I wanted to make something healthy for an impromptu, no occasion, mid-week family gathering but didn’t want to spend all day in the kitchen prepping. I thought about a simple ground sirloin meatloaf and a salad, but meatloaf, even with ground sirloin, screams, “Boring!”.
Having just gone to the grocery store yesterday, I was SO not in the mood to go again today. Thankfully a dive into the freezer led to a discovery of 2 pounds of frozen ground chicken breast and 3 pounds of handmade gourmet chicken sausage I’d had to freeze due to family drama derailing a dinner a couple of weeks ago! A quick check of the pantry confirmed that I still had a jar of the amazing Gia Russa Hot Sicilian Marinara I’d come across at World Market, I always have pasta, Parmesan & mozzarella and the makings for a green salad, so dinner is handled! Whew…
Spicy Chicken Parmesan Meatloaf
- 1 TBLS Olive Oil or butter
- 2 pounds ground chicken breast
- 3 chicken “Italian” sausages
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 – 14.5 ounce can fire roasted tomatoes, drained (these are a bit spicy, you can use diced tomatoes instead)
- 3/4 cup seasoned Panko crumbs
- 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
- 1+1/2 cups marinara sauce (I use a spicy sauce)
- 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
First Prepare the Sausages:
- Preheat oven to 400°F
- Place the sausages into a rimmed baking pan.
- Cook for 30-45 minutes (depending on how big the sausages are) until casings begin to brown.
- Remove sausages from the oven and set aside to cool.
- Reduce oven temperature to 350°F
- In the bowl of your stand mixer, with the paddle or dough hook attachment, combine the ground chicken, eggs, Panko, tomatoes, garlic, 1/4 Cup of the marinara sauce, and Parmesan cheese.
- Using a sharp / serrated knife, slice the sausage links into rounds.
- There isn’t much fat in the ground chicken breast, so, using about a tablespoon of olive oil or butter, grease the bottom and sides of your chosen baking dish. NOTE: I use a Le Cruset® square 3 QT Covered Baking Dish so I can keep it warm out of the oven and at the table.
- Take approximately 1/4 cup of the marinara sauce and spread it along the bottom of the pan then layer 1/2 of your sausage slices on top of the sauce.
- Mound 1/2 of your ground chicken mixture into the pan then layer the rest of your slices on top of that. (This is why I use the larger, square shaped pan.
- Mound the rest of the ground chicken mixture on top of the second layer of sausage slices then, using your hands (or a pair of rubber spatulas) shape the meat in from the sides to form a loaf mounding up towards the middle.
- Top the meatloaf with the rest of the marinara sauce allowing it to spill down the sides. NOTE: You can prepare up to this point, cover and store in the refrigerator until you are ready to cook. If you are going to do that, allow to sit on the counter while you are waiting for the oven to preheat.
- Bake for 60-65 minutes or until chicken is cooked (insert instant read thermometer into the center of loaf should read 165°F).
- When done remove and add the mozzarella cheese on top.
- If you have extra marinara sauce, put into a small saucepan and warm to serve alongside slices if desired.
- Return the meatloaf to the oven until the cheese is melted.
- Remove from the oven and let the meatloaf rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.
- Prepare some wide egg noodles, fettuccini, angel hair, spaghetti, or spaghettini.
- Toss warm pasta with some butter or olive oil and grated parmesan cheese.
- Pile some pasta in the center of the plate, then lay a thick slice of the meatloaf atop the pasta.
- If you have warmed some of the extra sauce, ladle a bit of it on top of the meat and grate a bit more fresh Parmesan (or shake some out of the green can) cheese on top.
- Toss a crisp green salad and dinner is served. #ThisGirlLovesToEat
The meatloaf came out moist and didn’t end up needing the extra sauce. When I reheated the extra slices in the microwave the next day I added the sauce.
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