Wow guys. The snow on Monday was super crazy. I guess what can you say, it’s Colorado weather? Warm and 70* one day, snowing all day and crazy slushy roads the next. Monday’s weather was the type you don’t really want to venture out in if you can at all avoid it. I had an MRI appointment early in the morning, so I did have to go out. Let me tell you I WAS NOT HAPPY about this. Fortunately, there wasn’t a lot of traffic out and about at the hour I had to leave. So, while it took a while to get where I needed to, I didn’t have to battle parking lot packed level traffic too. Though, I still would have so preferred to be in my nice warm bed.
The MRI wasn’t all that bad. I’m not claustrophobic, so being in the tight little tunnel thing doesn’t really stress me out. I do find the noise kind of annoying, but this time it was rather rhythmic, so I was able to tune it out pretty well. Sometimes the noise is so random it’s impossible to tune out. The hardest thing, I think is not moving for the entire stretch of the MRI. You can get so cramped up depending on how long it is going to take. Mine was only 20 minutes this time, so again not that bad. I had a crazy itch on the top of my head that was kind of hard to ignore, but if that’s the worst thing not so bad, right?
After the MRI I had to go back out into the cold and drive home. Again, not so happy about this. I consoled myself by vowing to put on sweats the moment I got home and not leave the house for the rest of the day. Plus, I knew I’d be drinking hot coffee all day and then making something hot and hearty for dinner! Which brings us to the Oven Baked Chicken Parmesan. Hot. Hearty. Breaded chicken, crisp on the outside, juicy on the inside; all smothered in sauce. Ooey gooey melted cheese. Pasta, pasta and more pasta. Absolutely perfection for a cold winter day.
Unfortunately, this oh so perfect cold winter day dish is often not so healthy for you. In fact, it can sometimes be downright greasy when fried. As I’m still trying to balance out the month’s worth of chocolate I ate while baking for Valentines Day, I figured I should go for a lightened up Chicken Parmesan. I didn’t really want to scrimp on the cheese or pasta, so I figured that baking the chicken might be a good way to lighten up the dish a little bit without giving up too much of the good stuff. Most fortunately it worked rather well. I still ended up with a gorgeous golden brown crisp crust, that was flavorful, but not oily.
There was also the added benefit that baking the chicken was super easy, didn’t require intense tending during cook time, and left me less clean up afterwords. Which was totally awesome, since that left more time to curl up on the couch with the husband, a cup of hot chocolate, my coziest blanket, and a good show. Score!
I recommend you break out your favorite spaghetti sauce tonight (I highly recommend Marcella’s Sauce) and give it a whirl.
Oven Baked Chicken Parmesan– Yields 6 large servings.
- 6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup fine bread crumbs (make your own, store bought, and panko are all ok)
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon marjoram
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 24 oz of your favorite pasta sauce, heated (I highly recommend Marcella’s Sauce!)
- 1 cup fresh grated mozzarella
- 1 cup fresh grated parmesan
- 1 lb. pasta cooked to package directions
1. Place the chicken breasts in between two pieces of saran wrap or in a large ziplock bag. Give your husband, just home from a long frustrating day at work, a rolling pin (or meat tenderizer) and let him pound the chicken until it is about 1/2-3/4 and inch thick. Set aside.
2. Preheat the oven to 400* and place the rack in the upper center position. Prep a large baking tray by covering with foil. Spray the foil with non-stick spray. Set near your work area.
3. Crack the eggs into a medium sized bowl and whisk well. In a second medium sized bowl add bread crumbs, flour, sea salt, black pepper, oregano, marjoram, onion powder, and garlic powder. Mix well, so that all the seasoning is distributed evenly throughout the flour and bread crumbs.
4. Dip a chicken breast in the egg mixture, turning as needed to coat completely. Next dip in the bread crumb mixture, turning to coat both sides. Make sure all the chicken is well coated all over. Set on the prepared baking tray. Repeat with the other five chicken breasts.
5. Bake the chicken at 400* for 10-15 minutes until a golden brown crust forms. Flip the chicken and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes, until the second side also has a gold brown crust. If needed cut into the center of thickest piece to check for doneness, the meat will be tender but have no pink.
6. Remove the baking tray from the oven. Pour about 1/4 cup of the hot pasta sauce in the center of each breast. Sprinkle the cup of mozzarella, and the cup of parmesan on top the six pieces of chicken. Return the chicken to the oven and allow the cheese to melt. Serve the chicken over cooked pasta.