I guess it’s no secret that Southerners like to make great casseroles. It’s just kind of our thing. And, today is no exception. Today, I’m serving up one of my family’s favorite Southern-style casseroles with an Italian flair.
We love it because it takes the best of Southern-skillet cooking and marries it with a great combination of Italian flavors. The trick, my friends, is in the prep.
Begin by slicing boneless, skinless chicken breasts across the grain, sort of like cutting the earth at the equator. Then rub all sides with oil and toss it on a preheated George Forman grill. The goal is to roast the meat by searing it to a browned goodness as quickly as possible. When the meat is no longer pink and the juices run clear, remove from heat and let the meat rest.
At the same time, you’ll want the water boiling for your favorite pasta and room to chop an assortment of fresh veggies. Sometimes, I add broccoli to this dish, but only in tiny quantities. These will get tossed into a hot skillet with some oil so that they also sear to a Southern-style browned perfection. I know this seems odd, but this is just how Southerners do it. Trust me. Once the veggies are seared, chop and add the chicken, drain and add the pasta, and douse it all with a 1:2 combo of alfredo and spicy red spaghetti sauces.
We discovered this delish combo of sauces one day when only two partial jars could be found in the house. It was the accidental discovery of the ages. Now, the creamy red sauce is one of our absolute “go-tos” when making Italian-style comfort food.
When all of the ingredients are thoroughly heated, remove the casserole from the heat and generously shred parmesan and/or romano cheese on the top. Serve with a green salad and hot garlic bread.
One whiff…….and your gang will come a’runnin.
This is one time, sweet cook, you won’t have to call ’em twice.
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2 tablespoonfuls oil
- 1 sweet onion, chopped
- 1 sweet red pepper, chopped
- 1 sweet yellow pepper, chopped
- 8 oz. mushrooms, chopped
- 2-4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 cup oil
- 1 package penne pasta (16 oz. box)
- 2/3 cup garlic or parmesan-flavored alfredo sauce
- 1 and 1/3 cups spicy red spaghetti sauce
- Salt to taste
- Black pepper to taste
- Parmesan or romano cheese, shredded
- Cut the chicken breasts to make thin fillets.
- Rub oil on all sides.
- Cook on hot grill (George Forman) until meat is no longer pink and juices run clear.
- Remove to a plate and allow meat to rest.
- At the same time, cook pasta in boiling water until al dente.
- Chop the vegetables, mince the garlic and set aside.
- Add 1/4 cup oil to a large skillet and allow to preheat.
- Add onions and garlic, and cook until browned.
- Add mushrooms and cook until slightly browned.
- Add peppers all at once and cook until heated, but still crunchy.
- Chop chicken and add to skillet.
- Drain pasta and add to skillet.
- Stir alfredo and spicy red spaghetti sauces together and add to skillet.
- Stir all ingredients together and season to taste with salt and black pepper.
- Shred parmesan or romano cheese on top.
- Serve immediately.
- A green pepper can be substituted for the yellow pepper if the stronger green pepper flavor is preferred.
- Any combo of alfredo and spaghetti sauces can be used, but our favorite is garlic alfredo with spicy spaghetti sauce. Several spaghetti sauce makers make a flavor specifically called "spicy."
And, as always, thanks so much for sharing this time with me.
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