Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Baked Chicken Parmesan

-with Garlic and Crushed Red Pepper Linguine



 I had my first food fail of 2015 last night.

It certainly won't be my last.

I had this really great, yummy idea for flank steak with a gorgonzola sauce. It sounded delicious in my head. So I pulled the last steak from my now-empty meat supply, and took it out to defrost. I thought the date on it said 8/17/14. Which in vacuum sealing world is just about the point of no return. They say 6 months in the freezer for a vacuum sealed piece of meat. Therefore, I thought no big deal. I went about planning to roast some mushrooms and making a salad to go with the steak. I even went so far as to get out the lettuce and a colander to rinse the mushrooms in.


I put the hubby in charge of prepping the steak and grilling it. Not one second after he opened the bag the steak was in, I heard him trying to muffle his disgust. I turned around, and I smelled it before I saw his face. The steak had gone bad. Very, very bad. I looked at the date again and realized it said 8/17/13. What a difference a year makes! 

Needless to say, the steak was tossed. Or rather, refrozen until garbage day. And we went out and got a pizza.


Tis' the life of a food blogger. You aren't going to win em' all. Just so you all know I'm not perfect :)

Luckily, today I've got a winner of a recipe for you. It's tried and true. I've made it over and over again. I've used store-bought marinara, and homemade marinara. I've used pre-shredded mozzarella and fresh mozzarella. I've cut chicken breasts in half, pounded them thin, and used those. I've used a whole breast and just pounded that flat. I've tried it all. And loved it all. This is my comfort food. This is what I turn to when I'm having a rough day, or week. And Chicken Parm always goes together with this spicy linguine in my house. I can't stand when Italian restaurants serve you Chicken Parm with plain spaghetti. Gross. Just don't, ok?


There's a small Italian restaurant near us that I tried Chicken Parmesan at. Mistake. They brought me out a plate that was beyond hot to touch (i.e. microwaved). The chicken was not crispy, the sauce was voluminous and flavorless, and as I mentioned before, they served it on a bed of plain spaghetti. Spaghetti that had the chew of "made 3 days ago". It was beyond unappetizing. It wasn't the first time, but the times are still few and far between when I say, "Mine is so much better". I don't order Chicken Parmesan in restaurants anymore.


My version actually happens to be very quick, as well. I get everything on the table in 30-35 minutes. The chicken is pan-seared and once you cover it in sauce and cheese, it bakes for only a few minutes. I usually start boiling the pasta water while I'm pan-searing, and then I toss the pasta while the chicken is in the oven. The pasta is done by the time chicken comes out, and bam! Dinner is served. And in the case of this dinner in this house, dinner is served to the girl needing comfort food. Indeed, this dinner was produced during the cookie craziness of December. When I thought there was just too much to do and not enough time. One spoonful of flavorful pasta was enough to calm some of my panic.

Ah, food. Such a wondrous concept at times.

Anyhoo, I highly recommend this recipe. One of my absolute favorites. Have a great Wednesday everyone!


Ingredients (serves 2):

Chicken-
2 tbsp canola oil
1 chicken breast
salt, pepper
1 egg
3/4 cup panko
3 tbsp mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 tbsp parmesan cheese, shredded

Pasta-
6 ounces dried spaghetti
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tbsp fresh parsley, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425º. In a large skillet, heat canola oil over medium-high heat. On a clean cutting board, cut chicken breast in half vertically. Pound chicken halves until flat with a meat tenderizer. Salt and pepper each half. Dip chicken breast halves into egg, let excess drip off. Dip chicken breast halves into panko, then place in hot skillet. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until browned. Place chicken breast halves on a cookie sheet coated with cooking spray. Divide marinara among chicken halves. Divide mozzarella among chicken halves. Divide parmesan cheese. Bake chicken in oven for 5-7 minutes, or just until cheese is melted and beginning to brown. Remove from oven, set aside.
2. While the chicken is pan-searing on the stove, get out a large pot, fill with water, and heat to boiling over high heat. Add spaghetti, cook according to package directions. Drain pasta, set aside. In a separate large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat (I'm usually at this point when the chicken is baking in the oven). When warm, add garlic and crushed red pepper. Sauté for 1-2 minutes or until garlic has begun to to turn brown. Turn off heat, and add pasta, parsley, salt, and pepper to the pan. Toss to coat.
3. To serve, divide pasta among plates and top with a chicken breast half. Serve immediately!


Chicken Parmesan recipe adapted from Cooking Light.  Garlic and Crushed Red Pepper Linguine adapted from Cooking Light.

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4 comments:

  1. Well, the chicken parm looks wonderful!!
    Happy New Year. Catherine xo

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    1. Thank you Catherine! I hope you are having a wonderful New Year so far! :)

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  2. Obviously, the recipes are impressive, but also impressive is your photography skills! Taking pictures of food is an art form in itself, and you do a fantastic job providing visual aesthetics to your recipes, which helps to set you apart from other blogs and recipe sites. I enjoy the tips, and thanks for the time you put into this!

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    1. Thank you Brandon! I've self-taught myself to take photographs and I'm really proud of the progress I've made. Someday, I'd love to take a photography class. Thanks so much for stopping by and for the compliment, it really does make my day! :)

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