Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Parmesan Crusted Chicken with Roasted Potatoes and Veggies

Last night I had a few of my friends over for dinner, but as of 5pm had no idea what to make. Visiting the food network’s chicken recipe list I decided on Rachel Ray’s parmesan crusted chicken breasts with tomato and basil and roast potatoes with onions and peppers. When I got home I started working on the potatoes, then the chicken. STOP THE PRESSES! I only had 2 chicken cutlets. There were 3 of us, plus I wanted leftovers for today’s lunch. SACRE BLEU! Thinking on my feet, I decided to cut up the 2 chicken cutlets and add them to already cut-up pieces of chicken (I always cut up some chicken when I get home from the store so that I have it ready for stirfry). Altogether this was enough for 4 servings. Saved, but I had to alter the recipe to account for this. I decided to toss the chicken breast bites with grated parmesan and Italian bread crumbs. OK, chicken crisis averted, back to the potatoes. My darling Rachel and I would have a little fight over these babies. She would defend how her potatoes with peppers need cubanelles in addition to the bell peppers, and I would most whole heartedly disagree. I very strongly dislike cubanelles, so my potatoes went without. My potatoes also used the russets I had lying around, since I didn’t have any fingerlings or red. I chopped my potatoes (about 8 chunks of potato from each, and I used 3 or 4 large potatoes), chopped a green bell pepper, sliced a small yellow onion, added salt, pepper, red pepper and pre-chopped garlic (see the post on shrimp scampi for my thoughts on why pre-chopped garlic is the best). I doused the mix in olive oil and poured it onto a cookie sheet I covered with aluminum foil and pam. Then I thought. Yes, I THOUGHT. I thought that besides the green pepper, we weren’t really getting any good veggies in this meal. To me a potato is a starch, a fake veggie. We needed some real egetable that your mom would be proud if you ate. CARROTS! The boy doesn’t eat carrots so I add them to meals whenever he isn’t around. Since he wasn’t here for dinner, I used 3 handfuls of baby carrots, cutting them in half and adding them to the potatoes. Perfect. It looked great and now was good for us!
I popped the tray into an oven I pre heated to about 500. After 15 minutes I turned the potato mixture with a mixing spoon, and they were done about 5 or 10 minutes after that.
Back to the chicken. Once the potatoes were in the oven, I heated a large saute pan with pam and olive oil (I REALLY didn’t want cheese to crust onto the pan). I added the parmesan crusted chicken. I let it sit for a minute, then turned. Sat for another minute and then I started stirring more frequently so that all sides got the heat while cooking the inside. It eventually got a great crispy brown crust and was cooked but juicy inside. Sadly I only have the before picture. I was too hungry to wait and take a picture afterwards!
Everyone loved the meal. Thinking about it now I am getting really hungry and excited about the leftovers for lunch. Basically I used Rach’s recipe as inspiration, but did not actually make her recipe at all (hence why I won’t post it here. It was made into a generic method where the amounts of each ingredient no longer matter). I will admit that we used ketchup, but for a chicken and potatoes meal, it is hard to not break out the ketchup, whether it be parm crusted with roast potatoes, roast chicken with mashed potatoes or chicken strips and fries. It was good even without the Heinz, but the tomatoey syrup just made it phenomenal.

Advice for next time: Don’t cut the baby carrots. They had a nice roast to them, but I think they were a little too charred. Same with the onion. I will leave it in larger pieces next time. The chicken was so good I wouldn’t change a thing. It would go with the tomatoes and basil, but if you lack fresh tomatoes or have had tomato sauce the past couple days, ketchup works as a very good replacement. This was certainly a success.

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