Monday, February 6, 2012

Spinach Chicken Parmesan

There are a few different ways to make chicken parmesan and although I don't make it the same way every time, there are some staples to what makes a good chicken parm! I usually try to add some veggies into the mix - be it spinach, or veggies into the tomato sauce, I feel better about eating this somewhat heavy dish when it has some nutritional value.

There's a little bit of prep involved with making chicken parm. One of the most important parts is having a good tomato sauce - whether it's a homemade sauce or your favorite pre-made tomato sauce, or just some diced tomatoes sauteed with herbs and garlic - just make sure it's the sauce you like best! This time around I just sauteed some diced cherry tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, and basil instead of making up a big batch of tomato sauce.

As you can see above, putting the chicken together is the other important part of the dish! You should take out two shallow bowls - in one you can whisk up an egg with a couple TB of milk, and in the other just some italian seasoned breadcrumbs. If you're using thicker chicken breasts, you'll want to slice in half horizontally so that they don't take forever to cook through. In a saute pan, over medium heat, add a couple TB of olive oil. Dip the chicken breasts in the egg wash first, then the breadcrumbs, then transfer to the hot pan. You don't have to worry about cooking the chicken 100% through because it will continue to bake through when you put the dish in the oven, but you'll probably cook for about 5-6 mins per side.

Once the chicken is cooked you're ready to start layering. Always start on the very bottom with a couple spoonfuls of the tomato sauce so that nothing sticks to the bottom. In this version I put some baby spinach on the bottom, on top of the tomato sauce, and then put the cooked chicken cutlets on top of that. Then I covered the chicken with the rest of the tomato sauce so that as much of the chicken was covered as possible.

The final, easy step is covering with cheese! Despite the fact that it's called Chicken Parmesan, I like to include a mixture of a couple different kinds of cheese - mozzarella, parmesan, romano, really whatever you like!

At this point, you can prepare in advance and throw this in the fridge until you're ready to cook or put it right in the oven. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees when you are ready to cook - and bake until you notice the sauce and cheese bubbling on the edges - should take about 20-30 minutes. While the chicken is baking you can boil your water for pasta to serve with the chicken parm! Feel free to also serve with another vegetable and some extra grated parmesan!

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