Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Baked Chicken Parm and Spaghetti Squash

Do you ever make one of those meals where your entire family has made the assumption that the meal is going to be sub par, but you know it is going to be something super rockin awesome? This baked chicken Parmesan from Taste and Tell definitely fell into that category.
Mrblocko thought the dish was going to be bland. He asked me,"What are we having with the chicken." I replied, "Well the recipe says to serve it on a bed of Spaghetti squash." He shook his head and said, "No, what are we having with it?"

"I thought we would have salad and bread." Mrblocko got a weird look on his face after I said that, so I asked, "Do you think that's not enough to eat?"

"No, that sounds like enough food. I was just wondering what we were going to have on the chicken."
I scanned the print out of the recipe once more. "It doesn't say anything about a sauce." I peeked in the pantry and saw that we did have some pasta sauce. "Try it first, and if you think it is bland or dry you can put some red sauce on it if you want."

Mrblocko took the first bite out of the three of us. As I was taking my first bite he turned to me and said, "Hey, you were right this doesn't need any sauce. The squash is really sweet and it tastes really good with the spices in the chicken."

I just nodded and smiled with the satisfaction that I was right. Then, as I was writing this blog entry, I pulled up the web page from Taste and Tell that contained the recipe. Go ahead. Click on the hyperlink at the top of the page. What do you see? Yup. Red sauce. I think the main point that I would like to make here was that I was right. That's all that really matters now isn't it.

Unless you have a big family, you are going to have a bunch of leftovers. We ate this twice with Mrblocko eating 1 chicken breast and Blockette and I sharing another. The grocery store had a sale on mutant chicken breasts again. I suppose if your grocery store stocks run of the mill meats you won't have an excess of leftovers.

I don't know about you and your families, but in Casa de Blocko we are sick of leftovers by the third time. If a dish is going to feed us for more than 2 meals I'll just freeze the rest. Cooked chicken breast gets dry and tough in the freezer. At least it does for me.

So what did I do with the remaining 2 chicken breasts? Well, we had half a package of ramen, half a can of chicken and rice, and a cup or two of veggie stock in the fridge that needed to be used up or tossed out. I cut the chicken up and dumped that into the 3 leftover soups, along with the rest of the squash, and some diced carrots and celery. The breading on the chicken fell off, but the spices from the breading flavored the broth wonderfully. I even think the bread crumbs (BTW, I used breadcrumbs from the can, about 1/4 c. I didn't have the right kind of bread to make them from scratch) thickened up the soup base.

Even the left overs made from left overs were wonderful. This recipe is a keeper for sure!

Baked Chicken Parmesan from Taste and Tell
vegetable oil spray
4 slices whole wheat bread
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 tablespoons finely snipped fresh parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
1/2 cup nonfat or low fat buttermilk or egg whites
6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, all visible fat removed

Preheat oven to 450F. Lightly spray a rectangular baking sheet and a slightly smaller cooling rack with vegetable oil spray. Put rack on baking sheet. Set aside.

In a food processor or blender, process bread into fine crumbs. Pour into a shallow bowl. Stir Parmesan*, parsley, paprika, garlic powder and thyme into crumbs. Pour buttermilk into a shallow bowl. Rinse chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Dip chicken into buttermilk, shake off excess liquid, dredge in crumbs and shake off excess crumbs. Put chicken on cooling rack. Spray each breast with vegetable oil spray. Bake for 15 minutes, turn chicken and bake for 5 minutes or until done.

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