Wednesday, June 19, 2013

... I found Food Heaven!

Have you ever had one of those days where you are tired from the very second you wake up to the very second you go to bed later that night... even after a perfectly rested night?

Usually on these kinds of days, I finally "wake up" sometime circa early to late afternoon and am ready to seize the rest of the day!.... But well, not today :(

Thinking a super early bedtime is in order tonight... Just call me Grandma! ;)

Nonetheless, the one part of my day I'm jazzed to share is this heavenly, gorgeous, delicious, yummy, oozing with varying flavors and textures dinner I made for Alex and I..

PLUS... It can be easily made with regular chicken if veggie chicken makes your stomach turn... Like I've said before, it's not for everyone!

My Slice of Heaven Veggie Chicken Parmesan

The Starring Roles:

Marinara sauce (store-bought or homemade)
2 Quorn Chik'n Cutlets
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

I happened to have store bought marinara sauce on hand I needed to use up. Perfect timing and FTW!

These are found in the freezer section of most major grocery stores as well as local shops (usually in the "organic" section of a major grocery store that have them, not the frozen section. 

That being said, I take them out the freezer about 10 minutes before cooking to let them thaw a bit and then lightly drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and salt and pepper. 

In a oven safe medium sized skillet, heat to medium and add 1 Tablespoon butter/margarine and 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil and add Chik'n Cutlets to sautee and cover so it steams the inside of the cutlets. 

Flip when they're brown on the first side...

Remove cutlets from skillet, even if not fully cooked through if you're using regular Chicken Cutlets cause' they will cook in the sauce further...

Remove the pan from the heat for a couple minutes to let cool down, lower heat to low and add enough Marinara sauce to coat the bottom of your pan plus a little extra so it doesn't dry up, plus a teaspoon of dried basil and 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese and once Marinara sauce begins to bubble a bit, add the Chik'n cutlets back into the pan and cover.

Meanwhile, in another small pan, bring water to a boil and salt before adding a pasta of your choice.  Traditionally, it's served with spaghetti or angel hair pasta, but Alex has an unusual hatred of long, thin pasta so I went with Penne!

Why yes, that is regular and whole wheat Penne in a jar.... (Houston: I think we have a pasta problem.....)

Cook until al dente, stirring occassionally... Enjoying our retro stove (circia 1800's????) Note to self... Keep saving $$$ to replace ASAP...

Back to the Chik'n cutlets... After covering, let simmer for about 8-10 minutes and then turn the cutlets around, cover again and continue cooking for another 5 minutes. 

Good hint a la Iowa Girl Eats, place balled mozzarella in freezer for 10-15 minutes to make it easier to slice. Cut enough mozzarella slices to cover the Chik'n cutlet and then put it under the broiler to melt and brown into oozy, cheesy goodness :)

Now don't forget those babies on the sidelines...


Break off the ends of fresh asparagus and toss in 2 Tablespoons olive oil, salt, pepper and 1 teaspoon garlic powder and cook for about approximately 12 minutes at 425 degrees until cooked but still has a nice crunch (this my first time to FINALLY not overcook them! My stove and I have a love/hate relationship)

Serve the Chik'n cutlets with melted mozzarella and some extra sauce on top of the cooked pasta and add some asparagus to the side and you have the most DE-LISH dinner eva!

Full of flavor and very healthful if you're worried about your summer wasitline (you can always bypass the pasta if you want something low carb and it'd still be just as yum!).

 I wish I had made extra to take for the lunch the following day, but I guess that's for next time!

Chik'n Parmesan 
Serves 2

For the Chicken:
2 Quorn Chik'n cutlets, slightly thawed 
1 1/2 cups - 2 cups marinara sauce
4 oz. Penne (or any smaller pasta)
Extra Virgin olive oil
Salt & Pepper
1 teaspoon Dried Basil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese + a little extra to top

For the asparagus:
1 bundle fresh asparagus, bend until hard ends break off
2-3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt & Pepper
1-2 teaspoons garlic powder

1. Thaw 2 Chik'n cutlets for about 10 minutes.  Heat 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil in an oven safe skillet over medium heat.  Brush Chik'n cutlets with 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil or spray with olive oil non-stick cooking spray and season cutlets with salt and pepper. Add to skillet and cook for about 8-10 minutes or until first side gets browned. Flip and cook for an additional 5-8 minutes or until other side browns and then remove from skillet. 
2. Remove skillet from stove and place aside to let cool a 3-5 minutes.  Put back on burner on low heat and enough marinara sauce to coat the bottom and then some extra.  After 5-10 minutes when marinara begins to bubble, add dried basil and Parmesan cheese and stir until cheese has melted and add the Chik'n cutlets back into the skillet and cover. 
3. While Chik'n is simmering in the sauce, bring water to a boil in another pot and salt before adding your choice of pasta.  Cook until al dente (usually 8-10 minutes for pastas such as penne, rigatoni, etc.), then drain. 
4. While pasta is cooking, flip Chik'n cutlets in sauce after several minutes and cover again and let simmer further for another 5-10 minutes (will vary on the thickness of the cutlet and if you're using real chicken).  
5. While second side is cooking, slice enough mozzarella to cover both cutlets.  Remove cover from skillet and cover cutlets with mozzarella slices, let begin to melt from heat of the pan.  Turn off stove and place skillet under broiler for 3-5 minutes to let cheese melt and get perfectly golden.  
6. Remove from broiler, serve Chik'n cutlets with extra sauce on top of cooked pasta and serve immediately and while still warm.


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