Walnut Crusted Chicken Parm with Zoodles

½ cup whole walnuts
½ cup panko breadcrumbs
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon italian seasoning
salt and pepper
6 chicken beasts (about 1½ pounds)
2 tablespoons oil
6 slices fresh mozzarella cheese
½ cup marinara sauce (or more!)
3 zucchinis (I spiralized them using this spiralizer)
basil, for serving

PREP: Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 425ºF. Pulse the walnuts in a food processor until they break down into panko-sized pieces. In a shallow bowl, combine the ground walnuts, panko, parmesan cheese, garlic powder, italian seasoning, a big pinch of salt, and black pepper. Toss to mix.
CHICKEN:Heat the oil in a large oven-safe skillet over medium high heat. Dredge 2-3 pieces of the chicken in the prepared panko mixture and add the chicken pieces to the skillet. You can also do this in 2 skillets to make the process a lot faster. Cook for about 3-5 minutes per side. The breading should be browned on the outside, don’t worry if the chicken isn’t cooked through, we’ll finish it off in the oven.
BAKE: Place the skillet in the oven and allow the chicken to cook through for 4-8 minutes. You’ll know the chicken is done when it feels firm to the touch. Top with a spoonful of marinara and a slice of the mozzarella cheese. Switch to the broiler and broil for about 1 minute or until the cheese gets nice and bubbly.
ZOODLES: While the chicken is baking (before the cheese step) add 1 teaspoon of oil to a skillet over medium heat, add the spiralized zucchini and allow to cook for 1-2 minutes. Drizzle a tablespoon of water and once it starts to sizzle cover with a lid for 1-2 minutes. To finish, serve the zoodles topped with additional marinara (if desired) and prepared chicken parmesan on top. Sprinkle with basil if desired.

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