Poor Man’s Chicken Parmesan

Amy‘s is one of the very first blogs I read and I can remember closely studying her posts before I made my maiden journey into Aldi.  This recipe of hers has been a hit in my family for about three years now, though I have altered the proportions over time.  We have served this to our kids from when they were babies and we’ve even made it for guests.  Don’t let the simplicity (or cheapness) fool you- this one is a universal winner and one of my definite “go-to”‘s.  Here’s how I make it, with my tweaks and years of experience under my belt ;) :


  • 1 pound ground turkey (or ground chicken)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs, separated
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • dash black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • oil, for frying
  • 3/4 cup spaghetti sauce (plus more for with your pasta side!)
  • 4 oz. mozzarella, shredded (I shred my own- here’s why.)
  • 2 tablespoons parmesan (fresh, shredded is best, but if all you have is the green can, just roll with it)



  1. Heat 1/8″ – 1/4″ cooking oil (vegetable, canola, olive, etc.) in large skillet over med-high heat.
  2. Combine ground meat, 1 cup breadcrumbs, egg, salt, pepper, and spices in large bowl.  You can do this with your hands or a large spoon- either will do the job.  Ground poultry is stickier than beef, so I sometimes prefer the spoon.
  3. Pour remaining 1/2 cup breadcrumbs on large dinner plate.
  4. Using a 1/3 cup measuring cup, scoop out portions of meat mixture and flatten into patties.
  5. Thoroughly coat each patty in the plated breadcrumbs.
  6. Once oil is shimmering, carefully place patties into pan (usually 3 or 4 will fit) and cook until crisp and brown, about 3 minutes each side.  Removed to paper towel or cloth-lined plate.
  7. After all meat has been used up and patties cooked, arrange patties on a cookie sheet or baking pan.  Top each with a tablespoon or two of spaghetti sauce.  Evenly distribute both cheeses over the tops.  (At this point, the meal can easily be tossed in the fridge until later- this is what I usually do since I love to do prep in the early mornings.)
  8. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes until heated through and cheese is melty.  Serve with your favorite pasta with additional spaghetti sauce.

Delicious!  My husband will tell you that this is the absolute best way to use ground turkey.  Honestly- even the stuff you can buy frozen for about a buck a tube turns out tasty in this one.  It is a fabulous way to stretch your dollar.


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10 comments to Poor Man’s Chicken Parmesan

  • What a great way to use ground turkey and save some $$!

  • I like this version I thnk the teens may be more apt to eat it

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  • momof3

    I’m really not trying to be a negative Nelly…but…
    I made this and as we started dinner, NO ONE said anything. Mind you, my family is quick to compliment a meal that is good, because they are not that often in my house!LOL! They want to make sure Mom knows they like something and hopefully it will get added to the regular dinner menu.

    This one didn’t get ANY comments. (They are also kind hearted for less than tasty meals ;>)) After I probed a bit I got the following:
    “It was bland.” “What seasoning did you put in there? Well, it could have used more of ALL of it.”
    Unfortunately I made a double batch. I decided to add extra seasoning to the second half and bake it, without the breading. We will probably end up crumbling it and use it in spaghetti sauce in the future. HOPEFULLY the sauce will pick up where the patties leave off…sorry!
    Just a side note, we happily use ground turkey & Aldi spaghetti sauce all the time.
    Although, we did note that the OP says that she puts it in the fridge all day…maybe that way the seasonings can get into the meat???
    Not worth all the extra work over regular spaghetti made with ground turkey IMHO…

    • I’m so sorry the recipe was a disappointment for you family… what a bummer! I’m going to have to take another look at the seasoning measurements I’ve provided based on this. Admittedly, I often cook by “feel” and just dump until it looks/smells right, so it could be that I’ve grossly underestimated what I’m actually using here. The spices in the actual meat aren’t intense, I wouldn’t say, but I’ve also never had complaints of it being bland. (I do make my own sauce… perhaps it contributes more spice???) I don’t know, but I very much appreciate you letting me know! I’ll be sure to revise accordingly.

    • Oh, good gravy, when I looked back at this, Momof3, I KNOW those measurements were way too small for what I truly do. I also add red pepper flakes. I’ve updated to a better approximation of how much I season it. So sorry yours turned out too bland! :( (This is the danger of being a “just toss it in” kind of cook… :S)

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  • This was great! I used seasoned breadcrumbs and adjusted my seasonings accordingly. DH suggested making them plain and using them for chicken sandwiches, etc. This is going on my freezer meal list. Thanks!

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