Easy Chicken Parmesan with Homemade Marinara Sauce


I knew it was true love when I nearly poisoned my husband (then boyfriend) with salmonella after serving him undercooked chicken, and not only did he eat the entire serving, he still wanted to date me. I knew it was true love forever when he proposed even after I almost burned down his kitchen by cooking a pizza on a paper tray in the oven. Yes, I said paper tray. Can we please move on?

After bringing my culinary ancestors much shame, I can now finally make decent meals that my friends and family can enjoy without the urge to take out a life insurance policy.


This recipe is Paleo-friendly for people on the Crossfit Football workout regimen (for power-lifting athletes looking to bulk up). It’s basically Paleo (meat and veggies) plus dairy. The chicken is moist, tender and very flavorful. This is probably the best marinara sauce and chicken parmesan combo I’ve tried.

This can be modified into a vegetarian (or lacto-ovo vegetarian) dish by substituting chicken with eggplant or Portabella mushrooms. If substituting with eggplant slices, follow the recipe below, but bake the 1/2 inch thick eggplant slices at 425 degrees for 10 minutes, turning them over at the 5-minute mark. If using Portabella mushrooms instead, cover the mushroom slices in a baking pan, bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes, turn them over and bake for another 8 minutes. The color for both veggies should be light brown.

chicken parmesan with homemade marinara sauce

Yields 4 Servings

Prep: 25 Minutes

Cook: 1Hour

Ready: 1 Hour 30 Minutes



  • 8 chicken breast tenders
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 8 cubes
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon Italian parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated mozzarella cheese


  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar (or light agave nectar or pure maple syrup)
  • 1/2 cup small onion, chopped finely in a food processor
  • 1/2 cup celery, chopped finely in a food processor
  • 1/2 cup carrots, peeled and chopped finely in a food processor
  • 1/2 teaspoon clove of garlic, chopped finely
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (or season to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper (or season to taste)
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes
  • 2 basil leaves

Directions Marinara Sauce:

  1. In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Add onions and garlic to sautee until onions are translucent (about 3-4 minutes).
  3. Add celery, carrots, salt, and pepper. Cook until vegetables are soft (about 5-7 minutes).
  4. Lower the heat to low and add crushed tomatoes and basil leaves to simmer until sauce thickens (1 hour).

Directions Chicken:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Stir olive oil, thyme, rosemary, parsley, salt, and pepper together until well blended.
  3. Brush both sides of the chicken breast tenders with salt and pepper herb oil you just made.
  4. Pan sear chicken breast tenders in large skillet (or oven-safe grilling pan) over high heat. Cook chicken until brown (about 1 minute per side).
  5. Transfer chicken to oven-safe pan already coated with olive oil (if using oven-safe grilling pan, skip this step. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil in pan, bake chicken directly in the oven).
  6. Spoon marinara sauce over and around the chicken.
  7. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese over chicken.
  8. Place one butter cube on each piece of chicken.
  9. Bake for 12-15 minutes (or until chicken is thoroughly cooked and reaches internal temperature of 160 degrees).

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