I love Italian-American food – there’s no denying that. Even though the ingredients are so simple and similar in every dish, it’s hard to turn down anything that’s breaded, fried, and smothered in cheese and sauce on top of a large plate of pasta. Chicken Parmesan really fits this category, and there are some days where eating breaded and fried ANYTHING is a big no-no, especially in macros.
I remember ordering this dish either on top of pasta or in a nice, crusty Italian sub – so hearty, cheap, filling, and made me smile every time I took a bite. It was definitely a go-to whenever I ordered take-out – until I realized how unhealthy traditional chicken parm was and had to immediately stop eating it…boy, those were the days…
Well, this recipe helped me find away to eat my beloved Chicken Parm without sacrificing my health or my tastebuds. I cut my chicken breasts into nuggets (for the sake of having equal pieces in each serving, then baked them twice (once to cook the meat, and second to melt the cheese). This recipe is definitely a little more labor intensive than my typical recipes, but when you get a whopping 16 SERVINGS from this whole recipe, you’re practically set with meal prep for a while – and won’t have to cook this again for a really long time…
So, if you have a few hours to spare, I highly recommend this recipe – when the next time a chicken parm craving hits, you’ll be prepared!
(makes 16 servings)
For the chicken:
40 oz. raw chicken breast, skinless
3 1/2 oz. panko bread crumbs
2/3 cup. oat flour
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
3/4 cup liquid egg replacement (Egg Beaters-brand recommended)
12 oz. shredded light mozzarella cheese
2 tbsp. italian seasoning
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
7 tbsp. olive oil
For the pasta & sauce:
2 boxes whole grain pasta
1 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
3 tsp. crushed garlic
1/2 cup chopped white or yellow onion
1 1/2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. italian seasoning
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
- Cook pasta as directed on the box instructions and set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- To make the sauce: in a medium-sized pot under medium-low heat, add olive oil and onions and saute until onions are translucent. Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds, frequently stirring the garlic and onions.
- Add crushed tomatoes, salt and italian seasoning and stir frequently. Adjust temperature to low heat and let sauce simmer for 30-40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Set aside.
- Cut chicken breast pieces into 1 1/2-inch pieces, then season with salt and pepper.
- In a medium-sized bowl, mix the panko bread crumbs, parmesan, italian seasoning until well-combined.
- Take two bowls and pour oat flour in one bowl, and liquid eggs in the other
- Create an assembly line with the 3 bowls in this order: oat flour, eggs, and bread crumbs.
- To coat chicken: take 3-4 chicken breast pieces, coat in oat flour, dip in the egg wash, and coat chicken in bread crumbs, then set aside on a baking pan. Repeat this process until all chicken pieces have been coated with bread crumbs.
- In a skillet under medium-high heat, add 4 tbsp. of olive oil and quickly pan-fry the chicken for 30 seconds – 1 minute on both sides, then place on a baking sheet. You should be able to pan fry at least half of the chicken pieces. Once there is barely any oil left in the pan, add the rest of the oil (3 tbsp) and quickly pan-fry the rest of the chicken.
- Place chicken pieces in the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until chicken has cooked thoroughly and the breading is golden brown and crispy.
- Once chicken is cooked, remove chicken from the oven and sprinkle mozzarella cheese evenly on top of chicken. Bake in the oven for another 15-20 minutes, or until cheese has melted.
- Mix sauce with pasta and serve chicken separately.
(photo credit (c) 2016 by Tristan Sullivan)