Chicken – Eggplant Bake

Dinners, Pastas, Poultry

I have been super lazy about posting lately.  I like to blame it on the stomach flu that visited me last week and severe lake of sleep.   The two, however, are not related.  My sweet baby who has slept through the night for the last month recently  decided nighttime should really be playtime, that or she wanted to put her gloating parents in their place.  Of late, a glance at the baby monitor hasn’t revealed the sprawled out, deep in sleep angel that we have become accustomed to, but rather, a wide eyed, fist chewing, appendage thrashing, cooing and razing monster.  All of this activity is usually topped off by just one giggle.   I have come to find this sweet little giggle that we usually celebrate is in fact the precursor to full blown screams and me running up to her room in panic.  Once cuddled in mom’s arms a chunky hand typically grabs onto my face and a huge grin follows as if to say, “Ha-ha, I won.  Now entertain me.”  Two hours of rocking and singing and then we start all over again. This game has clearly compromised her sleep needs and obviously mine.  As a result, last night two exhausted girls slept without interruption for 9 hours.  We are both so refreshed and bright eyed this morning that we can hardly contain our energy.  So, Miss Eliza is sitting on my lap, talking up a storm and helping me write up this recipe that I have neglected to post for over a week. Enjoy!

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

-1 LB chicken breast, diced into ½”pieces

– 1 large eggplant, cut into ½” slices along the width of the eggplant

– 8 ounce package whole wheat penne pasta

– 1 tablespoons olive oil

– 1 tablespoon butter

– ¼ cup finely chopped basil

– 1 large shallot, finely chopped

– ½ cup oyster mushrooms

– ¾ cup canned artichoke hearts, roughly chopped

– 3 tablespoons mascarpone cheese

– 1 tablespoon salt

– 2 cups mozzarella cheese

– ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

– ½ cup store bought bread crumbs

–  1 large egg, whisked

Instructions:

Pre-heat oven to 425°. 

Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package.  Drain and set aside.

Heat the olive oil and butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat.  Add the chicken pieces and lightly brown on all sides.  Add the shallots and mushrooms and cook for 5 additional minutes, stirring frequently.  Stir in the basil, artichoke, mascarpone cheese, salt, red pepper flakes and the pasta.  Remove from the heat and set aside.

Place one layer of eggplant slices on the bottom of an 8” x 8” baking dish.  Pour the pasta mixture on top of the eggplant layer and use a spatula to spread out in one even layer.  Sprinkle one cup of the mozzarella on top of the pasta and then place another layer of eggplant slices on top.  Finally, top the eggplant slices with the remaining cup of cheese, then evenly sprinkle the bread crumbs on top.  Use a pastry brush to lightly brush the egg on top of the bread crumbs.  Transfer the dish to the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the crust is nicely browned.  Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

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