Chicken Mozzarella 'Rain Dance' Casserole

Thanks to summer rain and comfort food - layered chicken mozzarella.

Does anyone else cook (or not cook) according to the weather? I have a terrible time feeling any inclination to cook with all the soupy humidity we’ve had this summer. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the sunshine and quite frankly this summer we’ve been spoiled. But who wants to stand over a hot stove in it?

My apologies to everyone this week for the rain dance, I swear my family prays for a rainy day so they’ll get fed. Of course it worked, Danvers got about 3” of rain in just a couple of hours and in the meantime, I prepared a baked chicken and mozzarella dish that was healthy, filling, and most importantly-delicious.  

By layering just a few ingredients and taking help where I could get it, (like stretching out the meal by adding orzo for the bottom layer), the family got a satisfying, home-cooked meal and I got it done in under 15 minutes.  

Thankfully, I had previously prepared Chef Kristoffer’s sauce which needed to be used up, so with only the chicken and pasta to cook, prep time was a breeze. If you keep in-case-of-emergency jarred sauce on hand, this is the perfect time to use it. Also, this dish is very versatile-any pasta or rice can be served with it, for the bottom layer,or add a side salad or veggie if you’re trying to go low-carb or carb-free. Enjoy!

Layered Chicken Mozzarella

3 lbs chicken tenderloins
1 jar or 16 oz. marinara
1 beefsteak tomato
fresh basil leaves
salt/pepper/crushed red pepper to taste
olive oil
1 c. shredded mozzarella
1 box orzo or other pasta (or rice)

*Cook pasta al dente according to instructions; while pasta is cooking, toss chicken in a bowl with a little olive oil, sea salt, pepper and crushed red pepper flakes (about ½ tsp. each).  Saute in 1 T. olive oil until browned on both sides.  

In a casserole dish, spread pasta on bottom of dish, layer the chicken covering the pasta layer, spread sauce over chicken.  Slice tomatoes and layer the slices on top of the chicken.  Spoon more sauce over tomato layer, and cover with a layer of mozzarella cheese.  bake for 30 minutes in a 350 degree over.  Set aside for 8-10 minutes to cool slightly, and serve.

*Serves 6-8, Enjoy!


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