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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Chicken Parmesan with Orzo & Feta

The very first meal I had ever made my husband (my then new boyfriend at the time) was Chicken Parmesan with Orzo and Feta.  I picked this for two reasons: (1.) this dish is one of my specialities and I knew I could not mess it up, (2.) this dish is also out of this world when made properly and I knew I would blow him away and he would fall instantly in love with me.  We were married two years worked!  This dish does take a little time and preparation so I usually save it for special occasions.  This past week-end we had a very close friend of my husband's (mine too) come and stay with us, so I decided to break out my Chicken Parm recipe.  Unfortunately, one of my little one's had the flu which was then past down to our house guest!  I did end up making this dinner on Sunday, but I think he may have been a little too under the weather to enjoy it.  That being said...this recipe is a must for a special occasion or when you just want to "wow" someone with the tastes and flavors! 

  • 6 boneless & skinless chicken breasts
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 5 garlic cloves - sliced thin
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 TB. milk
  • 3 cups italian bread crumbs
  • 2 cups fresh grated parmesan cheese (divided)
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 large ball of fresh mozerella (cut into 12 thin slices)
  • 8 cups Marinara Sauce (see recipe below)
  • 2 TB. fresh chopped basil
  1. Using a metal meat pounder, pound each chicken breasts so that the are about 1 inch thick.
  2. Marinate chicken: place all pounded chicken breasts in a large zip lock bag.  Add 2/3 cup olive oil, sliced garlic, oregano, basil and pepper.  Close zip lock bag and mix chicken around so it is coated with all the other ingredients.  Place in fridge for at least 2 hours and up to overnight.
  3. Remove chicken from fridge.  In a large shallow dish mix the 4 eggs with 1 TB. milk.  Whisk and set aside.  In a second shallow bowl place the breadcrumbs along with 1 cup of fresh grated parmesan cheese.
  4. Dip each chicken breasts one at a time first in the egg mixture letting excess drip off and then immediately placing it in dish of breadcrumbs and cheese.  Coat each piece of chicken generously with breadcrumb mixture.  Place each breaded piece of chicken on a platter and set aside.
  5. In the meantime place enough vegetable oil in a large frying pan to coat the entire bottom of pan.  Working in batches (probably 3 chicken breasts per batch) fry each chicken breasts until browned on each side.  About 2 to 3 minutes per side.  Continue with second batch and remove the chicken breasts from fry  pan and set aside on a platter.
  6. In a large baking dish or roasting pan place about 3 cups of marinara sauce so that it coats the bottom of the pan.  Place chicken breasts in a single layer covering the bottom of the pan.  Layer 3 more cups of marinara sauce over the top of the chicken breasts.  Cover pan with aluminum foil.
  7. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.  Place covered pan in oven and cook for about 30 minutes.
  8. Remove pan from oven and uncover.  Sprinkle each piece of chicken with some of the remaining parmesan cheese.  Place two thin slices of fresh mozerella cheese over each chicken breast.
  9. Return pan to oven uncovered - put oven temp. on broil.  Broil for about 3-5 minutes or just until cheese melts on top.
  10. Serve immediately with some chopped fresh basil as garnish.  Serve with my Orzo & Feta recipe (see below) along with a side of the remaining 2 cups of marinara.


* I always make a big batch of this sauce and freeze it in smaller containers so I have it readily available for recipes that call for marinara sauce (ex:  Chicken Parm.)

  • 2 TB. Butter
  • 1/2 c. olive oil
  • 10 garlic cloves chopped
  • 3 - 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes
  • 2- 14 oz. cans tomato sauce
  • 1 TB. chopped fresh oregano
  • 3-4 TB. chopped fresh basil (about 12 basil leaves)
  • salt, pepper and crushed red pepper flakes to taste
  • water

  1. Heat olive oil and butter in a heavy bottom sauce pan or pot.
  2. Add garlic and saute 3-5 minutes
  3. Add basil and oregano - cook 2 minutes
  4. Add crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, salt, pepper and red pepper to your liking and cook 5 minutes.
  5. Add about 1/2 cup to 1 cup water ( I usually do this by adding some water to empty tomato cans and swishing water around to get all the juice from the cans). Add this water to sauce in pot. Stir.
  6. Let sauce cook on medium for about half an hour.
  7. With a hand blender puree the tomato sauce until smooth.
  8. Cook for one more hour on low. Can cook for more, but an hour usually does the trick


*  You could easily make just a side of pasta and put some marinara sauce over it to serve with your chicken parmesan, but I have this thing where I don't like to serve items that need double sauce.  Meaning, if I am serving chicken parm with a red sauce, then I don't also want to serve a pasta with a red sauce.  I would prefer to make a pasta using different flavors and ingredients that compliement the other dish.  So...I came up with a simple orzo dish that uses crumbled feta, sauted green onions and a little bit of olive oil and seasoning.  This is  a perfect side to a Chicken Parmesan.
  • 1 lb. orzo pasta - cooked al'dente
  • 5 TB. olive oil (divided)
  • 6 green onions - chopped ( white and green parts)
  • 5 oz. crumbled feta
  • salt, fresh ground pepper, red pepper flakes and a dash of garlic to taste
  1. Once orzo has been cooked, drain it and rinse it well with hot water.  Place it back into the pot and mix it with 4 TB. olive oil so it does not stick together.
  2. In the meantime saute the green onions in the remaining 1 TB. of olive oil.
  3. Place the sauted green onions, crumbled feta and seasoning in the pot with the orzo.  Mix well.
  4. Place orzo in a serving bowl and serve immediately while nice and hot.

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