Chicken Parmesan Lasagna Love and a Trip to Red Gold Tomato Headquarters

Roma TomatoesHow do you get your tomato fix during these long winter months? I so miss the tang of a ripe and sweet summer tomato, especially when it’s coupled with a creamy scoop of burrata and a nicely aged balsamic. A few weeks ago, I traveled a few hours east, amidst beautiful frozen fields of white, to Madison County Indiana, to surround myself with color and the aura of summer tomatoes at the Red Gold Headquarters. I’d been using Red Gold canned tomatoes in my weekly batch of creamy meat sauce, but had no idea that behind the cans stood an inspiring story of a three generation family business.

Field of SnowThe trip stretched my concept of a local family food business, way beyond the farmers at the Oak Park Farmers Market. The grandson of the founder, Clay Reichart and his mother Selita took us around the plant. Later we met his father, Brian Reichart, son of the original founder, and current CEO. Bo Reichart, Brian’s other son also popped his head in to say hello. Although Red Gold employs hundreds of people, their pride and dedication about the tomatoes going into each can or bottle was contagious. I won’t shop for ketchup and canned tomatoes the same way again.


Red Gold began in the 1940s, as a small cannery. Today, Red Gold work with 52 family farms across Indiana, Illinois and Ohio that grow their proprietary tomato, which is similar to a Roma tomato. They have three plants that operate all year round. When tomatoes are no longer in season, they produce ketchup from tomato paste made in the summer months. Even though I witnessed it, I still can’t quite believe that their machines can make a batch of ketchup in less than 20 minutes when it takes me an entire night to make my roasted tomato ketchup.

Red Gold Tomato Ketchup Factory LineAfter touring the facility, we got down to business and sampled a lot of lasagnas, all based on the Red Gold All in One Base Lasagna Recipe. Linda Wallace, the Red Gold dietician, shared her base recipe (see below), and challenged everyone to put their own twists on it. My favorite? Chicken Parm lasagna. So nice to make two and throw one in the freezer for busy weeks!

Red Gold Cans in FactoryI somehow had missed that we would be shooting videos and sharing lasagna tips. Seriously hoping my mom doesn’t see this video or I’ll never hear the end of her comments about how tired and pale I look. This is what winter in Chicago does! I need some sun, and I need it fast.

Without further ado, here are the recipes for basic lasagna and chicken parmesan lasagna. I’d love to hear about your favorite!

lasagna

Basic Lasagna
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
In case it's not obvious from the ingredient list, this recipe is republished courtesy of Red Gold.
Serves: 12 servings
Ingredients
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 (28 ounce) can Red Gold® Crushed Tomatoes, or 2 (15 ounce) cans
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans Red Gold® Diced Tomatoes With Basil, Garlic & Oregano
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 pound ground Italian sausage, or lean ground beef, cooked and drained
  • 1 (16 ounce) box lasagna noodles, traditional, uncooked
  • 1 (15 ounce) carton low fat ricotta cheese
  • 3 cups sliced mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In large mixing bowl combine water, RED GOLD® CRUSHED TOMATOES and RED GOLD® DICED TOMATOES with BASIL, GARLIC & OREGANO, salt and Italian sausage, stir to combine ingredients.
  2. Cover the bottom of a 9x13x2 inch baking pan with 1½ cups of sauce mixture. Arrange ⅓ of noodles on top of sauce, slightly overlapped. Top with ½ of ricotta cheese, 1 cup of mozzarella cheese and 1 cup of sauce. Repeat layers and top with last ⅓ of noodles and the remaining sauce. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.
  3. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 1 to 1½ hours; until noodles are cooked. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
  4. The recipe makes 12 servings, but you could divide the recipe into two 9x9 inch baking dishes and freeze one for a wintry night supper.

Chicken Parmesan Lasagna
 
In case it's not obvious from the ingredient list, this recipe is republished courtesy of Red Gold.
Ingredients
  • 5 thin-cut boneless skinless chicken breasts, or chicken breast halves pounded to ½ inch
  • 2 eggs , beaten
  • 3 cups panko bread crumbs
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 (28 ounce) can Red Gold® Crushed Tomatoes, or 2 (15 ounce) cans
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans Red Gold® Diced Tomatoes With Basil, Garlic & Oregano
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 (16 ounce) box lasagna noodles, traditional, uncooked
  • 1 (15 ounce) carton low fat ricotta cheese
  • 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place beaten eggs into a shallow bowl. Mix breadcrumbs and ½ cup Parmesan cheese in a separate bowl. Place flour in a sifter or strainer. Place chicken breasts on a piece of foil and sprinkle with flour from the sifter, on both sides.
  2. Dip chicken breasts in beaten eggs, then breadcrumb mixture, pressing crumbs into both sides. Repeat with each breast. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Cook chicken until golden, about 2 minutes on each side. Cool and cube chicken to use as a layer in the lasagna.
  3. In large mixing bowl combine water, RED GOLD® CRUSHED TOMATOES, RED GOLD® DICED TOMATOES with BASIL, GARLIC & OREGANO, Italian seasoning and salt.
  4. Cover the bottom of a 9x13x2 inch baking pan with 1½ cups of sauce mixture. Arrange ⅓ of noodles on top of sauce, slightly overlapped. Top with, ½ of ricotta cheese, ⅓ cubed chicken, 1 cup of mozzarella cheese and 1 cup of sauce. Repeat layers and top with last ⅓ of noodles, the remaining sauce and the last ⅓ cubed chicken. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.
  5. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 1 to 1½ hours; until noodles are cooked. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle top with fresh chopped basil before serving.
  6. The recipe makes 12 servings, but you could divide the recipe into two 9x9 inch baking dishes and freeze one for a wintry night supper.

Leave a reply