I was looking for an easy but delicious recipe that would be good to make for four instead of my typical two. I had friends over for dinner… friends who love food like I do… so something boring or ordering pizza was not gonna happen.
After about an hour of searching through my saved recipes on the internet, I remembered a really super simple recipe I saw in a Bon Appetit recently that I thought would be perfect: “New” Chicken Parm. I recalled that the chicken was not fried and then cooked in sauce, resulting in a healthier chicken parm… AND a potentially sauce-free dish for one of my guests who doesn’t like sauce (he’s crazy, right?).
Those two points sold me, and have the potential to give this dish a permanent spot in my repertoire. I love finding classic comfort food recipes with new twists and tricks to make them healthier.
New Chicken Parm
Modified from: Bon Appetit
1.5 lbs of Thin-Sliced Chicken Breast (8 breasts)
1/4 cup EVOO
1 Tablespoon Minced Garlic
1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
1/2 teaspoon Italian Seasoning Mix
1 12-oz container of Grape Tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper
1/2 cup +1/4 cup (divided) Parmesan Cheese, grated (I used Reduced Fat)
1 cup Italian Seasoned Bread Crumbs
1 cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese (again, I used Reduced Fat)
1 jar Prepared Tomato Sauce
Fresh Basil, chopped or torn
1. Preheat the oven to 500. Whisk the oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and italian seasoning mix into a large bowl. Dump the tomatoes into the bowl and stir to coat the tomatoes with the oil mixture. Remove the tomatoes reserving the oil mixture, spreading the tomatoes out onto a foil-covered baking sheet and put in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes, stirring about halfway through. Remove them once they are starting to brown.
2. Prepare a large baking dish with cooking spray. Combine 1/2 cup parmesan cheese and the bread crumbs onto a plate. Place a chicken breast into the garlic-oil bowl and mix around. Let drip off and then dredge into the bread crumb-parm mixture. Coat completely, then carefully place in the baking dish. Do this for every piece of chicken breast. Your tomatoes should be done by now too- remove them and place aside.
3. Cook chicken for about 8-12 minutes, then remove the baking dish to sprinkle on the crushed red pepper, 1/4 cup Parmesan, and 1 cup Mozzarella. (I kept my cheese on the lighter side). Place back in the oven and cook until the chicken is done (firm to touch), about 2-3 more minutes depending on thickness. If the cheese is starting to cook too fast, place aluminum foil on top.
4. Remove the chicken and plate with a side of tomato sauce, the roasted tomatoes, and fresh basil.
Besides the fact that this chicken turned out to be sooo delicious, there are a few things I really liked about it:
1. Chicken is dredged in flavored olive oil (and not a lot of it) instead of egg. The bread crumbs still stuck on really nicely. It made the chicken light and crispy.
2. The chicken is not fried like in most Chicken Parmesan recipes.
3. Tomato Sauce is not added on in the baking process, preventing the chicken from getting soggy.
4. Roasted tomatoes. Nom nom nom.
I served the “new” Chicken Parm with a side of whole wheat Spaghetti, sauteed Green Beans, and a sliced baguette with spiced olive oil & Whipped Ricotta. The four of us had one seriously tasty feast!