Sunday, July 5, 2009

Wok's For Dinner: Chicken and Cheese Lasagna

Chicken and Cheese Lasagna, a meal I've made probably just once. I don't make lasagna too often, whether it's a chicken or a beef version. Usually, if I make lasagna, it's the frozen store-bought kind. And this was the frozen kind, too. Only difference is that I made it from scratch, then stuck it in the freezer until cooking day. Growing up, my mom also rarely made homemade lasagna. Any time anyone in the family asked her to make lasagna, she would complain about what a time-consuming ordeal it was. Unfortunately, I think her viewpoint has carried-over into my adult life, because I, too, look on homemade lasagna as a time-consuming ordeal. Probably why I do not make it too often.

Chicken and Cheese Lasagna

8 oz lasagna noodles
1 1/2 cups cottage cheese
3 cups cooked chicken, diced
1 can (10.75 oz) cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup Parmesan
3/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 can (12 oz) sliced mushrooms, drained
1/2 cup celery, diced
3 Tbsp margarine
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup chopped pimientos
1/2 tsp basil
3/4 cup chopped onion
12 slices American cheese

Cook noodles according to package directions. Rinse in cold water and drain again. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place half the noodles in a 13x9-inch baking dish. Cover with half each of mushroom sauce*, cottage cheese, chicken, American cheese, and Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers. Bake for 45 minutes. If freezing: Prepare all ingredients and layer in a disposable aluminum baking dish. Cover with 2-3 layers of foil and place in freezer (do not bake). Thaw 2-3 days in refrigerator, and bake for 45-60 minutes. Or pull out of freezer on meal day, and bake for 2 hours.

Mushroom Sauce*: Cook onion, bell pepper and celery in margarine until tender. Stir in cream of chicken, mushroom, pimientos and basil. Continue cooking slowly for 10 minutes.

I made 3 layers of everything, instead of two layers as directed in the recipe. I wasn't thinking and didn't pull the lasagna out of the freezer a few days ahead of time to thaw it in the fridge. But I remembered the store-bought versions took about 2 hours to bake from frozen, so I decided to also use that cook time for this meal. And it worked. It wasn't overbaked, and it was hot in the center. So I'll remember that for my next homemade lasagna, be it chicken or beef. Everyone in the family enjoyed this meal. I wouldn't call it hands-down the absolute best-tasting lasagana. But it was very inexpensive and simple to make (not quite the ordeal my mom taught me to believe!). And we have plenty leftover for lunches tomorrow.

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