Sunday, April 6, 2008

Chicken Parmigiana

My mom and I have been making Chicken Parm as long as I can remember. My mom rarely strayed from her recipe. If I suggested shaking it up a bit, she'd look at me like I grew another head. After I moved out, I played with her recipe. This is an authentic recipe; my maternal grandmother taught my mom how to make it when she was younger. I like to think that this recipe is straight from Naples, where my mom's roots are.

Since Graham doesn't like melted cheese, it can be hard to accomodate both our tastes. I love spicy and cheesy foods, and I love to explore in the kitchen. Graham, on the other hand, likes non-spicy, non-cheesy foods, and I think he has a mild heart attack whenever he asks what I'm doing to our dinner and I say, "I'm not sure yet..."

I've had to tone down this recipe some for his tastes and mine. His chicken parm comes without melted cheese, and I love to top mine with shredded mozz and parmesan cheese.

I'm always looking for the perfect blend of spices and herbs for this chicken. I think we did well last time, but I'm not sure if it was "right on." However, this is a great dish. It requires about 30 minutes of prep, but since I love fresh ingredients and mixing them together, it's a small sacrifice. :-) Actually, the time flies by since most of the ingredients are on hand. No emergency trips to Jewel for me!

Chicken Parmigiana

4-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 eggs, beaten
1 c. bread crumbs
1/2 c. olive oil
2 15 oz. cans spaghetti sauce (plain)
1 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
Oregano, basil, garlic/garlic powder, onion/onion powder to taste

Preheat the oven to 400*. Dip chicken into egg and then bread crumbs, coating thoroughly
In a medium skillet, heat olive oil. Cook chicken in oil until well-browned on both sides. Pour spaghetti sauce into an 11 x 7 inch baking dish. Season with oregano, basil, onion, and garlic. Place chicken onto sauce and top with both cheeses. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is melted and lightly browned.

Notes:
  • If you have onion and garlic powder on hand, use them. Sometimes I'll decide it's worth the extra effort and I'll chop up a clove or two of garlic and half an onion and add them to the sauce.
  • If you're not one to throw too much effort into your sauce, a jar of Classico Tomato Basil works well. I'll season it up with oregano, too.
  • My mom has started to use Italian style bread crumbs when she makes this, just to save herself a little time. She says she likes it better that way, but I have yet to try it.
  • If I get really excited about dinner, I'll slice the chicken breasts open and stuff them with some shredded mozzarella cheese. When the cheese inside starts bubbling, it's really good.
  • I usually mix about half a T. with the egg before I dunk the chicken in--I think it helps the bread crumbs stick a little better. It also keeps the chicken pretty moist.

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