Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Italian Veggie Chicken Casserole

I found this recipe on pinterest and made it with some modifications for dinner tonight. It got great reviews from my family and it is easy peasy and perfect for taking meals in to friends (is it just me or are you always on the hunt for those kind of recipes too? Please share your favorites if you have them.)

I served this over bowtie pasta (but you could use any kind of pasta or even spaghetti squash or julienned zucchini or really even serve it alone) and paired it with my favorite Easy French Bread and a simple salad.

Combine the following ingredients in a bowl and stir together:
    4-5 tomatoes, chopped
    2 cloves of garlic, sliced thinly or minced  
    Jar of artichoke hearts in water, drained and copped
    2-3 zucchinis, chopped
    2 Tbsp. EVOO
    1 tsp. sugar
    1 Tbsp. flour
    A little bit of Salt and Pepper

Spread the tomato/veggie mixture in the bottom of a 9x13 pyrex dish and top with 1-1.5 lbs. of chicken breasts or tenders. Salt and Pepper the chicken.

Bake, covered, at 350 degrees for 25-35 minutes (or longer if your chicken breasts are larger) until the chicken is almost done (still a hint of pink when you cut into the chicken). Remove from the oven, uncover and top with shredded cheese (I like monterey jack, but you could definitely use mozzarella). Broil the dish uncovered for 3-5 minutes until the cheese is golden brown and the veggies peeking through are caramelized.

Top with chopped fresh basil. 

Cooking notes: 
1.  Romas are ideal, but I used a combination of romas, de-seeded slicing tomatoes, and even a handful of cherry tomatoes
2.  You could definitely change this recipe up to give it variety/use up what you have on hand. Some things you could use instead of or in addition to the artichoke hearts and zucchini: asparagus, bell peppers, summer squash, mushrooms, spinach, cannelini beans
3. I always butterfly my chicken breast halves before freezing them, so they are more streamlined for storing/stacking in my freezer and more importantly because they defrost and cook faster. For this recipe I actually cut the chicken into smaller pieces to make it easier to serve later.
4. I plan to make this dish and freeze it...I would leave off the cheese and basil and add those after cooking. I will update with details when I try it.

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