Monday, August 19, 2013

Chicken Parmigiana

How many of you are elated over it being "BACK TO SCHOOL" time? HA!  Come on, you can admit it, we have all been there!   I am a schedule freak.   Even with 10 activities, I could plan around them and for them and know they were coming.  That somehow made me feel much better about life in general.

Anyway, I enjoyed having a little more time to cook and it being cooler so I WANTED to spend more time cooking!  I only realized 2 hours ago I hadn't shared this recipe with you guys.  It was one of the first recipes I "pulled out of my shoes" when I had to learn to cook.  I love my version.  There are so many, but I am here to tell you, well, I love mine!  My family loves it, my friends love it and frankly, they are pretty tough to please!  Ok, not really but it seemed the natural thing to say in my little "sales pitch".  This recipe is a little bit of a process.  Well, not really.  Well, it depends on if a process to you is normally opening a jar or catching your own dinner.  It is easy, and good things sometimes take a few extra steps.  It will be well worth your time and energy.  This freezes like a charm and I make extra for just that reason. 

This really is a family favorite and all joking aside, it is the kind of dish you can feel good about serving, you will know their tummy's and their souls are fed!  I mean after all, food IS love!

Fasten your seatbelt, here we go!

4 chicken breasts, cut in half thickness then pounded out to make slightly thinner
4 cups or 24 oz jar of marinara sauce
14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cups flour
2 eggs
2 cups bread crumbs
1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
2- 8 ounce balls of mozzarella cheese or 16 ounces grated mozzarella
peanut or vegetable oil

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare your chicken breasts by slicing them in half horizontally, so you get 2 out of 1.  They will be thinner that way.  When you have done that, gently pound the chicken until it is just slightly thinner and bigger pieces than the original.  This is a no brainer, don't pound it to thin, just give it few hits.  Lay your chicken out and salt and pepper both sides.   You should have 8 pieces (servings)

Now prepare your sauce.  In a medium saucepan, add in your marinara and your diced tomatoes.  Regardless if you doctor up store bought, or use your own, add any other seasonings you like at this point, turn to low heat and let simmer while you prepare the rest. 

Now to bread that beautiful chicken!  Put 1 1/2 cups flour in a large Ziploc back.  In a shallow dish whisk 2 eggs with a splash of water.  Salt and pepper the egg as well.  In a second shallow dish or pie plate, add in 2 cups of bread crumbs and 1/2 cup parmesan cheese.  I use fresh, and seasoned them with Italian seasoning and salt and pepper.  If you use dry and already seasoned that is fine. 

OMG, now you know I used JARRED sauce! ACK!

Toss all of your chicken pieces into the flour, zip up the top and toss to coat all of the chicken evenly.  Remove one piece at a time, dunk in the egg and then coat in the crumbs.  Place into a skillet heated on medium with your oil.  Fry on medium, slowly!  You will get the most gorgeous golden brown crust, your heart will melt!  Fry approx. 3 minutes on each side.  If you choose to not pound out your chicken breasts you might need an extra minute or 2 since they will be thicker. 

When they are all coated, fried and finished, place unto  a foil lined baking sheet.  (I am all for easy cleanup)

Now take a spoonful of your sauce, and lay it on the top of your chicken, then using whatever mozzarella cheese you choose, cover the top.  It is my opinion fresh is best, but use what makes you happy. 

Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes.  This is a good time to boil up your pasta and have it all ready at the same time!   ENJOY!!

Your "Italian food for the Italian soup" Chefwannabe

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