Dinner party time! Shannon, Elina, and I decided to follow up our Spanish tapas party with a spring themed feast. Shannon rocked the appetizer course with a radish and polenta masterpiece and Elina’s scrumptious lemon strawberry shortcakes were the perfect sweet ending to an amazing spring meal!
I was in charge of the main course. Since we were hosting on a weeknight, I wanted to make something I could completely prep the day before and then just heat up prior to serving so I wouldn’t have to leave work too early. So, I decided to make a lasagna! A special spring lasagna, similar to this one, with layers of lemony ricotta, chicken, asparagus, mushrooms, and spinach nestled between whole wheat noodles, goat cheese sauce, and mozzarella cheese. I assembled everything the night before and then just popped it in the oven for 45 minutes while we caught up and enjoyed our appetizers.
p.s. Thanks so much for all your sweet comments on my pregnancy announcement post!!
Asparagus, Mushroom, Spinach, and Chicken Lasagna with Goat Cheese Sauce
Chicken and Veggie Layer:
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
1 pound asparagus, tough ends trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 large leek, white and light green part only, chopped
16 ounces baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1 pound fresh baby spinach
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon salt
32 ounces part-skim ricotta
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon dried basil
1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup milk (I used 2%)
1/2 cup freshly grated pecorino romano
10.5 ounces goat cheese (1 log from costco)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 box whole wheat lasagna noodles
4 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
To make the chicken and veggie layer, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat and cook chicken for 5 to 7 minutes, or until cooked through and no longer pink in the center. Place chicken in a large bowl and add asparagus to the same hot pan; sauté 7 to 8 minutes or until crisp tender and place in the bowl with the chicken. Add 1 remaining tablespoon olive oil to the pan, along with the leeks and mushrooms and sauté 5 to 7 minutes or until veggies are tender; add spinach and sauté an additional 2 to 3 minutes or spinach is wilted. Add garlic and sauté one additional minute. Stir mushroom and spinach mixture in with the chicken, asparagus, and salt.
To make the ricotta layer, place ricotta, lemon zest, basil, oregano, salt, and egg in a large bowl and mix until smooth.
To make the sauce, melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour until smooth and cook one more minute or until mixture starts to brown. Whisk in milk and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and whisk in pecorino romano, goat cheese, and salt. Heat 5 minutes, stirring frequently, or until cheese is melted and mixture is smooth.
Heat oven to 350˚F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook lasagna noodles according to the directions on the package. To assemble the lasagna, place a layer of 4 noodles in a 13×9-inch pan and top it with half the ricotta mixture, half the chicken and veggie mix, half the sauce, and 1 cup of mozzarella cheese. Repeat this layer. Then place the remaining 4 noodles on top and sprinkle evenly with the 2 remaining cups of mozzarella cheese. Bake at 350˚F for 45 minutes or until cheesy is light brown and bubbly. Let cool for 10 minutes before cutting and serving. Makes 12 servings.
Nutrition: 516 calories, 24.7g fat, 4.9g fiber, 43.4g protein per serving
Cost: $1.95 per serving