Birthday Lasagna

I’m sure being at my beck and call as photo assistant and hand model was my youngest sister’s #1 choice of ways to celebrate her birthday.  Since the lasagna was a whopping success, perhaps she’ll forgive this latest bout of harassment.

Happy birthday Brenna.

Chicken Broccoli Alfredo Lasagna

4 Tablespoons Butter

4 Tablespoons Flour

2 cups Whole Milk

1 cup Chicken Stock

1-½ cups Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese

1-½ teaspoon Ground Nutmeg

Pepper

2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

4 cloves Garlic, Minced

1 Small Onion, Finely Chopped

1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning

2-½ cups Broccoli Florets

2 cups Cooked Shredded Chicken*

4 cups Ricotta Cheese

1-½ cups Mozzarella Cheese, Shredded

1 egg

Box Oven Ready Lasagna Noodles

1. Preheat oven to 375° F.

2. Place a large sauce pot over medium heat and melt the butter. Sprinkle the flour over the butter and cook it for about 1 minute. Whisk in the milk and chicken stock and bring the sauce up to a bubble. Add in the nutmeg and season it with black pepper and nutmeg. Simmer until the sauce thickens, 3-4 minutes. Add Parmesan.

3. Heat olive oil in a large non-stick pan. Add onion, garlic, broccoli, and Italian seasoning. Cook on medium-high for about 1 minute until vegetables are tender. Add chicken.*

4. In another bowl, mix the ricotta, mozzarella, egg, and pepper to taste.

5. Ladle a small amount of the white sauce into a 13×9 casserole dish. Line lasagna noodles on the bottom over the sauce. Add 1/3 of the veggie/meat mixture over the noodles, spread 1/2 of the cheese mixture, and ladle 1 cup of sauce. Repeat until all ingredients are used (total of 3 layers). Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes, then remove foil and bake for another 20-30 (until lightly browned and cheese is bubbly). Let the lasagna sit for about 10 minutes to cool before serving.

 

*Note: I used a pack of chicken quarters that I baked at 375° F until done (about 45 minutes). I sautéed the onion/broccoli mixture in some of the chicken pan drippings instead of olive oil.

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Brenna’s Fried Chicken

Fried Chicken

As my mother’s first-born, I am the only one of my siblings who has any substantial recollection of the cabinets in our childhood home aflame, my mother literally tossing my sister into the grass of the yard, and the neighbor dragging the garden hose from the yard, through the living room and into the kitchen to extinguish the danger before the sirens even arrived. Which is why, for me, fried chicken is a tad anxiety provoking despite its claim as the trademark of wholesome, down home, Southern hospitality.

Fortunately, my sister, perhaps a whopping 30lbs at the time, has no memory of flying through the air out the front door. Nor does she suffer from the same qualms about deep-frying in home kitchens.

Which is fortunate because fried chicken still always feels like a feast. And, I must admit, is steadily transforming into a symbol of sisterly generosity and the heroics of neighbors.

Brenna’s Fried Chicken

  • 1 (3 pound) whole chicken, cut into pieces
  • Italian bread crumbs
  • salt to taste
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • vegetable oil for frying
  1. Season chicken pieces with salt, pepper, and paprika. Roll in bread crumbs.
  2. Add about 3/4 inch oil to a large, heavy skillet. Heat to approximately 365. Place chicken pieces in hot oil. Cover, and fry until golden, turning once, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain on paper towels.