Cookin' for a crowd...

I'm sharing a recipe that I have made for years over on my food blog...Quick Chicken Parmesan.

I wanted to give some background on this recipe and why I developed it.

Years ago, when I had my own little small scale catering business, I had a request to serve my Chicken Parmesan to a crowd of 80 people. No biggie, my recipe was pretty simple and quick, but I wanted to streamline my process even more.

Enter my new friend at the time...Parchment Paper. I realized that I could make the dipping process go much faster by doing this: I put a layer of the breadcrumb mixture on parchment paper, dipped the chicken in the butter, placed it on the breadcrumbs, and then spread the remaining crumb mixture over the top. By placing the breasts somewhat close together, the crumbs covered most of the sides, imitating a full dip in the crumbs. Not only is this process easier, it is about 10 times as fast! And no messy wet hand/dry hand business! Doing this process allowed me to move through 80 servings of breaded chicken breasts in no time.

Additionally, I made my original long-cooking Marinara Sauce into a shortened version. I don't think it tastes much different than my original, but it sure saved me a lot of time!

I served this exact recipe last month to a group of teachers for a PTA SEP Dinner. Although I always get compliments on this sauce, one teacher made my day with her comment: "That's the BEST Marinara sauce I have EVER had in my life...and I've lived a looonnnng life!" Awesome!

I used pasta sauce that I've not tried previously, but it was on a great price break at Winco, so I went for it. I've been so pleased with it, that I plan to use it all the time now instead of the Hunts product that I used previously. I used 1 can each of "Del Monte" 'Tomato and Basil' and 'Garlic and Onion' Pasta Sauce. If you like a chunkier sauce vs. smooth sauce as your finished product, substitute 2 cans of a Fire-Roasted canned tomato (with seasonings) for one of the pasta sauces.

In shopping for this meal, I made a happy discovery that Walmart now has their own brand of Panko Breadcrumbs...both in Original and Italian flavors. I was quite happy with both types and will always use them in the future. They are nearly half the price of the name move.

If you won't be serving all of the chicken initially, it can be cooled and then frozen for up to 3 months, without sauce of course. Place a piece of wax paper between each piece, and freeze in bags. To reheat, place into a 350° oven directly from the oven and heat for approx. 20 minutes until heated through (to 165° if you have a meat thermometer).

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