03 November 2009

Baked Chicken and Macaroni

It's getting "cold" out there (it's mid-70's in Austin these days, but I hear it's snowing in Sweden so it's getting cold out there somewhere...) - time to make some hearty meals. We had slow cooker chili last night, and tonight I decided to make a chicken and macaroni bake. Simple, filling, and really good. We washed it down with a bottle of 2004 Jacob's Creek Reserve Merlot that my good friend Craig gave me for my 30th birthday. I still can't believe I'm 30. Oh well.

Baked Chicken and Macaroni

1.5 cups elbow macaroni
1 large or 2 medium chicken breast fillets
1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1.5 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup "Italian" flat-leaf parsley
1 can crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup white bread crumbs
1 tbsp butter
olive oil

Turn the oven to 400 degrees F. Boil the macaroni until al dente (generally, if the package says 8-10 minutes, 8 means al dente, 10 means way overcooked). Cut the chicken breast(s) into half-inch pieces. Put a couple of tablespoons of olive oil to a saute pan and add the chicken. Cook for a few minutes, then add the onion and garlic. Cook until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Drain the macaroni and place in a large bowl. Add the chicken, onions and garlic. Coarsely chop the parsely and add, together with the tomatoes. Sprinkle about a half teaspoon of salt and half a teaspoon of pepper into the mixture, then stir thoroughly.

Place the mixture in a baking dish (I used my trusty 9x9x2 inch Le Creuset baking dish). Mix the parmesan and bread crumbs, then sprinkle over the macaroni mixture. Dot small pieces of the butter on the dish, then bake in the oven for about 30 minutes.

I served it with oven roasted vegetables (tossed with some olive oil, kosher salt and black pepper, in the oven at 400 degrees F for about 15 minutes) and it was great.

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