Tag Archives: #chicken

Chicken Parmesan Bake

Don’t it look good?

Who loves some good Chicken Parmesan? Good. Everyone. Let’s continue.

Sadly, Chicken Parmesan is one of those dishes that while extremely delicious, is not that great for you. I can’t even weasel my way out here saying “Oh there’s cheese! Calcium!” or “Chicken has protein!”. It is traditionally fried and smothered in fatty cheeses. And it is so, so yummy.

But rejoice Pants! I found this wonderful recipe for a BAKED version of this delicious comfort food. All credit here goes to Chef John over at food wishes . It takes a lot of work to re-vamp a traditional recipe to be more healthy, so hard work much appreciated. My tummy thanks Chef John.

This chicken turned out amazingly well, though I did cut the recipe in half because Trusty Sidekick and I won’t eat 6 chicken breasts worth of food before it goes bad. Trusty Sidekick ate half of it by himself (aka a whole breast and a half) and if that doesn’t tell you how delicious this is then I don’t know what does. The chicken gets really tender from baking in the sauce so you barely need a knife. The cheese is bubbly (duh), and the cracker/breadcrumb/crouton topping gives just a bit thickness to the cheese so it is almost saucy. The original calls for croutons, but I had breadcrumbs and Ritz crackers and figured they would work just as well. Using the croutons in the original recipe may make it more crunchy than the breadcrumb/cracker topping I used. That decision is up to you though, lovely readers.

This definitely is on my permanent recipe list, it is so easy and delicious. Well anything that is a casserole like this tends to be super simple, so that is always a selling point with me! Plus, this recipe ranks pretty high on my cheapness scale.

I did have one of my lovely “facepalm” moments while cooking this. Pro-tip: make sure your chicken breasts are totally defrosted before you put the dish into the oven. Mine were about half-way done and my lazy brain said, “Oh no it’s fine, they will just finish defrosting while in the oven.” Incorrect, brain. Incorrect. This little lapse of judgement didn’t ruin the dish by any means, I just had to leave it in the oven for about 15 more mins. Regardless, it was inconvenient and frustrating so don’t do that.

What I will give you here is the half recipe, just because most of you aren’t feeding enough people to require the amount of food the original makes.

Moving on to your price breakdown, remember all these are simply approximations:

  • 1 T. olive oil: $0.15
  • 1 clove garlic: $0.05
  • 3 chicken breasts: $4.00
  • 1 C. marinara sauce: $0.75
  • 1/8 C. basil: $0.50 (this will especially vary depending on whether you use fresh or dried basil)
  • 4 oz. mozzarella cheese: $1.00
  • 4 oz. parmesan cheese: $0.75 (I just use the can of grated stuff)
  • 1/8 C. breadcrumbs: $0.25
  • about 10 Ritz crackers: $0.25

Total: $7.70

Your shopping list.

Ingredients:

  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed or minced
  • hot red pepper flakes to taste
  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts (4 if you have small ones)
  • 1 C. marinara sauce
  • 1/8 C. chopped basil (or half that amount in dried)
  • 4 oz. mozzarella, shredded
  • 4 oz. parmesan, grated
  • 1/8 C. breadcrumbs
  • about 10 Ritz crackers, crumbled (more or less to cover the top of the dish)

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Drizzle about 1 T. olive oil onto the bottom of an 8×8 casserole dish. Put the garlic and red pepper flakes on top.

    No exact measurements necessary, just eyeball it.
  3. Lay the chicken breasts on top, as close together as they need to be.

    They look so cozy.
  4. Coat with the marinara sauce and sprinkle the basil on top. Be as liberal as you want with the sauce, no need to be afraid of going over a cup. Get saucy people. Pun intended.

    Gah, it looks so fresh and yummy! Love it.
  5. Layer half of your cheese on top.

    Cheesy. My favorite.
  6. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs on and then add the crackers to make an even coat on top of the cheese.

    Once again, approximations are your friend in this recipe.
  7. Add the rest of the cheese. If you feel so inclined, don’t shy away from adding an extra sprinkle or two of parmesan. It is chicken parmesan after all!
  8. Put the dish in the oven for 35 minutes until the sauce is nice and bubbly.

    We were so hungry that I forgot to take a “right out of the oven” picture. So here is one of the chicken on a plate.

Hope you all enjoy! Do you prefer the crouton or cracker topping? Comment back with your topping of choice!

Lazy Chicken Taco Chili

Yum. That’s it. Yum.

I almost feel bad about this post. First of all, the amount of actual cooking you do consists of shredding chicken that the crock pot has cooked for you, so the work is kept ridiculously low. Second of all, it is another one of those shady pins from Pinterest like from the meatballs last week. I feel like I cheated this week and I’m not completely sure why. Maybe it’s that I barely did any work for this post and took my recipe from the dark alley again instead of a good and proper blog.

Oh well. I don’t feel too bad because this chili is the bee’s knees and is by far one of the easiest and cheapest recipes I have given you lovely people yet. Not only that, but chili is one of the greatest comfort foods. Nice and hearty without making you feel sluggish, steamy and slightly spicy for a chilly night in. Mmmmmm…chili.

Plus, this is a GREAT recipe to mess with. Want more beans? Go buck wild, add another can. Oh, you like your chili with lots of tomato chunks? Well we aren’t friends anymore because tomato chunks are about as appetizing as finding a hair in your cookie, but I guess you can add a can of those. Is taco chili just not right without corn? Well by golly add some corn you crazy kids! Really, as long as it looks right to you, it will probably taste just fine.

Me? I’m kind of a weirdo and like my chili very basic so what I will be giving you is just that. I’m not one for a bunch of add-ons and I have a particular hatred of tomatoes, although the sauce is fine because it is seasoned wonderfully. So basically, feel free to spruce this up to your taste without fear of screwing up horribly. My only caution is to make sure your crock pot or pot isn’t too full. You definitely want about 1 or 2 inches of the top available for bubbling and gurgling.

Also, the original shady pin called for a packet of taco seasoning. I like to use my own because that way I don’t get any of the extra salt or additives. I found a great recipe over at 5 Dollar Dinners, and have a little container of it made up so I can just grab it when I need it. I’m so handy.

Another bonus with this super easy recipe? It is really healthy! Seriously, it is basically chicken, beans, and tomato sauce. And most of the things you would add in like diced tomatoes or corn are healthy. So go ahead, eat two bowls! You’ll want to, trust me.

And on to the price breakdown!

  • 1 can black beans and 1 can kidney beans: $1 each
  • 28oz. can tomato sauce: $1.50
  • 3 chicken breasts: $4.00 (a super generic approximation)
  • I don’t count the taco seasoning into this because it is such a small portion of what you buy.

Total: $6.50

Sorry about the mirrored labels. I forgot my camera and had to take the photos for this post with my computer.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 3 boneless chicken breasts
  • 3 T. Taco seasoning (or 1 packet)
  • 1 T. chili powder

The intensive instructions:

  1. Put all the ingredients in your crock pot. If you don’t own a crock pot (get one) just use a pot on your stove with the heat turned down low.

    Make sure the chicken is covered so it cooks everywhere.
  2. Put the crock pot on high for 6 hours or low for 10 hours. For a pot, a little hotter for 6 hours or a little cooler for 10 hours. You get the idea.
  3. About 3 hours in (no need to be super punctual) take two forks and shred the chicken in the crock pot. I do this so that the flavor of the chili gets into all of the chicken.
  4. Put that goodness in a bowl and go to town. Cheese and chips make a great addition to serving.
Trusty Sidekick likes his chili with noodles.

Hope this turns out great for all of you! Try new variations for yourself and comment what you did and how it turned out 🙂

Poppyseed Chicken Casserole

This recipe is impossible to eat in small quantities. Trusty Sidekick and I made it one time and I thought, “Awesome! We can eat it for dinner tonight and then have some for lunch tomorrow too. Good thinking Catherine, save yourself some time.”

OM NOM NOM NOM.

We ate the whole thing. An entire casserole. Two people. It really happened.

But I am not ashamed. Judge me if you will, but once you take a bite of this stuff, you will understand so well and feel really bad for judging me and my gluttony. I will say it is totally possible to double up and make two casseroles with hardly any more effort than making one. This way you could just refrigerate the other until the next day when you remember how happy your tummy was and get the craving for more. Trusty Sidekick also just saw me writing this post and wouldn’t stop bothering me until I promised to make this again in the next few days. THE CRAVING.

Anyway, this is one of Trusty Sidekick’s mom’s recipes. He requested I make it about a year ago and she sent along the recipe to me. I can’t count how many times I have made it since. It really is wonderful and doesn’t leave you sitting on the couch afterwards wondering what you did to yourself or what could have possessed you to eat so much food. You just kind of sit back, close your eyes, and pray for a belly rub because you literally are so content with your life. You also will not be hungry for approximately 12 hours.

Keeping this in mind, this dish is perfect to make on a sad rainy day, after a bad test, or to have waiting for you when you come back from your horrible job. It makes everything better. I know you are doubting me. Stop it. And go make this. It is almost impossible to screw up unless you can’t cook rice, or can’t cook chicken. I know it looks like there a lot of steps, but most of it occurs simultaneously so don’t feel like it is daunting.

In case you can’t tell, I’m probably more excited about this recipe than any normal human (who hasn’t eaten Poppyseed Chicken) should be. Partly because this will be my first time actually writing this down. It has been saved as a note on my phone ever since I got it from Trusty Sidekick’s mom. Also, let that be a clue as to how simple it is. I made it from a note on my phone. Admittedly, part of that was that I am too lazy to actually write it out…but whatever.

This is also one of those recipes that can add up if you don’t have some of the basic ingredients on hand that you will use in small amounts. Don’t let this discourage you. Once you make this one time, it will be much cheaper the next time you make it. Poppyseeds are also kind of expensive (I was really surprised when I saw that it was about $4.00 per bottle) and so if you don’t want to spring for them, rest assured the recipe turns out just fine. Which sounds weird since the dish is called Poppyseed Chicken. Just let it happen guys. Trusty Sidekick also points out that they get stuck in your teeth, but do look pretty. So keep that it mind.

So, the price breakdown.

  • 1 lb. chicken: somewhere around $3.00
  • 2 sticks butter: $1.50-ish (margarine is also fine and will be cheaper and healthier)
  • Ritz crackers: $2.50 for a box (you only use a sleeve)
  • 1 C. rice: $0.50? We just buy a huge bag so it may be even cheaper than that.
  • Chicken boullion cube: $0.20 This is one of those things where you buy a jar for $2.00 with 10 cubes inside.
  • Can of cream of chicken soup: $1.00 (on average)
  • 8 oz. sour cream: $1.00
  • Poppyseeds: $.50 (about what you use from the jar)

Total:$9.20

Ingredients:

The ingredients. We didn’t have any butter, so I just used margarine.
  • 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 8 oz. fat-free sour cream
  • 2 sticks butter (or 1 1/2)
  • 1 chicken boullion cube
  • 1 sleeve ritz crackers
  • 1 1/2 tsp. poppyseeds
  • 1 C. rice (makes 2 C. cooked)

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease a casserole dish. The dish can either be a 9×12 nonstick pan or a glass casserole dish of about the same size. I use a 8×8 glass casserole dish. This just means that the dish is more full than if I had used a larger pan.

2.Start cooking the chicken in a nonstick pan. This is the longest step so just put them in on medium heat and flip them when they are halfway done after about 10 minutes. Do other stuff in the meantime. When it is cooked take it out of the pan to cool and shred it with your hands to make bite-sized strips. It is also ok if they are slightly pink, they will get fully baked in the oven.

Chicken and rice going together. Look at that multi-tasking.

3. Start making the rice. Boil 2 C. of water in a saucepan with the chicken boullion cube. Add 1 C. rice and re-cover until cooked, about 10 min. Make sure the heat is not up past medium or the rice boils over and makes a huge mess. When rice is done, place it in the bottom of your dish to make the bottom layer of the casserole.

The finished rice.

4. In a large bowl, mix together the soup, fat-free sour cream, 1 stick of butter (softened), and poppyseeds (if using) until it is well blended. When the chicken is done and shredded, add it to this mixture. Add this on top of the rice for the next layer.

Appetizing.


5. Mash up 1 sleeve of crackers while still in the sleeve (this is the least messy way). Put into a bowl with the other stick of softened butter. I tend to use more like a 1/2 stick and the same effect is achieved. And less fat, which is a bonus.

6. Sprinkle the crackers and butter on top of the casserole evenly.

7. Put the casserole in the oven for 20-30 mins. Keep an eye on it for the last few minutes and when it starts bubbling and the crackers look toasted, it’s done!

Nice brown crackers, super creamy chicken mix underneath. If this is wrong I don’t want to be right.

8. Take it out and just separate it into two big bowls. Don’t try and fool yourself into thinking you will just “have a normal portion”. Ha. You are funny.
Hope you enjoy this recipe! Comments and questions always welcome 🙂