I’m at it again. Stuck in a buffalo chicken rut.
Which is only a bad thing if you’re crazy. Or vegetarian.
I have waxed poetic about the flavors of buffalo chicken FIVE TIMES NOW on the blog (just search the “Chicken/Poultry” recipe category to see what I mean). Can you say obsessed? I sincerely hope you aren’t growing sick of it. I absolutely love buffalo chicken anything, and I have so many ideas on how to use it. Get on board, people, because it isn’t going away anytime soon.
The idea for this lasagna was fermenting away in my brain for months and months. All the way back to December. It probably would have made more sense for me to share this type of recipe with you then, rather than now…a few days before the start of July. BUT! I’m a firm believer in cooking comfort food all year round…one can only eat so many salads in a row, after all (which ties into my near-constant soup habit). Plus, making a huge pan of lasagna like this feeds you for a couple nights in a row! Gotta love that during the busy workweek.
With our baby arriving in October, I’ve taken it upon myself to cook one freezer meal a week until the big day. I’ve received this advice from many experienced mommies. Make the food now, freeze it, and then you’ll still eat well with almost zero effort when you are running on 2 hours of sleep. Makes total sense to me. It’s been very manageable to tack on one extra recipe a week.
So far, I’ve whipped up pans of stuffed shells (want the recipe? It’s killer), my butternut squash lasagna, a beef enchilada bake (anyone interested in that recipe too?), and tons of soup (duh) including my broccoli-cheddar, chicken enchilada, corn chowder, sherried tomato bisque, and this pot pie soup (made with chicken instead of turkey). I’ve been a busy girl!
This lasagna made the cut last week. I made two pans…one for present day and one for the freezer…for when my husband and I are in need of some home cooked comfort food without the hassle. I’m sure we’ll be grateful then for my diligence now.
Heck, I’m grateful NOW for my diligence…and this lasagna…and life is easy breezy! It is SO GOOD. I marinate the chicken using the method from my buffalo chicken calzones to impart lots of spice and flavor. Then I layer it with a yummy tomato-buffalo sauce, a ranch ricotta mixture, and tons of cheese. Oh, and the most fantastic lasagna noodles ever. Seriously, I never use anything else when making lasagna. They make life SO EASY.
Normally, I would have added in the bleu cheese components listed in the recipe below, but because I’m forbidden to eat all bleu cheese at the moment (preggo problems), I skipped it. The lasagna was still delicious. So, take comfort if you aren’t a huge bleu cheese fan. It still works without it!
Like most lasagnas, this one takes a little bit of effort to throw together…but you’ll be so glad you did it. It is a buffalo-chicken-cheesy explosion of yum. Perfect with a light summer salad on the side. Because it IS almost July, after all.
For the Buffalo Chicken Layer:
- 3 large chicken breasts, cut into ½-inch cubes
- ½ cup buffalo hot sauce
- ½ cup Ranch dressing
- Salt and pepper
For the Sauce Layer:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 large shallots, finely diced
- 1 red bell pepper, finely diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 cups buffalo hot sauce
For the Cheese Layer:
- 1 (15-oz) container ricotta cheese
- ½ cup bleu cheese dressing
- ¼ cup Ranch dressing
- 1 cup sour cream (or plain Greek yogurt)
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs
- No-boil lasagna noodles (I always use these)
- 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 3 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 cup bleu cheese crumbles (optional)
For the Chicken:
- Use the method for marinating and cooking the chicken from this post. Once the chicken is cooked, remove from heat and allow to cool. At this point, preheat the oven to 375°F and butter a 9 x 13-in baking dish.
For the Sauce Layer:
- Heat a small saucepan over medium heat and add the oil. When hot, add the shallot and the bell pepper and sauté for 5 minutes or until soft. Add the garlic, tomato paste, and sugar and stir to combine. Add in the buffalo sauce and bring the mixture to a gentle simmer over medium-low heat. Once it has simmered for a few minutes, remove from heat and allow to cool.
For the Cheese Layer:
- Combine the cheeses, dressings, sour cream/yogurt, and dried herbs in a mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper and taste for seasoning before adding the egg. This mixture may be a little “runnier” than most ricotta lasagna layers. Don’t worry! It will thicken as it cooks.
- Spoon a small amount of the sauce on the bottom of the baking dish, spreading it in an even, thin layer. Top with a layer of the lasagna noodles, then ⅓ of the cheese layer, then ⅓ of the chicken, and finally with a handful of mozzarella, a handful of cheddar, and a few crumbles of bleu cheese. Drizzle some of the sauce over top. Top that layer with lasagna noodles and begin the layering all over again. The final layer should be lasagna noodles topped with the remaining shredded cheeses (about ½ a cup of each).
- Drizzle the top of the lasagna with olive oil and lightly wrap with tin foil. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the cheese is bubbly. If a deeper brown crust is desired on top, broil the lasagna for about 30 seconds, watching carefully. Remove from oven, allow to sit for about 10-15 minutes, and then cut and serve!