SMAM: Chicken Parmesan Burgers

January 11, 2013

Oh, Chicken Parmigiana, how do I love thee? I love your crisp, seasoned crust. I love your tangy, herb-studded marinara sauce. I love your ooey, gooey, decadent blanket of cheese. I love the saucy noodles that usually ride shotgun on the plate with you.

I love you. Except for one leeeeetle problem.

You are a Calorie Bomb from Hell. Yeah, I know you think you’re all sneaky, because you are chicken–boneless, skinless, chicken at that–which everyone knows is healthy, right?

You little charlatan. You…..Lothario! You seduce us with promises of lean, nutritious protein, add the enticement of a vegetable-studded sauce and then? Ka-blammo! You knock us onto our rapidly-expanding ass.

Proof: The Chicken Parmigiana entree at the Olive Garden restaurant contains just how many calories, do you think? Huh? I mean, it’s only chicken, right? Can’t be that bad? Wrong. The magic number is: 1,090 calories.

‘Tis true. You can look it up yourself. And that number doesn’t even include the salad and those Crack Breadsticks they serve. 1,090 calories for one meal is seven kinds of wrong, people!

I think I might have a single glass of wine or a Go-gurt left over in the calorie bank after eating Olive Garden Chicken Parm (no salad, no breadsticks. If I eat those, I’ve hit my calorie allotment for the whole freaking day).

But this sucks! I love you, Chicken Parm! What’s a girl–a girl with a firm eye on the size of her backside–to do?

In my case, a girl finds a really kick-butt recipe in Bon Appetit for Chicken Parmesan Burgers. A recipe which, when followed as directed, clocks in at 554 calories. Not bad! If you are serious about SMAM, or even half-assed about SMAM, you can do like I did and skip the top layer of bread (or skip bread altogether and add a side salad) and make it a knife-and-fork affair.

Any way you dish it up, it will deliver that crave-worthy Chicken Parm taste without the walk of shame in the morning.

Chicken Parmesan Burgers
from Bon Appetit
serves 4

10 1/2-inch-thick slices French bread (4 inches in diameter); 8 slices toasted, 2 slices (crust removed) diced
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese*
4 tablespoons minced fresh basil, divided, plus 12 large basil leaves
3/4 cup purchased refrigerated marinara sauce
12 ounces ground chicken (white meat)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon grated onion
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 ounces whole-milk mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
4 large radicchio leaves

Blend diced bread and Parmesan in processor to fine crumbs. Transfer to pie dish; mix in 2 tablespoons minced basil.

Mix marinara and 2 tablespoons basil in a small saucepan. Transfer 1 1/2 tablespoons sauce to large bowl. Add chicken, 1/2 tablespoon oil, onion and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Sprinkle with pepper; blend. Shape into four 1/2-inch thick patties; coat with crumbs. Heat sauce over low heat.

Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook patties until bottoms are crusty, 4 minutes. Turn patties over, top with cheese. Cook 3 minutes.

Cover; cook until cooked through and cheese is melted, about 1 minute.

Assemble burgers with bread, radicchio, basil leaves and warm marinara.


* Since there are so few ingredients in this recipe, I’m going to go all Ina Garten urge you to buy the GOOD cheese. Parmigianno-Reggiano from Italy, in the block form. No pre-shredded cheese! The already shredded kind loses it’s flavor in like, a day. Okay, enough harassin’ ya. Just go make this.

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Hayley January 11, 2013 at 6:51 am

Awesome recipe! Almost peed my pants about the “good” cheese. Gotta love Ina and her never-ending pretentious suggestions :)


Arnebya January 11, 2013 at 9:38 am

I am going to go all in and tell you about my ignorance of cheese. I used to buy block cheese for mah crackers as a snack but when it came time to cook — always with the pre-shredded. Until. Ina Garten. And The Pioneer Woman. THE GOOD CHEESE IS GOODER, YO!

Oh, the freshness I tasted after shredding my own (and the joy I felt upon the realization that Look! I already have a grater. I don’t have a clue as to why or when it was purchased but it’s here and I’ma use it.) And now you have me wanting breadsticks.


amber_mtmc January 11, 2013 at 11:04 am

What? Why do you HAVE to spoil my love for chicken parmigiani by posting its calorie count? That’s just cruel. Olive Garden you devious fatteners.

In that case, I’ll have to make this. Except I’m pretty sure in our stores we don’t have the good cheese. So, there’s that.


dawn January 11, 2013 at 11:35 am

Stunning, once again. But ,,,, what she said. In my small bedroom community far outside of Minneapolis, there will be no cheese,, in our single grocery store.

On a COMPLETELY separate note,,, I went under the knife last week. Tell husband (if you’re still married after that handicap restroom gig) that I adored anesthesia and those fabulous PCA drugs. So that kinda means I adore him. got it?? good!!
Have a terrific weekend,. Watching that game saturday??


Jennifer January 11, 2013 at 12:14 pm

So yum. This is something everyone in my family would enjoy, and it looks easy enough to make on a weeknight (or have David make on a weeknight).


BigLittleWolf January 11, 2013 at 1:41 pm

This sounds delish.

But I thought all cheese was “good” cheese as long as it isn’t TOE cheese?!?


Cathy January 11, 2013 at 2:12 pm

I have perfected the low-cal version of chicken parm. Not fried – baked. And really portion control is most important. I say get rid of the pasta too. I do my baked chicken parm with a side of broccoli. Low-carb and healthy for you.


Caitlin January 11, 2013 at 5:35 pm

i think they LITERALLY put crack in those breadsticks… ;)


Contemporary Troubadour January 11, 2013 at 6:34 pm

I’m with Caitlin on the breadsticks. And they’re UNLIMITED, in the name of all that is holy. I remember high school dates on a budget where you could make a meal of those deceptive calorie bombs by ordering just a soup on the side …


Lisa @ The Meaning of Me January 11, 2013 at 6:46 pm

Ooh, nice. Very nice. My gang – and my tuchus – will definitely go for that version.


Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes January 14, 2013 at 6:52 am

You know…. I have never eaten nor cooked chicken parmesan. *hangs head in shame*


Leslie January 14, 2013 at 7:05 am

Yikes…thats almost the amount of calories I need for my WHOLE day!
Love your Burgers!!


Biz January 14, 2013 at 3:32 pm

Oh how I love chicken parm too! Back in the day Burger King sold a chicken parmesan sandwich that I loved – a group of us 8th graders would walk there at lunch – funny thing was that I didn’t even like marinara sauce then, but loved the combo.

I am definitely making these next week for lunches – maybe sans the bun so I can have more cheese! :D


Mr TKW January 14, 2013 at 6:16 pm

I don’t feel any smaller…oh wait, I’m not the ass that you are trying to shrink?


elizabeth January 15, 2013 at 10:28 am

I’ve never had a chicken burger, but this looks damn delicious and would be a nice change-up of our normal turkey burger…


Tiffany January 22, 2013 at 6:15 am

Looks sooooo good!!!!! And you MUST have real parm…always!!!


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