Valentine’s Day was this week. I was too busy to do much of anything, but my gift to myself was to get in five miles of aerobic exercise on Thursday after work. I’ve been so stressed with work and life that it can feel hard to take the time to do things to take care of myself. I felt so good after those five miles though. I am finally feeling like I am getting my physical stamina back. I feel great getting back into my workout habits.
My Valentine’s Day tradition is to make myself chicken parmesan. It is a meal that I can make with my eyes closed even though I don’ t make it all too often. This meal combines many of my favorite Italian favorites and it easy to whip together. It goes great with wine, and who doesn’t like wine on Valentine’s Day.
I had planned to make my chicken parmesan on Thursday night. However, once I finished my workout and showered, it was 9:30 pm. I was exhausted and hungry. I just wanted to eat something quick and go to bed. I made eggs with cheese and paired them with some leftover green beans. It wasn’t the perfect meal, but I was fed and got my protein intake.
I decided to make chicken parmesan on Friday night instead. I would still get my chicken parm treat, and it would be a great way to end the week. I invited Chris to join me for dinner for a bff evening. Chris can’t say no to my chicken parmesan.
Before I share my recipe, I want to give a little insight on how to make a great chicken parm. Absolutely add grated parmesan to your breadcrumbs. After all, this is called chicken parmesan. The parmesan cheese adds more flavor and texture into the chicken crust. I wouldn’t make chicken parmesan without doing this.
Whether you prefer to make this on the stovetop or in the oven, it is best to brown your chicken on the stove in some olive oil before doing anything else with it. I find this to give the best result for chicken parmesan.
I also found a few products to make this dish a hit in a gluten free version. I am a huge fan of Aleia’s gluten free Italian breadcrumbs. I first found these when I wanted to make gluten free meatballs for my housewarming party. For my flour dredge, I used Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 baking flour. Both of these products are solid gluten free ingredients, and I didn’t even notice a difference.
For the pasta, I used more of the Barilla chickpea pasta I’ve become obsessed with lately. They are made from chickpeas, meaning that you get a protein-packed pasta with lower carbs. I typically like to make my own sauce. I just didn’t have time to make sauce this week. So, I used the jar of sauce I had in my cabinet. I needed to use it soon anyway.
To serve with the pasta, I made some sautéed broccoli with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic pepper, and seasoned salt. I typically like to roast broccoli in the oven, but my oven was occupied. A stove top version works fine, but just don’t expect the broccoli to be cooked all the way. My broccoli was a little crunchy in the stems, but I like it that way. The last thing I want is a mushy piece of broccoli. Of course, the longer you keep the broccoli over the heat, the more tender it will become.
Now, if it wasn’t already impressed that I whipped together this whole meal between the time I got home from work and when Chris came over, I also managed to make a cake. I told Chris to come over for some chicken parm, and he arrived to a full meal with dessert.
The other week my fellow blogger (The Sweet World Site) posted about making an orange upside down cake. I was so intrigued by this idea that I decided to make one myself. I used the same 1 to 1 gluten free flour from Bob’s Red Mill. I also had a blood orange, so I had a variety of oranges available for this cake.
My fellow blogger was correct. This cake is exceptionally moist. I wondered how this cake would turn out without gluten, but I was shockingly delighted. The cake was light and fluffy. There is a nice sweetness from the oranges, but it wasn’t too sweet. Using the different oranges even gave a more aesthetic look with a variety of color. It was a beautiful and tasty cake.
This whole meal paired perfectly with how I was feeling. I was exhausted and desperately needed to sleep, but this meal lifting my spirits and got me through the evening until I was ready for bed. Plus, I got to talk through some of the things keeping me up at night with my best friend, who is a great support.
Alright, here is comes. It is finally time for me to share my chicken parmesan recipe. I had to really think about what I was doing since I never use a recipe to make chicken parmesan.
- two chicken breasts
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs, preferably Italian
- 1/8 cup grated parmesan, preferably freshly grated (plus more for serving)
- one egg
- 1/4 cup flour
- one jar tomato pasta sauce or two cups homemade
- one pound pasta of your choice
- fresh mozzarella cheese
Take out three bowls and place in each the flour, the egg, and the breadcrumbs, and whisk the egg. In the bowl with the breadcrumbs, add the parmesan cheese and mix to combine.
Take each chicken breast and slice through the middle as if you are going to butterfly it, but slice all the way through to make two thin cutlets (four total). If you have one, use a meat tenderizer to pound the breasts flat.
Take each breast and season with salt and pepper on both side. Then, dredge them one by one in in the flour to coat, then the egg, and then the breadcrumbs. Place the chicken the chicken on a plate while you get your pan ready.
In a medium frying pan over medium heat, add one tablespoon of olive oil. Once shimmering, add the chicken cutlets. Cook on each side about 3-4 minutes per side, until equally browned on both sides. Once browned, place on a plate and set aside.
At this point, you have two options. You can finish the cooking in the oven in a casserole dish or you can finish on the stove top. My preferred method is the oven, but as I mentioned earlier, my oven was occupied with a beautiful cake.
To finish in the oven, take out a 9 x 13 casserole dish. Pour the sauce into the casserole dish. Then, lay down each chicken cutlet on top of the sauce. Top each chicken cutlet with fresh mozzarella. I prefer to use the pre-sliced fresh mozzarella logs, using two per cutlet. Bake covered at 350 for 30 minutes.
To finish on the stovetop, take a large and deep frying pan and pour in the sauce over medium meat. Once the sauce starts simmering, lay the chicken cutlets on top of the sauce. Let the chicken simmer in the sauce for about another 10 minutes or until the chicken reaches about 155. Once the chicken reaches that temperature, lay the mozzarella cheese on top until melted and the chicken reaches 160 to 165. (The chicken will continue cooking once it is removed from the heat, so you can typically turn off the heat at 160).
While the chicken is cooking, boil the pasta until al dente. That usually takes about 9-10 minutes. Drain the pasta and serve with the chicken parmesan and extra sauce for the pan or casserole dish.
Chicken parmesan is a classic Italian-American food. It is perfect for all times of the year and any mood. If you are looking for a great meal, look no further than this recipe!