My family loves chicken parmesan. Hubby likes to joke that when we are really tired and the pantry is empty, we always make it. Chicken parm is really a lot of work and plenty of mess, but for us it is the perfect comfort food, so the effort seems effortless. The problem comes when trying to feed the kids. Cutting up a big piece of chicken and not spilling red sauce everywhere is a challenge for mine at 7 and 10. When they were younger, it was even messier. When Ragú contacted me to come up with a #NewTraDish – a twist on an old favorite recipe – I knew just what I wanted to make: Chicken parmesan bites.
Hubby and I called up another couple that we know who also have young kids and asked if they would like to be “guinea pigs” a test a new recipe. Most of my friends know I’m a blogger, so they also know that they might become part of a blog post. And since I mostly write about food, lots of my friends have taste-tested recipes. Bless them all, because not all of my recipes have turned out as amazing as these Chicken Parmesan Bites. Someday when I’m rich and famous from selling a super-popular cookbook, I will make it up to everyone.
This recipe, though… Oh…. It turned out so good. And NOT messy for the kids.
Our friends’ kids are 5 and 3. They’re also way pickier than my kids. The girl with the curls will eat only one brand of ketchup. And she can taste the difference if you give her the wrong one. Even if she doesn’t see the label. And if you’ve ever fed a 3-year-old, you know how that goes. Even mine have turned their nose up at plenty of things they liked before or finished a meal with most of it on the floor.
Before the dinner party, I set up a fun salad bar with lots of choices. I rolled out some brown craft paper on a table and set out the lettuce, dressing, and a dozen toppings, plus a bowl of breadsticks. I wrote on the paper with a sharpie, labeling everything. In a family full of allergies, I have learned that you can never be too cautious. Plus, it looks really cute.
Chicken Parmesan Bites
- chicken breasts, cut into nuggets or strips
- mozzarella cheese, cut into nuggets
- salt and pepper
- all-purpose flour
- parmesan cheese, grated
- panko bread crumbs
- oil, for frying
- Ragú® Old World Style® Traditional Sauce
We prepped most of the food before so that Hubby could fry everything up when it was time to eat. Pour the Ragú sauce in a slow cooker and heat it on high. When it gets hot, turn it down to warm.
Cut the chicken and mozzarella into appropriate-sized pieces for your dinner guests. The kids loved them at nugget sized, but the adult would have preferred something a bit bigger, like a chicken strip. Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
Set up a dredging station with three bowls: flour, eggs, and panko. Add the grated parmesan to the flour. A few pieces at a time, dredge the cheese in the flour, then egg, then panko. Repeat the process with the chicken.
Heat a skillet with about 2 inches of oil to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Fry the chicken and cheese in small batches and remove to a plate lined with paper towels. This helps wick away most of the oil. If your oil was hot enough, the chicken won’t have absorbed very much.
We served the Chicken Parmesan Bites immediately. The kids loved dipping their bite-sized pieces in the hot Ragú sauce.
It was so good that I barely got a few photos snapped. Everyone came back for seconds. Most came back for thirds.
I’m happy to say that all four kids enjoyed the Chicken Parmesan Bites.
The adults did too. Of course, I’m glad that this dish is something that everyone likes. It doesn’t hurt that it is also relatively healthy. Ragú sauce is something I usually have stocked up in my pantry. It doesn’t have any of those weird ingredients you cannot pronounce and it’s loaded with vegetables. According to the brand, each jar of Ragú® Old World Style® Traditional Sauce is made with 11 juicy tomatoes, making it its richest, thickest recipe.
If you try my Chicken Parmesan Bites recipe, I’d love to know what you think. If you love it, be sure to pin it on Pinterest.