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I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving!  We spent the holiday with my grandparents at their home Utah and had a great time.  I have many pictures of our trip and will be posting some of them soon.  But right now, I want to share with you something that I made for dinner tonight.

This recipe is a family favorite from waaaay back: Pizza Chicken!  It’s really just Parmesan Chicken, but as kids we called it Pizza Chicken because well, it’s like pizza but with chicken instead of dough.  Simple enough, right?  Life’s not so simple anymore, being a grown-up and all, but I can still make my Mom’s Pizza Chicken and feel like I’m sitting at my parents’ dinner table with my biggest worry being my 6th grade report on the Hanging Gardens of Babylon (how do I remember doing that report?!!  It was a fun one!).

I didn’t take an ingredients photo for this recipe.  My best friend called me while I was getting ready to cook dinner and the next thing I knew I was talking and cooking and dinner was halfway done before I remembered to grab my camera!  My measurements listed here aren’t exact as this recipe is one I learned from literally watching my mom make it and I’ve never measured a thing when making it myself.  If you’re a bit of a control freak and the whole no measuring thing bugs you, take a breath, pour some wine, it’s cool.  This will be deliciousness at it’s comforting best, I promise.  Here are the ingredients you’ll need:

6 pieces Boneless Skinless Chicken, thighs and/or breasts (I use thighs only, the breasts are always dry but I know many prefer white meat)
1/2 cup All Purpose Flour
2 Eggs
1 cup Milk
3/4 cup Italian Bread Crumbs
Canola or Vegetable oil, enough to cover bottom of a deep skillet
1/2 Jar Spaghetti Sauce (I used Classico Fire Roasted Tomato and Garlic this time around)
1 cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

Grab a deep skillet and pour in enough canola or vegetable oil to cover the bottom.  Put it over med-high heat and preheat the oven to 350F.  Don’t forget to pour some wine.  Cooking with wine and some good music is good for your soul, I’m a firm believer.  Now you’ll put the flour on one plate, beat the eggs and milk in a bowl and put the bread crumbs on another plate.  You’re going to work in a bit of an assembly line here.  Dredge a piece of chicken in flour, then dip it in the egg mixture, then dredge it in the bread crumbs, THEN place it in the skillet.  Make sure the oil is hot enough before you put it in.  It should be hot enough to sizzle when you drop in a few crumbs to test, but it should NOT be so hot that it’s smoking.  Smoking oil is bad!  As is burned butter and garlic, but I’m getting off track now.  Once the chicken is nicely browned on one side, use tongs to flip it over.  Be careful working with the hot oil, especially if you have kids, a dog, and a cat who don’t know what “stay out of my kitchen!!” means!  You’re going to finish cooking the chicken in the oven, so only brown it in the skillet, don’t fully cook it.

Repeat dredging, dipping, dredging again and then browning the chicken pieces until all are browned.  Remove each piece as they are finished browning and place on a plate of paper towels to soak up excess oil.  When all the chicken pieces are done place them on a cookie sheet sprayed lightly with some cooking spray.  Now, spoon some spaghetti sauce on top of each piece of chicken.  Use as much or as little as you’d like.  Then top that off with as much or as little shredded mozzarella as you’d like.  About this time, realize that you’re talking on the phone so much your jaw is about to lock up and grab your camera to finally snap a few photos!

Things are looking delicious up in here!

Once all the chicken pieces are covered with sauce and cheese, pop that cookie sheet in the oven.  If you’re using only thighs they will cook off fairly quickly.  It usually takes mine about 15 minutes in the oven at 375F to reach 180F on the meat thermometer.  Breasts are typically much thicker and will take longer to cook, maybe closer to 30 minutes.  Please please please check the chicken with a thermometer or by cutting into it before you serve.  I have one of those digital meat thermometers that you can place in the oven and the receiver on the outside of the oven will beep when your food is close to being done.  They’re pretty affordable, around $20 or so, and I really recommend getting one to anyone who cooks a lot.  When the chicken is done, take it out of the oven to cool for a bit while you finish any sides you might be making to go along with it.

Almost time to eat! The sides that are still cooking on the stove: steamed broccoli, garlic sauteed spinach, and fettucini alfredo (from a box, I have to admit!).

Once everything is done, refill your glass of wine and dinner is served!  This dish has been devoured by everyone I’ve ever served it to, kids and adults alike!

For those of you without a thermometer, this is what your chicken should look like in the middle when it’s done. Please don’t get salmonella, it ain’t fun!

I have to put my food on a small plate like I give to my kids to keep from overeating! So yummy!

I hope that some of you make this soon and that you enjoy it as much as my family and friends do!

Go……….create something beautiful today!

-Heather

I’m linking up over at The 36th Avenue…go check out the other great links there!  Good stuff as always!

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