Chicken Florentine Lasagna
Pasta and spinach is a win-win combination as far as I’m concerned and anything Florentine always gets me to try the recipe. I found this recipe many years ago in a Cooking Light magazine and it has become an old favorite at our house. I routinely make it for get-togethers because I can make it so far ahead and freeze it.
The sauce calls for skim evaporated milk but I have made it with skim milk and it turned out equally well. I also almost always make my Butternut Squash and Spinach Lasagna to go with this one (though that recipe is twice the size of this one) so that people can sample 2 vegetable lasagnas and since the squash lasagna is totally vegetarian, all bases are covered. Try one or both – I think you will like it!
1-1/2 tablespoons margarine or butter
3 tablespoons flour
2-12-ounce cans evaporated skim milk (or substitute skim milk)
Salt to taste
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
6 no boil lasagna noodles
1-1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast (about 6 ounces)
1-10 ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained and squeezed dry.
Black pepper to taste
3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded Italian cheese or combination of Italian cheeses
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Spray 8 x 8 inch cooking pan with vegetable cooking spray.
Melt the margarine in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Gradually add the milk and stir with a whisk until blended. Add salt and nutmeg.
Cook until thick, stirring constantly for about 3 minutes.
Spread 1/2 cup sauce in bottom of an 8-inch square baking pan coated with cooking spray.
Arrange 2 lasagna noodles over the sauce.
Top with half of the chicken and half of the spinach.
Sprinkle with pepper if desired. Top with 3/4 cup sauce.
Repeat the layers, but end with the noodles.
Cover and bake at 450 degrees for 25 minutes.
Uncover and top with cheese – bake an additional 5 minutes.
Let stand 5 minutes.
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Substitute fresh spinach and cook down, drain, squeeze dry.
Add grated Parmesan cheese sprinkled over each layer of sauce.
Try Fontina cheese as part of the cheese – or Romano or other Italian cheese.
Add chopped onion or shallots for a bit more flavor – saute for about 5 minutes before adding to recipe.
This lasagna also freezes like a dream. Cook in disposable foil pan that comes with a lid – when completely cooled, put lid on and either slip the pan with the lasagna into a freezer bag and label – or wrap in freezer paper, secure with freezer tape.
Thaw in the refrigerator during the day and pop into the oven to reheat 200-300 degrees when ready – or simply cut slices of lasagna and reheat in microwave. This lasagna is delicious rewarmed after thawing or delicious right from the oven.
Serve with French Bread or Wheat French Bread and a salad and for dessert, try Biscuit Tortoni for something light and delicious!
Summing It Up
So even though you are eating your spinach, you are getting your vegetables – and what a wonderful way to absorb them into your diet! Florentine is a great method of preparing pasta and one that is to way of thinking more nutritious because it does incorporate spinach into it. Try it and see if you don’t like this variation on a traditional dish.
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