Thursday, January 19, 2012

Chicken Parma Casserole Recipe

Chicken Parma Casserole -- A new twist on a classic Aussie favourite!

My group of uni friends and I sorta (unintentionally) started a tradition every time it came round to the exam season. We would meet together at my place every day to study the day away, and come dinner time, some would help me in the kitchen to prepare dinner for every one that night, while others would wash up after and we'd all chip in for dinner. Good system. Dinner would always be in front of the TV in the living room over an episode of either The Office, Modern Family and more recently, 30 Rock. (FUN!) Then, we'd continue all the way till almost midnight and the cycle repeats itself the following day. Normally, we'd do this for almost a month.

A tradition that we upheld for the last 2 years of our undergrad. It was seriously awesome. That's why, ironically, exam season is actually my highlight of every semester! These guys are so fantastic that they even make studying fun. Maybe it's cause we're not actually studying half the time ahem ;p. I kid, I kid... We strike a good balance between fun and work time and happy to say that all of us graduated with Honours. Yayeee... Happy days...

And coming up with what to cook 6 BIG ASS eaters each night proved to be slightly challenging, but fun. Whatever it was, it had to be quick, healthy and FILLING. One night, I actually stumbled upon this youtube video while I was meant to be, uh... Studying lol. One thing led to another and I spent the whole night watching recipe and cooking videos on the Internet. Well done, Wince. Well done...

Oh, great. Now every one knows that I obviously take most of my photos on my carpet floor lol. Can't remember the last time I used a store-bought pasta sauce (prefer making my own) but the flavours intrigued me

SO glad I did because this recipe totally caught my attention and I couldn't stop thinking about it ever since! Everything made so much sense and it deconstructed my all-time favourite pub food, The Chicken Parma, in a way that it's so much simpler to prepare at home. All it took was a little creativity and improvisation.

First, this recipe is baked, not fried. Also, the crumbed coating is cleverly substituted by using some croutons. Everything else is just assembled straight out of the bottle/packet and NO prep is required at all. TOO EASY! Also, don't forget that chicken parma is actually MEANT to have PARMesan cheese, not just Mozzarella! (A misconception that most restaurants still make today). That's why it's called Chicken PARMa, no duhhh... The only thing I meant to do was really PILE on the Mozz but I sorta ran out that day. Oh wellzzz...

Anyway, I recommend that you give this dish a go. It is so fun, different and interesting because it's a Chicken Parma CASSEROLE. We enjoyed it. Plus, it's so simple like you wouldn't believe and I guarantee that ANYONE can make this! Took less than 10 minutes (tops) to put together before whacking it in the oven -- DONE. Perfect for Exam dinners when time is of the essence for cooking!! From one student to another... Definitely going in the books under "Simple Meal Ideas". Also, this recipe has a lot of "sprinkling" and "spreading" involved so you can easily adjust amounts to preferred taste and size of tray.

I personally love this and can't wait to make it again. Enjoy!! =)


Chicken Parma Casserole
(serves 6 big eaters)

6 cloves garlic (pressed)
2 tbsp olive oil
chilli flakes to sprinkle
4 chicken breasts
dried herbs to sprinkle
cracked black pepper
1 bottle pasta sauce (approx 350g)
2 1/2 cups Mozzarella cheese
1 cup Parmesan cheese
1 bag croutons (approx 80g) *

* Couldn't find croutons so used mini toast chips instead


Preheat oven to 200degC. Press the garlics into the tray and add the olive oil. Sprinkle desired amount of chilli flakes and mix all around with a fork.

Place the chicken breasts on the tray (make sure no gaps). Sprinkle dried herbs and crack some black pepper all around. Pour pasta sauce onto chicken and spread evenly.

Sprinkle half the Mozz, then half the Parmesan. Spread the croutons or mini toasts evenly.

Sprinkle remaining Mozz followed by the Parmesan. Finish off with more dried herbs.

Whack it in the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Rest for 5 minutes before serving (if you can wait that long). Serve with some mash and veg and ENJOY! =D

"Before & After", clearly not enough Mozz but still yum. The smell of cheese, herbs and garlic through the air was amazing =)

Chicken Parma Casserole + Simple Mash with Truffle Oil + Blanched Veg for dins

The good stuff...

Great thing about this is how moist and juicy the chicken was. Lots and lots of sauce too, YUMMO =D

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