Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Weeknight Inspiration: Chicken Parmesan and Salad with Fresh Herb Vinagrette

You could do this easy dish with eggplant as well for a vegetarian version.  I was inspired by a recipe I saw in Real Simple

Chicken Parmesan
What you'll need:
2-3 chicken breasts
2 cups panko
1 egg, beaten
1 jar marinara sauce
2 cups diced tomatoes, onions and green peppers (optional)
chopped fresh basil (about 4 Tbsp)
1 ball of fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
salt and pepper to taste
3 Tbsp olive oil

What you'll do:
Pound out the chicken until thin cutlets.  You don't have to have a meat tenderizer.  I used a regular hammer and put the chicken between two layers of saran wrap.  Season the chicken with salt and pepper.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet.

Put panko in one dish and beaten egg in another.  Dredge the chicken first in the egg and then in the panko.  Add to the heated oil and cook until browned.

Meanwhile, add a little olive oil to a sauce pan and sautee the tomatoes, onions and green peppers.  Add the marinara sauce once those have cooked down.  Add half of the fresh basil.  Simmer on low until chicken has cooked.  (This step is totally optional - you could use just a jar of plain marinara but I like to have fresh veggies in it). 

Place the chicken in the bottom of a large baking dish.  Top with the marinara and mozzarella. 

Cook at 350 degrees for 45 minutes - 1 hour.  I like to broil at the very end to give the cheese some browning.  Top with the last of the basil. 

Salad with Fresh Herb Vinagrette
We had our chicken parmesan tonight with a salad with herbed dressing.  I picked up on the basil that was in the marinara.

What you'll need:
variety of fresh herbs, chopped finely
red wine vinegar (or other vinegar of your choice)
olive oil
salt and pepper
pinch of sugar

What you'll do:
Wash and chop the herbs finely. 

Add to a bowl.  Add about 3 Tbsp of vinegar to the herbs (you can increase or decrease this depending on how much salad you are making). 

Add salt and pepper and a pinch of sugar (offsets the tartness of the vinegar).  Drizzle in olive oil stirring at the same time.  I tend to use matching amounts of olive and vinegar but you can use more or less depending on your taste.

Put anything you like in the salad.  We had strawberries, goat cheese and pecans in ours.  My general rule of thumb is to usually used some kind of fruit (usually fresh in the summer and canned or dried in the winter), a type of cheese (usually goat or feta) and something to give it some crunch (usually pecans, walnuts or pinenuts). 

Drizzle the dressing over the salad before serving.


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