March 30, 2010

Chicken Parmesan, My Way {Webisode #18}

What’s Going on Today: Last minute errands – pharmacy, travel shop, dry cleaner, etc. – before we head out to Charleston!
Naptime Goals: Prepare Chicken Parmesan for dinner, finish packing suitcase.
Tonight’s Menu: Chicken Parmesan, Green Salad, Garlic Bread.
Parenting Lesson of the Day: Create a “grab bag” of new toys from the dollar store to keep kiddos entertained when traveling!

We never grow tired of Chicken Parmesan. It’s one of those things I always keep in my regular rotation, like this or that. A lot of foodies might not consider Chicken Parmesan to be a particular gourmet dish, but I beg to differ. When done correctly this dish exudes flavor, warmth and comfort in each bite.

All too often restaurants serve Chicken Parmesan in an overwhelming heap of red sauce, melted cheese and overly breaded chicken. When done this way the chicken ends up dry and overworked, instead of being tender and succulent like I think it should be.

As you’ll see here, I prefer to approach this dish with a lighter touch. I pound the chicken into submission (OK, that’s not so light, but you get the idea) until the meat is nice and tender. Then, I bread it with panko crumbs and parmesan cheese for a light crunch and intense flavor. You’ll notice that my breading technique is not particularly high tech, I don’t invest in anything crazy such as special breading trays or the like. Instead, I keep it simple with a bowl for the eggs and plates for the flour, cheese and breadcrumbs.

Finally, I layer the chicken in my baking platter and pour in some homemade marinara and a light sprinkling of mozzarella. I don’t like to overdo it with the cheese, there is already Parmesan in the breading, giving it great flavor to begin with. Then, I simply refrigerate it for the afternoon while we go off to do other things.

This is really is a great dish to make during naptime and I think you’ll agree. The only effort required in the evening is slipping it into the oven to bake and boiling up some fresh pasta and a fresh loaf of garlic bread. And, voila, a tender and flavorful Chicken Parmesan is served!


Chicken Parmesan, My Way


Serves 4

4 8 oz. chicken breasts
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 ½ c. panko bread crumbs
1 T. Kosher salt
2 t. freshly ground black pepper
2 T. olive oil
16 oz. marinara sauce – homemade or store-bought
1 c. freshly grated mozzarella
1 lb. linguine or similar long strand pasta


1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Mix together Parmesan, Panko bread crumbs, Kosher salt and black pepper on a plate or wide bowl and set aside. Place eggs in a wide bowl and spread flour on a flat plate or low, wide bowl.
2. One at a time, place each chicken breast between plastic wrap or wax paper and pound with a meat tenderizer or heavy rolling pin until each breast is ¼″ inch thick.
3. To bread the meat, dredge each piece of chicken in flour, making sure it is entirely covered. Then, dip it in the egg mixture, followed by the bread crumb mixture, making sure the chicken is entirely coated with the Panko/Parmesan mixture.
4. In a wide skillet, heat the olive oil and cook the chicken breasts for 3-4 minutes per side, until crisp and golden brown.
5. Place chicken in a baking dish so that the breasts fit snuggly, overlapping slightly. Pour marinara over the chicken and sprinkle the fresh mozzarella on top. Bake for 25-30 minutes until hot and bubbly.
6. Serve over linguine and a slice of garlic bread.

Naptime Notes

Naptime Recipe Serving ideas

As you see above, to make this ahead simply leave the prepared chicken, covered, in a baking dish in the fridge until you are ready to bake. Chicken will last for up to 12 hours before being baked. This technique works very well with veal as well if you are interested in a different meat. Also, if you don’t want to the Parmesan flavor simply omit it from the breading and it will still taste great. Alternatively, if you want to ramp up the flavor add some dried herbs like basil and oregano to the breading and it will taste great!

Naptime Stopwatch

Preparing  the chicken during naptime takes about 20 minutes, then baking time in the evening.

Naptime Reviews

This is a great meal for kids and adults alike. My daughter loves it just as much as my husband – making me one proud Naptime Chef!

More Naptime Recipes