Chicken Parm with a side of Joanie
By Mom, Nov 14 2017 02:48PM
So last weekend Joe's dad was up for a visit from Cape Cod. He had this really randy idea that Joe should be sharing a blog of my cooking creations- There are many. After humming and hawing with Joe all week, I agreed to give this blogging thing a go. I hope to touch on some of my family's favorite dishes with you and offer some of the tips that work for me, that I've discovered, that have been passed down to me from my mom, dad, gram and of course, the food network!
For as far back as I can remember, I have loved food and cooking. As a child I would bake with my gram. Anything from cookies and cinnamon buns to pierogis – all while listening to country music on her old under the cabinet radio. Ahh.. Nostalgia. Makes me smile as I remember the smells and feelings of those times. That same gram is a baker; not professional but pretty damn close. She used to bake and decorate wedding cakes for family and friends – I remember visiting my grandparents and eating leftover sugar flowers that she had neatly placed on wax paper and then on her white with gold speckled, laminate counters she had made to decorate those said cakes... My gram is one of my favorite people alive. She would do anything for anyone when asked. She has the warmest heart of anyone that I know. And this first blog is for her.
My gram, or as I call her, Joanie - even though her name is Joanne, is small in stature, with a heart the size of the continental United States of America. Anyone who has met her would understand exactly what I am saying. The smell of food and cinnamon mixed with her perfume lingers on her clothing long after the oven has been shut off. The woman makes the BEST grilled cheese sandwich I have EVER had. My friends would come over and request we visit her specifically for the grilled cheese. I can't even imagine how many loaves of white bread and packages of American cheese she has gone through with all of our visits over the years. She is the type of woman who calls just to check in and to let you know she has freshly baked muffins and cookies if we come visit. She loves doing for others and rarely does for herself. I love seeing the joy on her face when I bring my kids to visit her and the happiness she exerts when she gets to share her great-grandkids with others.
In my family it is tradition that we gather for everybody's birthday, and someone (usually myself) cooks their favorite meal – from soup to nuts. One of my Gram's favorite dishes is chicken parm: and Yes, that means on her birthday I cook chicken parm for 15-20 people. She has openly stated that MY chicken parm is her favorite; Although I'm pretty sure it's only because I'm her granddaughter (but really who wouldn't love a crispy piece of chicken topped with melty ooey gooey cheese, seems like a no brainer). Anyways, I have made it my mission to make her the best chicken parm shes ever had. And due to that mission, I've made multiple tweaks to my recipe - from the type of breadcrumb used to how I prepare the chicken - and I am going to share those tweaks with you along with a few "Joanie tips" I've learned along the way.
First Joanie tip.. When frying chicken of any kind, panko breadcrumbs are better than regular italian breadcrumbs. Panko breadcrumbs are not as finely ground as Italian, therefore in my opinion offer a better crunch on the chicken when fried.
Second Joanie tip: After the chicken is fried and you need to 'drain' off the excess oil, put news paper under the paper towels before you put the chicken down, it absorbs more grease and wastes less paper towels. (This is one of my favorite tips). I use any of the paper circulars that come that I rarely even look at, it works well for any type of frying where the excess oil needs to be drained away.
Third Joanie tip: make sure to fill your glass ¾ full of red wine before you sit down to enjoy this wonderful meal!
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 cups of Flour
3 cups of Panko Breadcrumbs
1/2 cup of Romano cheese (parmesan is good here too)
1/3 c water or milk
8 slices of sharp provolone cheese -- I like to use the BelGioioso sharp provolone
Block of mozzarella (or bagged shredded) just not the fresh kind. I use the Dragone brand whole milk block of mozzarella.
Oregano, salt, pepper, garlic powder
2 cookie sheets – one lined with foil and sprayed with non stick spray and the other lined with foil
Angel hair pasta (or your favorite pasta)
1 16 oz can of diced tomatoes – juice drained
1 32 oz can of tomato sauce
1 clove fresh chopped garlic
1 teaspoon of sugar
Garlic powder, salt and pepper, oregano
All Spices are to taste. I use about a 1/2 Teaspoon each.
First take and set up your cookie sheets. The cookie sheet that is lined in only foil is going to be your dredging station. Megan's Tip: (lining it in foil makes for a super easy clean up)!!
On the dredging station, dump 2 cups of flour on one side, leave a space in the middle, and on the other place your panko breadcrumbs.
To these breadcrumbs add ½ c parmesan cheese, a good teaspoon of oregano and a good teaspoon of garlic powder and mix together with your hands.
In a large enough shallow bowl to fit each chicken breast, crack your eggs and mix in your water or milk and scramble together.
Set all of this aside.
Take your chicken breasts and butterfly them.
After they are butterflied, cut them in half.
**I choose not to pound my chicken flat, I like to know that I'm eating a chicken breast, not a flattened piece of something dredged in breadcrumbs and fried. If you so wish, you can pound out your chicken here.
After they are cut in half (and pounded if you chose to) sprinkle each side with salt and pepper, and a dusting of garlic powder and oregano.
Megan's Tip: when I work with chicken on a cutting board I cover the cutting board with plastic wrap, it makes it easier to scrub clean and if you have any trimmings of chicken you can just bunch up the plastic wrap and throw it away right in the wrap!
Here is where I would start my sauce.
Mince up your garlic
Add 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil to a pan, and make sure the pan is large enough to hold the sauce and diced tomatoes.
Add minced garlic, and oregano. Sauté for 60 seconds until the garlic is fragrant.
Add in the sauce, diced tomatoes, garlic powder, salt, pepper and sugar and stir.
Cook on low for 30 minutes.
Add in ½ c of parmesan cheese, stir to mix simmer on low for 5-10 minutes and sauce will be ready to serve.
As your sauce is cooking, you are going to prepare and fry your chicken breasts.
Start water for cooking pasta now.
Heat oven to 375 degrees.
In a fry pan, heat vegetable oil for frying.
Megan's Tip: Use the end of a wooden spoon to test if your oil is ready for frying. Place the end into the frying pan, and push up against the bottom of the pan. If small bubbles come from the end of the wooden spoon, you are ready to fry!!
Take one butterflied, seasoned chicken breast and place it in the flour. Coat both sides, shake off excess and then place in egg mixture. Coat both sides again and then place in panko mixture. Coat both sides well. I like to really press the chicken into the panko mix. Give it a little shimmy and then place in the oil for frying.
Fry on each side until chicken is a dark golden brown.
Let the chicken drain off for 4-5 minutes. Place on the foil lined, cooking sprayed cookie sheet.
***IF YOU DID NOT POUND THE CHICKEN READ THIS**
***When all the chicken has reached golden brown and has been fried, the chicken will go in the oven for 10 minutes. This ensures that the chicken has been cooked through. ***
When the chicken comes out, top with one piece of provolone cheese and a good slice of mozzarella from the block of mozzarella. (I like dragone brand whole milk mozzarella).
Bake this in the oven for 8-10 minutes on 350 degrees.
While this is baking, Chiffonade your basil. The easiest way to do this is to pull the basil leaves off of the stem. place them on top of one another. Roll them up like a cigar and slice them into shreds. You will use this basil to top your chicken when it comes out of the oven.
Drain your pasta
Place in a neat nest in the middle of your plate.
Top with a ladle of the homemade sauce.
Place a cheesy ooey gooey piece of mozzarella topped chicken on the top of the pasta nest.
Top this with one ladle of sauce.
Sprinkle the fresh basil on top and... ENJOY!!!
Thanks for the recipe and tips you are the best daughter in law
Love ❤️ we love ❤️ you
What time is dinner? Or you could bring lunch to 134 Flanders Road. You must bring the kids though!