I’m a little bit proud of myself for this recipe. I’d be willing to bet that a bag of frozen popcorn chicken has never been elevated to such a fantastic meal before.
In fact, it tastes homemade. It tastes like you’ve spent quite a long time simmering and seasoning in the kitchen. Certainly, longer than the 15 minutes it actually took.
So what’s the secret? Fresh garlic cooked in olive oil.
Fresh garlic is quick to use and it makes a huge difference in how your food tastes. There’s really no comparison between fresh and the jarred kind. And garlic powder and fresh garlic aren’t even the same thing.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not above using the jarred garlic and I have garlic powder in my pantry too. But if you want real, homemade flavor you have to use the real deal.
And if you get a great garlic press, it will be just as quick as popping the lid on the jar of garlic. I promise! Once I got a decent garlic press, I never bought the jarred kind again.
My press comes from Pampered Chef. But there are other good ones on the market. This Oxo Steel Garlic Press is $19.99 and gets good reviews on Amazon. This Zyliss Susi 3 Garlic Press also gets good reviews and it only $14.12. I promise you, the cost will be worth it. I thought it was a bit too much before I bought one, but I use it all the time and the fresh garlic really is fantastic in recipes.
Okay, back to the recipe today. You really can make this Popcorn Chicken Parmesan in the amount of time it takes to boil the pasta.
You’ll use that garlic press to crush several cloves of garlic and cook them in olive oil. Add a handful of shredded Parmesan cheese and toss with the garlic and oil. Then toss the frozen popcorn chicken with the garlic and cheese, before popping it in the oven to bake.
While the chicken bakes, you’ll put together a quick homemade sauce with crushed tomatoes and Italian herbs. Add the chicken back into the sauce once it’s baked and serve it over the hot cooked pasta.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 2-3 Tbs. olive oil
- 4-5 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1 bag frozen popcorn chicken
- 28 oz crushed tomatoes
- 1 tsp. basil
- 1 tsp. thyme
- 2 tsp. oregano
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 lb. linguine, cooked to package directions
- extra Parmesan to garnish
- Cook garlic in oil in a large pot over medium heat.
- Add Parmesan and stir to combine.
- Pour in frozen popcorn chicken. Toss to coat with garlic and cheese. Don't worry if the cheese clumps.
- Put the coated chicken on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.
- Pour crushed tomatoes into the pot you cooked the garlic in.
- Add herbs, salt and pepper. Simmer over medium heat.
- When chicken is cooked, remove it from oven and add it to sauce, stirring to coat.
- Serve over hot pasta.
- Top with extra Parmesan.
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