Thursday, July 7, 2022

Easiest Chicken and Broccoli Lasagna


This post is inspired by a photo posted on one of my longtime friend's feed, one that he had stumbled upon himself.  I happened to be scrolling, the dish caught my eye and I knew preparing it for my family, was in our near future.  It looked delicious.  There was a recipe posted, but I found it to be lacking and vague in some areas.  I decided to write my own.  The dish came out wonderfully and the teens approved, which helped it make the cut of recipes I can enjoy sharing with you. 
Dishes like this one are good for saving money, without compromising on quality and flavors.  With inflation at a 40 year high, making the most of simple ingredients can really save the day.  I hope your crew enjoys this take on Chicken and Broccoli Lasagna as much as my brood and I did!

12 oz. Oven ready Lasagna Noodles
4 c. fresh, (trimmed and cut in half) or frozen broccoli florets, thawed, rinsed (if fresh, steamed over boiling salted water for 5 minutes, covered, then shocked in cold water and drained)
2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, chilled and cut into small cubes or pieces and brined*
4 Tbs. Parmesan, Garlic and Basil Seasoned butter, plus 4 tbs. Butter, Salted or Unsalted ( I used Great Value brand from Walmart)
2/3 c. green onion, thinly sliced, white and green parts
1/3 c. Vidalia onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, grated
1 pinch red pepper flakes, optional
1 pinch nutmeg, optional
2 sprigs dried thyme or 1 tsp. of ground version
1 tsp. onion powder
2 Tbs. fresh parsley, rough chopped
1 c. low sodium chicken stock
1 c. 2 % milk
2/3 c. heavy cream
2 Tbs. AP flour
2/3 c. Ricotta Cheese
4 c. Italian blend shredded cheese or to taste
Olive Oil for drizzling
SPST ( Salt and Pepper to Suit Taste)

Preheat oven to 375*. 
In a large medium to large pan over medium high heat, melt butters and add a turn of the pan of olive oil.
Add onions cook, stirring often, until fragrant and translucent, about 6 minutes.
Add chicken, garlic, thyme sprigs and SPST.
Cook until chicken is no longer pink, about 8 minutes.
Reduce heat to medium.
Sprinkle in flour and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove stalks of thyme.
Add chicken stock and bring up to a boil to thicken the stock and begin the base for the sauce, all in one pan.  
Over medium heat, stir in milk, blend well, then add cream and nutmeg.
Simmer for several minutes to marry the flavors, about 5 minutes.
Add parsley, pepper flakes and onion powder, stir.
Stir in Ricotta and fold in broccoli and 1 c. Italian cheese blend.
Turn off heat source.
In a large casserole or baking dish 11x13 or close to it, drizzle with olive oil and coat bottom and sides or cooking spray.
Start with about 1 1/2 cup of filling, spread across bottom of dish to anchor the first set of lasagna noodles.
Sprinkle with a scant amount of cheese and overlap noodles across filling, using 5 to 6.
Add more scant cheese and add about 1/3 of remaining filling.
Spread accordingly and sprinkle light cheese.
Add 5 to 6 more lasagna noodles, overlapping as needed.
Repeat layering again, then ending with filling on top with no noodle covering.
Add remaining cheese and drizzle with olive oil.
Cover tightly with foil and bake until lasagna noodles are tender, about 45 minutes.
Remove covering and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes until golden. 
Let stand for about 10 minutes before serving, now is a good time to throw the store bought garlic bread in the oven!
Makes 10 to 12 servings+
Serve Shaved or grated Parmesan Cheese on the side, (truffle oil is good too)

*I like to brine my chicken before using in recipes, but that is at your personal discretion, it certainly enhances the moisture levels and flavor, plus tenderizes in a wonderful way.
To brine, simply add the cubed chicken to a bowl, fill with enough salt water 3 Tbs. to cover by 2x and let stand for about 15 minutes.  After 15 minutes, drain and rinse several times under cold running water, drain, pat dry and it's ready to go.  Don't worry, the chicken won't soak up a lot of saltiness, most is washed and drained away. 

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