Wednesday, January 4, 2012

DAY # 24 Chicken Parmesan Bake

If you asked my husband what his favorite Italian dish is, chances are that he would tell you Chicken Parmesan.  It is always his fallback choice at restaurants when he can't decide what to order and what he orders from Olive Garden 95% of the time.  About a year ago, i stumbles across a really good Chicken Parm recipe, but it's really a giant pain in the butt!  The sauce is homemade and tastes wonderful but it too is alot of work, and then when you add in pounding the chicken and frying it, well, you can just count on spending at least a few hours in the kitchen. 

I came across a pin a few weeks ago called Chicken Parmesan Bake and the description said this..."This could be the BEST recipe I have found on here! Chicken Parmesan bake! No frying, just baking!"  Well of course i added it to my recipe arsenal.  I did decide to stick with the sauce from our other recipe, so i'll include that too, in case you want to make your own  :)

Here are the recipes...

Chicken Parmesan Sauce

1/2 cup Olive Oil
1 small onion chopped
2 garlic cloves chopped (i used the refrigerated kind)
1 stalk celery chopped
1 large carrot chopped
2 (28oz) cans crushed tomatoes
4-6 fresh basil leaves chopped
3 dried bay leaves (i pick the larger ones out of the bottle so they are easier to find when it's time to take them out!)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Heat oil over medium.  Add onion and garlic and saute until soft.  Add celery, carrots, salt and pepper and saute about 5 minutes. 

Add tomatoes, basil, and bay leaves and simmer on low for about an hour.

*the original recipe called for you to then put the sauce into a blender or processor so that it's smooth instead of chunky.  I usually do this, but decided last night to leave it chunky and it was nice to have the chunkier sauce with the chicken.

I finished up my sauce and then went to work on the chicken.

Chicken Parmesan Bake

2 tbs olive oil
2 cloves garlic minced (again, i used the refrigerated kind)
crushed red pepper to taste
4-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup chopped basil (i didn't use as much since i used basil in the sauce too)
8 oz shredded Mozzarella cheese
4 oz grated Parmesan cheese
1 package of garlic croutons

In bottom of baking dish spread olive oil.  Mix in garlic and sprinkle with crushed red pepper.

Place chicken breasts on top and then cover with sauce.

Sprinkle on the fresh chopped basil.  Sprinkle on HALF of the cheese.  Layer on (slightly crushed) croutons.  Sprinkle on the rest of the cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour.

*Mine browned quite a bit on top, to the point that i was worried it was burning, but i was afraid that the chicken wouldn't get done if i took it out early.  In the end, it wasn't burned, just brown and my husband RAVED about how good the "crust" was.  LOL

I did find the chicken to be a little bland.  It didn't soak up any flavor from the sauce or the olive oil mix but tasted good as long as you got some sauce or topping in the same bite as the chicken.  I think next time i will rub the chicken with some seasoning and perhaps pound it out a bit thinner before placing it into the baking dish.  Also, i served this on top of some spaghetti noodles, but they weren't needed.  This dish in itself is VERY filling.

HERE is the link to the original blog post.
HERE is the link to the original recipe.

???  Pinterest Win / Pinterest Fail  ???
A win!

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