Monday, August 20, 2012

Easy Chicken Parmesan

This is a favorite at our house and there are never leftovers, even when I make extra.  The no leftover thing bums my hubby out so I try to set a portion aside for his lunch the next day whenever I can.  

This recipe is super easy, and you can make it with low fat cheese if you need to.  You need 2-3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts.  Lately, I can't make chicken without my favorite meat pounding tool.  I usually buy boneless, skinless chicken breasts when they are on sale which usually means large pieces of meat that are quite thick, requiring longer cooking time.  SOLUTION:  This gadget from Pampered Chef is now one of my favorites.  (link to see said gadget)  I use the flat side and gently pound those pieces flat - the flattening process also makes them larger and more tender.  Once they've been flattened, I cut each ginormous chicken breast in to 3 smaller pieces.  You don't have to buy this particular one, find one you like that you can afford.  This was only $25 when I bought it and I cringed at the price, but it was totally worth it, in the amount I've saved by using much less chicken this way.  Digression in italics out of the way, pound out chicken breasts as described above, cut each into smaller portions.  A good sized portion of chicken is about the size of the palm of your hand, according to the most dietitians.  

Now at this point, I preheat 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet and coat each piece of chicken with flour.  I use a gluten free all purpose flour or rice flour since I cook gluten free and we've found that it gets crispy and has a better texture, but regular flour works fine too.  Place chicken in skillet and cook on each side until flour is a light golden brown.  If you want these low fat/low carb, skip the flour and grill or broil your chicken.  
cooked chicken breast, add marina sauce, top with mozzerella

Grease a large baking dish and place cooked chicken in a single layer.  Spoon 2-3 tablespoons of your favorite spaghetti sauce or marinara sauce over each piece of chicken.  Top each with 1-2 tablespoons of finely shredded cheese. I use mozzarella, but it works with just about any kind.  Use your favorite, I promise not to judge.  Just make sure you cover and refrigerate any left over sauce.  I had a momentary lapse and put it back in my pantry once.  Oops.  I'm just glad it was a clear jar and I didn't have to open it to realize what had happened.  I threw it straight in the trash and skipped washing the jar for recycling/reuse.  

Bake 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, until cheese is melted and bubbly.  The chicken will be so tender you can cut it with your fork.  See, I told you it was easy!  

I used serve it with pasta and poured the rest of the jar of spaghetti sauce over the pasta, add a leafy green salad and garlic bread.  My gluten free version is now, roasted potatoes and a green vegetable, usually broccoli or a salad. 

Update:  If you want an even quicker version of this, use prebreaded southern style chicken breasts instead of flouring and frying your own.  They aren't quite as healthy and they are a little more expensive but it eliminates a cooking step, saves time and some clean up.  You can also use slices of mozzarella, instead of shredded.  


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