As far as a rating on this one, I liked the concept, but thought the execution lacked a bit of flavor. The breaded chicken was good and added a nice flavor and texture to the casserole, and I liked that it sneaked in a lot of veggies, but I thought the flavor of the sauce was a bit bland. This would be totally fixable and this could make a great meal, I would just suggest at least doubling the basil, oregano, and Italian seasoning, and maybe even the tomatoes. I also would not use stewed tomatoes next time. I just ended up chopping them with my spoon. I would use a can of diced tomatoes and/or a can of crushed tomatoes. With those changes this could become a great meal (ok, to make it great, I'd probably serve the peas on the side. Something about them mixed in makes it impossible for me to call it "great!" Even if my 5 yr old had fun "hatching" his peas. :) Here is how I made it with a bit of commentary to change for next time. -I did veer from the original directions a bit.
- 2 cups pasta (I used tri-colored rotini)
- 1 29 oz bag breaded baked chicken pieces
- 1/2-1 Tablespoon butter
- 1/2 cup chopped onions
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 1/2 orange pepper, chopped (could use any color pepper)
- 1 14 oz. can stewed tomatoes (Use diced and/or crushed next time)
- 1/2 tomato can water (I started with this amount and ended up adding more.)
- 1/2 teaspoon basil (use at least 1 tsp)
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (My tomatoes were no salt added)
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano (use at least 1 tsp)
- 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning (use at least 1 tsp - maybe more)
- 2 cups cole slaw mix (or shredded cabbage - I was just making it quicker.)
- 1 cup frozen peas (I like the petites)
- In a medium saucepan, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain.
- While the pasta is cooking, saute the onions in butter, add the celery and bell pepper. Cook until starting to soften. While that is cooking, put the nuggets on a paper towel and microwave for 1 minute. Add to the veggies. Stir to combine.
- Add tomatoes, water, basil, lemon pepper, oregano, Italian seasoning and salt. Simmer for about 5 minutes. Add the cabbage and green peas. continue simmering, stirring occasionally until veggies are desired doneness.
- Stir in pasta and heat through.