Friday, October 28, 2011

Chicken Parmigiana with Red Wine Tomato Sauce

My husband created the menu plan for this week, and we were able to only spend $41. I was pretty impressed, of course as I've mentioned before I'm not that good at saving when it comes to groceries, so this was a great price for us. One of the meals we made this week was Chicken Parmigiana, and we've made it before, but it's never been this good. I think the major factor was using a cast iron skillet because it created crispiness to a usually ordinary chicken.

I was loving the sauce too, the red wine bringing depth to the flavor, and the chicken was perfectly cooked, the breading crisp on the bottom, and the cheese and sauce melting over it to a crisp finish where it touched the skillet.

My photos do not do this meal justice. I am definitely still learning how to take better photos, and besides it was smelling too good for me to continue fussing with my camera. I modified the original recipe to be more cost effective.

What ideas do you have to keep your meal plans cheaper?

Chicken Parmigiana with Red Wine Tomato Sauce
Serves: 2-4 Time: 45+ minutes
Inspired by Food Network's Giada De Laurentiis
Kitchen Tested and Gluten-Free Optional
Cook's Notes: I like to make my own homemade breadcrumbs. Place 1-2 slices of bread (use GF if desired) into a food processor. Process until crumbly. 

Ingredients:
Red Wine Tomato Sauce:
1/4 cup olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1-2 carrots, chopped
2, 14 ounce cans stewed tomatoes 
2 dried bay leaves
1 cup red wine
Sea salt and pepper
2-3 tbsp basil, chopped (optional)
2 tbsp unsalted butter

Chicken Parmigiana:
Salt and pepper
1 tsp dried thyme 
1/2 cup fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
1 cup bread crumbs (or GF if desired)
2 eggs, whisked
2 or 4 chicken breasts, butterfly cut
3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

How To:
Preheat oven to 500º F.

Red Wine Tomato Sauce: In a saucepan, heat oil over medium high heat. Add onion and sauté until soft and translucent, add carrot, sauté for another 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté until carrots are soft about 10 more minutes. Add bay leaves, stewed tomatoes, red wine, salt and pepper. Let sauce simmer for at least 30 minutes. 

Remove bay leaves, add basil, and butter, remove from heat.

Put sauce in a food processor or blender, and process until smooth, set aside.

Chicken Parmigiana:
Combine salt, pepper, thyme, parsley, and bread crumbs in a medium-sized bowl. Make a work station with bowl of dried ingredients, whisked eggs, and prepared chicken.

Dip each butterfly cut chicken breast in the egg first, then second in the dry mixture.

Heat a cast-iron skillet(s) over medium-high heat (you may need two skillets if chicken breasts are large). Add oil. Once oil is hot, add breaded chicken to skillet and cook for about 2 minutes on each side until slightly browned. Turn off heat.

Spoon the red wine sauce over the chicken, and divide the cheese evenly among each serving. Place 1 tbsp butter on each serving. 

Place the cast iron skillet with the chicken into the preheated oven. Bake for about 5-10 minutes until cheese is bubbly and chicken internal temp registers 165º F.

Suggestion: Serve on heated plates, with a side of mashed potatoes or pasta. 

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