TV frozen dinners were definitely once a constant food staple in my freezer. There were days when I needed something quick and yummy that could be zapped in 5 minutes or less, and my favorite go-to was Stouffer’s Vegetable Lasagna – layers of wide, slippery noodles covered in a rich alfredo sauce with bright orange carrots and green broccoli florets layered in ribbons of color…then having that nice crunch with the bread crumbs on top…it was microwave heaven.
This recipe came about when my original recipe this week failed on me – my plan was to make a Chicken & Veggie Alfredo Pasta Bake with gluten-free pasta, but the noodles ended up so soggy that I ended up tossing the whole thing in the garbage. Not that it wasn’t tasty…but I was offering this to clients for this week’s delivery, and there was no way that I was going to ship this off when someone paid for quality meals (and it would hurt my pride to do so!). So I decided to make a Plan B – why not make it a lasagna instead? Since my local grocery store was limited with its options (and luckily enough, my client isn’t allergic to wheat), I decided to get whole wheat lasagna noodles and the rest is history.
This version made me so happy that it really reminded me of my favorite Stouffer’s entree from so long ago. At least I have something comparable (and healthier) to eat the next time I’m craving for one of those red frozen boxes at the supermarket…
(makes 9 servings)
For the filling:
10 oz. chopped spinach, thawed and drained
4 cups broccoli, chopped in 1/2 inch pieces
12 oz. boneless skinless chicken breast, chopped in 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup peas, thawed and drained
1 tsp. crushed garlic
1 tbsp. olive oil
For the sauce:
1 12 oz. can 2% evaporated milk
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 box whole wheat lasagna noodles
12 oz. shredded light mozzarella cheese
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Cook noodles as directed on the box. Drain and set aside.
- Chop broccoli and chicken, and drain spinach and peas, then set aside.
- In a small saucepan under low heat, add olive oil and saute garlic for 30 seconds, until it is fragrant.
- Pour evaporated milk and let simmer for 10 minutes until it starts to bubble.
- Add parmesan cheese and whisk mixture constantly, until the mixture begins to thicken and has a smooth texture (this should take about 10 minutes).
- Season mixture with salt, pepper and nutmeg, then set aside.
- In a skillet under medium heat, add olive oil and saute garlic for 30 seconds, until it is fragrant.
- Add chicken and season with salt and pepper and saute for 3-5 minutes, until cooked.
- Add broccoli and spinach and saute for 5 minutes, until broccoli is al dente (but not mushy).
- Add peas and stir for one minute, then remove for the heat and set aside.
- In a 9 x 13 lasagna pan, spray surface with cooking oil. Layer 3-4 noodles on the bottom of the pan, pour about 1/2 cup of sauce over the noodles, then add 1 cup of the chicken and vegetable mixture, then sprinkle 2/3 cup of cheese. Repeat this process until there are no more noodles (about 3-4 times).
- On the top layer, cover with the remaining sauce and cheese.
- Bake in the over for 30-40 minutes, or until the cheese is golden brown.
- Cut into 9 slices and serve.