Saturday, July 18, 2009

Chicken Fried Steak - courtesy Tyler Florence

Tonight I decided to be adventurous and try something new. Thank goodness for the Food Network website for whenever I'm stuck and unsure of what to try next.

Just recently, I bought some steaks in bulk and it just so happened that there were 9. Well with just me and my hubby to eat steak, I wasn't sure what to do with the "odd-ball" steak. Not only was it extra, but it was odd shaped, and way too big for one, but too small for two. At first I thought maybe I'd grill it up and use it for fajitas, but then something inside me said, "why not try something new?" And so I did =) Not only was this an easy recipe, but both my husband and I loved it. I will definitely be making this one again.

The only difference between the ingredients below, and the original Tyler Florence recipe is that I omitted the hot sauce. He actually puts some in his dredging liquid and his gravy.
If you're in the mood for some southern cooking, you've gotta try this chicken fried steak!

Chicken Fried Steak


  • 2 pounds beef bottom round, trimmed of excess fat
  • 2 to 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 whole eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups buttermilk or whole milk
  • Vegetable oil
  • 3 heaping tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


In a medium flat dish add the flour, garlic powder, onion powder, kosher salt and pepper, to taste, and combine well. In another flat dish stir together the eggs, buttermilk and hot sauce, to taste, and season well with salt and pepper, to taste. Cut beef into 4 (1/2-inch) thick slices then pound out using the teeth side of a meat mallet. This tenderizes the meat. Dredge each piece of meat in the seasoned flour, then in the seasoned buttermilk and back into the flour, allowing excess to drip off. Set out on a rack fitted over a baking sheet and allow to rest in the refrigerator for 20 to 25 minutes before cooking.

Add about 2 inches vegetable oil to a large cast iron pan and heat over medium-high heat to 365 degrees F. (It takes a few minutes, but your patience will be rewarded. Waiting for it to reach 365 ensures you get that crispy southern crunch!) Once heated and working in batches, fry steaks 2 to 3 at a time until golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove steaks and drain on a paper towels.

Carefully remove some the fat from the cast iron pan, reserving 1/4 cup. With the pan over medium heat, sprinkle in 3 tablespoons of flour and whisk to make a roux, scraping up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Once the flour has been fully incorporated slowly add the buttermilk and milk and continue to whisk until the gravy is nice and thick. Season well with salt and plenty ground black pepper, then whisk in hot sauce, to taste. Place the steaks on a serving platter, top with gravy and serve

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Tip!: Iced Coffee Lovers only =)

I was watching the Rachel Ray show this morning, and just as I turned it on, I picked up a great tip that I thought I would share with all of you!

Do you ever have a pot of fresh hot coffee, but as soon as you get ready to pour it, you think about the warm weather outside and think to yourself, "Boy, I'd love an iced coffee right about now". Well if you're like me, you load up a tall glass full of ice, pour the hot coffee over the top and mix in all the good stuff (a little sugar and vanilla cream for me please ;). The only problem is, as soon as you start pouring the hot coffee in your glass, all the ice melts, and the end result is a watery iced coffee which is not so much what I was originally going for!

Here's the solution: Take your left over morning coffee and pour it evenly into an ice cube tray. Keep it in the freezer and then whenever you're in the mood for a rich, delicious iced coffee, just pour your hot coffee over the top of your coffee cubes, and as they melt, you don't miss out on any of that robust, coffee flavor! What a novel idea ;)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Banana Nut Muffins

Don't you hate how fast bananas go bad? It seems nowadays I can't eat them up fast enough before they ripen. Well one great thing I've discovered that comes from over ripe bananas are these muffins. This is one time you definitely want your bananas to be ripe!

I've made these time and time again, and my husband can't seem to get enough of them. Many times I've resorted to making a bread, but it seems like muffins are not only more convenient for an "on the go" breakfast, and not only do they cook up much faster, but they store nicely in a freezer bag, so all in all, I probably prefer making my bananas into muffins.

If you like bananas, and you like muffins, you'll love these =)

Banana Nut Muffins

-2 medium or 3 small ripe bananas
-1 tsp. baking soda
-2 eggs
-1 stick of butter (melted)
-1 cup sugar
-1 tsp. baking powder
-1/4 tsp. salt
-1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl, mash together bananas and baking soda. (You want to mash them thoroughly so they're fairly smooth, but it's good to leave some bits of banana for moisture.) Set aside.

In another small bowl, sift together flour, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.

In a large bowl beat together eggs, butter and sugar, but don't cream. (The more you beat the mixture, the dryer your muffins will turn out so try to mix everything just enough ;) Carefully fold in half of the flour mixture and then half of the banana mixture, stirring well in between each time. Repeat until all of the flour and banana mixture is completely incorporated. Add 1 cup chopped Pecans and stir.

Using an ice cream scoop (I like to use one to ensure all of my muffins are exactly the same size and it also helps ensure they cook evenly), scoop banana mixture into a greased muffin tin or you could use muffin wrappers. Rap the tin on the counter a few times, causing any air bubbles to rise to the top. Finally, top each muffin with a whole pecan and then bake at 350 degrees for about 12-15 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through. Remove from oven and let cool. When cool, remove the muffins from the tin and enjoy for breakfast, dessert, or a mid-day snack =)

*Makes 18 muffins

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Nani's Spinach Lasagna

When visiting Chris's grandparents in France, back when I was still pregnant with Jace, one thing I made sure to do was to get some of Chris's Nani's recipe's from her old cookbooks. One of the recipe's I stumbled across was this one. Not only is this a simple recipe that she used to always make for her family, but if you like spinach, the fresh, crisp flavor of spinach shines in this dish. Of coarse I made a few adjustments and if you know exactly what you like, hopefully you will too. If you love Italian and spinach, you'll love this dish!

Nani's Spinach Lasagna

-16 oz. frozen chopped spinach (thawed and thoroughly drained)
-1 egg
-3/4 tsp. salt
-1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
-1 tsp. dried oregano
-1/4 grated Parmesan
-1 1/2 cups shredded Mozzarella (divided)
-16 oz. small curd cottage or ricotta cheese (I used cottage)
-1 lb. lasagna noodles
-1 3/4 cups homemade marinara sauce (or you could use your favorite spaghetti sauce; I like to make my own in big batches and jar it for future use.)

In a large bowl combine spinach, 1 cup of Mozzarella, Parmesan, cottage cheese, egg, oregano, salt and pepper. Mix well. (The mixture should be thick. If for any reason it's runny, you probably just didn't drain the spinach well enough. I like to place my thawed spinach into a hand towel and squeeze out the access moisture that way. It works great!)

In a large stock pot, bring salted water to a boil and add lasagna noodles. Cook to al dente or just under done and drain pasta into a colander.

In a 9x9 glass Pyrex dish, begin layering sauce, then noodles, then spinach and cheese mixture. Continue layering in this order until pan is full. (I like to make my sauce and spinach layers thin, that way I can have more layers. Seems the more layers of noodles I have, the sturdier my lasagna holds up when serving.) Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Uncover and continue baking for 15 minutes or until melty and bubbly. Let lasagna rest for 20 minutes and serve. (Letting the lasanga rest is mostly a cosmetic step. Not only does it allow the cooking process to continue, but it ensures that when you serve the lasagna, it won't fall apart into a sloppy mess - in other words, it makes it look pretty =) In the words of Chris's Nani, "Bon Appetit!"

Serves 4 as an entree

Monday, July 13, 2009

Baked Chicken Pastina

Every month I like to try out at least 1 new recipe, and this month one recipe I decided to try, was this dish, "Baked Chicken Pastina". I got this recipe while watching Giada De Laurentis on the Food Network, and I knew as soon as I saw the ingredients: pasta and tomatoes, this was a dish for me =) Not only did it come out right, but it was delicious. Even better, it only took me a little over a half hour to make! .... And I did get a picture ;) Now I did add a little here and there, but for the most part, I didn't go far from the original, so here it is. Yum!

Baked Chicken Pastina


  • 1 cup pastina pasta (or any small pasta)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup cubed chicken breast (1-inch cubes) ... (or 2 boneless breasts)
  • 1/2 cup diced onion (about 1/2 a small onion)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1 Tsp. dried flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 Tbsp. freshly chopped oregano (I added this ingredient, simply because I love fresh oregano)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (I used a little more =)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup italian bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 tablespoon butter, plus more for buttering the baking dish


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until just tender, stirring occasionally, about 8-9 minutes. Drain pasta into a large mixing bowl.

Meanwhile, put the olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook for 3 minutes. Add the onions and garlic, stirring to combine, and cook until the onions are soft and the chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes more. Put the chicken mixture into the bowl with the cooked pasta. Add the canned tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, parsley, oregano, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine. Place the mixture in a buttered 8 by 8 by 2-inch baking dish. In a small bowl mix together the bread crumbs and the Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle over the top of the pasta mixture. Dot the top with small bits of butter (I like to cut it into small cubes and then evenly layer it on top). Bake until the top is golden brown, about 30 minutes. Garnish with another sprinkle of fresh oregano and enjoy.

Serves 4 as an entree

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Mom's French Toast

Every once in a while, I don't want to make a huge mess in the kitchen, and I don't want to spend a whole lot of time cooking, well that's how I felt tonight and so I decided to serve my family breakfast for dinner. It's not only a nice change from the norm, but it's also almost always relatively inexpensive. Most of the time, whether I'm making pancakes, biscuits and gravy or mom's french toast, I can feed my family dinner for about $5 - now that's nice!

So here's a "toast" to my mom. This is a simple and delectable version of french toast that my mom always used to make for me when I was a little girl. Enjoy and I hope it makes you full and smile the way it does me =)

Mom's French Toast


-8 slices of sandwich bread (your choice, I use honey-wheat, but sour dough or even just white bread would be fine)
-3 large eggs
-1/4 cup milk (the thicker the better; I use vitamin D)
-1 tsp. vanilla extract
-3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
-pinch of salt
-2 Tbsp. butter
-1/4 cup powdered sugar
-maple syrup

In a shallow dish, beat eggs and then add milk, vanilla, cinnamon and salt. Mix well.

Heat up a medium sized saute pan on medium heat and grease pan with butter.

Dip bread in egg mixture, evenly coating both sides of bread and allowing the access to drip off. Place bread in hot pan and cook until golden brown on under side and then flip. Cook other side until golden brown as well (should take only a couple minutes per side). Continue this process until all of bread is cooked (be careful not to overcrowd the pan=)

Place on a serving dish and dust with powdered sugar. Drizzle with maple syrup or eat as is =) Mmmm!

Serves 8 slices of cooked French Toast

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Nine Layer Dip

This recipe is based off of T.G.I.Friday's nine layer dip with just a few alterations ;)

I actually just made this dish last night for our community group "fajita" night. This is not only the perfect side dish to bring to a party or pitch-in, but if you're looking for something to munch on during a movie or while playing cards, this is a great option. It has a fresh taste, with a complex flavor profile that will make your taste buds smile. This fresh dip is the perfect summer treat =)

Nine Layer Dip

-1 1/3 cup sour cream
-1/4 teaspoon cumin
-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
-1/4 teaspoon paprika
-1/8 teaspoon salt
-1 16 oz. can refried beans
-1 3/4 cup shredded cheddar/jack cheese
-1 cup guacamole (*If you don't want to make it fresh, I recommend trying "wholly guacamole" from the grocery store)
-1/2 cup sliced black olives
-4 green onions chopped (1/2 cup)
-2 medium tomatoes, chopped and drained
-2 Tbsp. fresh chopped cilantro

In a small bowl, mix together sour cream, cayenne, paprika, cumin and salt. Set aside.

In a 9 x 9 glass pyrex, layer ingredients and spread evenly in the following order:

1. refried beans
2. 1/2 of shredded cheese
3. guacamole
4. sliced olives
5. seasoned sour cream
6. green onions
7. tomatoes
8. rest of shredded cheese
9. cilantro

Serve immediately at room temperature with tortilla chips for dipping, or chill and serve later =)

Serves 6 - 8 as a side

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Classic, Savory and Sweet & Salty Kettle Corn

One of my husband's favorite late night snacks is popcorn. So just within the last few months, I decided to stop spending money on quick, stale, powdery popcorn and invest a few minutes in making my own fresh, light and crispy popcorn, and what's so great is it's still really quick and easy to make! Now I'll be honest, this process included quite a bit of trial and error, but now that I've got it figured out, it's a cinch! Each person likes their popcorn a certain way, so if my way isn't exactly what you were hoping for, change it up and make it so it is =)
Below I included not only how I do my classic popcorn, but I also included a sweet and a savory version, all of which are scrumptious!!!!

Classic Popcorn:

- 1/2 cup corn kernels
-1/4 cup canola oil
-4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
-1/2 tsp. salt

In a large pot, heat oil, salt and kernels on medium heat. Cover and watch closely. (Once the pot begins to let off the aroma of popped corn, and the kernels lighten in color, the kernels should start popping shortly thereafter) As soon as the kernels begin to pop, using two pot holders, shake the pot in a circular motion and place pot back onto the stove. Repeat this every 3-5 seconds. (Swirling the pot in circles will help bring the popped popcorn to the top so it doesn't burn and the un-popped kernels closer to the bottom.) Once there is about a 2 second pause between the pops, remove the pot from the heat and immediately pour popcorn into a serving bowl.
In a glass liquid measuring cup, melt butter in microwave for about 30 seconds. Pour melted butter evenly over popcorn and stir until all the popcorn is evenly coated. Serve and enjoy!!

Savory Popcorn

-same as above, plus...
-dried oregano
-grated Parmesan cheese
-garlic powder

Follow all the steps listed above, and once you've topped your popcorn with butter, give it a generous dusting of grated Parmesan cheese, and a light dusting of garlic powder and dried oregano. Mmm!

Sweet and Salty Kettle Corn (Courtesy of Alton Brown: Food Network)

(I recommend reading the entire recipe before making this popcorn.)

-1/2 cup corn kernels
-1/2 cup granulated sugar (if you like a lighter flavor you could do 1/3 cup)
-1/3 cup vegetable oil
-2 Tbsp. butter flavored shortening or Margarine *See tip below
-1 tsp. salt

Now this took me a few tries before I got it right. My biggest mistake was either I had my heat too high, added my sugar too soon, or I didn't pull the popcorn off the stove fast enough. Hopefully you'll get it on your first try ;)

Using a large covered pot, heat all of the above ingredients except for the sugar on medium-high heat (If you have a gas stove, you may want to try just medium heat, that's what I do and it works just fine.) Once the kernels begin to lighten in color and give off the smell of popped popcorn, add the sugar and mix well. Place the cover back on the pot and repeat the same steps as above, watching for the popcorn to pop and constantly, vigorously shaking the pot in a circular motion every 2 or so seconds. (I begin swirling the pot as soon as I add the sugar. Even though the kernels may not be popping yet, it helps ensure the sugar coats every single kernel and it helps keep the sugar from sticking.) As soon as the kernels pause between pops, take off the top, pour immediately into a serving bowl and let the popcorn cool. CAUTION!: the popcorn will be extremely hot when it first comes out of the pot. (If I'm not too impatient, I like to pour the popcorn out onto a cookie sheet instead. That way, not only does it cool down faster, but then I can pick out any burnt kernels... yes there are usually still a few ;)... and break up the rest that may stick together in small bunches.)

I know it sounds like its easy to screw up, but once you get it right and try it, this kettle corn will knock your socks off =)

*Sugar combined with high heat burns very easily. That's why I recommend waiting until right before you think the kernels are getting ready to pop to add the sugar to the pot.

*Also, using margarine or shortening can minimize burning as well as oppose to using butter. Margarine and shortening have a higher melting point, thus taking longer to burn. If you don't have either, I don't recommend trying out this recipe. Chances are, your popcorn will definitely burn if you use butter.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Guacamole Served With Warm Tortilla Chips

I came up with this guacamole recipe after trying Chipotle's guacamole, which I personally think is absolutely delicious! Every ingredient is inspired from their guacamole with the exception of the fact that I leave out the Serano chili peppers - I'm sort of a woose and can't tolerate a whole lot when it comes to heat.

Now every time I make this, I forget to measure and I totally do it by eye, so none of these measurements are exact, but hopefully this recipe will give you an idea.... I can't give away all my secrets! ;)
Warm & Flaky Tortilla Chips:


-4 8" soft flour tortillas
-3/4 cup canola oil
-salt to taste


Using a sharp knife, cut each tortilla in half, then cut each semi-circle in 1/4's. (
Each tortilla should yeild 8 tortilla chips.) Continue this same process until all tortillas are cut into 1/8's and then set aside. In a medium saute pan, heat up canola oil over medium heat. Once oil is up to temperature, place 6 or so chips (be careful not to over-crowd pan) in the oil and watch closely as chips will brown very quickly. After about 15-30 seconds, or until underside is golden, flip each chip over and cook opposite side. Once chips are golden on either side, remove them from the oil and place them on a plate lined with a paper towel and sprinkle immediately with salt. (If you have any extra brown grocery bags sitting around, you can also use those instead of paper towels.) Serve warm with fresh guacamole (recipe to follow). Fresh Guacamole Ingredients 4 avacados
4 medium sized cloves of garlic

1/4 cup diced red onion

1 lime

1/2 lemon

3 Tbsp. fresh chopped cilantro

salt to taste

*1-2 Serano peppers seeded-*optional


Cut each avocado in half and scoop out the meat of the avocado and place into a medium sized bowl. To that, add the juice of 1 lime and 1/2 a lemon. Season with salt (
I use about a tsp., maybe more) and using the teeth of a fork, mash the avocado mixture until all of it is smashed into small pieces. (Something else I discovered works great for mashing, if you don't already have a masher :), is use two beaters from an electric mixer. Hold them side by side and mash the avocado that way. It works wonders!) Once mashed, add chopped onion, cilantro, and minced garlic and stir until all the ingredients are equally incorporated. Chill for at least an hour. Serve with chips and dip away!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies: Courtesy Alton Brown (Food Network)

Alton calls this recipe "The Chewy" (for all the lovers out there =) This recipe is the yummiest chocolate cookie recipe I've ever made. I have made these cookies time and time again, and without fail, the moment they hit the table, they're gone! This is a definite crowd pleaser and after all the requests I've had for this recipe, I figured I would share it with everyone at once. If you're a nestle cookie kind of a girl (or boy) then you don't know what you're missing! This is a whole new level of cookie ;) My only tip: follow this recipe to a tee and you can't go wrong - Happy Eating!

"The Chewy" courtesy Alton Brown

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 2 1/4 cups bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • Ice cream scooper (#20 disher, to be exact)
  • Parchment paper
  • Baking sheets
  • Mixer

Heat oven to 375 degrees F. (or if you have a crazy hot oven like mine, I preheat it to 350)

Melt the butter in a heavy-bottom medium saucepan over low heat. Sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda and set aside.

Pour the melted butter in the mixer's work bowl. Add the sugar and brown sugar. Cream the butter and sugars on medium speed. (Make sure they're creamed, not just mixed. You'll know when it's creamed because it should grow in volume, lighten in color, and form soft peaks.) Add the egg, yolk, 2 tablespoons milk and vanilla extract and mix until well combined. Slowly incorporate the flour mixture until thoroughly combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Chill the dough, then scoop onto parchment-lined baking sheets, 6 cookies per sheet. Bake for 14 minutes or until golden brown, checking the cookies after 5 minutes. (Again, my oven is super hot so I only need to cook mine for about 8 or 9 minutes.) Rotate the baking sheet for even browning. Cool completely and store in an airtight container.

Rated: 5 stars out of 5

Alfredo Pasta

I got this recipe out of a cookbook my mom passed down to me, and in it, they claim to have "the" Olive Garden Alfredo sauce recipe. Not so sure if this is exactly what you get at Olive Garden, but it sure tastes like it! The only variation I like to make is I add a little more garlic powder and salt then what is shown in the book. You may like it just the way it is though. This makes the perfect side with any Italian dish or the perfect main coarse with some fresh grilled chicken (You could even throw in some steamed broccoli - yum!) Hope you like it as much as we do!

Alfredo Pasta

-1 box of Fettuccine pasta
-1 stick of unsalted butter
-2 cups heavy cream
-1/4 cup grated Parmesan
-1/8 tsp. ground pepper
-1/4 tsp. garlic powder
-1/4 salt

In a large pot, bring salted water to a rolling boil and cook pasta to al dente. *Generously salting your water can add great flavor to your pasta since this is the only opportunity you get to infuse flavor directly into the pasta. When I cook a box of pasta, I generally add about 1-2 Tbsp. of salt to the pot.

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the cream, garlic powder, salt and pepper and simmer for 15 - 20 minutes or until thick. (Depending on the strength of your stove top, this can be a time consuming process - be patient, it will thicken and it will pay off =) If you absolutely have to speed things up, combine 1/4 cup of milk and 1 Tbsp. of corn starch. Stir until smooth and add it to the cream. Just be careful because once you add the corn starch mixture, the cream should thicken up fairly quickly. Keep a close eye on it!)
When the Alfredo sauce has reached your desired consistency, stir in the Parmesan cheese.

When the pasta is cooked, drain it. Serve the pasta on plates with Alredo sauce poured over the top and lightly garnish with freshly grated Parmesan. YUM!

*Serves 3-4 as an entree

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Sharon's Banana Pudding

For 4th of July, I decided I wanted to make a dessert special for my family and perfect for the warm weather. I came to the conclusion that this recipe was the perfect fit!

If the title didn't already give it away, I definitely can't take any credit for this one. This recipe was given to me by Mrs. Sharon Johnson and it is by far THE BEST banana pudding I've ever tasted. This is so simple and so delicious and it's the perfect dessert for the summer. Hope you mark this one in your recipe book because you won't be able to eat it just once =)

Sharon's Banana Pudding:

4 - 3.4 oz. pkg.'s instant French Vanilla pudding mix
1 - 8 oz. canister Cool Whip (frozen)
1 - 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
14 oz. water (use milk can when empty)
4 medium bananas (sliced into 1/2" pieces)
2 bags of Jackson's Vanilla Wafers
Milk to taste

In a 9 x 13 pan, make a layer of vanilla wafers to cover bottom of pan in a single layer, then layer a single layer of sliced bananas (or more if desired). In a large mixing bowl, mix condensed milk, water, and dry pudding mix until well blended and smooth. To mixture, add cool whip and beat until well blended - the consistency of the pudding will be very thick (that's what you want). Slowly add milk until the mixture comes to a smooth pudding texture. Should be somewhat thick and fluffy - not runny (pull the blender arms up and the pudding should resemble a ribbon when running back into bowl). Pour pudding over the wafer/banana layers in pan and spread evenly. Top with a single layer of wafers and chill for at least 4 hours.

*Serves 10 - 12 (8oz. each)

Friday, July 3, 2009

Chicken Parmigiana

So I have the family in town tonight, and it just wouldn't be right to have my mom (also a lover of cooking) in town, and not treat her to probably one of my best dishes.... according to Chris that is =) so on the menu for tonight I'll be treating the family to Homemade Chicken Parmigiana with Alfredo Pasta. I have to first say, and this won't be the last time for sure, all of the measurements listed below are not exact. I mostly cook by eye and taste (mm!), but I'll do my best to "guesstimate" the proper measurements for your culinary enjoyment =) Here is the recipe for the chicken and tomorrow I'll follow it up with an Alfredo sauce that is out of this world! Bon Appetit!

Chicken Parmigiana

-4 boneless chicken breasts pounding to about 1/2" thin
-1 cup of Italian breadcrumbs
-1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
-3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
-2 Tbsp. fresh chopped Oregano
-salt and pepper to taste
-2 eggs
-2 Tbsp. water
-4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
-3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
*1 1/4 cup marinara sauce

*because this is only a tiny part of the recipe, I prefer to use Prego traditional sauce. I have a homemade recipe I like to use for spaghetti and bruschettas but it's much more complex and you're not going to want to wait too long to dive into this chicken... trust me! =)

-In a 9 x 13 glass dish, spoon 2 Tbsp. of marinara and spread evenly to just coat the bottom of the pan (this will prevent the chicken from sticking to the bottom of the pan).
-In a shallow dish, combine eggs and water and whisk together until little air bubbles appear at the surface - set aside. In a separate dish, combine breadcrumbs, parmesan and oregano.
(*I like to use the panko breadcrumbs because their larger and more coarse than traditional breadcrumbs. This makes for a lighter, crispier breading. If you prefer a thinner more dense breading, just substitute the panko crumbs for more italian breadcrumbs.) Mix evenly and set aside. Salt and pepper each chicken breast on both sides then dip both sides in egg wash and then dredge thoroughly in breadcrumb mixture.
-In a large saute pan, coat the bottom evenly with olive oil and place on medium heat. (*It's important that the pan is up to temperature when you place the chicken in the pan. The chicken should sizzle once it hits the pan, but be careful not to let the oil heat up for too long or the olive oil will burn. The best way to judge if the oil is ready is when you look at the surface of the oil it should almost look as though it's rippling.)
-Place the chicken breasts in the hot oil but be careful not to overcrowd the pan. For larger chicken breasts, you may only want to cook two at a time. Cook each breast about 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Breasts should have a nice dark golden appearance. (Also be careful not to poke or turn breasts too much as this may dry out the chicken.) Place the cooked chicken into the 9 x 13 pan and layer evenly. Top the chicken with remaining marinara and then top with shredded mozzarella. Place chicken in broiler until mozzarella is golden and bubbly. Serve along side your favorite pasta or vegetable and enjoy!

*Serves 4 (1 breast each)