Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Parmesan Chicken

I decided to scratch the Hawaiian Chicken that I had on my Menu Plan this week in favor of Parmesan Chicken which my husband and daughter are particularly fond of.  I also served some salad with Homemade Ranch Dressing (homemade croutons) and used some leftover buns for garlic toast.

This recipe has a history and I cannot post about it without mentioning the memories attached to this recipe.

My husband and I married young.  He was 20, I was 18.  We had only lived at home with our parents so needless to say, cooking wasn't something he nor I had much knowledge of.  Another teeny problem was that we only had a microwave (a wedding gift) and we did not have a stove for many months after our wedding.  In the cookbook that came with the microwave I found a recipe for Parmesan Chicken.  My very picky hubby somehow agreed to try Parmesan Chicken.  He had never even eaten spaghetti.  We're talking some serious food issues LOL!  Apparently this recipe was a success, because I am still making it today!

I have made this recipe just about every year for our anniversary.  I now no longer need a recipe.  We've been married 27 years.

Also, I no longer make it in the microwave.  It served its purpose but I would never choose to cook meat in the microwave, ha!

When I make this recipe, I cannot help but remember where this recipe came from, and how young I was when I used to make it.  It will always be a very special meal.

Here's how I make (super easy) Parmesan Chicken AT HOME MY WAY:

Super Easy Parmesan Chicken
(Double if you are baking in a 9x13 - my recipe below only feeds about 4 people.)
  • 6-8 (thawed) boneless/skinless chicken tenders or breast portions cut in half to make tenders
  • Seasoned canned bread crumbs (you could make your own)
  • Parmesan Cheese (canned)
  • 1 15oz can of tomato sauce or spaghetti sauce of your choice
  • (If using tomato sauce, you will need seasonings; I use approximately 1 teaspoon of garlic powder + 1/4 teaspoon basil+a little salt/pepper.  If you are using prepared spaghetti sauce, you don't need any seasonings.  We prefer this meal with canned tomato sauce seasoned by me)
  • 2 cups grated mozzerella cheese
  • Cooked pasta - we use ziti or penne pasta
Directions (Preheat oven to 350°):
  • Combine app. 1 cup bread crumbs with 1/2 cup canned parmesan cheese.  Dredge the chicken pieces coating on all sides.  Place the chicken pieces in a sprayed casserole dish.  It's okay if they touch each other or are squished in the pan. 
  • Place the coated chicken pieces in the oven (at 350°) for approximately 30 minutes (uncovered).
  • If the chicken looks its cooked/browning, remove the pan from the oven. 
  • Dump on tomato sauce + seasonings (give a little swirl/stir) or the prepared spaghetti sauce - pouring all over the chicken pieces.
  • Place back in the oven (uncovered).
  • Start your pasta water and let the sauce/chicken bake while you are cooking the pasta (it should bake another 20 minutes or so due to the combined time of bringing the water to a boil and boiling the pasta).
  • Right before draining the pasta, remove the sauce/chicken from the oven and sprinkle with grated mozzerella.  Place the pan back in the oven (uncovered) to melt the cheese.
  • Drain the pasta, add a little oil/margarine (I use about 2 T. of margarine), and stir the pasta.
  • All done - serve Parmesan Chicken/Sauce over pasta.
  • Make sure to save ALL the leftovers.  They are excellent warmed up.

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