If you follow me on Pinterest, you know I have a Cooking Aspirations board and a Favorite Recipes board. I pin a lot of things on my Cooking Aspirations board in hopes of bringing the dishes to the blog as a Creative Cooking post. Let me preface this by saying, a good portion of the dishes I have pinned on the Cooking Aspiration board have been very good and delicious. However, not all the dishes that look great taste great. Really. Yet, it doesn’t hurt to try the dish and figure out how to make it better.
2 lbs of boneless skinless chicken breasts or tenderloins
2 tbs of minced garlic
2 Tbs of olive oil
Hot pepper flakes to taste
1 jar of marinara sauce (Bertollio’s Marinara Burgundy sauce)
1 Tbs of dried fresh basil (I grew basil this summer and dried what I couldn’t use)
8 oz or more of Mozzarella cheese
4 oz or more Parmesan cheese (or sprinkling when yours has gone bad and you didn’t know it)
1 (5 oz) bag of Butter Garlic Croutons
I spent way too much time in the grocery store looking for Garlic croutons…hint just get the Butter Garlic, hell. Also, always check your fresh parmesan to insure it is still fresh before you make the dish or you will spend long minutes trying to pick out the non-moldy pieces only to just give up on and leave it out of the recipe. I had about 1 tsp of usable parmesan. I am not going to be the best cook ever. Just so you know.
In a baking pan, pour in your olive oil and spread evenly over the pan then add your minced garlic and sprinkle in your pepper flakes. I really should have added more flakes. I will expound on that part later. Then place your chicken breast cubes into the bottom of your pan. You can keep your chicken whole, but after reading numerous reviews if you want your chicken to be cooked thoroughly, cut that chicken into cubes. Season your chicken breast with salt and pepper, please. I beg you to. You will thank me later. Add your basil before added the sauce.
Pour your jarred marinara sauce over your chicken. You can use the 16 oz the original recipe asks, but I suggest if you use more than 2 lbs (I only used 2.5 lbs) of chicken you will need the extra moisture. Then you add a portion of your cheeses and then cover with croutons (I suggest you crumble them, I didn’t) and finish with the remaining cheese.
Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 45 minutes or more or less depending on your oven.
Verdict: I love chicken parmesan and if you look at my old blog you will see I have made a skinny version. As much as I love chicken parmesan, it is a bit labor intensive with the dipping in eggs and coating with bread crumbs, frying and then baking. Yeah, no one has time for that sometimes. This seemed like an easy alternative and with the number of pins it had to be the best thing since slice bread. Well I did season my chicken breast cubes, but undoubtedly not enough because for me, this dish was tasteless. I know. You are asking how does that happen with the flakes, garlic and butter garlic coutons, it did. Even the sauce, which is my favorite to use couldn’t make the flavor pop. And I should have added two bags of mozzarella and definitely more parmesan. I actually used a bag and an half of mozzarella to help with the lack of parmesan. So my fault. Even the cheese wasn’t going to make this dish cheesy and flavorful without added seasoning. My suggestion for those wanting to try this dish is to add Italian seasoning as well as the basil and season the chicken very liberally. Not too liberally, but add salt and pepper. White meat chicken can be tasteless if not seasoned properly. And add more cheese so it is a truly cheesy casserole. After I added some more sea salt and pepper it tasted better, but I didn’t have any cheese to add to the dish and I would say add more cheese too. The dish is easy to make and believe it or not I will replicate again just to get it right. It wasn’t bad, but it was bland, but if you try it and take my suggestions seriously you will add this to your cooking repertoire.
…hope these pictures don’t scare you, I am still working on the look of things over here…