Chicken and Vegetable Lasagna With Alfredo Sauce
Lasagna is a classic comfort food, but even a well-loved meal needs a little variation now and then. I have had vegetable lasagnas in the past, but only ones made with tomato sauce. Since I thought that alfredo sauce was a better fit for a vegetable lasagna, I decided to create my own dish with this type of sauce, and add some chicken to it as well. I attempted to be at least somewhat calorie-conscious in the process by using low-fat ricotta cheese, as well as mostly skim milk in the alfredo sauce. While I admit this lasagna takes some extra work to prepare, it is definitely worth the effort to make most of it from scratch!
Please note that the prep time includes the time it takes to marinate the chicken.
- 1 lb. chicken breast tenders, (marinate for at least two hours in marinade given under step one of instructions)
- 9 lasagna noodles, cooked according to package directions (abt. 10-11 min.)
- 2 cups broccoli florets
- 1 medium-sized carrot, cut into small sticks
- 8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
- 1 cup raw spinach
- 8 oz. part-skim ricotta cheese, (stir in 1 T olive oil, 1/4 tsp basil, 1/8 tsp garlic, 1/4 tsp oregano, 1 tsp parsley)
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 8 slices smoked provolone cheese
- Alfredo Sauce :
- 2 T butter
- 3-1/2 T flour
- 1-1/2 cups low-fat or skim milk
- 1/2 cup half-and-half
- 1/8 cup white wine
- 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1/16 tsp nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp onion powder
- salt and pepper to taste, (make sure to limit the amount of salt you add if you use cooking wine)
- Marinate the chicken in a mixture of 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, 1/2 cup water, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp black pepper, 1/4 tsp basil, 1-1/2 tsp onion flakes for at least two hours.
- Broil the chicken in the oven for 8-10 minutes, or until juices run clear (flip once halfway through cooking). While chicken is cooking, boil the lasagna noodles according to the package directions concerning noodles that are to be used in a baked pasta recipe (add 1/2 T of olive oil to the water to prevent the noodles from sticking together). Cut cooked chicken into bite-sized chunks and set aside.
- Stir olive oil, herbs, and garlic into the ricotta cheese. Steam broccoli and carrots together until they are just tender-crisp. Sauté the mushrooms in 1 T olive oil until they begin to soften. Add 1/4 tsp of garlic powder and 1/4 tsp of salt while cooking to enhance flavor. Remove from heat and add spinach to the pan, allowing the spinach to wilt but not become mushy. Pour off excess juice and set aside.
- Prepare alfredo sauce: melt the butter in a 1 or 2-qt. saucepan over medium heat. Add flour a little at a time while stirring constantly with a wire whisk to form a roux. Stir in 3/4 cup of the milk gradually, making sure that the roux maintains a smooth consistency and that it does not burn. Add remaining milk, half-and-half, and white wine, then reduce heat to medium-low. Stir in half the parmesan cheese, adding the remainder of it once the first part has mostly melted. Stir in seasonings. Allow sauce to thicken for 3-4 minutes while stirring it periodically. Remove from heat.
- Pre-heat oven to 375° F. Lightly grease the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish, then cover the bottom of the pan with a thin layer of the alfredo sauce.
- Place three of the lasagna noodles lengthwise over the sauce. Spread half of the ricotta cheese over the noodles. Sprinkle half of the chicken and vegetables over the ricotta. Sprinkle 1/3 of the shredded mozzarella over the chicken and vegetables, then break three slices of the provolone in half and place them on top of the mozzarella. Pour 1/3 of the alfredo sauce over the cheese.
- Repeat step 8, adding an identical layer to the lasagna.
- Place remaining three lasagna noodles on top of the dish, then add the last of the mozzarella and provolone cheeses. Drizzle the remainder of the sauce over the lasagna and sprinkle some parsley on top. Cover with tinfoil (lightly grease tinfoil to keep cheese from sticking to it) and place the lasagna in the oven for 30 minutes, removing the foil for the last 8-10 minutes of cooking in order to lightly brown the cheese. Allow to cool for about five minutes before serving.
- You can put this lasagna together the night before you need it and store it in the refrigerator. Cook for 45-50 minutes instead of 30 minutes to compensate for the fact that it will be cold the next day (also, stick the pan in the oven as the oven is heating up).
- If you have full chicken breasts rather than chicken tenders, simply butterfly (cut almost all the way in half to reduce the thickness) the chicken breast before putting it in the marinade. Making the chicken breast thinner will cut the cooking time down to match the time given in the recipe.
- You can substitute other vegetables for the ones that are in this dish (or use some new ones in addition to what is already in it) to tweak it to your own tastes. Zucchini, cauliflower, yellow squash, and red peppers would also work well. Just make sure to sauté or steam the vegetables before adding them to the lasagna in order to avoid making the dish too wet with the juices that raw vegetables release while cooking.
- The marinated broiled chicken used in this recipe is also great on top of a green salad.