Mushroom and Chicken Lasagne; Unreliable Output Devices

It has been brought to my attention, on more than one occasion, that my mouth is a, somewhat, unreliable output device.

An example: Mon mari, his brother, s-i-l and I are discussing what time to leave on an outing the following day. In my mental discussion with myself I acknowledge that mon mari would like to leave at 8am, early-bird type that he is.  I accept the fact that I would like to leave at 11am, night-owl  always-too-much-to-finish-at-the-last-minute type that I am.  I make a mental compromise and suggest 9:30am  Everyone agrees.  We’ll leave at 9:30.

I finish up whatever project I have the following morning, meander downstairs around 9:00 to have a cup of coffee and see three impatient faces staring at me.

You’re late, they cry!

No, I’m not, I defend myself.

You are, too!  You said we were going to leave at 8:00!

Now, I know I didn’t say that!  Why would I say something I clearly did not mean and had no intention whatsoever of doing?

They were obviously wrong… all three of them!

We argue, me trying to make them see the error of their ways…all to no effect, I might add.  Power in numbers and all that.

My first recollection of the unreliability of my mouth was years ago, on a second date.

I remember it was a second date because there was no third.

We were at dinner, discussing the menu.  I commented on the expense of the lobster and how I actually liked broiled shrimp just as well.

I knew the dating rules: don’t order the most expensive thing on the menu but don’t order a salad either.

I ordered the shrimp.

Twenty minutes later the waiter presented me with a lobster.

I was confused, amazed, taken aback, thunderstruck, etc.

I didn’t order that, I said.  I ordered the shrimp.

No, the waiter said; you ordered the lobster.

As he was so clearly, so obviously wrong, I continued trying to make him admit his mistake.  I certainly knew better than to order lobster on a second date, now, didn’t I?

My date then agreed with the waiter, claiming that I had, indeed, ordered the lobster.

They were very unkind to continue to insist I had said something when I knew I hadn’t.

I shut up and ate my lobster.

Unfortunately, it was brought to my attention this morning that my other most-used output device is also developing a certain unreliability.

In a recent email exchange I was typing “Neil” when, unnoticed by me, my fingers hit M i k e instead of N e i l.  Now, I do know how to spell and I spelled it quite correctly in my mind.  Is it my fault that my fingers are so unreliable?  I don’t think so…

They’re must be someone I can blame for this…

I wonder if either of these output devices are still under warranty?

I’ll just have some pasta and make me feel better…

There was a time when I thought lasagne was a lot of work: simmering the sauce for hours; making the pasta, then cooking the pasta; assembling and then baking for an hour or so.

Then I discovered no-cook lasagne noodles!

I hardly use any ‘convenience’ foods: canned tomatoes if I run out of my own, red and white kidney beans in a pinch, tuna…

But these handy little lasagne noodles just wormed their way into my heart and my kitchen.  I love the little guys…and they never argue with me!

Here is another lasagne recipe for Presto Pasta Nights created almost a year ago by the lovely  Ruth of Once Upon A Feast.  The 1 year anniversary is in just a few weeks!

A layer of sautéed mushrooms, a layer of crushed tomatoes and one of shredded chicken and sliced red peppers makes this is a colorful lasagne with surprise flavors in each bite. I use fromage frais, which is a very low-fat fresh cheese. If you can’t get it, use Greek yogurt, strained if you can get it, or cottage cheese.

Mushroom and Chicken Lasagne

1 chicken breast, boneless, skinless
3/4 cup chicken stock or water
8oz, 250gr mushrooms
3 – 4 shallots, 6oz, 180gr
1 tbs olive oil
2 tbs chicken stock (from poaching the chicken)
1 15oz can (450gr tin) crushed tomatoes
4 – 6 oz, 150gr pimientos, roasted red peppers
fromage frais, 6oz, 200gr (substitute Greek yogurt, cottage cheese or ricotta…low-fat is fine)
3/4 cup shredded cheese, 3oz, 90gr
3 tbs butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk – 16 oz, (500ml)
9 – 10 sheets ‘no-cook’ lasagna noodles
1/3 cup grated Parmesan. 1.5oz, 45gr

The chicken: Put the chicken breast and stock or water in a small skillet. Cover and cook over medium heat until done, about 10 minutes. Remove and cut into thin slices or shred.
The mushrooms: Clean mushrooms and roughly chop. Clean shallots and slice. Heat oil in medium skillet. Add mushrooms, shallots and sauté until tender, about 15 minutes. Add 2 tbs of the chicken poaching liquid to get up the browned bits on the bottom of the skillet.
The Béchamel: In a medium saucepan heat the butter over low heat. Add flour and stir with a whisk for 1 minute. Add a little (1/4 cup) of the milk and whisk to combine. Turn heat up to medium and keep adding milk, a little at a time and whisking. You should have added all of the milk in a minute or 2. When all of the milk is in, bring to a boil (should almost be there), whisking. Then remove from heat. Congratulations! You have just made a béchamel sauce!
The rest: Open tomatoes. Slice roasted red peppers into strips.

Now you are ready to assemble: in a 10″ (25cm) square baking dish, or so…make the following layers

1/4 of the béchamel sauce
2 – 3 noodles, you may have to break another one up to get good coverage
spread half of the fromage frais (or yogurt) on the noodles
spread all of the mushrooms and shallots on the fromage frais or yogurt
1/4 béchamel sauce

2 – 3 noodles
all of the crushed tomatoes
1/2 of the shredded cheese

2 – 3 noodles
spread half of the fromage frais (or yogurt) on the noodles
all of the shredded/sliced chicken
all of the sliced peppers

2 – 3 noodles
1/2 béchamel sauce
1/2 shredded cheese
all of the Parmesan

Cover and bake 425F (215C) for 20 minutes, or until noodles are done. Test in center with a sharp knife. Uncover and bake 5 minutes longer to brown cheese. Remove and let rest for 5 minutes. Cut into squares (or oblongs) and serve.

Start to finish was less than an hour.

This could easily be vegetarian: just substitute another layer of mushrooms for the chicken…but leave in the peppers….

Now I’m going to run some diagnostics on my entire system.  I think I’ll start with red wine….

20 thoughts on “Mushroom and Chicken Lasagne; Unreliable Output Devices”

  1. Damn. That happens to me ALL the time. But I still won’t admit it to my husband – I like to keep him guessing!! Great story, and and even better looking lasagna. I’m going to try and search out this fromage frais here – it sounds so interesting (probably not, and I know I can make the substitutes, but so much more fun to find something new…)

  2. ha! you know when else that happens? when I try and type in the word verification. I sweat i type it in correctly, but the computer doesn’t think I have!!

  3. You have an imbedded poltergiest in your body. And…you never know when those little suckers are ready to play games!
    Obviously they have not affected your cooking skills!!! Lasagna looks marvelous!

  4. Great post as usual and the lasagna…WOW! Definitely great output with that. Thanks for sharing with PResto Pasta Nights.
    I can’t believe it’s almost a year old. Thanks for pointing that out. What will we do to celebrate the big day?

  5. What I want to know is why it’s so hard to get replacement parts when our output devices begin to fail???? This lasagna looks good enough to make me forget…well…whatever it was I meant to say… (output device failure again).

  6. This is actually the sign of a very intelligent person. It means that your brain is working so fast that your mouth/fingers can’t keep up. There, now you can excuse yourself.
    That lasagna sounds yum.

  7. I have exactly the same problem! Frustratingly unexplainable although I like Amanda’s take!
    Delicious lasagna. I adore mushrooms with pasta. Sounds lovely!

  8. And what I’m discovering is the more years pass, the worse it gets. But, hey, I’ll take Amanda’s intrepretation! As for the lasagna, it looks and sounds wonderful. Love the idea of using the red peppers. They’re very colorful, plus add tons of flavor. Overall, it’s a great post, Katie!

  9. Ja, ja, ja! Cheers to you, first! I love your sense of humour!!!!!!! You made me wonder with this story and asked myself if this had happen to me… what would I have thought? I would probably have thought that I wanted to say something and finally said something else… they would have made me doubt!!!! You are so selfconfident! That’s something I really admire!
    I’m bookmarking this lasaña, I have these noodles you mention… they are great!

  10. My wife has a similar predicament where the conversation continues…in her head. lol
    The lasagna looks fantastic and like a really nice change from the usual super heavy stuff.

  11. Michelle, computers can be almost as bad as husbands…
    Deb, thanks for the explanation (and the compliment) Now it all makes sense!
    Ruth, thanks… What to do for the Big One? I don’t know! Will have to ponder that…
    Lydia, I’ve noticed that myself, very bad warranty work, as well!
    Kevin, no one ever accused me of being traditional!
    Amanda, I like that one. I’m taking it and sticking to it, so there!
    Truffle, Amanada was spot on! Thanks, the mushrooms really added a lot!
    Thanks, Laurie… I didn’t want to mention that old passage of time, bit. I’m pretending not to notice.
    Thanks, Sorina! I hope you like it!
    Nuria, muchas gracies, guapa! Because I am always right the problem is obviously with other people…I’m sure it would be the same for you!
    Mike, I’m quite certain she is just speaking quietly and you don’t hear her….(It’s a bit of a conundrum – do I stick up for your wife as another female, or you as another blogger?!?!)

  12. Katie you are mind boggling! This is so well written and such tremendous fun!!
    I think Amanda is my new best friend!
    And this Lasagne is really gorgeous! I found those no bake noodles years ago and they are the only ones allowed in my kitchen now!

  13. Neil, I. Ordered. The. SHRIMP!!!!!
    (Does no one hear me?)
    Tanna, Amanda is definitly spot on the mark. I bow to her perception! Thanks for the sweet words – and aren’t those little no-bake darlin’s wonderful?

  14. I used to LOVE those no-cook lasagne. But since getting a pasta maker (the hand-crank kind), my husband likes to make fresh lasagne (how lucky am I?). We use fresh pasta sheets now and still don’t parboil them. We just have ensure that there is sauce or stock in a thinnish layer on the bottom of the casserole dish and plenty of sauce and/or cheese on the top layer to cook the noodles.
    Mmmmm, your lasagne looks fabulous!
    What kind of cheese do you shred? Swiss? Mozzarella? (I can imagine that either would be good.)
    P.S. Isn’t it too bad that when you make an inadvertent mistake, there isn’t some sort of home system installed like google has that would flash a little sign “did you mean…”?

  15. Elizabeth, you are very lucky, indeed! I use Gruyere, usually. Mozarella is not really common here. I can get fresh, buffalo milk in summer…
    That bit about Google is brilliant!

  16. I have an urge to try gruyere instead of mozzarella, even though gruyere is much more expensive here than mozzarella.
    I just googled [mozzarella recipe]. According to, “It’s easy to make homemade mozzarella cheese”. If you craved mozzarella, you could make some yourself in your spare time. (heh)

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