Thursday, June 28, 2012

Chicken Parm

After those long workdays when we're just craving some nostalgic comfort food, this has become our go to dish.  Everyone seems to have their own take on Chicken Parm; I grew up with a Mom's version and a Dad's version.  The recipe below is a twist on your more traditional Chicken Parmesan.  Here, I've reduced time, ingredients, associated cookware, and cost; it's a healthy at home alternative.  I hope this will become a staple in your household, too!

2 Organic Chicken Breasts
4 ounces fresh pasta (spaghetti, linguine, or fettuccine)
1 15-oz can Tomato Sauce
1/4 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
Olive Oil spray
Garlic Powder, Basil, Oregano, Salt, all as desired

Serving Size for 2


1)  Preheat your oven to 450 degrees or Broil.

2)  Lightly spray a medium sized oven-safe fry pan with the olive oil and place on the stovetop.

3)  Place the breadcrumbs on a plate and season to your liking.  If you've bought already seasoned breadcrumbs, great; otherwise, add about a teaspoon of your favorite Italian seasonings - garlic powder, oregano, basil.

* Optional Step * Italians like to tenderize their meats, which makes it that much more delicious.  To do this, tear off a piece of plastic wrap (about 12" by 12") and place it on your counter.  Put the chicken breasts on top of the wrap and tear another sheet of plastic wrap, the same size or even slightly larger, and place on top of the chicken.  Grab a meat tenderizer, or rolling pin, and hammer down on the meat as it thins out.  If you don't have a meat tenderizer or rolling pin, get creative - Heck, you could even just grab a hard cover book from your library and pound away!

4)  Take the chicken, one piece at a time, and coat it in the breadcrumbs, turning it over from side to side.  Once coated, place in the fry pan.  Do this for both chicken breasts.

5)  Turn on the stove top to medium heat cooking the chicken on each side for about 6-8 minutes, until browned.

6)  Bring a small pot of water to boil to cook the pasta.

7)  Open the can of tomato sauce and season to your liking - i.e. garlic powder, oregano, basil, maybe a teaspoon of each.

8)  When the chicken is browned (don't worry if it is not completely cooked yet as it is going in the oven), drizzle about 2 Tablespoons of the tomato sauce atop each breast and sprinkle with about 1/8 cup of parmesan cheese.  Place in the oven to melt the cheese and finish cooking the chicken.

9)  After the water comes to a rolling boil, add some salt (1-2 teaspoons), and add the pasta.  If you are using fresh pasta, it only cooks for about 3 minutes, whereas dry pasta might take somewhere around 8-10 minutes.

10)  Strain the pasta and place half portions each into your serving bowls.

11)  Distribute the remaining tomato sauce evenly over the pasta in the serving bowls.

12)  Remove the chicken from the oven (about 5 minutes, or until cheese has melted), and place atop the tomato sauce.  Dig in and enjoy!