COOKING ADVENTURES #90: Chicken Parmesan and Apple Coleslaw
So, when I decided to make coleslaw alone for a Cooking Adventure, I may have been underestimating just how much of a meal it could make by itself. I mean, this coleslaw was BITCHIN’, don’t get me wrong. But once you’ve munched on it for four days straight like some kind of bovine cabbage lover, you really do start to miss eating other food. Yes. The above picture shows the coleslaw paired with a burrito. Don’t try to understand it. Just know that I needed to eat SOMETHING besides coleslaw that night. I decided that in order for this to be a really interesting adventure, I’d pair it up with my very first attempt at making Chicken Parmesan. When I really get down to the details, the coleslaw was really more of a “frolic” than an adventure. I mean, it’s cutting stuff up (unless you’re lazy like me…) and tossing it together with other stuff in a bowl. Not all that difficult. Anything involving chicken, however…instant stories to tell, old friends. Instant stories to tell.
The idea to make what I’d like to call BITCHIN’ COLESLAW because of how amazing it was. I’m not going to rave and call myself a coleslaw connosieur or anything, but honestly, everyone out there has their own preference on its taste, texture, and ratio of mayo-esque goo to solid matter. I’ve had very wet coleslaw before…not a big fan of it. It’s like eating a tube of glue with some crunchies in it. Forgive me if that doesn’t sound appetizing in the slightest bit. I opted to make less dressing for this coleslaw and believe me, less is definitely more.
First things first, chopping red and green cabbage like my life depends upon it. If only I actually had done this. I bought a coleslaw mix pre-cut from the grocery store. I know. LAZY. I also bought my carrots pre-shredded. I know you are all banging your heads against your desks and screaming at your screens. Basically, I ignored the preparation part of this recipe and went straight to assembling. I did cut up the granny smith apple for those of you wondering if I’m completely useless in the kitchen. I cut it up into very thin small squares and added that into the cabbage and carrot mix. Then, after taking my hands to it and tossing it (because yes, I was the only one eating it and it made it easier to do it this way), I went to work on making the dressing for it.
No, I didn’t buy the dressing at the store. I combined a couple tablespoons of mayonnaise, a tablespoon of olive oil, a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, a teaspoon of lemon juice, and a small sprinkle of salt and pepper. In the midst of this, I discovered that if a person really needs to wake up in a hurry in the morning, all they have to do is sniff a bottle of apple cider vinegar. I think my eyes practically exploded open upon accidentally inhaling a huge dose of that. Holy smokes. 7 a.m. and I was suddenly as wide awake as if I’d just downed a pot of coffee.
I mixed all of the ingredients together and poured the mixture into the cabbage, carrots, and apples. I stirred everything together until most everything was covered in that divine dressing and then packed some for lunch. It’s best to let the coleslaw refrigerate so that the dressing’s flavoring soaks into the cabbage a little. So, by lunch time, it tasted wonderful! Adding apple to coleslaw is probably one of the best ideas I’ve ever heard. It really added a nice kick of sweetness and, again, turned me into a vegetarian for a couple days. If anyone knows me, they will know that is not an easy feat…at all.
The next part of this Cooking Adventure took place only yesterday. Finally, some spring weather, and I’ll tell you it was glorious! It was about 60 degrees and splashes of warm sun were radiating in my kitchen window. I opened the screen in the kitchen door window a crack and let the warm breeze whistle in. Actually had the window open most of the day. It felt SO good. And since I was missing spending time in the kitchen, I decided to make myself something healthy but scrumptious. I haven’t been feeling too good about my food choices these last couple of weeks. Lots and lots of comfort food to fight against this never-ending winter we’ve had. (They’re actually predicting snow again tomorrow. I just…I can’t…I don’t….*sigh*).
This recipe came from SkinnyTaste, where you can find dozens of other incredible recipes for those trying to eat a little lighter and healthier.
First thing I did was to grab a large bowl and dump in about a cup of breadcrumbs. Since we’ve already established my laziness, you’ll have probably guessed that I used breadcrumbs from a tin and didn’t actually crunch up hard stale bread. Sorry guys. Tin o’ bread crumbs and about 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese. I didn’t use fresh, instead I used the bottled Parmesan. I know. Strike two. Just bare with me guys. This did turn out well. Trust me.
After mixing those two ingredients together well in the bowl, I turned my attention to the chicken. I got a package of raw chicken breasts and peeled the plastic off. Before doing anything with those though, I followed the directions to melt a tablespoon of butter in the microwave and then brush it over the chicken breasts. Well… sort of. I melted the butter. Easy enough. But I don’t own a basting brush for the kitchen. So that left me with only one other option. I decided to pour the butter all over the chicken breasts, still in the package. And while I didn’t have any leaking or anything like that, the butter didn’t quite do what I wanted. It actually solidified on the chicken! Because it was cooler, the instant contact turned it back into a hardened layer that immediately proceeded to flake off. I growled as I picked up each chicken breast and dunked it in the breadcrumbs, making sure to evenly coat the entire thing before placing them on an oiled baking sheet.
I followed suit with the other two chicken breasts, managing to get breadcrumbs all over the counter top like a ninny. After that was all done, I took a little bit of vegetable oil and drizzled it on top of the chicken breasts, hoping that a little bit more liquid would keep the crumbs from burning. I put the pan in the oven at 450 and let them bake for 20 minutes. Then, I took them out, flipped them, drizzled the other sides with oil and let them cook for another ten minutes. What I discovered at this point was that I was supposed to have cut the chicken breasts in half to make them easier to cook. I’d conveniently overlooked that part in the directions. So I let them cook for a little bit longer during their second trip in the oven.
Removing the chicken gave me an image of sheer perfection; sizzling golden colored breaded chicken breasts smelling heavenly and just waiting for consumption. As in eating. Not the disease. That would be strange. Ehem. Moving on. I took a spoon and put a helping of spaghetti sauce on the tops of the chicken breasts and spread it around. Taking some more bottled Parmesan, I added a good dose of that to the top of each chicken piece and then pushed the pan back into the extinguished oven to melt the cheese for another five minutes.
While all of this was happening, I was attempting to make pasta which always becomes an issue no matter what. This time, I was dealing with noodles that had been cooking for some time and adding stiff noodles to them because I hadn’t added enough the first time. I got a fusion of pasta that was either too chewy or two brittle. And of course, not enough of it. But with a good helping, some extra spaghetti sauce, and a small perfect sized chicken breast, dinner was absolutely to die for last night. I’m so glad that I have some to save for tomorrow evening. I’ll be sad to see it all go. 😦
Next time on Cooking Adventures, I’ll be sharing with you a delightful cake recipe that I’ll be concocting for Easter! Honey Cake with Caramelized Pears is next week. Stay tuned!