Happy New Year! Here’s to another year of great recipe sharing and the many lessons learned along the road to cooking and baking successes.
More and more I’ve been using my slow cooker and have become increasingly pleased with my results. The slow cooker is such a handy dandy tool and I like some of the things that I’m learning I can do with it.
I love this recipe for a couple of reasons. First, it’s really delicious. Second, it makes a large batch so you can have it as a main dish for a party or freeze a bunch of meals for those nights went you want something good but easy. With a recipe like this, all you need add is a small salad and some crusty bread and you have one heck of a meal.
So let’s talk slow cooker Penne Chicken Parmesan
Lesson Learned 1 – The process for making this meal could not be any easier: The steps to the process are pretty basic.
- Prepare the sauce…
2. Pour a little of the sauce on the bottom of the slow cooker. Add the chicken breasts. Season them with salt and pepper.
3. Pour the remaining sauce on top of the chicken breasts and cook on low for 4 hours.
4. Cook the pasta according to package instructions. Remove the chicken breasts from the sauce and shred. Add pasta and shredded chicken back to the sauce and cook for an additional 30 minutes.
5. Add parmesan and mozzarella and cook for an additional 30 minutes.
Lesson Learned 2 – The dish makes the best leftovers: I took the leftovers and froze them in meal sized packages. When I wanted to make it I thawed a package and put it in a casserole dish. I added some more parmesan and mozzarella on top and and some Italian seasoning and baked it covered with foil for 45 minutes at 375 degrees. I removed the foil and baked for an additional 5-10 minutes or until the cheese started to turn a nice golden brown. The picture below is how I served the leftovers. The leftovers tasted divine and from the look of them you would never have guessed they were leftovers.
This is an easy, versatile meal – perfect for this time of year when you’re busy trying to manage the holidays. You’ll feel pampered without a lot of work, and who doesn’t like that. Try this and let me know what you think!
Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan Pasta
4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 – 28 oz. cans of crushed tomatoes
2 Tbs. tomato paste
1 small onion, diced
4-5 large crimini mushrooms sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried parsley
1 pound penne pasta
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
1/4 shredded parmesan cheese
kosher salt and pepper
2 Tbs. fresh italian parsley, chopped for garnish, optional
In a large bowl, combine the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, onion, mushrooms, basil, oregano, and parsley. Stir to combine.
Spray the inside of a 6 qt. slow cooker with cooking spray. Take one cup of the tomato mixture and spread it on the bottom of the crock. Place chicken breasts on top of the sauce. Salt and pepper the chicken breasts. Cover the chicken breasts with the remaining tomato sauce. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours.
Prepare the penne pasta according to package directions. (this step can be done ahead of time and the pasta put into the refrigerator. About 1/2 hour before adding the pasta to the sauce, take it out of the refrigerator to remove the chill – see lessons learned above).
Remove the chicken from the slow cooker and shred using two forks. Add the chicken and pasta back to the slow cooker, cover and cook on low for another half hour. Add the parmesan and mozzarella on top, cover and cook for another 30 minutes.
Serve immediately and garnish with fresh chopped parsley, if desired.