Breaded Parmesan Chicken with Marinara Sauce

Sometimes you just want some breaded chicken! I had some leftover cutlets from my Skillet Lemon Chicken, so I made this last night. Although the coating can be a bit dry, if you sprinkle some Parmesan cheese on top at the end, it will boost the flavor.

Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken cutlets, about half an inch thick
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • 1/2 cup marinara sauce
  • 1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Prepare the bowls: place the flour, egg, marinara sauce, and breadcrumbs in individual bowls and set aside.
  2. Wash and pat the chicken dry. Sprinkle with salt and pepper on both sides.
  3. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with Pam.
  4. Dip each cutlet into the flour, then egg, then marinara sauce, and finally the breadcrumbs. Place on the sheet. Repeat with the other cutlets.
  5. Bake at 350F for 20 minutes.
  6. Remove the chicken from the oven and sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top. Place in the oven for 5 more minutes so the cheese starts to melt.

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Skillet Lemon Chicken with Mega-Sweet Potatoes

It’s almost May! This year is flying by, and that means some fun new recipes for spring. Chicken seared on a cast iron or regular skillet tastes delicious. I buy the cutlets when I want a quick meal because they brown in 10-15 minutes. The lemon slices cooking along with the chicken in this recipe give it a sweet tangy flavor.

The chicken:

Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken cutlets, about half an inch thick
  • 1 lemon
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • Garlic powder
  • 2 tsp dried parsley flakes
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth

Directions:

  1. Heat a skillet to medium-high heat. Wash and pat the chicken dry.
  2. Sprinkle the chicken with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and parsley.
  3. Cut the lemon in half. Squeeze one half over the chicken. Slice the other half into 4 rounds.
  4. Drizzle the olive oil into the skillet and add the chicken. Let cook 4-5 minutes and flip, making sure the bottom half is browned.
  5. Cook the chicken an additional 4 minutes. Place the lemon slices on top of the chicken. Continue cooking 1-2 more minutes or until the chicken has browned. Flip the chicken over for the last couple of minutes so that the lemon slices are underneath the chicken.
  6. Pour 1/4 cup of chicken broth into the pan to deglaze at the end to create a tasty sauce.

The sweet potatoes:

Ingredients:

  • 3 sweet potatoes, cut into chunks with skin on
  • 1 T maple syrup
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 T melted coconut oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Directions:

  1. Toss the sweet potato chunks with the maple syrup, brown sugar, and coconut oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Place sweet potato chunks onto a foil-lined baking sheet sprayed with Pam.
  3. Bake at 400F for 30 minutes.

Chicken Pot Pie (Milk-Free)

I can’t believe I found such a great recipe for a milk-free chicken pot pie! I used Puff Pastry as well, and it came out great.

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped (I used 2)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter (you can also use dairy-free butter)
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 12 oz. bag frozen mixed veggies, thawed
  • 3 1/4 cup chicken broth (I used 3 cups)
  • 3 cups chopped cooked chicken
  • 2 sheets puff pastry, thawed
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Directions:

  1. Cook the chicken first. Marinate the chicken breasts with salt, pepper, lemon juice, garlic powder, and olive oil. Place in a baking pan, cover with aluminum foil, and bake at 400F for 30 minutes.
  2. Remove half of the puff pastry (for the bottom layer) from the freezer and leave out on the counter to thaw, about 40 minutes.
  3. Remove the chicken from the oven, remove foil cover, and let cool.
  4. Spray a square baking pan (2 quarts) with Pam or other cooking spray. Press the puff pastry sheet onto the baking pan, prick holes in it with a fork, and cover with foil. Pie weights would be good for blind baking here. Bake at 400F for 25 minutes.
  5. While the puff pastry is baking, remove the second sheet from the freezer and leave out on the counter to thaw.
  6. Chop the chicken into small chunks and set aside.
  7. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and add the onion, celery, and bay leaf. Cook for 7 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft, stirring often.
  8. Discard the bay leaf. Add the flour to the saucepan and cook for another 3 minutes or so, until the mixture turns golden.
  9. Add the chicken broth and stir. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and add the chicken and thawed mixed vegetables, stirring well. The mixture will be thick. Remove from heat.
  10. Once the baked puff pastry is out of the oven, remove the foil and let it sit for a few minutes. When the chicken mixture is ready, pour it into the baking dish, making sure to spread it in an even layer.
  11. Place the second puff pastry sheet over the chicken mixture, pressing the sides down to meet the sides of the bottom sheet. Bake at 400F for 30 minutes, or until mixture is bubbly and the top is golden brown.

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Pan Seared Chicken Breasts

The October 2016 Cooking Light magazine has a great article written by Kenji Lopez-Alt, the chief creative officer of Serious Eats (seriouseats.com). I love reading his monthly column, since he provides useful tips and tricks in the kitchen. This month’s column was dedicated to creating a golden crust on chicken breasts. I tried this recipe last night and it came out delicious. I did not have canola oil, so I used olive oil instead. Also, my chicken breasts were pretty thick, so it took about 15 extra minutes to cook. I wanted to add this recipe to my blog because I will definitely make it again. Here it is:

Ingredients:

  • 4 (6 oz) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 T canola oil (I used olive)
  • 1 tsp butter (I used 1 T)

Directions:

  1. Wash and dry the chicken with paper towels. Sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides and place on a plate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Heat oil in a saute pan on medium-low until oil shimmers. Add the chicken, smooth side down, and let it cook for about 9 minutes, until the bottom side is golden brown.
  3. Add the butter and lift the chicken breasts to make sure the butter swirls all over the pan. Cook another minute or until the color turns darker golden brown.
  4. Turn the chicken and cook another 6 minutes or so until the temperature registers at least 155F.

Note: If the chicken breasts are thick, they will need more time in the pan. I left them on for about 25-30 minutes total.

 

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Spaghetti with Tomato and Garlic

As I was flipping through an Allrecipes magazine (which is amazing by the way), I encountered a meal that had been saved 13, 812 times on the website. Well, for good reason! This dish is so versatile, you can substitute different types of diced tomatoes, herbs, greens, and meats. The original recipe can be found here. I made this dish twice: first without meat and using the original recipe calling for 2 cans of diced tomatoes, and the second time with shredded chicken (leftovers from last night’s tacos) and one can of diced tomatoes. I didn’t have fresh basil the second time around, so I just used dried oregano and basil flakes. The second time I also used thin spaghetti instead of angel hair, and I liked it better. I also added fresh spinach to the sauce while simmering. This is a dish I will continue to make for an easy weeknight meal!

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces angel hair pasta (or thin spaghetti)–about half a box
  • 4 T olive oil (I used about 2)
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed–I used about 2
  • 1 T tomato paste
  • 2 (14.5-oz.) cans diced tomatoes–I used Del Monte, plain; you can also use one can only for less sauce
  • 2 tsp sugar (optional ingredient, but I added it!)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil–If you don’t have fresh basil, sprinkle in some dried basil and dried oregano flakes)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Bring a pot of salted water to boil over high heat and add the pasta, cooking until al dente. For angel hair pasta, cook about 4 minutes and drain. For thin spaghetti, cook about 8-9 minutes.
  2. While your pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil (2 T) in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and saute about 30 minutes, until garlic is fragrant.
  3. Stir in the diced tomatoes with their juices, tomato paste, sugar, salt, and pepper. This is also a good time to add in the dried basil and oregano if you are using. Reduce heat to medium and cook about 2 minutes. Add fresh basil if you are using. You can also add fresh spinach here.
  4. Add the cooked pasta to the tomato sauce in the pan and stir. Top with grated Parmesan.

A reader from Allrecipes suggested you add mushrooms or zucchinis too.

 

Here it is without the chicken using angel hair pasta and two cans of diced tomatoes:

 

This is the dish with chicken and spinach using thin spaghetti and one can of diced tomatoes:

 

BBQ Chicken Legs with Nectarine-Basil Couscous

I paired this meal with my Nectarine Basil Salad, and the flavors worked well together. The chicken had a great BBQ taste and was very juicy. The couscous recipe was featured in Cooking Light.

As a side note, I’ve been looking for ways to improve this blog. I’m experimenting with photo filters to tackle this photography issue, so we’ll see.

My friend Tiffany of Cherrise’s Jewelry also suggested I list my recipe steps instead of writing them in paragraph form. I can’t believe I never tried doing that before! It simplifies the cooking process, especially when you’ve got one hand stirring a pot and another testing the meat temperature with your thermometer–all you have to do is glance at the next number. See below for the exciting new changes!

For the chicken:

Ingredients:

  • 1/4-1/3 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce
  • 5 chicken legs, skin on, rinsed and dried
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400F.
  2. Grab a rimmed baking sheet and line it with two pieces of aluminum foil. The lower layer helps the sheet stay clean and after you’re done baking you can just peel the top layer off and discard.
  3. Spray the top foil sheet with Pam.
  4. Sprinkle the chicken legs with salt and pepper and toss with the BBQ sauce.
  5. Place the chicken legs on the baking sheet. Cover with a third layer of aluminum foil, creating a tent.
  6. Bake the chicken at 400F for 30 minutes. Remove when done. Test the temperature using a meat thermometer. If it’s at 160F, you’re ready to eat!

For the couscous:

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup Israeli couscous
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1 medium nectarine, cut into small chunks
  • 2 T orange juice (I ran out, so I used chicken broth instead)
  • 1/4 cup chopped sweet onion
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Directions:

  1. Bring the water to a boil in a small saucepan.
  2. Add the couscous and stir. Reduce heat to medium low and cook, covered, 8 minutes, or until water is absorbed.
  3. Uncover and add the chopped basil, nectarine, onion, salt, and orange juice (or broth).

Stir and enjoy!

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Shredded Chicken Tacos with Cilantro Rice

Taco Night—the most wonderful dinner of the week. You can make these with hard shells or with soft burrito flour tortillas. I like Tortilla Land and Old El Paso. Simply toss the tortillas in the skillet for a minute or so until heated through and serve the shredded chicken, cilantro rice, black beans, and a nice lump of guacamole on top. Add in some grilled sweet onions if you wish.

Ingredients:

For the chicken:

  • 3 chicken breasts
  • Cumin
  • Taco seasoning
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Lime juice (about half a lime)
  • Olive oil
  • 1/4-1/3 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tsp minced garlic

For the cilantro rice (recipe courtesy of Skinnytaste):

  • 1 cup white basmati rice
  • 3 tsp vegetable oil, divided
  • 3 T chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 cups water
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1 tsp salt

Directions:

Marinate the chicken by sprinkling it with salt and pepper on both sides and tossing it with olive oil, lime juice, taco seasoning, and cumin. Heat a skillet to medium high heat and add olive oil and minced garlic. Add the chicken and cook, turning every 4-5 minutes, about 20 minutes or until chicken is browned on each side. Add the chicken broth and let the chicken cook a few more minutes. Remove the chicken from the skillet and shred it with two forks. Add the shredded chicken back to the skillet and toss with the remaining skillet sauce.

Meanwhile, make the rice. Combine the rice, water, salt and 1 tsp vegetable oil in a skillet and heat to boiling. Let the water boil until it has reduced a bit, with the surface skimming the rice. Cover and reduce heat to low. Let cook 15 minutes. Remove from heat and keep it covered for another 5 minutes. Remove the lid and add the other 2 tsp vegetable oil, lime juice, and cilantro. Toss to combine.

For a quick guacamole, mash 1 ripe avocado with about 2 tsp lime juice, salt, pepper, chopped red onions and 1 T chopped fresh cilantro. Stir well and serve with the tacos.

For caramelized onions, heat a skillet to medium high and slice sweet (or red) onions into rounds. Or, slice lengthwise. Toss the onions with olive oil in the skillet and add some salt and pepper. Saute about 15 minutes or until edges have caramelized.

Enjoy!

Here’s the shredded chicken back in the skillet:

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And the rice:

 

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