So, I'll admit, I'm not an authority on Italian food. I'm not an authority on sewing or crafting either, but that hasn't stopped me! I am obsessed with Italy and all things Italian (French, too - but that's for another day). I took Italian as my language at UNC and have visited Italy three times - and plan to go back many more. I love to cook Italian and this is my humble take on an easy (and healthier) version of chicken parm.
I have to take a family in need a meal tonight, so I'm doing double duty while the boys are gloriously napping (something that never happens these days).
Ingredients:Boneless, skinless chicken breast
Olive or Canola Oil
Flour, 1 Cup
Salt & Pepper
Bread Crumbs, 1 Cup (I use Panko, although Italian might be more fitting, but not as crunchy)
Egg (or two)
Tomato Sauce (homemade or jarred), about 3-4 Cups
Parmesan Cheese (cheap, sprinkle kind in the green jar)
Quattro Formagio (mix of 4 Italian cheeses, shredded)
Pasta and/or rustic italian bread to serve with it
Large heavy skillet
corning ware or baking pan
Step 1: Prepare your dredging bowls. Get out three shallow bowls. Place 1 C of flour, 1tsp kosher or sea salt and 1 tsp black pepper in one shallow bowl & mix well. Place 1 egg, lightly beaten in another shallow bowl. Place 1 C breadcrumbs & a few good shakes of the parm in the third bowl (ignore the chicken for now).
2: Prepare your chicken. Place 1-2 chicken breasts on a cutting board in between the plastic wrap & pound with the mallet until they are fairly uniform in thickness. (yes, that is clorox and I am going to use it on my granite countertop. I got salmonella once in high school & I will sacrifice the granite anytime I deal with raw chicken to avoid anyone I know ever going through that nightmare)
3. Dredge the chicken. Go from flour to egg to breadcrumbs and make sure you get a good coating of each. If you have more than 4 chicken breasts, you will probably need another egg. An amazing chef once told me the secret to keeping clean during this process is to keep one hand in the dry ingredients (flour & breadcrumbs) & one hand for the wet (the raw chicken at the start & the egg). I've never been able to do this without washing my hands about 24 times, but maybe you will be able to!
4. Now, put a bit of oil (I generally am not good with measuring, I don't know how much - just make sure it coats the bottom of the pan without it turning into a deep fry). and add your chicken breasts (I had to do this process about 3-4 times for my 6 breasts, adding a little more oil in between batches).
5. Turn them over when they are golden brown & it is starting to sizzle a little. If it is sticking to the pan, they are probably not finished yet, wait another minute.
6. Once they look like the above picture you can place them in your pan for the oven. Since they are going to bake some more they don't need to be cooked all the way through.
7. Add tomato sauce (if I don't make my own - and I didn't have time today - I have been using the Giada sauce from Target - it's pretty awesome) & a few shakes of the parm until they are covered (the pictures below got a little more sauce before going in the oven).
8. Cover loosely with aluminum foil and bake at 375 degrees for half an hour.
9. Take out your pans and make sure the chicken is cooked entirely by cutting a slit into the thickest part of your biggest breast. If it's not cooked, put back in for a few minutes. If it is ready, add a generous sprinkling of your shredded Italian cheese mixture & put back in the oven, uncovered, until it is golden brown & bubbly.
10. Add a salad kit, some bread, cooked pasta, and chocolate cherry cookies and you should have a pretty nice dinner!