? Yep, time to make some comfort food. Get ready to turn up your oven and bake some easy and hearty Meat Lover Lasagna while the storm brews outside!

Meat Lover Lasagna

There is nothing better to do on a cold rainy weekend than snuggling up with your family in your warm and cozy home. For us we hung out while watching movies, beheld the beautiful roaring fire as it heated our home and of course craved all things comforting as the pitter-patter of the rain beat against our windows. So making this Meat Lover Lasagna was the perfect fit. It’s loaded with cheese and meat, it’s super easy to prepare as you use no-boil noodles, and each bite will satisfy everyone!

Meat Lover Lasagna-2

Meat Lover Lasagna

1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. Italian sausage, casings removed
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped and divided
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes
8 oz. ricotta cheese
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg, beaten
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
9-12 no-bake lasagna noodles
1 can (29 oz.) tomato sauce
8 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
8 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
4 oz. shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 13×9-inch baking pan with non-stick spray and set aside.

To a large skillet over medium heat add sausage and ground beef and cook until browned; this will take about 15 minutes. Then add 1 tablespoon of the chopped basil and diced tomatoes and heat through for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

In a medium bowl add the ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, 1 tablespoon chopped basil, egg, salt and pepper. Mix well.

To assemble the lasagna, first pour a layer of tomato sauce over the bottom of your dish, arrange about 3-4 lasagna noodles over sauce, then pour another layer of the tomato sauce and top with about 1/2 of the meat mixture, top with 3/4 of the sliced mozzarella cheese, then place 3-4 lasagna noodles on the top. Pour a layer of the tomato sauce, then add the ricotta mixture and top with 3-4 lasagna noodles and pour a  layer of tomato sauce. Top with the remaining meat filling and top with the remaining sliced mozzarella cheese and the shredded mozzarella and cheddar cheeses.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes, then remove foil and continue baking until cheese and lasagna are bubbling. Let stand for about 10 minutes, and then cut into squares. Garnish with a bit of grated Parmesan and cheddar cheeses.

Meat Lover Lasagna-1

Get yourself a big helping of this Meat Lover Lasagna and enjoy the moments of winter with your family!


(recipe adapted from A Sweet Pea Chef)


Margarita Pizza {with homemade semolina crust}

Pizza my heart! There is nothing better than homemade pizza, and I’ve got the perfect recipe for you. My husband makes his special dough early in the morning, lets it rise twice and the outcome is an incredible ball of soft, elastic goodness! This dough is the base for our fabulous Margarita Pizza, and when baked, the flavor that burst in your mouth is pure heaven! Who can resist freshly made dough topped with simple and fresh ingredients? Well, not me! Mind you, even though the process takes most of the day – due to the dough needing to rise two times, it really is simple to make and well worth the wait. After eating this pizza, you’ll never want to call for take out or delivery again!


I am not the expert here, you see I have never made the crust myself. It’s my better half that works his magic. The secret ingredient he claims is the semolina flour. It makes the dough silky soft. I’m the one who prepares the all the toppings; crush the garlic, slice the tomatoes, chiffonade the basil, and of course slice all of the wonderful cheeses. He rolls out the crust, and I assemble the rest and bake it in the oven. Great team work in my opinion!


Margarita Pizza {with homemade semolina crust}

For the dough:
(recipe adapted from The Red Grape Restaurant, Sonoma, CA)
1 package dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1-3/4 cups warm water
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup semolina flour
4-5 cups unbleached flour

In a large bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, add the dry yeast and 1/4 cup of warm water along with the sugar. Mix on low-speed until just combined. Let the yeast proof in the bowl– this will take about 10 minutes or until you begin to see bubbles. At that time, add the salt and the 1-3/4 cups of warm water and mix on low-speed until just combined.

Remove the whisk attachment and add the dough hook. On low-speed, add the semolina flour, when combined, add the unbleached flour, 1 cup at a time until all the four is used, or until the dough is soft and forms a ball. This is where crust making is a talent. When you are adding the flour, keep note of how many cups you add. As you get to about cup 3, you will then every so slowly add the 4th and 5th cups. Sometimes you do not need to add the 5th cup, it really all depends on how the flour comes together with the other ingredients. Knead the dough on low-speed until it is no longer sticky (about 8 minutes). Then continue kneading at low-speed for another 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Remove dough from hook and shape into a ball and place on a lightly floured cookie sheet. Cover with a warm damp kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place for 4 hours. Punch the dough down and divide into 6 equal balls. Cover dough balls with a warm damp kitchen towel and them rise for another 2 to 3 hours.

Approximately 1 hour before you are going to start baking your pizza, place pizza stone on the middle rack of your oven and turn oven on to 500 degrees. This way your oven and stone will be nice and hot for baking!

When ready to cook the pizza, on a floured surface, roll out one ball of dough out into a thin 10-inch crust. Sprinkle cornmeal on a baker’s peel. Place the dough on cornmeal and shake gently to make sure the dough moves freely.

For the topping (note, all ingredient amounts are to your liking):
Olive Oil
Garlic, crushed and chopped
Mozzarella cheese, shredded
Asiago Cheese, thinly sliced
Roma tomatoes, thinly sliced
Fresh Basil, cut into a Chiffonade
Parmesan cheese, finely grated

Spread the olive oil to cover the crust and sprinkle with garlic. Arrange the mozzarella evenly over the crust. Top with the sliced Asiago cheese. Arrange the tomatoes. Now since it’s your pizza here, you can put as much or little of the cheese and tomatoes as you like.

Transfer the pizza onto the baking stone in your oven and cook until the crust edges are slightly browned, 10-12 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with basil and Parmesan cheese. Slice and serve at once.

For us, once this Margarita Pizza comes out of the oven, it barely makes it to a plate! We really just eat it right off of the cutting board! Now that’s amore!