Thursday, February 28, 2013

Chicken Parmesan

One of my favorite parts of recovery was all of the visitors. I had friends and family visiting, some that I haven't seen for years. I can't even describe how happy I was to hang with everyone.

Kate and I were friends during my college years. Never extremely close, but we would hang out one on one. When she moved to NC I was sad to see her go. We kept our relationship going enough to always be able to contact each other (you have to remember that this was long before facebook and other social networking sites), but would lose touch years at a time. Our relationship became much stronger when we started our families and would share our parenting triumphs and follies. It didn't take long to bond and become best friends over emails.

I finally got to visit with her when she came to Ohio after surgery. I was feeling pretty good at that point and was hopeful that we would be able to spend some time together cooking dinner and sharing a bottle of wine, which we always talked about in our emails. We took the opportunity and did just that.

After a brief discussion we decided on Chicken Parmesan. Delicious. Next was a quick trip to the grocery store and we were ready to cook.

1 sweet onion
1 cup extra virgin olive oil (plus more for frying)
56 ounces whole peeled canned tomatoes
28 ounces crushed tomatoes
20 ounces stewed tomatoes
1 bunch basil
7 cloves garlic
1 1/2 pounds mozzarella cheese
Parmesan cheese
1 bottle Pinot Noir red wine
3 pounds chicken (we used thighs, the original recipe recommended breasts)
Seasoning (oregano, garlic powder, salt, pepper, etc.)
6 eggs
4 cups bread crumbs (we used homemade, the original recipe recommended Panko)
1 box spaghetti

Heat olive oil in a stock pot, medium high heat.
Dice onion. Add to heated oil, cook for 10 - 15 minutes. Soften onions without turning them brown.
Dice garlic cloves. Once onions turn opaque, add diced garlic.
Add tomatoes. Add 1/2 cup red wine. Add seasoning (we seasoned to taste using my Italian dressing seasoning and adding other spices as needed, the original recipe suggested 1 tablespoon Penzey's pasta sprinkle).
Slice mozzarella into thin slices. Whisk eggs in a Pyrex dish. Add seasoning (we used a healthy dash of my Italian dressing seasoning). Dip chicken in eggs. Coat chicken with breadcrumbs. Repeat until all chicken is finished. Cover the chicken with plastic wrap and place in freezer.
Preheat oven to 400.
Start a boiled pot of water, heavily salted.
Using submersion blender, blend marinara sauce to desired thickness. Pour a layer of marinara on a baking sheet and sprinkle Parmesan on top.
Heat olive oil in large pan. When oil is hot, add breaded chicken. After about 10 minutes, once edges of the chicken start to brown, flip.
Add spaghetti to boiling water.
Layer the chicken on top of the marinara. Repeat cooking chicken and continue adding it to the marinara covered baking sheets. Give the chicken a thin coat of marinara on top. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on chicken. Layer mozzarella on top. Put in oven and set the timer for 12 minutes.
Slice some basil into thin slices (chiffenade).
Add finished cooked spaghetti to leftover marinara sauce.
Continue to check on chicken in oven. Once it is bubbling and the cheese is beginning to turn brown, it's finished.
Pour remainder of wine into glasses. Plate generous portions of spaghetti and chicken and sprinkle with basil. Enjoy!

Kate's admitted that she's always been a bit intimidated to make Chicken Parmesan. I've never made it. We both thought that this recipe was not only easy, but incredibly delicious. My boys ate a ton of it. She made it for her family shortly after she returned from Ohio with success (cooking and family enjoying). I haven't made it again, but plan to invite some family over for dinner soon and this will most likely be our entree.  Without further ado, treat yourself to this deliciousness!

As written, this recipe makes enough to feed an army. Recipe adapted from Diane's Chicken Parmesan.
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