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Chicken Parmigiana

31 March 2012

It seems like I post a lot of recipes for baking when I’m actually more interested in cooking in general (and better at it). I guess baking seems simpler to do whenever I want, then I can share the results with people for a few days afterwards. However, if I cook an actual meal or dish, it should be for breakfast, lunch or dinner, so I’m constrained to cooking at those times. My only free day during the week has been Thursday, so I usually don’t have time to plan or make meals. I also usually go out to eat on the weekends, so I’m never home to cook. It seems like I have a dilemma. I feel like I should post more ‘cooking’ recipes so I vow to from now on! Seems like a plan for summer! Though I’ll be working full-time, I think I’ll be able to at least plan what to make and I’ll have free time to cook on the weekends. I have some ideas for ‘features’ to do in the future. I want to do a “Cuisine of the Week” (maybe a week is too often, but a month seems too infrequent), where I randomly select a country/region and make a representative dish or two. I also thought it would be cool to do “Best of” features for Vancouver restaurants, though I may not have enough time (or money) to keep that up. I’d probably focus more on budget dining, like “Best 24-hour restaurants” or “Best food carts”. Any ideas would be helpful! Now on to today’s recipe.

This recipe is for something that I cooked up for lunch yesterday. At home we’ve been eating mostly gluten-free since my mom discovered the adverse effects gluten and wheat products can have on our health. She says she’s been feeling much better since she started eating almost no wheat. However, this recipe goes against all that and contains wheat. I’ve just been tired of only eating rice and potatoes for starch. So, since I was home alone, I could eat whatever I wanted and was able to splurge on pasta (along with flour and breadcrumbs). Chicken parmigiana (interestingly not from the Parma region of Italy) is a favourite in North American Italian restaurants and is very easy to make. We had one lonely chicken breast leftover in the fridge so I took it as the perfect opportunity to make “Chicken Parm” for myself. I usually order it (or Veal Parmigiana) at ‘Americanized Italian restaurants’ (a la Old Spaghetti Factory or Boston Pizza) because I know it’s pretty hard to screw up. I made myself an individual portion but it’s pretty easy to scale up and it’s perfect for as a family dish because everyone likes it. Crisp, fried chicken cutlet, savoury tomato sauce, gooey melted cheese, spaghetti…what’s not to like???

Here’s what you’re gonna need:

  • 1 chicken breasts (boneless and skinless)
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cups strained/crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced finely
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced finely
  • pinch of dried oregano
  • couple pinches of red chili flakes
  • splash of red wine
  • fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • parmigiano reggiano, grated
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • spaghetti

Note: all measurements are approximate; I didn’t measure while I was cooking so I’m just guessing right now. Experiment and see what works best for you!

Directions:

Tomato Sauce (enough for 2 portions):

1. Coat bottom of a medium sauce pan with olive oil and heat over medium heat. Saute onion and garlic along with chili flakes and oregano until onion is translucent.

2. Add red wine and cook off alcohol for a minute. Add tomato and simmer over low heat for at least 15 minutes (it doesn’t hurt if you go longer).

Chicken:

1. Pre-heat oven to 450°F.

1. Sandwich chicken breast between two pieces of wax paper (plastic wrap may work too). Pound with a meat tenderizer (or whatever similar utensil you have) until about half an inch thick. Use this as an opportunity to take out any frustration you may have!

A perfect time to de-stress!

2. Place flour on a shallow dish or plate. Season with salt and pepper. Do the same for the breadcrumbs. Place the beaten egg in another dish.

3. Dredge chicken in flour and shake off the excess. Coat in egg then thoroughly coat in breadcrumbs. Shake off the excess.

4. Heat thin layer of olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Fry chicken cutlet until golden brown on both sides (about 3 minutes).

5. Ladle some tomato sauce on the bottom of a baking dish. Place chicken on top and ladle some sauce on top of it. Sprinkle some parmigiano over top and layer two slices of mozzarella on top.

6. Bake for about 15 minutes until cheese is melted and browning and sauce is bubbling.

7. Cook spaghetti until al dente. Serve chicken over spaghetti with some more tomato sauce.

I wrote most of this post on the bus. Blogging on the bus actually works pretty well for me. I think I’ll do it more often. I feel like it’s a good use of my time since I don’t usually do anything on my 45-minute bus rides (studying is too hard for me).

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