March 10, 2010 by Flora Dawn
I was first introduced to chicken lasagna as a kid. My mom and my older sister made a creamy chicken lasagna in a white sauce; the recipe came from one of those church/community cookbooks. If I remember right the ingredients go something like this, pasta, chicken, cream cheese, mozzarella, 2 cans cream of something soup.
I like the idea of a creamy chicken lasagna, but I am not a fan of the cream of anything soups (I am pretty sure they are full of gluten, so I have yet another reason to avoid them). I know this might make me sound like a food snob, I have heard people call cream of whatever soups an American staple, but I really just find them gross, so I had to come up with my own version of chicken lasagna. I like both the idea of using chicken in lasagna and the richness of the original recipe, but I wanted a more traditional red sauce.
After trying several different things, I came up with a version of chicken lasagna my family loves. I am not going to tout this as healthy lasagna, but unlike the original version, it does actually have vegetables in it. I like to add spinach, but I know many people dislike it, so it is very optional. This isn’t a really firm-set lasagna, if that bothers you, you can add an egg to the cheese mixture and it will help it set.
We use Tinkyada brown rice lasagna noodles, but if you aren’t gluten free, use your favorite lasagna noodles. If you haven’t used the rice lasagna noodles before, they are pretty fragile so handle with care. Every time I cook them I seem to end up with more broken noodles than not, so I just lay the pasta pieces down and proceed with the recipe.
- 1/2 an onion, chopped
- 1/2 a green pepper, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups tomato sauce
- 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp dried parsley
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3 chicken breast halves, cooked and chopped (leftovers work great here)
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated or chopped
- 1 (8oz) package cream cheese, softened
- 1 package frozen spinach, thawed and drained, optional
- 9 rice lasagna noodles, cooked and drained
- Saute onion, green pepper and garlic in a few teaspoons oil. Add tomato sauce, diced tomatoes and herbs. Simmer until flavors are blended, about 10 minutes.
- In a separate bowl, combine chicken, cream cheese, mozzarella and spinach if using. Add about 2/3 cup of warm sauce and stir to combine.
- In an 11×7 pan (you could use 9×13 but it won’t be as full), spoon enough sauce to cover the bottom. Layer three noodles; spread about 1/3 of the cheese & chicken mixture on top. Repeat noodle layer, cheese & chicken mixture two more times. Pour remaining sauce on top of pan.
- Place pan on top of rimmed baking sheet to catch drips and bake at 350 for about 40 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Let set 5 minutes before cutting.