Hey y’all! Did you have a good weekend? Mine was pretty low-key, as usual. Saturday I cleaned the house from top to bottom. It took me four hours. And then it took the crazies all of four minutes to put things back in their normal state of chaos. *sigh* Sunday is always laundry day. Oh really, who am I kidding…with four kids every day is laundry day! That was pretty much my weekend. I know, I live a life full of adventure and excitement.
I did actually do some crazy cooking/baking this weekend. I made a special fall-ish mac and cheese that was actually inspired by my Mom. I also made baked apple cinnamon oatmeal with a crisp topping and drowned it in some warm vanilla cinnamon sauce. Yum! And I made some shoofly muffins. And then when I went to upload the pictures of all these wonderful fall inspired things I got…nothing. Waaaah! I have no idea what happened but all 864 pictures were gone.
It’s all good though. Those recipes are all keepers so I’ll get around to sharing them at some point. But tonight was Monday night and that means I needed an easy dinner. Why do Mondays have to be so exhausting? Chicken Parm is such a classic dish (although I’m sure there’s nothing classic about the way I make it) and I love that it’s on the table in about 30 minutes. These are the kind of meals that were invented for Mondays fo sho.
Start with some chicken tenders, olive oil, parsley, rosemary, thyme, shredded mozzarella, parmesan, panko breadcrumbs, and marinara.
Chop up about a tablespoon each of the rosemary, thyme, and parsley. Put them in a shallow dish. If you don’t have fresh you can use dried, but use a lot less of each. Dried herbs are waaay more potent.
Now add half a cup of panko to the herbs.
Then add the grated parmesan. Please don’t use the stuff in the green can! Look for a good grated parm over in the specialty cheese case near the deli. I pay around $6 for a container that lasts quite awhile. It’s so worth it!
Now mix it up! I just used my fingers. You could be more civilized and use a fork. Oh BTW, here is where you could also add some salt and pepper. I completely spaced and forgot to add it and it still tasted great. But if you want to add about half a teaspoon of each here is where you’d do it.
Ok, so this is why I love this chicken parm so much. There’s no egg. That means no dealing with clumps of breadcrumbs stuck to your fingertips (well, not huge messy ones anyway). Spray both sides of your chicken tenders with olive oil. If you don’t have olive oil spray, just lightly brush some olive oil on. Both sides! I got this idea from my friend April, who got it from her friend Jes, who I think read it in a magazine or something. Whoever thought of this method…you are a genius!
Now dredge each piece of chicken in the breadcrumbs.
Place each tender on a baking sheet lined with a baking mat or some parchment. Bake these for 7-8 minutes in a 450 degree oven. Then flip ‘em over and bake another 7-8 minutes, or until they’re a light golden brown.
Then take ‘em out of the oven…
Spoon as much (or as little) marinara sauce over each tender as you’d like. You can totes use jarred marinara for this. Hey, this is supposed to be easy, remember?!
Now pile up some shredded mozzarella on each tender. Freshly shredded mozzarella melts a lot nicer than the pre-shredded stuff. I’m just sayin’. And don’t worry if a little (or a lot) falls off onto the baking mat. I’ll show you why in a sec.
Stick these back in the oven…
…and five minutes later you should have hot, melted, bubbly cheese action goin’ on! Mmm that’s the stuff!
See these? This is why you don’t need to worry about any extra cheese that falls onto the baking mat. These little crispy mozzarella “chips” are all your’s to snack on while you finish making dinner!
You could serve these over pasta but I made sandwiches. Duh. I actually don’t know if I’ve ever had chicken parm on pasta. I think this way wins every time.
I usually like to make these on hoagie rolls, but I went shopping at the commissary on Sunday night, about 30 minutes before they closed. My bakery choices were limited to these rolls, hawaiian yeast rolls, or cinnamon donuts. I think I made the wise choice, although the others certainly would’ve been interesting.
Two tenders fit pretty perfectly on each roll. P.S. I picked the one on the top left.
I also had some basil that needed to be used up. At least that’s what I told myself. I know…I clearly have a hard time tearing myself away from that classic mozzarella and basil combo.
I put these on the table for the crazies and then…silence. Beautiful perfect nothingness. For a whole ten minutes. In my house, that’s precious.
- 8 chicken breast tenders
- 1 cup freshly shredded mozzarella cheese
- ¾ cup marinara
- ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
- 3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
- 1 teaspoon fresh parsley, chopped
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 rolls
- Fresh basil
- Preheat oven to 450 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a baking mat.
- Place rosemary, thyme, parsley, salt, pepper, panko breadcrumbs, and parmesan cheese in a shallow dish. Stir well to combine.
- Brush both sides of one chicken tender with olive oil, or lightly coat with olive oil spray.
- Dredge chicken in breadcrumb mixture and place on lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining chicken.
- Bake chicken 7-8 minutes, flip, and bake another 7-8 minutes.
- Remove from oven. Top with about a tablespoon (or to taste) of marinara.
- Evenly distribute mozzarella cheese over chicken.
- Return chicken to the oven and bake 5 more minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbling.
- To make sandwiches, place two tenders on bottom half of a roll. Top with fresh basil leaves if desired, and top with other half of roll.