Dana’s Lightened Up Chicken Parmesan (Freezer Friendly!)

by Dana S on March 4, 2011

I never really liked chicken Parmesan. A thick dried out chicken breast smothered in a so-so sauce and topped with too much chewy mozzarella cheese. And loaded with calories to boot! Then I played with a freezer friendly recipe to cut down on excessive calories and boost the favor. Now I am in love. I hope that you enjoy it as much as I do!

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I first cut those massive chicken breasts into more reasonable portions (around 4-5 oz each). I then dip each portion in a beaten egg, then into Italian bread crumbs. Place on a foil lined cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until done. Baking instead of pan frying is a great way to cut down on calories.

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After the chicken is done cooking, I make this simple but rich tomato sauce. When I first saw this recipe on OAMM, I couldn’t believe that only tomato sauce, garlic powder and a touch of butter would be enough. I was wrong. :) This sauce is really good! You could skip the butter for even leaner sauce….but I wouldn’t!

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I transfer the chicken portions to the pan that I want to freeze or make the dish in. Then I pour all that yummy sauce over the top.

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I add a fat pinch of Parmesan cheese over each breast. Most chicken parm recipes use both mozzarella and Parmesan but I found that using just Parmesan was enough. Plus, it saved more calories.

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You can bake this now or freeze!

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Lightened Up Chicken Parmesan

Adapted from – Sauce recipe from OAMM

Yield – 4 servings

Preparation Time – 15 minutes

Cooking Time – 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3/4-1 lb Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast ($1.99)
  • 1 egg ($0.10)
  • 3/4 c Italian Breadcrumbs (or homemade if you would like) ($0.25)
  • 32 oz tomato sauce ($1.20)
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder ($0.02)
  • 2 tbsp butter ($0.20)
  • 1/3 c (or less) shredded Parmesan cheese ($0.50)
  • Serve with whole grain pasta and veggies ($2)

Directions

  • Cut chicken into 4-5 oz pieces.
  • Dip chicken in beaten egg, then dredge with breadcrumbs.  Place in a foil lined baking pan.
  • Mix tomato sauce & garlic powder and heat to a boil.
  • Simmer 10 min or until thick.
  • Stir in butter until melted.
  • Cover chicken with sauce and add a pinchful of cheese to each piece of chicken.
  • Cover pan with foil.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove foil and cook for an additional 10 minutes or until chicken is done.
  • Serve Lightened Up Chicken Parmesan with whole grain pasta and a side of veggies.

Cost $6.26

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Brandi March 4, 2011 at 5:38 pm

I never knew making chicken parm could be so easy, it is one of my favorites at a local restaurant. I haven’t had the courage to attempt making it at home. I will most definitely be trying this one out soon and a plus, this all ingredients that I keep on hand!

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Dana @ Budget Dietitian March 4, 2011 at 6:00 pm

I hope that you try it! I have been on a kick to try restaurant copy cat recipes to save some coin. :)

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Elyse Doerflinger March 4, 2011 at 5:43 pm

Omg… That sounds amazing!

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Maureen March 4, 2011 at 5:45 pm

Since I was hospitalized for pneumonia in February for over 10 days – the Doctors said I need to stay away from processed foods – so we have been scouring your website for recipes – so glad you offered this one up – we LOVE Chicken but we too were not a fan because chicken breasts can dry out so easily – we tried this with boneless/skinless chicken thighs (we are a dark meat kinda family LOL) and it was delicious – even my extremely picky 7 year old tried it and liked it!!!!

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Polly March 4, 2011 at 7:56 pm

Maureen,

I was hospitalized for 8 days in December with pneumonia. It was probably one of the scariest and most painful hospital experiences I have ever had. (And I’ve had 6 C-sections!)

So glad you made it out (or escaped…as I called it when they let me out)!

And Dana, this recipe looks very easy…I want to try it. When we freeze it, would we put it completely together and freeze? Then, would we thaw it out and use the same cooking directions? Thanks!

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Dana @ Budget Dietitian March 5, 2011 at 9:25 am

Polly, you can freeze it altogether. I do thaw it overnight in the fridge and then bake as directed. Because the chicken is already cooked, I wonder if you could experiment with baking it frozen…..

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Brandi March 4, 2011 at 9:32 pm

This recipe would definitely save some $$$. I look forward to trying it out for my family. And I was wondering the same thing, would you completely prepare then freeze or how exactly would that go?

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Dana @ Budget Dietitian March 5, 2011 at 9:27 am

Competely prepare it (expect for baking it) and then thaw overnight in the fridge and bake as directed. It freezes really well.

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Joe March 4, 2011 at 9:42 pm

I have never been a fan of chicken parmesan but reading about this recpie I will try and get the wife to make this. We also like homeade tomato sauce as the jarred stuff is nasty to us.

To those wonering about freezing this dish, I believe you do assemble the dish as is and freeze. Later, place the dish in the oven and heat through. Just like if you bought a frozen meal from the store.

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Suzanne Collier March 5, 2011 at 9:24 am

My husband asked for that chicken thing with tomato sauce and cheese and there was your recipe. I’m not one for jarred sauces either but I had Trader Joe’s that someone recommended. The marinara sauce was only 1.29 and has only 1 gram of fat. It was really good. So we enjoyed that “chicken thing”!

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Dana @ Budget Dietitian March 5, 2011 at 9:26 am
Ashley@Savings in Season March 5, 2011 at 10:20 am

***WILL be making this.

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LisaE March 5, 2011 at 10:34 am

This sounds good…I will have to get around to making tomato sauce first though…lol…as I am not a fan of store bought sauce.

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Tricia (Once A Month Mom) March 5, 2011 at 10:07 pm

I love, love, love that tomato sauce. I have had the same reaction about it being so simple it couldn’t be that good, but it always amazes me. I do think the butter does make it though. :) Love your Lighter Chicken Parmesan too!

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Dana @ Budget Dietitian March 11, 2011 at 9:03 pm

Trica, THANKS for that fab recipe. And for the inspiration for my recipe. I love your site! :)

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Carrie March 8, 2011 at 12:05 pm

Yum. I am so trying this soon! Would tomato puree work for the sauce instead of tomato sauce? Weird question, but I have a huge can of tomato puree in the pantry that I want to use.

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Dana @ Budget Dietitian March 9, 2011 at 8:50 pm

Carrie-
I have a big can of tomato puree sitting in my cupboard too! :) It is different than tomato sauce.
Check out the ingredients:
tomato puree: tomato concentrate (water, tomato paste)
tomato sauce: tomato concentrate (water, tomato paste), salt, onion powder, garlic powder, citric acid, natural flavors, dried bell pepper.

If you want, you could try it and add onion powder & garlic powder to taste. Let us know how it goes!

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Carrie March 14, 2011 at 7:20 am

I might try that. I just wanted to use the tomato puree. I’m not even sure why I bought it in the first place-probably for a recipe I meant to try! I am adding this recipe to my weekly menu plan this time. However, I like to use the frozen, boneless, skinless chicken breast tenders from the grocery-I like the size and thickness of them better than chicken breasts. Anyway, if I wanted to freeze this, would I have to bake it first then freeze it, since I’m defrosting the chicken?

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Charli March 8, 2011 at 2:47 pm

Thanks for this recipe!!! The sauce was so yummy and easy to make. Will be making this again!

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Dana @ Budget Dietitian March 9, 2011 at 8:44 pm

Glad you liked it! It is super easy!

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Tammy March 28, 2011 at 11:22 am

If you have an Aldi near you, try their plain Marinara ~ not very oily, cheap and one of the better jar sauces I’ve tried…second, and if I’m feeling “rich”, Barilla’s Tomato and Basil sauce is not bad, either!

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Pam October 7, 2011 at 7:15 pm

I tried this recipe, and we loved it. My husband is pretty picky and he even enjoyed it. His only suggestion was to add some flavor to the chicken itself. So next time I will probably salt and pepper the chicken before dipping in the egg. Also I might add some seasoning to the bread crumbs such at garlic, pepper, and Italian seasoning.

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Dana @ Budget Dietitian October 7, 2011 at 8:35 pm

Glad that you both liked it. Great seasoning ideas! :)

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Patrick Del Rosario November 25, 2012 at 1:29 am

I am a chicken lover, and tried this one it was awesome, but instead of breast I used boneless thigh. I am looking forward for new chicken recipes that you will post.

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