Tuesday, May 11, 2010

chicken parmesan

Last week, I made spaghetti. I had to leave for work right after dinner, so the process was a bit chaotic. I put green beans in the microwave and bread in the toaster (to make a quick version of garlic toast)... and I absolutely forgot about the bread. The next day, I discovered the toast. I decided I would have to try my hand at homemade breadcrumbs. The toast has been sitting on the counter since then. Needless to say, it was nice and stale. Perfect, really.

The idea for this recipe came from my sister-in-law's post (find it here). Mine is certainly not her healthy version, but BY GOLLY- it is delicious! Try it out. I think you'll like it.

RECIPE: Chicken Parmesan

4 pieces whole wheat bread, toasted
1/2 c. shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. {ish?} freshly ground pepper
2 Tbsp. EVOO
1 1/2 lbs. chicken breast (or 3 small)
2 eggs
1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. Canola/vegetable oil {I think; I didn't measure.}
1 1/2 c. Mozzarella cheese
spaghetti noodles
spaghetti sauce (about 2 c.)
1 can green beans

Preheat oven to 450F.

Pound the chicken breasts until they are about 1/2 inch thick. This step is important. It not only tenderizes the chicken but also thins it out so that it cooks uniformly... and doesn't burn on the outside before it's cooked through. {I like to do this in a gallon-sized Ziploc bag... using a rubber mallet.}

*Note: I had two massive chicken boobies that I cut into four pieces. I only ended up using three since I didn't quite have enough breadcrumbs. Hence the three breasts recommendation.

Using a food processor, pulse the toast, 1/4 c. Parmesan cheese, garlic, S&P and EVOO - in that order- until breadcrumbs form.
Prepare your assembly line of bread-crumbing ingredients. Dump the flour onto a plate. Beat two eggs and a splash of water in a bowl of some sort. Dump your super-savory breadcrumbs onto another plate.
{Like so}
Heat your Canola/vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Meanwhile, dredge each chicken breast in flour, shake off excess; slosh around in egg mixture, coating fully; then press into breadcrumbs, pressing crumbs into chicken until absolutely coated. Fry the prepared chicken in oil (again, in a large skillet over med to med-high heat) for about 3-4 minutes per side, or until golden and fabulous {see below}.

Note: Get your water boiling now for your pasta. Don't forget to salt the water.
Place the fried chicken on a cooling rack on top of a cookie sheet {or stone, if that's what you had out before you thought of the cooling rack idea}. This will help keep the breadcrumbs crispy later on.
Top liberally with Mozzarella cheese and lightly with Parmesan cheese. Throw some pepper up on there if you feel the need.
Bake at 450F for about 10 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and browned.

Note: The bake time for the chicken perfectly coincides with the spaghetti cooking time. So as soon as you throw the birdies in the oven, start cooking your pasta. I'm a horrid judge of pasta quantities, so use your own {better} judgement. Cook according to package instructions.

Also, open up a can of green beans. Drain 'em a bit, then dump 'em in a bowl. Microwave for dos minutos. Easy-peasy.

Oh, and warm up some spaghetti sauce. I did it on the stove; you could also nuke it. Whatev. But you do want it warm... so take care of that.

Once your 10 minutes are up, the entire meal should be ready to assemble. Grab a plate and dish up some spaghetti noodles. Top with sauce. Top that with your oh-so-yummy chicken. And serve with a side of green beans.

Mmm... amazing!