This is a recipe my husband has been wanting me to work up for awhile now. This is the first recipe I have made since losing my mom. I think she brought me good luck, it was amazing. He told me what he was thinking, I wrote down a tentative recipe, and nailed it. I am going to make it again this week, because, well, it was THAT awesome. Have you ever put food in your mouth that made you close your eyes and just soak it in? This is that food. I swear.
This seems like a bit of a hassle but it really isn't, I just wanted to be as thorough as possible for any new cooks wanting to try it.
Did I mention it felt awesome to be back in the kitchen? Thank you ALL for your private messages, emails, tweets, etc, they made my heart joyful, and thankful. I am so blessed to call you all my friends. Enjoy this lasagna, and if you make it, tweet me, post it on Facebook, tag me in your Instagram photos, all of it!
Did I mention to NOT skip the topping? The crunchy, delicious, almost just want to eat it off the whole thing, crunchy top. YES!!!!
2 large chicken breasts
1 lb thin sliced deli ham
1/2 box of lasagna noodles
16 ounces grated Swiss cheese
4 tbsp. butter
4 tbsp. flour
4 cups half and half
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup bread crumbs
4 tbsp. melted butter
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 9x13 pan with nonstick spray or butter it and set aside. In a medium pot, poach chicken breasts. If you have leftover chicken or want to roast it, go for it, but I poached mine. When they are done, remove from water and set aside to cool. Take your deli meat and give it a slice, into strips. No science here, I just cut mine all at the same time into smaller pieces, 3 or 4 cuts top to bottom and it was perfect. When the chicken cools at some point during this process, just shred it.
Cook your lasagna noodles. Just follow package directions, you will only need about 9 noodles. Make them all, and let your husband use the rest for buttered noodles. (yes, I am a fabulous wife) Drain and rinse in cold water to stop the cooking and to be able to handle them without visiting a burn unit.
Time for that cheese sauce! In a large-ish pot, melt your butter, add flour and stir to let the flour cook for a minute or two. Slowly whisk in your half and half. When it begins to boil, add in HALF of your grated cheese. Stir until melted and thickened. Now, set that aside so we can assemble this bad boy.
Lay down 3 noodles to cover the bottom, now add 1/3 of your cheese sauce, half of your chicken and half of your ham. Just cover it evenly. Now take 1/3 of your remaining shredded Swiss and sprinkle that over it all, then back to the noodles. Rinse and repeat. When you put your next layer of noodles on (the last layer) you should have a bit of your cheese sauce and shredded cheese left. Now STOP.
In a small bowl melt your 4 tbsp. butter. When it is melted and slightly cooled, add in bread crumbs and remaining shredded cheese.
To finish the top, pour and spread over the remaining cheese sauce, and then sprinkle buttered breadcrumb/cheese mixture on top. Trust me on this one.
Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees, then 15 more minutes at 375. Perfection. Just, perfect perfection. If you love Chicken Cordon Bleu, and you love pasta, this might be your most perfect culinary dream!
PS. Excuse these photos. I used my phone, it is a long story but, back to regular photos next time!