I was very excited to have one of my recipes posted on the Wealthy Schools Revolution website– take a moment to check out my recipe and their very neat concept for school fundraising. Hint: It kills two birds with one stone- groceries and fundraising!
Chicken parmesan is usually not a weeknight recipe- what with the 3 step breading, the frying, the saucing and then the baking. Not to mention it’s not really a weeknight nutrition choice, if you’re like me and save the good stuff for the weekend when you can relax and enjoy!
This chicken parmesan recipe is quick- under 45 minutes fridge to table. The prep is required is minimal, so you really only have about 5 minutes of work and then you can get on with your evening while it bakes.
It’s also a vast improvement on the original nutrition wise- we are using less breading (which let’s face it, is just white bread in disguise), reducing the added fat and saturated fats, adding some extra antioxidants and all the while whipping up a moist and delicious weeknight meal that even your pickiest eaters will love.
This recipe calls for chicken cutlets, or if you are feeling fancy tell everyone it’s scallopini. Whatever you call it, this technique is really easy to do yourself. It helps the chicken cook quickly and evenly and stretches your dollar a little farther. If you don’t have a food mallet at home, just do what I did and grab a rubber mallet (or a hammer in a pinch) from the garage. I like to do a big batch of chicken all at once and then freeze in bags of 2 or 3 flattened breasts. To keep mess to a minimum I line a sturdy cutting board with plastic wrap, place the chicken breasts on top and cover with another piece of plastic wrap. Now you’re ready to pound away! It can be therapeutic after a stressful day, and it’s something older kids might actually get a kick out of helping with.
4 chicken cutlets
2 tbsp Panko bread crumbs (or whatever dry, coarse bread crumb you have on hand)
1 can (796 mL) crushed tomatoes
1 tsp salt free Italian seasoning or dried oregano (optional)
pepper, to taste
3 tbsp grated or shaved parmesan or other strongly flavoured cheese (old cheddar, pecorino or even mozzarella will all do)
fresh basil (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Pat chicken cutlets until quite dry with a paper towel
Sprinkle with pepper and bread crumbs. Rub or press the bread crumbs on to the chicken with your fingers.
Pour the entire can of tomato sauce in to your baking dish, add pepper and italian seasoning or oregano (if using) and stir. If you have good tomatoes it will still taste yummy without seasoning.
Line the cutlets up in the baking pan, pressing down a bit so they are surrounded by sauce. Using a spoon scoop a few spoonfuls of sauce on to the cutlets in dollops. No need for perfection here!
Bake for 30 minutes, longer if using un-flattened chicken breasts. Sprinkle your cheese over the top and return to the oven. Turn on the broiler, and broil for 5 minutes. You don’t want it too close to the broiler or you will overcook the chicken, make sure there is 3-4 inches of clearance between your dish and the element.
Remove from the oven and sprinkle with basil.
Serve on top of 1/2 cup of wild rice or whole grain pasta with a simple salad to balance it out. Don’t forget to spoon all the extra sauce on to your plates! That’s where the antioxidants are, including cancer fighting lycopene.