Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Table Talk: Chicken Parmesan

Welcome back to my blog, fellow bake52 ladies from last year!  I am excited to host the first ever Table Talk post.  :)

I chose for my recipe this go-round Chicken Parmesan.  It's one of those things I've tried a bunch of different recipes for over the years and never found one that I would go back to again and again.  I love having it in restaurants (or eggplant parmesan... mmmm!) but I can't seem to get it just right at home.  I was excited to see what ATK came up with!  I really loved their baking book last year and have come to trust their recipes.  They may seem a little persnickety at times, but I like how detailed they are and the insights they offer into the science of baking/cooking.  Most of the time if I read carefully and do what they say, I have great results. :)

I ran into just one little snag this week with that whole "read carefully and do what they say" thing.  I'm in the final weeks of what has been a challenging pregnancy.  I have preeclampsia and I'm supposed to be resting as much as possible, which means-- my husband has been doing the grocery shopping!  I was a little nervous when I put "panko bread crumbs" on his weekly list- but I put a little explanation of where they should be in the store are what the box should look like.  He came so close.  He brought home this:

Panko Bread crumbs!  Oh wait.. Lemon Pepper flavor.  Well, bless his heart, he tried. :)

We've all had to make some adjustments and sacrifices to get through a rough pregnancy, and our family mantra has become "make the best of it".  (Kind of the adult version of "you get what you get and you don't throw a fit!"  Anyone else say that to their kids ALL.THE.TIME?)  So, my chicken was going to be a bit on the lemon-y side.  Why not?  :)  Also, I was really excited to see this recipe on the box:

I love seafood with lemon-y flavors so I'm excited to try this.  Making the best of it!  Lemon-y Chicken Parmesan, here we go!

I started by toasting the Panko with a bit of olive oil.  Yum, aromas of lemon-y goodness filled the house.  :)

I got all of my little dipping stations ready in the "shallow containers".  Was it just me, or was anyone else getting a kick out of how often this recipe called for something to be placed in a "shallow container"?  :)

 Dipped and ready to bake.  Also-- I really LOVED the tip the book gave of slicing regular chicken breasts in half to get the thin, cutlet size.  I have pounded out chicken in baggies for years and always felt icky about it- I tend to be a bit of a neat freak and I always felt like I had to sanitize my entire kitchen afterwards!  This seemed so much easier and cleaner!! 

 Just out of the oven. 

 Yum!  It smells so great in our kitchen!  I am planning on serving these for dinner tonight on a bed of angel hair pasta and some Alfredo sauce.  I'm a little nervous to use the suggested tomato sauce with my lemon-y chicken.  I will have to try this again later (depending on all the reviews!) to get the actual recipe right!

Here is the recipe, found on page 250 in the America's Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook, our book we are working out of this year!

Chicken Parmesan
Serves 6
To avoid wasting yolks, use 6 tablespoons of store bought egg whites.  You can use 2 cups of your favorite plain tomato sauce or our Simple Tomato Sauce (below).

1 ½ cups panko (Japanese-style breadcrumbs)
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ cup grates Parmesan cheese
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
3 large egg whites
1 tablespoon water
Vegetable oil spray
6 (4-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken cutlets, pounded ¼ inch thick
Salt and pepper
2 cups tomato sauce, warmed
¾ cup shredded part-skim mozzarella
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

1.     Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the over to 475 degree.  Combine the panko and oil in a 12 inch skillet and toast over medium heat, stirring often, until golden, 10 to 12 minutes.
2.     Transfer the crumbs to a shallow dish, let cool, and then stir in the Parmesan.  Combine the flour and garlic powder in a second shallow dish.  In a third shallow dish, whisk the egg whites and water together. 
3.     Spray a wire rack with vegetable oil spray and place over a rimmed baking sheet.  Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.  Following the photos on page 251 and working with one piece of chicken at a time, dredge in the flour, then dip into the egg whites, and finally, coat with the toasted crumbs, pressing on them to adhere.  Lay the breaded chicken on the prepared wire rack.
4.     Spray the tops of the chicken lightly with vegetable oil spray.  Bake until the chicken registers 150 to 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, 8 to 10 minutes.
5.     Top each cutlet with 2 tablespoons of the sauce and 2 tablespoons of the mozzarella.  Continue to bake until the cheese has melted and the chicken registers to 160 to 165 degrees, 3 to 5 minutes.  Sprinkle with the basil and serve, passing the remaining sauce separately. 
Simple Tomato Sauce
Makes about 2 cups
This sauce can be covered and refrigerated for up to 1 week, reheat gently before serving.
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon minced fresh basil

Pulse the tomatoes with their juice in a food processor until mostly smooth, about 10 pulses.  Cook the garlic, tomato paste, oil, and red pepper flakes in a medium saucepan over medium heat until the tomato paste begins to brown, about 2 minutes.  Stir in the processed tomatoes and cook until the sauce is thickened and measures 2 cups, about 20 minutes.  Off the heat, stir in the basil and season with salt and pepper to taste.  



  1. Sorry you are having a rough pregnancy. I am impressed you are still baking. I am too pregnant and also have preeclampsia. I finally hit my 37 weeks and I am going in tomorrow to have the baby. Good luck with everything, the end is in sight. And I hope you don't have any more complications.

  2. Thanks for the pick, my family loved it! BTW, I say that saying to my kids everyday, along with "manage yourself". I hope someday it will sink in! Good luck with rest of your pregnancy!

  3. Lemon with the alfredo sauce sounds really good!! Let us know how it turns out!

  4. Thanks for hosting this week, great pick! Glad you are back! Ryan kills me with his lemon bread crumbs! I bet it was still delicious though and it's good that you are resting! And I also want to know how the Salmon goes! :)

  5. I made the chicken. My family was happy. I haven't ventured out of the crock pot world with chicken in quite some time. If I have, it was to the grill. Baking chicken is something I haven't done a lot of, but have wanted to know more about. The breading really turned the kids on to it. Also, they don't normally like tomato sauce on their noodles, but on this chicken, with mozarella topping, they ate it and said it reminded them of pizza.

  6. I too split the chicken in half to make it thinner. I LOVE doing this. A gal friend of mine buys hers like this at the hispanic market. But doing it yourself is not too bad, and it reassures me that it got cooked all the way through. Plus, I don't usually prefer biting into a really thick piece.