Easy Chicken Parmesan

Chicken Parmesan

I have fond memories of enjoying regular home cooked meals during my childhood (thanks, Mom!).  Life seemed a little slower then and certainly more home-centered.  But that doesn’t mean home cooked meals should be a thing of the past.  I will not surrender to statistics that tell me the average American adult buys a meal or snack from a restaurant 5.8 times a week, and more than 30 percent of children eat fast food on any given day.

I have found the key to preparing home cooked meals for my own family, is having the ingredients ‘on hand’.  This requires a little planning or, as in this recipe, having some regular staples in my fridge and pantry (egg, flour, cheese, pasta sauce).  You can quite easily get this meal on the table in 30 minutes or less.  Please let me know how your family enjoys this home cooked dinner!

Chicken Parmesan (serves 4)

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 cup breadcrumbs

4- 6 ounce skinless, boneless chicken breasts

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup jarred tomato pasta sauce

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (preferably Parmesan-Reggiano)

3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (preferably part skim)

Creamy Polenta recipe (see below*)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Collect 3 shallow dishes. In first, combine flour, oregano and salt. In second, place eggs. Place breadcrumbs in third dish.

Coat chicken pieces one at a time in this order: Dredge in flour mixture. Dip in eggs and dredge in breadcrumbs.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add chicken and cook 2 minutes. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil and turn chicken over to cook for 2 minutes. Place chicken in oven and bake for 5 minutes. Turn chicken over, top each breast with 1/4 cup sauce, 2 tablespoons parmesan, and 3 tablespoons mozzarella. Bake at lease 5 minutes more until chicken is done (165 degrees).

Serve with a side of pasta that you made while the chicken was baking in the oven. Round out the meal with a simple green or cucumber salad.  Enjoy!

Chicken and Dumplings

Chicken & Dumplings

It’s going to be another cold week in Chicago, but I have a recipe to keep you warm!  Simmering Chicken and Dumplings will warm your kitchen and your tummys with comforting aromas and flavors.

This is a recipe I’ve been making for my family for many years.  It’s especially tasty on cold winter nights when it helps us forget we were counting down the days ’til spring!

(Ssssh!  Only 39 remain…but who’s counting?!).

Simmering Chicken & Dumplings (serves 6)

Chicken:

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1-1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 small onion, diced

2 ribs celery, sliced thin

5 medium carrots, peeled and sliced thin

3 cups plus 1/2 cup water

1 bay leaf

3 chicken bouillon cubes

1 teaspoons salt

Black pepper, to taste

1/2 cup flour

Dumplings:

1-1/2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley or 1 teaspoon dried

2/3 cup skim milk

1 large egg

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

For the chicken, heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or large covered saucepan. Add the chicken and brown them on each side for 2 minutes. Stir in onion, celery and carrots. Sauté briefly, then add 3 cups of water, bay leaf, bouillon cubes, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer the chicken, covered for 30 minutes. Whisk together the flour and the remaining ½ cup of water in a medium bowl until smooth.   Add the mixture to the simmering saucepan. Cover and continue to simmer.

For the dumplings, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and parsley in a large bowl. Make a well in the dry mixture and add the milk, egg and oil. Stir briskly to make a batter. For each dumpling, spoon a rounded tablespoon of batter into the simmering broth. Cover and simmer (no peeking!) for another 10-15 minutes, without stirring. Ladle into soup bowls and serve hot. Enjoy!