Kris has always been a fan of my chicken parmesan recipe but I just thought it was ok. Previously I used jarred spaghetti sauce and the pre-shredded mozzarella cheese. This time I made my own marinara sauce and bought fresh mozzarella cheese. Let me tell you what a difference these changes made. I pledge today that I will only buy fresh mozzarella from here on out..it was that good! It melts beautifully and reheats well too, unlike the regular block/shredded version. I think using bought marinara sauce is ok to save time, but if you can make it fresh then go for it…it is even better. I might be joining Kris in loving this recipe now with these upgrades.
- Chicken breast – pounded thin
- Bread crumbs, seasoned
- Grated parmesan cheese (jarred kind)
- Tomato sauce (recipe below) – few cups
- Mozzarella cheese
- Olive oil
- Pound your chicken breast until it is about 1/3″ thin. Place in bowl with salt, pepper, and cover with milk. I read the milk part of this in a cookbook a long time ago and it has just stuck – you could do the dip in egg and then bread crumbs method if you prefer.
- In a shallow dish, combine about 1 cup of bread crumbs and 1/2 cup parmesan to start – depending on the amount of chicken you are making you may need more or even cut it in half
- Bread each piece of chicken by removing from milk and then dredging and pressing bread crumbs on to coat
- While I am all for cutting out the fat, I think this is best if you pan-fry the chicken in olive oil. Bring maybe 2-3T of olive oil to medium-high heat and add chicken breasts, browning on each side but not fully cooking; maybe 2 minutes on each side. Add more oil to pan if needed.
- In a large baking dish, lightly coat the bottom of the dish with tomato sauce. Place chicken on top in a single layer. Top with a generous amount of marinara and then shredded mozzarella cheese. Repeat to a second layer if desired, or use a second dish if making a large amount.
- Cover the baking dish with foil and bake at 350 for about 40 to 45 minutes, until chicken is fully cooked and bubbling.
Tip: to make it easier to shred the fresh mozzarella, stick it in the freezer for a few minutes first. You can also slice it and just place one slice on top of each piece of chicken.
I basically updated the sauce I used from my spaghetti post a while back by adding in some onion and cooking it a little longer. I didn’t go to the trouble of buying the san marzano tomatoes – just used regular canned whole tomatoes. I bet fresh would be great in the summer!
- 2 T olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 4 or 5 cloves garlic, chopped
- 4 lbs ripe tomatoes, diced; I used 3 large cans of whole tomatoes, drained and added the juice of one can
- 4 sprigs thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves, packed
- Heat olive oil over medium heat in large saucepan. Add in onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook and stir for a few minutes, and as the onions start to turn light brown add in the thyme and bay leaves. Cook for a few more minutes.
- Add in tomatoes and allow to simmer for 30 t0 40 minutes. I used a potato masher to thin it out a little.
- Remove thyme and bay leaves. Stir in basil leaves and allow to simmer a couple minutes, but then remove from heat to allow the sauce to “rest” – according to the food network show I watched. 🙂