You thought the day would never come that I would post a meat dish but the day is dawning and here is our first foray into the world of poultry. *Insert Fireworks here* This recipe is a variation on what my boyfriend calls "Imperial Chicken" turned Italian. I will be the first to give credit where credit is due: the chicken recipe is his. We made this dish last weekend and we were shocked at how delicious it was! It was really simple with two of us in the kitchen and it proved to be the tastiest meal we had the whole weekend. All in all the whole kit and caboodle costs about $20 for two healthy portions and one bowl of leftovers. We had a bag of frozen chicken breasts and a can of bread crumbs already in our possession which cut down on the total cost. Pair this dish with a crisp green vegetable (like fresh steamed green beans or broccoli) and you've got an easy Italian dinner ready in under an hour. Serves 2.
2 medium chicken breasts
1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs (if you've only got plain crumbs toss them with a teaspoon of Italian seasoning. Wa-la!)
2-3 garlic cloves
1/2 stick of butter, melted
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (the canned stuff will do as well although I think it is lacking a little in flavor)
1/2 pound thick spaghetti noodles
Simple $5 Spaghetti sauce (originally by smittenkitchen):
1 (28 ounce) can crushed or whole tomatoes
1 medium yellow onion
5 tablespoons butter
1. Pour the tomatoes into a deep sauce pot. Peel and halve the onion and drop into the tomatoes along with the butter. Heat on medium until the concoction begins to simmer. Reduce the heat to low and continue cooking uncovered for 40-45 minutes until it has thickened, stirring occasionally.
2. Meanwhile, prepare the chicken. (If your breasts are frozen thaw them in a bowl of lukewarm water or in the microwave. Or, if you're thinking ahead, put them in a covered dish in the fridge overnight). Trim any excess fat or skin that you may find unpalatable.
3. Melt the butter in a small bowl. In another bowl mix the bread crumbs and cheese. Rinse and the chicken breasts and pat dry. Coat the breasts with the melted butter and then dredge generously in the bread crumbs. Set aside.
4. Peel the cloves and crush using the flat side of a kitchen knife. I suggest chopping them very roughly.
5. Heat a frying pan on medium-low heat. Add the melted butter (or another two or three tablespoons) and garlic to the pan. You are going to pan fry the breasts so the "fat" doesn't need to be terribly deep. When the butter is hot and bubbly add your breasts. Don't disturb them (ie flip) until they are at least half way cooked through. You want the bread crumbs to soak up some of the butter and get golden brown and crispy before flipping. The total cooking time will depend on your breast size. If they are especially thick they may take longer. Be sure to cut into the breasts before removing them from the pan. The juices should be clear and the breast itself should no longer be pink or translucent looking.
5. When the chicken is done remove from the pan and drain on paper towels for 1-2 minutes. Heat another pot of water and bring to boil. Add the pasta and cook according to the package directions.
6. When the sauce is done remove the onion. I like to toss half of the pasta with some of the sauce before plating. Add a handful or two of fresh grated Parmesan. Top the chicken with a little extra sauce and serve the noodles on the side. You'll never call for delivery again after this meal. Enjoy