Wayback Machine: Bruschetta Chicken Bake

Sweet readers, we're taking the week off to catch up on some real-life work. In the meantime, we're re-posting some of our favorite recipes and essays. This one is from November 2007. Enjoy!

I realized recently, after four full months of blogging, that I’ve managed to make my Ma look like the culinary equivalent of the Miami Dolphins (painful to watch, drops the ball a lot, etc.). Really, she’s a pretty good cook. None of us were nutritionally deficient growing up, AND she managed to stay under budget, which was super-important for a young family of five in the lean times of 1981. (Stupid Reagan.) Somehow though, to the shock and awe of my friends and neighbors, she did this without ever cooking a casserole.

I’m not sure how it happened. The ‘80s were rife with casseroles. As is my understanding, every American mom with a can of Campbells and 8x8 Pyrex dish was Constitutionally required to make them. They decorated rec rooms and hung from ceilings like gooey chandeliers. I think my friends might have worn casseroles to school.

But, yeah - I never had one.

The Boyfriend looks at me funny when I mention my casserole deficiency, as if no child should grow up deprived of Congealed Cream of Mushroom Broccoli Bake. Subsequently, I’m working on developing a taste for them. Y'know, to expand my mind.

While I continue to be fairly weary of Green Bean Casserole and (*shudder*) Frito Pie, today's recipe, Bruschetta Chicken Bake, is pretty darn good. It hits the four major food groups (tomatoes, chicken, mozzarella, stuffing) and uses a pre-packaged Stove Top mix without being too preservative-laden. Plus, while I don’t think it’s an official Weight Watchers recipe, it’s a super-popular one on their message boards. Folks dig the flavor and the ease of preparation (15 minutes, tops, plus cooking time).

Since I’m still easing into Casserole World (veeeery different from Disney World), I’ll put the question out there: does anyone know of a healthy, relatively inexpensive casserole I could make, eat, and feature on this blog? Winner gets, um … something. Something awesome (which I will think of soon.)

Bruschetta Chicken Bake
6 good-sized servings
Adapted from Weight Watchers boards and/or Kraft Foods.

1 can (14-1/2 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pkg. (6 oz.) Stove Top Stuffing Mix for Chicken
1/2 cup water
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into pieces
1 tsp. dried basil leaves
1 cup KRAFT part-skim Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

1) Preheat oven to 400°F.

2) In a medium mixing bowl, stir together tomatoes (with liquid), garlic, stuffing mix, and water until stuffing mix is juuuuuust moist. Set aside.

3) Arrange chicken in a single layer in a 13x9 baking dish. Top evenly with basil and cheese. Top again with stuffing mixture. Bake about 30 minutes, until stuffing is browned and chicken is fully cooked. Serve.

Approximate Calories, Fat, and Price per Serving
310.5 calories, 7 g fat, $0.98

1 can (14-1/2 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained: 75 calories, 0 g fat, $0.89
2 cloves garlic: 10 calories, 0 g fat, $0.10
1 pkg. (6 oz.) STOVE TOP Stuffing Mix for Chicken: 668 calories, 6.1 g fat, $1.99
1/2 cup water: negligible fat and calories, $0.00
1lb. boneless skinless chicken breast: 750 calories, 16.2 g fat, $1.79
1 tsp. dried basil leaves: negligible fat and calories, $0.02
1 cup KRAFT part-skim Shredded Mozzarella Cheese: 360 calories, 20 g fat, $1.09
TOTAL: 1863 calories, 42.3 g fat, $5.88
PER SERVING (TOTAL/6): 310.5 calories, 7 g fat, $0.98