Archive for the ‘Enticing Entrees (Recipes)’ Category

Perfectly Palatable Chicken Parmigiana

April 3, 2010

This has become one of my favorite meals to make when I feel like something saucy and warm, but don’t have time to spend hours on a traditional hearty dish.  It’s simple and a great crowd pleaser (kids and adults alike), or even perfect to eat alone with enough left over for lunch the next day.  There are hundreds of Chicken Parmigiana recipes out there, but I promise you this will be one of the most flavorful ones you’ll find, and it’s sure to hit the spot.  Details like using the same pan to cook the chicken and the sauce, as well as the added herbs in the breadcrumbs will make the biggest difference in the final product.

Chicken Parmigiana

For 2 people

WHAT YOU NEED

  • 2-4 chicken breasts
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 2 cubs of breadcrumbs (add some dried oregano, garlic powder, black pepper, and dried basil for extra flavor)
  • 1 large shallot
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 Tablespoon Red Chili Flakes (or more if you like spice like me!)
  • 1 large can or 2 small cans of pealed Roma tomatoes (chopped) or tomato sauce
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • About half a box of spaghetti
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup of shaved Parmesan cheese
  • Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste

HOW TO MAKE IT

  1. Heat oven to 375 F.  Start heating a big pot of salted water over high heat, covered.
  2. Chop up the shallot into slivers.  Mince the garlic cloves.  Set aside
  3. Beat the eggs in a bowl.  Set another bowl aside filled with the breadcrumbs.  Make a third bowl for the flour.  Line these up like an assembly line with a clean plate on the end.  Order should be: 1) Flour 2) Eggs 3) Breadcrumbs
  4. Coat 1 chicken breast in the flour.  Once completely coated, shake of the excess, and coat in the egg.  Shake of the excess and cover in the breadcrumbs.  Once completely covered, set in the clean plate.  Repeat until all of the chicken breasts are prepped.
  5. Cover the bottom of the skillet with extra virgin olive oil and heat over medium heat.  After about a minute, add the chicken breasts to the oil.  Cook for about 7 minutes then turn each chicken breast over.  Cook for about another 7 minutes.  To test if they are done cooking, cut a small slit and see the meat is opaque white in the center.  Once cooking is complete, remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
  6. In the same pan, over medium heat, add the garlic, red chili flakes, and shallots.  Once the garlic sizzles and starts to turn golden and the shallots soften, pour the chopped tomatoes and all their juices or the tomato sauce.  Add salt and pepper and stir. Be sure to scrape the chicken bits off the bottom of the pan and mix into the sauce.
  7. Cook the tomato sauce until it’s simmering.  Simmer for about 10-15 minutes.
  8. About 5 minutes into the simmering, add the pasta to the boiling water.
  9. Set the chicken breasts in a Pyrex container.  Turn off the heat on the tomato sauce and pour the sauce over the chicken breasts.  Cover with the mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.
  10. Place the Pyrex in the oven for about 5-7 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and golden on top.  If necessary, turn on the broiler for the last minute to get the nice cheesy browning effect.
  11. Once the pasta is done cooking, strain, and either add a bit of butter or olive oil, and some salt and pepper.
  12. Serve the chicken and pasta together.  Yum 🙂

My Version of a TV Dinner – A Healthy, Easy Recipe for a Quick Meal!

January 12, 2010

As I was driving home after a long day and late night at work, all I was looking forward to was turning my brain off, sitting on the couch with my trusty DVR, catching up on the latest episodes of How I Met Your Mother and The Big Bang Theory, and, of course, since I was starving, I wanted something to eat that was tasty and healthy, yet quick and easy. I used my commute home to think about what I could concoct in less than 30 mins with things I had left in my pantry, fridge, and freezer, since I definitely had no energy to make a trip to the grocery store.  Here’s what I came up with!

[This will make about 1 meal, with just enough left over to take to lunch the next day!]

Flavorful Shrimp Spaghetti…with a Twist

WHAT YOU NEED

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Enough to coat the bottom of a saute pan
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic – each sliced into quarters
  • Dried Red Chili Flakes – amount depends on your spice-tolerance. I like a lot 🙂
  • Palm-ful of shredded Sage Leaves – totally optional, I happened to have some left so threw them in for extra flavor
  • Handful of cherry tomatoes sliced in half lengthwise
  • 5-7 Frozen, Uncooked, Peeled Shrimp, Chopped into bit size pieces – I like the “Argentinian Shrimp” from Trader Joe’s, but any kind works.
  • 1-2 Handfuls of Sliced Cremini Mushrooms – Shiitake Mushrooms would work great too
  • 1 Cup Dry White Wine
  • 1 Lime or Lemon
  • About half a box (1/2 lb) of Spaghetti (or any other long pasta you have on hand)
  • Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper – to taste

HOW TO MAKE IT

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil with the garlic and chili peppers over medium heat until the garlic turns golden brown.
  3. Add the sage leaves, and saute for about 1 minute.
  4. Add the mushrooms, and saute for about 2-3 minutes, or until they start to soften.  Add a pinch of salt and pepper at this point.
  5. Throw in the cherry tomatoes and toss so everything is coated.
  6. After about 2 minutes, move everything to one side to make some space in the pan, and add the shrimp there. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper.
  7. At this point, put the spaghetti in the boiling water.  Depending on the thickness of the pasta, it shouldn’t need more than 6-8 minutes to complete cooking, but keep an eye on it and taste occasionally after the 6 minute mark.  If the pasta is just soft enough so it’s not crunchy, but still has a slight bite (“al dente”) you’ll want to move the pot away from the heat and add a couple cold glasses of water to stop the cooking.
  8. You’ll notice the shrimp start to become opaque after about 2 minutes. Flip the pieces over.  After another 2  minutes or so, toss all the ingredients together so they are combined.
  9. Pour in the white wine and let the mixture simmer over medium-high heat until the alcohol cooks out – about 2 minutes.
  10. Squeeze about half the lime or lemon’s juice in and stir to combine. Lower heat back down to medium.
  11. The pasta should be done by now!  Lift the noodles (shaking off excess water first) into the saute pan and combine with all the other ingredients (reserve the pot of water you cooked the pasta in).  Add salt and pepper to your liking and squeeze the rest of the lemon/lime.  Continue to saute the entire mixture over medium heat for about 2 minutes.  If the mixture is too dry for any reason, add a ladle or two of the pasta water.

Super Refreshing Arugula, Watermelon, Feta Salad

WHAT YOU NEED

  • Baby Arugula – you can find this at almost any grocery store, pre-washed in a bag.  It has a nice, spicy flavor.
  • A handful of Watermelon chopped into bite size cubes – Trader Joe’s sells mini-watermelons that are perfect.  You can also buy the pre-cut kind.
  • Crumbled Feta – “Athenos” is a great brand to go with.
  • The juice of 1/2 Lime or Lemon
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper to taste

HOW TO MAKE IT

  1. Combine all the ingredients right before you want to eat it. Toss. Eat!

~ESSENTIAL SIDE NOTE~ To round everything out, since you opened a bottle of white wine to make the pasta, pour yourself a glass for extra relaxation – it goes great with the meal!