About a year ago I wrote about bringing a meal to a new family in our neighborhood. Kirby and Annie had recently moved in and had their first baby, a little girl named Kendall. Well, it’s been over a year and Kendall is now a very busy one year old. I thought it would be fun to invite the family over for dinner and include my son Ryan and his wife Amanda since the two couples are friends.
The only night that we could find that fit all of our schedules was a Friday night. Because I had to work that day, when I sat down to plan the menu I wanted a recipe that was pretty easy to pull together and would appeal to everyone. I settled on Cheesy Tomato Basil Chicken Breasts, a garden salad, a fun quick bread and an easy, but impressive dessert. I will be blogging about the quick bread and dessert over the next couple of weeks. This blog will focus on the main dish.
First, just let me say the dinner was a hit. Everyone enjoyed the food and fellowship. As for me, I enjoyed chasing a charming little toddler all over my house. Let’s just say Kendall is very busy! She opened every cupboard, explored every room and loved going up and down my stairs. She was also a “trooper” throughout the meal. They brought along her high chair so she could join us at the table. What a cutie-pie!
Now, to make the Cheesy Tomato Basil Chicken Breasts, heat the oven to 350°F a little more than one hour before you plan to serve dinner. Place the butter in a 13x9-inch baking pan and place it in the oven to melt the butter. This takes about 4-6 minutes.
While the butter is melting stir together all the remaining sauce ingredients in a medium bowl – that includes the onion, tomato paste, cubed tomatoes, basil, garlic, salt and pepper. Set the sauce mixture aside.
Now place the chicken breasts in the baking pan with the melted butter, turning to coat them with butter.
Spoon the sauce mixture over the chicken.
Here’s what the dish will look like once all the sauce is on the chicken.
Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink and is cooked through.
While the chicken is baking make the topping by stirring together the bread crumbs, parsley and melted butter.
Making fresh bread crumbs is quite simple. If you have a food processor place slices of bread (slightly dried out bread works best) in your processor bowl and process until crumbs are formed. You can also use a blender if you don’t have a food processor.
Chop the cheese by stacking and cutting into strips and then cutting again into small pieces.
Once the chicken is cooked, sprinkle the cheese over the top of the chicken.
Then sprinkle with the bread crumb mixture.
Place the chicken back in the oven and continue baking for 5 to 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the bread crumbs are browned.
Remove from oven and serve! Everyone loved the Cheesy Tomato Chicken Breasts. Here we are at the table ready to eat.
Let me know what you think of this easy chicken dish that is great for entertaining by rating and reviewing the recipe. I’d also like to hear about your favorite easy entertaining main dish.
Come back in a few days to see the side dish I served with our meal.
Becky Wahlund is the Director of the Test Kitchens for Land O'Lakes and writes for our Recipe Buzz® Blog.