Can you be Smart and Lazy at the same time?  Youbetcha!  I’m such a successfully “Smazy” woman when it comes to some tasks that, at times, my newly fashioned technique to make said tasks more efficient has a better/more delicious result.  Take the ole classic Chicken Parmesan Recipe.

kids helping dinner family meals chicken parmesan recipeI love a homemade crispy chicken cutlet of yummy goodness as much as the next Jane, but thinking about doing the whole three-bowl-breading process makes me wonder if cleaning my baseboards would be a better use of my time.  One night I was thinking about making Chicken Parm and decided I’d just “deconstruct” the dish and see what happened.  I’ll tell you what happened:  I’m one smazy lady, ya’ll.

One of the biggest tips I give my friends when cooking with skinless, boneless chicken breasts is to immediately cut them in half lengthwise.  So many recipes call for pounding chicken breasts to an even thickness when making anything with cutlets, but I find it is both time-consuming and messy.  If you want identical chicken pieces then go for it.  For this recipe, however, just slice them all lengthwise, aka the butterfly method, and you’re good-to-go.  I get a bowl for one of my kids to help me mix up the breadcrumbs, cheese and butter while stirring the sauce.  I’ve also been known to put herbs in breadcrumb topping as well as mozzarella.  I know.  Crazy.

While the chicken is baking, go tradish and serve with some olive oil, butter and garlic pasta or you could fix mashed potatoes with herbs like basil and oregano with some sautéed spinach, broccoli or green beans on the side.  The golden ticket to this is it’s in the oven in no time and is a huge family favorite.

Chicken Parmesan Recipe trick family dinner

Chicken Asiago/Parmesan the Smazy WayChicken Parmesan Recipe quick family dinner

2 c. sauce (your favorite marinara, a combination of pasta sauce and diced tomatoes)

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 T. fresh basil, or 2 t. dried

¼ c. heavy cream, optional

6 chicken breast cutlets, approximately 3 oz. each

1 t. each salt and pepper

1 c. shredded Asiago or Parmesan cheese

1 c. panko or regular or gluten-free breadcrumbs

4 T. melted butter

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large ovenproof skillet (10-12”), heat sauce, garlic cloves, basil and cream, if using, over medium heat.  Cook for 5 minutes stirring frequently.
  3. Sprinkle cutlets with salt and pepper.
  4. In a small bowl, combine cheese, breadcrumbs and butter.  Stir well to ensure breadcrumbs are well coated.
  5. Nestle cutlets evenly on top of sauce and top each cutlet with breadcrumb mixture evenly.  Bake for 25-30 minutes.

Jen Notes:  I also like to cook and serve in an ovenproof dish the same size as the skillet so it’s prettier on the table if I have guests.  If you notice the top is getting too brown, just put a piece of foil loosely over the top.  Finally, depending on the size of your cutlets, you’ll want to check that the chicken is cook through before serving, but always let your meats rest 5-10 minutes before cutting into it to ensure supreme juiciness.