I am a piano player….I have been playing piano for about 45 years now…I play all the time for all sorts of people…yet I can’t play anything if it’s not already been written out and placed in front of me…
In other words, I can’t play by ear or transpose…lost my full scholarship to Ole Miss because I couldn’t pass basic music theory…
I am also an avid cook…I have been cooking for about 25 years now…I cook all the time for all sorts of people…yet I can’t cook anything if it’s already been written out and placed before me…
In other words, I can’t actually cook…but I can follow a recipe…
So one of my goals for minimalizing my life and taking care of my diabetic husband and raging-wild five year old is to learn to cook without a recipe…(who honestly cares if I can’t play piano by ear…you can’t eat golf balls)…
So as I have begun this journey, I have started adding recipes to this book.
I want this collection to mainly contain recipes that I can memorize and make without having to read a recipe…basic recipes that any beginner cook can master…nothing fancy…and nothing that I won’t actually make at least three times a year.
At this point, I have two recipes—the two recipes that I shared so far—fried chicken, and chicken fried steak.
Today we are gonna add Chicken Parmesan to this collection.
One of the things that I have wanted to do to hopefully make our lives both healthier and easier is to learn how to make our favorite meals in a faster and healthier way…that is healthy for my type 2 diabetic husband…and convenient(?!) for my full-time 50-year old full-time college student lifestyle…(heaven help me)…
For years, we have been frying so many of our meals…we’re from Mississippi…that’s what we do in the South…and that’s why so many men in the Deep South have type 2 diabetes…it’s like a rite of passage…kinda like a man’s version of menopause perhaps…
Anyway, Chicken Parmesan is definitely one meal that can be baked in your oven instead of fried, as most of us have been doing for years…and still taste good, if not even better…mainly because the chicken is no longer lost entirely under a pile of greasy bread crumbs and slippery cheese.
Your goal is to create Parmesan-crusted chicken that is lusciously juicy on the inside, perfectly crispy on the outside, and topped with cheese that is hot, bubbly, and satisfying.
2# boneless chicken breasts or thighs
1/4Cgrated Parmesan cheese
1tsp garlic powder
2 large eggs
32oz marinara sauce
1C shredded fresh mozzarella
1/4C. thinly sliced basil
The Prep Work
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Line a large baking sheet with foil . Spray lightly with cooking spray.
Place chicken in between layers of plastic wrap. Pound with mallet until they are about 1/2″ thick. You want to pound them even a little thinner and wider…your choice…
We have been talking about the steps involved in breading your food in these few posts…and that’s why we are not stumbling on the recipe for Chicken Parmesan in the first place.
So let’s look back at what the steps involved in breading are…
1. First set up your work station by setting two large bowls on your counter. Put a cookie sheet on each side of the bowls—one to hold the food to be breaded, and another to hold the food that has already been breaded.
In the first bowl, whisk together eggs and buttermilk.
In the second bowl, mix together breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, garlic powder, salt, pepper and Italian seasoning in a medium sized bowl….
2. Prep the Chicken…Place the unbrea4ed and uncooked chicken on one of the baking sheets,
Working oith one piecv of chicken at a time, place chicken in between two layers of Saran wrap, and then pound witha meat mallet until your chicken is about ¼” thick.
Now make sure that your chicken is dry..
Sseason chicken with salt and pepper on both sides.
3. Dredge the Chicken…Dip the chicken first into the egg mixture, Shake off any excess egg.
Next dip the chicken into the breadcrumb mixturef. Pat the chicken gently to make sure that the crumbs stick to all sides.
Place on prepared cookie sheet.
Repeat with the remaining chicken.
Place your breaded chicken in a baking dish.
Lightly spray chicken with cooking spray…((this will help make the chicken crispy)…
Bake in the oven for 20min, until lightly golden and crispy. If you are using a probe thermometer, your chicken is ready when its nternal temperature is 165 degrees.
(Note…You may or may not want to fry the chicken before baking it. Doing so will help make your chicken crispier, but doing so can also be a pain in the butt and not something you want to do if you are avoiding fried food in the first place.)…
If you do choose to go ahead and fry it first, add the chicken to a hot skillet and fry for 3-4 minutes per side. Then transfer your chickren to the oven to finish cooking for about ten minutes)…
Remove the baked chicken from your oven.
Top each piece of chicken with 2Tbsp. marinara sauce and about 2 Tbsp. mozzarella cheese.
Bake for 5min, or until cheese is melted and sauce is warm.
Garnish with more Parmesan and basil.
Serve immediately with a lightly dressed salad, a baguette, and poenty of olive oil for dipping your bread in…