Chicken Broccoli Lasagna
Updated: Dec 17, 2020
Well, friends, here we are. Day 10, week two into social isolation and home quarantine, and we've gotten bored of all general meals.
We also have pasta shortages because crazy people keep BUYING IT ALL. Basically, New England has lost its mind and we are bulk buying all toilet paper, face masks, gloves, wipes, pasta you get it. So the other day, I'm on my grocery run, trying to avoid all human contact and I get to the pasta aisle to find NO pasta. And by no pasta I mean, no regular pasta. No one is buying the whole wheat or protein+ pasta during this time of trying to boost their health inside their barricades.
I'm pretty comfortable in my knowledge of the human body, because before I had a couple of kids and wanted to be home with them at night, I was right on track to have a career in the medical field. So, it goes without saying, you need to eat healthy foods to have a healthy body, and with a healthy body you boost a strong immune system. AND, I don't know why people are so worried about not having enough toilet paper. The way they're buying white rice, starchy pasta and cheese, the last thing you people will need is toilet paper. You're gonna need some Miralax the way you're goin' (insert laughing emoji)
I grabbed the protein+, the whole wheat pasta, and the brown rice. But, there was one box of lasagna and I thought, "What the hell, we'll use it." Real quick back to the "healthier" pasta that is left and the brown rice. If you are worried about bland flavor, grab chicken, veggie and beef bouillon cubes at the store when you're there. Follow the directions on the box, and once the water is boiling toss in 2 cubes. Use your judgement depending on what you're eating. Beef bouillon is not my favorite, so if your dish is not chicken for a protein, you can use the veggie cubes. When you make brown rice, measure out the water you need, just like when you cook it. Toss in the bouillon cubes and follow the boxed directions as well. Pasta water obviously will be drained out, but cooking the noodles in the flavored water will add depth to a normally bland meal.
Okay anyway, so now that you know how to amp up your healthier pasta and rice choices, we made lasagna the other night and there was no marinara sauce involved. Like I said, we've gotten bored lately with meal options, and I needed to try something that I always thought about making, but never had enough time to make something else if we all hated it. Now with this new quarantined home time, I finally had the option. I mean it will at least be tolerable to eat. It's pasta, Alfredo sauce and chicken.
IT. WAS. DELICIOUS.
The flavors of the traditional chicken and broccoli Alfredo bowl with fettuccine, but baked, and with other melty Italian cheeses. As always, we make the Alfredo sauce using the homemade recipe I will never stray from, and you can make it ahead of time if balancing is not easy with all of these people just in your house, all the time.
All the time.
Somehow I managed to find fresh broccoli at the store and by "somehow" I mean of course I could because no one is buying fresh stuff during the apocalypse, where we need our health. Then Kendall and I ate it all with ranch dip, and I had to use the frozen pack in my freezer. Whatever, one less step!
That steambag went into microwave, a chicken breast went into the Foodi and I boiled the lasagna noodles. I make Alfredo and marinara ahead of time on the weekends when I know we will be using at least the Alfredo for dinner, so I didn't have to make it from scratch. To heat up the homemade Alfredo my best advice is not to microwave. If you can use a small pot and heat it up on the stove, it is less likely to burn around the edges. I take a regular tablespoon to scoop it out, and transfer into the small pot. Alfredo gets thick in the refrigerator, so when I'm reheating I add a little milk once it's on the stove top.
Traditional lasagna would be marinara sauce, ground beef, ricotta and Italian blend cheese. You would take a spoonful of marinara, spread it all over the bottom of the baking dish and then begin layering; pasta, ricotta, ground beef, sauce and repeat. The same idea stand for this dish, just replacing the marinara with Alfredo, and the ground beef with chicken. You are welcome to also use ricotta with this dish, I didn't this time but I may next time. The best part about this lasagna is that most people don't keep ricotta stocked at home, but they probably do at least have shredded mozzarella cheese. So, Alfredo down, first layer of noodles laid out. Now fill them evenly with shredded up chicken, picked apart broccoli florets, Italian blend shredded cheese and another layer of Alfredo across the top. Repeat.
For the last layer, or the top layer keep it simple with spread Alfredo sauce, a sprinkle of the shredded cheese and parmesan for extra flavor. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes, give or take. Everything is cooked already, so no worries of food poisoning, but we want the melty bubbly cheese. We need the melty bubble cheese.
As always, once you remove the baking dish from the oven when the top is bubbly and melted, let it rest. It will cook more for a minute or two, but you don't want the top to burn. We had ours with a tossed salad and a breadstick, and obviously a good red blend for me, because quarantine.
1 box of lasagna noodles (this recipe is not for the "oven ready" lasagna, so if you bought them, give them quick warm up in boiling water, 5 minutes or so)
a jar of your favorite Alfredo or this homemade recipe
small bag of Italian blend shredded cheese
steam-in-a-bag broccoli florets
1 chicken breast (or shredded rotisseries chicken)
ricotta is desired, is optional
parmesan cheese, for preference
1. First step is cook the chicken. If you're using uncooked chicken breast, season with salt and pepper, cook thoroughly, cook until 165 degrees then shred. Or shred the precooked rotisserie chicken
2. Next microwave the broccoli steambag, let it cool
3. Boil the lasagna noodles to al dente
4. While the noodles cook, warm up Alfredo sauce
5. Grease baking dish with cooking spray, then spread a thin layer of Alfredo sauce across the bottom 6. Shred the pieces of broccoli into smaller chunks
7. Layer noodles across the pan, spread Alfredo down the length of the lasagna pieces, top with chicken, then sprinkle Italian cheese.
8. Repeat for as many layers as desired, keeping in mind you need equal amount for the top piece, left plain
9. Take the last lasagna noodles and layer across the top of the dish
10. Spread one last layer of Alfredo, then shredded Italian cheese
11. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes until the top layer is melty and bubbly