Monday, June 27, 2011

Easy Chicken Parmigiana

You may think that making anything you have to cook twice would be complicated, and I can't blame you for that. I mean, just look up "Chicken parmigiana" on the interwebs; you'll immediately get 10 recipes that have 20 ingredients and take 90 minutes to make. Who has time for that?!

So here is my easy, quick and down-right delicious recipe for chicken parm. Rad Boyfriend called it the best chicken parm he'd ever eaten, including in fancy restaurants. Clearly he doesn't have an Italian grandmother, but I didn't mention that to him. Instead I said, "I know, isn't it really good?!" I'm so modest.

Step One: 
Beat the meat. You heard me. Procure 4-6 large chicken breasts, wash them, trim the fat, and put them in a plastic bag or under plastic wrap. Then beat the hell out of them with a mallet. (It's fun, trust me.) I suggest doing this atop a wooden cutting board as opposed to a plastic one. Then cut the cutlets down to a more manageable size. Thin chicken is the key to a flavorful dish, so don't skimp on the beating!

Step Two:
Get a small bowl and three large plates. (I prefer paper plates, as I hate doing dishes.) Coat the bottom of the first plate with a mixture of flour, salt and pepper. In the bowl, beat two eggs with a bit of water; this is called an egg wash. In the second paper plate, mix together some seasoned breadcrumbs, chopped fresh parsley, and a generous amount of finely grated Parmesan cheese. DO NOT SKIP THE PARMESAN! This is the secret ingredient. Remember the title of the dish we're making!

Step Three: 
Dip each chicken breast into the flour, then the egg wash, then the breadcrumb and Parmesan mixture. Set aside on the third plate.

Step Four: 
Pour a generous amount of olive oil into a large frying pan. Heat until hot, then throw in about a tablespoon of butter. Trust me, this makes the chicken golden and crispy. Place the chicken in the pan and throw some salt and pepper on top. Cook for 3-4 minutes and repeat on other side. Remove from pan and set aside.

Here's where I reveal a dirty little secret about my favorite salty seasoning. I do love me some Lawry's, but this here holds a special place in my heart:

My family has been cooking with Vegeta since I was born, despite the fact that (GASP!) it's chock full of MSG. Yup, you heard me: I eat MSG. And since I've been eating it since I was a wee lass, it's probably shaved several years off my life. (Extra points if you know what's going on here.)

Step Five: 
Moving on...

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  • Bring a big pot of water to boil for spaghetti. (Did I mention we're eating pasta with this meal? We're eating pasta.) 
  • Chop some fresh basil. 
  • Open a jar of tomato sauce. (Making your own is not that hard, but the goal here is quick and easy. My favorite jarred sauce is Trader Joe's Tomato Basil.) 
  • Either in a bowl or right in the jar, mix the fresh basil into the sauce. Trust me, basil makes the dish so much more flavorful.
Step Six:
Pour enough tomato sauce to coat the bottom of a glass baking dish, up to 1/2 inch of sauce. Leave enough sauce for pasta. Put one (and ONLY one) layer of chicken on top of the sauce. Cut big, thick slices of fresh mozzarella and lay them on top of the chicken.

Step Seven:
Put the dish in the oven on 350 for 15 minutes, or until the cheese is melty and the sauce is bubbling. Remove and serve over spaghetti.

Suggestions for side dishes: garlic bread and salad.


Easy Chicken Parmigiana Recipe
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Servings 4
4-6 chicken breasts
2 eggs
2 tbsp. water
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
1/4 grated Parmesan cheese (plus extra for topping)
2 sprigs fresh parsley
6 leaves fresh basil
1 jar tomato sauce (extra if you like lots of sauce on your pasta)
4-6 slices of fresh mozzarella cheese
salt and pepper
Olive oil for frying
1 tbsp butter
1 lb spaghetti (or less, depending on how much pasta you want)

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Wash the chicken breasts and trim the fat.
  3. Place 2 at a time in a plastic bag or under plastic wrap. Beat with kitchen mallet until thin, or each breast is about double in width/length. Cut to desired size.
  4. Place the flour in flat plate, mix with salt and pepper. Beat eggs and water until frothy in bowl. Mix seasoned breadcrumbs, fresh parsley and Parmesan cheese together in separate plate.
  5. Dip chicken breasts first in flour, then egg, then breadcrumb/Parmesan cheese mixture. Set aside.
  6. Bring a large pot of water to boil for spaghetti.
  7. Coat frying pan with generous amount of olive oil and heat. Once hot, add butter. 
  8. Fry chicken 3-4 minutes on one side, sprinkle with salt and pepper before turning over. Repeat on other side. 
  9. Chop the basil. Either in a bowl or in the jar, mix the basil into the sauce. 
  10. Coat 11x17 (or smaller, whatever fits 6 large breasts) glass baking dish with 1/2 inch of tomato sauce. Leave extra sauce for pasta.
  11. Place chicken on sauce.
  12. Place one heaping slice of mozzarella cheese on each chicken breast. 
  13. Bake for 15 minutes at 350 or until cheese is melted and bubbly. 
  14. Cook spaghetti to desired consistency. 
  15. Remove chicken from oven and serve over spaghetti. Pour extra sauce and cheese on dish as desired. 

1 comment:

Sabrina said...

Thanks for the recipe. Chicken Parmigiana is my hubby's favorite and i need easy meals.

Archer is a fantastic show!!