In its classic form, chicken parm (short for Parmesan, but of course you knew that) is a dish you order at a family-style Italian restaurant when you want a big piece of chicken breast fried, coated in buttery, cheesy breadcrumbs, topped with melted mozzarella and served with a pile of pasta and tomato sauce and a solid dusting of Parmesan cheese. To replicate this dish at home, you'd go through the process of dredging and breading the chicken breasts, then getting them crispy and golden in a frying pan with plenty of oil, followed by baking them in the oven topped with gooey cheese--not to mention the homemade sauce. So delicious. So much work.
Want to enjoy this favorite dinner at home for a fraction of the effort (and calories)? EatingWell's genius recipe makeover of chicken Parmesan (pictured above) gives you all that Italian-restaurant enjoyment without the overstuffed feeling, lots of time in the kitchen--or having to wait for a table. You can have it ready in 35 minutes and the whole recipe can be made in just one pan on the stovetop. We made this recipe easier and faster by skipping the breading on the chicken and loading the cheese and breadcrumbs on top of the dish, where you'll really taste the impact of their flavor. We made it healthier by using whole-wheat breadcrumbs and a judicious amount of part-skim mozzarella, and we serve it with whole wheat spaghetti.
Quick Chicken Parmesan
Ooey-gooey cheese, crispy breadcrumbs and plenty of sauce are the hallmarks of any good chicken Parmesan recipe, and this one-skillet version of chicken parm is no exception. Serve with whole-wheat pasta to soak up the extra sauce.
4 servings, 3 ounces chicken & 2/3 cup sauce each | Active Time: 35 minutes | Total Time: 35 minutes
2 8-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
1/2 cup coarse dry breadcrumbs, preferably whole-wheat (see Tip)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 28-ounce can no-salt-added crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil or parsley
1. Cut each chicken breast in half on the diagonal to make 4 roughly equal portions. Place between pieces of plastic wrap and pound with the smooth side of a meat mallet or a heavy saucepan to an even 1/4-inch thickness. Sprinkle the chicken with 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Combine breadcrumbs and 1 tablespoon oil in a small bowl; set aside.
2. Position rack in upper third of oven; preheat broiler to high.
3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large, ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add half the chicken and cook until golden, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate. Reduce the heat to medium and repeat with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and chicken. Transfer the chicken to the plate.
4. Add onion and garlic to the pan and cook, stirring, until beginning to soften, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Pour in crushed tomatoes; add Italian seasoning and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Return the pan to medium heat and cook, stirring, until the onions are tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Return the chicken and any accumulated juices to the pan. Turn to coat with the sauce.
5. Sprinkle about 1/4 cup of cheese over each piece of chicken, then top with the reserved breadcrumb mixture. Broil until the cheese is melted, about 1 minute. (Watch carefully to prevent burning.) Serve the chicken with the sauce, sprinkled with basil (or parsley).
Per serving: 386 calories; 19 g fat (5 g sat, 10 g mono); 78 mg cholesterol; 20 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 34 g protein; 4 g fiber; 708 mg sodium; 660 mg potassium.
Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (37% daily value), Calcium (30% dv), Iron & Potassium (19% dv).
Tip: To make coarse dry breadcrumbs, spread crumbs on a baking sheet and bake at 250°F until dry, 10 to 15 minutes. One slice of bread makes about 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs or about 1/3 cup dry breadcrumbs. For store-bought coarse dry breadcrumbs we like Ian's brand, labeled Panko breadcrumbs. Find them at well-stocked supermarkets.
What Italian-restaurant favorite would you like to be able to make easily at home?
By Wendy Ruopp
Wendy Ruopp has been the managing editor of EatingWell for most of her adult life. Although she writes about food for the Weeknights column of EatingWell Magazine, her husband does the cooking at home.
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