Monday, December 05, 2011

Chicken Parmesan Bake

I have wanted to share this recipe with you for a few days now but keep putting it off because I don't have a good picture to go with it. You can forgive that if I tell you that this was tasty, easy, required no chopping, and everyone ate it, right? Ok. {waiting for the other shoe to drop} BUT the recipe does need a few tweaks in my opinion.

I agree with the creator of this recipe that the yumminess of this dish is the crispy croutons on top and the gooey underside of the crouton that bakes in the sauce but the whole chicken breasts left portions that were too big, didn't cook evenly, and only the down-in-the-valley-of-tomato-sauce croutons got the aforementioned gooey goodness. I think this could be remedied by using chicken tenders or cutting the chicken breasts in half horizontally to make a more level dish that would cook more evenly.

I also didn't have Parmesan cheese (because, ya know, I was literally just at the store before I made this. I need a webcam in my fridge so I can check it when I am at the store). I did have a packet of this which I had never used before but it was a really tasty substitute given that I am normally against pre-packaged seasoning thingies but I'm not going to let that come between me and another call to the pizza man--lesser of two evils :). As a result, I omitted the red pepper and the fresh basil since the mix was already seasoned.

I am also going to use more sauce next time because 1 cup (I halved the recipe) was not enough sauce.

UPDATE 1/9/12: I tried this tonight with twice the amount of sauce and much thinner chicken breasts and no Parmesan seasoning packet thingie and it turned out fantastic. Baked in 35 minutes.
Parmesan Chicken Bake
adapted from Food Wishes

2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
hot red pepper flakes, to taste
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts, split in half horizontally or lightly pounded to an even thickness; or 2-3 pounds chicken tenders
2-3 cups marinara sauce (I used Barilla)
1/4 cup chopped basil  
8 oz mozzarella, shredded
4 oz Parmesan, grated; or 2 packets Kraft Parmesan Tuscan Herbs Blend
1 (5-oz) package garlic croutons (the bigger ones work best here)

Preheat oven to 350. Put olive oil and garlic in a 9 x 13 dish and swish it around with a spoon to make an even layer. Sprinkle with red pepper. Place chicken in dish in one layer, pour sauce evenly over top. Sprinkle basil over sauce. Put half the mozzarella and half of the Parmesan over the basil, then top with croutons and remaining cheese. Remember, evenness is the name of the game here. Bake for 35-45 minutes until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 155'.

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