Monday, May 18, 2020

DELICIOUS CHICKEN ALFREDO & CREAMY SPINACH LASAGNA

Welcome back my loves,

Today is a treat, and it will be a well-earned one at that because this recipe is going to take a lot of grit in the kitchen but it is going to be so, SO worth it in the end. In your best fantasies, can you envision a comforting, cheesy, herb-y lasagna layered with lovely succulent chicken, spinach and marinara sauce with stretchy mozzarella goodness in every bite? This beautifully layered lasagna is just that, there are six basic layers in total that you need to keep repeating; so it will take a bit of time. You can cut down a lot of the prep time by simply preparing and storing some of the ingredients before-hand or batch-cooking them if you want to make this more frequently that just when trying to be the best party hostess or host; although, with the lockdown everywhere and a global pandemic scorning us, I'm not sure if that's currently possible,
   Anyhow, that just means you will have bigger portions for yourselves. :D Now, be warned, this is not a classic lasagna dish; so if that's what you're searching for, you're not going to find it here. Nay, this is a more non-traditional, creative but nevertheless scrumptious approach. Take a look yourself!


The Best Chicken Alfredo and Creamy Spinach Lasagna // Craft A Doodle Doo #recipes #lasagna #iftarrecipe #bestlasagna #best #pastas #pastarecipe #alfredopasta #cooking #easy #delicious


The ingredients will be categorized based on the layer they belong to; so you can quickly assemble them all together so they're easy to access while cooking because a lot of the ingredients are repeated in various layers. 
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DELICIOUS CHICKEN ALFREDO & CREAMY SPINACH LASAGNA (THE 6 LAYER LASAGNA)

Ingredients

A) Creamy Shredded Chicken Layer *
  • Rotisserie chicken, shredded (or I highly recommend you prepare a more moist and flavorful shredded chicken like this; in a saucepan on high heat and a dash of vegetable oil, add 2-3 pounded chicken fillets dusted generously in 1 tsp each of paprika powder and garlic powder. Add salt and pepper to taste and first sear on high heat till the chicken's exterior develops crust, then lower the heat, add half a chicken bullion cube, enough water to fully cover the chicken and cook on this low heat with a closed lid for 7-8 minutes. You SHOULD have a juicy and tender chicken breasts which you can then easily shred).

To prepare the filling using your store-bought or home-made shredded chicken:

  • Small red onion, finely minced
  • Ginger garlic paste (1 and a 1/2 tsp)
  • Green chilies finely chopped (1 to 2 no.s)
  • Cumin seeds (1 tsp)
  • Milk (1/3 cup) with cornflour dissolved (1 tsp)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Lemon juice (1 tsp)
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter + 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Prepared/store-bought shredded chicken (2-3 breast fillets)


*PS: This filling is also the same that can be found in my Bakery Style Chicken Puffs recipe that I published on the gram a few days back, and if you're not following me there, what are you doingggg?
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B) Alfredo Sauce (the best white sauce ever, do NOT substitute with store-bought)
  • 2 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • Pepper to taste and salt to taste (add only after adding the chicken bullion since it is already salty) 
  • Garlic powder (1 tbsp)
  • Mixed Italian seasoning (1 tbsp) and if unavailable, add 1/4th tsp each of thyme, basil, rosemary, oregano and parsley.
  • Chicken Bullion/stock cube (1 cube)
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C) Spiced Spinach Layer 
  • Unsalted butter (2 tbsp)
  • 1 Large onion, finely minced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • Red Chili flakes (1 tsp)
  • Oregano and dried basil (1/2 tsp each)
  • Paprika (1 tsp)
  • Salt to taste 
  • 1 Bag Frozen/Fresh Spinach
  • Water (as required)
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D) Marinara Sauce (use store-bought for a quicker cook-time or home-made)
For home-made:
  • Six small tomatoes
  • Onion, julienne cut (1/2 of a big onion)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive oil (3 tbsp)
  • Minced garlic (5 cloves)
  • Chili flakes (1 tbsp)
  • Mixed Italian Seasoning (1 tbsp)
  • Fresh Basil ( a few sprigs)
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E) Mixed & Seasoned Cheese Layer
Mix mozzarella cheese (5 handfuls) or optionally, 3 handfuls of mozzarella and 2 handfuls of shredded cheddar cheese. In the cheese, add and mix 1 tsp each of dried thyme, dried basil, oregano and chili flakes. 
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F) Pre-Boiled (completely dry) Lasagna Sheets 
or use No-Boil Lasagna sheets (these soak up any residual wateriness from the sauces and different layers so you don't end up with a soupy lasagna)

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Assembling

A. For the Shredded Chicken layer: 
If you have prepared it the home-made way, reserve some of the juices from slow-cooking the shredded chicken in the fry pan and to that add the oil and butter. If you bought rotisserie chicken, then heat the butter and oil in a pan. To that, add the onion and ginger-garlic paste and chilies and saute until fragrant. Next, add in the cumin seeds till they start to splutter in the pan (do not burn the cumin!). In the separate cup of milk dissolved with the cornflour, add a generous sprinkling of pepper and the pour in the pan. Cook the mixture till it begins to thicken and transfer the shredded chicken to the pan. Add the lemon juice, taste for salt and give a final mix and set aside.

B. Alfredo Sauce:
In a saucepan, melt the butter till it lightly browns and add the flour. Mix fell to ensure no lumps are formed and saute until the flour loses its raw smell and mixture smells fragrant. Then add a very small quantity of the milk and immediately mix to avoid lumps forming. Keep adding milk in small quantities and stirring constantly. Now add the chicken bullion, spices and herbs and bring to a boil. The sauce will quickly begin to thicken. Add salt in the end since the bullion will already provide some saltiness. Take off the heat and do not overly thicken the sauce as it will also stiffen up after it cools.

C. Spiced Spinach Layer:
In a fry pan, add the butter and fry in the onion and minced garlic till aromatic. Add the fresh/frozen spinach, a little water accordingly to cook the spinach and cover with the lid. Leave to cook until the spinach completely wilts. When this happens, add the spices and herbs and adjust for salt according to taste. Set aside.

D. Marinara Sauce Layer
In one liter of boiling water, blanch the tomatoes for ten seconds. Then, immediately remove and place in chilled water. Then, coarsely chop the tomatoes after removing the seeds. In a pan, (or the one used for the spinach) add the onion and garlic and lightly saute in the olive oil till they slightly brown. Then add the chili flakes and mix in the tomatoes and cook for five minutes. Add the seasonings, add salt to taste and then mix in the fresh basil. Keep aside.

E. Final Assembling and Layering

  • Pre-heat oven to 190°C/375F. In your baking dish, first spread a sheer layer of the Alfredo sauce.
  • On top, place the lasagna sheets making sure they overlap a little. Trim any excess edges if necessary to avoid the sheets bunching up.
  • Then add the creamy chicken layer, followed by a layer of mixed cheese and a generous layer of marinara sauce.
  • Place the next similar layer of lasagna sheets.
  • After this, add the spinach layer and add the Alfredo sauce again on top followed by more cheese. Then layer again with the lasagna sheets.
  • Keep repeating the layers in this order but ensure the chicken, cheese and marinara layer(from point no.3) is topmost. To this layer add a generous spread of the Alfredo sauce so that any bare gaps or corners are thoroughly covered and spread evenly. Finally, add a generous amount of the mixed cheese layer on top and garnish with the chili flakes, parsley, oregano and thyme.
  • Bake in the pre-heated oven for 25-30 minutes. For the first 15 minutes, cover with aluminum foil then for the rest, keep uncovered and bake until cheese on top turns golden brown and bubbly. Serve when warm. You've made it this far and done a commendable job. Now go enjoy!
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The Best Chicken Alfredo and Creamy Spinach Lasagna // Craft A Doodle Doo #recipes #lasagna #iftarrecipe #bestlasagna #best #pastas #pastarecipe #alfredopasta #cooking #easy #delicious

I cannot even begin to describe all the deliciousness that ensures as soon as you take a bite of this cheesy, layered goodness. There's something about the chicken, spinach, Alfredo and Marinara sauce combined that is so bursting with flavor. This is a perfect one dish meal to prepare if you're looking to send Iftar to someone this Ramadan (as I did) because even though it takes a lot of effort, it is one and done and it is VERY filling (although I will not give any guarantee that you won't go back for second portions).

Some ways to save time on this dish:
1. Prepare the chicken layer before-hand. I had mine prepared the previous day because I'd also used it to bake some scrumptious puff pastry.
2. You can also prepare a large batch of the Marinara and freeze it so you can use it frequently as part of lots of other dishes.
3. Even though you can buy rotisserie chicken and shred, it will not have the same depth of flavor as the homemade method shown. This dish has several dimensions of flavor just coming at you from so many directions; if you are putting in the effort, might as well go the whole nine yards. :D
4. You can also use no-boil lasagna sheets that cook when you are baking the lasagna itself. Not every store has these, but if you can find them, it should save you some more time. And lastly, bake with a buddy so you guys can cut the prep time in half. How about some quality time cooking this quarantine? Date nights or family nights shouldn't just include dinner but also cooking together, no?


The Best Chicken Alfredo and Creamy Spinach Lasagna // Craft A Doodle Doo #recipes #lasagna #iftarrecipe #bestlasagna #best #pastas #pastarecipe #alfredopasta #cooking #easy #delicious

Now you can tell I neither had time nor the capacity to take any pictures while or after cutting this up to serve after a whole day of fasting. Everyone just digs in at Iftar but take my guarantee for it, the layers are all amazing and tie in so well together. You will not regret the effort to make this and it is better that way, because an easier lasagna would equal to making it more frequently which is more depressing for your waistline.
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That was it for today! I hope you all enjoyed this tedious but lovely journey to heavenly food. If you're a pasta lover, you might want to try my Spicy Chipotle Chicken  Pasta Recipe (a copycat from the Cheesecake Factory!) also on the blog. Again, take my word for this; I've never met a single person who did not love this recipe!


If you are looking for other ridiculously tasty recipes on my blog, find them all here.


If kitchen organization is more of your thing, check out these free organization printables I designed that are sure to put your pantry back in order.

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Till next time, stay safe! XO


Nash

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