And aren't these two very cute, very good reasons to take a break?
Now, that's not to say I haven't been trying new recipes - I've just been working through all the meals I stockpiled in the freezer (about 5 weeks worth) and I'm been very selective and limited by how much time I can spend in the kitchen.
If I had all the time in world, I'd happily a) clone myself so one of me could enjoy my 1st favorite past time (those two loves pictured above) and 2) send the other me to spend afternoons making fantastic dinners ... so far, the cloning hasn't worked out. Drat.
So, in the spirit of getting back in the swing of things, here's one of the more recent recipe discoveries. I've made it several times - it may look like a lot of instructions, but the steps are pretty simple and you can have it on the table in 30 minutes. Plus, it's very forgiving (choose a different combo/proportion of cheeses, omit some of the spices, forget the basil (oops), etc.) and equally good as a sandwich or cold leftovers for lunch.
Best Chicken Parmesan
Adapted from Cook's Illustrated, March/April 2013
Marinara sauce, warmed - your favorite store-bought brand or homemade
2 (8 oz) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed, halved horizontally, and pounded to 1/2-inch thick
2 oz whole-milk mozzarella cheese, shredded (1/2 cup)
2 oz provolone cheese, shredded (1/2 cup)
1 large egg
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 1/2 oz Parmesan cheese, grated (1/2 cup)
1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 1/2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup torn fresh basil
Sprinkle each side of the chicken cutlet lightly with salt (about 1/16 tsp per each side), let stand at room temperature 20 minutes.
Combine Mozzarella and Provolone cheese in a bowl, set aside. Adjust oven rack 4-inches from broiler element and preheat broiler.
In a shallow dish, whisk together flour and egg until smooth. In a separate shallow dish, toss together Parmesan cheese, Panko bread crumbs, garlic powder, oregano and 1/4 tsp pepper.
Pat chicken dry with paper towels. Working with 1 chicken cutlet at a time, dredge chicken in egg mixture coating both sides and allowing excess to run off, then immediately transfer to Parmesan mixture and coat both sides with mixture, while pressing gently to allow crumbs to adhere. Transfer chicken to a plate and repeat process with remaining chicken cutlets.
Pour 2 1/2 Tbsp olive oil and vegetable oil into a 10-inch non-stick skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Once oil is hot, add 2 coated chicken cutlets and fry without moving them until bottom is crispy and golden brown, about 2 minutes, then using metal tongs rotate to opposite side and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes longer. Transfer fried chicken to a large plate lined with paper towels to drain. Repeat process with remaining 2 pieces of chicken.
Place cutlets on rimmed baking sheet and sprinkle Mozzarella cheese mixture evenly over cutlets. Broil in oven until cheese is melted and beginning to brown, about 2 - 4 minutes (keep a close eye on it). Remove from oven and cover each cutlet with 2 Tbsp marinara sauce. Sprinkle tops evenly with remaining 1/4 cup fresh basil and serve immediately, adding additional sauce while enjoying, as desired.