Sunday, February 21, 2010

Chicken Lasagna

I randomly found this recipe one day and have been anxious to try it.  See the orignal recipe at PinkBites.  My changes are in italics.

For the chicken filling:
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (I used 3)
1/2 t of crushed bay leaves (original called for 1 bay leaf added to water to boil the chicken)
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 can of chopped tomatoes
1 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of pepper

For the white sauce:
5 tablespoons of butter
4 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
4 cups of warm milk
2 teaspoons of salt
1 teaspoon of pepper
1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg

For assembling the lasagna:
1 package of lasagna noodles (the orignal recipe used "no-cook" type, but I used 9 regular noodles) 
1 lb of shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup of grated parmesan

Make the chicken filling:
Cook chicken, sprinkled with crushed bay leaves, in the crock pot on low for 4-5 hours. Shred the meat. In a large pan, heat the oil and cook the onion until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Mix in the tomatoes, season with salt and pepper and let it simmer for another 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.  Add chicken.

Make the white sauce:
Melt the butter in a medium pot or pan. Add the flour and cook it until it's no longer raw, about 3 minutes, stirring. Add the warm milk slowly to the pot, whisking it constantly until all the milk is added and the sauce is smooth. Add the salt, pepper and nutmeg and continue cooking until the sauce thickens it up enough to cover the back of a wooden spoon. Remove from the stove and set aside.  I let this simmer on low while I shredded the chicken and prepared the other items.  It simmered for probably 10 minutes, but it didn't need to.  The nutmeg is very strong, so you may want to decrease this seasoning by a little bit, but I liked it.  Next time, I'm going to half the salt and pepper in the white sauce.

To assemble the lasagna:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Spoon some of the white sauce on the bottom of a large (9x13 inches) baking dish. Make one layer of lasagna noodles (4 sheets per layer, or 3 cooked noodles), cover it with some of the chicken filling and top it with some mozzarella, then white sauce. Make sure the white sauce is spread evenly, specially on the sides of the dish, so you won't end up with dry edges. Keep making layers of noodles, chicken, mozzarella and white sauce, finishing with the white sauce remaining. Top everything with the grated parmesan. Cover the lasagna dish with foil, being careful not to let the foil touch the sauce. Bake it for 40 minutes, remove foil and let it get golden and bubbly, 10 minutes longer. Remove from the oven and wait 10 minutes before cutting the lasagna.

This recipe required some work--as well as dishes--but I enjoyed making it.  I'm sure it would get easier with practice.  Jeff wasn't a big fan of the onions (I could have guessed that, even though I tried to chop them very fine).  All my children ate it and I could make this again, but it didn't quite make it as a requested regular.

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