Thursday, August 21, 2014

Chicken Parm Baked Ziti Casserole

A combination of two Italian classics!

I have to give my granddaughter, Andrea, big kudos for finding this recipe on Sparks Recipes.  She was looking for tasty, healthier choices while being on her diet (she's lost over 100 lbs.) and still losing.   We're all so proud of her.

Anyway, we all loved this casserole.  It's the best of both worlds, Chicken Parmesan and Baked Ziti.  Doesn't that sound perfect?  Oh, and I forgot, it's lower in calories than the original without losing any of the flavor.

The only thing I did differently was to mix the cooked chicken, pasta and my own sauce (a little more than it called for) together before pouring it into a baking dish.  Then I sprinkled on the mozzarella cheese.  Andrea followed the recipe exactly, and it was delicious either way!

Andrea's before and after...amazing, isn't she?

1.5 lbs. chicken breast tenders
1 cup plain bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

1 tsp. parsley flakes
1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
2-4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 jar (1 lb. 10 oz.) spaghetti sauce (use your favorite, or maybe you make your own)
1 lb. ziti, cooked
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded 

Boil ziti until al dente; set aside.

Preheat oven to 350'F.

Mix bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, garlic salt, garlic powder, and pepper into plastic bag.  In a small bowl, mix egg and milk. 

Cut chicken tenders into bite-size cubes. Dip chicken cubes in egg/milk mixture, a few at a time.   Place in plastic bag with bread crumb mixture and gently shake until covered.

Heat olive oil over medium heat. Pan fry chicken pieces until browned, smaller pieces take less time. 

When chicken is done, remove from heat and let sit on a paper towel.

When ziti is done cooking, drain and pour into greased (Pam) 9x14 pan. Pour spaghetti sauce over pasta, and sprinkle with 1/2 cup parmesan cheese.

Arrange chicken in single layer over pasta. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over chicken, and bake in 350'F. oven for 25 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted.

Makes 8 servings.

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."  - Philippians 4:13

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