Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Chicken Parm and Snickerdoodles

So after the chewy cupcake incident I was still in the mood to cook and bake.  I had been wanting to try this recipe from Brown Eyed Baker for quite some time.  I've mentioned in earlier posts that I've been trying to eat a little more healthy, so this recipe for Lighter Chicken Parmesan sounded perfect.  I made it with some whole wheat pasta (healthy, right?) and I substituted Italian bread crumbs for the panko, just because I didn't have panko on hand.  But I bet the recipe would be amazing with panko too.   Oh, and I didn't toast the bread crumbs and it still worked fine.  The oven-frying method used in the recipe makes the chicken SUPER crispy and you don't even notice it's not fried.  I actually think I like this better than fried (gasp!).  I think it's even crispier.  I didn't take a lot of pics, but there's one up there.  So no more babbling.  Here's the recipe. 
Lighter Chicken Parmesan

1 1/2 cups panko (or Italian bread crumbs)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder (I used real garlic and stirred it in the egg wash)
salt and pepper
3 large egg whites
1 Tbsp water
cooking spray
3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts sliced into cutlets (I used chicken tenderloins)
2 cups tomato sauce, warmed
3 oz shredded mozzarella cheese (I had sliced provolone on hand so I used that)
1 Tbsp fresh basil

1.  Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 475 degrees. Combine the bread crumbs and oil in a skillet and toast over medium heat, stirring often, until golden, about 10 minutes. Spread the bread crumbs in a shallow dish and cool slightly; when cool, stir in the Parmesan.

2.  In a second shallow dish, combine the flour, garlic powder, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper together. In a third shallow dish, whisk the egg whites and water together.

3.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil, place a wire rack on top, and spray the rack with vegetable oil spray. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper. Lightly dredge the cutlets in the flour, shaking off the excess, then dip into the egg whites, and finally coat with the bread crumbs, Press on the bread crumbs to make sure they adhere. Lay the chicken on the wire rack.

4.  Spray the tops of the chicken with vegetable oil spray. Bake until the meat is no longer pink in the center and feels firm when pressed with a finger, about 15 minutes.

5.  Remove the chicken from the oven. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the sauce onto the center of each cutlet and top the sauce with 2 tablespoons of the mozzarella. Return the chicken to the oven and continue to bake until the cheese has melted, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the basil and serve, passing the remaining sauce and Parmesan separately.
Okay, so I made a lot of substitutions but whatever.  It was still really good.  So after this I was craving some kind of dessert (that tasted better than the cupcakes) and I had everything on hand to make Snickerdoodles.  Can you tell I hate going to the store when I'm about to make something?  I try to plan my meals out for the week and go once a week.  Otherwise, I really really try to keep baking ingredients on hand so I don't have to do a last minute run to Publix. 

I really think Snickerdoodles are my favorite cookie.  Maybe because my favorite food of all time is a cinnamon roll, and this has a similar flavor?  Who knows.  It's just a simple cookie that brings back memories of my childhood.  My Granny made Snickerdoodles whenever we went to visit her.  Now that I think about it, she made cinnamon rolls whenever we went to visit her too...hmm.  I'm seeing a pattern here.  I wish I had my Granny's recipe, but I don't.  But I've made the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook recipe many many many many times and it's perfect.  (P.S. I have the Breast Cancer edition- and it's Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  Just thought I'd throw that in there).  BTW- if you do not have this cookbook, please go buy it.  Like now.  If you have no other cookbooks in your kitchen, have this one.  It has every basic recipe you could want, and it has intros and basic cooking lessons at the beginning of every tab.  If you can't cook, this book will teach you how.  Plus, you can trust that just about every recipe has been tested and proven to come out perfectly.  (Duh, it's BHG). 

So more about these cookies.  They are soft and chewy with a little teeny bit of crunch around the outside.  Chewy cookies are my favorite.  Chewy cupcakes are not.  All I can really say is yum. 

Whoops- a couple stuck together.  Oh well. 

Normally when I make cookies, if the recipe says "makes 36" it makes about 15 for me.  What can I say?  I like giant cookies.  This time I decided to make them the called-for size and got about 38 little mini cookies, which were quite cute.  Although I could eat about 9 in a sitting.  Probably more if I were being really unhealthy.  Oh well. 

For those of you who don't have the cookbook, BHG has this recipe on their website, so you can make some of these RIGHTNOW.
makes 36 cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

1.  In a medium mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer for 30 seconds.  Add the 1 cup sugar, baking soda, and cream of tartar.  Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally.  Beat in egg and vanilla until combined.  Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer.  Stir in any remaining flour.  Cover and chill dough about 1 hour or until easy to handle. 

2.  Preheat oven to 375.  Combined the 2 Tbsp sugar and cinnamon in a bowl.  Shape dough into 1 inch balls.  Roll balls in sugar mixture to coat.  Place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake 10 to 11 minutes or until edges are golden.  Transfer to wire rack; cool. 
That's it!  Easy right?  And I promise these will come out perfectly every time.  As long as you don't burn them. 

Mmmm, can't you just taste them?

I kept some at home and took the rest to work.  They didn't last very long. 

I have a few more recipes that I've tried that I will be sharing soon!  I did my Daring Bakers Challenge the other day and it turned out GREAT!  But I have to keep it a secret until the 27th.  I also have a couple of other main dishes that I've made (one is in the crock pot now!) so I will share those recipes in the next few days. 

For now, it's time to be lazy in my pajamas.  For the second day in a row.  I love days like this.  :) 

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