Cheesy Pesto Chicken Parm

October 10, 2017

After a week in Maui, filled with lots of fresh fish, veggies, and fruit, I came home craving a good ol' Italian dish. And when I say "Italian" I mean "cheese with pesto & just enough chicken to make it a socially acceptable meal". Something about Hawaii makes you just want to eat fresh, juicy fruit all day (maybe it's the heat, maybe it's the fact that you have to wear bikinis all day...), but I'm back in fall weather and leggings now so Bring. On, The. Cheese. When craving cheese, nothing is more satisfying than chicken parm- because what is better than bread crumb coated chicken with cheese? Again, nothing.

Chicken Parm

 

Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs, beaten with a splash of something (cream, milk, or water will do!)

  • 1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour

  • 2 cups panko bread crumbs

  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, shredded

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon red cayenne pepper

  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley

  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano

  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme

  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon black pepper 

  • 4 chicken breasts, skinless, boneless, and tenderized with a kitchen mallet

  • 6 tablespoons butter

  • sliced mozzarella

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In large mixing bowl, beat three eggs with a splash of something (I like heavy whipping cream, but water will do!). Put the flour in a second large mixing bowl. In your third mixing bowl, mix together panko bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, garlic powder, onion powder, red cayenne pepper, dried parsley, dried oregano, dried thyme, lemon zest,  salt, and pepper. 

  2. Coat tenderized chicken breast with flour; shake off excess. Then submerge flour-coated chicken in egg mixture. Finally, dip chicken into bread crumb mixture. Repeat for each piece of chicken.

  3. In a skillet, heat butter over medium-high heat. Fry chicken in butter until both sides are golden brown.

  4. Transfer chicken to baking dish. Place sliced mozzarella on each piece of chicken. Top with pesto (see recipe below!) and bake for 20-30 minutes in preheated oven.

  5. Serve immediately over your favorite pasta.
     

Pesto
When it comes to pesto, I don't adhere to any particular recipe or measurement. Depending on who I'm cooking for that day I decide how much of each ingredient I want. If I'm just cooking for myself, Bring. On. The. Garlic. If I have to take into account that other people may not want to reek of garlic for 3 days, I back it down. Sometimes I want a thick pesto and sometimes I want it thinner. Here's a good recipe to follow for a standard pesto, but feel free to bump up the garlic or fresh basil.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cloves garlic

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 4 ounces fresh basil leaves

  • 2 tablespoons  pine nuts

  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese

  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest

  • pinch of freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • 2/3 cup olive oil

Directions:

  1. In food processor, mince garlic. Add salt, basil leaves, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, lemon zest and lemon juice  and combine until thoroughly ground together into a paste-like texture.

  2. With food processor on, slowly drizzle in olive oil until fully combined.

  3. Serve and lick the bowl.

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