One of Dave and my closest friends, Adam, is a VERY picky eater. I didn’t realize how nervous I was to make him dinner until after I promised I would do so. What if he doesn’t like what I make? What if what I make is too complicated, or I use a spice he doesn’t like? Ahh! I figured it was best to start with something I KNEW was his favorite meal: Chicken Parm. I obviously had no idea what I was getting myself into here, on a Thursday night after work and pilates class.
Making Chicken Parm from scratch is very time consuming. Of course you can take shortcuts, buying jarred sauce, or even pre-made chicken cutlets. For the occasion of having Adam over, I was not taking any shortcuts! Thank god my Mom came home just as I finished cutting up a few potatoes and a sweet potato to make Oven Fries as a side. This is definitely not a meal I’d like to take on alone.
The meal was not only a huge success with the normal It’s Good To Be The Cook Family, but Adam loved it too! We even got to relax and eat in our newly renovated dining room for the first time in almost a year. The Chicken Parm was served with my Oven Fries, Broccoli, and a FRESH baguette with olive oil to dip. Everything was a huge success and worth all of our hard work in the kitchen!
Chicken Parmesan (inspired by Neely’s Cheesy Chicken Parmesan)
6 boneless Chicken Breasts
1 ¾ cups Flour
¾ cup Seasoned Breadcrumbs
¾ cup Cornflake Breadcrumbs
Egg Beaters (you can use 3 eggs worth… or real eggs!)
Salt & Pepper
Shredded Romano Cheese
Fresh Mozzarella Cheese
Grated Parmesan Cheese
Ingredients (tomato sauce):
1 Onion, chopped
1 teaspoon Minced Garlic
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
2 cans Crushed Tomatoes
Seasonings: Red Pepper Flakes, Italian Seasoning Blend, Black Pepper, Basil
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Trim the chicken of any fat. Slice the chicken to make it thinner and smaller cutlets. Pound the chicken to make it thin and uniform thickness. This will help it cook faster and evenly. Season the chicken with a little bit of salt & pepper.
2. This is a good opportunity to start the tomato sauce, if you are making your own. Cut the onion and throw it in a small saucepan with garlic and some olive oil over medium-high heat. You can let this cook for a little while you complete the other steps for the chicken. Then, add the rest of the sauce ingredients and cover, cooking over medium heat until you’re ready to use it.
3. Set the flour, egg beaters, and mixed breadcrumbs on separate paper plates. Dredge the chicken first in the flour, then the egg, then the breadcrumbs, making sure to coat completely.
4. Heat just enough canola or vegetable oil to coat a frying pan (plus a tiny bit more). Place (I fit four at a time) the chicken in the frying pan and heat for about 5 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Do not overcrowd the pan.
5. Prepare a baking dish, coat with cooking spray. Place the cooked chicken (it’s okay if it’s not fully cooked, it will finish in the oven) on the baking dish. Coat the chicken with tomato sauce. Then, top with slices of fresh mozzarella, a sprinkle of shredded Romano, and a shake or two of grated Parmesan cheese.
6. Stick in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes or longer, depending on thickness of chicken and amount of cheese used. Once it looks like it’s almost done, turn the oven on broil, leave the door a crack open and monitor. Once the cheese starts to brown, remove and serve.
Sweet & Regular Potato Oven Fries
1 Sweet Potato
1-2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Sea Salt, Ground Black Pepper
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Do NOT wash the potatoes. The more they come in contact with water, the less the oil will stick and make it crispy. Slice the potato into1 inchthick slices or desired thickness.
3. Place cut potatoes in a large bowl. Toss with olive oil (start with 1 Tablespoon, add more if necessary), salt, and pepper.
4. Place in a baking dish prepared with cooking spray. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes – an hour or until they are browning and very soft when stabbed with a fork.