Monday, September 19, 2011

Chicken Parm Casserole

So today I'm sharing one of my creations that I came up with when I was hosting girl's night. I wanted to have a menu where everyone would be happy and satisfied, so I automatically though of chicken parm. However, as I pan seared the chicken, I decided to put it in a casserole dish and turn it into Chicken Parm Casserole, which has become one of my favorites to make for a large group (or just my parents and I).

                                                                  Photo Credit

Ingredients (serves 8):
1 pound of boneless, skinless, chicken breast
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups Italian breadcrumbs
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup milk (or any kind you have on hand)
1-1 1/2 jars of your favorite spaghetti sauce (depending on how much sauce you like)
2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup Pecorino Romano cheese
1 tsp salt, divided
2 tsp pepper, divided
1 tsp cayenne pepper
4 Tbl of extra light olive oil or vegetable oil, divided
9X9 casserole dish
Large non-stick skillet
3 large bowls/shallow dishes

Preheat your oven to 350ยบ. Meanwhile, pound out your pieces of chicken so they are no more than 1/4 inch thick. The thinner the chicken, the faster it cooks. If you are buying the very thick cut of chicken, you might want to cut them in half lengthwise before you pound them out.

In bowl/dish 1, add your flour, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper, and 1 tsp cayenne. In bowl 2 beat the eggs together with the milk, and remaining salt and pepper. In bowl 3, add the bread crumbs.

Heat the skillet on medium high and add half of your oil (1/4 cup). You will want to change out the oil/add the remainder about halfway through cooking the chicken so they do not get too dark, or taste burnt.

Dip each piece of chicken first in the flour, coating the entire piece, then into the egg mixture, once again coating the entire piece, and finally into the Italian breadcrumbs. Place each piece of chicken into the skillet and cook for about 2 minutes on each side, or until golden brown.

Once all of the chicken is cooked it is time to build the casserole. Many people add pasta to their recipes but I do not wish to kill people with an overload of cholesterol/carbs/calories. Place a layer of chicken on the bottom of the casserole dish. Spoon a layer of sauce (as much as you like) on top of that. Sprinkle 1/3 of your Mozzarella cheese and Pecorino Romano on top of the sauce. Repeat this process until you have your final layer of chicken, sauce, and cheeses (usually about 3 layers.

Place your casserole in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes and enjoy!

The great part about this recipe is the amount simple changes you can make to it to call it your own. When I made this last night I caramelized 3 large white onions and put them in between the layers of sauce and cheese. You could add mushrooms, zucchini, or even substitute the chicken for steak or veal. Get creative!

Nutrition Facts:
Calories: 461 per serving
Total Fat: 20.5g
Cholesterol: 138.3mg
Sodium: 1,127.3mg
Carbohydrates: 40g
Protein: 29.6g