Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Easy Chicken Parmesan

Welcome to "A Girl's Gotta Live" and my first post and recipe! Tonight Sweetheart told me about a recipe she had seen online about making a pizza crust out of thinly pounded chicken. I found this weird but the thought of chicken and tomato sauce made my mouth water. It was getting later into the evening and I needed something quick so I did an easy version of chicken Parmesan. It was tasty and done in 30 minutes. I made this for 2 but you can scale up as you need. It's not overly fancy but it was sure tasty!

Easy Chicken Parmesan
2 chicken breasts
1 jar/can tomato pasta sauce
2 servings fettuccine or other long pasta
1 egg
1/4 c. plain or Italian bread crumbs
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese*
oil for frying
1 oz grated Mozzerella for sprinkling
2 garlic cloves, crushed or minced- optional
1 c. fresh sliced mushrooms- optional
1 can diced tomatoes- optional
1 tbs Italian seasoning- optional

Cut chicken breasts in half  across the center and pound chicken breasts to an even thickness for more even cooking (or not. I didn't for this recipe but they will cook a bit faster if they're thinner.)
Beat the egg well in a a shallow bowl large enough for the chicken breast
Combine the bread crumbs and Parmesan (and Italian seasoning, if using) in a shallow bowl
Dredge chicken breast in egg then crumb mixture and set aside to dry on a rack
Fill a 10 or 12 in. skillet 1/3 full of oil and heat until drops of water crackle
Reduce oil heat to medium
Fill a pasta pot with water and boil
Fry chicken 4-8 minutes per side or until a thermometer reads 155 degrees when inserted into the center of the chicken
Add pasta and cook according to directions
Heat sauce over medium heat, including any garlic, mushrooms, tomatoes or any other add-in's you want.
Plate pasta with chicken and sauce with Mozzerella sprinkled over the top.

* I love a good brick of Parmesan as much as the next girl but for baking I find the stuff from the canister works better in bread crumbs because the smaller granules distribute and coat more evenly. The grated cheese also has less oil than the fresh stuff so the crust comes out crunchier. Garnish with fresh Parm instead of Mozzerella if you want.

---Healthier Version---
You can bake the chicken for a less-fat version at 450 degrees for 14-20 minutes depending on the chicken thickness. I bake on a rack to help keep the chicken crispy. Spray the chicken with oil or cooking spray to make it feel fried. The substitution of whole wheat pasta and using more veggies in the sauce can add to the health factor too.

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