Chicken parmesan casserole finds a place in the recipe box

Now that summer is here, I?d like to say that I?m finding myself with loads of free time to sit around and do nothing.

Unfortunately, loafing around hasn?t been on the agenda for me yet, and I?m assuming, whether you get your summer off like I do or not, that I?m not alone in being pretty busy.

One of my favorite dishes is chicken parmesan, and every once in a while I?ll make it at home, but lately I haven?t had much time to pound out chicken breasts (a good stress reliever, by the way). That?s why I was excited to come across a recipe with all the flavors I love in chicken parmesan but that I could make quickly and easily.

The nice thing about this is that you can easily use leftover chicken if you have some in the fridge. I used grilled chicken breasts, but I think you could easily toss in some leftover fried chicken, too, and it would be delicious.

The recipe I found is called ?Chicken Parmesan Casserole? and came from a blog called ?Thriving Home.? You can find the original at http://thrivinghomeblog.com/2013/07/chicken-parmesan-casserole-recipe-an-easy-freezer-meal/.

The funniest part is that there is no parmesan in the entire dish. Really, it just tastes like chicken parmesan, which is why I believe she called it that. If you?re really in the mood for some, mix some grated parmesan in with the bread crumbs.

It?s quick and easy. I ended up making a smaller batch for just Joey and me, and it worked out really well. Also, the recipe?s author says she often puts this together and freezes it for a quick meal later. It also reheated really well for the leftovers.

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Chicken Parmesan Casserole

Ingredients

about 4 cups of shredded, cooked chicken

about 1 jar of marinara sauce

1 to 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

about 1 cup panko or bread crumbs

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

fresh chopped or dried herbs (about 1/2 teaspoon each: parsley, oregano and basil)

salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare a baking dish by coating it with cooking spray (I used an 8×8 pan, which was perfect for about two cups of chicken. If you?re doing four cups, I?d use a slightly bigger dish.).

Put the cooked chicken into the bottom of the dish.

Pour the marinara sauce over top of the chicken and stir to combine. Spread the chicken out evenly over the bottom of the pan.

Sprinkle the chicken mixture with mozzarella cheese.

In a separate bowl, mix together the panko, olive oil and herbs.

Spread the crumbs mixture on top of the cheese layer.

Salt and pepper to taste.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the crumbs are browned and the cheese is nice and melted.

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While it?s baking, I?d recommend boiling some spaghetti to serve it over. We had ours on top of whole-wheat spaghetti, and it was a fantastic meal.

Joey and I really enjoyed trying this recipe. I think it?ll be finding its way into my ?quick meal? rotation.

I may not have a lot of time for relaxation this summer, but at least I can take a little bit of a break with this fast casserole for dinner.