Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Bruschetta Chicken Bake

Recipe modified by You Want Me to Cook? – March 18, 2011
For a commentary-free and printer-friendly version of it, please click here.

Recipe originally published by Kraft Food & Family – Fall 2008

Much like I became addicted to mushrooms after a lifetime of disliking them, I have suddenly felt the urge to eat as many tomatoes as I possibly can.  I don’t know if some switch got flipped in my brain that said, “Hey, you need to eat tomatoes now” but I can’t seem to get enough of them.  Of course, I still don’t like them on sandwiches, but I figure if I live to be 80, maybe then I’ll want them on my turkey and cheese.

Several things attracted me to this dish.  If I’m being totally honest with myself, one of the main reasons was the ease of the recipe.  While I enjoy cooking, there are days I just want to be able to throw something in a dish and cook it without a lot of preparation and fuss.  This dish definitely fit those criteria.  Next, I do enjoy bruschetta and was excited to try a variation on the appetizer.  Finally, I occasionally enjoy stuffing but never have a good reason to make it other than around Thanksgiving.  This gave me a perfectly good reason to buy it.

© You Want Me to Cook?
Bruschetta Chicken Bake
I caught this picture at the perfect moment when the heat was coming off of it.  The chicken looks juicy and tender and the topping looks crisp and inviting.  It didn’t have a very savory smell… you know the kind that makes you want to start scooping it into your mouth without utensils


© Kraft Food & Family
One thing I’m going to eventually learn is if they don’t photograph it out of the dish, I should think twice about making it.  It kind of says “we couldn’t make an individual serving look pretty – even with all of our tricks – so we’ll just take a picture in the dish.”

for more details about what my ratings mean, go to Gretchen’s Rating System

MessEH – There is barely any equipment that needs to be used.  If I didn’t have to cut up some chicken (which always grosses me out) the rating would have been NADA.

Start-to-Finish Time: WELL UNDER AN HOUR – And most of that time is bake time (30 minutes).  My actual hands-on time was under 15 minutes.  That is pretty impressive and good for a weeknight meal.

Prep Work: SLIGHT BLOOD LOSS – All you have to do is cut up some chicken.  I’ll admit that I hate doing that though.  It is slimy and juice gets everywhere.  At least you don’t have to clean an entire chicken.

Ease of Recipe: COOK IT IN MY SLEEP – Seriously, you layer the ingredients in a dish and bake it.  Anyone can handle it.  In fact, grade school kids could do it if you cut up the chicken and placed it in the oven for them.

OverallNOT BAD – It tasted okay and we finished it, but I am in no hurry to make it again.  It dried out a little, which was disappointing.  I have a ton of recipes just like this one that I’ll probably make first.

Recipe Information:
I am not a doctor or dietician.  I make my nutritional assessments with the aid of Spark Recipes.  I run the original recipe and my altered recipe through their calorie counter and then compute the differences I find.  My numbers are to be used as a guideline.  Anyone who is under dietary medical supervision should follow the advice of their medical professional if their opinion differs from mine.  PLEASE!

Servings: 6 (1 cup each)
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

One cup isn’t all that big of a serving.  You can definitely pair this with a  salad or even a minestrone or broth based soup.  Skip the bread… this dish is too dry for that.

I almost hit the timing for this recipe on the nose.  They included assembly of the casserole into the “Prep Time” so when I added my information together, it came really close.  Here is the timing of my recipe:
  • Prep Time: 6 minutes
  • Casserole Assembly: 5 minutes
  • Cooking Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 41 minutes
Nutritional Information
  • Calories 300
  • Total Fat 7g (Saturated Fat 2.5g)
  • Cholesterol 75mg
  • Sodium 710mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 26g
  • Fiber 2g
  • Sugars 4g
  • Protein 33g
For such a small serving, that’s a lot of sodium.  Overall, the nutritional information is pretty decent.  If you pair this with a salad and a steamed vegetable, you’ll have a meal under 500 calories.  Just to be sure, I plugged the dish into the Spark Database to verify the numbers:
  • Calories 253.6
  • Total Fat 5.5g (Saturated Fat 2.7g)
  • Cholesterol 26.2mg
  • Sodium 708.9mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 25g
  • Fiber 1.9g
  • Sugars 5.4g
  • Protein 12.4g
Overall it is close, but in a happy twist, I found it to be lower in calories, fat and cholesterol.  Never satisfied, I set out to see if there were anyways I could, at a minimum, lower the sodium.  This included using organic tomatoes and low-sodium stuffing.  When I ran my altered recipe the Nutritional Database, I came out with the following numbers:
  • Calories 233.6
  • Total Fat 4.2g (Saturated Fat 2g)
  • Cholesterol 21.3mg
  • Sodium 478.1mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 25.2g
  • Fiber 0.6g
  • Protein 12.3g
It ABSOLUTELY made a difference in the sodium level.  The added punch of the part-skim mozzarella helped lower the fat and cholesterol content as well.

Changes denoted by red text
© You Want Me to Cook?
Bruschetta Chicken Bake
1 can (14-1/2 oz.) 100% natural low sodium diced tomatoes, undrained 

1 pkg.  (6 oz.) STOVE TOP Lower Sodium Stuffing Mix for Chicken 

1/2 cup water 

2 cloves  garlic, minced 

1-1/2 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces 

1 tsp.  dried basil leaves 

1 cup KRAFT Part Skim Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
Cooking Spray

Ingredient Notes:
Diced Tomatoes – I was still looking for “no salt added” tomatoes and at this point couldn’t find it in my favorite grocery stores.  I did find a 100% organic diced tomato and when I compared it to the other canned tomatoes, found that it had significantly lower sodium.  To me, it was well worth the extra cash it cost.

Stove Top Stuffing Mix – I found a low-sodium stuffing for chicken, which I wasn’t expecting to find.  When I looked on line, they only had regular stuffing as low-sodium.  Needless to say, I was excited, because this and the tomatoes carry the bulk of the sodium for the dish.

Garlic – To save myself some time, I used pre-minced garlic.  I know I should mince my garlic fresh, but it is such a timesaver and I can’t tell the difference.

Mozzarella Cheese – the original recipe called for 2%, but I decided to go with a part-skim.  I’m not sure if that contributed to the slightly dry nature of the dish, but since it is such a low amount, I can’t imagine it affected it that much.

Cooking Spray – the recipe doesn’t call for the baking dish to be greased, but since the chicken was going directly on the bottom of the dish, I decided to do it anyway.  Instead of using butter, I went with cooking spray.

Equipment Needed:
© You Want Me to Cook?
Bruschetta Chicken Bake
Raw Meat Cutting Board
Sharp knife
Spoon – mixing
13x9” baking dish

Equipment Notes:
Raw Meat Cutting Board & Sharp knife – Don’t use a wooden board for cutting raw meat since it can absorb the raw juices and contaminate other food that you cut on it.  My cutting board is plastic and I love it. 

3-Quart Baking Dish
  • When selecting a “dish” it refers to a glass or ceramic dish that is oven-safe.  You definitely want to go with a dish instead of a metal pan since you are using tomatoes which are acidic and can react with a metal pan.
  • The options given were a 3-quart casserole (as pictured) or a 13x9 baking dish.  I think the 13x9 dish was too big and that may have been why the dish dried out slightly.  Next time, I’ll go with a smaller casserole dish so that the food is more piled on each other than spread out.
(1)  HEAT oven to 400°F and grease a 13x9” baking dish.

(2)  Mix tomatoes, stuffing mix, water and garlic just until stuffing mix is moistened.

(3)  Layer chicken, basil, cheese and stuffing in 3-qt. casserole or 13x9-inch baking dish.

(4)  Bake 30 min. or until chicken is done.

It was a little dry, and as I said before, that’s probably because of the dish I used.  I noticed as my husband packed his lunch, it was a very small serving of the chicken paired with a large salad.   That tells me that he’d rather eat the salad than the chicken… not really a ringing endorsement.

If I were going to make it again, I’d probably add another can of tomato.  Fresh tomatoes really are the focus of bruschetta and in this dish; the focus was more on the stuffing.  I probably would drizzle a little olive oil over the top before baking as well, adding another element of traditional bruschetta.

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