I have been on a kick of trying to fill my freezer for the past week. I started out making extra and sticking the leftovers in the deep freeze, but I’ve since graduated to pre-made meals! I currently have enough to get me through the rest of February and part of March without having to buy much more than what few staples we might run out of. Woooooohooooo!!!!
I’m also trying to use what I already have in the fridge, freezer, and pantry. That’s where this lasagna comes in. It started out as a mishmash of three different recipes, but I didn’t have the ingredients and I kept having to substitute everything, so I made it my own!
I have to tell you that I don’t really like lasagna. It is not something I normally cook, not something I eat when my mother-in-law makes it, and not something I would EVER order in a restaurant. My Momma used to make a really good lasagna–complete with homemade sauce, fresh herbs, and plenty of ricotta, mozzarella, and parmesan cheese. I loved her lasagna, so I don’t really know why I quit liking it. My only guess is that it’s either because I don’t really care for marinara sauce that much or I mostly like noodles that have some sort of shape. I’ll eat bowties and rotini all day long!! Still, I’ve seen several lasagna recipes that contain chicken and I decided that kind of lasagna is for me. : )
This is one of those recipes that allows room for substitution–you can even add more chicken or sauce if you want. The sauce I made is homemade. You can certainly use store-bought alfredo, but this recipe is pretty simple…and very tasty! I also made panko pesto bread crumbs to go on top. I liked these, but I think they would’ve been better with more cheese ( I was out). The kids wound up scrapping them off, so to make it more kid friendly, you could leave them off altogether!!
I wish I had more pictures to share with you, but I cooked several things that day and didn’t take pictures of any of it. It wasn’t until after I cooked it last night that I even thought about pictures and the ones I took weren’t all that great. As my husband said, “There’s not much you can do to that to make it look good, but it tastes good and that’s what matters!!”
Chicken and Spinach Alfredo Lasagna
3 large chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
Roasted red pepper (Mine came from a jar, but you can certainly make your own)–1 red pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 box lasagna noodles (I like the no boil for simplicity.)
Alfredo sauce (recipe below)
1 package ready-to-use Spinach
2 cups mozzarella cheese
2 slices provolone cheese
2 Cups Italian blend cheese
Panko Pesto Bread Crumbs
½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
8 oz. package of cream cheese
2.5 tsp garlic powder
2 C milk
6 oz grated Parmesan cheese
1/8 tsp cracked black pepper
1 C Panko Breadcrumbs
1/2 C Basil Pesto with Cheese
Optional Ingredient: 1/2 C Parmesan Cheese
Cook and shred chicken breasts.
Combine chicken with diced red pepper and minced garlic in a small bowl.
Spray the bottom of a baking dish with a nonstick spray.
Spread a thin layer of Alfredo sauce.
Layer noodles, followed by additional sauce, spinach, chicken/red pepper/garlic, mozzarella cheese, provolone cheese, and Italian cheese blend.
Repeat layers until you’ve filled the dish, ending with mozzarella and Italian cheese blend.
Top with Panko Pesto.
Cover dish and bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 45 minutes.
Remove lid and bake uncovered for an additional 15 minutes.
(Freezer Directions: Follow all directions, but do not add breadcrumbs and do not cook. Wrap tightly with foil. On day of cooking, place it into a 350 degree oven while it is still frozen. Cook for two hours. Up the temperature to 375 and cook for 15 minutes more. Remove aluminum foil. Add Panko Pesto and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes. This time may not work for every oven or pan. Please check the lasagna occasionally to make sure it is cooking properly.)
For Alfredo Sauce:
In a large sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat.
Add cream cheese and garlic powder, stirring with wire whisk until smooth.
Add milk a little at a time and whisk to smooth out the lumps.
Stir in Parmesan and pepper.
Keep stirring so everything melts together.
Remove from heat when sauce reaches desired consistency. If you like thicker sauce, leave it on the heat a little longer.
For Panko Pesto:
Mix breadcrumbs, basil pesto, and additional Parmesan cheese (if desired) with a fork until completely combined.