Friday, November 20, 2009

Chicken and Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

I have neglected this blog for so long. I've just been so impossibly busy. And I'm so tired of all the stuff and deadlines that I've been dealing with that I'm not going to explain it. I would like to defend myself and say that I have, however, been doing some cooking. It is with great pleasure that I begin filling you in on my culinary adventures here today! (at 4 am. sleep eludes me.)

Tonight's dinner was a tremendous success (if I do say so myself!): my very own lasagna recipe! Well, there may be another one like it out there somewhere. But I haven't seen it, and swear this was something I came up with on my own. It is very, very easy, but somewhat time-consuming. It's also pretty healthy, as lasagnas go. And so very, very tasty. The roasted vegetables and fresh herbs give this such a fresh and complex taste. I hope you'll try it! The one suggestion I got from my tasters this evening was that it could use more garlic. I'm printing the recipe below as I used it, but you might want to up the garlic quantity. I think I will next time (and oh yes, there will be a next time).

Chicken and Roasted Vegetable Lasagna
makes a 9x13 roasting pan

Roasted Vegetables
2 medium zucchini
1 italian eggplant
1 summer squash
2 bell peppers (I used yellow, but any color would work)
1-2 Tbsp olive oil

Chicken Mixture
1 lb ground chicken breast
3 cups crushed tomatoes, drained (I actually strained mine to remove as much liquid as possible)
4 cloves garlic, chopped
one medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup white wine
2 tsp oregano
Black pepper to taste

Ricotta mixture
15 oz lowfat ricotta cheese
16 oz part-skim shredded italian cheese blend
2 eggs
1 cup fresh chopped parsley

Tomato Sauce
3 cups crushed tomatoes
1 small can tomato paste
1/2 cup white wine
2 tsp oregano
1 Tbsp sugar

1 bunch fresh basil
16 oz part-skim shredded mozzerella
1 box no-boil lasagna noodles (I like barilla)
Cooking spray (I like Pam)

Roasted Vegetable Layer
slice zucchini, eggplant and yellow squash into 1/4 inch rounds. Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray. Pierce bell peppers with a fork or knife and rub with olive oil. Lay the vegetables out on the sheet and toss with 1-2 tbsb of olive oil. Put in the oven to roast at 400 F until very soft (about 40 minutes). After removing them from the oven, put the sliced veggies in a bowl. Let the peppers cool a bit, then peel, de-seed and de-rib them. Chop them up and add to the rest of the veggies.

Chicken Layer
In a large, deep skillet, saute chopped onion in olive oil over medium heat until it begins to soften. Then add the chicken, taking care to break up any large chunks. Add the garlic and tomatoes. After a minute or two, pour in the wine and as it starts to cook down, add the oregano and black pepper if desired. When the meat is just done, remove from heat and pour contents of skillet into bowl.

Tomato Sauce
In a skillet or saucepan over medium heat, mix together crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, white wine, sugar and oregano. Let it cook down just a tad and remove from heat.

Cheese Layer
In a mixing bowl, beat eggs. Add ricotta and italian cheese blend and mix until well-blended. Finally, add the parley and stir just until blended.

Wash and tear basil leaves from stem


Spray a 9x13 roasting pan with cooking spray. Cover the bottom of the pan with a thin layer of tomato sauce. Then begin layering:

1. lasagna noodles (directions should be on box)
tomato sauce
1/2 of the chicken mixture
1/2 of the fresh basil
1/2 of the roasted vegetables
1/3 of the ricotta mixture

2. lasagna noodles
1/3 of the ricotta mixture
2/3 cup shredded mozzerella

3. lasagna noodles
tomato sauce
Remaining chicken mixture
Remaining basil
Remaining roasted vegetables
Remaining ricotta mixture

4. lasagna noodles
Remaining tomato sauce
Remaining shredded mozzerella (should be 1 1/3 cups)

I like to let it sit in the fridge for a few hours before baking in order to let the flavors blend. From the refrigerator, it should be baked in a 375 degree oven for about 40 minutes covered in foil, and about 10 minutes without in order to let the cheese brown. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting. Enjoy!