Being on a budget, eating out is only for special occasions, or when Mom has had a really busy day at work and the only thing she wants to do is give Riley some money for the delivery guy at the door. So I decided to come up with a version of our favorite pizza, only without having to take the time to make a crust. You see, I only like homemade crust; none of the mixes or refrigerated premade crusts have quite cut it around here. And homemade crust takes a while, the mixing, the rising of the dough, etc., etc. Around here it's usually a weekend thing.
So to get the same taste, I decided to make Chicken Alfredo Lasagna. Riley used to hate lasagna. I tried to explain to him that since he loved spaghetti that lasagna was the very same thing, only with different noodles and in layers. For years he refused to eat it, which made me very sad, as it's one of Mom's favorite things, and if we both don't like something I usually don't make it very often. As he is getting older he's coming around to more food choices. Thank Heavens.
As the noodles boiled I mixed together the filling ingredients. Some people would spread out some sauce, then some meat, then some cheese, but I like to just mix it all together and layer away. It's all going to end up melted together anyway, right? If my method is too "hotdishy" for you, go ahead and layer it all individually. Knock yourself out.
I mixed together a jar of Alfredo sauce, mozzarella, Parmesan, parsley, and chicken (I always make up a big batch of boiled chicken breasts to have on hand throughout the week and store in a plastic container in the fridge). I used about two whole chicken breasts for this dish, but you can use more if you like.
Then I diced up a red pepper and added it to the bowl. This is the point where you tell yourself you should have used a bigger bowl. But we can make it work.
The way I dice peppers may be different from all the pros, but it works. First cut off the top and scoop out the innards, then rinse out the inside to get rid of all the seeds.
Cut around the stem so you don't waste any...
then quarter the rest of the pepper and remove any of the white membrane remaining.
I'm picky 'bout my peppers.
Slice and dice. Done.
When the noodles are done drain them in a colander in the sink and let them cool slightly so you don't burn your fingers while layering them in the pan. Coat a glass baking dish with cooking spray, then add some of the sauce mixture to the bottom, just enough to keep the noodles from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Layer on three noodles and more of the sauce mixture.
Repeat twice until you have three layers, ending with sauce.
Sprinkle with more mozzarella and Parmesan.
Pull off a sheet of aluminum foil and lay it on your counter. Spray with cooking spray; this will keep the top layer of cheese from sticking to it.
Cover the baking dish and pop it in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes. Carefully remove the foil and bake an additional 10 minutes or so to brown the cheese a bit.
Remove from the oven and cool on a rack for at least 15 minutes to allow it to set up so it's easier to cut. After cutting a big piece I like to sprinkle it with a bit more Parmesan. Because really, at this point, my fat grams are a bust.
I love you Giovanni's, but I think this lasagna might have your pizza beat. Until I'm too pooped to cook, that is.
Chicken Alfredo Lasagna