Sunday, February 12, 2012

Chicken Pesto Lasagna

I had a dream.....literally! I woke up one morning with the beginnings of this recipe banging around in my head. I had been cooking in my dream and I was layering ingredients like a lasagna but it was not a traditional one since there was no tomato sauce.  All morning I kept thinking about what I had dreamed and I decided to get in the kitchen and figure it out!
So this is what I came up with and it was a rousing success.....the guys in my house went wild over it! I served it with a spinach salad and we decided it was definitely a keeper.

Chicken Pesto Lasagna

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut in thin strips
1 pkg lasagna noodles (I like refrigerated flat sheets but regular lasagna noodles are fine)
3 tbl italian dressing
2 cups fresh baby spinach
1 small jar of pesto (or make your own its easy)
2 cups shredded mozzarella
1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
1 egg
1 1/2 -2 cups milk
3 tbl butter
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup parm cheese

I used a 10x10 pan which I spray with cooking spray.   Preheat the oven to 350.
If you are using dry lasagna noodles cook according to package directions EXCEPT cook for 1/2 the time indicated on the box.  You want the noodles to be just beginning to soften - bendable but not fully cooked. If you are using the sheet lasagna noodles, just open the package and go!
In a pan saute the Chicken in the Italian dressing until no longer pink. Set aside.
Make a white sauce:
In a sauce pan melt the butter over med low heat.  When the better is melted add the flour and combine...then whisk in the 1 cup milk. Continue cooking until thickened add additional milk if the mixture gets very thick.  You want the mixture to be smooth and pourable but thickened.  Add the Parm cheese and stir to combine. Set aside.
Mix the ricotta cheese and the eggs, set aside.
Begin layering :
Layer the noodles to cover the bottom of the pan (you will need 3 layers of noodles) .
then spread on 1/3 of the pesto, 1/3 ricotta mixture, 1/2 the chicken, 1/2 the white sauce, 1/3 of the mozzarella, 1/2 the baby spinach. Repeat (hint: lay the noodles in the opposite direction for each layer to make your lasagna stay together better)
End with Noodles, then pesto, then ricotta, then top with mozzarella.
Bake covered with foil 30 minutes, then uncovered about 15- 20 minutes until golden and bubbly.

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