We have always been very honest about a certain fact of life with the oldest of our six children: she is the experiment.
Don’t be shocked or upset by that statement. It’s the truth. As our first child, she gets the blunt end of our learning curve as parents. It’s just a fact of life and sometimes it is a good thing, but often, it really does stink.
The more children you have and the more practice time you get as a parent, the more effective you become. You learn what battles are important. You learn which rules are essential. You learn how to keep your mouth closed.
To compensate for this lack of good parenting skills, I also believe that God blesses that first born child with extra natural abilities and character. So, in the end, it’s all good! Right?!?
When she comes home from college for a visit, I will have to heal a few of those wounds the best way a mother knows how. With some good home-cooking! I have seen many different variations of this recipe kicking around blogs and websites, but I decided to come up with my own version because none of them quite hit the mark of what I wanted. As you know, I have become well-known for my chicken bakes like this one and this one, so this had to be in a “bake” form as well.
This recipe was so quick to throw together, so make this on a night when you have no time to cook! It is packed with all those great Italian flavors and forms a delicious pan sauce that you can serve over pasta if you would like.
Basil Artichoke Chicken Bake
recipe by Carole Jones of mykitchenescapades.com
3 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 5-6 breasts)
salt and pepper
2 – 14 ounce cans of diced Italian tomatoes with basil and garlic, drained
1 – 14 ounce can quartered artichoke hearts, drained
4 cloves garlic, minced well (I use a microplane)
3 T fresh parmesan cheese, grated
2 Tb flour or 1 Tb cornstarch (optional, if you would like a thicker pan juice)
4 ounces of shredded mozzarella cheese
fresh basil, chopped
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly spray a 9×13 glass pan with nonstick spray. Generously salt and pepper both sides of the chicken breasts, then place them in a single layer in the pan.
2. In a medium bowl, gently mix together the drained tomatoes and drained artichoke hearts with the garlic, parmesan cheese and flour/cornstarch if using. Spread this mixture over the top of the chicken and bake, uncovered for 45 minutes. Sprinkle on the mozzarella cheese and place under the broiler until browned, about 3 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the fresh basil over the top. You can serve this alone or with some pasta because it does make some pan juices.