For the most part, us living on an island is much more exciting for our friends that visit than it is for Dwight and I who actually reside here.
Think about it. We live here and deal with everything that comes with it. Believe me, it is not all beaches and drinks with umbrellas everyday.
As you can see, I am not too happy with this island lately because I cannot seem to find my favorite Italian Roasted Starbucks Coffee anywhere.
Our friends…they’re the lucky ones. They get to visit us in a gorgeous tropical island destination that they likely would never have chosen had we not decided to live here and had they not missed us so terribly (??!!).
Dwight and I love having people over. It is a nice change of pace. As Dwight is working at the hotel, when we have friends over, I am the official tourist guide around here. This is all good until I am also the chef around here. Therefore, in order to wear two hats at the same time, I built a list of “go to” recipes that are:
- Easy and quick to make.
- Delicious (I run a food blog for “God’s sake”, no need for embarrassment).
- Look good: They have got to look as good as they do in the photographs. People have a tendency to think that those photographs on my blog just happen after I snap a couple of shots. “Yeah, right?!!!”
- Should be a great left over for the next day’s lunch: That way I can spend the next morning on the beach with friends instead of in the kitchen, by myself cooking lunch.
- Should be healthy: I, personally, am not a big fan of greasy, fried food that tastes fantastic but makes me feel guilty after eating.
- Should already be in my blog so that I do not have to write down the recipe.
Am I asking for too much???
This Baked Chicken Parmesan meets all of these criteria.
With several friends coming in the next couple of months, I decided to publish one of my favorite “go to” dishes when I am in a crunch.
First of all, I do not know of anyone, who eats meat and does not like Chicken Parmesan. Second of all, this chicken Parmesan recipe comes with all the benefits like deliciousness, crunchiness, cheesiness … etc. of its original, Italian, fried version. But (a BIG “but” here) it is not fried.
It is baked in the oven.
That, my friends, is a game changer in my culinary world. You try it and tell me if you do not agree.
Or, don’t. I do not want to know.
The secret ingredient in this recipe is panko, which happens to be my favorite ingredient lately. It is where the “crunch” comes from. You may not have heard of panko before. Do not feel bad because, as much as I cook, I did not know about it up until a year ago, when I first made this dish.
Panko is a Japanese-style breadcrumb that is made from bread without crust. It has a much more coarse and flaky texture, which makes it much lighter and crispier than regular breadcrumbs. They are more “flakes” than “crumbs” with a larger surface area than breadcrumbs. Because of its large surface, it absorbs seasoning much more than breadcrumbs.
You can use it for almost everywhere you use breadcrumbs. I, personally, do not use breadcrumbs anymore.
Ohhh, also, I love to toast it a little bit and sprinkle over salads to add a little crunch.
Another game changer…
To our friends coming over this season, to enjoy warm “always” summer days of the Caribbean, when it is freezing cold in Northern Hemisphere:
Get ready for a feast, “foolproofliving.com style”, and make sure to bring me coffee – Italian (Dark) Roast Starbucks Brand, please.
Thank you in advance. ♥
- 1 1/2 cups panko
- 1tablespoon olive oil
- 1oz. (1/2 cup) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly grounded
- 11/2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 3 egg whites
- 1tablespoon water
- Vegetable cooking spray
- 3 large skinless chicken breasts, sliced into cutlets
- 3/4 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh basil
- Tomato Sauce
- 2 (14 oz.) cans diced tomatoes
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1tablespoon tomato paste
- 1teaspoon olive oil
- 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1tablespoon minced fresh basil leaves
- Preheat the oven to 350 F Degrees.
- Cover a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a wire rack on top. Spray it with vegetable oil cooking spray.
- Place the panko in a large non-stick skillet with olive oil and cook until it is golden brown, stirring frequently, 9-10 minutes. Set aside and let it cool.
- Arrange 3 shallow dishes side by side.
- First shallow dish: Mix flour, garlic powder, salt and black pepper.
- Second shallow dish: Place the egg whites and water and whisk until incorporated.
- Third shallow dish: Stir in the Parmesan cheese with, now cooled, panko.
- Pat-dry each chicken cutlet with a paper towel.
- First, dredge the cutlets into flour (shake off the excess flour), second, dip into the egg whites and then lastly, coat with panko and Parmesan breadcrumbs. Press the panko mixture to coat. Place it on the wire rack.
- Spray the top of each chicken with vegetable oil spray prior to placing it in the oven.
- Bake it in the oven for 15 minutes.
- While it is baking, make the tomato sauce: Place the tomatoes in a food processor and process until they are smooth. Cook the oil, garlic, tomato paste, red pepper flakes in a large skillet (in medium heat), until it coats the bottom of the pan. Stir in the tomatoes and season it with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened, about 15-20 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the basil.
- Once the chicken is cooked, remove it from the oven. Place 2 tablespoons of the tomato sauce on each chicken cutlet and top it off with 2 tablespoons (or more) mozzarella cheese. Return it into the oven and cook until the cheese melts, for 5 more minutes.
- To serve, sprinkle each chicken cutlet with ribbons of basil and Parmesan cheese.
Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen, “Lighter Chicken Parmesan”.
Note: To cut chicken breasts in cutlets:
1. Place a boneless chicken breast on a cutting board.
2. Hold it on top with one hand and while slicing it horizontally (parallel to the cutting board) with the other hand.
3. If necessary, open it like a book and make a cut to separate two halves.
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