Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Meal Planning Inspiration + Parmesan Crusted Chicken

I am in a rut with my cookbooks and pinterest and sad, sad, eternally sad Martha's Everyday Food Magazine is now extinct.

So how the heck do I meal plan when I am in a rut like this?

Get It Done Tip: I set out to google with different ingredients, chefs or cooking styles to get inspiration. 

Today's meal is compliments of the search topic "rachael ray + top recipes".
I also pick key ingredients and will pair them together when I do a search like "barefoot contessa + chicken".
Or look in my freezer or fridge to see what I need to get rid of and type "carrots + main dish". 
Or if I know I won't have time to prep and we want chicken "slow cooker + chicken". 
I peruse the options and plug whatever looks good onto the week's menu and then add the ingredients into the shopping list.  Quick and easy train ride entertainment that serves a purpose.
Tonight's dinner is Rachael Ray's #1 most popular recipe on Food Network and it is:



  1 1/2 to 2 pounds fingerling potatoes or red skin baby potatoes (I used my purple potatoes from the crop share)
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips (used up my frozen peppers!)
1 Italian mild green pepper, cubanelle, seeded and thinly sliced
1 medium yellow skinned onion, thinly sliced
4 large cloves garlic, cracked away from skin
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (left out - too spicy for kids)
1/4 cup tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided 
Coarse salt and pepper (always leave out salt)
2 cups shredded Parmesan, available in tubs near deli -- make sure to get shredded cheese, not grated (grated fresh)
4 (6 to 8-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 plum Roma tomatoes or small, vine ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped
15 to 20 leaves fresh basil, pile leaves, roll then thinly slice -- chiffonade
Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.

Cut fingerling potatoes into halves or quarters, depending on thickness of fingerlings -- thin, small fingerlings may also be left hole, larger potatoes should be quartered to speed cooking process. If you are using small red potatoes, halve or quarter them in the same way.

Cover a large cookie sheet with foil. Place potatoes on cookie sheet. Combine with peppers and onions, garlic and crushed red pepper flakes. Coat the potatoes, peppers and onions with extra-virgin olive oil just enough to coat vegetables in a thin layer, 2 to 3 tablespoons. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Place potatoes in the oven and roast 20 to 22 minutes, until potatoes are just tender and peppers and onions are crisp at edges. Toss mixture with tongs, turning the potatoes after 15 minutes. When the potatoes are cooked, transfer them to a serving dish and peel the foil off the cookie sheet and discard for super-quick clean up!

While potatoes cook, prepare chicken. Roll out a 2-foot piece of waxed paper or foil near the stove top. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat -- your pan must be very hot when the chicken is added. Pile the shredded cheese on the work surface created with the waxed paper or foil. Season your chicken breasts with black pepper but no salt; the cheese will add enough salt to the taste of the dish. Press the breasts firmly into the cheese. Coat both sides of breasts with as much cheese as possible. Add 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil to the skillet, 1 turn of the pan. Set breasts into the skillet and cook 7 minutes on each side, until cheese forms an even, golden casing around the tender chicken breasts.

While chicken cooks, combine chopped tomatoes with basil in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper, to your taste.

Drain off any excess oil from chicken as you remove it from the skillet. Top chicken with big spoonfuls of raw sauce and serve with potatoes, peppers and onions.
Verdict: All 3 of my kids loved it.  No wonder it's her #1 recipe!

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