(Trader Joe's) Chicken Parmesan

Chicken Parmesan has always been a go-to restaurant favorite at our place. Every time Chicken Parmesan craving strikes, we used to head over to a nearby Olive Garden for our periodic Chicken Parmesan fix. There are some dishes one for some reason thinks must be too elaborate and time consuming to make at home for our busy life-styles; Chicken Parmesan was one such misconception for me...

With a toddler at bay, we are entering a phase of being very wary of fine dining places. Combined that with the fact that we were never the "takeout-types" means I now have an extra incentive to take a crack at making our usual restaurant favorites at home - there is always a bright side to everything in life, right?!

I call this recipe "Trader Joe's" Chicken Parmesan because 1) ingredients picked up from TJ's makes this "recipe" an assembly task really rather than a real cooking task and 2) I just absolutely love shopping at that place! (I am not getting paid to advertise for TJ's, just a very happy customer!)

The hands-on time in this recipe is around 15-mins which consists mainly of pre-assembly preps while unattended cooking time is 30-mins - so as long as you have the right ingredients at hand, fear no more - a restaurant style Chicken Parmesan is less than an hour away. And, making at home has his advantages too - you can customize it just the way you like. I usually skip the mozzarella cheese and pan fry the chicken cutlets to be extra crunchy. 

Toss together a quick simple green salads while the chicken is baking, and there you have it - a true restaurant style meal in 1/4th the budget and under an hour :)

Serves 4
6 chicken tenders (or 3 chicken breasts halved and mashed to same thickness)
1 bottle of Trader Joe's marinara sauce
1 packet dried pasta - I used Trader Joe's garlic basil linguini
1Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3Tbsp Sunflower oil (or vegetable)
3/4C powdered parmesan cheese
1/2C cornflour (or Trader Joe's panko breadcrumbs)
1 large egg
salt, pepper to taste


  • Pre-heat oven to 425F. 
  • Pre-heat a large cast-iron skillet on high heat.
  • Set aside a large oven-safe cassarole pan and pour entire contents of the marinara sauce into it. Set aside.
  • Heat water in preparation for boiling pasta.
Prepare the chicken:
  • Mix cornflour with 1/2C parmesan cheese in a large dish.
  • Lightly beat an egg and pour in another large dish.
  • Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper on both sides.
  • Dredge each chicken piece in egg mixture on both sides. Then dredge it in cornflour/cheese mixture and set aside.
  • Add safflower oil in heated cast-iron skillet. Let oil heat for a few minutes.
  • Then add chicken pieces one by one.
  • Let the chicken pieces brown on one side; then flip them over and let them brown on another side (2-3 mins on each side). Gas burner should be on high at this stage.
  • Once browned on both sides, take pieces off the skillet and place them over the marinara sauce mixture. Lightly place chicken pieces over marinara sauce. sprinkle some more cheese on top (optional) and transfer to oven.
  • Continue to bake for 30mins or until chicken is cooked through and juices run clear.
  • Remove from oven and cover with an aluminium foil and set aside.
  • Cook pasta per package direction.
  • Drain water and set aside. 
  • Add olive oil to cooked pasta and toss lightly.
  • To serve: add little pasta to a plate, then add chicken piece and serve some marina sauce on top.