For years, late afternoon and early evening have been the most stressful time of day for me. Apparently, I'm not alone. I read a factoid in a newspaper that stated the hours between 4:00 and 8:00PM are the most stressful time of day for women. Whether you're a working mom with a commute, or a stay at home mom chauffeuring kids to extracurricular activities, someone's got to put supper on the table and chances are that person is you. You don't have to rely on frozen food or take out when you need to get supper on the table fast. Chicken Parmesan is an easy dish to prepare even on the busiest of days. It's kid friendly, delicious and ready in under an hour!
The recipe I'm sharing differs from other Chicken Parmesan recipes in two ways. One, the chicken isn't cooked on the stove top. Not only does this make it healthier, you don't have to keep an eye on the stove while you're working on the rest of the meal. Two, the chicken isn't put in a baking dish, covered with spaghetti sauce and baked. Instead, the chicken is coated with a mixture of bread crumbs and spices before it's baked. This step takes just a few minutes and adds taste and texture to the finished dish.
When you're ready to start supper, put a pot of water on to boil for the spaghetti. While the water's heating, cut the chicken breasts in half crosswise.
Pound each piece of chicken until it's approximately 1/4-inch thick. If the pounded piece of chicken is larger than you want, cut it in half again.
Pounding the chicken is an important component of this recipe. First, pounding breaks down the fibers which in turn tenderizes the chicken. Second, chicken pieces that are a uniform thickness will cook in the same amount of time. Third, by decreasing the thickness, you also decrease the cooking time. Finally, when cooked, you'll be able to cut the chicken with a fork!
Beat two eggs in a bowl and set aside. In another bowl, combine dry Italian bread crumbs with Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning and garlic powder.
Coating food with both wet and dry ingredients can be messy, but there is an easy way to do it. Use one hand for the wet ingredients -- the eggs -- and the other for the dry ingredients -- the bread crumb mixture.
Dip one piece of chicken into the eggs, making sure to coat both sides.
Remove the chicken from the eggs and place in the bread crumb mixture, thoroughly coating both sides.
Place the chicken on a greased cookie sheet
and bake 10 minutes.
Using a pair of tongs, turn the chicken pieces over and bake another 12 minutes.
While the chicken is baking, cook and drain the spaghetti. Toss the spaghetti with half the spaghetti sauce.
Place the spaghetti in a greased 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking dish. Put the chicken on top of the spaghetti.
Cover with the remaining spaghetti sauce and sprinkle shredded Mozzarella cheese on top.
Put the pan in the oven just long enough to melt the cheese, about 5 minutes.
The recipe serves six to eight, but can easily be doubled or halved. If you're halving the recipe, the remaining spaghetti sauce can be refrigerated and reheated to serve with the leftovers. Add a salad and some garlic bread and you've got an entire meal ready in under an hour!