Chicken Tenders Parmigiana and Bow Tie Pasta is hands down one of the fastest and easiest dinners you'll ever make! This delicious dinner requires only 5 ingredients, is ready to serve in only 20 minutes, and leaves only 2 pans to be cleaned! Chicken tenders parmigiana is 100% kid approved and the perfect meal for busy weeknights.
This quick recipe takes convenient store bought ingredients and turns them into a comforting and hearty "homemade" dinner. And there is certainly nothing wrong with a cheat night, especially when the meal is so tasty that no one will ever know. Honestly, this chicken tenders parmigiana was the best chicken parm I've ever had. Better than all the times I've made it from scratch.
I literally danced in the kitchen when I didn't have to egg wash and bread the chicken (and handle it raw!) and make sauce from scratch. With a jar of store bought sauce, a package of shredded cheese, and frozen chicken tenders, the entire preparation time took THREE MINUTES! And only another 15 to bake. That meant dinner in 18 minutes. It doesn't get much quicker than that.
Plus you need virtually no cooking skills to make chicken tenders parmigiana. It's a great dinner for parents who don't enjoy cooking, don't think they are very good at it, or just don't have the time to spend in the kitchen.
Another delight? BOTH of my suddenly ever-so-picky eaters actually ate their entire plate. I actually made this with a combination of chicken strips and chicken nuggets, just in case either one of the kiddos decided to give me a hard time. And there was no meal time fussing, no fighting and no force feeding tonight!
This chicken tenders parmigiana truly is a stress free kid-friendly dinner that is so good no one will ever know it was made entirely with packaged store bought ingredients.
Once you make this disguised-as-homemade chicken tenders parmigiana, you may never go back to making it from scratch again. I don't know if I will, and I am totally okay with that.
chicken tenders parmigiana ingredients
Chicken tenders parmigiana requires just 5 everyday ingredients:
- frozen chicken tenders (or nuggets for younger kids)
- your favorite jar of marinara/pasta sauce
- shredded mozzarella cheese
- parmesan cheese
- your choice of pasta
I used mostly chicken tender strips but added some chicken nuggets for the baby, who is still getting used to different food textures. I knew she liked nuggets and that they would probably be a little easier for her to chew than the tenders, and she devoured them!
For the sauce, use your favorite jarred spaghetti sauce. I had a giant bag of my homemade tomato sauce in the freezer that I use for lasagna and meatballs, so I used that. Feel free to also garnish it with fresh or dried basil or parsley.
We like chicken parmigiana with bow tie pasta because bow ties are my daughter's favorite. But any pasta like spaghetti, fettuccine, linguine, cavatelli will work. I find bow ties easier for kids too, because you don't need to cut them up and they are easier to pick up with a fork.
how to make chicken tenders parmigiana
The first step to making this 18-minute meal is to bring a large pot of salted water to a boil so you can cook the pasta while the chicken tenders parmigiana is baking. Make sure to preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Second, spread about ¼ cup of sauce on the bottom of a glass baking dish or casserole dish.
Next add the chicken strips or nuggets.
Now top with the remaining sauce.
Then layer on the mozzarella cheese and sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top.
Bake for 15 minutes and then sprinkle basil or parsley on if using once you remove it from the oven.
And while the chicken tenders parmigiana is baking, cook your pasta according to the package.
To serve, add about 1 and ½ cups of sauce to the cooked pasta and then serve the chicken tenders over the pasta. Or, you can add the plain pasta to individual serving bowls, drizzle it with sauce, and then add the chicken tenders.
Chicken Tenders Parmigiana with Bow Tie Pasta
- 16 oz bow tie pasta (or pasta of choice)
- 2 ¼ cups your favorite marinara sauce
- 12 frozen chicken tender strips
- 1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- ⅓ cup Parmesan cheese
- Preheat the oven to 400° and bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. (hint: cover the pot to bring to a boil quicker)
- Spread ¼ cup of sauce on the bottom of a 9 x 13 glass baking pan (or casserole dish), Add the chicken tenders or nuggets. Top with 1 cup of sauce. Add mozzarella cheese on top of sauce and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
- Bake for 15 minutes. While baking, cook pasta according to the package. Mix cooked pasta with 2 cups of sauce.
- Remove chicken tenders from oven and sprinkle with parsley or basil if using. Serve over the cooked pasta.
kid-friendly chicken tenders parmigiana
While chicken tenders parmigiana is already kid-friendly, you may need to make some adjustments for super picky eaters:
- remove the green garnishing for kids going through the "I hate anything green" stage
- include chicken nuggets for younger children so it's easier to chew
quick and easy kid-friendly pasta dinners
In addition to this chicken tenders parmigiana recipe, my family loves other easy pasta meals during the week. We have our rotation of kid-friendly simple and quick dinners that you should definitely try. Some of our favorites are butter parmesan pasta, kielbasa and peppers with pasta, and pan fried tortellini and broccoli.
If you loved this recipe you might also enjoy these dinners ready in 30 minutes or less:
- Butter Parmesan Pasta (cacio e pepe)
- Kielbasa and Peppers Pasta with Tomatoes and Onions
- Instant Pot Taco Pasta
- Instant Pot Fettuccine Alfredo
If you tried it and loved it, let me know! And don't forget to follow me on Pinterest.