Tender, juicy, crispy boneless crusted chicken breast covered with melted mozzarella cheese with tender-crispy broccoli cooked on a single sheet pan.
This is a huge hit with my family, you’ll want to add it to the dinner rotation.
I’m really not a chicken lover unless it’s a fried chicken breast, I’ve looked high and low for (ways to make boneless chicken breast tastier).
I finally found one method that mostly does the trick for me. I say mostly because 8 out 10 times it works and the times it didn’t work is only because the chicken still wasn’t quite as tender as I like it to be.
I use two 1 gallon storage bags the extra bag is for double lining in case of leakage. I usually brine at most 3 good size boneless chicken breasts.
So if you’re doing a whole chicken or just have more chicken breasts you would want to use a large container or a deep pan.
After placing the chicken in the bag fill it with water, normally I fill the bag about 3/4’s of the way full. After adding the chicken to the bag then add:
1/4 cup coarse kosher salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 or 2 dried bay leaves (optional)
3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed (optional and use whatever amount to your liking)
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns (optional)
1 sprig of fresh rosemary (optional)
You can add additional kosher salt, but you should add the same amount of sugar as you do salt this gives you the benefit of tenderizing without getting a salty or sweet taste.
I’ve seen chefs go back and forth online over the issue of adding salt and sugar together as a brine. Some say there is no reason to add sugar except for flavor.
I was watching a cooking show, can’t remember which show, but the chef stated that equal amounts of sugar and salt canceled out the two flavors of salty and sweet, but the two ingredients together were a great tenderizer. I’ve used this method for the past 3 years and it works for me.
I brine the chicken for about 12 hours, but you could brine for up to 24 hours.
As long as you add water and equal amounts of sugar and salt, the other spices are optional. You could squeeze some lemon juice, orange juice, or even apple juice, etc.
After brining my chicken I rinse the breasts before drying and cooking. Be sure to dry your chicken before cooking (I use paper towels to dry my chicken) drying is very important, especially so if you’re frying the chicken.
The best chicken that I’ve personally eaten was a bone-in breast brined in pickle juice and other spices then grilled at a very high temperature. This chicken was made by my son-in-law and It was delicious.
For the Chicken Parmesan with Broccoli on a Sheet Pan recipe:
One note before digging into this recipe, I often purchase several different kinds of packets with seasonings, there are tons of flavors inside these packages.
Using these packets of seasonings as your seasoning is a fraction of the cost as opposed to having to buy every individual seasoning of a single recipe. I got this tip years ago probably eleven or twelve years ago from watching the Food Network channel, I believe it was Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade.
Also, I don’t measure too much when I’m cooking. Many if not all, aside from baking, all other recipes can be tailored to your taste.
1 or 2 package McCormick® Chicken Parmesan One Sheet Pan Seasoning Mix
3 to 4 chicken breasts*
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon or a little more granulated garlic
salt and pepper to taste*
3 tablespoons oil, divided*
1/2 cup to 1 cup traditional Ragu Spaghetti Sauce or more if you’re cooking more than 3 chicken breast
1/2 cup or more of shredded mozzarella cheese or more depending on how cheezy you prefer
1 package of frozen broccoli florets or fresh broccoli florets
Preheat oven to 450°F. Empty Seasoning Mix into a shallow dish. (I don’t have a meat tenderizer mallet, so I take a hammer wrap the end in foil, place the chicken in a storage bag then pound out the chicken breast until it’s about 1/4 inch thick)
Brush chicken with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Coat evenly on both sides with Seasoning Mix.
Place chicken on a large shallow foil-lined sheet pan sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.
Place the broccoli in a large bowl. (I use Sam’s frozen broccoli it’s all florets and no stems) Add oil and toss the broccoli, then salt and pepper to taste (I add granulated garlic to the broccoli). Regardless if I use Sam’s frozen broccoli or fresh broccoli I boil it first before arranging the broccoli on the sheet pan with the chicken.
Bake until chicken is cooked through or reaches a temperature of 165. Remove from oven. Spoon sauce evenly over chicken. Add the mozzarella cheese. Bake 5 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. I removed it from the oven when my chicken reached 165 degrees.
* I SKIP on adding any additional salt to the chicken if brined
* I use olive oil, but you could use whatever oil you prefer
* If you have more than 3 chicken breasts you would want 2 packages of the McCormick seasoning