It’s about to be a whirlwind these next few weeks, so I’m trying to pile up as many blog posts as I can. I’ve got training for a new editing system at work (plus moving over files from the old system to the new), a quick work trip to Memphis, registry/wedding stuff to do, and by the time all of that is said and done May ratings will be here.
Researching, cooking, and writing up recipes has always been my outlet for the stresses of everyday life, but sometimes those stresses can get so overwhelming that I can’t do all the fun things that I like to do. Life can be such a party-pooper sometimes.
In the meantime, I’ll leave you with some pretty amazing recipes. Seriously, sometimes I really nail it—like with this recipe. Lasagna alone is satisfactory enough for most taste buds. But chicken parmesan lasagna? Holy cow, someone call an ambulance. I took a bite and I think I died and was resurrected by the power of cheese.
This recipe includes my better-than-the-jar marinara sauce. It’s incredibly easy to make and it tastes better than anything you can buy at the store (at least I think so). All you need is two cans (one of tomato sauce, one of petite diced tomatoes), tomato paste, garlic, basil, oregano, and crushed red pepper flakes.
The secret ingredient? Brown sugar. Unlike Nicki Minaj, I put a smidge of sugar in my tomato sauce. Sugar really brings out the tomato flavor, plus it tempers the saltiness of the canned tomatoes. Bon a’petite(tomato!) Okay. Even I can admit that was an incredibly bad pun.
Onto the cheese: this baby is packed full of three cheeses, because I really can’t help myself. The obvious: ricotta cheese. You can’t have lasagna without that creamy Italian God of a cheese.
Next up: mozzarella, because you really can’t have chicken parmesan without mozz. Finally, Parmesan. Because, well, you know. It is in the title.
Now, let’s talk chicken. I use chicken breast tenderloins mainly because they’re cheaper, but also because they are easier to handle. To bread them, I use a 50/50 blend of Italian bread crumbs and plain panko. The panko is crispy and the Italian breadcrumbs are plain ol’ tasty. Try mixing the two and you’ll never go back to just one or the other.
So many phenomenal flavors are in this lasagna. If left to my own devices, I could’ve eaten half the pan at once. Thankfully, I didn’t do that.
…because I don’t think I could make it through the weekend without having these leftovers.
Chicken Parmesan Lasagna
A gooey, cheesy lasagna packed full of homemade marinara and crispy breaded chicken.
For the marinara:
- 1 (14.5 oz) can tomato sauce
- 1 (14.5 oz) can petite-diced tomatoes
- 1 TBS. tomato paste
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 TBS. olive oil
- 2 tsp. oregano
- 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp. brown sugar
- handful of fresh basil, roughly chopped
For the lasagna:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 eggs, divided
- 1 cup Italian bread crumbs
- 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
- 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast tenderloins, cubed
- 3 TBS. olive oil
- 1 box lasagna noodles (the boil-before-baking kind)
- 3 cups shredded mozzarella
- 3 cups ricotta cheese
- 1 TBS. dried parsley
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese
- fresh basil, torn, for topping
- Make the marinara: In a large skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Add garlic and saute until just fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomato tomato paste and stir, cooking for 1 minute. Add tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, oregano, red pepper, and brown sugar. Stir to combine. Set burner to medium-low and simmer, without a lid, for 20 minutes. Add basil and set burner to low to keep warm.
- Set up a dredging station: Put flour in a small bowl, whisk two eggs into another small bowl, and then combine both breadcrumbs in a large bowl. Dredge cubed chicken breast, a few at a time, first in flour, egg then the breadcrumb mixture. Meanwhile, cook lasagna noodles according package instructions. Drain and set aside.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add breaded chicken cubes to hot oil and fry until golden brown on both sides, about 5-6 minutes. Add more oil if needed. Transfer to a paper-towel lined plate to drain.
- Whisk together ricotta, parsley, and one egg in a small bowl.
- Assemble the lasagna: In a 9×13″ baking dish, pour a little of the marinara sauce into a thin layer on the bottom. Add a layer of lasagna noodles (my pan fit three sheets). Spoon about 1/4 of a cup of the ricotta mixture ontop, covering all of the noodles in a thin layer (remember: the ricotta acts as a glue). Top with a layer of chicken, then a sprinkle of Parmesan, then a handful of mozzarella. Pour marinara over the top, then repeat the layers, starting with the noodles and making sure to end of mozzarella. Top with torn basil.
- Cover dish with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Uncover and continue baking for 10-15 minutes or until bubbly. Cut into squares and serve.
Marinara first! In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat, and then add garlic. Saute until just fragrant, about 1 minute, and then…
Add tomato paste and stir. Cook for one more minute and then add the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, oregano, red pepper flakes, and brown sugar. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes.
Add basil and stir. Reduce burner to low to keep warm.
Set up a dredging station for the chicken: small bowl for flour, whisk together two eggs in another small bowl, and then a large bowl with the two breadcrumbs combined.
Bread the chicken: first throw a few pieces in the flour bowl, then the egg wash, then breadcrumbs.
Fry the chicken tender nuggets in oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until browned on both sides, about 5-6 minutes. Transfer to a paper-towel lined plate to drain.
Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions. Lasagna assembly time! Pour a thin layer of the marinara onto the bottom of a 9×13″ baking dish. Top with a layer of noodles (mine held three).
In a small bowl, combine ricotta with parsley and an egg. Spread a thin layer (about 1/4 cup) onto the noodles, making sure all of the noodles are covered. Ricotta IS the glue for lasagna.
Top with a layer of chicken.
Sprinkle parmesan over the chicken and then sprinkle a handful of mozzarella too. Top with more marinara, and then repeat layers (starting with noodles), making sure to end with mozzarella. Top with torn basil.
Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes. Uncover and continue baking for 10-15 minutes until bubbly. Cut into squares and serve.
Eating lasagna is a messy sport.
But man…is it a delicious one.