I made this lasagna three times in the past two days.
I have always been a red sauce girl myself- classic lasagna is one of the most soul-comforting foods out there, in my book! However, my husband is a white sauce only type guy. So that threw me through a loop the first few weeks of our marriage- because staples in my house growing up were spaghetti with marinara (red sauce) and lasagna (red sauce) and mom’s chili (red sauce). There I was, all excited that I had a handful of good dinners planned for my hubby, and all the sudden I have to throw 3 of 5 weekday ideas down the drain!! Now, Joey would have eaten anything I made him- but who wants to spend time making a dinner you know won’t be a hit? Not me.
So I cautiously entered the world of white sauce.
And was pleasantly surprised! I still prefer red sauce, but I have found a few recipes for white sauce dinners that are contenders for “The Weekday Dinner Rotation” we are bound to rely on when our house is full of kids. Did any of you guys have that growing up? The rotation of 5 weekday meals that you knew you’d have because mom is busy and there are 5 kids in the house who are picky and there are only 5 known meals that will satisfy everyone in the house? Yup, totally preparing for that already. My mom had an awesome rotation, so I need to come up with some good stuff here.
This white cheese lasagna is a cinch to make, and definitely a crowd pleaser. (Which is why I made it three times in two days.) I made two small lasagnas for Joey and I, one to freeze and one to eat, but then we had his brothers and a friend over for dinner so we ended up making both! And the next day I made another one to bring to my dear cousin who just had a beautiful baby girl! Who, by the way, I got to hold last night AND feed her a bottle! Totally precious. Again, February… HURRY UP!
Anyways, if you’re looking for dinner ideas that are sure to please even the pickiest eaters in your house, here ya go!
(Sorry the lighting is atrocious in our kitchen after 4:30 pm. That’s why it looks more like yellow lasagna than a white cheese lasagna- bear with me!)
White Cheese Lasagna with Spinach and Mushrooms
adapted lightly from Lisa Humpf
9 lasagna noodles 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1/2 cup butter 1 tsp dried basil
1 onion, chopped 1 tsp dried oregano
1 tablespoon minced garlic 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 cup all purpose flour 1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
1 tsp salt 2 cups cubed, cooked chicken meat
2 cups chicken broth 2 cups fresh spinach
1 1/2 cup milk 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (or dried)
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided 1/4 cup parmesan ( I used romano) for topping
8 baby mushrooms, sliced
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles in boiling water for 8-10 minutes. Drain, and rinse with cold water, then set aside.
If you are using fresh chicken, cook breasts in olive oil or butter and season with salt and pepper until cooked through- do not overcook the chicken (it will cook more in the oven!) Slice, and set aside.
Melt the butter in a large saucepan in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook the onion and garlic in the butter until tender, stirring frequently. Stir in flour and salt, and simmer until bubbly. Mix in the broth and milk, and boil, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Stir in 2 cups mozzarella cheese and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Season with basil, oregano, and black pepper. Remove from heat and set aside.
Spread 1/3 of the sauce mixture in the bottom of a 9x 13 inch baking dish. Later with 1/3 of the noodles, the ricotta, spinach, mushrooms, and the chicken. Arrange 1/3 of the noodles over the chicken, and layer with 1/3 of the sauce mixture, spinach, mushrooms, chicken, and the remaining 2 cups of mozzarella cheese and 1/2 cup parmesan cheese. Arrange remaining noodles over the cheese, and spread remaining sauce evenly over the noodles. SPrinkle with 1/4 cup Romano cheese or Parmesan and parsley.
Bake for 35-40 minutes in the preheated oven.
Melt the butter