Over/under on another version of chicken parm that doesn’t involve tons of frying and ingredients and steps? I’m WAY over on this one, and think we should have a variation of any kind of parm every single week, but what do I know?
I know that everyone likes parm, that’s what I know. This version was a quick dinner solution last week, and we gobbled it up. It’s healthier than most chicken parm recipes but doesn’t sacrifice anything in terms of flavor, and it’s super quick because we build a tomato sauce right around seared chicken cubes, then bake the whole thing with cheese and a few breadcrumbs just for a few minutes to melt the cheese and cook the chicken all the way through.
I will say this is definitely not the prettiest thing I’ve ever made, but the flavors more than make up for it. Tangy tomatoes, tender chicken, creamy cheese, crispy topping: like I said, I’m way over.
You need chicken! Because chicken parm. I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into cubes, but chicken thighs would be great as well – anything you can cut up before cooking. Then we build a sauce with onion, garlic, whole tomatoes, and tomato sauce. Fresh mozzarella, panko bread crumbs, and grated parmesan cheese add flavor and texture to the finished dish.
First, heat a skillet that can go in the oven to medium-high heat, and preheat the oven to 425F. Tons of skillets, even nonstick, can go from stove-to-oven, so check your brand to be sure. If your skillet has a lower maximum temperature in the oven, you can reduce the oven temperature and just bake the chicken parm for a few minutes longer. When the skillet is hot, add some olive oil and the chicken cubes with a sprinkle of salt.
Cook the chicken for about 5 minutes, stirring once or twice during this time but mostly letting the chicken sit in one layer so it can brown on the outside.
When the chicken has browned a bit (it won’t be cooked through at this point), add the onion and stir for two minutes. Add the garlic and stir for one minute.
When the onion and garlic have softened slightly, add the tomato sauce and whole tomatoes, crushing the tomatoes with your hand or the back of the spoon as you go. Stir the sauce, and taste for seasoning – add a few good pinches of salt at this point. Turn the heat off the skillet and sprinkle in the mozzarella cubes. Sprinkle the panko and parmesan over the whole dish. Transfer the skillet to the oven for 20 minutes until the sauce is bubbly and the top has browned. The cheese is ooey gooey at this point and SO good.
No but really. Serve this however you’d like – with bread obviously, a salad wouldn’t kill anything, I ate mine over pasta because of course I did. Zoodles with this would be terrific, and throwing leftovers on a hoagie roll would be one of your better life choices, I’m thinking.
I told Beck this was “chicken that tastes like pizza” and she gobbled it up literally and figuratively, so there’s your parenting tip for the day if your kid is into pizza.
Parm lovers, unite! And celebrate the fact that we can recreate the flavors on a Monday.
- 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- olive oil, salt, pepper
- 8 ounces tomato sauce
- 15 ounces canned whole tomatoes in their juices
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella pearls (or cubed fresh mozzarella)
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
Preheat the oven to 425F and an ovenproof skillet to medium-high heat with some olive oil. When the skillet is hot, add the chicken in one layer. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper, and cook for about 7 minutes, stirring once or twice, until the chicken is lightly browned. Add the onion to the skillet.
Stir the onion with the chicken for two minutes, then add the garlic. Stir the garlic for one minute, then add the tomato sauce and whole tomatoes with their juices. Use your hands or a spoon to crush the tomatoes are you add them to the pan.
Stir the sauce together with the chicken and taste; add salt and pepper until it is very flavorful. Sprinkle the mozzarella pieces over the sauce, they should sink in slightly. Sprinkle the panko and parmesan over top of the skillet to form a crust.
Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes until the sauce is bubbly and the topping is brown.
Let rest for a few minutes to cool just slightly and serve as desired: with pasta, bread, or salad.