Chicken, Mushroom And Spinach Lasagna

I still remember the first time I had Lasagna. It was 14 years ago and we had it from the Dubai Ikea cafeteria, not an ideal place to have lasagna right… but it was special!

We were newly married and Dubai, was our first trip together, so now you know why I said it was special ;)  Back then, apart from Indian and Chinese (Indo chinese to be specific) cuisine, everything else was new to me.

In the initial days when we went out, I entrusted Jose with the menu decisions. Though he was very happy and excited in the beginning, the feeling didn’t last long.

Ours was a typical arranged marriage. I’ve met him in person just twice before our wedding and that too with all the family around. The only food we had together before the wedding was a cup of coffee from the Best Bakery near my house ;) So we both were kinda clueless about the other person’s food preferences.

Jose was so excited to introduce me to all the different cuisines and share his fav food with me. He is a foodie and eats almost anything, but it doesn’t work that way with me. My food preferences depends on my mood! Though it took him sometime to get used to the correlation between my mood and eating, he has made commendable progress ;)

So back to our Ikea Lasagne… as I said I was clueless about most of the items and so I left the choice to Jose. Ok, I missed a major point when it comes to Jose’s fav food. According to him, any food with tons of butter and cheese tastes the best and deep fry the whole thing and he’s hooked! That’s how we ended up with lasagna at Ikea.

Fun Food Fact: Did you know that billionaire Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad, liked to eat from the Ikea cafeteria?! He was a very frugal man. Furniture & Food? He believed that “It’s difficult to do business with someone on an empty stomach.” (I’m not sure what Jose was thinking when he said this!)

Funny thing is, though I remember the exact place, where I tried Lasagna for the first time, I don’t remember anything about it’s taste! I just remember tons of cheese and red sauce, nothing about the taste, flavor or texture, hhmmm..

Anyways, I made this Lasagna for our anniversary in January. You know just revisiting some old memories through food. But this time, I knew exactly what I was supposed to get from the dish.

If in case you are wondering, I still leave the menu decision making to Jose, but I’ve the veto power now ;)

So coming back to our lasagna, it’s a very good recipe. It takes some time to put it together and assemble the dish, apart from that, it’s easy. No complicated steps whatsoever! Follow the instructions and you end up with a plate full of tasty, comforting and warming dish. It’s good for a get together or for a potluck party. You can prepare all the steps in advance, which is a big plus if you’re preparing this for a party.

Btw, before going to the recipe, I want to share something else. Yesterday, while I was writing this post in the night, my phone pinged. It was a message from one of my longtime readers, Divya Jencil. She sent me the pic below

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At first, I was like, wait a min, how did she know I was writing about lasagna at this very moment!!!

Anyway, onto the recipe ;) ;)

Recipe adapted from here

Please read the “notes” before proceeding with the recipe.

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Author: Maria Jose Martin

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 medium onion (chopped )
  • 2 Tbsp. minced garlic
  • 250 gms white mushrooms (thinly sliced)
  • 1 tsp. dried basil (refer notes)
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano (refer notes)
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt (divided)
  • 170 gms 6 oz. bag fresh baby spinach
  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken (refer notes)
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock (refer notes)
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (I used whole milk)
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg (optional)
  • 1/4 cup Plain flour
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (I didnt use but its recommended)
  • 8 sheets no-boil lasagna noodles
  • 1 1/4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (I used cheddar cheese)

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 180 C, 10 mins before baking.
  • Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. When hot, add oil and add  onion. Cook till it begins to soften. 
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  • Once the onion becomes soft, add garlic, mushrooms, basil, oregano, red pepper flakes, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Sauté for 5 minutes or until the mushrooms soften. Make sure all of the liquid has evaporated from the mushrooms before going to the next step.
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  • Stir in spinach and cook until the spinach wilts. 
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  • Then remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cooked chicken. Set aside.
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  • In a small saucepan, combine the chicken broth, milk, nutmeg, and remaining 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a slow simmer over medium heat. Once the mixture starts to bubble up around the edges, gradually whisk in the flour and let simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in Parmesan cheese and then remove from heat.
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  • Pour 1/2 cup sauce into bottom of 10X10 square baking dish, top with 2 noodles (lasagna sheets) and 1 cup chicken mixture. 
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  • Top the chicken mixture with 1 cup sauce, and 1/4 cup mozzarella, making sure noodles are covered with sauce. You can even press them down lightly. Repeat 3 more layers with noodles, chicken, sauce, and cheese. Last layer will have slightly more sauce and remaining cheese on top.
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  • Cover baking dish with aluminum foil and bake for 25 minutes. Uncover and bake for 15 minutes longer. If desired, broil for 2-3 minutes for golden brown top. Let stand 5-8 minutes before serving.
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Notes

Instead of dried basil and oregano, I used 1.5 tsp of mixed Italian seasoning.
I used chicken breast for this recipe. Cooked chicken with 3 cups water, 2 tsp chopped garlic, 2 bay leaves, salt & pepper. I used this stock to make the white sauce. 
Though I followed the method mentioned in the recipe for the white sauce, I prefer the other method of adding flour first, followed by the liquid. In the method mentioned in this recipe, I found the sauce becomes quite lumpy. Check out here to see my fav method of making white sauce. For this, you need to use 30 gms butter. 
Make sure the lasagna rests for at least 25 mins before slicing and serving, otherwise the layers will not hold and it can be messy while serving. 
For a veg version, you can skip the chicken and double the qty of mushroom & spinach.
 
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