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A bruschetta chicken bake is a baked chicken dish which uses the basic ingredients for bruschetta, a toasted and seasoned bread topped with a tomato mixture, to flavor the meat. An easy and quickly prepared dish, a bruschetta chicken bake uses mostly prepackaged ingredients combined with some fresh or ground herbs, vegetables, and cheeses. Generally homemade, this dish offers an Italian twist on classic baked chicken.
Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are normally used for a bruschetta chicken bake. The breasts may be left whole but are more often cubed or cut into bite-sized pieces. Fresh or canned tomatoes, often with the juice included, are also a necessary ingredient in this dish. The tomatoes are usually diced, and if canned, may include other flavorings such as garlic, oregano, or basil. A dry instant bread stuffing, normally chicken flavored, serves as the bread base for the bruschetta portion of the dish.
Garlic and fresh basil are commonly included to season a bruschetta chicken bake. Italian seasoning may be used instead, however. Shredded mozzarella cheese, or a combination of mozzarella and Parmesan, are normally used in the dish as well.
To make a bruschetta chicken bake, the tomatoes, garlic, and dried stuffing mix are combined with water and allowed to sit to moisten the dried bread. This mixture serves as the bruschetta topping for the bake. While the topping sits, the chicken is placed in a baking dish, and the cheese and basil are layered on the meat. The tomato mixture can then top the two layers. Some versions will add an additional layer of cheese as well.
Once all the layers are in place, the bruschetta chicken bake can be cooked. This dish normally bakes for about half an hour, or until the chicken is cooked through. Completely cooked chicken will have no pink areas. The finished dish will have a crisp, flavorful topping, with melted, bubbly cheese.
Although a bruschetta chicken bake is simple to make, there are still several problems which can result in a less-than-stellar finished dish. Concern for overly browned topping can lead an inexperienced cook to remove the dish too early, resulting in undercooked chicken. Alternatively, the cook may attempt to cover the dish. Bruschetta chicken bake, however, is not normally covered because that usually results in mushy bruschetta topping. Another cause of mushy topping is adding too much liquid to the mixture during its preparation.
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