Who doesn’t love Chicken Parmesan? Crispy-fried chicken topped with sauce and delectable cheese atop a bed of fresh-cooked pasta. Hello, my mouth is watering just typing about it! Since I can’t ever leave well-enough alone, I set out to find a way to enjoy all these luscious flavors and textures, but in a less time-intensive way. What I came up with is truly the definition of a weeknight winner. Take a look!
First, let’s make some meatballs. Confession…I’m kind of a novice when it comes to making meatballs. Also, I’ve never used ground chicken in my life before testing this recipe. So, if I can do it, you can do it. It was so easy! All you need is some ground chicken, bread crumbs (I used Progresso Italian Style Bread Crumbs—the seasoning is just right!), grated Parmesan and the secret, flavor-boosting ingredient, Progress Recipe Starters Fire Roasted Tomato cooking sauce.
Combine those ingredients together using your best kitchen tool, also known as your hands. Then, using a small cookie scoop, make a slew of one-inch meatballs and place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake those bad boys for about 18 to 20 minutes at 450 degrees. When they are done, dial down the oven down to 350 degrees for our pasta bake. While the meatballs are baking, cook up your pasta. Any small pasta will do for this casserole… I went with penne because that’s what I had on hand.
To the drained and cooked pasta, I added a jar of my favorite marinara sauce.
Then add the cooked meatballs.
Gently combine all those delicious ingredients and give yourself a pat on the back for the meatballs. I know I did! In an ungreased 3-quart glass baking dish, add half the pasta/meatball mixture.
Sprinkle on half the mozzarella cheese.
Add the rest of the pasta mixture followed by the rest of the cheese.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the edges are bubbling. Time to dig into this cheesy, flavorful casserole! This recipe is definitely a keeper.