Chicken Parmigiana is my absolute favorite dish. My husband always makes fun of me when we go to Italian restaurants because of how predictable I have become with ordering this. Every time we sit down he immediately asks “So are you getting the Chicken Parm?” and I ALWAYS say no and read the menu for 10 minutes before ultimately deciding on, you guessed it, chicken parm. Don’t get me wrong, I have every intention of trying something new but just can’t even seem to pass it up.
Besides, its tender juicy chicken, fried to a golden crisp and then smothered in gooey cheesy goodness and marinara sauce and it is accompanied with pasta. What’s not to love?!?
Now let me tell you about my newest favorite find: Spaghetti Squash. I wish someone had introduced me years ago because this has moved up to become a weekly staple. It’s so easy to prepare and it is SO delicious. It has a slightly sweet taste and has a tiny bit of crunch to it, but most the time I honestly forget I’m eating a vegetable and not pasta (and this is coming from a picky vegetable hater, so you can trust me).
This is an effortless meal and really satisfies the craving but with less carbs and calories!
Let’s start with the spaghetti squash. I recommend you prepare that first, because it takes longer to cook.
One spaghetti squash will go a long way. We had a medium sized squash and it fed the both of us and left us plenty of leftovers. For this recipe the squash will require some olive oil, oregano and basil. The herbs counter the sweetness of the squash and give the overall dish a more Italian taste. (For other recipes I have only drizzled it with olive oil and it has been just as good.)
Spaghetti squash is really hard and therefore difficult to cut through so I highly recommend microwaving it. I microwave it for 2-5 minutes to help soften it up enough to cut in half. Once it’s cut, scrape out the seeds and “guts”. You’ll notice the inside seems to resemble the inside of a pumpkin. You can even roast the seeds like you would pumpkin seeds!
Now the hard part is over! Next just drizzle some olive oil, add 1/4 teaspoon of basil and 1/4 teaspoon of oregano to each half and roast open side down in the oven set at 400°F for 40 – 60 minutes (depending on the size of your squash). For really tender squash cover it in aluminum foil and add a little water to the pan.
Once your squash is cooked use a fork to get out all the strands and top with tomato sauce and Parmesan cheese.
While the squash is still cooking, it’s time to prepare the Baked Chicken Parm. For this dish you will need 4 chicken breasts (I prefer the cutlets since they are thinner, but you can use full chicken breasts or cut them in half if you also prefer them thinner), 2 eggs, 1 jar of your favorite tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, freshly grated Parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, oregano, and basil.
The fresher the ingredients you use (i.e. fresh mozzarella and Parmesan instead of the store-bought shredded cheese or fresh basil and oregano instead of dried or making your own tomato sauce) the better this meal will taste. I made this during the weeknight and was all about saving time to get this prepped as fast as possible. If you have more time and are willing to chop/grate/make everything yourself, more power to you!
To start, you will want to crack and whisk the eggs together on one plate and pour 1 cup of breadcrumbs onto another (I prefer the breadcrumbs with Italian seasonings). I then finely grate some parm cheese and add to the breadcrumb plate and mix it all together. For a crunchier chicken, use panko breadcrumbs.
First you will want to dip the chicken into the eggs and then coat them with the breadcrumb/parm cheese mixture. Be sure to cover all of the chicken. Repeat this until all chicken breasts are covered.
Now just throw the chicken into the oven (you can cook this at the same time as the Spaghetti Squash). This will need to cook for about 20 minutes for thinner slices and up to 30 for thicker at 400°F. While this is cooking, slice the mozzarella cheese and heat up the tomato sauce.
Once the chicken is cooked through and no longer pink in the middle, add the cheese slices and change the oven settings to broil. Broil the chicken until the cheese is melted and starting to bubble and brown.
Plate your chicken and spaghetti sauce and top with the tomato sauce and finally grate some fresh parm cheese on top and you’re ready to eat!
I hope you love this meal as much as I do!
Baked Chicken Parmigiana 4 chicken cutlets 1 teaspoon dried basil 1 teaspoon dried oregano 2 eggs 1 cup breadcrumbs 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 1 jar tomato sauce 4 fresh mozzarella cheese slices 1. Crack and whisk eggs together on a plate/shallow bowl. 2. Combine breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese and mix together. 3. Coat chicken with basil and oregano (and any salt and pepper to taste). 4. Dip chicken into egg mixture and cover both sides completely. Shake any excess off. 5. Fully cover chicken in breadcrumb and cheese mixture. 6. Bake at 400°F for 20 minutes (or until chicken is no longer pink in the thickest part of the center). 7. While baking, slice mozzarella cheese and heat up tomato sauce. 8. Once the chicken is cooked, place cheese slices on top of chicken and broil until the cheese is melted, bubbly and starting to brown. 9. Top with tomato sauce and grated Parmesan cheese prior to serving.
Spaghetti Squash 1 tablespoon spaghetti squash 1 teaspoon olive oil 1/2 teaspoon dried basil 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano 1. Microwave the squash for 2-5 minutes until it is soft enough to cut. 2. Cut squash in half starting at the stem and cutting through the end. 3. Spoon out the seeds and strands that are in the center. 4. Drizzle the olive oil and add the herbs to each half. 5. Place squash, open side down, into a baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil and add a little water to the pan. Cook for 40-60 minutes at 400°F. 6. Using a fork, scrape the sides and pull out the strands. 7. Top with tomato sauce and grated Parmesan cheese prior to serving.