Pantry Favorites – Chicken Parmigiana

Freezer Pantry

This pantry favorite makes use of my freezer pantry. We eat a lot of chicken and turkey, so whenever my local supermarket has either on sale, I try to stock up. They also have a clearance section, and I check it whenever I shop. I’ve been able to score organic products at half their original price. On a recent trip, I found a package each of organic chicken legs and thighs. I paired them with my homemade spaghetti sauce and cheese to make my quick and easy version of Chicken Parmigiana.

In addition to meat, my freezer pantry houses packages of frozen vegetables, shredded cheese, pre-chopped vegetables (onions, carrots, green/red pepper, yellow/green zucchini squash)*, and homemade sauce. Pulling these ingredients out of my freezer pantry the night before, made it easy for me to create this Sunday dish on a weeknight. With a glass of red wine, it makes a perfect comfort meal on this blustery winter night. (This is also a great dish for company).

Here’s how to make my quick and easy Chicken Parmigiana:

An assortment of chicken legs and thighs (I used 5 pieces, but you can base the amount on the size of your family)

  • 1 32 oz. jar of spaghetti sauce (I used homemade sauce – I make a large batch of it and freeze in large square containers. I used one container for this dish). You can jazz the jar sauce up with some herbs (basil, thyme, rosemary, parsley) if you want. Dry is ok if you don’t have fresh.
  • Assorted cheeses – I combined leftovers of 1/2 package of shredded mozzarella and about a 1/4 package of a shredded parmesan-provolone-mozzarella mixture.
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Seasoning (I used Abobo all-purpose seasoning, black pepper and paprika – use whatever seasonings you prefer)

Preheat oven to 350.

If your chicken is coming straight from the package, wash and season. (Before freezing, I wash and season my meat with Abodo and pepper and wrap it in freezer paper. Then I store the packages in plastic freezer bags. This allows me to take advantage of sales and buy in bulk and when I’m ready to cook, I just pull out a package to thaw in the refrigerator. If you own a vacuum sealing machine, I’m jealous. That is my next purchase. After unwrapping the thawed package, I sprinkle some paprika (helps with browning) on the chicken pieces.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large frying pan. Add 3-4 pieces of chicken skin side down (don’t crowd) and let brown. Repeat on the other side. Drain on paper towel.

Place browned chicken in a baking dish. Pour sauce over chicken, making sure that each piece is well coated. Bake covered with foil at 350 for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven. Sprinkle with cheese and bake for another 10 minutes until cheese is melted.

I served the chicken on a bed of whole wheat spaghetti, and because the spaghetti didn’t provide enough carbs (haha), I had a piece, ok 2 pieces, of garlic bread with a glass of red wine.  YUMMY!!!

Optional: green salad and/or garlic bread

*See article, The Pantry

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