Slow Cooker Sunday: Chicken Parmesan

Normally when I make Chicken Parmesan it’s because I have leftover breaded cutlets from the night before. I don’t know why, but, it just never crosses my mind to make Chicken Parmesan the same day I am frying up the breaded cutlets. Maybe it’s so I can have something different the following night… leftovers are good but they are even better when you can spruce them up into something different. For today’s Slow Cooker Sunday I am bringing you Chicken Parmesan that’s lacking the breading but definitely healthier without it and also because there’s no frying involved and you get some veggies in the mix – mushrooms and onions.

To begin I placed the mushrooms and onions in the bottom of my slow cooker.

IMG_9806

Next, I placed chicken breasts that I lightly browned on both sides over the vegetables.

IMG_9807

Following that I poured a jar of pasta sauce over the chicken. You can use your favorite pasta sauce; I used my favorite Francesco Rinaldi Three Cheese Sauce. I then sprinkled dried basil and oregano over it and placed a bay leaf in as well.

IMG_9808

After cooking it on low for about 7 hours I removed the cover and sprinkled it with parmesan and mozzarella cheeses and left it uncovered for about 15 minutes, until the cheeses were melted.

IMG_9822

Meanwhile I cooked spaghetti which I served with the chicken.

IMG_9823

Overall this was a nice alternative to the traditional chicken parmesan and definitely one that I will make again.

 

Chicken Parmesan

Ingredients:

8 ounces mushrooms, sliced

1 medium yellow onion, cut into thin wedges

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 to 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 jar (24 – 26 oz.) pasta sauce

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1 bay leaf

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Hot cooked spaghetti

 

Directions:

Place the mushrooms and cuts onions in the bottom of a 3 1/2 to 4 quart slow cooker.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and lightly brown the chicken on both sides. Place the chicken on top of the mushrooms and onions. Pour the pasta over the chicken, add the bay leaf and sprinkle the basil and oregano over the sauce. Cover and cook on low 6 to 7 hours or on high 3 to 4 hours.

Uncover, remove the bay leaf and sprinkle with the cheeses and leave uncovered on low for an additional 15 to 30 minutes, until the cheeses have melted. Serve over spaghetti.

From the book Crock Pot: The Original Slow Cooker Best Loved Slow Cooker Recipes

Chicken Parm Pizzas

Aaaahhh pizza. What is there not to like about it? I have been a pizza lover since a very young age. I can remember quite a few times when I was younger (I am talking under the age of 10) when I didn’t want to eat whatever my mom cooked for dinner so then dinner for me would be a slice of pizza. When I got to college, pizza was one of the tastiest (and safest) things to eat in the cafeteria. Thankfully they switched it up every day with Hawaiian pizza, pepperoni pizza, white pizza, focaccia pizza and so forth. So, what if you combined pizza – one Italian classic – with another classic, Chicken Parmesan? Well, you would get Chicken Parm Pizzas. And no, it’s not just a breaded chicken cutlet shaped into a circle. The key to this classic combo mash-up is using ground chicken to get that perfectly round pie.

IMG_5201

To begin I mixed a pound of ground chicken with Italian herb blend, salt, garlic and onion powders. I divided the mixture in half and then pressed it into two 8-inch cake plans that I lined with plastic wrap. Following that I covered the two pans with plastic wrap and placed them in the freezer for 4 hours.

IMG_5181

Before removing the ground chicken from the freezer I preheated the oven to 400 F and assembled the three separate coatings I would need for the chicken: Wondra Flour, 3 eggs lightly beaten and a breadcrumb – cheese mixture.

IMG_5186 IMG_5189 IMG_5188

The frozen chicken…

IMG_5190

Which I then coated in the flour, then in the eggs and finally in the breadcrumb – cheese mixture and then placed on a baking sheet.

IMG_5191

I then heated olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and cooked the chicken rounds until they were golden. After draining them on paper towels I transferred them to a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet.

IMG_5193

And then it was time for them to become “pizza.” I topped them with marinara sauce and sprinkled them with mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.

IMG_5195

I cooked them on the wire rack set inside the baking sheet for about 15 minutes, until the cheese was melted and the chicken was fully cooked through.

IMG_5202

While Chicken Parmesan is customarily served with pasta I opted to serve these pizza versions with steamed broccoli.

IMG_5216

Overall, these were quite tasty, but, I didn’t find them to be better than your typical Chicken Parmesan that definitely doesn’t require as much time or work. It’s definitely a nice twist on two classics though. One thing though, if I do make them again I will reduce the salt content in the seasoning for the ground chicken from a teaspoon to 1/2 teaspoon (or even a 1/4) since I did find them to be a bit salty.

 

Chicken Parm Pizzas

Ingredients:

1 1/4 lbs. ground chicken

1 1/2 teaspoon Italian herb blend

3/4 teaspoon garlic powder

3/4 teaspoon onion powder

3 eggs

1/4 cup Wondra flour

1 cup seasoned Italian breadcrumbs

1/2 cup panko

4 tablespoons grated Parmesan*

4 tablespoons grated pecorino*

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 cup shredded mozzarella

1/2 cup marinara sauce

*I didn’t have pecorino so I opted to use 8 tablespoons of Parmesan

 Directions:

1. Line 2 eight-inch cake pans with plastic wrap. In a medium bowl, mix the chicken, 1 tsp. herb blend, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. each garlic and onion powders. Divide chicken mixture and press into the prepared pans. Cover with plastic wrap. Freeze 4 hours.

2. Preheat the oven to 400 F. In a shallow bowl, beat the eggs. Place the flour on a large plate. On another plate, combine the breadcrumbs, panko, 2 tbsp. Parmesan, 2 tbsp. pecorino, and the remaining Italian herb blend and garlic and onion powders. Unwrap the chicken; remove from the pans. Coat the chicken in the flour, then the egg, then the breadcrumb mixture. Transfer to a baking sheet.

3. Set a rack inside a rimmed baking sheet. In a skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high. Cook 1 chicken round, turning once, until golden, about 4 minutes. Transfer the patty to paper towels. Repeat with the second chicken round. Transfer both to the rack.

4. Combine the remaining cheeses. Spread the marinara on the chicken, leaving a 1-inch border; sprinkle with the cheese mixture. Bake until the chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes.