Buffalo Chicken Lasagna

One of my all-time favorite stories about Dave’s horrendous spelling, is that he once spelled “Lasagna” “Liggisana”.  Every time I see the word I say it the way he spelled it.  It just cracks me up.  I literally can’t think, spell, or say the word “Lasagna” without thinking about him.  I love it… too funny.

I suppose the reason for my inspiration to try a Buffalo Chicken Lasagna was perhaps because that Liggisana spelling Dave was in the back of my head telling my subconscious to make a new Buff Chick creation… they’re his favorite.  First we tried Buffalo Chicken Dip which is a classic in our house.  Then we did some Buffalo Spiced Peanuts (yum!), my favorite- Buffalo Stuffed Baked Potatoes, and a new hit- the Buffalo Chicken Soup.  We’ve got a whole lotta buffalo goin’ on over here.  This Liggisana takes our Buffalo Chicken loving to a whole new level.  

The inspiration for this recipe took me to googling some yummy treats.  My favorite out of the few that I found came from one of my go-to healthy recipe bloggers, Prevention RD.  I have saved so so many of her recipes, they are out of this world.  

Check out the recipe for the lasagna below, but also make sure you read my notes afterwards… my lasagna didn’t turn out as perfect as Nicole from Prev. RD’s did!  I think I need to read up on some “do’s” and “don’t’s” on Lasagna… hmmm……

Buffalo Chicken Lasagna

Ingredients:

1 lb White Meat Chicken Breast, cooked and cubed (I boiled mine)

3 cups Low-Sodium Marinara Sauce

1 cup Frank’s Hot Sauce or Buffalo Wing Sauce

1/3 cup Water

15oz Fat Free Ricotta Cheese 

2 Large Eggs

1 teaspoon Kosher Salt

1/2 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper

Cayenne Pepper if desired

16 Whole Wheat Lasagna Noodles, uncooked

9 slices Pepper Jack Cheese

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350 F.

2.  Combine chicken, marinara, wing sauce, and water.  In a separate bowl, combine ricotta cheese, eggs, salt, pepper, and cayenne if using.

3.  Spray a 9×13 inch pan with cooking spray.  Spread enough sauce to coat the bottom of the pan.  Arrange 4 noodles over the sauce before spreading more sauce, then a layer of the ricotta mixture.  Add another layer noodles and of sauce repeating the process until you end with a final layer of sauce.

4.  Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight or bake immediately for one hour.  Uncover and place the pepper jack cheese slices on top.  Bake an extra 8-10 minutes uncovered so the cheese gets nice and melty.  Let stand 10 minutes before serving to firm up so you can get nice slices.

Recipe barely adapted from:  Prevention RD

Sauce on the right, ricotta mixture on the left.

Sauce on the right, ricotta mixture on the left.

Layered and baked!

Layered and baked!

Gotta love the lasagna cross-section shot

Gotta love the lasagna cross-section shot

Served these babies with a plate full of Ceasar Salad- the creamy dressing was a nice compliment to the spicy sauce.

Served these babies with a plate full of Ceasar Salad- the creamy dressing was a nice compliment to the spicy sauce.

So as I fairly warned you earlier… mine did NOT turn out as gorgeous and perfect as I’d liked it to.  Lasagna failures is a common topic in my foodie magazines, so I don’t feel that alone… right?  I’ve done some research and figured out I have a few problems that I’d love to tell YOU about so you don’t make the same mistakes that I have.

First of all… silly little me… all this time I thought my big pyrex was 9×13… it WASNT!  My dish was way too long for this lasagna.  I just couldn’t figure out why it didn’t stack right!  That’s why.  DUH.  I really shouldn’t have told you that, it’s really embarrassing.

One of the KEY tips that will help make your lasagna perfect and not dried out… is the sauce.  Make DOUBLE if you’re worried.  Have extra on hand.  Spreading the sauce on the bottom is key.  Even more key?  The sauce ontop.  You want this sauce to completely coat every inch of pasta on the top of the stacks.  This is what will keep the lasagna noodles from drying out.  

Also, I’ve commented on the original recipe at Prevention RD, and she highly recommended the refrigeration process before baking the dish.  I’ll try that next time!

Spinach-Artichoke Lasagna & April SRC Reveal

I am so excited to share this recipe with you for this month’s Secret Recipe Club Reveal day.  This is the FIRST Lasagna I’ve ever made!  I was really nervous but it turned out to be perfectly creamy, cheesy, and delicious.

The Secret Recipe Club (secretly) pairs bloggers up with each other every month.  We can pick ANY recipe that our assigned blogger has ever made, take it and try to make it ourselves.  Everyone reveals their partner and the recipe on the same day so we can all see what has been made!  This is the third month I’ve participated and I love it.  It’s a great way to meet new bloggers, try new recipes, and get others to try yours too!

This month, I was given the assignment to try a recipe from Holly who is the amazing woman behind the blog PheMOMenon (adorable).  Holly has three kids and the cutest Bulldog puppy, I don’t know how she does it all!  I enjoyed reading her story including how she met her husband-  he was her instructor on her very first skydive… love it!

After browsing so many recipes, I finally had to pick The Spinach Artichoke Crab Dip inspired Lasagna.  While her original recipe sounds so outrageously tasty, I couldn’t cough up enough dough on this week’s shopping trip to buy good crabmeat… so I left that out.  I also didn’t make the full size since I was only feeding three for dinner.  What I ended up with was an amazingly cheesy, creamy, absolutely fabulous lasagna recipe that I am going to make again VERY soon.  WOW!

I do have to thank Holly not only for the recipe but for the boost of confidence she gave me when her post warned me not to be discouraged by the “béchamel” I’d be making.  It was so easy.  Also, I loved her diagram of the lasagna… so cute.

Spinach-Artichoke Lasagna

Recipe slightly adapted from:  PheMOMenon

Ingredients**:

For the béchamel:

3 cups 2% Milk
6 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
1 Shallot, chopped very fine
4 cloves Garlic, minced or chopped very fine
1/4 cup AP Flour
1 teaspoon Sea Salt
1 teaspoon freshly Ground Black Pepper
1/4 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper
1 12oz package shredded Cheese- Italian/Pizza mix or Mozzarella, divided (about 2 cups for the sauce and another cup for the topping) 

For the Filling:
1 lb package Frozen Chopped Spinach, thawed and drained/squeezed dry (I used fresh spinach, cooked it, and then drained and chopped)
1 12-oz jar Marinated Artichoke, drained and chopped into small pieces 

For the Lasagna:

1 box Barilla Oven Ready Lasagne Noodles 

Directions:

1.  Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a 9x13x3 inch pan with Cooking Spray and set aside.  

2.  Place a dutch oven or large heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the butter and melt completely. Add shallots and garlic to the butter and cook for 3 minutes until softened.

3.  (Make the Bechemel! Key here is whisking) Add the flour to the pan and cook while whisking for 3 minutes. Slowly add the milk while continuing to whisk. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 5-7 minutes or until a little bubbly and slightly thickened (the cheese will make it a lot thicker, it will be more of a gravy-like consistency at this point). Whisk in the salt, pepper and red pepper if using.

4.  Remove the pan from the heat and add all but about 1 cup of the shredded cheese.  Stir until the cheese is melted and the sauce is thick and smooth.  (You’re going to want to go swimming in this stuff at this point.  OMG)  Stir in the drained/dried chopped spinach, chopped artichokes and stir to combine.

5.  I had 15 sheets of Lasagna in my box.  I did mine with 4 layers of sauce, 3 layers of noodles (slightly overlapping), and 1 layer of cheese.  

Order:  Sauce – Noodle – Sauce – Noodle – Sauce – Noodle – Sauce – CHEESE!

6.  Cover the baking dish with foil.  Bake for 50 minutes, then remove the foil and let bake for another 10-15 min to brown the top a bit, depending on how you like it.  Remove the pan and let it rest for 5 minutes or so before serving.  

**Pay attention!**  The original recipe was for two lasagnas which would be way too much for us.  I split the recipe in half.  I totally did not have enough filling.  SO, learn from my mistake (not fatal, but should be corrected) and double the bechemel/filling and use a smaller baking dish in order to have a more perfect lasagna.  Like I mentioned, this is also the first time I’ve ever made one, so there has to be some learning curve, right?!  (I should have listened and just made the whole batch and eaten the rest as dip or with a spoon!!!)

Chop chop

Chop chop

Couldn't you just eat the entire pot just like this?

Couldn’t you just eat the entire pot just like this?

Oven-Ready Sheets are easy to use!

Oven-Ready Sheets are easy to use!

Here's what it looks like coming together...

Here’s what it looks like coming together…

Layers are ready for the oven

Layers are ready for the oven

I made this for Myself, Dave, and our friend Diana and the three of us devoured it.  It is seriously so good.  Like I mentioned above, I didn’t have enough sauce to completely cover the bottom of the dish which made the first layer crispy.  Of course this made it taste freakin’ amazing… but in terms of lasagna, it certainly wasn’t supposed to happen!

I could have eaten this entire sheet...

I could have eaten this entire sheet…

What an amazing dish!

What an amazing dish!

I am a loser and actually googled what to serve on the side of Lasagna... we had a delicious baguette with some seasoned EVOO!

I am a loser and actually googled what to serve on the side of Lasagna… we had a delicious baguette with some seasoned EVOO!

Thanks Holly for such an awesome recipe!!!  I can’t wait to read more of your blog 🙂

Click below to see so many other creative/delicious recipes from today’s SRC Reveal: