Most of you have probably gathered that we like to cook and bake. I honestly could be quite content baking all day long if calories were meaningless and I had both a nanny and a housekeeper. (As well as a big fat bank account to pay said nanny and housekeeper.) But since I live in a world where cookies don’t count as dinner and long days in the kitchen leave me with a counter (not a sink, but a counter) overflowing with dishes, I try to find a little more balance in my life. Just like most of you, I’m always on the hunt for “quick dinners.” Dinners that can be whipped up fast after long days of work, therapy, playing at the park, doing yard work, or sorting laundry. The difficult part is that we’re picky and prefer these quick dinners be both delicious and mostly from scratch. In an effort to curb the last minute eating out (I have no answer for the hypocrisy of eating out getting a green light while we snub our noses at packaged food) or the 7:30 dinners (that’s bedtime, a very sacred time around these parts), we turned to How to Cook Everything Fast: A Better Way to Cook Great Food by Mark Bittman. We’ve now renewed the book three times at the library and are thinking it might need to become a permanent part of our collection (not the library’s copy specifically). One of our favorite recipes has been this Fastest Chicken Parm. It’s flavorful and can make any regular weeknight feel just a tad bit more special.
Quick Chicken Parm
- 5 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tomatoes medium, ripe
- 4 chicken breasts boneless, skinless (about 2 lbs.)
- 8 oz mozzarella cheese fresh
- 2 oz Parmesan cheese grated
- 1 bunch basil
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- Turn the broiler to high; put the rack 6 inches from the heat. Put 2 TBSP olive oil on a rimmed baking sheet and spread it around; put the baking sheet in the broiler. Meanwhile, core and slice tomatoes. Cut the chicken breasts in half horizontally to make 2 thin cutlets out of each breast. Press down on each with the heel of your hand to flatten.
- Carefully remove the baking sheet from the broiler. Put the chicken cutlets on the sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top with the tomatoes, and broil one side only until the chicken is no longer pink in the center, rotating the pan if necessary for even cooking, 5-10 minutes. Meanwhile grate the mozzarella and Parmesan. Strip 16-20 basil leaves from the stems. Combine the bread crumbs, mozzarella, and Parmesan in a small bowl.
- When the chicken is cooked through, remove the baking sheet from the broiler. Lay the basil leaves on top of the tomatoes, sprinkle with the bread crumb and cheese mixture, and drizzle with 3 TBSP olive oil.
- Return to the broiler, and cook until the bread crumbs and cheese are browned and bubbly, 2-4 minutes. Serve immediately.
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