Chicken Parmesan – Healthy and in 20 Minutes

by Cate on February 28, 2008

This morning I went to see if Nicholas was awake yet, and as I peeked into his room, he cracked open one eye, smiled and asked me what was for dinner. Yup, that’s my kid alright. Forget breakfast and lunch, we’re heading straight for dinner.  I hadn’t planned out anything yet, so asked him what he wanted.

“Chicken Parmesan,” he said, without hesitation.

“Really? You want Chicken Parmesan? But you’ve never had it before.”

“I know, but one of my friends at school talks about it all the time. What is it?”

“Chicken with tomato sauce and cheese. Do you want to try that tonight?”

“Yes, please.”

And so a plan was born. Now we just need a good recipe for it. When I think of Italian cooks, Giada De Laurentiis is one of many that comes to mind, so I headed straight for her cookbooks to see what versions she had. In her Everyday Italian book, she had a healthier version of Chicken Parmesan that could not have been simpler to make. I mean, homemade Chicken Parmesan on the table in about 20 minutes? What more could you want, right?  Nicholas had a playdate with friends from school today, so a quick-to-table recipe was perfect for tonight’s plan.

Midway through the recipe, Nicholas wanders into the kitchen and asks what I’m making for dinner. Hello? For someone who had an amazing memory, he very quickly forgot his earlier request.

“Chicken Parmesan.”

“Yuck. I don’t want that. I want a ham sandwich.”

“Well, you asked for it this morning, and I know you like everything in it, so we’re going to try it.”

He made a face and went stomping out of the kitchen; but moms of boys know how quickly they forgive and forget. Minutes later, he was at the table, bravely taking his first bite.

“Mama, this is yum!”

Folks, my work here is done.

If you have a hankering for Chicken Parmesan, this is a great recipe to try. She doesn’t bread the chicken, as most recipes would call for, so it’s healthier, without giving up any of the traditional flavors in the dish. And hey, it’s on the table in no time flat, giving you the perfect choice for weeknights and weekends alike. Enjoy!

Chicken Parmesan
Recipe courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis in Everyday Italian
Yield: 4 servings

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
4 chicken cutlets (about 3 ounces each)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup Marinara Sauce
1/4 cup shredded mozzrella cheese
8 teaspoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Preheat the oven to 500. In a small bowl, stir the oil and herbs to blend. Brush both sides of the cutlets with the herb oil and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Heat a large, heavy ovenproof skillet over a high flame. Add the cutlets and cook just until brown, about 1 minute per side. Remove from heat. Spoon the marinara sauce over and around the cutlets. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of mozzarella over each cutlet, then sprinkle 2 teaspoons of Parmesan over each. Dot the tops with the butter pieces and bake until the cheese melts and the chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

RecipeGirl February 29, 2008 at 3:53 am

I have a feeling that our kids would be pals!

My boy comes downstairs in the morning and says, “What’s for breakfast?” Not, “Good Morning,” or even “Hi Mommy.” It’s all about the food. He also asks what’s for dessert before he even eats his dinner. AHHH! I think he’d like this easy Parm. recipe though so I just might have to try it out!


Sarah Caron February 29, 2008 at 5:35 pm

LOL. Wow, 5 years old and a chicken parm first timer? That was one of Will’s first (and favorite) foods!

Sounds like a super easy recipe. WIll have to giv eit a try. Does Giada have lots of healthy/quick recipes in that book?


The Sister In-Law March 1, 2008 at 2:08 pm

I’ve been craving Chicken Parm for a while. Now I know what to make next time you come over for dinner. I’m going to give it a whirl this weekend.



Noble Pig March 1, 2008 at 11:36 pm

A kid after my own heart; wakes up and is instantly thinking about dinner. Perfect.


kefir July 3, 2009 at 11:05 am

this is great! im on the lookout for healthier versions of all time fave dishes. thanks!


Marilou July 14, 2009 at 9:52 pm

My husband and I both love Chicken Parm and we both adore Giada. Did you see this on one of her shows or in one of her books?


Cate July 16, 2009 at 9:03 am

Marilou – her Everyday Italian cookbook.


Marilou July 18, 2009 at 1:15 am

Thanks Cate. I will give your recipe a try and see if I can find the book. Thanks!


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