Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Chicken Parmesan

Not the prettiest picture I will admit, but I will work on that for future posts.=)

One of my family favorites is an adaptation from a recipe that I have. (I'm always changing recipes, but I will do my best to write down my changes so you can enjoy the delicious flavors!)

2 large skillets
Wooden Spoon
Pyrex Baking Dish
Gallon Sized Ziplock Bag

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or if you buy from Zaycon like I do, just use 2 of the giant breasts)
4 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese
2 Tablespoons Bread Crumbs
Salt and Ground Black Pepper
8ozn Mozzarella Cheese, sliced
4 Tablespoons Olive Oil

Sauce Ingredients:
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Onion, finely chopped
2 Celery stalks, finely chopped
1 Large Red Bell Pepper, seeded and diced
1 Garlic Clove, crushed (or buy it from Costco diced and put in about a spoon full...that's what I do!)
14oz can Chopped Tomatoes
2/3 cup chicken stock (I prefer the low sodium)
1 Tablespoon Tomato Paste
2 teaspoons sugar
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Start by making the sauce.

Heat the olive oil and then add the onion, celery, bell pepper and garlic over medium heat until soft. (About 5 minutes) Once softened add the tomatoes with their juice, stock, tomato paste, sugar and herbs. Bring it to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes stirring occasionally.

Divide the chicken into natural fillets, place them between sheets of either plastic wrap, parchment paper or wax paper (whatever you have will work) and flatten the fillets to about 1/4". They suggest using a rolling pin...personally I just use my meat whacker (I know that's not what it's actually called, but come on, what else do you do with it except whack meat with it?)

Next you will want to put the olive oil into the other pan and begin to heat over medium high heat (for me it's around a 6 on my stove) so that it will be ready for the chicken. You will also want to preheat your oven to 350 degrees F

Here is where the ziplock bag comes into play. Take all the dry ingredients listed with the chicken (flour, bread crumbs, parmesan, salt and pepper) and place them into the ziplock. I grind about 3-4 turns of pepper and 2-3 turns of salt into the flour mixture. Shake it all up and add the chicken one fillet at a time coating completely. Take it out and place into the preheated skillet. You will cook it for about 3 minutes per side or until it begins to brown (not burn, but turn golden). Once it is cooked keep it warm while you cook the rest of the chicken.

Once all of the chicken is cooked, pour the sauce into the pyrex baking pan, and then layer the chicken on top of the sauce. Place the mozzarella over the chicken and sprinkle a little more parmesan and bread crumbs over the top if you like. Bake uncovered for 20-30 minutes until the top is golden and the cheese is melted.

It seems like a lot of work, but it's really not! Super simple, not too expensive, healthy and DELICIOUS! Make sure you get lots of that veggie mix/sauce when you bite into that chicken...it is a heavenly combo!

*adapted from the Baked Parmesan Chicken recipe found in the book "Chicken, over 400 fabulous recipes for all occasions" edited by Simona Hill.*

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