Everyone loves Marry Me Chicken. I mean, how can you not love it with sautéed chicken, covered in a garlic, chicken broth, heavy cream sauce and then topped off with some sun-dried tomatoes and parmesan cheese? Usually Marry Me Chicken is made for two or four people. The thing that is different about Marry Me Chicken For a Crowd is now, you can make it, for a lot of people.
Our family had a cousin party last week and I decided to make Marry Me Chicken For A Crowd. Over 20 people came to the dinner and I was able to make everything ahead and then prepare the noodles at the last minute. The noodles went in a large bowl. I placed the chicken on top and then poured the prepared sauce over everything. I garnished it with ribbons of fresh basil. It worked! Everyone loved it. Now I am so excited to share it with you!
Marry Me Chicken For A Crowd
1. Wash and clean 16 chicken breasts. Run the chicken breasts under the water and then pat dry with paper towels. For a crowd, I cut the chicken breasts in half. This way, people take smaller pieces and come back for more if they want. Women tend to eat less and men tend to eat more. It is a good rule of thumb to plan on 4 ounces of protein (before cooking) for every person at your dinner party.
Lay out the chicken breasts on a cutting board. Salt and pepper each piece liberally.
Chicken needs a lot of salt. This recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of salt. I did not really measure the salt while I was making it, but I gave you this measurement to help you understand you need a substantial amount of salt.
Placing the Cooked Chicken in a Slow Cooker is the Key to Feeding a Crowd.
2. While you are salt and peppering the chicken, get a large skillet hot with about 1 – 2 tablespoons of olive oil. You want there to be enough olive oil to brown the meat and yet not have it stick and burn. The chicken in this dish needs to be cooked in batches and then placed in a crockpot and to cook it a little longer. Each piece of chicken is not cooked all the way through after browning. Starting an hour before you are going to serve, is crucial in making sure the chicken gets cooked. Place the crockpot on low. If you have an hour of cooking at low, all the chicken will be thoroughly cooked.
Here is a link for my favorite pan, a Lodge Cast Iron Deep Dish Skillet. I use this all the time. Some people are afraid of cast iron, but I love the flavor it gives my food and how even it cooks everything. Cooking the chicken in this pan will give you a beautiful deep, golden brown on each piece. If you are worried about cleaning a cast iron skillet, please read the NOTES below.
3. Cook five to six chicken breast halves in a skillet with hot olive oil in it. Medium high heat is the best place to cook this chicken. Once the chicken is in the pan, salt and pepper the other side. I set the timer for four minutes and then turned each piece over and cook them another four minutes. Using a timer is the only way I can keep track of what I am doing. Since I am cutting, salting and peppering more chicken, the timer is a necessity for me.
Grating garlic is an easy way to get it ready for your dish.
4. Once the chicken pieces are browned on both sides, place in a crockpot with the lid on it and turn it to low. The chicken is not cooked all the way through. The crockpot will slowly cook the chicken as you brown each piece. Make sure to keep the lid on the crockpot as you continue cooking the rest of the chicken.
Do you want left overs? I did! I cooked 20 chicken breasts. Since I was already cooking so much, why not add a few extra so I don’t have to make dinner later in the week. The 20 chicken breasts cut and cooked in half filled my 8 qt. slow cooker.
5. With 12 cloves of garlic, it will take a minute to take the skins off and get them chopped or grated. Using a small grater, when cooking with garlic, is my favorite. It is easy to grate on the small side of a box grater too or you can buy a small hand held grater with very small holes. Either way, it makes working with garlic a little easier. Don’t cut off the blub side of the garlic. Hold onto it as you grate, then you can throw that part away when it gets too small to hold.
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6. Once all the chicken is cooked, add another tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet. The grated garlic goes into the oil. Cook it just until you smell the garlic on medium heat. You have to be careful with garlic. If the oil is too hot, the garlic will turn brown very fast and will have a bitter taste. Try and have your pan at a medium heat when you add the garlic. That way you can make sure you won’t burn it.
Have the chicken broth and heavy cream ready to pour into the pan. Once the garlic has cooked for about 30 seconds, pour in the chicken broth and heavy cream. Use these cold liquids to cool the garlic if it is cooking too fast.
Use Fresh Parmesan to Give an Extra Depth of Flavor.
7. If you like a kick of spice in your food, add the red pepper flakes with the garlic. The flakes will cook a little and their flavor will bloom in the oil. Not everyone loves this spice added to Marry Me Chicken. I am very reserved when I add this, but I do add a shake or two from my spice bottle when making so much sauce. It really does add a nice element to this dish.
8. Add the thyme into the chicken broth and heavy cream sauce. Knorr’s Chicken Bouillon is my chicken broth of choice. I struggle to buy liquid chicken broth. It takes up a lot of room in pantry. Making my own chicken broth from chicken bouillon makes a lot more sense to me. Measure four cups of hot water into a bowl and add 4 tsp. of chicken bouillon into the water. Stir until well dissolved. Keep this sauce warm, but do not boil. The cream will curdle and separate.
9. Sun-dried tomatoes can be used right out of the jar. They are long and slender, but I feel they are hard to eat. Chopping them into smaller pieces is my preference. Add this to your sauce and let it cook and reduce for about 5 minutes.
10. Add the grated parmesan cheese and stir until melted into the sauce.
You Can Find Pappardelle Noodles at Smith’s or on Amazon.
11. Get the pasta ready. While the chicken is cooking, get a large pot of water boiling. Leave the lid on and turn the heat off until you are ready to add the pasta. Pappardelle pasta is a wider noodle and it is thinner than most. Smith’s, in Utah, carries the De Cecco brand. You can order it on Amazon with this link, too. The ribbons make a beautiful presentation when serving Marry Me Chicken For a Crowd. It is thins and cooks in six minutes. Don’t cook the noodles until you are ready to plate. Any other pasta will work as well, sphaghetti, fettucinni or anything your heart desires.
Cook the pappardelle pasta. Start by add two boxes to the boiling water. You will need to use the water again once the pasta is done because two boxes is not enough to feed a crowd. You need four boxes to serve 20 people. Place a strainer in a large bowl to collect the pasta water. Then pour the noodles and water into the strainer. Pour the pasta water back into the stock pot and heat again to boiling. Cook the other two boxes of noodles in this hot pasta water. Watch the pot because it will boil over with all the starch in it from the first batch of noodles.
12. Place the cooked noodles in a large serving boil. Add the chicken breasts on top of the noodles and then pour the warm garlic, roasted tomato sauce over the top of everything.
Fresh Basil Adds Just the Finishing Touches
13. Pick 24 leaves from a fresh basil plant. Lay 12 of the leaves on top of each other and roll into a cigar or a chiffonade. (This is just a fancy name for cut spices.) Cut across the cigar of basil leaves to create beautiful ribbons of basil. Use this as a garnish for your dish at the end. Use the other 12 leaves and do the same to have enough garnish. Delicious!
Once the first bowl of pasta was almost empty, I filled it again with the second batch of pasta, laid more chicken on and then poured the rest of my sauce on top. You could also prepare two bowls of pasta, but I wanted to keep everything warm while the first bowl of pasta and chicken was being served.
Here are a few products I like to use when making Marry Me Chicken For a Crowd.
When you purchase items from the Amazon links below, I receive a small commission.
Marry Me Chicken For A Crowd
- 1 Slow Cooker
- 16 Chicken Breasts
- 2 Tbsp. Salt
- 2 tsp. Pepper
- 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
- 12 Cloves Garlic
- 1 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes, Optional
- 1 Tbsp. Thyme
- 4 Cups Hot Water
- 4 tsp. Chicken Bouillon
- 4 Cups Heavy Cream
- 2 Cups Parmesan Cheese, grated
- 1 Cup Sun-dried Tomatoes
- 24 Leaves Fresh Basil
- 4- 8.8 oz. Boxes Pappardelle Pasta, De Cecco
- Cut chicken breasts in half and salt and pepper liberally.
- Heat 1 -2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet.
- Place 5-6 chicken breasts halves in the pan and cook until well browned.
- Salt and pepper the other side of the chicken and turn after cooking 4 minutes.
- Cook the other side for another 4 minutes.
- Place cooked pieces in a crock pot on low.
- The chicken will continue to cook while you finish cooking the other chicken pieces. This can be done up to an hour before serving.
- Continue to cook the rest of the chicken and place in the crockpot.
- Take the skin off the garlic and grate it.
- Grate the parmesan cheese.
- Mix hot water with chicken bouillon (chicken broth).
- Add 1 – 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the skillet.
- Add the grated garlic to the oil. If you want a kick add the red pepper flakes.
- Let the garlic cook until you can smell them, about 20-30 seconds.
- Add the heavy cream, chicken broth and thyme to the garlic.
- Cut the sun-dried tomatoes into smaller pieces and add to cream sauce.
- Simmer the sauce for about for five minutes. The sauce should start to get thicker.
- Add the grated parmesan cheese and stir until cheese is melted.
- Reduce to heat and simmer.
- Bring 6 qt. of water to a boil and add 2 packages of noodles. Cook noodles for 6 minutes.
- Drain noodles, but save the pasta water to cook the remaining two boxes of noodles.
- Stack 12 leaves of fresh basil and roll into a cigar. Cut across the leaves to create long ribbons of basil. Do this again with the remaining 12 leaves and use for garnish.
- Place the noodles in a large bowl. Add the cooked chicken pieces on top and then pour sauce over the top. Garnish with basil ribbons. You can add more grated parmesan for an added garnish.
- Cleaning a cast iron pan is as easy as washing any other dish. Place some warm water inside. Use a little soap and wash the food out of the pan.
- Dry the pan completely with a paper towel. Using a cloth towel will stain it. I often get black smudges that will not come out.
- Spray the dry cast iron pan with vegetable spray.
- Use another paper towel to spread the oil everywhere on the pan.
- That’s it. Now store your pan for later use.
- Some people think it is completely wrong that I clean my cast iron pans with soap. To be honest, it is right in the instructions. Read them when you buy the pan. It says to clean it with water and a mild soap.