Friday, January 14, 2011

Skillet Chicken Parm

Dear Readers,

This is my first winter in the burbs and it’s not quite as convenient to just “run out and get something at the store” as it was in Brooklyn. Here, I actually have to jump in my car and drive a few miles to get to the grocery as opposed to just walking 3 blocks down the street. So there have been and will be times when I literally can’t run out because they shut the roads down due to inclement weather. NYC never shuts down; it’s the city that doesn’t even sleep. It’s a whole new world!

On Tuesday afternoon I left the city in hopes of beating the oncoming snowstorm home. I was doing really well for the first hour and then big clumpy snowflakes began to fall and I started to get a little bit nervous. Being mostly a subway rider for the past nine years, I really don’t have skills at driving on snowy, slippery roads. By the time I got back to my neighborhood, there was about an inch of white on the ground and I was so happy to park my car and get into the house.

But wait! I left the city early so I was home in time for dinner which meant I actually had to make dinner which I don’t usually do on the nights I drive back from the city. Hmm. There was NO way I was getting back in my car and driving up and down mountainous back roads to get to my grocery store, so I had to think fast.

Luckily, I keep a pretty well stocked fridge now that I don’t have the luxury of just stopping by the market on the way home from work every day. There are always things like cheese, sausages, olives, vacuum sealed meats, eggs, and other sundries that tend to keep for longer periods of time. I’m also inclined to keep a few jars of gourmet sauces on hand in the pantry for when I’m in a pinch. (Besides, even skilled cooks don’t necessarily want to do everything from scratch every single day.)

So in my fridge I found a block of fresh mozzarella cheese and a package of chicken. Ding, ding, ding! The idea hit me. Why not try and make something like chicken parmesan on the stove top so it didn’t take too much time to prepare? I don’t know why I have never thought of this before; it was so easy and so delicious. I had a jar of my favorite fancy pasta sauce on hand as well as the ever present shredded parmesan in my fridge. I basically had everything I needed to fake it. The dish wasn’t traditional chicken parmesan: I didn’t use breading, didn’t pound the chicken breasts, and I didn’t bake the meal in the oven. But in under an hour I had a meal that was tasty, melty, and molto Italiano. Try it for yourself. Manga!

Truly & tastefully,

Skillet Chicken Parmesan
Bone & skin-less chicken breasts (however many you’d like…I used 4 large filleted into smaller pieces)
½ cup fresh chopped basil (or parsley)
16 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese sliced in rough slices
½ cup shredded or powdered parmesan or Romano cheese
2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
Large jar of gourmet pasta sauce

So easy! Heat the pan and roll the olive oil in around the in around the bottom once it’s hot. Sautee the chicken breasts over medium to high heat until the surfaces are golden brown and the juices run clear. Turn the heat to low and lay mozzarella pieces over the chicken pieces and then spoon sauce over the cheese. Cover the pan and let the chicken simmer on low heat until the mozzarella cheese melts and the sauce warms. Once the cheese is melted, remove the lid, sprinkle the fresh basil and grated parmesan over the dish and plate!

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