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Chicken Parm Pasta Bake has only five ingredients

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Chicken Parm Pasta Bake is a simple recipe with only five ingredients. But the chicken Parm flavors are all there in this easy and delicious casserole.

Chicken Parm Pasta Bake is a simple recipe with only five ingredients. But the chicken Parm flavors are all there in this easy and delicious casserole. #OurFamilyTable #chickenParm #casserole #pastadish #bakedpasta

 

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. But I think it’s also the busiest time of the year. Family coming to visit, shopping for presents, planning holiday parties and dinners. Sometimes you just want to sit down to a simple dinner that’s easy to prepare and tastes delicious. And that’s exactly what this Chicken Parm Pasta Bake is.

 

What is chicken Parmesan?

 

It’s thin pieces of chicken breaded and fried topped with red sauce and either Mozzarella, Parmesan, or Provolone cheese. Yes, they call it Chicken Parmesan or Chicken Parmigiana but it doesn’t necessary have Parmesan cheese in it.

 

Chicken Parm Pasta Bake is a simple recipe with only five ingredients. But the chicken Parm flavors are all there in this easy and delicious casserole. #OurFamilyTable #chickenParm #casserole #pastadish #bakedpasta

 

Then why is it called Chicken Parmesan? Because it’s a mock version of the original dish called melanzane alla Parmigiana. That’s eggplant Parmigiana which is the original dish. The poor soil in Southern Italy made it difficult to raise livestock. But it was great for crops like eggplant. Since eggplant was so hardy there, people living there used the ingredients they had available. They created a layered dish of fried eggplant, layers of sauce, and cheese baked in a casserole. And that’s melanzane alla Parmigaian.

 

Fast forward like 100 years and many Italians emigrated to United States. Of course, they brought with them all the pasta and sauce skills they could to keep the status quo in the kitchen. However, when they arrived, they noticed that the expensive and rare proteins of their homeland were easy to find and pretty inexpensive.

 

Chicken Parm Pasta Bake is a simple recipe with only five ingredients. But the chicken Parm flavors are all there in this easy and delicious casserole. #OurFamilyTable #chickenParm #casserole #pastadish #bakedpasta

 

They replaced the eggplant with chicken. That’s how chicken Parmesan was invented. So, it’s not that eggplant Parmesan is the veggie version of chicken Parm but the other way around. Chicken Parm is the non-veggie version of melanzane alla Parmigiana or eggplant Parmesan. But that doesn’t explain the Parmesan part of the name and there’s not actually being Parmesan as the main cheese in the recipe.

 

Why is it called chicken Parmesan if it’s not made with Parmesan cheese?

 

Parma is in the northern part of Italy. The style of eggplant and chicken Parmesan are not typical of that region. And melanzane alla Parmigiana was not eaten that far north, too. So why is it called chicken Parmesan? There are a few theories about this. One being a misinterpretation of the word damigiana which is the name for the wicker sleeves for wine bottles. Or the word palmigiana which means shutters. Both refer to the way the eggplant or chicken is layered in the casserole dish. Some seem to think it’s the misinterpretation of the Persian word for eggplant which is petronciana. But that’s seems like a bit of a stretch.

 

Chicken Parm Pasta Bake is a simple recipe with only five ingredients. But the chicken Parm flavors are all there in this easy and delicious casserole. #OurFamilyTable #chickenParm #casserole #pastadish #bakedpasta

 

What’s in Chicken Parm Pasta Bake?

 

Five simple ingredients. There’s chicken, pasta, pasta sauce, Mozzarella, and Parmesan cheese. No, I didn’t pound and bread the chicken. That wouldn’t be simple. I used refrigerator chicken strips. Perdue makes delicious chicken strips in the refrigerator section of the grocery store. If you can’t find them, then feel free to use a frozen chicken strip or even a popcorn chicken.

 

I used a whole wheat penne pasta and jarred sauce. A good basil and garlic marinara sauce brings delicious flavor to this simple chicken Parm pasta bake. I didn’t add any other herbs and spices. I thought about it but didn’t because I was busy and needed to get this dinner in the oven.  But learned how to roast garlic in olive oil, I would have added some of that to the sauce.

 

Chicken Parm Pasta Bake is a simple recipe with only five ingredients. But the chicken Parm flavors are all there in this easy and delicious casserole. #OurFamilyTable #chickenParm #casserole #pastadish #bakedpasta

 

Finally, there’s Mozzarella and Parmesan cheese in this recipe. I think the more cheese the merrier in a pasta casserole. Provolone would be a good addition, too. It’s a rich and delicious cheese I love to put on pizza and in casseroles. Heck, even an Italian blend would be good. It usually has all three plus Romano or Asiago in there.  I considered adding some cream of chicken soup to make this creamier like this chicken spaghetti recipe.  It looks so creamy delicious and also super simple!

 

How do you make Chicken Parm Pasta Bake?

 

The longest part, for me at least, was heating up the oven and boiling the water. So, I started those first. I pulled the chicken strips out of the fridge and pulled the sauce from the pantry. While the water was coming to a boil and the oven was heating up, I heated the chicken strips. I popped them into the air fryer for about 6 to 7 minutes a side at 400.

 

I wanted the strips to be nice and crispy on the outside so they weren’t super soggy when I combined them with the sauce and pasta. And these chicken strips get super crispy. Which is one of the reasons why I love using them in recipes and snacking on them. I used them for my chicken Parm grilled cheese. And I have another recipe I plan on sharing with them in the near future, hopefully.

 

Chicken Parm Pasta Bake is a simple recipe with only five ingredients. But the chicken Parm flavors are all there in this easy and delicious casserole. #OurFamilyTable #chickenParm #casserole #pastadish #bakedpasta

 

When the strips were crispy, I chopped them into bite-sized pieces. Then I tossed the chicken, pasta, and sauce in a bowl with some cheese. I poured it all into a casserole dish, covered it, and put it in the oven at 350 F for 40 minutes. After that, I topped it with more Mozzarella and Parmesan and baked it an additional 15 to 20 minutes or until the cheese was melted and bubbly.

 

As much as I wanted to dive right in after it came out of the oven I waited. At least 10 minutes before I scooped a huge spoonful into my bowl. That allows everything to sort of chill a little and blend together a little more. Sometimes I dive into a casserole, and it just isn’t cohesive. Like, it’s too wet and falls apart. If I’d just waited a little longer it would have been a perfect casserole.

 

Chicken Parm Pasta Bake is a simple recipe with only five ingredients. But the chicken Parm flavors are all there in this easy and delicious casserole. #OurFamilyTable #chickenParm #casserole #pastadish #bakedpasta

 

This recipe is also mostly hands off. Pasta doesn’t really need babysitting as it cooks. You just stir it every now and then, so it doesn’t stick to itself or the bottom of the pot. And since I used penne, I stirred it a little less than a longer noodle. 

 

The chicken strips cook in the air-fryer. That’s all hands off, too. The only thing you need to do is to combine all the ingredients in a bowl and then pour it into a casserole. Then it’s hands off in the oven baking until it’s time to put the cheese on top. It will be hard to keep your hands off once it’s out of the oven. 

 

Chicken Parm Pasta Bake is a simple recipe with only five ingredients. But the chicken Parm flavors are all there in this easy and delicious casserole. #OurFamilyTable #chickenParm #casserole #pastadish #bakedpasta

 

How does Chicken Parm Pasta Bake taste?

 

Comfort in a bowl. The pasta and sauce with the cheese is comforting enough as it is. But then you add in the chicken strips for the chicken Parm part of the pasta bake. That takes it over the top comforting and delicious. It truly is Chicken Parmesan in a bowl.

 

And it’s super cheesy with the cheese inside with the pasta and on top as an ooey gooey topping. I don’t know about you, but for me cheese is all comfort!! Use whatever cheese(s) you want. Mozzarella, Parmesan, Provolone, Asiago, and Romano are all delicious cheese for this dish. Just make sure to pair a hard cheese with a soft cheese. Meaning, always have at least Mozzarella or Provolone in there for the creamy and cheesy in the casserole.

Signature

Chicken Parm Pasta Bake is a simple recipe with only five ingredients. But the chicken Parm flavors are all there in this easy and delicious casserole. #OurFamilyTable #chickenParm #casserole #pastadish #bakedpasta
Yield: 6

Chicken Parm Pasta Bake

Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Chicken Parm Pasta Bake is a simple recipe with only five ingredients. But the chicken Parm flavors are all there in this easy and delicious casserole.

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces chicken breast strips
  • 2 cups uncooked penne pasta
  • 28 ounces basil and garlic marinara sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups Mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese

Instructions

    1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
    2. Cook the pasta according to package directions.
    3. Heat the chicken strips in the air-fryer. I have a Ninja Foodie and cooked mine for 7 minutes per side at 400 F.
    4. Drain the pasta and put the pasta in a large mixing bowl.
    5. Cut the chicken strips into bite-sized pieces and add to the bowl.
    6. Stir in the pasta sauce, 1 cup of Mozzarella cheese, and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese.
    7. Pour the mixture into a 1 1/2 quart casserole dish, cover, and bake at 350 F for 40 minutes.
    8. Uncover the casserole and top with the remaining cheese.
    9. Bake an additional 10 to 15 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and begins to brown.
    10. Allow to rest 10 minutes before serving.

Nutrition Information

Yield

6

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 354Total Fat 15gSaturated Fat 7gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 6gCholesterol 85mgSodium 620mgCarbohydrates 21gFiber 3gSugar 2gProtein 35g

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