Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Chicken Parmesan Chicken Strips with Pesto Spaghetti

I think this one is a real original- a bit of a messy process, but worth it!

Chicken Parmesan Chicken Strips:

The Recipe has 3 major components, the breading, the chicken/cheese, and the sauce.

The Sauce
I began by making a variation on my five-minute pasta sauce.  The only difference was that I added diced fresh scallion, tomato, garlic scapes, zucchini and patty pan squash (all from the bucket).  If you were making this recipe in a hurry, a regular jarred marinara would work too.

Set aside a portion of the sauce in a separate bowl.

The Breading
In a large gallon-sized ziplock bag, I combined:
  • panko bread crumbs
  • ground flax seeds
  • fresh grated Romano and Parmesan
  • garlic salt
  • fresh ground pepper
  • Penzey's minced onions

The Chicken and Cheese
Then, I cut boneless, skinless chicken breasts into strips.  I also cut fresh mozzarella cheese into strips about half as big at the chicken strips.

Working in assembly line style, I first pressed a strip of fresh mozzarella onto the strip of raw chicken.  Holding the chicken and cheese together, I rolled them first in the pasta sauce and then into the bread crumbs until the whole thing was covered.  The breaded strips went onto a greased cookie sheet, one at a time until all of the chicken was used.  I discarded any of the sauce and bread crumbs that touched the raw chicken.

I baked the chicken strips on the convection setting at 350 degrees for about half an hour, turning the strips over halfway through. 

When they were done, the chicken was moist and the cheese was wonderfully gooey.  We topped them with more of the pasta sauce (the portion that had not touched the raw chicken!).  So good- and the kids ate them too!

I served the chicken strips with Pesto Spaghetti

Pesto Spaghetti

Combine in the food processor (roughly these portions because, of course, I didn't measure)
  • 2 cups of fresh basil
  • 1/3 cup of pine nuts
  • 2 chopped garlic scapes
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • enough olive oil to keep the mixture moist
I tried to put them all in at once, although in hindsight I would've done the pine nuts alone first.

When those ingredients were well blended, I added about 2/3 of a cup of freshly grated Parmesan and Romano cheeses.  I blended everything together in the food processor, adding a little more oil, until the texture seemed right.

Later, I boiled a mix of white and whole wheat spaghetti noodles and then tossed in about half of the pesto until the spaghetti was lightly coated in the pesto.  A perfect side dish!

The final product

I was trying to capture the cheesiness- not so much on the iphone ) :

 No complaints from Bailey

Bryce, who refused to taste the pesto when I was making it, loved it on the spaghetti.  I still haven't told him what he ate.

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