It's just a fact that some of the best meals I make are afterthoughts -- things that I throw together only with ingredients I happen to have on hand. Inevitably, those meals are uncomplicated and prepared with straightforward ingredients, and my family always loves them.
This chicken parmesan ravioli is a perfect example of that type of meal. I had a bunch of random ingredients on hand that I'd purchased for a dish I never got around to making -- so I made this with them instead. Breaded chicken nuggets, cheese ravioli, tomato sauce, and some chunks of fresh mozzarella and chopped basil tossed in at the end...I think I liked this version better than classic chicken parm, and judging by the way my family inhaled it, I don't think they had any complaints either.
Chicken Parmesan Ravioli
1 pound chicken tenders, cut into chunks
1 cup Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 egg, beaten
Vegetable or canola oil for frying
1 jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce
1 package frozen cheese ravioli
8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into chunks
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, cut into a chiffonade
Shredded parmesan cheese
1. Place the breadcrumbs, flour, and 1/4 cup parmesan cheese in a plastic freezer bag. Dip the chicken chunks in egg, then add to the bag and shake to evenly coat.
2. Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large pot. Fry the chicken in batches until crisp and cooked through. Remove to a baking sheet and place in a warm oven while you prepare the rest of the meal.
3. Meanwhile, heat the spaghetti sauce over gentle heat in a medium pot. Cook the ravioli according to package directions; drain.
4. Return the ravioli to the hot pot. Add the heated sauce, the reserved chicken pieces, the chopped mozzarella, and most of the basil. Stir gently to combine.
5. Sprinkle each serving with additional basil and parmesan cheese.