These next few months are some of my favorite. They are full of parties, get togethers, and full on feasts. I love the time spent with our family and this year is going to be that much sweeter because we will be celebrating with our baby girl, Joy! When I say family, it has come to encompass so much more than just our parents and siblings. Football season trucks right through the good holidays and we have no choice but to stay and celebrate in the city we are playing in. At first, I was a little down about it but we found something so special in our football family. We now make a point to invite those who might not have family near by or those who would be spending the evening alone to join us. We have been that couple and know the struggle! My mother has hosted Thanksgiving dinner since I can remember. All our family would come in from Louisiana and stay the entire weekend. We prepared all the traditional Thanksgiving components but we had to feed our guests the day before as well. My mom ALWAYS made a huge pot of spaghetti and tons of Texas toast. It was easy to prepare and always a crowd pleaser.
As much as we like spaghetti, we love Chicken Parmesan. I must be honest though, I find making the traditional version a bit tedious and very messy. That why I developed this super easy Chicken Parmesan Bake. Perfect for feeding larger groups or your family on a weeknight.
- 1 pound of chicken, diced or shredded
- 2 C of rigatoni
- 2 C panko bread crumbs
- 1 tbsp of butter
- 1/2 C shredded parmesan cheese
- 1 Jar of your favorite marinara sauce
- 1/2 yellow onion, diced
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- salt 1/2 tsp
- pepper 1/2 tsp
- red pepper flakes to taste (optional)
- 2 tbsp Italian seasoning
- 1 tbsp of tomato paste
- 2 tbsp of brown sugar
- 2 C of Mozzarella Cheese
- fresh parsley + basil
- Prepare your chicken. You can use a rotisserie chicken, boiled chicken, or grilled chicken.
- Prepare pasta according to package.
- Time to spice up your jarred spaghetti sauce. Pour it into a sauce pan and add the tomato paste, minced garlic, diced onion, Italian seasoning salt + pepper, red pepper flakes, and brown sugar. Let simmer for 5-10 minutes.
- Toast bread crumbs. Melt the butter in a skillet and add your bread crumbs stir frequently till a warm brown color.
- In an oven safe baking dish, add a little sauce to the bottom, followed by chicken, noodles, grated parmesan, and a 1/2 C mozzarella. Repeat till dish is full. Add the toasted bread crumbs to the top and complete the dish with a healthy handful of mozzarella cheese.
- Bake in a 375 degree oven for 25 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and starting to brown! Top with the fresh herbs.
- Try this with spaghetti squash instead of noodles, but make sure to remove as much liquid from the squash as possible.
- Make individual portions in ramekins or small baking dishes.