Chicken is one of the very first dishes I learned how to make because it's pretty basic. Toss some sauce and cheese on breaded chicken and throw it in the oven. In reality though, I end up with two pots, one pan, one strainer, one casserole dish, and two bowls in my sink. If you're not a clean as you go person, it can quickly trash your kitchen, but that's because I include the pasta in this meal. The pasta is always to blame. My kids always called this meal, "Chicken Pizza," and that's pretty much what it is.
- 1 package of boneless chicken (1-2 lbs)
- Italian Breadcrumbs
- 1 jar Spaghetti Sauce
- 4 oz shredded mozzarella or mozzarella slices
- 2 tbls Olive Oil
- Two cups of elbow or rotelle pasta
- 1 egg
Preheat oven to 350. Slice the chicken in half with a nice sharp knife so you get two thin pieces of chicken out of each breast. Dip each slice in the egg and then the breadcrumbs and fry it all over a med-high heat just until the chicken becomes a nice golden brown color.
We're not trying to cook the chicken here, we're only sealing the breading on so that it doesn't decide to stick with the casserole dish later, but that little bit of frying really does enhance both the flavor and look of your chicken. Four minutes per side should do it. You will use pans. I use a griddle because I'm pro like that. (They only cost like $20. Hint hint.)
Put a teeeeny bit of oil on a paper towel and coat the bottom of the casserole dish, and then fit your chicken on in there all nice and cozy. Coat each piece with about a tablespoon of spaghetti sauce. (Plain old marinara sauce works best I think.) Cover your casserole with foil and stick it in the oven for 20 minutes.
About ten minutes before it's done, set up a half pot of water to boil for the pasta and the remaining sauce can go in its own little happy pan on medium/low, if you like, just so its slowly cooking while all that is going on. Go watch TV for a few minutes.
Ding! (TV makes everything go faster.) Pull your chicken out, remove the foil, cover the top of the chicken with handfuls of Mozzarella cheese and stick it back in the oven, uncovered, for ten more minutes. Dump your pasta into the boiling water. Stir it. Stir it again. Go watch TV for a few minutes.
Provided nothing has gone wrong, ten minutes later you will have moist succulent chicken topped with bubbly cheese and perfect pasta ready for the strainer.
Shovel it out onto an plate and serve with pasta and sauce and a nice little crisp green salad on the side. Listen to everyone belly ache afterwards that they ate too much.