September 12, 2011

What's for dinner? The Which Came First Bake!

I'm on a roll lately, and I'm not squelching it. I even remembered to take pictures of NOT ONLY the finished product on this meal... but some of the STEPS!! Radical... I know. Especially since I was "rationing" my camera battery until my (MARVELOUS) Mother In-Law mailed it back to me (oops).  Thanks, I got it this afternoon!! :-P

SO, since this has a catchy name... you can bet I didn't name it. Hubby did. So yes, it's the "Which Came First Bake" Why? Because it's Chicken and Eggplant Parm... but not... cause I didn't use that much Parmesan cheese... and which came first... the Chicken... or the Eggplant?!? (yes, we're ham's in this house)

ANYWAY, this is really hubby's mastermind. I'd seen some REALLY nice eggplant at the store, and bought a big one... and it sat on the counter long enough that I decided it was now or never... time for Eggplant Parmesan. But then I thought "I need protein, and brother-in-law might come for dinner... and he just needs lots of food... so I'll fry up some chicken fingers to 'spread it out a bit' and we'll be all set". Well, hubby decided that what I REALLY should do is defrost a BUNCH of chicken breasts so we could have leftovers, and "parm" them... and make them the bottom layer of the eggplant parm dish. So I did. It ends up... this is a dish you can prep-ahead somewhat and bake to finish later, and it's DELICIOUS. So are the leftovers 0:-P

The basic gist (since there are NO measurements here) is to fry up some 1/2" thick slices of eggplant like you would to make eggplant Parmesan (except I just used seasoned breadcrumbs... not Parmesan anything). Then fry up some pounded chicken breasts the same way. (real hard, right? You don't even have to finish cooking them... just get them breaded and browned.)

Now, I used my "deep dish baker" from Pampered chef for this, and a large eggplant + four chicken breasts + cheese and sauce filled it up pretty well... so pyrex might not cut it this time around. But you put some sauce in the bottom of the pan, and lay the chicken breasts in as best as possible. Then some Parmesan cheese (because this was, after all, SUPPOSED to be eggplant and chicken PARM) more sauce, and mozzarella. Then layer your eggplant in the same manner (not a ton of sauce here people though) cover, and bake for 30 minutes at 350*. Now... mine ended up sitting in the covered baker for close to an hour while I made these cookies and then remembered the pasta (totally unnecessary by the way) so it may have continued to cook a bit, but I've found that pre-cooking the chicken on the stove means 30 minutes in the oven and you're done.

Here are my "in process photos" with the short-and-sweet directions: Fry, layer, bake, eat.



1 comment:

Keeper of Thy Home said...

Looks delicious!!! I may just have to try this. I recently (like just a couple weeks ago) got up enough courage to try my first eggplant, and it surprisingly wasn't bad. Not sure why I had such a strong adversion to it.