Friday, March 8, 2013

Chicken Parmesan Casserole

Mmm... I love Italian food. Nate is not a big fan of pasta, but he really enjoys chicken parmesan. This dish is a good fit for both of us because it doesn't have pasta but it does have great Italian flavors and a great breadstick topping. It was really good, we both enjoyed it a lot. I'll warn you, it smells so good while baking that it's hard to wait for it to finish! This is definitely a keeper recipe for us. I saw the idea over at Betty Crocker and totally tweaked it to suit our tastes. Enjoy!

2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup Italian dressing (I always use fat free)
1 (12 oz.) tube Pillsbury pop 'n fresh plain breadsticks
1/2 small yellow onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
12 slices pepperoni (I always use Hormel brand turkey pepperoni)
1 1/2 - 2 cups of your favorite marinara or pasta sauce (the amount of sauce is flexible, just add however much you like)
1 1/2 Tbsp. garlic bread seasoning
4 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup + shredded mozzarella cheese (again, the amount is really up to your preference)
grated Parmesan cheese

Marinate chicken in Italian dressing for 1-2 hours in the refrigerator.
Dice onion and pepper. Melt 1 Tbsp. butter in a skillet over medium heat, once hot add diced veggies and saute until tender, 4-5 minutes. Set aside. Cut pepperoni slices into fourths. Set aside.
Cut marinated chicken into 1" cubes. Heat olive oil in a skillet (just use the same one you used for veggies) over medium high heat. One hot add chicken pieces. You aren't cooking the chicken all the way, you just want to get a nice golden brown on the outside.
Once chicken is seared, add the chicken to an 8x8" glass baking dish that's been misted with non-stick spray. Add sauteed vegetables over the chicken. Stir in 1 Tbsp. garlic bread seasoning with your marinara/pasta sauce. Next pour the sauce over the chicken and veggies. Top that with the cut up pepperoni slices and then the shredded mozzarella cheese.
Melt remaining 3 Tbsp. butter. Pop open and lay out breadstick dough onto flat surface. Brush with some of the melted butter. Use a pizza cutter and cut the breadsticks into 1 inch pieces. You won't need all the breadsticks, only about 2/3 (use the remaining breadsticks to make cinna-sticks for dessert). Place breadstick pieces, butter side down, on top of the casserole. Once it's all covered, brush with some melted butter and then sprinkle remaining garlic bread seasoning over the top. Finally dust the top with some Parmesan cheese.
Bake loosely covered in a 375 degree F oven for 10 minutes, then uncover and bake for another 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and the breadstick topping is a nice golden brown. Serve hot with a nice green salad.

I shared this over at Chef In Training and High Heels and Grills.

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