Making Alfredo Italian Chicken Sausage Lasagna

I make it no secret anymore that I have gone completely pork free. I have been pork free so long that I sometimes might even forget my tact in dealing with situations where I am faced with it.

This recipe is not nearly as large as my regular red sauce lasagna recipe. I do not have as many mouths eating it at one time so I do not have to go as big. I also do not have to tolerate it. Lasagna is one of my favorite foods and not being able to eat it is still very hard even though it has been a few years since I have had pork and almost a year since I have had tomatoes. I do not miss the pain and suffering, but my palette is still quite fond of those flavors and my smell senses are still quite familiar wit and triggers the salivating all over again. I cannot help it. It still triggers an emotional response. My mother made really good lasagna growing up. I loved it. It was always a treat to get lasagna.
At any rate you are still going to need a fair amount of mozzarella and/or Italian Blend cheese (about 8 cups) and a large bowl, but 5 quarts should work fine.

Start with one pound of ground Sweet Italian Chicken Sausage. It is really low on fat and cooks really fast. To help offset this, I add water to the bottom of my pan. I do this a lot. It is easy to drain or cook off the water. It is an easy no stick way to keep the fat low. Not a traditional way, but it works.

I am just going to drain off what is left after “browning” the ground chicken. The ground chicken “browns” quickly so be prepared for this. Do not get distracted by other things. If you do not work quickly you will end up with large clumps of chicken. You do not want this for lasagna if you want your meat to be evenly distributed throughout.

You will need two large eggs. Nothing fancy here, just two standard large eggs.

Beat the eggs. I like mine nice and frothy for this. There is nothing fancy about this, just beat them with a wire whisk. Be patient, they will bubble up like this.

Mix in 16 ounces of small curd cottage cheese. You do not need to go low fat if you do not want to. I am not saying that this is low fat Italian Chicken Sausage Alfredo Lasagna. Heck by the time you see how much cheese is in this, you are going to think that this is a little piece of heaven on earth. There is nothing but pure cheesy goodness in this Alfredo Lasagna. Remember the cottage cheese melts into a creamy goodness.
Add 1 teaspoon of Penzeys Pasta Sprinkle seasoning. I love this seasoning blend. It is good for all things bland. It makes a wonderful addition to Alfredo sauces. It gives it a nice kick. A teaspoon may seem like a lot for what you have in the bowl right now, but by the time you have everything in that 5 quart bowl it will be about the right amount. Remember the 5 quart bowl will be about the right size when we get done. Do not go any smaller than that.

Mix in 1 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese. Yes, I know that is a lot of Parmesan cheese. I like Parmesan cheese. I found out that at least 3 of my 3 children like it just fine as long as I buy the good stuff. Yes, as long as splurge on the $10-11 canister in the refrigerator case at Sam’s Club they will eat it knowing good and well it is in there and in large quantities. In fact, they will willingly sprinkle it on top of their Italian foods. The Kraft stuff in the can? No go. I still buy it for cooking into things where it does not matter like Italian Parmesan Potatoes that I am doing under the broiler, but for the things that matter it has to be the good stuff. They like the stuff at Sam’s Club best. They will eat the stuff in the bags in the refrigerator cases at the grocery stores just fine as long as it is cooked into things. This is one splurge that is worth it because my husband will eat it too. So trust me, it is a lot of Parmesan cheese but if you splurge and get the good stuff, no one will care. Buy the good stuff.

Drain your Italian Chicken Sausage. You do not want the extra water from the meat. This is pure delight. I am truly grateful to finally have a grocery store near me that makes and stocks this on a regular basis – in bulk so no casings. Sprouts Farmer’s Market is like a dream come true for me in the meat department. I bought Italian Sausage Seasoning mix from Penzeys but to be real honest with you it is rather expensive and ground chicken is not a lot of fun to work with. It is really sticky. Honestly, I do not like working with raw chicken any more than the next person, but ground raw chicken is just nasty to get between your fingers and then try to get off. So give me chicken sausage already made up any day. Thank you, Sprouts for coming along and rocking my world!

Cook one bag of frozen broccoli cuts as directed. You can use the vegetable of your choice, but I think broccoli goes nicely. You want to cook it on the under done side. Honestly, you do not have to cook it much at all as it is going to cook for a fair amount of time. Mostly you are taking the excess water out from the frozen state. You could use fresh broccoli if like. I keep frozen broccoli on hand at all times as we eat broccoli a lot. You can use a larger bag. I usually do but I am out of the larger family sized bags. Time to make another grocery store run for vegetables.

Add three 16 ounce jars of Alfredo Sauce to the bowl. Mix well. Finding Alfredo Sauce is just the luck of the draw. Buy whatever fancies you. I prefer the lower fat options as it can be loaded with fat and I do not have a gallbladder anymore so extremely high fat foods do not sit well with me. There are not very many out there that I have found that are “lower” in fat, but Ragu makes one that I keep going back to. In this case I am using the Ragu Light Parmesan Alfredo. It has a good flavor and consistency.

Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of milk to each jar and put the lid on. Shake to mix with the remaining Alfredo sauce in the jar. Do not waste an of that Alfredo sauce. You are going to need it. I do not measure the milk exactly. Just estimate. I probably use closer to the 1/2 cup in each jar. It depends mostly on how much sauce is left in the jar when I empty it out. I try to get as much out of the jar before I put the milk into them.

Add milk thinned Alfredo sauce to the bowl. Add the cooked broccoli to the bowl, cutting up any large pieces if necessary. Mix into the sauce evenly. 

Add the cooked Italian Chicken Sausage to the Alfredo sauce mixture. Mix evenly into sauce.

Add four cups of finely shredded Italian Blend cheese. I used a mixture of half Mozzarella cheese and half Italian Blend cheese. Use whatever fancies you. There are some nice Italian Cheese mixes in the name brands. I used a store brand mixture as it was on sale. For the Alfredo sauces I like to switch things up with the cheeses used because I think it adds a little to the flavor.

You will not need as many lasagna noodles for this recipe as you did for the regular red sauce lasagna. I do not make my lasagna heavy on noodles. Again, I only buy one type of lasagna noodles. I have not found anything else that is as easy to use. What can I say? I am lazy and willing to splurge for the stuff that takes all the work out of the kitchen. I only buy Barilla Oven-Ready Lasagna Noodles. They are perfect in every way when it comes to lasagna noodles.

Now that you have your sauce made, it is time to move to the table where you can spread out. I am using the smaller pans for these lasagnas. I do not need to make them larger because it is only me eating them for the most part. These are small rectangle pans from Walmart. They measure 5.3″x7.8″x1.75″ per the packaging. They fit one of the Barilla Oven-Ready Lasagna noodles perfectly with a little room to spare around the edge. If you found something a tad smaller, you would be fine. The key is to find something that the lasagna noodle fits in so that you do not have to break it or overlap it. Minimal work.
I am starting with three pans. I know with certainty that I will get three pans out of this amount of sauce. Usually more. Most likely I will get four. If you use 8″x8″ pans, you will most likely get two pans. I highly doubt you will get more than that. You might get two plus a smaller pan. Start with what you know you will get and then assemble another one and repeat until you run out of sauce.

Using a sizable soup ladle scoop some of the mixture into the bottom of the pans. Sprinkle with cheese. You do not need a lot of cheese, just a light sprinkling.

If you wanted to cut back on the cheese, you could cut back the cheese layer here. You could even leave it out entirely. Remember the sauce already has a considerable amount of cheese in it.

Place a lasagna noodle on top of the sauce and cheese layers. There is room to spare around the noodles, but that is just the nature of the size of the pan in relation to the noodle. Do not worry. It just allows the sauce to run off the edge of the noodles and nice cooking. It is perfect. You will not have crispy noodle edges. It is perfect.
Repeat previous steps. Make sure the sauce fully covers the lasagna noodle on the layer below it. You do not need to make your sauce layer thick, you just need to cover the lasagna noodle. Again, your layer of cheese can be a light sprinkling.
Repeat sauce layer one more time. Top liberally with cheese. This is where the cheese matters! This is the top layer of the lasagna so no more lasagna noodles please.
Repeat with remaining sauce in additional pans as needed. I ended up filling five pans. The fifth one was a bit thinner on the layers. It worked out just fine, but it was thinner.
Bake at 375˚F for 20 minutes. Cover loosely with foil. Bake 20 additional minutes. Uncover and bake 5 more minutes until the cheese is lightly browned. 

Italian Chicken Sausage Alfredo Lasagna perfection!

Italian Chicken Sausage and Broccoli Alfredo Lasagna

1 lb Ground Italian Chicken Sausage
2 large Eggs
16 oz small curd Cottage Cheese
1 tsp Penzeys Pasta Sprinkle seasoning
3 jars (16 oz each) Alfredo Sauce
1 cup milk
1 cup shredded Parmesan Cheese
8 cups finely shredded Mozzarella or Italian Blend Cheese
1 box of Barilla Oven-Ready Lasagna Noodles

Preheat oven to 375˚F.

Brown Italian Chicken Sausage. Drain. Set aside.

Cook one bag of frozen broccoli on the less done side. Drain. Set aside.

In large 5 quart mixing bowl beat eggs. Mix in cottage cheese and seasoning. Blend well. Add Parmesan Cheese and mix well. Add pasta sauce and mix well. Add Italian Sausage and broccoli and mix well until they evenly distributed throughout the sauce. Add mozzarella cheese to the sauce mixture and mix until everything is well combined.

Using a soup ladle, scoop sauce into the bottom of 5.3″x7.8″x1.75″ foil pans, enough to cover the bottom only. Sprinkle lightly with mozzarella cheese. Top with lasagna noodle. Repeat process again with layers of sauce and cheese. Top with another lasagna noodle. Repeat the process again with layers of sauce and cheese. Top liberally with mozzarella cheese.

Place in oven and bake for uncovered for 20 minutes. Cover loosely with aluminum foil. Bake for and additional 20 minutes. Remove the foil tent and bake for about 5 minutes or until the cheese is lightly browned.

Cut into 3 pieces.

Freezes well.

You now know how to make an Alfredo Lasagna that is pork free and purely divine to eat. It has an Italian Sausage flare without the pork based Italian Sausage. I almost forgot for a minute that I was not eating tomatoes. It was so good for that moment I did not miss that favorite food. For the moment. I can sit at the table and enjoy the Italian flare without feeling like I have had everything good withheld from me. Worth the little bit of work.

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