Friday, March 25, 2011
Well, once again I decided to make dinner at an absurd time. I decided I was hungry around 9:30 PM, and as of 10:30 I was eating. Not bad.
While defrosting my chicken (since I live alone, I only make enough for one, and had some left over pieces that I had frozen from my Chicken Enchiladas) I started to make the bread crumb mixture. Of course, I don't have any bread crumbs, but fortunately I did have a large bag of dried bagettes from a wine party that I had hosted a few months prior.
In the past I've had a heck of a time trying to grind the baguettes into the proper sized crumbs, but tonight I was struck with a moment of brilliance. After putting a few of the baguettes into a plastic sandwich bag, I took out my nifty little rolling pen. Not knowing exactly what I would get, I just went at it. I left a little hole at the top so that the air could escape. And it worked perfect. A few swift swipes and BAM, instant bread crumbs. But I wasn't done yet, I needed to season them. Parmesan cheese (the kraft kind in the can? that I'm sure is really bad for you?) was my secret ingredient.
Again, since I was only cooking for myself, I didn't need a lot--a couple shakes, and I called it good. Then a dash or two of garlic powder, some basil leaves and oregano--and just to give it a slight bite, a dash of chili powder.
By this point, the chicken was defrosted. After beating an egg, and lining my cooking pan with foil, I removed the chicken, dipped it in the egg, and into my bread crumb mixture. I coated both sides and set it in the pan, did the same with my other piece, washed my hands, and put any remaining bread crumbs into the pan.
I cooked this for about 30 minutes, while doing the dishes etc. After the 30 mins, I took the chicken out, checked to be sure it was cooked, and added a layer of Italian blend cheese. Then a very small couple of dollops of marinara sauce--and finally, the best ingredient: a few spoons full of alfredo sauce, and then a final layer of cheese. I put this back in, and began to cook my pasta. All I had was thin spaghetti, so that's what I used. While that cooked, I scraped the remainder of my alfredo sauce (literally to the last drop) and prepped it for microwave. If I hadn't already finished my dishes, I probably would have just warmed it in an actual pan, but I was lazy, and the chicken was beginning to smell fantastic.
6 minutes later, the pasta was done, and so was the chicken. And boy did it smell amazing. The parmesan cheese that I put in with the bread crumbs let out an amazing aroma. I placed the chicken just slightly overlapping the pasta, and called it good. A salad would have been ideal, but as a grad student--I rarely buy salad.
So, there you have it, a broke grad student's late night meal that was actually pretty fantastic. I'll put the actual recipe here for you to try it--and let me know what you think! Happy small hour cooking!
Chicken Parmesan Daniel Style
2 chicken thighs (or breasts--if you use larger pieces, you should probably double this recipe, except for the egg).
1/2 cup Bread crumbs (of some sort--even if you need to grind up some dried bread, it doesn't much matter)
2 tbls Parmesan Cheese
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 pinch chili powder (optional)
1 dash black pepper
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup alfredo sauce
4 tbls Marinara sauce
1/2 cup italian blend shredded cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine dry ingredients (bread crumbs, basil, garlic powder, chili powder, black pepper, and oregano) with the parmesan cheese. Dip chicken in egg, and coat with bread crumb mixture. Put in a foil lined pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes, or until chicken is done. Remove pan, add a thin layer of cheese. Layer marinara sauce. Layer alfredo sauce. Layer remaining cheese. Put chicken back in oven and reduce heat to 350 degrees for 10 minutes, or until pasta (optional) is done. Enjoy!