Growing up, my mom used to make a delicious thing that she lovingly called “pizza chicken”. Once I was older, I realized that pizza chicken was just a kid-friendly name for chicken parmesan! I can remember very vividly the day in college when I was determined to make “pizza chicken” for my group of 5 friends. I called my mom and asked her how she did it, and when she told me, I didn’t believe her. I thought it had to have been SO MUCH MORE COMPLICATED than she let on! I followed her instructions and mastered it on my first try.
As my weight climbed in the following years, I adjusted the recipe to be MORE fattening, MORE heavy, and FAR LESS good for me. Once I joined Weight Watchers, I took a hiatus from making my mom’s pizza chicken. I realized today that not only could I make the original recipe, but it would be darn good and healthy!
I mistakenly bought pre-cut chicken tenders instead of chicken breasts, but the general process is the same.
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese
1 jar marinara sauce
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
First, mix breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, and garlic powder in a shallow dish. Pre-heat oven to 350*. Then, heat oil in a large frying pan. Coat the chicken with the breadcrumb mixture, and place in the frying pan. DO NOT discard the extra breadcrumbs! In a 9×13 baking dish, pour about 1/4 c. marinara sauce and shake to evenly coat. Brown the chicken on both sides, but don’t worry if its not cooked through. Place chicken in the baking dish, then top with remaining breadcrumb mixture. Pour remaining sauce on top. Top with cheese and bake until chicken is done and cheese is brown, about 20 minutes.
I served this tonight with some pan-roasted broccoli and cauliflower. It was a very nostalgic taste to have pizza chicken and broccoli!
So, my mom’s secret? USING those extra breadcrumbs! It makes more of a “crust” for the pizza chicken, and makes it a very substantial meal. The equivalent of about 2/3 of a chicken breast was enough for me for dinner! I am, however, treating myself to something delicious:
QOTD: What’s your favorite “mom” dish?? I have so many of her favorites I can’t choose just one!