Okay, so I’m just going to get this out of the way. My husband came up with this- partly.
I’ve been off the mainland for so long I didn’t even know things like this existed.
Now I will never say I approve of the various frozen foods out there because I don’t. But these aren’t half bad. My husband and I tried making our own with gluten free flour but they were only so-so. These are actually like the real deal. I would prefer to make my own with real chicken but what can I say, Tyson has me beat on this one.
Well one day I got the idea to make a marinara for a dipping sauce. I’d always liked that as a kid. The mozzarella sticks and chicken strips at Friendly’s are a happy memory for me. Yes, the more horrible something is for you the better it tastes. Seems to be the rule. Anyways, I wanted to make a dipping sauce and I came up with a pretty good one off the bat. I don’t have a blender or food processor so I just bought Barilla’s basic marinara sauce, it’s this one here.
It was inexpensive and had gluten free right on the label. Since I find unaltered jar sauce to be revolting I added black pepper, chili pepper, red pepper flakes, and parmesan cheese. Then I heated it to melt the cheese. I cooked the strips and just ladled this on top, it was actually really good. It was while we were eating my husband asked me why didn’t I just use the chicken strips to make a chicken parm. It was truly one of those “face-palm” moments. There was no reason not to and I don’t know why I didn’t think of it first. It makes perfect sense but I guess sometimes it’s just hard to see things in a different light. I don’t usually like frozen stuff so it never occurred to me it could become something more than what it was.
I’ve been trying some of the different gluten free pasta brands and I found the gf Barilla on sale so I used that for this dish. It’s okay and I’d buy it again. I still think I prefer Heartland best, but the Barilla held up better as leftovers. The Heartland brand tends to get squishy with time so you really need to eat it that day. That is unless you’re not adding a sauce, then it’s fine.
Here’s the finished dish.
That’s Barilla gf Penne, with mozzarella and parmesan cheeses. On top of that is the Tyson gf chicken strips, a few minutes before they were done I took them out and added my cheeses to the top. Then I popped them all back into the oven so it would melt.
I opted to ladle a bit more sauce on top and added yet more cheese. Ever since I was pregnant with my son I’ve been such cheese fiend. It’s one pregnancy craving that simply didn’t fade, but perhaps got worse. In any case this was quite good and I plan to make it again in the future. It was fast, easy, and very filling. The whole family loved it and I’m happy I can enjoy chicken parm again.