Friday, March 4, 2011

What's for Dinner?

    I was going through my weekly meal plan earlier this morning, trying to decide what to prepare for Dinner tonight. I thought since it was Friday I would choose one of the "fancier" meals from the list. Our little guy doesn't have any extra-curricular activities tonight to rush us out the door shortly after we've finished eating. And we generally decide to stay up a bit later on Fridays to enjoy each others company. This leaves me with a larger window at meal time to whip up something extra delicious.
    I usually plan our meals based on items that I currently have on hand, combined with what happens to be on sale in the weekly flyer. All the while trying to eat healthy, and spend as little as humanly possible. After all, with the rapidly rising cost of living, who can afford to be wasteful with their hard earned cash.
    I find that preparing a meal plan ahead of time, as well as a shopping list to go along with the meal plan, prevents me from buying unnecessary items. And also prevents any last minute runs back to the grocery store to pick up forgotten ingredients while in the middle of preparation. Plus, if you already have something in the works for dinner you're less likely to be tempted to stop off for unhealthy take-out.
    So on the menu tonight is, Chicken Parmigiana over Whole Wheat Spaghetti w/ Caesar Salad. Now that I know I am eating a Dinner LOADED with carbs, I will run an extra 5K at the gym :)

Chicken Parmigiana
Chicken Parmigiana with Caesar Salad

Tomato Basil Sauce w/ Kalamata Olives

1/8 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted (optional)
8-9 fresh basil leaves
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes (I use canned organic tomatoes, I think conventional tomatoes taste like a cheap ketchup
1 tsp. sugar
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Chicken Parmesan
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 large egg, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water
1/2 cup dried bread crumbs
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan or pecorino cheese
1/2 cup mozzarella, grated 
Freshly grated parmesan or pecorino cheese, for garnish
1/2 lbs. of pasta (I prefer spaghetti, but anything will do)
1) Pour 2 Tbsp. of the olive oil into a sauce pot over medium heat. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. 
2) Add onions and garlic. Cook until fragrant, and onions begin to become translucent. Do not burn the garlic. It will take on a bitter taste.
3) Slowly pour in the crushed tomatoes. Add olives and basil. Stir to combine.
4) Cook over a medium low heat until the sauce has reduced. (About 12-15 minutes)
5) Season with the salt and pepper.
6) Lower heat and keep warm.
7) Create a breading station for the chicken breast. (I use standard dinner plates for this and it works adequately) Plate number 1 should contain the flour, seasoned generously with salt and pepper. Plate number 2 should contain the lightly beaten egg with 1 Tbsp. of water. season with salt and pepper. Plate number 3 should contain the bread crumbs mixed with 1/4 cup of freshly grated parmesan or pecorino. Also seasoned with salt and pepper.

The breading station
8) Place the chicken breast inside of a clean plastic bag, and pound out using a meat mallet to approximately 1/2" thick. Cut into 4 like sized portions.
9) In a heavy bottomed, oven proof skillet, add the rest of the olive oil. Heat over medium high heat.
10) Begin breading the chicken breast pieces. Dredge the pieces first in the flour, then the egg mixture, and lastly the bread crumb mixture.
11) Place into the preheated pan, and fry until the underside becomes a nice golden brown.
12) Flip chicken, and immediately add some of the tomato basil sauce. Top with some of the grated mozzarella. Continue until all of the chicken pieces are topped with sauce and cheese.

I chose to bake these today.

13) Place pan directly into the preheated oven. Bake until cheese browns and begins to bubble. About 15 minutes.
14) Cook pasta according to package directions.
15) Ladle sauce over noodles, place chicken on top of pasta, dress with freshly grated cheese and basil.

The perfect bite.

Makes 3 portions

Nutritional Information Per Serving:
Calories 517           Total Fat 25.6g
Sat. Fat 6.4g          Cholesterol 52.9mg
Sodium 699.9mg    Carbohydrates 43.3g
Fiber 7.7g              Sugars 1.4g
Protein 29.7g

You may also like:
Spaghetti Bolognese

No comments:

Post a Comment