Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Quick & Easy Chicken Parmesan

Another one of my Winter comfort food creations ~
Not quite Southern...however, worth a mention.
A versatile recipe - keep it simple or make it fancy using your own homemade sauce, wine marinara, fresh parsley or basil..whatever!
I tried to take a picture...but everyone ate it up too fast!

YUM-O Chicken Parmesan serves 4-6
4 boneless chicken breasts, pounded to 1/2 inch thick
garlic powder
flour
salt & pepper
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
seasoned bread crumbs
1 TBL shredded parmesan
olive oil
8 thin slices of mozzarella or provolone (if using provolone, be sure to reduce use of salt in this recipe)
1 jar of spaghetti sauce (I swear Ragu still works, when I'm pressed for time...)
1/2 cup water
Italian seasoning

Rinse chicken, drain. Trim breasts, then pound them to 1/2 inch. Sprinkle liberally with garlic powder.
Whisk together the egg and milk, set aside.
Place enough flour to dredge pieces on separate plate. Lightly season flour with salt and pepper, set aside.
Place enough crumbs to evenly coat pieces on separate plate. Add 1 TBL parmesan to crumbs, mix well and set aside.
Dredge all chicken pieces in flour first - then dip in egg/milk mixture - then coat in bread crumbs.
Use enough olive oil to coat the frying pan. Brown pieces until golden (3-4 mins).
Spread a very thin layer of sauce on the bottom of 9X13 baking dish. Place browned pieces in dish. Place two pieces of mozzarella (or provolone) on each breast. Lightly sprinkle with Italian seasoning.
Add water to spaghetti sauce, blend well. Pour over chicken evenly, especially at the corners of the dish.
Lightly sprinkle top with shredded parmesan.
Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, or until bubbly.

I like to serve this on top of a bed of spaghetti - wheat, if I'm feeling healthy! A fresh salad on the side can make this meal amazing. It's quick, easy and you can get this dish on the table super fast ~

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Christmas Eve!!

Here's wishing everyone a beautiful and peaceful Christmas....

Luke 1:14
And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth...

Sunday, October 05, 2008

My Lasagna

Look, I'm of German-American descent...so preparing sour kraut, sausages and schnitzel is a breeze...I was raised on the stuff ~ "Vood chu like some lee-va-vurst, yah?"
Then I married a Sicilian-American...from the Midwest, no less.....UH OH...."You want what, for dinner?"
It's been 10 years and after many attempts, I've somehow managed to "dial-in" an Italian recipe or two.
I know everyone has their special version of this timeless classic, and there seems to be some controversy as to where this dish originated from (Greek, British, Italian)..none-the-less, here is my family favorite and Sicilian-husband approved recipe!

Lasagna Frascona Serves 4-6
Cheese Filling Mixture -
2 TBL. olive oil
4 oz. prosciutto, thinly sliced - chopped
1 large egg, beaten
1 (15 0z.) container whole milk ricotta cheese
1/3 cup frozen chopped spinach – thawed, squeezed dry
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
¾ tsp. salt
twist or two of freshly ground pepper
- Pour olive oil into large pan. Saute prosciutto until crispy. Remove and drain on paper towels, allow to cool. In a large bowl, beat the egg. After well beaten, add the ricotta, spinach, Parmesan, cooled prosciutto, salt and pepper. Mix well, put in the fridge.


Pasta Sauce -
1 lb. ground buffalo meat (yes, buffalo - it's very good) or lean ground beef
1/4 cup Port Wine (the good stuff...not a WalMart item!)
5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
lightly salt and pepper
1 (24 oz.) jar of Roasted Garlic Spaghetti Sauce, any brand
- Use the same pan from sauted prosciutto – add ground beef of choice and brown. Lightly salt and pepper. Add wine, let reduce. Add chopped garlic when meat is almost completely browned. Add jar of sauce. Simmer completed sauce for at least 15 minutes. Turn off heat, cover.


Bechamel Sauce -
2 TBL. unsalted butter
4 tsp. all-purpose flour
1 ¼ cups whole milk
¼ tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. white pepper
pinch ground nutmeg
- Prepare like a basic roux.

Additional stuff -
8 oz. (1/2 package) mozzarella, shredded – set aside
9 lasagna noodles, cooked
9X13 dish, high sided

Prepare the sauces and cheese mixture separately, cover and set aside.
To boiling water, add a sprinkle of salt and then the noodles. Boil noodles for approx. 7 minutes – til not quite done, just flexible. Lightly coat large cookie sheet with olive oil, and place cooked noodles on cutting board, three at a time.

Before you layer - Spread thin layer of Bechamel evenly on bottom of dish.
Layer – divide remaining sauces, cheeses in 3rd’s.
- Place 3 noodles on top of béchamel.
- Place 1/3 of the cheese mixture on noodles in dollops, then spread as evenly as possible.
- Spoon 1/3 of Bechamel sauce and drizzle as evenly as possible.
- Spoon 1/3 of pasta sauce and spread as evenly as possible.
- Sprinkle 1/3 of shredded mozzarella over layer as evenly as possible.
Repeat the above layering order two more times so your lasagna ends up with three generous layers. Top the last layer with an extra sprinkling of parmesan.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cover lasagna with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for additional 15-20 mins. until cheese is melted and lightly browned. Remove from oven, let sit for 10 minutes. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Homeschooling Shout-Out!



I was up until 3 A.M. this morning assembling history pockets (yes, I said pockets)....I must be crazy, right? Maybe not...
I began on this journey almost 3 years ago as my oldest son was in need...a late bloomer that, "fell through the cracks," his 1st grade year. "What do you mean he has had difficulty all year?," we asked two months before the end of the year. His 1st grade teacher was a total ASS (pardon me, please - but he really was) and the result was a little boy who lost every ounce of his confidence..along with that winning smile he had on the first day of school.
It's been a tough couple of years, trying to find our niche, etc. But what a surprise I had this week! After a super fun and lazy Summer, I thought I'd try to "stump" the kiddos by asking them to answer some history questions...stuff we had covered last year. WOW-ZEE - people, they answered almost every question correctly! You mean they actually retained 90% of what they were taught last year? YUP - they actually did!
To all the homeschoolin' parents out there who are pulling their hair out...relax, have a cup of coffee...and wait for your payday - it's coming sooner than you think!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Real Fried Chicken

My Fried Chicken - YUM! Serves 4-6
Wow, my favorite comfort food has to be fried chicken...with bleu cheese or honey mustard dressing! The "base" of this recipe was inspired by the one and only, PAULA DEEN's Southern Fried Chicken recipe. A twist here, a twist there..that's how I roll -

3 eggs
1/3 cup water
3/4 -1 cup hot red pepper sauce ( I USE TEXAS PETE)
2 cups of self-rising flour
4-6 chicken breasts, cut into strips or 2 pkgs. of chicken tenders, etc.
onion powder
salt
black pepper
paprika
garlic powder
1 tsp. Splenda or sugar
Peanut oil

In a large glass Pyrex, beat the eggs and water. Add the hot sauce and beat well. Set aside.
In a large ziplock bag, dump 2 cups of flour, 1 tsp. of Splenda and the following spices to taste: pepper, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder. Shake the bag to distribute evenly. Set aside.
Rinse your chicken, pat dry. If using breasts, cut into strips/chucks. Place pieces on long piece of waxed paper on the kitchen counter.
Sprinkle lightly only on one side, with the following: salt, pepper, onion powder.
Plug in your deep fryer - heat the peanut oil to approx. 350 degrees F.
Ready, set go......
Dip the seasoned chicken pieces into the egg/hot sauce mixture, let drip a bit, then toss into the flour ziplock bag and shake to coat. Remove pieces, place in the fryer basket and fry for 6 mins. and 35 secs. Yup...
Place fried pieces on a plate layered with paper towels...and wait for your family to declare YOU the Fried Chicken Queen!! LOL!
Enjoy!

What a year!!

I'm still alive!  I realize I've been MIA...this is what happens when real life forces to be reckoned with. ;)  Hang tight friends, ...