I find myself in the freaky cheese section (this is what I call the imported and "neater than mozzerella" section) of the grocery store often, trying to figure out what to do with them. I love cheese...all kinds. I used to come home from school and eat slices of farmers cheese for a snack. String cheese is always in the work fridge in case I need it. I love me some feta on a salad and can't live without the little Skinny Cow cheese wedges for snacks. But I don't do fancy cheese, it makes me nervous.
I have been seeing lots of other bloggers posting about gruyere and fontina for grilled cheese or mac and cheese or other very common recipes so I looked them up online. Both mild cheeses and perfectly made for melting (think: fondue)...um, why haven't we met before? So I bought a couple hunks and thought I would figure something out for them. Also got some havarti so will be looking for suggestions for that if you've got any to send my way....
Anyway, Mama Hofer is a huge pasta fan so I wanted to try these out on her. I had to make sure I didn't spice the dish up at all in case baby H isn't a fan of the heat like I am, so I wanted it to have some flair in other ways...which means, add some freaky cheese! And it worked...oh man, did it work. Here's what you need:
6-8 slices of prosciutto
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 jar spagetti sauce
1 can mushrooms
3-4 cups fresh spinach
3 cloves minced garlic
2 cups shredded mozzerella (I used reduced fat)
1 small container ricotta cheese (I used skim)
1 small container cottage cheese (I used fat free)
1 cup sliced fontina
1 cup sliced gruyere
1 box lasagna noodles
*I would have added some diced green chiles, onion, and some crushed red pepper if I weren't cooking for someone with baby on board
First thing is first, I take short cuts wherever possible. I don't want to live in the kitchen in order to eat well (half the time I'm starving by the time I get home so the quicker to dinner, the happier I am), so I will take any shortcut possible to ensure less time spent working, more time spent spooning cheesy lasagna in my mouth. These have been around for a while and if you're not using them, you're dumb. There's no other way to put it. I used to hate working with hot noodles to line the lasagna pan, and wouldnt make it for that fact alone. These are a freaking miracle, I'm telling you. No taste sacrifice either...bonus puntos to you, Barilla!
OK, now that we've got that out of the way....season your chicken breasts with Lawry's, garlic powder, italian seasoning, and ground black pepper. Over-seasoning is the way to go here, when you think you've got enough, add more. The chicken needs to be very flavorful to stand out in this dish. Bake at 425 until done (20-25 minutes).
Shred the chicken and add it to a large skillet, along with your garlic, spinach, mushrooms, and prosciutto (cut up into bite sized pieces).
Stirfry for a hot minute, to wilt the spinach and cook the mushrooms a bit. Everything else is cooked so you can add your sauce to the skillet to let it all meld together.
Let the sauce simmer on low after it comes to a boil. Mix your ricotta and cottage cheese together in a bowl.
Put some sauce in the bottom of your greased baking dish so the bottom layer of noodles doesn't stick, and then start layering your lasagna. One layer of no boil noodles, one layer of the chicken mixture, one layer of the ricotta mixture, then noodles again. Now some chicken mixture and then the fontina and gruyere layer, then noodles again. Now some more chicken mixture, and the finale of mozzerella topped with itailian seasoning. I did this the night before and threw it in the fridge with some tin foil on it...
I was a little nervous how it would be with chicken since this was a first for me. I was not disappointed. It's a good way to cut calories but not lose taste. Bake at 425 degrees for 30-40 minutes and serve it up! Sweet shadow on this pic but I was too hungry to care about taking a new one...
The only thing I burnt that night was the one thing I didn't make from scratch...garlic bread. But Bradley saved the day by scraping off the burnt part for everyone! His Iowa shirt ruined dinner more than the burnt toast did :) I loved me some Hofer time, can't wait till next time! Now it's time for a run to melt off all that cheese I ingested last night...