We’ve been trying to buy organic meat in our house, which has greatly reduced the amount of meat we buy, but makes me feel a little bit better about the food I’m feeding my family. Not because I’m snotty, or whatever argument I’ve read a million times, but more for sustainability, crunchy feed the world reasons. That and meat and milk hormones are starting to make me nervous. Popco nervous. So, we’re reducing our meat intake. It’s actually really help lighten our grocery bill (although diapers and baby food have taken up the slack).
Anyway, I love chicken parmesan, but every time I make it the breading on the chicken ends up soggy, or worse, falls off. So I’ve been doing a little experimenting with how to bread chicken, and I’ve found a winner. That and a sauce that I think holds up really well to pasta and chicken and cheese.
I like to make my sauces from scratch, but I don’t have the time (or the desire) to make a 5 hour sauce. I just don’t want to do it.
So I have my cheating methods, and two sauces. One is smooth and great over pasta, or for shells the other is thick and great for meats, pizza, etc.
I opted for the second for this dish. It often looks more red in pictures than it actually is on the plate. Not sure why that is.
This is what you’ll need; (Serves 4)
4 chicken breasts, pounded to 2 inch thickness
1 cup panko
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup flour
1 tea freshly ground black pepper
1 tea salt
For Pasta Sauce
4 ripe tomatoes, diced
1, 28 oz can pureed tomatoes
1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup white wine
1 medium onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tea red pepper flakes
1 tbsp. fresh rosemary or 1 tea dried
1 tea salt (to taste)
1 tea pepper (to taste)
1 lb pasta of your choice
2 cups mozzarella cheese
And this is the point where WordPress decided to recover only half of my post…and not let me log in until today. To find…a lot missing. Ugh. Sometimes, this sucks.
Anyway, First prep your sauce. Your going to end up doing the sauce and chicken in tandem, but starting your sauce before the chicken helps you get going when you have to start frying up the chicken.
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Add olive oil, onion and garlic to medium-high heat. Cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes, garlic and onions should be fragrant, not browned. Next add the tomatoes, wine and balsamic. Stir well and cook for 2 minutes until tomatoes are softened. Add Canned tomatoes and spices, stir well, turn heat down to low and cover. The sauce making is Zara’s forte, and lately, since she’s watched and helped me so much lately, I’ve let her do almost all of it. I chop the onions and garlic, but otherwise, she’s pretty much on her own.
Start your chicken. Your going to create an assembly line so you can reduce mess (and gross chicken/kitchen contamination which is a very real thing with kids who stick their fingers everywhere, and then in their mouths).
Start with three small bowls. In your first bowl, add flour, salt and pepper. Stir and set aside. In your next bowl add three eggs, whisk well, set aside. Final bowl add panko, set aside.
Add olive oil to a saute pan and set over medium heat.
Take two long sheets of plastic wrap and place your chicken in between them. Fold over sides to create a little plastic chicken packet. If you have a meat hammer, use it to beat the bejesus out of your chicken until they are about 1-2 inches thick. If you don’t have a meat hammer (which I don’t) use a regular hammer. It’s WAY more fun, and get’s some aggression out. When you’re done, take your chicken through your assembly line. First dredge in flour, then eggs, then panko. Place your chicken in your already heated olive oil and fry for 4 minutes on each side. Chicken should develop a nice light brown coat. Put cooked chicken on paper towels to drain off some off the oil and set aside.
In a shallow oven safe dish, (I use either a pyrex pie dish or a 8×8 square) add 6 tbsp. pasta sauce, then layer the chicken, and more sauce. Put in the oven for 15 minutes.
Cook your pasta per package directions.
Top chicken/sauce mixture with mozzarella cheese during the last 2 minutes of the 15 minute bake.
Pasta and chicken should be finished at about the same time.
Serve chicken bake over pasta and top up with some fresh pasta sauce.