Tuesday, March 4, 2014

On the Fence

Okay.  So here's a recipe I found on Pinterest and all over the internet.  It's for Chicken Parmesan Casserole.  It sounded intriguing to me, so I had to try it.  Chicken breasts smothered in marinara sauce, covered with cheese, and topped with croutons.  No frying.  One pan dish.  Sounds great, right?

Now, I will tell you that the feedback on the internet and on Pinterest for this recipe is overwhelmingly good.  My children loved it.  (Hubby wasn't home when we ate it, so I can't give you his opinion.)  I liked certain parts of it.  I loved how easy it was.  Super easy.  I loved the fact that I could use my homemade Basic Marinara.  I loved the cheese, the chicken, the basil.  

Here's where I'm on the fence.  It's the croutons.  Don't get me wrong, I could eat an entire bag of croutons in one sitting any day.  The croutons are supposed to take the place of the breading on traditional Chicken Parmesan.  But here's the problem for me.  They were crunchy on top and soggy on the bottom.  Now, I know a traditional Chicken Parmesan loses some of its crispiness when covered with marinara sauce, but not to the extent that the croutons did.  Remember, my kids loved this.  Maybe the croutons could be added later in the cooking time.  Maybe you will like the croutons this way.  

The other issue I had with this dish was the cooking time. The original recipe used whole chicken breasts and said the cooking time was 35 minutes to an hour.  I cubed my chicken breasts and used a thermometer to make sure the chicken was done, and it still took an hour and 10 minutes.  About 40 minutes in, I noticed that the croutons looked like they would burn, so I covered the entire thing midway through to keep them from burning.

All of this being said, it is a very popular recipe.  It tasted very good and was liked by my family.  I wanted to post it because two-thirds of the people in my house who ate it liked it.  This is one of those recipes that you will either love or hate.  Or maybe you'll be on the fence like me.  Enjoy!


3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
3 C Basic Marinara (or your favorited marinara)
2 T chopped fresh basil
2 C shredded Mozzarella cheese
1/2 C shredded Parmesan cheese
One 5-ounce bag croutons, your favorite flavor
Olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Drizzle some olive oil in the bottom of a casserole pan.  Spread the cubed chicken out in the pan.  Spread the marinara sauce over the chicken. Sprinkle the basil over the marinara.  Sprinkle the cheeses over the basil (reserve some for the very top.)  Spread the croutons out over the cheese and top with remaining cheese.  
Bake 45 minutes to 1 hour and 10 minutes, using a thermometer to check the doneness of the chicken.  Chicken should be cooked to 165 degrees.  Check the croutons halfway through, and cover the pan if the croutons are browning too much.

As adapted from Foodwishes Blog


  1. Thank you for your opinions! I appreciate that you have shown the downside as well as the upside. So many times it seems it's gushing and no reality. I read a lot of recipes that I think I will like and they look amazing, and I follow the recipe step by step (I am a very good, long time cook) and sometimes I'm so disappointed with how it comes out and it doesn't even look anything like the picture.

    Thanks again, and love your blog!

    1. You're welcome, and thank you for the compliment! Overall, I liked this dish and the flavor was wonderful. It was just a slight texture thing for me. Enjoy!

  2. I wonder if it would be better to cook it with no crouton and serve it on top of croutons? I'm going to try it without them since I eat gluten free, but I could serve it on top of them for my son who is not. Thanks for the post!

    1. That is a terrific idea and will work for you both. And you're so welcome! I hope you love it!

  3. I would use oanko bread crumbs. They stay crisp.

    1. That's a great idea, Patti! Thank you for the suggestion!