Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Baken Chicken Parm Casserole

My friend Kim pinned a recipe on Pinterest that has made my family so happy! Chicken Parm Casserole was originated with Chef John from Food Wishes. I haven't read much of his blog yet. Just browsing the pictures, my mouth is watering.

Chef John does video recipes. They are great for seeing how he puts them together, but I'm going to sum up here. Please do go over and watch his videos!

Back to the Chicken Parm. I was skeptical for a couple of reasons. First of all, I'm supposed to believe you can get good chicken parmesan without frying? Second of all, because I am not a fan of meat cooked in tomatoes or tomato sauce, especially not chicken. I don't mind sauce being added afterward, but shy away from cooking in sauce. This recipe got such rave reviews, I decided to give it a try. My husband loves chicken parmesan, so it was worth the risk if it might give me an easy way to make this dish for him. Suffice it to say, I make double the amount now, because the first time everyone came back for seconds and were disappointed when it was gone. No leftovers for lunch!

Leni's Notes:
~The original recipe said this was done in 35 minutes. Probably because I do a large pan of it, it needed closer to an hour. Adjust accordingly.
~I pound my chicken just enough to even it out. Just pop it in a plastic storage bag, and use the flat side of a tenderizer to flatten it out a bit.
~If the topping starts to get too browned, slip a piece of foil loosely over the top for the last 15 minutes or so

2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves crushed garlic
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded and cut in half to make easier to serve pieces 
3 cups of your favorite spaghetti sauce
1 Tablespoon of Italian herbs (oregano for us) 
8 oz mozzarella, shredded
4 oz Parmesan, grated
about 10oz croutons, more as needed to cover the caserole

Preheat oven to 350.
Place olive oil and garlic in the bottom of the pan.
Place chicken on top of oil, evenly spread to fill the pan.
Top with marinara, basil, half of the mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
Evenly coat with croutons, then finish with the remaining cheese.

Bake for 35-60 minutes, depending on thickness of chicken. This is one of those times when I highly recommend a meat thermometer.

We like to serve this with a side of whole wheat spaghetti and marinara.

Enjoy! Love to hear your reviews!

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