Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Lemon Chicken Lasagna

Lemon Chicken Lasagna

It is starting to get warm down here in Maryland. I am getting excited about summer. That's why I decided to make this Lemon Chicken Lasagna. I know that lasagna isn't exactly a summer dish but adding the lemon gives it a lighter taste. I got the recipe from the Better Homes & Gardens website but I changed it quite a bit. The original recipe used a jar of garlic Alfredo sauce but I made my own. The original recipe also called for precooked frozen or refrigerated chicken breast strips. I went all out and actually cooked a chicken breast myself. The recipe says that it takes 20 minutes to prepare. I think I added about another 15 minutes to the prep time by making my own sauce and cooking a chicken breast. I decided to do the sauce myself after I picked up a few jars of the Alfredo sauce at the supermarket. They all seem to contain modified food starch which is really just another name for MSG. I am not a big fan of MSG. I also read the package of the precooked chicken breast that I always use. I was very surprised to find out that there is maltodextrin (aka MSG) in the chicken strips. I also left out the capers. I've tried capers and I don't like them. I never really knew what capers were until I did a bit of reading about them. They are really the buds of a flower Capparis Spinosa. The buds are pickled in brine or vinegar. I found out all this when I started googling for a substitute for capers. I found out that both pickles and green olives can be used as a substitute for them. Too bad I don't eat pickles or green olives either! Now, black olives I love but they won't work. Instead of even trying to find a substitute for the "flavor" of the capers, I just went ahead and used 1/4 cup of tiny peas. I wanted them for the color in the dish. You can go ahead and use capers, try pickles or green olives, whatever suits you.

Here is the recipe for the lasagna and the sauce:

Lemon Chicken Lasagna


16 oz Alfredo sauce (see recipe below) or use a jar of Alfredo sauce
1 Tbsp. drained capers (I used 1/4 cup petite green peas)
6 no-boil lasagna noodles
1/2 of a 15 oz container ricotta cheese
6 oz Fontina cheese or mozzarella cheese shredded (1-1/2 cups)
1-1/2 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
1/4 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
1 9 oz chicken breast or a pkg refrigerated or frozen cooked chicken breast strips (thawed, if frozen)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat a 2 quart square baking pan with cooking spray; set aside. In a saucepan combine Alfredo sauce and peas (or capers). Bring to boiling over medium heat, stirring continually. Spoon 1/3 cup of sauce mixture into prepared dish. Top with 2 lasagna noodles. In a bowl stir together ricotta, 1 cup of the fontina or mozzarella cheese, and 1 teaspoon of the lemon peel. Spoon half the cheese mixture over noodles. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons Parmesan. Top with half of the chicken. Spoon half the remaining sauce over the chicken layer.

2. Top with 2 more noodles, remaining ricotta mixture, and remaining chicken. Add 2 more noodles, remaining sauce, and sprinkle with remaining Fontina or mozzarella and Parmesan.

3. Cover with foil. Bake for 40 minutes. Let stand, covered, on a wire rack for 20 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with remaining lemon peel. Makes 6 servings.

Alfredo Sauce

1 cup cream cheese
2 cups 0-2% milk
6 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dry parsley

The best way to make this sauce is to use a blender. Put the cream cheese, milk, Parmesan cheese, garlic and spices into the blender. Blend until there are no clumps, pour into sauce pan on medium heat, cook for about 10 minutes, while cooking add parsley.


The Creative Cook