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Baked Chicken Parmesan with Whole Wheat Shells

Have you resolved to eat healthier this year?  Well, here’s a pasta dish that’s sure to satisfy your craving for comfort food and is a delicious way to incorporate some healthy whole grains into your diet.  This Baked Chicken Parmesan with Whole Wheat Shells is quick, easy (it only requires one pan) and tastes every bit as good as traditional Chicken Parmesan, but is better for you because it contains Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Medium Shells.  Including whole grains in as little as one serving a day is proven to help lower the chances of stroke, type 2 diabetes and heart disease as well as helping people maintain a healthier weight because the fiber in whole grains is more filling than processed grains, like in white flour pasta.  Plus, you’ll really like how Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Medium Shells taste in this dish – it got rave reviews from everyone in my family.  

 Another great thing about this Baked Chicken Parmesan with Whole Wheat Shells is that it uses ingredients you’re likely to have on hand.  I used Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Medium Shells, but Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Bow Ties, Penne or Elbows will work just as well.  All that’s left is chicken, chicken broth, onion, garlic, canned tomatoes, dried herbs and some mozzarella and Parmesan cheese – all fairly common kitchen staples.   

Start off by sautéing the onion, garlic, basil, oregano, crushed red pepper and salt in olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes or until the onion is tender.

Next, use an immersion blender to coarsely chop the tomatoes (directly in the can if you want to cut down on clean up, like me) or put the tomatoes in the bowl of a food processor and pulse about 10 times to get the same results.  

Add the tomatoes, water and chicken broth to the skillet; stir to combine. 


 
Pour the Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Medium Shells into the sauce and bring the mixture to a boil.  Cover the skillet, reduce the heat so the sauce is simmering and cook the pasta for 9 minutes.  Stir the pasta a few times as it cooks to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the skillet. 

Part of what makes this dish so tasty is that the pasta is cooked in the sauce, so it soaks up all of the delicious flavors as it reaches al dente.  I also find that by cooking the pasta in the sauce takes the edge off of the whole wheat taste which makes it more appealing to my sensitive (picky) eaters.  


 
Once the pasta is finished cooking, remove the cover and stir in ¾ cup of Parmesan and the chicken.  I like to keep packages of shredded, cooked chicken in my freezer, so I can easily add it to dishes like this for extra protein. If you don’t have any cooked chicken, cut up some boneless, skinless chicken breasts and sauté them in the skillet (before the onion and garlic) until they’re cooked through.  Remove the cooked chicken from the pan and set aside until this step.  Or you can leave the chicken out of this dish completely and serve it as a vegetarian meal - it’ll be delicious no matter what. 

If the chicken and pasta mixture seems dry, add a little more chicken broth to loosen it up a bit – I added a couple of tablespoonfuls to mine.


 
Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese and remaining Parmesan over the top of the chicken mixture and transfer the skillet to a 375°F oven for 15 to 20-minutes or until the sauce is bubbly and the cheese is melted and lightly browned on top.  If you don’t have an oven-proof skillet, put the pasta mixture into a baking dish instead.  


 
My family could smell this Baked Chicken Parmesan with Whole Wheat Shells baking a mile away and could hardly wait for dinner.  Once it was out of the oven, my starving crew was washed up and ready to eat- I don’t think I even had to ask someone to set the table. 

Serve the pasta immediately, garnishing each serving with a sprinkle of slivered fresh basil. 


 
Toss together a simple green salad and warm up a loaf of crusty whole grain bread and dinner is ready in no-time.  This Baked Chicken Parmesan with Whole Wheat Shells is a new family favorite and will definitely be a part of our comfort meal rotation.  It’s quick, easy to put together and includes heart healthy whole grains from the Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Medium Shells.  If eating healthier is on your New Year’s resolution list then so should this Baked Chicken Parmesan with Whole Wheat Shells.  You’ll love how it tastes and feel good about eating it, too. Enjoy! 


 

Baked Chicken Parmesan with Whole Wheat Shells

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • pinch red pepper flakes, or more to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 28 oz. can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup chicken broth, plus more if necessary
  • 1 12 oz. box Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Medium Shells
  • 1 cup parmesan, grated, divided
  • 2 cups chicken, cooked and shredded
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh basil, slivered (optional)

Instructions

In a large skillet, sauté onion, garlic, basil, oregano, crushed red pepper and salt in olive oil over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes or until onion is tender. Next, use an immersion blender to coarsely chop tomatoes (directly in can if desired) or put tomatoes in the bowl of a food processor and pulse about 10 times.  Add tomatoes, water and chicken broth to skillet, stirring to combine.  Pour pasta into sauce and bring mixture to a boil.  Cover skillet and cook pasta for 9 minutes, reducing the heat so the sauce is only simmering.   Stir pasta a few times as it cooks to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the skillet. When the pasta is finished cooking, remove cover and stir in ¾ cup of Parmesan and chicken.  Add more chicken broth to the mixture if it seems dry.  Sprinkle mozzarella cheese and remaining Parmesan over the top of the chicken mixture and transfer skillet to a 375°F oven for 15 to 20-minutes or until the sauce is bubbly and the cheese is melted and lightly browned on top.  A baking dish can be used if the skillet isn’t oven-proof.  Serve pasta immediately, garnishing each serving with slivered fresh basil if desired.

Servings

Makes approximately 6-8 servings

Adapted from traceysculinaryadventures. com

You can find Baked Chicken Parmesan with Whole Wheat Shells and other recipes from Hodgson Mill by visiting the Recipes page.


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Author: Holly






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