It hasn't been a great couple of weeks in terms of home cooking. Some very busy days at work and a few weddings here and there on the weekends has not led to a lot of meals being made in the kitchen.
For times like this it's always good to have some standbys that you know are easy and reliable. For me, these dishes typically involve pasta, anything with garlic bread, eggs and chicken parm.
Mmm...I can't put into words how much I love chicken parm. I don't even really like chicken but when they're thinly pounded, breaded and covered with cheese, de-lish! Not to mention that it goes well with pasta AND garlic bread. Heaven.
This recipe is pretty basic. The only things I would really emphasize are to use fresh breadcrumbs if you can (it really makes the texture a whole lot better than store-breaded chicken) and to properly season at every step. I should probably point out that I am a salt fiend and may have a tendency to overseason, but even if you use less salt and pepper than I do I would still recommend that you make sure your chicken, egg and breadcrumb mixture is all seasoned. That way you won't get any bland bites. Also, the sauce isn't really anything special - just your standard tomato sauce using whole canned tomatoes, but it's nice and fairly tomato-y which works for me!
Oh, and I used a cup of cornflake crumbs because for some reason we have some kicking around the kitchen and have been adding them to everything. They were actually really good and added a nice extra crunch to the chicken, so I'm keeping it in the recipe.
1 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 16 oz. can whole tomatoes
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper to taste
1. Heat some olive oil in a medium-sized pot and add onions. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until translucent. Add garlic and cook for another minute or so. You don't want the onions or garlic to burn so make sure the heat isn't up too high.
2. Add tomatoes and give it a stir. Add herbs and let simmer for awhile. If you have a couple of hours, great but most of the time I do this for about 20 minutes to a half hour (I am clearly not claiming that this is an "authentic" tomato sauce by any means, but it's simple and tastes pretty good!). Add tomato paste to desired texture, depending on how thick you like your sauce (this will also vary based on how long you cook the sauce for)
4 chicken breasts
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup milk
1 cup breadcrumbs (preferably fresh)
1 cup crushed cornflakes (or just more breadcrumbs)
1 cup grated parmesan
4 tsp black pepper
3 tsp salt
2 tsp paprika
cheese (I used havarti, you can really use any cheese you want)
1. Flatten chicken - Using a meat tenderizer or mallet (I use a rolling pin and cover the chicken with plastic wrap), flatten chicken breasts to 1/4 inch thickness. Depending on how large the breasts are, I also sometimes cut the breasts in half first.
2. Combine egg and milk in a shallow dish, beating lightly with a fork. Add salt and pepper to season. Combine breadcrumb mixture in another shallow dish.
3. Dip chicken breasts in egg mixure and coat with breadcrumbs.
4. Heat a large frying pan to medium heat and add some canola oil. Once heated through, fry chicken breasts for about 5 minutes on each side, or until cooked through. If you're worried about the chicken cooking through, cover with a lid while it's cooking. I don't generally find this a problem since the chicken has been pounded down.
5. Cover with cheese and cook under the broiler for a couple of minutes, until cheese is bubbly. Serve with tomato sauce and pasta, if that's what you're doing.