Sunday, September 25, 2011

Alfredo Lasagna

I love Autumn time when it gets here even though I complain alot about summer being over too quick and that we never really had a summer. But once the air turns to that crispy coolness but still warm time and the farmers are harvesting their crops, and I harvest my garden, I start craving comfort foods like casseroles and homemade bread. My sister, Linda, had made this Lasagna a few years ago, and it was yummo! so of course I had to grab the recipe from her. I've made this occasionally, but I really like making it at fall time when I have fresh garden zucchini and other veggies to put in it. You can make this as big as you like by adding more layers or using a huge pan, mine ended up being pretty big ( I think it weighed at least 5 pounds...maybe even 10 by the time I got done) I ended up freezing half of it. I also used my Alfredo sauce recipe and doubled the batch, and the noodles still soaked up the extra. I might triple mine if I use the same big pan, and leave some sauce in a saucepan to spoon over individual servings. I served mine with salad, steamed garden beans and crispy french bread! YUMMO!

Alfredo Lasagna
--Lasagna noodles, cooked and drained (I ended up using about 20, I did 5 layers-- I like to top mine with a layer of noodles, 4 noodles across, but adjust according to how many layers you use and how wide your pan is)
--Alfredo Sauce (Jarred or homemade--see my Alfredo sauce recipe in Sauces or chicken Alfredo and double the recipe)
1-15oz. container low fat Ricotta cheese
1 egg
1 cup fresh spinach, chopped (optional)
Grated Parmesan Cheese
Grated Mozzarella Cheese
2 cups cooked and diced chicken
2 cups diced, assorted steamed or roasted vegetables (I used a mixture of broccoli, zucchini, carrots, and red bell peppers-use your choice)
Italian Seasoning
Salt and Pepper

Cook your noodles according to package directions and drain. Make your Alfredo Sauce while noodles cook.
I roasted my zucchini in slices on a cookie sheet and baked for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. I steamed my broccoli and carrots until they were tender/but still slightly crisp. I used canned roasted red peppers and diced them all so they were ready to use when I assembled my lasagna.

I used a rotisserie chicken that I'd bought at the store and diced up, I figured it would be seasoned and would have better flavor--feel free to cook a couple of chicken breasts instead and dice it up.
Next, I placed my ricotta cheese in a mixing bowl along with 1 egg, chopped spinach (if you're using it) 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, about 1/2 teaspoon of dried Italian seasoning (use fresh if you have it and season to taste)  and Salt and Pepper to taste (I use about 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper) Stir to combine.
Now that everything is ready, you are ready to assemble... In a lasagna pan (mine is probably 12 x 15) spread about a cup of sauce on the bottom, then lay 4 noodles across the bottom(or 3 depending on your pan) Next, lay 1/2 of your diced chicken evenly over the noodles, drizzle about 1 cup of your sauce over the chicken, (you might need more so your chicken has a good drizzle over it) Sprinkle about a cup of grated mozzarella cheese over the chicken.
Now comes another layer of noodles, then spread 1/2 of the ricotta-spinach mixture over the noodles, then sprinkle half of your diced veggies over that.
Repeat those 2 layers --noodles, chicken/sauce/ cheese, noodles, ricotta/veggies.. then top with your last 4 noodles, then the rest of the sauce (if you have alot go ahead and pour it over, it will soak down the sides. If it's really alot and you don't have enough room in your pan, save in saucepan, and heat up to spoon over individual servings) Then add another cup of grated mozzarella cheese and finally sprinkle 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese on top of that. Cover with a sheet of aluminum foil (I spray mine with non-stick cooking spray, that way the cheese doesn't stick too bad) at this point you can place in your refrigerator until ready to bake, you can even make the day before you are going to serve it.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes, and remove the foil and continue to bake for another 15 minutes until hot and bubbly and the cheese is starting to brown slightly OR bake for an hour if it's been in the fridge for very long, taking the foil off the last 15 minutes of baking time.
You can serve with a salad and crispy french bread. ENJOY!!

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