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Macaroni Grill 1 Million Meals Recipe: Deconstructed Chicken Parmesan Bake

1 in 5 AMERICAN children struggle with hunger. Take a moment to let that stat sink in. We have children. Can you imagine? But there is hope.

This month, Romano’s Macaroni Grill, in partnership with Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign is doing something pretty spectacular.  You see, for writing this post and sharing a favorite Italian recipe, Macaroni Grill is donating 500 meals to children who need them for participating bloggers. Soooooo awesome!

Want to know what you can do to help?  There are three easy ways!

1. Give: Go into a Macaroni Grill restaurant (you can click here to find a location closest to you) and with a $2 donation, and you will receive $5 off your next visit now through 9/30/12.

2. Share: Share an image from their Facebook Gallery, and for every image share, Macaroni Grill will connect a kid with a meal.

3. Tag: Tag an Instagram photo or tweet of your Mac Grill experience with #macgrillgive and for every tag, they’ll connect a kid with a meal.

For more about this campaign, visit www.1millionmeals.com.  Now here is our recipe!

We have been lucky enough to have my mother-in-law, a.k.a Lorayne (maiden name Paoletti=Italian!) in town visiting this past week and she made this delicious dinner for our family.  With the back to school madness upon us this Deconstructed Chicken Parmesan Bake is an easy weeknight dinner (no breading or heavy labor involved!)  Serve it with some simple spaghetti and salad and it’s great for entertaining as well!

Her recipe called for boneless skinless chicken breasts but we subbed in boneless skinless chicken thighs - if you haven’t tried them, do!  They are less likely get dry as chicken breast can and are more nutrient dense.  Their fat content is a bit higher but only a little bit of that is the unhealthy saturated fat.

What you Need:

2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or less if you don’t like spicy)

12 boneless skinless chicken thighs (or 6 boneless skinless chicken breast if you aren’t feeling adventurous)

2.5-3 cups prepared Marinara Sauce

1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped

1 8 oz package shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

1/2 cup grated parmigiano reggiano cheese, divided

1 5 oz package garlic croutons (she used the big artisan ones which I really liked, but you could use smaller croutons to make it easier to cut)

Ready, Set, Cook!

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Coat the bottom of a 9×13 casserole dish with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic and red pepper flakes.

Arrange chicken in bottom of the dish and pour marinara sauce over the chicken, then sprinkle basil over the marinara sauce and top with half the mozzarella cheese, followed by half of the parmesan cheese.  Sprinkle on the croutons, then top with the remaining mozzarella and parmesan cheeses. Make sure to cover the croutons enough with the cheese to protect them from burning.

(If making ahead: at this point you can put in the fridge until you are ready to bake but be sure to pull out of fridge at least 20 mins prior to baking to let come to room temperature a bit).

Bake in preheated oven uncovered until croutons are golden and the chicken is cooked through about 45mins – 1 hr (depending on how big your chicken pieces are).  An instant read thermometer should read 160 degrees in the thickest part of the chicken. Enjoy!

{Noni got her orig recipe from www.allrecipes.com but we made some edits.}

 

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  1. 1
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