This is a recipe that I’ve had in my personal cookbook of go-to recipes for years.
It’s super quick and easy to make.
You can often vary it depending on what you have on hand (case in point, last night’s dinner). And it’s so good! Add a nice salad. Rice or potato, if you so desire (although it’s a hardy meal all on it’s own) and you’re good to go.
That’s why I’m calling it Weeknight Chicken Parmesan. Chicken Parm used to seem so complicated to me… but it’s really not. And you can prepare this meal in 20-30 minutes (including cooking time), which is why it’s perfect for a weekday dinner.
And leftovers are even better the next night (or for lunch!).
Easy Weeknight Chicken Parmesan
2 chicken breasts
1 1/2 cup of bread crumbs (you can make this gf, if needed)
salt and pepper
2 cups of tomato or spaghetti sauce (I’ll tell you my trick if you don’t have this on hand!)
1 cup of cheese – mozzarella, or something similar – grated
The key to this being a quick cook dinner is that you have to pound the chicken breasts to flatten them. To keep down the mess, I put mine into a ziploc bag, seal, and have at ‘er with a wooden rolling pin (it’s what I’ve been using for years!). You can see I’ve got mine about a 1/2 inch think. Thinner means they will cook faster but you also tenderize them a bit when you flatten them, too.
At this point, you’ll need to pre-heat on medium high a large frying pan on your stove. If you like, you can add a tablespoon of canola oil. Or non-stick cooking spray will also work.
In a medium size bowl, whisk up the egg. And pour the bread crumbs into a shallow dish. I added a little bit of oregano to my breadcrumbs (1 tsp of dry oregano).
I generally cut each chicken breast in half after I flatten them. I find this meal makes four individual servings.
Take each piece of chicken, dredge first in the egg wash, then in the bread crumbs.
Try to do this all with the same hand… it’ll help keep you from getting bread crumb mitts on both hands.
Place in the frying pan to cook.
Perhaps you have noticed something a little different with my chicken?
Because I can’t have gluten, I have left two pieces sans the egg and breadcrumb mixture. You could certainly use gluten-free bread crumbs but quite honestly, I didn’t have any in the house. And I find this recipe is just as good like this as well! (Note: I’m not celiac which is why I can cook my gluten-free dinner in the same pan as my husband’s gluten-ful meal… if you have celiacs or a serious gluten allergy, cook your chicken pieces in a separate pan.) Salt and pepper generously!
If you have homemade or prepared spaghetti sauce… awesome! Allow the chicken to cook till brown on both sides, about 5 minutes each side. If you’ve used cooking spray versus canola oil, it won’t brown quite as much.
I didn’t have any spaghetti sauce last night… but I did have a large can of diced tomatoes. I poured the tomatoes into a saucepan and set to medium heat to bring to a simmer. I added in a little red wine and some savoury spices – oregeno, thyme – and cooked down to soften the tomatoes and reduce the liquid (about 15 minutes).
At this time, get your cheese ready to go as well.
I used a locally made cheese from Bothwell. They use fresh, locally sourced milk for their cheeses and have some wonderful flavours. For this meal I used a half and half blend of mozzarella and their black truffle cheese (sooo good!).
Once your chicken is browned on both sides, pour your spaghetti sauce over top and then sprinkle with cheese. If you have a lid for your frying pan, cover, and reduce the heat to low. Let simmer for 10 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the cheese is all melty.
Remove from heat and serve!