Baked Chicken Parmesan
When cooking for a crowd this dish is easy and takes less than an hour from start to finish. Recently I made this for a group of twenty-five gentlemen having a meeting at my church. There wasn’t a scrap left which is a cooks best compliment! On the home scale cooking for about six, here’s a family friendly recipe worth a try.
The usual Chicken Parmesan begins with a portion of fried chicken but this version saves the calories and is baked. I start by dusting the bottom of a casserole dish with Italian bread crumbs. I lay boneless skinless chicken breasts on top of that. It helps if the chicken is less than an inch high and all pieces are uniformly thick (If the breasts are thick, I will slice them into cutlets or pound them to the proper thickness). I coat the top of the chicken with breadcrumbs as well.
In a skillet I place a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil a small can of tomato paste and a dash each of garlic powder, onion powder, and a mixture of dried Italian spices including oregano, parsley, thyme, and basil. Once the herbs and spices have bloomed, I quickly add two cans of diced tomatoes which I pulsed a few times in the processor. I stir all this together in the skillet and heat it through a while on medium.
When it is nice and bubbly I spoon about 1/4 cup over each breast in the casserole dish. There will be some extra which I will refrigerate or freeze for later use. Once the chicken is well covered in sauce I grate about 5 oz. of Jack cheese. I like how it melts as opposed to mozzerella…it’s much creamier. I cover each breast with a little cheese then at last, to be able to call it Chicken Parmesan, I sprinkle a nice amount of it all over the whole dish.
In a 350° oven I bake it for about 35 minutes or until the chicken’s internal temp is 160. The cheese on top turns a beautiful golden brown color and after about a 10 minute rest we’re ready to dig in. All I need is a side salad with Italian dressing and maybe some thinly sliced red onions and a few chunks of quartered artichoke hearts. That takes just a few minutes extra. In the end we’re all stuffed to the gills and quite satisfied…but there’s always room for pie right?