Friday, October 10, 2008

Ingredient of the Week . . . Bread

Since I had two loaves of freshly made white bread, I decided to make two dishes that utilized all this bread I had. The first dish I decided to make was Chicken Parmesan.

I normally do a modified version of this for dinner, dredging the chicken in flour, eggs and milk and then breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese, fried to a golden brown. But that's it. I stop at the yummy breading and leave the sauce and extra cheese off. But I decided to do the full recipe this week since we haven't had any pasta in a while.

This dish relies on the bread crumb mixture as much as the Parmesan cheese. To make the homemade bread crumbs, I cubed one loaf of the white sandwich bread I made earlier in the week. I allowed the bread to sit, overnight, on a cookie sheet uncovered. This allowed the bread to get nice and stale. Then I allowed the bread to dry more by toasting it in the oven for 15 minutes on 300 degrees. I then placed the cubes in a plastic bag and whacked at it until it was nice and fine. I then added a handful of parsley, some oregano and basil and voila, I had homemade Italian breadcrumbs.

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup flour
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
1/2 Parmesan cheese
4 tablespoons canola or extra virgin olive oil
8 oz dried spaghetti
1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese

~To bread the chicken, form an assembly line of three large, shallow bowls. In the first bowl add the flour. In the second bowl combine the egg and milk and beat until combined. In the third bowl, add the breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese and mix until combined.

~Add one chicken breast to the flour, turning to coat and then shaking off any excess flour. Next, dip the flour in the egg wash and allow any extra to fall back into the bowl. Finally add the chicken to the breadcrumbs and turn to coat evenly, pressing the breadcrumbs into the chicken.

~In a large skillet over medium high heat, add the oil and the chicken and allow the chicken to brown, about 4 minutes on each side. When the chicken has browned, removed from the skillet and place on a baking sheet. Transfer the chicken to a preheated 350 degree oven and bake for 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

~Top the chicken with the mozzarella cheese and bake for 5 minutes more.

~Meanwhile cook the spaghetti according to the directions. Drain and add back into the pot. Add the pasta sauce and toss to combine.

~To serve, plate a large spoonful of spaghetti and then top with the chicken breast. Sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese.

recipe by: The Good Wife

The second dish I made this week is stuffing. Stuffing is one of my all time favorite dishes at Thanksgiving. I like my stuffing baked in the oven so that the top is nice and crunchy. I hate soggy, goopy stuffing. I served this with a nice thick pork chop and peas.

1 loaf white bread, cubed, see above
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried sage, rubbed between fingers
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 large egg

~Spread bread cubes in a single layer on a cookie sheet and let dry overnight. Heat oven to 300 degrees. Bake bread until golden, 12 to 15 minutes.

~Saute onion and celery in butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat until soft, 8 to 10 minutes. In a large bowl, mix bread, vegetables and remaining ingredients.

~Add mixture to a greased 3-quart baking dish. Cover with foil and bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove foil; bake 15 minutes more.

recipe by: The Good Wife

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