Chicken Parmigiana – My Way

2 May

I decided to make chicken parm for dinner, and I have no regrets.  Who could feel badly about eating a crunchy chicken cutlet with homemade sauce smothered in creamy mozzarella?  No one.  I don’t indulge myself like this often; usually my chicken breasts have no breadcrumbs or cheese.  But every once in a while, a crunchy cutlet hits the spot.  I start my chicken off on the stove top, get it all delicious and golden brown in a saute pan with a little bit of extra virgin olive oil.  I finish it off in the oven.  That’s how my grandma did it, so that’s how I do it.  A little bit of sauce, a couple of slices of cheese and it’s goooooood.  Really good.

I usually make a thin spaghetti to go along with the chicken, but the boyfriend is pasta-challenged.  He can’t twirl, and no matter how many tutorials I give him, watching him eat long pasta is painful.  My Sicilian grandfather would not be impressed.  Because I wanted to enjoy my meal without cringing, I chose to make a whole wheat penne.  I’m a big fan of whole wheat pastas; they taste the same to me, and I enjoy the extra health benefit.

This isn’t one of those recipes that has a recipe.  But I can tell you what I usually do and guesstimate at ingredients and hope that works for you.  I tend to use thin-cut chicken breasts.  Not only is it quicker, but well, it’s quicker.  I like having a thinner cut for a cutlet; it just works better.  I put some grated Parmigiano Regianno cheese in my already seasoned breadcrumbs.  It adds another kick of flavor and crunch to the cutlet.

Another helpful tip is that when you’re cutting a softer cheese like mozzarella, put it in the freezer for about five-ten minutes.  It makes it so much easier to cut, but make sure you don’t forget about it!  I always put it in the freezer when I start the cutlets on the stove, and then take it out when the chicken is browned.

How do I know this is good?  Well, I’m telling you it is, but I got a resounding “babe, this is AWESOME” from the boyfriend.  And after eating three helpings, I’d say that proof is as  good as any.

Ingredients:

1 package of thin-sliced chicken breasts

1 1/2 c seasoned bread crumbs

2 eggs, beaten

1/2 c grated Parmigiano Regianno cheese

1 package of fresh mozzarella

1 box pasta

16-18 oz sauce (homemade or a jar works)

salt and pepper

Extra virgin olive oil

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Put on a pot of water to boil for the pasta.  Once the water comes to a boil, drop in the pasta and cook until al dente (to the tooth, or just a little bit of a bite; not mushy).
  3. Mix the bread crumbs and cheese on a large plate.  Beat the eggs in a bowl and add a little pepper.
  4. Season the chicken breast with salt and pepper.  Dip it in the egg, then dredge the breast through the bread crumbs and cheese.  Put it on a clean plate.
  5. Heat the olive oil (about 1 tbsp) in a skillet.  Add two chicken breasts (don’t overcrowd the pan) and cook until golden on each side (about 2-3 minutes per side).
  6. Transfer the chicken breasts to a baking sheet lines with foil.  Spoon some sauce over each chicken breast (how much depends on your taste).  Then add the mozzarella (again, how much depends on your taste).  If you don’t want to slice cheese, you could use a bag of shredded cheese.
  7. Bake for about 10 minutes – until the cheese is melty and the sauce is bubbly.
  8. While the chicken is in the over, you can heat up the remaining sauce and toss it with the pasta.
  9. Enjoy!
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