Do you have a hard time getting your kids to eat vegetables? In a perfect world, we would all have angel children that ate balanced plates at every meal, never threw food on the floor, and would help clean up. But reality…at least MY reality…is the polar opposite.
Most red pasta sauces, or marinara, have lots of veggies, including onion, garlic and tomatoes. This recipe builds on that, and adds fresh green bell peppers and zucchini to the mix. Blending up the sauce after the vegetables soften gives the sauce a smooth texture that is appealing to picky eaters.
Serve this with a simple salad of arugula tossed with Meyer lemon olive oil, balsamic glaze, and fresh ground sea salt and pepper.
Hidden Veggie Chicken Parmigiana
- 3 Chicken Breasts – Sliced into tenders
- 1/2 Cup Breadcrumbs
- 1/2 Cup + 1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese, Divided
- 2 Eggs, Beaten
- 1/4-1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil (for Pan Frying)
- 1 Cup Fresh Mozzarella, Crumbled
- “Hidden Veggie” Sauce
- Leftover oil from pan frying chicken
- 1 Red Onion, Diced
- 1 Green Bell Pepper, Diced
- 1 Zucchini, Diced
- 1/4 Cup Red or White Wine
- 1/4 Cup Chicken Stock (or 1/2 Cup if you are omitting Wine)
- 15 oz Can Crushed Tomatoes
- 1 Tbsp Tomato Paste
- Salt to taste (usually about 1/4-1/2 tsp)
- Preheat oven to 375 Degrees F.
- Beat eggs. In a separate container, combine breadcrumbs and 1/2 cup parmesan cheese. Slice chicken breasts. Dredge chicken tenders through eggs, then breadcrumb and parmesan mixture.
- Heat a pan over medium-high heat and put 1/4 cup oil into pan. Once hot, place chicken into sizzling oil and cook on each side until browned, about 3-5 min per side. Remove and place on paper towel lined plate.
- Once chicken is cooked, in the same pan, cook onion for about 3-5 minutes, add salt. Once it starts to brown and soften, add bell pepper and cook for another 3-5 minutes. Add zucchini and cook for 3-5 minutes. Add chicken stock, wine (if using) and crushed tomatoes. Bring to a boil and stir in tomato paste. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for about 10 more minutes.
- Transfer sauce ingredients to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Put about 1/2-1 Cup of sauce in the bottom of a large glass baking dish. Top with chicken, then fresh mozzarella crumbles, and finally the rest of the sauce. Top with 1/4 Cup parmesan cheese. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Top with fresh basil and serve over pasta of your choice.