Chicken parmesan is one of my favourite dinners and it's actually one of the first real meals I ever learned to cook. I've been making chicken parmesan for many years and I still love it every time. Whether it's on a bun or served with pasta, you really can't go wrong.
This time I decided to try something different and make chicken parmesan as a casserole. It's really easy to make and it only takes about 30 minutes to prepare. Another 20 minutes in the oven and you will have dinner in less than an hour! You can even make this ahead and heat it later or freeze it for another day.
This casserole also makes a great one-pot dish to bring to a potluck dinner party. Just make it ahead in a baking dish, cover it, and heat it when you arrive. Or, to make it even easier, make it in a slow cooker and keep it warm until you are ready to serve.
- boneless chicken breasts
- marinara sauce, store bought or homemade
- penne or rigatoni pasta
- parmesan cheese, grated
- mozzarella cheese, grated
- Italian breadcrumbs
- garlic powder
- salt and pepper
- vegetable oil
For this recipe, I used two chicken breasts, half of a 900g package of penne pasta, one jar of marinara sauce, and about one cup each of parmesan and mozzarella cheese. This made enough casserole to serve four people with leftovers. You can adjust these amounts to fit the needs of your family or gathering. For example, If you are making this for only two people, you could use one chicken breast, about 200g to 250g of pasta, and about 1/2 cup each of parmesan and mozzarella cheese.
- Preheat the oven to 350° F and start heating a large pot of water to cook your pasta. Add your pasta when the water starts to boil. When the pasta is fully cooked, drain it and set it aside.
- Rinse the chicken breasts and cut them into strips.
- Prepare 3 seperate bowls for breading your chicken. In the first bowl add enough flour to coat your chicken and season with salt and pepper. In the second bowl whisk an egg and a small amount of water (about 1 tbsp). Use 2 eggs if you are preparing more than 2 chicken breasts. In the third bowl add your Italian bread crumbs. Season the bread crumbs with garlic powder, salt and pepper.
- First, dip the chicken strips into the flour to cover them. Then quickly dip them in the egg wash so that they are wet but not soaked. Lastly, smother them in the breadcrumb mixture until they are coated well. Use your hands to gently press the breadcrumbs into the chicken strips to make sure they are completely covered.
- Heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan at medium-high heat. Make sure you have about 1/4 inch to 3/4 inch of oil in the bottom of the pan. When the oil is hot enough (you can test this by adding a pinch of breadcrumbs to see if it sizzles), reduce the heat to medium and add your chicken strips.
- Cook the chicken strips for 4-5 minutes per side or until they are golden. You may have to cook your chicken in batches depending on how much you are making. Add more oil to the pan as needed.
- When the chicken strips are done, place them on a paper towel-lined plate or cutting board. Using paper towels is important because it will soak up any excess oil which helps keep the chicken crispy. Cut the chicken strips into bite-sized pieces.
- In a casserole dish, add your cooked noodles and a jar of marinara sauce (more or less sauce depending on how much you are making). Add grated parmesan and mozzarella cheese and blend it all together.
- Add the cooked chicken to the casserole dish and top it with more grated parmesan and mozzarella cheese.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and slightly browned.
- Serve with garlic bread if desired and enjoy!
Tips and Variations
- For extra flavor and nutrition, add some vegetables to your casserole like tomatoes, zucchini, carrots, peppers, or onions .
- To save on time, cut the chicken into bite sized pieces and cook them in oil instead of making breaded chicken cutlets. Season the chicken pieces with salt, pepper and Italian seasoning first.
- Use frozen chicken tenders or leftover rotisserie chicken to save even more time for a quick weeknight dinner.
- Garnish with fresh parsley before serving for extra color and flavor.
- Make it ahead or refrigerate or freeze it. Then simply reheat it and serve!