Friday, August 12, 2011

Cheesy Chicken Lasagna

Have you been looking for an alternative recipe to lasagna made with ground beef?   If so, look no further and give this one a trial run. I think you'll find it a nice change of pace and a hit with your family.  It would also make a nice buffet option to have as an alternate offering along with regular lasagna if you are hosting a large gathering. Make both ahead of time and pop them in the oven together and bake.

This recipe has been buried in my folder of recipes that I want to try "someday" for over a year now. I consider it occasionally but something else always tends to edge it out of the running.  I was struggling for something to fix that would result in leftovers for lunch (I do that a lot) and pulled this out and gave it a try.  I did a little planning ahead and cooked and chopped the chicken breasts and also shredded the mozzarella and Parmesan cheese  ahead of time and stored them in baggies in the fridge until I was ready to assemble the lasagna. 

For those of you who have made homemade lasagna, you know that there is an assembly process and you end up with a lot of dirty dishes.  Thank goodness for the invention of dishwashers!

The recipe makes quite a bit, so if you have a smaller family, you may want to consider making half a recipe in a 9x9 pan  or make the full recipe, split it into two pans and freeze one.  Or, if you are like me and like to have leftovers for lunches during the week, you will find that this dish reheats nicely in the microwave for single servings. Trust me, you will enjoy your lunch and you will make your co-workers envious of your plate!

If you are a diehard spinach hater, don't be put off by the spinach that is in the recipe, just make it without and it will be equally as good.
Here is the recipe, so ladies and gents, tie on those aprons and start your ovens!  This is a great recipe and I'm sorry that I have ignored it for so long!

Cheesy Chicken Lasagna
Yield: 12 servings

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups milk
4 cups (16 oz.) shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 carton (15 oz.) ricotta cheese
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
9 lasagna noodles (8 oz.) cooked and drained (I cook a few more because I always manage to have one or two that ends up in pieces)
2 packages (10 oz. each) frozen spinach, thawed and well drained (squeezed dry)
3 cooked and chopped chicken breasts

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a saucepan (non-stick will make cleanup easier), melt the butter over medium heat.
Sauté onion and garlic until tender. Stir in the flour and salt; cook until bubbly.
Gradually stir in the broth and milk. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil 1 minute.
Stir in 2 cups mozzarella, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, basil, oregano, and pepper; set aside.


In a bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, parsley and remaining mozzarella. Mixture will be dry. Set aside.

Start building the dish by spreading one fourth of the cheese sauce into a greased 13x9x2 baking dish; cover with 3 of the cooked lasagna noodles.











Top the noodles with half of the ricotta mixtures and half of the spinach and half of the chicken.

Cover with one fourth of the cheese sauce and layer on three more noodles.  Repeat the layers of ricotta mixture, spinach and chicken and one fourth of cheese sauce.  Cover with remaining three noodles and top with remaining quarter of cheese sauce.

Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. (I had additional mozzarella and added it to the top also.)
Bake uncovered in a 350 degree F. oven for 45 -60 minutes. Keep an eye on the top to make sure it doesn't over brown.

Let stand 15 minutes before cutting.


 
Serve this dish with a nice side of green veggies or a big crisp salad.  I served mine with a side of dry fried green beans with pancetta.  I think I'll head to the fridge now for some leftovers!

...and that is What's Cooking at Cathy's ~Enjoy!





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About Me

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My career is in IT.  Cooking and photography are among a few of my hobbies. In my spare time, which is most weekends I tie on my apron and exercise my creativity by trying new recipes and adapting them to my tastes. I also have a passion for photography that I incorporate by taking photographs to go along with the recipes I post on my blog.  
I also enjoy travel, both near and abroad. Meeting new people, new experiences and cultures and oh, not to mention the food! I hope you enjoy my blog.