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Chicken Lasagna


Lasagna Roll Ups (this version with spinach)

I am on my way to a meeting where the committee gathers for dinner first.  When you think about this-it is a pretty good idea as people can start right after work without worrying about stopping for dinner and then everyone can get home at a decent hour.  Tonight was my turn to provide the main course.  My partner was taking bread, salad and dessert.  I decided to make chicken lasagna.  Everyone who has ever tasted it LOVES it and I am not quick to admit that it comes out of a Campbell Soup Recipe book.

In order to save time and steps I use no pre-cooking required lasagna noodles (12 noodles required) and grated mozzarella (2 cups).  I do also like to use pre-cooked chicken when it is not too dear.  Such was not the case this week.  Here it is:

Set aside 2/3 cup mozzarella for the top.  Combine 2 cans of cream of mushroom soup, 1 ½ can of milk, 1/8 tsp or nutmeg and another of cayenne pepper.  Set aside.  In another bowl combine 1 egg, 1 small container of ricotta cheese and a package of really well drained frozen spinach.  Set aside.  If not using pre-cooked or leftover chicken, sauté 500 ml of small cubes in olive oil.  In the bottom of a 13 x 9 pan, spread ½ cup of the soup mixture.  Arrange 4 lasagna noodles on top then top with 1/3 remaining soup mixture, ½ the mozzarella and half the chicken.  Repeat layer and end with a third layer of noodles; add remaining soup reserved mozzarella and ½ cup of grated Parmesan cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes and until hot and bubbling and then let stand 15 minutes before serving.  Serves eight (or a family of five with enough for lunches).

Lasagna is one of those things I rarely order at a restaurant as it is one thing that I think that I can cook as well (if not better).  We rarely have a traditional lasagna instead we enjoy this one or another even more decadent chicken one with hollandaise sauce, in addition to red and white lasagnas, sausage lasagna or pesto lasagna.  We also love lasagna roll ups where you pretty much throw everything that would normally go into the layers into one bowl, spread it along the noodle and then roll from one end.  I pour the sauce in the bottom of the baking dish and then dip the roll over onto its side.  This recipe is a breeze if you’re in a hurry and they take less time to cook.

Our favourite place for lasagne in Winnipeg no longer exists.  It was called Luce’s and it was located in the Maples area of Winnipeg.  When the lasagne (or eggplant dish) would come out of the kitchen it looked like a loaf of bread covered in Italian sauce-it was that huge!

Do you favour a tradition lasagne recipe?  Where is your favourite spot for lasagne?  Have you found a bake at home version that is any good?

Lunch for B&B friends


The four of us (on separate trips) had recently visited mutual friends in Sicily and we had not had an opportunity to compare travel notes.  I decided to cook something Sicilian to get the memories flowing.  I chose a selection from Jamie Oliver’s cookbook entitled Jamie’s Italy.  His preamble indicated that the dish had been on the menu at a restaurant in one of the roughest parts of Palermo_44207495_sicly_afp_416b We too had enjoyed a similar dinner near the train station in Palermo.  We were able to sit outside in a former train car.  We all had pastas-clam, swordfish, shrimp/basil and sardine/fennel.  Everything was mopped up with great Italian bread and downed with a fine local red wine.  The owner came around with complimentary lemoncellas.  We weren’t certain if they were always offered or if it was because we were so obviously tourists-taking pictures of our meals and each other.

Ahh Italy

Ahh Italy

Ah Italy….I digress.  Jamie’s version was tossed with arugula.  I made my version with peas for two reasons a) it was one of the few vegetables left in my fridge and 2) I had been so impressed by how Sicilian recipes were the delicious combinations of fairly simple ingredients.  Here’s a rough idea of the recipe.  Heat 3 glugs of extra virgin olive oil in a large frying pan and toss in 2 cloves of chopped garlic and chilli seeds to your liking.  Brown a bit and add a pound or so shrimp.  I then added ½ cup of sake because I was out of white wine as the recipe called for in addition to a 2 heaping tablespoons of mashed up sun dried tomatoes.  Next came the zest and juice of one lemon before I made sure that the shrimp was cooked and then tossed in the peas and cooked spaghetti.

When we served the bowls, we offered a drizzle of truffle oil that we had brought home with us from the Cinque Terre area of Italy. We had learned that it was inappropriate to offer parmesan as Italians don’t add cheese to a seafood pasta. I had also baked a 9 grain bread that I served with balsamic and an olive oil that our Sicilan friends gifted us with.  It was from their own olive tree and was pressed in the community press.

As it was lunch time, we didn’t even serve dessert.  Just put on a pot of tea to look at pictures of their trip.

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