Community Cooks: Internet favorite chicken lasagna Florentine is a hearty, homey dish

Chicken lasagna Florentine is topped with Parmesan cheese and chopped pecans. Bob Townsend for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Caption
Chicken lasagna Florentine is topped with Parmesan cheese and chopped pecans. Bob Townsend for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Bob Townsend

Credit: Bob Townsend

Leigh Goff works for the Agriculture Committee as well as the Game, Fish and Parks Committee in the Georgia House of Representatives.

As you might guess, Goff was a political science major in college, but she had a long career with Delta Air Lines, then retired for a time, before finally using her degree at the state Capitol.

When she’s not working, Goff likes to cook. And, like so many Southern women, she credits her mother with inspiring her.

“My mother is a good cook, and a nice entertainer, and I guess that just sort of rolls downhill,” she said, adding that, growing up in a small town, family and food were a traditional part of the culture.

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Leigh Goff prepared “Chicken Quarantine” for her family on Christmas Eve. Courtesy of Lynn Ford.
Caption
Leigh Goff prepared “Chicken Quarantine” for her family on Christmas Eve. Courtesy of Lynn Ford.

Credit: Lynn Ford

Credit: Lynn Ford

“I grew up in a little, bitty small town, Madison, Georgia, and there were just not a lot of dining-out options,” Goff said. “So, the way I grew up, you came home from school, and ate supper together. And, that was the same way with my husband and son. We would say a blessing and have supper.”

Between the pandemic, and selling her house, Goff allowed that 2020 wasn’t her “best cooking year,” but she ended up back in Madison, living in her mother’s lake house.

“This was a strange holiday season,” she said. “I’ve been around my 91-year-old-mother, and my younger brother, and a sister who’s married with three children. My mother normally hosts everybody for Christmas Eve, but she was sort of stressed out, with my niece’s wedding coming up. So, we just made ‘Chicken Quarantine,’ with a salad, and bread, and a plate of Christmas cookies.”

All joking aside, Chicken Quarantine is Chicken lasagna Florentine. It’s a hearty and homey recipe that’s made the rounds on the internet.

Besides layers of chicken and noodles, with cheddar cheese, mushroom soup and sour cream, it’s topped with a mixture of Parmesan cheese, chopped pecans and melted butter.

“It’s probably a Southern Living original,” Goff mused. “To me, the pecan stuff doesn’t sound good on paper, but it really is delicious. Just put it with a salad, and you’re good to go. Just wait about 5 minutes after you take it out of the oven, and it does slice nicely, and plate pretty.”

Chicken Lasagna Florentine
  • 6 lasagna noodles, uncooked
  • 1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach
  • 2 cups chopped cooked chicken
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • ⅓ cup finely chopped onion
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 10-ounce can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 8-ounce carton sour cream
  • 1 4.5-ounce jar sliced mushrooms, drained
  • ⅓ cup mayonnaise
  • For the topping:
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • Combine the Parmesan, pecans and melted butter, and set aside.
  • Cook the noodles according to the package directions.
  • Cook the spinach, drain, and press between paper towels.
  • Combine the spinach, chicken, cheese, onion, nutmeg, cornstarch, salt, pepper, soy sauce, mushroom soup, sour cream, mushrooms and mayonnaise.
  • Layer chicken mixture, then noodles, chicken mixture, noodles and chicken mixture in a lightly greased 11-inch-by-7-inch-by-1.5-inch pan.
  • Sprinkle with Parmesan and butter pecan topping.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 55-60 minutes, until bubbly.
  • Let stand 5 minutes before cutting. Serve with a salad and bread. Serves eight

Nutritional information

Per serving: Per serving: 772 calories (percent of calories from fat, 45), 42 grams protein, 64 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams fiber, 39 grams total fat (15 grams saturated), 117 milligrams cholesterol, 1,152 milligrams sodium.

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