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Sunday Suppers with Lunchbox Love–Chicken Parmesan

My whole family likes chicken parm and pretty much everyone who comes for dinner like chicken parm. The combination of fried chicken cutlets, tomato sauce, and melted mozzerella–what's not to like? Since it's not the fastest dish to make, I often double the recipe and freeze a casserole for an easy and delicious weeknight meal. This recipe, from Simply Recipes, includes a recipe for a homemade sauce but feel free to use your favorite jarred sauce.

Chicken Parmesan

(image and recipe from Simply Recipes)


1/2 large yellow onion
1/4 cup olive oil
2 medium garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes (we use Muir-Glen)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Pinch of sugar

4 chicken breast cutlets (1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds total)
2 eggs
1 cup breadcrumbs (we make our breadcrumbs running pieces of stale French bread through a blender)
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
8 ounces mozzarella cheese, sliced


Prepare the sauce. Coarsely grate half of an onion. Grating the onion will create smaller onion pieces and release more of the onion's juices, and is faster than chopping. Heat olive oil in a saucepan on medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add the minced garlic. Cook until fragrant, about a minute more. Then add the tomatoes, oregano, red pepper flakes, and sugar. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to maintain the simmer. Cook, uncovered while you prepare the chicken (about 10-12 minutes).

Preheat oven to 400°F. Working one at a time, place a chicken cutlet between two layers of wax paper (or plastic wrap). With a meat pounder, pound the chicken pieces to flatten them to an even thickness – between 1/4 – 1/2 inch. (If you don't have a meat pounder, you can use a rubber mallet, an empty wine bottle, or a heavy rolling pin.) Salt the chicken pieces well.

In a shallow bowl (large enough to dredge the cutlets), mix together the breadcrumbs, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan, and pinch of salt. In separate shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs.

Heat 1/4 cup of olive oil in a large sauté pan on medium-high heat. The oil should be shimmering, not smoking. Dredge the chicken pieces 1 piece at a time first in the egg mixture, then in the breadcrumbs. Then lay the pieces in the hot sauté pan. Turn the heat to medium, then gently fry the cutlets until they are golden brown, about 3-4 minutes per side.

Spread enough tomato sauce to thickly coat the bottom of 9×13 casserole pan or baking dish. Once the cutlets are browned on both sides, arrange them on top of the tomato sauce in the baking dish. Place sauce over each of the cutlets. Sprinkle the tops with sliced basil. Then top the cutlets with slices of mozzarella and the remaining 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese. 6 Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until the mozzarella begins to brown.

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