Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Chicken Spinach Lasagna

It's been a long time since I've blogged! We've relocated to Texas and have been here since July. Still trying to get into the swing of things around here. The kids have started school and seem to be thriving. I'm so thankful! They had a very short summer due to getting out of school later than Texas schools do. We took our time getting down here and lived in a hotel for a bit until we found a house. We sold our house in the DC area and other than the kitchen with it's ample counter space and my range I don't actually miss cleaning that huge house too much. I do miss having ovens that don't heat up the house, high BTU's and water that doesn't take 10 minutes to come to a boil a WHOLE lot.

Today I'm sharing a Chicken Spinach Lasagna. It's simple but it's good. You can use leftover chicken and use broth for the white sauce or poach some using the reserved cooking liquid for the white sauce. You can even roast the chicken. Whatever you like. I like to use bone in chicken breasts for this when poaching or roasting it. This has been posted before, this is more of an updated post I guess. I posted this recipe in 2010 here. It's still a favorite of ours, creamy, cheesy and just good.

I hope everyone is doing well, feel free to share what you're cooking below in the comments or on my Facebook page. Share any FALL weather pictures you have on my Facebook page too because I'm in Texas and there is no Fall here. UGH. Have a great week!
I apologize for the cell phone pictures but it's kinda old school circa 2008 blog looking isn't it? LOL.

GPAC Chicken Spinach Lasagna

White sauce (Recipe below)
Ricotta mixture (Recipe below)
16 ounces Frozen spinach thawed, or 3 (8 ounce) bags of fresh spinach steamed. Squeeze spinach out to remove excess liquid. 
2 large bone in chicken breasts, 2-3 cups shredded cooked chicken (cooking instructions below)
2-4 cups shredded mozzarella 
1 box of no boil lasagna sheets, 9 ounces (or regular lasagna noodles cooked)

White Sauce:

Small shallot or 1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic minced
1/4-1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 tablespoons flour
2 cups poaching liquid* from chicken or chicken stock
1/2 cup cream 
4 tablespoons flour
1/4 grated nutmeg, or ground
Salt, to taste
Ground pepper, white or black*

Ricotta mixture:

16 ounces Whole milk ricotta
2 eggs
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning or 2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
Ground pepper

Chicken Poached Chicken breasts:

2 large bone in chicken breasts
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

For the Chicken:
  1. Place all the spices into a dutch oven with enough water to cover the chicken.
  2. Bring water to a boil.
  3. Add chicken and poach until cooked.
  4. Remove chicken from poaching liquid and shred, set aside.
  5. Strain liquid, discard spices and set liquid aside.
Instant Pot Chicken Method:
  1. Place chicken and spices into the Instant Pot insert.
  2. Cover with water, about 1/2 and inch above the chicken.
  3. Turn on the Instant Pot to Pressure cook, HIGH pressure, ONE minute.
  4. Once done let the pot release pressure naturally.
  5. Remove chicken from poaching liquid and shred, set aside.
  6. Strain liquid, discard spices and set liquid aside.

For the White sauce-
  1. Melt butter in a dutch oven on med-high heat, add the onion or shallot, red pepper flakes,  and garlic. Cook until soft but not browned.     
  2. Add flour to the pot. Cook until the flour doesn't smell raw anymore and smells a little nutty.
  3. Stir and scrape the bottom of the pot constantly. 
  4. Whisk in the broth, so that there are no lumps. Turn the heat down to medium.
  5. Add nutmeg, salt and pepper. Cook until fairly thick, add cream, stir and heat until steaming. If using no boil noodles, leave this sauce a little runnier than you normally would.
  6. Remove from heat and set aside.

For the Ricotta Mixture-
  1. Mix the ricotta, salt, pepper, parsley/herbs, Parmesan and eggs in a bowl.

To assemble the lasagna-
  1. In a 9x13 in pan put a little bit of sauce on the bottom. 
  2. Add a layer of noodles. 
  3. Top with the ricotta mixture. 
  4. Top with little mounds of spinach.
  5. Top with a little mozzarella cheese, then chicken. 
  6. Repeat with sauce, noodles, ricotta, mozzarella, and chicken. Towards the end you will have a layer of just noodles, sauce.
  7. Set some shredded mozzarella aside to top the cooked lasagna.

Bake it-
  1. Bake for 25-30 minutes loosely covered with foil.
  2. Remove the foil and top with remaining mozzarella.
  3. Cook for another 10 minutes to melt and brown the cheese.
  4. Once removed from the oven let the lasagna sit 15-20 minutes to set before cutting into it.
  5. Serve with more Parmesan and fresh basil.

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