Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Baking away again in Marinara-ville…

Please tell me you are Jimmy Buffet fans… I love Jimmy… when I’m having a rough day, or if I’m super stressed, Jimmy can always make me laugh and bring me back down to earth… it’s kind of odd. I don’t drink. I never have. Alcoholism runs in my family, as well as Michael’s, so except for the occasional dinner made with a wine sauce (which really doesn't count!), or my yearly fruitcake… we’re strict tee-totalers. But I still love Jimmy Buffet (sauced, as he occasionally may be!) He knows how to live with a lightness of heart that I admire.

I think today’s recipe would meet with Jimmy’s approval. It’s easy, super quick, and extremely tasty! You can’t really go wrong with American Italian. This is a great dinner for a night, when you are way too busy to really cook. Toss it up. Throw it in the pan. Add some cheese. Bake for 25-30 minutes and you’re good to go. It doesn’t get much easier than that.

I use this recipe usually the week after I’ve roasted a chicken and I have between 1-2 cups of leftovers in the freezer. If you don’t have cooked chicken ready, you can certainly leave it out, or quickly boil a couple of chicken breasts to throw in the meal. Also, on Sundays, I usually precook an 8 oz. package of gluten-free pasta and keep it in the refrigerator. By doing this, I have gluten free ingredients ready for a quick and easy casserole dish or stove-top dinner any night of the week.

If I weren’t in such a hurry, I’d make my own marinara sauce (which I will post soon.) However, if you are anything like me, especially most evenings after work (in a crazy frenzy trying to get dinner cooked, clothes washed, everybody fed, cat box cleaned…), just use a store bought jar of gluten-free marinara sauce. I promise no one will mind. Or if you’re really clever and have company coming: Throw the canned marinara sauce in a pot and stir your little heart out while Mom-in-law and Pop-in-law are walking through the door! They will simply adore all your hard work!

Jimmy, if you’re reading… tell me what you think!

Chicken Mushroom Marinara Bake

  • 16-18 oz. gluten-free marinara sauce
  • 1 cup cooked, cut up chicken
  • 16 oz. fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. butter or extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 oz. gluten-free pasta, cooked according to package directions
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tsp. sweet basil
  • 2 tsp. garlic seasoning (I like SPIKE garlic seasoning granules)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a medium-sized casserole baking dish, set aside. In a medium-sized shallow pan, sauté mushroom slices in butter or olive oil for 4-5 minutes until tender. In a bowl, mix marinara sauce, cut up chicken, sauteed mushrooms, and pasta together until thoroughly mixed. Pour into casserole dish. Sprinkle garlic seasoning and sweet basil evenly over casserole. Top with shredded mozzarella cheese. Bake for 30-35 minutes until cheese is slightly browned and sauce is bubbly.


Check back tomorrow for a hearty oatmeal breakfast.

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  1. That looks good. And, great planning ahead moves, using the leftover chicken, and pre-cooking the pasta.

    I like the idea of having pasta ready to go. :) I will be trying that one myself.

  2. Thanks SM! I'm not always good at planning ahead, but I take advantage of it when I can. I hear once you have kids, you get really good at this! ;-) I was kind of embarrassed to actually post this because it was so easy and I'm sure everybody has a similar recipe for leftovers in their repertoire... but I had that jimmy buffet song in my head and I had to post marinaraville... for some reason that was really funny to me! ;-)

  3. I love recipes like this! My Jude loves to eat noodles and tomato sauce too. :)

  4. That looks great, and I have nothing against jarred sauce. It's a lifesaver! Using a chicken for two meals is smart, too. Waste not, want not! Right?

    And thanks for the compliments on my photos! I have no clue what I'm donig - I just have a good camera! I'm toying with the idea of photography school - if I could go back to UNC I think I'd consider the photography part of journalism school instead of the writing/editing route I DID take while there! But I like writing, too, so...

  5. I think I'll make this this weekend to have for dinner when I'm recuperating. It sounds very comforting.

    I love Buffet. And I'll drink up your margaritas,

  6. Mmm. I had this for dinner tonight. I left out the mushrooms, but it was super yummy. I used De Boles Elbow Macaroni made with corn. It was our first time eating a gluten free pasta dish. My kids loved it. Thanks so much for sharing.