I've thought about food blogging since my last post on November 17, 2013 and truth be told, it just seemed so....hard.
And, time consuming.
If you like comfort food, then make this. Just be prepared that you do need a little time on your hands to fully execute the preparation. I gave myself a full hour for prep because I have a wicked small kitchen and needed to wash dishes along the way.
This recipe works for a 9x13 pan, but it can be doubled (and tripled) for bigger pans to fit your needs.
Chicken and Spinach "White" Lasagna
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 bag of fresh baby spinach (or you can use frozen spinach)
2 garlic cloves
1 medium onion, diced
1/8 tsp pepper flakes (optional)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 quart of whole milk
1 stick butter
1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp white pepper
1 box of ready to use, no boil lasagna noodles
4 cups mozzarella cheese
1 cup of parmesan cheese
1 large container of ricotta cheese
salt and pepper
parsley, dried or fresh
In a stock pot, boil chicken breasts until done all the way through. Set aside to cool. Once cooled, shred chicken, and set aside.
In a large skillet, heat olive oil and add onion and garlic, sauteing until onion has softened and garlic is fragrant. Add washed baby spinach, and saute until wilted. Season with salt and pepper. Add hot pepper flakes, if desired. Set aside. (Remember, spinach is mostly water - - and that big bunch you start off with is going to basically look like a single serving...but a little goes a long way. If you really like spinach, double that shit.)
To make the "white sauce," aka béchamel sauce:
Melt butter is large sauce pan. Once butter is melted, add flour and whisk. Allow to cook until mixture takes on a nutty smell, and the roux darkens slightly. Slowly add milk while whisking, and stir every couple of minutes until the mixture thickens. This will happen when the mixture comes to a boil. Season with salt and pepper, and add nutmeg. Remove from heat.
In a large bowl, combine ricotta and 1-2 eggs to form a smooth, spreadable cheesy, messy glob of goodness.
Time to assemble this mass of chicken and cheese.
Layer one: Spoon some of the béchamel into the bottom of a 9x13 pyrex dish. Lay down a layer of no-boil lasagna noodles. Layer half of your cooked chicken. Spoon a third of your ricotta on top of your chicken. Top with mozzarella and parmesan.
Layer two: Lay down a layer of no-boil lasagna noodles. Spoon some of the béchamel over the noodles. Add all of your spinach mixture. Spoon a third of your ricotta on top of your spinach. Top with mozzarella and parmesan.
Layer three: Lay down a layer of no-boil lasagna noodles. Spoon some of the béchamel over the noodles. Add the rest of your cooked chicken. Spoon a third of your ricotta on top of your chicken. Top with Spoon some of the béchamel over the noodles.
Layer four, and final (for me, at least): Lay down a layer of no-boil lasagna noodles. Spoon some of the béchamel over the noodles. Top with mozzarella and parmesan. Sprinkle some parsley on top, just to make it look pretty. Cover with foil, and bake - or keep in your fridge for a day or two and bake off another time.
Bake that bad boy for about an hour at 350 degrees, covered. Remove foil during last 20 minutes to brown the top. Let sit about 15 minutes before serving.
So, normally I would have a lovely picture to share, but since this was made for a funeral and taking a photo didn't seem proper, you will have to use your imagination!
If you make this, beware - you do not need to serve big, giant helpings. This recipe, as is, will make about 9-12 filling servings. You can also freeze portions. Just chill and cut, and either place in a freezer bag, or a tupperware container.
It is best to reheat in the oven, but the microwave will do a fine job as well.