Sunday, April 19. 2009
Our nieces came over to our house yesterday for an Uncle and Aunt Day. They are lovely young ladies, aged 11 and 13, both interested in cooking. This is encouraging to me that there are still young people out there who recognize that food can actually come from that room in the house that has the big box that gets hot and not only from places with neon signs out front. I was so encouraged, in fact, that I offered to teach them how to make my Chicken Parmesan. It is a very simple recipe to prepare and I've never encountered anyone who wasn't impressed when I served it for dinner.
I don't usually follow a recipe unless I'm baking but I wanted to send them home with one so they could cook it for their families - so I typed up what I supposed the quantities would be for six servings. I had them follow it to see if any adjustments were necessary and I'm happy to report that it came out perfectly!
Here it is, as promised. A tasty recipe made with simple ingredients, easy enough for a beginning cook to follow.
Gina's Chicken Parmesan
Makes 6 Servings
6 small chicken breasts or chicken breast portions (see below)
2/3 c flour
1 t salt
1/4 t pepper
1/2 t Italian seasoning
1 1/2 c seasoned breadcrumbs
1/4 c cooking oil
1 1/2 c shredded mozzarella cheese
1 1/2 c spaghetti sauce
1 c grated Parmesan cheese
Set up a "breading station" with 3 shallow bowls (each large enough to fit 1 chicken piece at a time):
Bowl 1 - Mix the flour with the salt, pepper and Italian seasoning.
Bowl 2 - Beat the 2 eggs with 1 T water.
Bowl 3 - Pour in seasoned breadcrumbs.
Place these bowls next to one another in a row for later use.
Pound chicken with a kitchen mallet, or heavy, flat-bottomed pan to make it even thickness - thin, but not so thin that it tears. If using larger-sized breasts, cut chicken into pieces about the size of the palm of your hand.
Prepare a flat-bottomed frying pan large enough to fit all the chicken. Preheat it to a medium temperature (325-350 degrees). Once it is hot, pour in cooking oil, covering the bottom of the pan generously.
Dredge both sides of the chicken in the seasoned flour, then dip both sides in egg wash. Next, dip chicken in seasoned breadcrumbs, pressing gently to make sure both sides are completely covered. Gently place the breaded chicken patty into the preheated pan - carefully - because the oil may spatter when you add the chicken! Continue with all chicken pieces.
Saute until the first side is lightly browned, about 5 minutes, then turn to brown the other side.
Turn temperature down to low. Cover each piece of chicken with mozzarella cheese. Top mozzarella with several spoonfuls of sauce. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over sauce. Cover pan.
Heat chicken through until cheese is melted, 5-10 minutes.
Serve and enjoy!
This recipe is great with pasta tossed with butter and garlic as a side dish. The chicken can also be placed onto rolls toasted with butter and garlic for Chicken Parmesan Sandwiches. Salad always goes nicely with either of these meals.
If you're buying jarred spaghetti sauce, check out "How to Cook Everything" by Bitman. Spaghetti sauce is beyond easy - I hate buying Prego (or anything else) now. We started with the basic sauce & have altered it to our own tastes. Now I do the sauce & let it simmer down while I cook the chicken. Mmmmmm......
I must admit that this time I did use jarred sauce. Since I was cooking with the nieces, I wanted it to be as "doable" for them as possible. I didn't want to overwhelm them on the first lesson.
However, I love making my own spaghetti sauce from scratch and I do it often! People say it's not worth the trouble, but I say, "What trouble?"...and it tastes so much better too!
In a future lesson, I can teach them to make sauce! Great idea!