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DIY Disney: Mama Melrose’s Chicken Parmesan

Today, Chef Big Fat Panda’s DIY Disney Recipes column brings us a fan favorite today! Mama Melrose’s Chicken Parmesan! Take it away, Chef!

Mickey's Ready to Make Some Chicken!

Hello! Chef BigFatPanda here!

Again, I apologize for not posting in quite some time. My friends know the reason, and I’d like to open up to you about it as well. My Mom was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer in January of this year. She passed away on August 28th. As you may have read, she was very influential in my life (as most mothers are), but even more so when it came to her passion for cooking.

While life will never be the same, it does go on. Her name was Anna, and all prayers for her are most appreciated. I know she would love knowing she was mentioned here. Thank you!

Today we are going to make an Oven-Baked Chicken Parmesan from Mama Melrose’s at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Let’s face it, most of us go weak at the knees for a good chicken parmesan, no? I know I do. I’m always looking for that crunchy outside, tender inside and balance of cheese and sauce that can even make my non-Italian friends ask for more.

Well, look no further. If you have been reading my column, you know I tell it like it is and I can absolutely give you my seal of approval on this recipe and then some (with a few alterations). :-)

Table at Mama Melrose's in Disney's Hollywood Studios

As usual, the recipe’s instructions will be bolded for easy reference should you wish to print this out and skip my commentary. I’d like you to NOT do that since I am turning 40 in a few weeks and relish my dwindling relevancy. :-)

There really are 2 parts to this recipe: you first create the breadcrumb mixture, then actually create the dish. The recipe does not cover how to cook pasta, how to make or use canned sauce, how to clean chicken or sprinkle on Mozzarella cheese. It assumes you know these things.

Chicken Parmesan with Pasta -- Actual Dish from Mama Melrose's

I am using a canned sauce for this recipe, but encourage you to make your own if possible. Email me privately for my family recipe. Seriously, if you want a good Tomato Sauce recipe, send me an Email or tweet me @DisneyWorlds.

This recipe mostly focuses on the breading for the chicken. I must confess that I have always started with 4C Italian prepared bread crumbs and added some cheese and parsley. This is the first time I have purchased and used plain bread crumbs. It does give a more authentic flavor.

Bread Crumb Ingredients

For Chicken Breading, YOU WILL NEED:

1 ½ pounds bread crumbs
½ ounce granulated garlic
½ ounce onion powder
1 tablespoon parsley flakes, dry
¾ ounce Kosher salt
½ fresh ground black pepper
1 ½ ounce fresh grated Pecorino Romano
1 tablespoon basil, dry
1 tablespoon oregano, dry
1 tablespoon whole marjoram, dry
4 eggs
1 – 2 ounces olive oil

Most of the ingredients are straightforward. I called my friend Todd Perlmutter, who helped me locate Kosher Salt. I call him and his wife Cheryl for all my Jewish needs. If you can’t locate Kosher salt, try and use sea salt or, yes, even regular table salt if you need to.

1. Combine all ingredients (except for eggs and olive oil) and mix well

So, all those ingredients EXCEPT THE EGGS AND OLIVE OIL are just going to be stirred and mixed in a very large bowl. These are now prepared bread crumbs.

Mixed Breadcrumbs

Alterations that I would make are: tripling the amount of cheese (Pecorino Romano), garlic, and oregano – yes, I said triple. And, I would double the amount of salt. The last thing you want to do is go through all this work for a bland dinner. A pound and a half of bread crumbs is a lot.

2. Lightly beat all the eggs until fluffy. Dip the chicken into eggwash, shake lightly, and then dredge in breading.

Airy Egg Mixture

I love the way they say “dredge in breading.” Isn’t there a better word? Submerge? Coat? No, they chose dredge. Just sounds like an army sergeant wrote it. :-)

Dipping Chicken into Egg Mixture

My hands look kind of icky and it is an icky job – I mean, I was eggin’ and dredging!

Dredging Chicken

3. In a heated sauté pan add 1 to 2 oz of olive oil. Heat until hot and add breaded chicken. Cook until golden brown. Finish in oven until internal temperature is 165 degrees.

I won’t lie, I used more oil than that. I figured I’d come clean ’cause you would call me on it. I made sure I coated the bottom of the pan about a quarter of an inch. The chicken became a gorgeous golden brown.

Cooking Chicken in Oil

Now, the recipe did not specify how high to heat the oven or for how long to keep the chicken in. I went with 350 degrees for about 15 minutes. No, I did not test them with a thermometer, although that is recommended for safety. I split the thickest one open (off camera) and saw that it was fully cooked through, perhaps even a tad overcooked. I like my chicken fully cooked. Some restaurants have served me chicken about 10 seconds from pink and although that is considered acceptable, I rather have it more cooked than not.

Fully Cooked Chicken From Oven

I put some sauce and Mozzarella cheese on the breasts and put them back in the oven for about 7 minutes. They were amazingly delicious and very moist and tender. I would make this again in a heartbeat.

The truth was, they didn’t even need the sauce or cheese – they were fantastic as-is with the breading. Like an Italian Fried Chicken with a nod to the Southerners.

Finished Dish

Please, as always, let me know what you think. I won’t be gone for this long this time. I enjoy sharing these recipes with you!

BigFatPandaLogowhite

Thank you for allowing me into your kitchen and keep wishing on those stars. Big Hugs!

Thanks!

Chef BigFatPanda
@DisneyWorlds

Thanks again, John! Watch for Chef BigFatPanda’s column posts right here!

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20 Comments

  1. Okay – Whose dish looks better? The actual one from Mama Melrose up top or ours at the bottom? Just sayin! LOL

  2. The chicken parm at Mama Melrose’s is my favorite dish and yours looks like it came out nicely!

  3. Greg says:

    So sorry to hear about your mom. It’s great that you can honor her here. It’s good to have you back. I’ve been on Atkins for the last several months, so no chicken parm for me. At least not for a while. But I’ll bookmark this and come back when I’m eating more carbs.

  4. Lynne says:

    Looks wonderful! and would love to have your sauce recipe and will be emailing you… So glad to have you back, and very sorry to hear about your mom.

  5. carrie says:

    Can I have you family recipie for sauce, always like to try “family” recipies..

  6. Jenny says:

    Your dish looks great! The chicken part looks identical to the mama melrose chicken! (at least from what i could tell from the picture! I kind of want to try this now :)

  7. Alan says:

    Chef – I’ve been worried about your absence and offer my most sincere condolences on your most sad loss.

    Your finished dish does look better than what I have seen served at MM.(The main reason I have never ordered it) Maybe it’s the green from the broccoli that attracts me. By the way MM is one of our very favorite places at WDW, so my opinion is fair and not colored by some dislike for that restaurant.

    I will try your version but I must warn you that my wife (who does almost no cooking) makes a dynamite chicken parmesan so an unofficial throwdown is on.

  8. Matt – Thank you – It really did taste good too!

    Greg – Good Luck! and THANK YOU!

    Lynne – Thank you, you got it!

    Jenny – Thanks, yes it was very similar.

    Alan – Thank you, I am not going up against the wife :) but I bet she has a similar process. my favorite dish at MM is actually their Penne Ala Vodka – I really love it. Will be going there for my birthday in a few weekends to have it :)

  9. TraciLeigh says:

    John…so sorry about your mom. I have missed your presence online and I’m happy to see you have returned! {{hugs}}

    …and my family loves chicken parm…so I will absolutely be “borrowing” your recipe (I too have always gone w/ seasoned breadcrumbs and called it a day…no more!)

    I think this will be our Sunday dinner this week :)

  10. canadianslovewdw says:

    first… sorry to hear about your mom .. moms are great… second.. never been to mama melrose. and now i dont have to i will just make this at home…

  11. So many people are requesting the sauce recipe – so here it is. I am led to believe it is a traditional common recipe (maybe a prep difference) but the simplicity is what makes it shine.

    Ingredients 
    2 tablespoons Virgin Olive Oil (or extra)
    3 Onions (Vidalia if available)
    2 minced Garlic Cloves
    2 6 ounce cans of Tomato Paste
    2 28 ounce cans Crushed Tomatoes
    2 teaspoons Salt
    4 ounces Fresh Basil

    How to Prepare Traditional Italian Tomato Sauce

    1. Saute chopped Onion and Garlic in Olive Oil for about 10 min stirring frequently
    2. Add paste and saute for an additional 10 min stirring frequently
    3. Add in half of the fresh Basil
    4. Add Crushed Tomatoes and 1 can of water
    5. Simmer on low heat for at least 1 hour (add salt to taste) stirring occasionally
    6. Add rest of Basil and more water if desired for looser consistency – simmer an additional hour with or without Meatballs

  12. amy says:

    I’m so sorry to hear about your mom. My grandmother passed away in August as well. My prayers to you and your family. Now…your chicken looked amazing!!! Im not a fan of tomato sauce, so I’m going to try it with Alfredo!

  13. JoAnn says:

    Sorry to hear about your mom.

    The chicken parm looks delicious.

  14. Nice job, yours does look wayy better! I loved seeing Chef Mickey helping you! I hope your mom enjoys being with you all the time now and watching you cook (and whispering in your ear when you are doing something wrong:)

  15. Amy – sorry about grandma, it’s hard – hmm, let me know about the Alfredo

    JoAnn – thank you

    CuteEverything – Thank you, sometimes I think that does happen actually :)

  16. What else would she rather be doing:)

  17. Reading John’s recipes at 4:30am is not a good idea… Now I am hungry and craving something most places near me don’t serve until dinner!

  18. Dana – I have, in the past, way past, been up at like 3am and started cooking things that are considered “day to make” dished LOL

  19. Janice says:

    Oh hon,
    My condolences and huge hugs to both you and your family.
    That’s a nasty, vicious disease (it took my mom at age 59!) so I have an idea what you are going through.
    Huge hugs and a great big sprinkling of pixie dust!
    Janice

  20. Joshua Drury says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. I love this site and all the recipes on it. I’m going to Disneyland for my birthday and my fiance & I’s anniversary at the end of this month. I’m so excited that EVERYTHING is Disney for me right now. I just fixed the Ratatouille recipe from the movie last week, it was absolutely delicious. I’m making this recipe for dinner tonight. THANKS FOR HELPING ME BRING DISNEY MAGIC INTO MY KITCHEN!

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