The Frozen Ingredient You Can Use For Quick Chicken Parm

Even people who love to cook are constantly on the lookout for simple ways to make preparing meals a faster process. And that search extends to the famous Italian-American dish, Chicken Parmesan. The combination of breaded chicken, melted cheese, and rich tomato sauce is as savory as it is satisfying, but this beloved dish can take longer to cook than the average person has time for. And the prep time can feel even longer if you're in a rush to get dinner on the table.

One go-to hack that should be in everyone's arsenal is using a store-bought frozen, breaded chicken to drastically cut down on the time it takes to get chicken parm from the cooking pan to the dinner plate. Purists of this comforting dish might cry out, "Blasphemy!" at the suggestion to cook from frozen, but laboring over the from-scratch version when you're short on time could also be frowned upon.

Frozen chicken is a huge time-saver because it's already breaded and, in many cases, fully cooked; it just needs to be heated up. Be sure to check for a label on the packaging to verify that yours is the fully cooked variety; otherwise, make sure you cook it at least to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-recommended 165 degrees Fahrenheit. You can use frozen chicken patties, breaded cutlets, chicken tenders, or even chicken nuggets to make the perfect speedy meal. And you won't have to sacrifice flavor in exchange for the time you saved.

Making the frozen chicken work for you

When it comes to making your chicken parm with frozen chicken, you really have two options. The first is to place the chicken on the bottom of a baking dish, top it with sauce and cheese, and cook it in the oven until properly heated throughout. This will be the absolute fastest method. However, it's important to keep in mind that frozen foods release more moisture than their fresh counterparts, so this method might compromise the crispy texture that you were expecting from your chicken.

If you're worried about ending up with a soggy chicken parm, you can first cook the chicken using your preferred method and then cover it with a warmed sauce and cheese before putting it under the broiler for a quick minute or two to get it all melty and ready to enjoy. Even with the extra step, you'll save a ton of time by cooking from frozen.

No matter which method you go with, the resulting dish will turn out delicious. Plus, you'll have the added satisfaction of serving up a comforting and family-friendly meal, even on the busiest of nights.