Saturday, January 1, 2011

Cooking With Linda: Grilled Chicken Parmigiana & What We're Reading in the New Year: Giada De Laurentiis Cookbooks

One of my New Year's Resolutions is to try even harder to make healthy family meals a priority. This is a big challenge in a busy household packed with school, work, team sports (peak of winter and one of our boys is in a basketball league; the other, baseball training), teen social lives, and the interminable, high-priority 
To-Do List.

This meal was a winner because the whole family - husband, teens, 3-year-old, and myself, enjoyed it.  Satisfying Italian soul food and healthy too, grilled chicken parm starts by making a big pot of fresh tomato sauce: in extra virgin olive oil, saute 3-4 cloves of fresh garlic, half a vidalia onion finely sliced, 2-3 leaves of fresh basil. 

Add two cans of whole plum tomatoes (broken up by hand), salt and pepper. We like crushed red pepper for heat.  Let sauce simmer gently for about an hour. Meanwhile, prepare the chicken by pounding the boneless, skinless cutlets very thin (or you can buy them thinly sliced), sprinkling some olive oil, salt and lemon juice and grilling them until cooked through. Super quick due to its top and bottom grilling function, I use my Wolfgang Puck Panini Duet, which is not only a multipurpose grill but a great panini maker!

Layering (the fun part) begins:  thin layer of tomato sauce at the bottom, then grilled chicken, next part-skim shredded mozzarella, ample slices of savory imported scarmorza (smoked fresh mozzarella), fresh basil, and plenty of parmesan-reggiano grated cheese. The non-traditional part of this preparation is that the chicken breasts are grilled not breaded and pan fried.

In a lasagna pan or a stainless steel roasting pan, bake in a preheated 350 degrees oven until cheese is bubbly and slightly golden.
 Cool 15-20 minutes before serving so your sliced portions stay together. Serve with tricolor salad, thin spaghetti, and Italian bread.

My sister, nieces, and I are big fans of Giada De Laurentiis - trying new recipes from her cookbooks Giada's Kitchen: New Italian Favorites and Giada at Home: Family Recipes from Italy and California is on my list of New Year's resolutions.

Buon Appetito!
Economizing Key - Leftovers for Lunch:
My boys enjoy chicken parmesan sandwiches the next day on  Italian hero rolls.  Add slices of roast red bell peppers, tomato, and crisp Romaine lettuce.

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