Sunday, March 6, 2011

Chicken Parmesan

I don't think I've ever mentioned this before, but I'm Italian.  Well, part Italian.  You could never tell from looking at me, with my blonde hair and pale skin, but its true.  The only thing that I can trace from my Italianness is the ability to get a tan in the summer and an intense love of food that contains garlic and cheese.

Which explains why I love chicken parmesan.  

Even though I haven't been posting the pictures (or the recipes) my cooking/freezing/reheating plan is going well.  And I have a little bit of time right now so I thought I'd share one of my very favorite recipes - Baked Chicken Parmesan (all the flavor and none of the guilt).

First things first.  This dish NEEDS to go with a glass of wine.  So if you're anything like me and never think to put your white wine in the fridge ahead of time so its actually chilled when you want it, the first thing you will need to do is put the unopened bottle in the freezer.

Now that that's taken care of, you will need: boneless, skinless chicken breast, an egg, italian seasoned breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, fresh garlic, tomato sauce, and shredded mozzarella cheese (I get the part skim kind but you could use regular if you're not counting calories):

You will first want to clean and filet the chicken.  I am deathly afraid of getting salmonella, so I have no pictures of this process.  But thin pieces of chicken work best, and filet-ing is the only way to do it!  Once you have clean, fileted chicken, make sure you CLEAN THE ENTIRE KITCHEN WITH CLOROX before proceeding.  

Ok, now that no one is going to catch anything from the raw chicken, set the oven to 350.  And then get to prepping the rest of the ingredients.  You'll need two bowls and a pyrex glass dish.  I usually spray the pyrex with Pam, just to make sure the chicken doesn't stick.  

After that I crack an egg into one bowl and give it a good whisk.  

In the second bowl I mix the seasoning for the chicken.  I use Italian seasoned breadcrumbs, a good helping of parmesan cheese, and a generous amount of garlic powder.  I also add just a pinch of cayenne pepper.

Then I take the clean chicken and dip it into the egg, then cover it in the breading, and place it in the Pam-ed dish.

Repeat until you are out of chicken.  And bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

While its baking, peel several cloves of garlic.  In the interest of full disclosure, I love garlic.  I have never had anything that is "too garlicky."  But if you are someone who is not as enthusiastic about garlic, feel free to cut back on the amounts or just omit this step all together.

Once the chicken is out of the oven, place the whole peeled garlic around in the dish and get your tomato sauce.  I like the Ragu tomato and basil because its lite and delicious, but feel free to use your favorite (and bonus points if you make your own).

Pour the sauce onto the chicken until its covered.

Then top with cheese.

Right before you put it back in the oven, it should look kind of like this:

Bake at 350 for another 20 minutes.  During that time the cheese will get nice and melty and the sauce will keep the chicken nice and moist. 

Once its out of the oven, serve it with pasta, some salad and (of course) a glass of wine that should be completely chilled by this point.  This is an easy, healthy, delicious recipe that makes me extremely happy anytime I make it.  Enjoy!

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