Creating family meals with nutrition in mind adds another consideration to a daily task that is often stressful enough.
However, making health-conscious decisions each evening at the dinner table doesn’t have to mean turning away from your loved ones’ favorite dishes.
Simple swaps to more nutritious ingredients paired with healthier preparation methods, such as baking chicken rather than frying it, can help you make more nutrition-based choices. This Baked Chicken Parmesan offers the best of both worlds, providing a 30-minute meal that allows you to spend less time in the kitchen without forgoing healthy habits.
Made with Parmesan cheese, this recipe provides an excellent source of calcium. Dairy foods, such as cheese, are an irreplaceable part of a balanced diet that offers a valuable source of essential nutrients. Plus, because it’s made using just a handful of ingredients, it’s a budget-friendly option that doesn’t break the bank and doesn’t call for seldom-used spices or seasonings you may never use again.
Baked Chicken Parmesan
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
2/3 cup whole-wheat panko breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning medley with garlic
3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, divided
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
3 cups prepared tomato and basil sauce, warmed, divided
1 pound thick spaghetti, prepared according to package directions
Preheat oven to 400 F. Line rimmed half sheet pan with parchment paper; set aside.
In shallow dish or pie plate, combine breadcrumbs, Italian seasoning and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, stirring with fork until blended. Pour melted butter in separate shallow dish or pie plate.
Working with one chicken thigh at a time, dip each side in melted butter to coat. Press butter-soaked chicken into breadcrumbs, turning to coat well on both sides. Place breaded chicken on prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining chicken thighs.
Drizzle remaining melted butter over breaded chicken. Bake 8 minutes. Turn chicken over and bake 7 minutes to crisp other side.
Briefly remove chicken from oven. Spoon two tablespoons pasta sauce over each chicken thigh. Sprinkle remaining Parmesan cheese evenly over chicken. Return chicken to oven and continue baking 5 minutes, or until cooked through.
Serve Baked Parmesan Chicken over cooked spaghetti topped with additional pasta sauce.
Find more family meal inspiration at milkmeansmore.org.
Recipe by Kirsten Kubert of “Comfortably Domestic” on behalf of Milk Means More
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