Ya'll, let me just start off by saying how desperately I wanted this to be awesome. I mean let's think of Chicken Parm for a minute. The egg bathing, the flouring, the egg bathing, the breading, the frying, the on and on and on...right? And then here we have a recipe that would not only eliminate all that, but taste just as good, if not "better!" It was a no brainer, I had to try it, and I did. And when I pulled it out of the oven the promise of awesome was there too, I mean look at my picture. It looks just like the picture on the recipe. Side note: don't you just love when something turns out just like the picture? You get such an overpowering sense of accomplishment it's silly. You can literally feel the gold star being placed on your forehead. But I digress.
First the good. The casserole was a good, easy, weekday home cooked meal. The sauce is delicious, and the dish is very cheesy; something Ryan, our resident Cheese Fatty, loved! It also came together in a snap, so that in 30-45 minutes a hot meal was on the table, which is pretty awesome. Second, it was a hearty casserole, which means you get more bang for your buck. Ryan and I usually have a chicken breast a piece, but this dish is made so hearty with all the cheese and the addition of the croutons that half a breast is more than enough. Lastly, I love that there's a video for the recipe. The narrator is funny and relatable, which makes up for the "not so good" below.
Now, the not so good. It does not really taste like Chicken Parmesan. It tastes like a good italian style chicken casserole, which is a good thing, it's just not Chicken Parmesan. Ryan and I felt the croutons were too crouton-ey. They simply over powered the dish, and you literally felt like you were eating chicken topped with croutons, which is not a good thing. Which begs the million dollar question: would I make this again? Yes. Maybe not often, but if I wanted to put a hot meal on table fast without resorting to take out or my freezer I'd definitely make this. And I'll do you one better, I would recommend this casserole to friends that are self described "bad cooks". Not because they wouldn't know any better, but because it's a great starter casserole. And doesn't everyone, especially a novice cook, deserve a gold star on their forehead? I think so. With that said, I'll let you be the ultimate judge on this Pinterest All Star.
Pinterest All Star - Chicken Parmesan Bake;
No Frying, Just Baking!
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
hot red pepper flakes, to taste
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 cups marinara sauce (I used Classico Red Pepper)
1/4 cup chopped basil
8 oz mozzarella, shredded
4 oz Parmesan, grated
1 (5-oz) package garlic croutons