Chicken Parmesan

With the craziness of the holidays and the new year, my cooking adventures had been few and far between. Hopefully, with the start of 2011 I can get back in the kitchen and continue making new food and recipes to share with everyone!

A friend at work and I were talking about a dish I could make that would be good, fairly simple, and liked by a lot of people. So she suggested Chicken Parmesan. As I  thought about making this for dinner I couldn’t believe that I had never actually made this before! My Grandma’s breaded chicken  is one of my all time favorite meals with pasta, but Chicken Parmesan is not something I typically order off a menu, and the version I have at home really isn’t Chicken Parmesan, so I decided to take on the Kitchen Adventure!

I didn’t have a family recipe for Chicken Parmesan, so I just went with what I thought would be included in chicken parmesan.

Chicken Parmesan

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Flour

3 eggs

Bread Crumbs

Salt and pepper

Olive Oil

Fresh Basil

Provolone Cheese

Spaghetti

Pasta Sauce (see my quick sauce*)

Clean the chicken and then wrap each piece of chicken in plastic wrap and pound thin. Put flour in a deep dish and season with salt and pepper (don’t be shy. Make sure you can see the flour. Give it a taste before you put the Chicken in it). In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and add a tsp of water. In a third bowl, add the bread crumb.

Dip the chicken in the flour and coat. Then, dip it in the egg. Make sure the egg yolk has dripped off and then add to the bread crumbs. Continue with all the chicken pieces.

In a large pan, heat olive oil. Lightly sear the chicken breasts, but do not cook through. While the chicken is cooking, add sauce to the bottom a baking dish. Once the chicken is slightly cooked, add to the baking dish. Cover lightly with sauce. Add a piece of fresh basil and top with a piece of provolone cheese. Cover again with sauce, but be sure to leave enough for your pasta.

Bake chicken for 15-20 minutes at 350º.

Bring salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook. Drain, rinse, cover with sauce and serve with chicken!

**I didn’t get to take a picture, but I thought it looked delicious!

I unfortunately didn’t have time to make my own bread crumbs, so that is something I will have to do next time around. It was a pretty easy meal to make and I am excited to try it again sometime!

Lucia

Chicken Salad Obsession

So I was pretty bummed about not being able to have a kitchen adventure on Sunday, so I thought I would throw one in during the week!  The other night I realized I had put chicken in the refrigerator to thaw, and since I am leaving for the weekend, it needed to be cooked.  I am obsessed, and I mean this whole heartedly, with the Chicken Salad at Whole Foods.  You can ask my roommates and they will attest to this and explain to you my sick obsession with it.  Since Whole Foods is not in my budget on the regular…I thought I would try to make my own version!

Ingredients:

3 Boneless Chicken Breasts

Light Mayonnaise

Pepper

Craisins

Sliced Almonds

Red Grapes

Clean the chicken breasts and boil for 10 minutes.  Simmer for another 10 or until cooked through.  Do not over boil the chicken or it will dry out.  Once the chicken is cooked, shred in a bowl.  Add about 5 tablespoons of the mayonnaise or until there is enough covering the chicken (do not add too much or it will be soggy).  Add pepper to taste (if you can’t see the pepper, there isn’t enough).  Add the craisins, almonds, and grapes (sliced), mix together and let sit in the refrigerator until cooled.

This is kind of  a big deal for me, considering I tried chicken salad for the first time last August!  I really am starting to branch out when it comes to food…finally (thanks to my family and Ryan’s constant nagging).  I looked up a few recipes, but decided to jump ship and just come up with my own based on ingredients around the kitchen.  I boiled three chicken breasts and then shredded the chicken. Shredded is always the way to go in my opinion. I added light mayonnaise, pepper, craisins, red grapes, and sliced almonds (they are supposed to go in salads and were pre-packaged) and mixed together.  I let sit in the fridge over night, ready for me to take to work the next day!

It was so delicious!!   Alyssa and Jess were my tasters and they approved.  I will definitely be making this again and probably often!

I Gotta Find My Place…I Wanna Hear My Sound

It has been a VERY crazy few weeks, so I am really glad that last weekend was so relaxing.  I had the best time at home with my family and it was nice to not have the added stress of a holiday or busy schedule.  The past few weeks I have been busy with my internship, interviewing for jobs, and making some big changes.  I am really glad everything worked out and could not be MORE excited to start my new career path working on the Digital team with Edelman!!!  I start in May and could not be more ready to begin my career.  So…with all the big changes, it was nice to unwind with my family!

Saturday I spent the day with my mom.  We went to my cousin Colleen’s Spa, La Dolce Salon, and did a little pampering!  I was in major need of a pedicure now that sandal season is here!

My day ended up being so busy, before I knew it, I was ready for dinner and had nothing to make!  My sister and I had decided to stay in, have wine and catch up, so we went to the grocery to grab dinner supplies.  Here is what I learned from my sister…

Having some wine before dinner and enjoying the spring weather!

When you are throwing together a quick dinner and don’t have enough time to marinade your chicken, put it in a salt, sugar, and water mixture – called a Brine.  It will make the chicken so deliciously moist no matter what you season it with.  Grant, my sisters fiance, came home in time to throw the chicken on the grill with some barbeque sauce and they turned out unbelievable delicious. We paired the chicken with sautéed red peppers, sugar snap peas, and zucchini.  We seasoned them with Lawry’s Seasoned Salt, Basil, and Italian seasoning.  For the dinner being unplanned and thrown together in about 20 minutes, it was mouth-watering good.  There was nothing left and we were still wanting more!

Vegetable Sautè

Barbeque Chicken – Leave in Brine for 45 minutes to an hour

Sunday was my cousins baby shower and my Grandma’s birthday so it was another busy day, but was so much fun!  My mom had spent months working on the table decorations – every table had a different theme and there were 14 tables! My Aunt went all out with the gifts for the giveaways at the shower as well and almost everyone received a gift (there were about 100 people there).  They did such a great job and truly out did themselves….but that is just how my family usually does things!  Check out some of the pictures from the shower below!

My Mom and Aunt Annette – Wonderful Aunts and Hosts!

The Smurf/Potty Training Table

The Dr. Seuss Table – One of my favorites!


My cousin Rosie made this awesome Baby/Diaper/Gift Cake

I’m not sure what to call it, but it was a great gift and I have no clue how she made it!!  It was so pretty that we used it as the centerpiece for the buffet table.

Feeling Adventurous?

So I am sitting at my desk eating the leftover chicken soup (which might be better today than Sunday) and I realized I did not include how to make the homemade egg noodles!  I am assuming most people don’t want to take the time to do this, but if you are feeling adventurous and want to join me in this creative cooking adventure then I challenge you to try!

I did not have my own recipe for these, so I did a lot of research and came up with my own recipe (hence why I was so nervous about the outcome!)  I think these are some of the best egg noodles I have ever had (not trying to brag) so I hope you try them and like them as much as I have!

Homemade Egg Noodles (~2 lbs)

3 Cups Flour

3 Eggs

Milk (Skim)                        

Water

Add flour to a large mixing bowl.  With your hands make an opening in the center and add the eggs.  Add milk (1 half egg-shell full).  Mix with a fork.  Add 2 tbsp water and mix.  Once it begins to form together add 2 more half egg shells full of milk.  Continue forming into a ball with your hands.  Once dough is sticky, add extra flour over a large surface and roll out dough until paper-thin (can be thicker if you prefer).

Once dough is rolled out thin enough, cut into noodle strips!  All of my noodles were different sizes, but you can cut however you prefer.

I layered the noodles on a tray with wax paper between each layer and left in the freezer until they were ready to be added to the broth!

Cook until tender and enjoy!

(dough can be difficult so add as much water/milk as needed in order for dough to be sticky)

Good Mood Food

Yesterday was such a great day!  I started off the morning having breakfast with my roommates.  I got my inspiration for the day while we were eating. My roommate ordered Eggs Benedict and thought the sauce was not edible.  She pretty much took it all off.  I remembered  my new recipe book included a recipe for eggs Benedict, so I have now added that to my list of kitchen adventures!

We came home and decided to enjoy some Mimosa’s and listen to music while I started making my homemade egg noodles!  They helped me cut the dough into noodles and I put them in the freezer for dinner later that evening. I love sunday funday’s!

When I started getting dinner ready around 4, I realized one of my onions was rotten.  It was so brown and mushy on the inside – it made feel mushy on the inside as well.  I was so mad because I had just bought the onions the day before and that has never happened to me, although while I was buying them I was thinking to myself they did not seem fresh AT ALL.  I sincerely hate shopping at Dominick’s.  If only I could get everything I needed from Whole Foods (in my dreams)!!  Good thing I don’t really like onions and wasn’t upset about the lack of them in my soup.  For years I have been cooking with onions and have been around them my whole life, but for some reason, I had such a reaction to them yesterday.  I love the smell and they have never bothered my eyes, but my eyes were on fire !  I had to walk out of the kitchen at least three times to wipe my eyes!  So strange…

I let the soup sit for around 3 hours once everything was added and the chicken had boiled.  The longer the soup sits, the more flavor it is going to have.  Right before I took the chicken out to debone and separate, I added my “secret” ingredient.  I truly believe this made ALL the difference.  I have made this soup for my roommates before and they could tell such a difference in the flavor.  This soup was BY FAR the best I have ever made.  I am not sure if that was due to the “secret” ingredient or from the homemade noodle, but I am happy to tell you the soup was a success!!

Italian Style Chicken Soup

Ingredients:

1 whole chicken

1 bag whole carrots

1 bag celery

2 large onions

2 medium cans whole tomatoes, peeled (Hunt’s preferably)

1 lb vermicelli or Orzo (any noodle of your preference really)

Clean chicken and put into pot.  Fill pot completely with water.  Slowly bring chicken to a boil (cooking on medium heat) until all fat has come off, skimming continuously.  Do not over boil or chicken will be dry.

While chicken is cooking, peel and clean carrots and cut into small pieces to your liking.  Cut celery.  Peel and cut each onion into 4 pieces (I prefer to keep them larger in order to remove them easier).

When chicken fat has all come off, after about an hour or so, add carrots, celery, and onions.  Squeeze the juice of each tomato into the pot and then add each tomato.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Do not add too much salt because broth will become saltier over time.

While soup is cooking, break up vermicelli into very small pieces (if the pasta is too long it will become stringy in the soup).  If using Orzo or small pasta noodles, skip this step.

Once chicken is fully cooked and comes off the bone easily, remove and remove bones.  I prefer to separate the vegetables from the broth before cooking the noodles.

Cook noodles in broth and serve!  Add parmesan to taste and enjoy!

 

There was enough left over for a few dinners this week and I am glad everyone really enjoyed eating it!  I am not going to lie, I was pretty nervous about the noodles.  I even bought Orzo just in case they didn’t turn out, but they were great and I can’t wait to make them again for more dishes.  I think everything is better homemade!

Thank you Alyssa, Sarah and Jess for being my taste testers!  It is much appreciated, but thank you even more for enjoying my food!!

Chicken Soup

Growing up, my mom’s chicken soup was by far one of my favorite meals.  My Grandma’s is just as good, but my mom would always separate the vegetables from the soup for me (I wouldn’t touch it if there were vegetables in there) and I never ate my Grandmother’s until I was older and got over my fear of having anything with color and nutrients touch my food.  My mom was the best for going to such extremes for me- it must have been a frustrating thing to do, but she did every single time without fail.

I’ve made this chicken soup many times, but I wanted to share it with all of you.  It is not your ordinary chicken soup.  I think it is more of an Italian chicken soup because the broth of the soup is mostly tomato based and you top it off with some parmesan.  The only thing is, this time, I am going to attempt home-made egg noodles.  This soup is so good you can eat it without any noodles, but I always particularly enjoyed it with egg noodles.  So in order to make this a challenge and to learn something new, I am going to make my own noodles!

I’ve made homemade pasta before while I was living in Italy, but it wasn’t very successful. It tasted more like eating a ball of dough.  So this time ,hopefully, I can figure out a great recipe, so wish me luck!

I don’t have an actual recipe for this soup.  I learned how to make this after years of watching my mother and a few more years of making it with her over my shoulder helping me along the way.  So this recipe may not be exact, and it may take a few times of you making it on your own to perfect it (just giving you a fair warning), but it is WELL worth it!

Italian Style Chicken Soup

1 whole chicken ( I prefer to buy already separated and cleaned)

1 bag whole carrots

1 bag celery

2 large onions

2 medium cans whole tomatoes, peeled (Hunt’s preferably)

1 lb vermicelli or Orzo (any noodle of your preference really)

Clean chicken and put into pot.  Fill pot completely with water.  Add salt.  Slowly bring chicken to a boil (cooking on medium heat) until all fat has come off, skimming continuously.  Do not over boil or chicken will be dry.

While chicken is cooking, peel and clean carrots and cut into small pieces to your liking.  Cut celery.  Cut each onion into 4 pieces (I prefer to keep them larger in order to remove them easily once finished).

When chicken fat has all come off, after about an hour or so, add carrots, celery, and onions.  Squeeze the juice of each tomato into the pot and then add each tomato.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Do not add too much salt because broth will become saltier over time.

While soup is cooking, break up vermicelli into very small pieces (if the pasta is too long it will become stringy in the soup).  If using Orzo or small pasta noodles, skip this step.

Once chicken is fully cooked and comes off the bone easily, remove from soup and remove bones.  I prefer to separate the vegetables from the broth before cooking the noodles.

Cook noodles in broth and serve!  Add parmesan to taste and enjoy!