If you’ve ever had Tuscan chicken pasta or pizza you might like to try Tuscan Chicken Lasagna. It’s packed with grilled chicken, spinach, sun dried tomatoes, garlic and loads of mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Most Tuscan chicken recipes are made with a cream sauce but I opted for a traditional red sauce instead and it was quite delicious. Instead of making a big pan of lasagna, I made two smaller ones and placed one in the freezer for later. We enjoyed a side salad and fresh sliced bread to make this meal complete. It easily made 4 meals for the two of us.
The spices for the grilled chicken include paprika, cayenne pepper, black pepper, garlic powder and salt. Mix the spices together and sprinkle over a large chicken breast. If you want more chicken, make more.
We find that one large chicken breast is enough for us but you can always add more chicken. With the mild weather outdoors I grilled the chicken on 400 degrees turning every 5 minutes until it reached 165 degrees internally. Perfectly grilled outside and moist and tender inside.
I sometimes make Tuscan Chicken Pizza with the spinach mix. Place mix on top of pizza dough. Top with sliced cherry tomatoes and dollops of whipped cream cheese. No need for tomato sauce, you won’t even miss it. Sprinkle with Italian herb mix, drizzle with olive oil and bake in preheated 500 degree oven for 10 minutes.
Add a 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes with 1 teaspoon of an Italian herb blend and 1 teaspoon of basil. Wish I had some fresh herbs but dried will have to do. Also add 1/2 teaspoon of sugar to balance the acid of the tomatoes and salt to taste.
Start layering with a enough tomato sauce to cover the bottom of the baking pan. Then add the lasagna noodles and another layer of sauce. I used the no-bake lasagna sheets but you can boil lasagna noodles or make your own.
I have two 9″ pans (sorry they don’t match) that are ready to go in the oven. Preheat oven to to 350 degrees. Bake for 40 minutes or until cheese has melted on top and sauce begins to bubble around the edges of the pan.
Tuscan Chicken Lasagna
Lasagna Noodles, cooked according to package directions
16 ounces Whole Ricotta Cheese
1 large Chicken Breast **
1/8 teaspoon Salt
1/8 teaspoon Black Pepper
1/8 teaspoon Paprika
Pinch of Garlic Powder
Pinch of Cayenne Pepper
1 bunch Spinach, rinsed and run through a salad spinner
1/2 cup Sun Dried Tomatoes, if needed soak first to reconstitute and drained
8 ounces Mozzarella Cheese, coarsely grated
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
2 cloves Garlic
1 medium onion, diced small
2 cloves garlic, grated on a microplane hand grater
1 28 ounce can Crushed Tomatoes
1 6 ounce can Tomato Paste
1 teaspoon dried Basil
1 teaspoon Italian Herb Blend, I used Penzey’s Tuscan Sunset
1/2 teaspoon Sugar
1/4 teaspoon Salt
To make spinach mix: Chop spinach, add sun dried tomatoes, grated cheeses and grated garlic. Toss everything together with tongs and set aside in the refrigerator until later.
To prepare chicken: Mix together 1/8 teaspoon salt, black pepper, paprika, cayenne pepper and garlic powder. Sprinkle spices on chicken breast on both sides. Grill chicken approximately 20- 25 minutes turning every 5 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Let chicken rest a few minutes then slice into smaller pieces. Add the chicken to the spinach mix and toss. ** If making additional chicken double the spice mix.
To make the tomato sauce: Saute the diced onion in a medium saucepan with a drizzle of olive oil. When the onion becomes soft and translucent, add the grated garlic and stir the pot as the garlic becomes fragrant. Add the crushed tomatoes, dried basil and dried Italian herb blend, sugar and salt. Stir the pot then add the tomato paste to thicken the sauce. Let sauce simmer on low heat for 15 minutes.
To assemble the lasagna layers: Spoon enough tomato sauce in the bottom of a 9″ X 13″ pan or two 9″ X 9″ pans. Add a layer of lasagna noodles and another layer of sauce. Add dollops of ricotta cheese over the tomato sauce. Next add a layer of spinach mix with chicken. Make sure there is ample cheese in the layer to melt evenly. Now make another layer of pasta noodle, sauce, ricotta and spinach chicken mix.
Cover lasagna with aluminum foil and bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 40 minutes or until cheese has melted on top and sauce begins to bubble around the edges of the pan.
Makes 12 large servings