Time for an ultra-simple crock pot chicken baked ziti. Just follow these easy step by step photo instructions to have some great Italian comfort food bursting with tasty goodness.
I think of baked ziti as a lazy man’s lasagna. I do love lasagna but I’m lazy, and I’m even lazier with this recipe using raw chicken, uncooked pasta, and a crock pot.
It is beef based and even uses ricotta cheese to make it more lasagna-like. But what I love most about that recipe is the sauce. So easy and makes the dish
Here I’m using the same sauce, changing to chicken, using uncooked pasta like my crock pot recipe and just making it simpler.
A solid higher 4 or a lower 5.
Pro Tips: Notes for Crock Pot Chicken Baked Ziti
What is “Baked Ziti”?
Baked ziti is a classic Italian American comfort food baked casserole dish. It is made with macaroni and combined with tomato sauce and cheese. It may include meat, sausage, mushrooms, peppers, onions, and other things.
There are variations, but that is it. I’m using the crock pot to do my “baking.”
Ziti vs. Penne Noodles
Close but not the same. Ziti is a bit bigger and has straight cut ends. Penne is a little smaller with angle cut ends.
I have been berated for using penne instead of ziti. Yep, I do it all the time, and it doesn’t matter. Ziti pasta is harder to find for me, and I like smaller pasta. So use what you like.
Should I Cook the Pasta First?
No. It is cooked in the crock pot with the fluid from the sauce and chicken. I suggest using standard box pasta here since I know how it will cook in this sort of usage.
If you use non-standard pasta, the results may or may not be good.
Can I use jarred sauce?
Yep, but only do the chicken, the pasta, the cheese, and your sauce. Leave the other ingredients out. But you will love my sauce and should just do mine.
Trim and pat dry two skinless boneless chicken breasts, about 1 to 1 1/2 pounds.
Cut the chicken into small bite-size pieces. Also, chop 1 small onion or 1/2 medium.
To a smaller (3-4 quart) crock pot add 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 1/2 teaspoon basil, 1/2 teaspoon parsley, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 1/8 teaspoon crushed pepper (optional) and 2 cloves crushed garlic. Add 1 cup shredded mozzarella and mix well. Add the prepared onion and chicken and mix well.
Add 2 cups uncooked pasta of your choice. I’m using penne pasta. 2 cups is half of a one-pound box of dry pasta.
Smooth the top. Cover with 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella.
Cover and cook on low for 4 hours.
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Originally published October 7, 2018