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The crunchy, cheesy topping on this lasagna was a favorite feature for taste-testers. Judith Baldwin says she developed the recipe while recovering from a foot injury. “I had lots of pecans and developed the recipe from what I found in my pantry and the herbs growing on the back porch,” she said. “I have made pecan-crusted chicken before so the combination of ingredients just seemed to go together.”

1 cup pecan halves (divided)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic
30 leaves fresh basil
7 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
1 lemon, juiced
8 sheets lasagna noodles
2 diced shallots
8 chicken tenders
1 cup sliced mushrooms
2 eggs
1 1/4 cups cream
2 cups Monterey jack cheese, shredded (divided)
Nutmeg, to taste
1/4 cup crushed potato chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine 1/2 cup pecans, Parmesan cheese, garlic, basil, 2 tablespoons oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste in food processor. Pulse until well combined. Set aside. Cook lasagna noodles as directed on package. Set aside. Sauté shallots in 3 tablespoons oil for 2 minutes, then add chicken and cook until juices run clear. Add mushrooms and cook 1 minute longer. In a bowl, beat eggs, cream and 1 cup Monterey jack cheese. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste. Butter a rectangular 6-cup gratin dish, then line bottom with layer of noodles. Make layer of filling, first spreading half of pesto, then half of chicken mixture, then half of cream mixture. Add another layer of noodles, then repeat filling layer, using remaining pesto, chicken and cream. Put another layer of noodles on top. Combine potato chips, 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans, remaining oil and remaining Monterey jack cheese and spread over top. Bake about 35 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

Serving size: 1 1/2 cups. Per serving: 566 calories, 47 g protein, 32.6 g fat, 16 g carbohydrates, 1.2 g fiber, 286 mg sodium, 192 mg cholesterol.

Judith Baldwin, Mid-South Synergy

October 2008 Recipe Contest