Welcome back to A Venturing Girl! I’ve been quite slow with the posts lately, but as I’m sure some blogging readers will understand, sometimes life gets in the way of writing! I’m hoping that the break will bring a fresh perspective to my posts. In light of this, and having not done a recipe in a while, I thought I would share this one with you!
On Sunday night I was feeling pretty lethargic in the way that having a merry old time with alcohol for the past two nights can make you feel. As usual, my first thought was: what can I cook to make this go away? When it comes to comfort food, anything involving cheese is great where I’m concerned, so I decided to make a simple chicken lasagna with blue cheese and cheddar. I know, I know; chicken lasagna isn’t exactly traditional, and I do love to make a good traditional lasagna. But a little while ago while deciding what to make for dinner, my boyfriend asked could we just have chicken lasagna because he was sick of mince. I thought it sounded a bit weird, but, why the hell not? A few substitutions later we had an awesome dish on our hands. So, here is my recipe for a delicious, high protein, comforting lasagna that is out of your comfort zone! It did the trick for me on Sunday and I hope that it saves you from a similar post alcohol funk, or just gives you a nutritious meal for an evening after work, a day of hiking or a decent stint at the gym!
You will need
For the Ragu Sauce and meat:
- Four Chicken Fillets, diced
- 25g Salted Butter
- 2 tins of Chopped Tomatoes
- Lasagna sheets (number varying on the size of your casserole dish)
- 3 Carrots
- 1 Pepper
- 2 Fistfuls of Spinach
- a Pinch of Basil
For the White Sauce:
- 75g of Salted Butter
- 50g of Plain Flour
- 350mls of Warm Milk
- 50g Blue Cheese
- 50g Cheddar
- a cheeky teaspoon of mustard
First things first, pre heat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
I like to get all of my veg chopped up and ready to go first, but if you prefer to prepare as you go, put one saucepan on a low heat and add 25g of butter, once the butter is melted, add your spinach and cook for approximately 5 minutes, or until it is soft and wilted, this should give you plenty of time to chop up your carrots and pepper.
Next, placing an oiled pan on a high heat, add your diced chicken and cook until nicely browned
Pop the chicken unto a large saucepan and add in your two tins of chopped tomatoes, a pinch of basil and all of the veg. Season with some black pepper and basil and place on a low heat to simmer, for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
The next bit is the white sauce!
Put 75g of butter into a warm saucepan on the hob with the smallest ring, until the butter melts.
Add the flour and stir together until the butter and flour form a paste. Sometimes this can be tricky and lumpy, but just keep stirring. I find that using a wooden spoon or soft rubber spatula give me the best results.
Next, add your warm milk bit by bit, mixing as you go. For this part I would recommend using a whisk as it aerates and thickens the sauce while also getting rid of any persistent lumps of flour!
Turn up the heat until the sauce begins to boil, and then lower your temperature to simmer. You should have a nice creamy mixture at this stage.
Now for the cheese. Still using your whisk, mix in your blue cheese and your cheddar. Season with a little bit of pepper and, my savory sauce must have: a teaspoon of mustard. If you have never done this, just try it out, I don’t think that you will be disappointed!
Leave your sauce on a low heat.
Now it’s time to layer your lasagna.
People always ask whether you should first soften your lasagna sheets in water. I never do and they are always soft when the dish comes out of the oven. I think that this is to do with using chopped tomatoes which have plenty of juices to soften the sheets as opposed to a jar of ready made sauce which may not have as high a water content.
I just do a bog standard layer of meat and sauce, layer of sheets, layer of sauce, repeat; but some people like some sneaky sheets between the sauce and the meat so if it’s more sheets you’re after, get ’em on.
I leave a bit of extra white sauce for the top layer (I can only ever manage two anyway!) and this time I sprinkled some blue cheese on top which was really divine!
Cook for approximately 25 – 15 minutes (times vary depending on the oven, mine is a fan so it’s a bit quicker) and enjoy your slightly different, but no less delicious chicken lasagna.