It’s Saturday and we had several inches of snow here, so there’s not much going on today. It is a good day for some home cooking, and a really good day for some home cooking classic comfort food. Today was Michelle’s choice on the menu, so we are having Chicken Parmesan with Pasta and steamed mixed vegetables. I am also going to make some Italian Sausage and Peppers with rice, well, because I have the ingredients and I really like it :).
I am pretty sure everyone has made Chicken Parmesan at some point. It’s relatively easy to make and doesn’t really take much time to cook. I use a recipe from Giada De Laurentiis on the Food Network. Hey, if anyone knows how to cook Italian, it’s Giada, right? I’ll be using the leftover tomato sauce from the spaghetti meatballs earlier in the week (and I used some for the pizza last night too, that’s great!) so there’s really not much to this meal. This is a good recipe to get the assembly going if you have some helpers in the kitchen.
1 1/2 cups bread crumbs ( I am using my own, but you could use panko or other store-bought if you like)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 ounce grated Parmesan cheese (about 1/2 cup), plus extra for serving
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
3 large egg whites
1 tablespoon water
3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of excess fat and sliced into cutlets
2 cups Simple Tomato Sauce (see Monday’s blog for this recipe, or click here https://onedadskitchen.com/2012/01/16/enter-the-meal-plan/)
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella
1 teaspoon minced fresh basil
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 475 degrees F. Combine the bread crumbs and oil in a 12-inch skillet and toast over medium heat, stirring often, until golden, about 10 minutes. Spread the bread crumbs in a shallow dish and cool slightly; when cool, stir in the Parmesan. In a second shallow dish, combine the flour, garlic powder, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper together. In a third shallow dish, whisk the egg whites and water together.
On a rimmed baking sheet with a rack (or casserole or baking pan), spray with cooking spray. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper. Lightly dredge the cutlets in the flour, shaking off the excess, then dip into the egg whites, and finally coat with the bread crumbs. Press on the bread crumbs to make sure they adhere. Lay the chicken on the wire rack (or in the pan). Bake until the meat is no longer pink in the center and feels firm when pressed with a finger, about 15 minutes.
Remove the chicken from the oven. Spoon the sauce over and around each cutlet and top the sauce with the mozzarella. Return the chicken to the oven and continue to bake until the cheese has melted, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with basil and serve, passing the remaining sauce and Parmesan separately.
We’ll be serving the chicken with pasta tonight. Nothing special, just basic spaghetti. As I said earlier in the week when we made just spaghetti and meatballs, I think just about everyone can make spaghetti or has the own way of making it, so I will leave that to you (if you’re using boxed spaghetti and feel really lost, follow the directions on the box).
I am also making simple steamed vegetables tonight. I have a scattering of different vegetables available right now, so we are having, broccoli, carrots and cauliflower. As I wrote earlier in the week, I do use a steaming basket in my dutch oven to do this, Placing the basket in with water just to the bottom of it, bringing the water to a boil and then adding the vegetables. Steam the vegetables for about 5 to 7 minutes until you get the bright colors you want and the vegetables are tender. Add some more water if you find that the water is boiling away before the vegetables are done.
Lastly today, I have decided today to add in some sausage and peppers to make. I have some extra Italian sausage in the freezer, so why not?
Italian Sausage, Peppers and Onions
1 pound fresh Italian sausage links, sweet or hot
2 cups sliced onions
2-3 bell peppers of any color, cored, seeded and cut into strips
Salt and pepper, to taste
Cook the sausage in a large skillet over medium heat. Prick the sausage in a few places with a fork to allow excess fat to escape and turn the sausage frequently (if you want to slice the sausage into chunks before cooking, which I often do, it’s much easier to do while the sausage is a little frozen still.) Cook until nicely browned all over. Total cooking time will depend on the thickness of the sausages; the best way to see this (if you haven’t cut them into chunks) is to cut into one- when barest trace of pink remains, they are done. Drain the sausages on a paper towel and cover.
Place the onions in the same skillet you used for the sausage over medium heat and cook for about 5 minutes, undisturbed, until softening. Add the peppers and salt and pepper to taste.Cook, stirring frequently, until the peppers have softened, about 8 minutes. Return the sausage to the pan and mix with the vegetables, about 1 minute. Serve on a roll or bun or with pasta (it’s also good over white rice, too).
Wow, we actually did a whole week’s worth of meals and not a lot of work had to be put into it. Not too shabby at all. Tomorrow is Sunday, the one day of the week I usually try to do an elaborate meal, but we are going out tomorrow to my in-laws to celebrate a birthday (Happy Birthday Cathy!) so there’s no cooking this week. Instead, tomorrow I will write about the meal plan for next week (Here’s the planner if you want to use it:family_meal_planner) and I may throw in some lunchbox ideas for the kids (or adults) to use. Stay warm and enjoy your Saturday night; make some popcorn and watch a movie. That reminds me, that will be a good thing to write about, snacks to make for movie watching, I’ll have to remember that! Do you have any suggestions for good movie snacks? Pass them along!