Just as cheesy and kid-friendly as the original, this Dump-and-Bake Healthy Chicken Parmesan is an easy dinner with no prep work necessary! Skip the breading, the frying, and the slicing — just place all of the ingredients in one dish and let the oven do the work. It’s a fast weeknight meal that the entire family can agree on!
A lot of you share one of my biggest struggles as a home cook: preparing a single meal that can accommodate a variety of schedules. Whether you have little ones who want to eat at 5:00 p.m., a spouse who works late, or multiple sports and activities to contend with in the evening, many of us find that we’re serving dinner in stages over the course of the day. By 9:00 p.m. it can feel like you’re a short-order cook at the local diner. Not good!
When I initially made this dinner, I assumed that we would all be eating together as a family. The boys had a snack after school to tide them over, and about the time that I was draining the pasta and pulling the Chicken Parmesan out of the oven, I received a text from Keith. He was stuck on a conference call at the office and wouldn’t be home until after 8 p.m. (when the kids were already in bed). Unfortunately, this is not an unusual occurrence.
While I highly value the process of coming together for a family meal at the end of the day, the reality is that at least 3 or 4 nights per week I’m feeding everyone in shifts. I know that I’m not alone!
This dinner is perfect for those nights when you just want to cook once, even if your family members are coming and going at different times. Since I didn’t want to boil another batch of pasta for Keith’s separate meal, I decided to serve his Chicken Parmesan on a sandwich roll. I layered the pan sauce, the chicken, and some extra mozzarella on a crusty hoagie roll, popped it in the toaster oven for a few minutes at 350 degrees, and he came home to a delicious, hot, Chicken Parmesan Sub. I was pleasantly surprised by how well the chicken reheated for Keith, making it a restaurant-quality Round 2 Dinner that required almost no additional effort on my part. That’s what I call a weeknight meal that we can all agree on!
Want to see how it’s done? Check out this quick video!
Dump-and-Bake Healthy Chicken Parmesan
- 6 small boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 24 ounces total)
- 1 (16 ounce) jar marinara sauce (I like to use a brand with no added sugar)
- 6 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Italian seasoning
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Basil or additional fresh herbs, for garnish
- Optional: cooked pasta, for serving
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Spray a large baking dish (about 9-inch by 13-inch) with cooking spray. Spread half of the marinara sauce in the bottom of the dish. Add the chicken on top of the sauce. Sprinkle chicken with Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper, to taste.
- Pour remaining sauce over chicken. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. If you are using larger chicken breasts you will need to increase the baking time to at least 30-35 minutes.
- Remove foil, place mozzarella slices and grated Parmesan on top of chicken. Return chicken to the oven (uncovered) for an additional 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
Cooking for Two? Cut the ingredients in half and bake the chicken in an 8-inch or 9-inch square baking dish.
Want to prep ahead? Place all of the ingredients in the dish, cover, and refrigerate until ready to bake. You can also freeze the dish (before baking) for up to 3 months — just make sure that it’s wrapped tightly to prevent freezer burn.