Review of Blue Apron's Stove Top Chicken Parmesan
Blue Apron’s take on chicken parmesan does a good job of bringing out the flavors of the traditional recipe, while providing a few shortcuts that save a ton of time, and make the dish far simpler to cook.
Instead of using a whole chicken breasts, Blue Apron provides several chicken tenderloins, which are much smaller & faster cooking. They work well, but the risk, is they are also much easier to overcook, compared to a whole chicken breast.
The other big short cut, and the one area for improvement, is the tomato sauce. The recipe has you making the sauce from scratch, using a can of tomatoes and some Italian seasoning; and cooking both for <10 minutes. Honestly, I was expecting the sauce to be terrible. It wasn’t. It was actually pretty tasty, but did lack some of the complex layers of flavor that will develop from a slow cooked, more traditional tomato sauce.
I really liked the fresh zucchini, mixed with the pasta to get more vegetables in the meal, and the directions had me cooking the zucchini well - a seared exterior without over cooking. And as with any pasta, Blue Apron’s directions led me to cook the pasta al dente - absolutely critical in my book.
Overall, I the ingredients that came where simple, clean and fresh. The directions were clear. And the recipe itself delivered on flavor - more so than I expected.
Thumbs up on this one.
When I unpacked all the ingredients from this box, everything was there and everything looks fresh. On the vegetable front (usually my biggest concern), the zucchini did looks like it was banged up a little bit, with some small nicks and cuts. However, it was still firm, fresh and tasted like a zucchini. Chopped up, I had no idea it had looked like it’s gone a couple rounds in the boxing ring.
The other ingredients for this dish included:
- Chicken Tenderloins
- A can of crushed tomatoes
- Elicoidali Pasta - This is like penne, but a bit bigger
- 2 peeled garlic cloves
- The aforementioned zucchini
- Parmesan Cheese
- Red pepper flakes
- Fresh mozzarella cheese
- Italian Seasoning
For those not familiar, chicken tenderloins, are actually a part of the chicken breast. They are a separate muscle, that is often peeled off, and sold separate from the main breast. Each one is about an ounce. Like the zucchini, they seemed a bit beat up...slight tears, but once cooked, that wasn’t noticeable.
Everything else came intact and looked good. Fully acknowledging I’m a parmesan cheese snob, the one ingredient I didn’t love was Blue Aprons parmesan cheese. As opposed to the real deal, this parmesan cheese was not too flavorful.
Making the dish
The recipe card for this dish is broken up into 6 main steps:
- Prep the ingredients
- Cook the zucchini
- Cook the pasta
- Start the chicken
- Make the sauce and finish the chicken
- Finish the pasta & serve your dish
Each of the above steps has 2 or 3 “sub-steps” which are clearly articulated. And I found these directions to be clear, and well ordered. An advanced cook, can probably shuffle things around a bit, but I actually found their directions to be ordered very well, and to be quite clear.
If you have the time, and a good powerful broiler at home, instead of covering the pan to melt the cheese, I might put the pan (if oven proof) under the broiler. That will quickly melt and brown the cheese, which is one of my favorite parts of chicken parm.
Blue Apron’s Stove Top Parmesan delivered a very nice tasting meal. Of course, the whole dish is smothered in melted mozzarella cheese, so it’s starting off right with just that. Absolutely critical in my opinion, is make sure the pasta is cooked al dente. And seasoned properly with salt, pepper, and the parmesan cheese sprinkled over the top.
That pasta is a needed counterpoint to the tangy tomato sauce. The tomato sauce is very good for what is essentially a 15 minute sauce. The seasoning packet did a lot of “mature” the flavors. However, it is a 15 minute sauce...a far reach from a rich tomato gravy made by a loving Italian grandma.
I’d say this is a very good and very simple way to do a chicken parm. Comfort food through and through. The kids would love it. I’d happily serve it to my family...but I might find a different Blue Apron recipe if I’m working to impress my friends!
Blue Apron's Stove Top Chicken Parmesan
This is a perfect chicken parmesan when you need a simple version, that you can cook in way less than an hour.
All the ingredients where fresh and tasting. The instructions where clear, and things took just about the time suggested on the recipe card. The card also had some really good tips to help make sure the dish comes out better.
Obviously, you're taking some shortcuts to get thing done faster. You're not spending hours making a rich tomato sauce, or setting up a breading station to get a nice crust on the chicken. Those steps would make a richer, more interesting dish...but add hours of time to the process. Hours that many don't have.
I enjoyed cooking, and more importantly eating, this recipe. My wife and kids liked it. And I think you will too.