Tuesday, January 18, 2011

ARTICHOKE CHICKEN LASAGNA AND LUNCH WITH THE LADIES WHO LUNCH!


See this pretty woman? Her name is Barb, and doesn't she look happy? Well, she is, because she's digging into the yummy Artichoke Chicken Lasagna that I brought to the Adirondack Express office today for lunch. Barb doesn't work at the Express, but she's cute, so we let her stay. I don't "officially" work at the Express, either, but I write a weekly cooking column for the paper, so the girls that man the office (or, should I say, "WO-man the office"?) make me cook for them every so often. Which I totally love!

I've made this white lasagna for years, and most people love it--especially if they love artichokes. Here are the ingredients you're going to need:



The first thing you're going to do is pre-cook your lasagna noodles, and let them cool, like so:


Then you'll make your white sauce, by melting butter (ohhhh, there's lots of butter in this recipe, so you'd better get a good workout in!), then adding flour and salt and nutmeg. Then you add milk and let it all thicken:





And voila! You've got a nice thick white sauce.

Drain and quarter your canned artichoke hearts, then saute your cut up chicken breasts in, you guessed it, buttah!! Then add your artichoke hearts to the chicken, along with a little thyme and a little salt, like so:






Now's the fun part--assembling the whole shabang! Ladle a little of the cream sauce into your greased baking dish, then lay out three cooked noodles. Add more cream sauce, some Parmesan cheese and some chicken mixture:



Then repeat these steps, ending up with remaining 3 noodles, cream sauce and Parmesan on the very top. Bake until bubbly and golden brown--your pan of fabulous lasagna should come out looking something like this:



Note: I wrapped mine in tin foil to transport in my car--you don't need to use any tin foil when you serve this at home--you bake it uncovered.

One of my very favorite things to do is to take pictures of people eating. So here's the rest of the office gang, minus Chrissy, who was at home sick. Here's the editor in chief, Lisa (I ADORE this picture!):




Here's Deb, who LOVES to eat!:


                                                      And here's demure Miss Charlotte:




Thanks for bringing the salad, Barb, and thanks Express ladies, for such a fun lunch! Now here's the recipe:

                                                       ARTICHOKE CHICKEN LASAGNA
                                                                      Serves 8-10

2/3 cup butter, divided
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp. salt, divided
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4tsp. pepper
3 cups milk
1 3/4 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into small cubes
2 14oz. cans water packed artichoke hearts, rinsed, drained and quartered
1 tsp. dried thyme
9 lasagna noodles, cooked and drained
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a large saucepan, melt 1/3 cup butter. Stir in flour, 1/2 tsp. salt, nutmeg and pepper until smooth. Gradually stir in milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. In a large skillet, cook chicken in remaining butter until juices run clear. Stir in artichokes, thyme and remaining salt; heat through. In a greased 13x9x2 inch baking dish, layer about 1/3 cup white sauce, three noodles, 1/2 cup sauce, 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese and about 3 cups chicken mixture. Repeat layers. Top with remaining noodles, sauce and Parmesan cheese. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting.

                                3 THINGS I'M MOST GRATEFUL FOR TODAY:

1. I'm grateful that it's warmed up; I was able to take the dog on a 4 mile walk this morning without worrying about my fingers falling off!
   
2. I'm grateful for the wonderful women of the Adirondack Express newspaper, who put up with me.

3. I'm grateful that Big Daddy is taking me out to dinner tonite with his accountants. I'm getting dish-pan hands with all of the cooking I've been doing!


8 comments:

  1. This looks too yummy, definitely going in the "cook soon" clip on the side of my fridge!

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  2. Wow, I'm impressed. The cook knows that a white sauce should be made by first making a roux, as Leslie demonstrates. So many recipes I read tell readers to shake flour in a jar with water (or broth) and then add it to the other ingredients to make a thickened sauce. This, as many people know, was the way Americans were taught before Julia Child showed the way it should be done to improve the taste and other qualities of the sauce. Good going, Leslie!

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  3. That looks delicious and all the girls look very happy with that meal! Thats a keeper... going out today to buy more recipe cards!! Thanks Leslie....

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  4. Hi Leslie, this is your mother in California, just want to let you know that I read this blog thingee every time and always amazed at what you can come up with to inform and entertain; but didn't we all make New Year resolutions to cut a few calories? Hmmmmmm? Oh well, time to cut loose a little and this recipe sure looks too deelishus to pass up. Love, M.O.M.

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  5. Putting this recipe on the "to try" list! I finally got around to making the chicken enchiladas that you posted and they were yummo!

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  6. Up next--a super easy black bean soup with Andouille sausage! Our "high" is supposed to be BELOW zero here this weekend, so soup it is!

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