Rachel Getting Hungry: Chicken Parmesan Sandwiches

by Rachel on February 25, 2011

Last night was the first time I’ve cooked a real dinner in more than a week. I’ve made dinner, yes…but a spinach and feta omelet every single night isn’t quite the same as a home-cooked meal. I needed to make something with an actual recipe.

I wanted it to be meaty. And saucy.

I’ve only had it a few times in my life, but I had a feeling that chicken Parmesan was the way to go. And I felt confident once I’d decided to modify Cooking Light’s healthy oven-fried Chicken Parmesan recipe slightly and then top it with the Eat, Live, Run chicken Parmesan pepperoni twist.

I was fantasizing hardcore about my saucy, cheesy chicken creation for a good hour, but something was bothering me. I just had no desire to make it with pasta. That just sounded so…blah.

I really wanted it…on a sandwich?

It just sounded better that way but…is that even a thing???

Or was putting in on a bun going to make me half-white trash?

I asked the Twitterverse. They said I should go for it. I briefly considered that maybe all bad, trashy decisions start with group approval in this same way…but then I went ahead and risked it. Because I may love good food, but I love all food. And that includes trashy food.

This is How We Do It

Combine 1/4 cup flour, 1/2 tsp oregano, and 1/4 tsp of salt in a shallow dish. Crack two egg whites into another shallow dish. And then put about 3/4 cup panko in another shallow dish (all my shallow dishes are now in the dishwasher). Take four 6-ounce chicken breasts and cut them in half at a diagonal. Take them through your shallow dishes: flour mixture, then egg whites, then panko, coating on all sides along the way. Set on a plate.

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil on the stove over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and fry lightly for 2-4 minutes (probably more like 4 minutes; just check it so it doesn’t burn!). Remove from the pan, add 1 more tbsp olive oil, and add the chicken back to the pan, frying the opposite side for another 2-4 minutes. Once it’s crispy and golden, snuggle the chicken pieces in a baking dish and cover with 1/2 jar of tomato sauce and top with about 3/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese and 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese. Then top with pepperoni.

Pop it in a 450 degree oven and bake for 18 minutes.

Right before it’s finished, steam some veggies and top with butter and then split open a white sub roll. Depending on the size of your chicken pieces, you may have to cut them again slightly, but you should be able to fit two diagonal-cut pieces on the roll.

It. Was. So. Good.

And not really trashy at all, right?

I loved it. Eric loved it.

The chicken was tender and juicy and the pepperoni added a little kick. It was super filling and very satisfying. It was good enough to stand alone without any carb, but on a sandwich was the perfect way to eat it last night.

The moral of the story: Even if it seems trashy, if you’re craving it in your buns, then you have to slip the meat into your buns.

Question of the day…what is your favorite “trashy” food? You know, that thing from your childhood that you love, but then you tell someone about it, and they wince and shame you for it? No judgments here!

{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lauren at Keep It Sweet February 25, 2011 at 9:59 am

This looks delicious, my husband would LOVE if I made this for him! I don’t really have any meals that are trashy, unless my love for boxed mac n cheese counts:-)


2 Rachel February 25, 2011 at 10:02 am

I think with boxed mac and cheese it all depends on the brand and the type of cheese, whether it counts. I’m not going to get all political here, but the kind with powdered cheese is totally in a different class than the kind with the cheese in a foil packet. Just sayin’.


3 Jaclyn February 25, 2011 at 10:04 am

Cheez Doodles–the Wise brand in the red bag with ’80s looking triangles all over it–are my weakness. I loved them when I was a kid and I love them now. I’ve learned that I just have to avoid them at all costs, because I can eat a whole bag in one sitting.


4 Diane February 25, 2011 at 10:06 am

I always get side-eyed when I indulge my occasional craving for Sno Balls. yes, I know they are ridiculously fake. But COME ON. How can you resist something like that? I was Googling them just now, and came across the giant version: http://www.slashfood.com/2006/05/16/food-porn-giant-sno-ball/. MARRY ME.


5 Katie February 25, 2011 at 10:08 am

Haha, why is a chick parm sub trashy?! Maybe it’s regional but I feel like it’s an Italian restaurant standard. Who cares, looks perfectly saucy and cheesy.

Fave trashy meal is something called a garbage plate, literally. It’s a Rochester culinary ‘specialty’ and involves macaroni salad, fries or homefries, hot dogs or cheeseburgers, covered in diced onions and hot sauce. It’s usually served at dirty, greasy diners at 2-3 AM and results in major heartburn. Entirely worth it.


6 Rachel February 25, 2011 at 10:09 am

Haha I don’t know, I just felt turning a fine pasta dish into a sub seemed trashy!

And that garbage plate? Holy hell. Sounds great.


7 Lea February 25, 2011 at 10:10 am

My favorite trashy food (pretty much my favorite food in the whole world, really) is cheese sauce; specifically, queso sauce and nacho sauce. Damn, that stuff is delicious, delicious crap. I mean, at least queso dip has some real ingredients in it, unlike that unholy brillant-yellow liquid plastic-y stuff of sporting events and movie theaters. I do make a health-ified up queso “spread”, but it’s not the same. It never will be. Bastard faux nacho sauce.


8 Erin February 25, 2011 at 10:16 am

That really is a thing! At least I’ve seen chicken parm subs on a lot of menus. And it really does look better than on pasta. So chewy and saucy looking.
I have come to fully embrace trashy food. I was scared of it, I think, but now I believe all food has a time and place. At the top of my list is fried mac and cheese bites. I start begging for them when it’s one of *those* nights. They are a rare allowance, but so worth every trashy bite!


9 Kelsey May February 25, 2011 at 10:33 am

HAHA I think the only trashy thing about the post was your meat in the buns comment!

This recipe sounds SO good.

And I’m pretty sure that trashy food is almost always the yummiest kind. Have you ever had boo fries in New Orleans? (French fries topped with roast beef gravy and cheddar cheese). So trashy, and so delicious.


10 Chrissy (The New Me) February 25, 2011 at 10:50 am

Cool Whip. Once, I heard Jeff Foxworthy say that you know your a redneck if all your tupperware says “Cool Whip” on the side. All I have to say to that is, “OOPS!” :)


11 Alexandra February 25, 2011 at 10:58 am

That looks so tasty and satisfying. I love a good saucy-cheesy mix. I recently made chicken parm with eggplant slices (2-in-1 dish). I feel like adding veggies makes it less of an indulgence. One of my favorite “trashy” foods is Disco Fries aka Rock’n’Roll Fries, Gravy Fries, etc. These babies are smothered in cheese and then topped with gravy. YUM.


12 katie February 25, 2011 at 11:04 am

When I was growing up we used to have (at least what I consider to be) the most white-trash meal ever… Hot dogs, potatoes, peppers and onions all fried up in a pan together. Bonus points for the little burnt pieces that stuck to the pan.
With copious amounts of ketchup.

And to be honest, it was so good!


13 Bess February 25, 2011 at 11:08 am

One of my random favorite foods is hush puppies…hard to find these days though!


14 Jasmine @ Eat Move Write February 25, 2011 at 11:27 am


I love spam. I know it’s complete trash, plus it’s meat, which I don’t eat anymore. But, still, I secretly covet it. :p


15 Bri February 25, 2011 at 11:34 am

ah how could you have never had a chicken parm sandwich?! chicken parm, eggplant parm, meatball parm…. its all better on a long italian roll!! ….and now i want one…


16 Jennifer February 25, 2011 at 12:05 pm

“Even if it seems trashy, if you’re craving it in your buns, then you have to slip the meat into your buns.” Classic!

I am making that dinner soon! (As in, when I get my next paycheck…though, I do have pepperoni and sauce…all I need is Panko, rolls, and chicken. Hmmm…Sunday night dinner it is!)

My fave trashy dish: Velveeta Cheese and Shells. My mom used to make this with boiled hot dogs (I know, blech!) whenever we had a babysitter when I was little. I still love those cheesy shells and the way the hot cheese would sneak inside the folds. Yum!


17 Maggie February 25, 2011 at 12:39 pm

First I have to say I don’t think a chicken parm hero (aka, on a roll) is trashy at all! It’s on the menu of every (casual) Italian restaurant I’ve ever been to (and I’ve been to a lot!). I see it as an Italian-American staple.

And yours looks delicious.

I’d say my favorite trashy food is definitely tater tots. So good!


18 mel February 25, 2011 at 12:57 pm

I discoverd my trashy food at a bbq 3 summers ago. A “fry salad”: greasy fries + salad + ranch dressing on top. Done n done!


19 Blog is the New Black February 25, 2011 at 1:04 pm

Looks AWESOME! Yum.


20 Kaytee February 25, 2011 at 1:12 pm

Oh definitely pizza bagels. Even when I make them myself with quality ingredients, I cannot help but think of Bagel Bites! I don’t care what anyone says, freezer food with its own jingle is trashy.


21 Christie February 25, 2011 at 1:25 pm

I told you it was a good idea lol :) My husband first had those at TGIFridays and they were delicious! So that is now his favorite meal ever.

Favorite white trash meal from childhood? Frozen chicken patties on a hamburger bun with a slice of Kraft American cheese singles, with a side of Seyfert’s BBQ chips.

I totally want that now


22 Taryn February 25, 2011 at 1:32 pm

Hey, there’s nothing trashy about a chicken parm sub! I have worked at a number of Italian places and they ALL offered it, unapologetically. It’s pretty normal fare in my neck of the woods.

If it’s delicious, I have a hard time calling any food trashy! That being said, my favorite trashy food is deep-fried anything, particularly Twinkies. Oh my my my.


23 Clare @ Fitting It All In February 25, 2011 at 2:26 pm

Oh gosh, I used to LIVE for melted kraft cheese sliced over leftover plain rice from the Chinese restaurant. Gross, right?


24 jenna February 25, 2011 at 2:52 pm

i JUST made meatballs and tomato sauce into a sandwich. i was going to put them over spaghetti squash, but i still had french bread from making the breadcrumbs. so meatball sub it was!

i always got pizza subs at subway when i was younger. i’m generally too embarrassed to get them now when i’m with people, but sometimes i just cannot resist.
hot dogs, when done well, are pretty much one of my favorites- especially ballgame hot dogs.
actually, i love any kind of trashy food.


25 Bridget@PavementandPlants February 25, 2011 at 4:27 pm

I love soft boiled eggs with noodles and salt and pepper. I didn’t eat a lot of meat when I was younger because I didn’t like it, so my mom would make me that because it was easy! It’s comfort food to me


26 B. February 25, 2011 at 4:36 pm

1. Doritos two-way bag with the Spicy Buffalo/Ranch flavor
2. Velveeta melted with store brand salsa- QUESO!
3. Frito Twists in Honey Barbeque flavor
4. Ore-Ida fries dipped in ranch and/or caesar dressing
5. Anything dipped in ranch, the loving reminder that I am from Michigan.
(6. Pizza dipped in ranch.)


27 jessi February 25, 2011 at 7:05 pm

i live in pittsburgh, pa (i’m a transplant from the South) and let me just say that chicken parm sandwich is an option on EVERY menu here. doesn’t matter what kind of restaurant, these people love their chicken parm. also, another “pittsburgh thing” is that they put french fries on ALL of their salads. defeating the purpose of a salad? yes. does the healthy eater in me pretend to hate it? yes. do i secretly, absolutely love it? most definitely!

my favorite trashy food: ramen noodles, chicken flavor with only a little broth, please :)


28 Ashley February 25, 2011 at 7:09 pm

I’m a western Pennsylvanian living in Florida and yes, french fries on salads are totally the norm! Please tell me you love Primanti Bros. sandwiches.


29 jessi February 25, 2011 at 7:12 pm

girl, how could you not?! that may also be one of my fave trashy foods. my husband got food poisoning last year (we narrowed it down that it probably came from primati bros) but it will not keep us away :)


30 Ashley February 25, 2011 at 7:08 pm

That looks amazing!!! I remember when that was posted on ELR.


31 Alexia @ Dimple Snatcher February 25, 2011 at 8:29 pm

baked macaroni pie + mashed potatoes has fueled my greedy since i was a little girl on the island. and mostly, anything pasta.


32 Krista February 25, 2011 at 9:21 pm

I like to trashify anything and everything with a little ketchup. Eggs, mashed potatos, a gourmet steak. Give. Me. Ketchup. My grandpa used to yell at me for ruining the food he made with ketchup. I hope it makes him feel better that I now do it to the food I make too!


33 Sable February 26, 2011 at 12:23 am

Girl I am Italian and let me tell ya, my Nana who was FROM Sicily made chicken parm sandwiches a few times ;) Def not trashy.

I don’t know if this is trashy or not BUT… when I was a kid my parents made me mayonaise sandwiches — just mayo slathered on plain white bread. It was not until I was watching The Office and caught the reference thta I realized my parents made me those not because they were delicious (they WERE) but because we were poor. Um, embarrassing. Did I mention I’ve told SEVERAL people that my favorite childhood food was mayo sandwiches? Gah.


34 Tenecia February 26, 2011 at 10:18 am

I have two favorite trashy foods….

Carne asada fries = french fries + carne asada + pico de gallo + cheese + guacamole + salsa verde
Hot Tots = tater tots + ketchup + Frank’s Hot Sauce



35 Amy February 26, 2011 at 10:23 am

I’ve been known to eat cold turkey dogs straight out of the package. I dare you to come up with something trashier!


36 Jordan February 26, 2011 at 2:18 pm

Taco Bell.

I DON’T EVEN CARE how blatantly nauseating it is, it makes my heart sing.


37 Jodi February 27, 2011 at 1:18 am

My Mom wasn’t the best cook, but she made one dish we all loved and she called it (no joke) “Crap In A Pan”. It was anything we happened to have around – veggies, deli meat, left over steak or chicken, and diced potato sautee’d together, then she would break eggs over it and smother the whole thing with cheese. The dish was a hot mess, but I still make it every chance I get – served with good ol’ fashioned Heinz 57 ketchup.


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