Victoria is a stay-at-home mom, author, educator, and blogger at Healthy at Home. She currently lives in Colorado with her family.
Of all the flavors that make Italian food so wonderful, marinara, garlic, olive oil, basil, oregano, this dish has them all, and gives it to you in one hot, gooey, melty, cheesy casserole. Yes, melty. You'll understand.
If you've ever had a traditional chicken parmesan, this is a quick and easy way to get that same flavor, with all the same ingredients, in one easy to serve dinner casserole.
This recipe has just about all of my favorite foods included in one dish. Chicken is definitely the star of the show, but the marinara and cheese make it great! And in this recipe, I show you how to make your own garlic croutons in minutes to sprinkle across the top of your dish.
This can be made for just about any age. Just add some noodles, a salad, or some quick steamed veggies on the side and you've got a full meal.
If you've got a family that wants more, be creative with it. Throw in some broccoli, some spinach, or even some cauliflower for a great taste, and a nice healthy meal. Just like all of my other recipes, this one can be added to, taken away from, or adjusted in any way to make it your own.
Consider some of my similar dishes if you really like this one, such as my Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo or my Chicken Parmesan.
|Prep time||Cook time||Ready in||Yields|
1 hour 15 min
Serves 6 people.
- 3 large chicken breasts
- 2 cups marinara sauce, see my Homemade Marinara Sauce recipe for a healthier option
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup basil
- 1/4 cup oregano
- 1/2 cup parsley
- 1 (8oz) package shredded cheese
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese
- 1 (5oz) package garlic croutons, you can easily make your own
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a 9 x 13 inch casserole by spraying it generously with cooking spray.
- It is now time to defrost your chicken. I'm sure if you've read any of my other recipes, you're sick of hearing about this process.
- There are three main ways to defrost your chicken, some are safer than others. The first, and safest, is to defrost it overnight in the refrigerator. Of course, this takes a lot of time and you have to be able to plan your meal ahead of time.
- Another is to let it thaw slowly in a sink full of room temperature water. It will take a few hours, but if you can toss it in at lunch time, it will be done by dinner.
- Finally, there's the way I do it here at home. I just toss my frozen chicken into the microwave on defrost and let the microwave do the work. This only takes a few minutes and then my chicken is ready. It is not the safest method, and many will recommended other ways, but it's quick and easy.
- While your chicken is thawing, sprinkle your olive oil into the bottom of your casserole dish.
- Either crush your garlic cloves with the side of a knife and then chop it up finely, or you can also use 1 tablespoon of already crushed garlic per garlic clove.
- Sprinkle this and your red pepper flakes on top of the olive oil in the bottom of your casserole dish.
- Arrange your thawed chicken evenly into the bottom of your casserole dish and then pour your marinara sauce over the top of them.
- Sprinkle the whole thing with your basil, oregano, and parsley..
- Then spread half of your shredded cheese and half of your Parmesan cheese over the top.
- For the final touch, you can do this the easy way and spread a package of store-bought croutons on top of your whole dish before topping with the rest of both of your cheeses and baking. OR
- You can make your own! It's so simple and they are SO delicious. Let me walk your though it.
- First, lay out two pieces of bread (we like to use our favorite whole wheat bread). See my Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo recipe for the amazing health benefits of whole wheat.
- You'll want to spread butter evenly across both slices of bread and heavily sprinkle garlic powder over both slices.
- With a pair of cooking scissors, cut your bread slices first into 1/2 inch strips, then into little squares. They will shrink a little when you toast them.
- On a cookie sheet covered with foil, spread your crouton squares and pop them into the oven for just a few minutes. You'll want to watch them closely to make sure they don't burn.
- When finished, let them cool a bit before spreading them evenly across your dish. Then finish off your dish with the rest of your shredded cheese and the rest of your Parmesan cheese.
- Bake for 1 hour. I promise the homemade croutons will make a big difference, and they're delicious!
- Yummy! Yummy!
This is a dish that we like to make often in our home because we love cheese and we love marinara sauce. We even have our own tomato plants that give us tons of beautiful tomatoes, allowing us to have Homemade Tomato Sauce on hand anytime we'd like.
However, just like any other recipe I have, it gets changed up a bunch. Sometimes we simply dump marinara sauce on top of chicken breasts and then coat them in Parmesan cheese. Sometimes we use our Baked Fried Chicken recipe and serve it with pasta and marinara sauce (with plenty of Parmesan cheese of course).
And sometimes we include the noodles in the bake with vegetables, or we use my Bisquick Alternative recipe and give it a nice layer of biscuit to seal in the tomato and cheesy goodness instead of croutons.
I always tell all of my readers that they should definitely make this recipe their own. Maybe you really like the ingredients, but don't exactly like how I put them all on, maybe you have a better idea about how this dish should be cooked, or how the ingredients should be use. You might even have some additional ingredients to add. Go for it!
Cooking should be fun, it should be easy, and it should be delicious! And I'd love to hear your ideas!
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© 2013 Victoria Van Ness
Victoria Van Ness (author) from Fountain, CO on October 16, 2013:
Thank you! I'm so glad you liked it! It was super delicious!
Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on October 16, 2013:
This sounds delicious! I love recipes with Cheese.
A well written recipe hub with clear instructions, thanks for sharing!