Baked Chicken Parmigiana

This post was written in a paid partnership with Manitoba Chicken Producers. As always, all opinions are my own and I only promote products and services that I use and love.

Chicken parmesan beside noodles, zucchini and salad on a round plate.

Did you know that March is nutrition month? This Baked Chicken Parmigiana from Manitoba Chicken Producers More Cooking with Manitoba Chicken cookbook checks all the boxes for me in the nutrition department:

  • It covers all four food groups
  • It`s a lean source of protein
  • It`s baked instead of fried

This recipe is also amazing for meal prep:

  • It`s a virtually hands-free recipe
  • You can use store-bought shortcuts to save time
  • Your kids can help prepare this recipe
  • You can serve it with a variety of sides
  • You can serve it in a few different ways
  • It’s also a take-out fake-out recipe so you can save some money on dining out
A recipe book beside a board of ingredients in small bowls.

Baked Chicken Parmigiana Components

The main components of this recipe are breaded chicken, marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese. Traditionally it is fried, but you can achieve the same result by baking it.  A few tips to ensure that the breaded chicken stays crispy are to bread it just before cooking and to ensure that your chicken breasts are well-spaced out on the baking sheet. This allows the breading to crisp up instead of steaming, which results in a soggy breading.

Food waste/Money-saving tip: Make your own breadcrumbs! Save bread ends and leftover buns in a freezer bag.  Once the bag is full, dry them out in the oven at 300°F. Drying time will depend on the size of the pieces. Let cool completely, then grind in a food processor. Store extra breadcrumbs in the freezer.

Meal Prep Strategies

I love this breaded chicken parmesan because I can combine the breadcrumbs, herbs and spices beforehand to save a few minutes. Add the parmesan cheese to the breadcrumb mixture and you can store it in the freezer until you’re ready to use it! 

Baking it in the oven is a hands-free cooking technique that allows me to do other things while it`s cooking, like reading with my kids, emptying the dishwasher or prepping a future meal. Using some store-bought shortcuts like jarred marinara and shredded mozzarella also saves prep time, which is great for busy weeknights.

Two glass rectangular dishes side by side containing ingredients.

Cooking Chicken

Be sure to use a meat thermometer to ensure the chicken is fully cooked. Boneless and bone-in pieces, as well as ground chicken patties are fully cooked when a probe inserted in the thickest part of the piece reads 165°F or 74°C. Download this card to keep in your kitchen for quick reference.

Breaded chicken pieces on a parchment covered baking sheet.

Deconstructing this Recipe for Kids

For kids who aren’t foods touching each other (chicken + sauce +cheese) simply deconstruct it and serve all of the components separately. They might also enjoy dipping the chicken in the sauce and sprinkling the cheese on themselves.

A spoonful of marinara sauce over a fried chicken breast.

How to Serve Baked Chicken Parmigiana

My favorite way to serve this is with browned butter noodles and a side Caesar salad. You can really make any side that you like.  Spaghetti with extra marinara, garden salad, roasted broccoli…Anything goes here!

Another fun way to serve this is to make a chicken parmesan sandwich! Toast up some ciabatta buns, butter them with garlic butter and top them with the saucy, cheesy chicken and eat it sandwich-style. I have also tried making this as a burger using ground chicken.  Form some patties and bread them, then bake them! 

Do you want to try this recipe? Download a PDF version of More Cooking with Manitoba Chicken here for 5 easy recipes or email ConsumerRelations@chicken.mb.ca with your mailing address and we will mail you a booklet!

How to Make a Chicken Sheet Pan Meal

This post was written in a paid partnership with Manitoba Chicken Producers. As always, all opinions are my own and I only promote products and services that I use and love.

Sheet pan meals are my absolute favorite quick weeknight meal because you can prep them entirely ahead of time. While they’re baking, your hands are free to do other tasks, like empty the dishwasher or prep for the next day’s meal. This Sheet Pan Pomegranate Orange Chicken recipe from manitobachicken.ca looks festive and contains warm spices like cinnamon and cumin as well as fresh orange and pomegranate.

Sheet pans are versatile

The great thing about this cooking method is that you can use any vegetable, and seasoning that you like. For example, this recipe contains squash, which we’re all not crazy about in our house so I’m swapping it for sweet potato. There are a few other substitutions you could make in this recipe if you don’t have the ingredients, for example, you can use carrots instead of parsnips, or cranberry juice instead of pomegranate juice.

This sheet pan builder shows you how to use any cut of fresh Manitoba chicken to make endless sheet pan combinations.

Choosing chicken

Depending on the cut of chicken you decide to use, your cooking time will vary. This is something to consider when you’re looking for a quick weeknight meal and want to keep the cook time within 30 minutes. Bone-in pieces such as breasts, thighs and drumsticks, wings and drumettes will take the longest to cook. Whole chicken breasts and ground chicken meatballs will cook within the 30 minute time-frame and you can even shave that down to 20-25 minutes by thinly slicing boneless skinless chicken breasts, for example for fajitas.

Prepping components

When prepping components for your meal, you can chop all of the veggies, and marinate the chicken. Combine your ingredients, marinate and store in a freezer bag or container overnight to let the marinade work its magic.

For the Sheet Pan Pomegranate Orange Chicken recipe, you will need to chop the vegetables and make the sauce, which is tossed with the vegetables and chicken prior to baking.

Alternatively, you can also use dry seasonings and spices that don’t require marinating. When I use this method, I like to drizzle a sauce on top when the pan comes out of the oven, like balsamic reduction, pesto, or a squeeze of roasted or fresh citrus like lemon, lime, or orange.

Cooking sheet pan meals

I have learned that the perfect temperature for these meals is 425°F for 25 minutes. It’s important to note that oven temperatures can vary and some cuts of chicken take longer to cook than others, depending on the size of the pieces and if they are bone-in pieces. Even if you are following a recipe, always use a meat thermometer to check for doneness. You know that chicken pieces are fully cooked when the thermometer reads 165°F or 74°C.

When cooking at this temperature, I like to cut veggies in approximately 1-inch pieces. This ensures that they don’t overcook and burn or get too mushy.

Space your ingredients out on your tray if you like crispier vegetables. If you crowd them on the pan, as shown in the image above, it will create a lot of steam, giving the vegetables a softer texture. Consider using two sheet pans if you like crispy veggies.

Different combinations

There are many great chicken sheet pan combinations on manitobachicken.ca like this Sheet Pan Lemon Chicken that we shared last week on the Cooking Comfort Facebook Live Event. You can watch it here if you missed it and would like some meal prep tips for making sheet pans.

Here are a few more of my favorite combinations:

Sheet Pan Chicken and Sweet Potatoes with Warm Spice
Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas
Chicken Teriyaki w/pineapple (chicken breasts, mushrooms, pineapple, bell peppers)
Lemon Basil Chicken meatballs w/tomatoes and pesto

Try one of these done-for-you ideas or use this sheet pan builder to create your own!

Chicken Caesar Salad

This post was written in a paid partnership with Manitoba Chicken Producers. As always, all opinions are my own and I only promote products and services that I use and love.

When dining out, you’re almost guaranteed to find a chicken Caesar salad on the menu.  This classic is the perfect meal for lunch or dinner and is my personal favorite for easy meal planning, due to its versatility.

You can make this salad with mostly store-bought ingredients, or you can take it up a notch and make a more elaborate homemade version.  Let’s take a look at all of the components.

Greens

Traditionally, Caesar salad is made with romaine lettuce.  You can use a pre-washed bagged romaine from the grocery store, romaine hearts, romaine from your garden and even kale.

Serve torn lettuce, halved romaine hearts, or try grilling halved romaine hearts brushed with a bit of olive oil and seasoned with salt & pepper, like Manitoba Chicken Producers did here in this Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad recipe. I personally love grilling the lettuce because the smokiness from the grill adds another dimension of flavor. If it’s your first time grilling lettuce, watch this 60-Second video to see how it’s done.

Chicken

Use boneless skinless chicken breasts for your salad. You can take some shortcuts and meal prep the chicken for an easy meal. Here are a few different ways to prepare the chicken.

  • Pre-cook boneless skinless chicken breasts and slice them for quick and easy lunches or dinners
  • Season chicken breasts with lemon pepper
  • Crush croutons and use as a coating for a crispy baked chicken breast
  • Marinate chicken breasts in caesar vinaigrette
  • Use slow-cooked shredded chicken
  • Use frozen popcorn chicken or chicken fingers
  • Serve homemade Crispy Parmesan Chicken Strips on or with your Caesar salad

Toppings for your chicken Caesar salad

Typically, chicken Caesar salads are adorned with bacon bits and croutons, but you can up the ante by making your own croutons from a loaf of crusty bread or topping your salad with pancetta, prosciutto or capers. 

Meal Prep Tips for Chicken Caesar Salad

If you’re making chicken Caesar salad for dinner, it’s never a bad idea to make an extra one for lunch the next day.  I like to use mini mason jars (125 mL) to portion out the dressing. Alternatively, use large mason jars (1L) and do a salad in a jar, by layering the dressing, chicken, lettuce and bacon bits, then add the croutons just before serving. You could also use a tortilla, naan or pita to serve your chicken Caesar salad as a wrap.

Tearing the lettuce by hand versus cutting it with a knife will prevent it from browning and it will last about two days longer than it would if you cut it.

Finally, I’ve already mentioned ways to meal prep the chicken, but to elaborate on that, batch cooking several chicken breasts and freezing them, guarantees that you will have cooked chicken available for a quick meal anytime, even if it’s not Caesar salad. Use your cooked chicken in any of these recipes from manitobachicken.ca.