Thursday, May 19, 2011

Chicken Parmesan

Chicken Parmesan is one of our favorite meals. When I first got married, my mom wrote out this recipe for me. She can make this dish with her eyes shut, and never really measures any of the ingredients. I no longer pull out that recipe card, since I have it in my head now too. I love that I can prepare it earlier in the day, and keep it in the fridge until I am ready to cook it. Chicken Parmesan is also a meal that freezes really well - just prepare up until the point of cooking, and cover well and freeze. I make Chicken Parmesan often in disposable pans to give to new mom's or those who need a meal. It is delicious and filling, just make sure you make plenty because it disappears fast!
Chicken Parmesan

recipe from my mom, Michele Scearbo
Ingredients:
1 pound of boneless chicken breasts
2 eggs, mixed with 1/4 cup milk and S&P
2-3 cups Italian seasoned bread crumbs
canola and olive oil, for frying
1 jar of your favorite tomato sauce
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded

Directions: Place your boneless chicken breasts on a cutting board.
You are going to cut each breast into two to three slices, depending on the size of the breast. The easiest way to do this is to securely hold down the breast with your whole hand. Use a VERY sharp knife to slice through the entire breast, about 1/3 up from the bottom.
This is one of those things that just takes practice. I used to call my mom to come and do this step for me, but now I got it down pat. Just be very careful not to cut your hand. You might want to start with just cutting each chicken breast into two pieces, until you get a feel for it.
If any of your chicken breasts are very thick, you might want to slightly pound them out to tenderize. Just place the breast between two pieces of plastic wrap and use the back of heavy spoon (or meat pallet) to lightly flatten. I don't usually do this step since I slice my chicken pretty thin. Now you need to set up your assembly line to make the cutlets, as we call them. I like to use cake pans, as they are the perfect size. But you can use any shallow bowls (you need two). In bowl one, whisk together your two eggs, milk and salt and pepper. In bowl two, place your bread crumbs.
In a large skillet, heat over medium to medium high heat enough canola oil (or vegetable oil) to cover the bottom of the pan and come up just slightly on the side. Add a couple swirls of olive oil. You are just pan frying these chicken cutlets, not deep frying. You can always add more oil later if you need it. You will know your oil is ready when you place the end of a wooden spoon into the oil, and there are little bubbles all around it.
Dip each cutlet first in the egg mixture, coating both sides well.
Then dip the cutlet directly into the bread crumbs, using a fork or spoon to pat the crumbs down onto the cutlet on both sides.
Place cutlets into the pan and cook for about three minutes on each side. These are pretty thin, so they cook fast.
The smell in your kitchen will be heavenly, and if you have any men in the house, be warned. They will hover around, just waiting for a little taste.
Drain the cutlets on a brown paper bag. It will absorb any extra oil. Sprinkle salt right over the cutlets while they are hot.
Continue with remaining cutlets, until they are all breaded and fried. Now these cutlets can be used for just about anything, and they taste great in a sandwich too, so make extra. My Dad always jokes that these cutlets are the reason he married my mom. My Nana and my great Italian Aunts make cutlets this very same way.
Heat your tomato sauce in a pan, just until warmed through.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread a thin layer of tomato sauce over your pan. I use a pretty large pan - 10x15 - when making this for my family. You can also use two smaller pans.
Place your cutlets in the pan, over the sauce, fitting them so they are in a single layer.
Cover the cutlets with more tomato sauce, make sure you spoon a little sauce in the corners and edges of the pan. Sprinkle the cheeses over the top.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, until top is browned and bubbling. I like to cover with foil for 20 minutes, and then bake uncovered for the last 10 minutes. If your cheese isn't browned enough, you can turn on the broiler in your oven for just 1-2 minutes.
Let cool for about five minutes before serving.
Doesn't that look great? This was my plate. My husband usually eats about four pieces! The leftovers (if there are any) are perfect for lunch the next day and make great chicken Parmesan sandwiches.
Enjoy!

3 comments:

  1. This is my favorite dinner to eat when I come visit you!!! Better than any restaurant :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yum!! I cannot wait to try this recipe! It looks delicious! Do you ever use chicken tenders? I have some in the freezer and think I may try using them instead of breasts...

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm making these for dinner tonight for my brother who is visiting from out of town! I've been excited to try them for a while now. If you make them ahead of time and keep in the fridge until baking, its not necessary to heat up the sauce before putting it in the pan right?

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