So as with Farming plans change... not necessarily ON the Farm but maybe in your life. I had my Weekend Menu planned and completely forgot I had plans that took up most of my Saturday.
So my original Classic Parmesan Chicken turned into a Casserole, so it was an easy drop off meal I could start way ahead of time, so I could enjoy my day away from the Kitchen.
Chicken Parmesan Casserole
Prep time: 40 minutes Cook time: 40 minutes Total time: 1 hour 20 minutes
This Casserole is super easy, and can be made up to 2 days ahead of time.
I found after baking it, it was little dry, so I think in future I'd add another jar of Marinara Sauce.
You can also Freeze this recipe, but make sure to defrost before baking, the pasta tends to be better that way.
To save even more time, you can use pre-made Breaded Chicken Fingers/Tenders. I chose to make mine from scratch. We try really hard in our home to not eat or buy pre-made, pre-packed, pre-done food. It's always so full of preservative, chemicals and other things we try to limit. But that's us, so do what works for you, and NO JUDGEMENT, we are all just trying our best with our busy lives and schedules! And don't get me wrong, the struggle is REAL for me and a Drive-Thru!
1 Pkg Rigatoni Pasta, Penne can also be used
1 Jar Marinara Sauce (I thinking in the future I'd use 2 jars, mine turned out pretty dry after baking)
3 cups Mozzarella Cheese, grated
1/3 cup Parmesan Cheese, Finely grated
4 Chicken Breasts, cut into 1/2 strips
1 1/2 cup Flour
2 Teaspoon Sea Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Pepper
2 1/2 cups Italian Bread Crumbs, fine
1 cup Canola Oil
2 Tablespoons Butter
Fresh Parsley, to garnish
Tip: Bread the chicken while you wait for your pasta water the boil and for the pasta to cook.
- Boil water and cook the rigatoni for 1 minute less than al dente- (Refer to package for cooking time).
- When the pasta is ready, drain it add it back to the pot. Toss with Jar(s) of sauce, 1/3 of the Parmesan cheese, and 1 cup of the mozzarella. Set aside.
- Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and cut into strips about ½ inch thick.
- Create an assembly line for breading the chicken:
- Bowl #1: Flour + Salt + Pepper.
- Bowl #2: Whisked eggs.
- Bowl #3: Breadcrumbs
- Dredge the chicken in the flour mixture, then briefly in the whisked eggs, then smother them in the breadcrumb mixture until completely covered. Use your palms to gently flatten the chicken a little bit more once it’s coated in the breadcrumbs.
- Add ¼ inch of oil to a pan along with the butter, which helps give the chicken a golden color. Turn to medium-high heat.
- Once the pan is heated, use kitchen tongs to carefully lower the chicken into the oil, you’ll need to cook the strips in batches. Cook for about 4 minutes per side, until golden brown. You may need to add more oil as the chicken cooks.
- Place the cooked strips on a paper towel lined plate. The paper towels absorb the excess oil, leaving you with crispier chicken.
- Slice the strips into smaller bite-sized pieces.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Lightly grease a 9 x 13 inch casserole dish. Add half of the rigatoni/sauce mixture. Top with half of the chicken strips, 1/3 of the Parmesan cheese, and 1 cup of mozzarella cheese.
- Add the remaining rigatoni. Add the chicken strips and the remaining Parmesan and mozzarella cheese.
- Bake uncovered for 25 minutes. If you prefer a browner, crisper top, increase heat to 425 and bake for about 5 more minutes.
- Garnish with fresh parsley. Serve with Caesar Salad and enjoy!