Ah, the 30-minute meal. Just because you need something quick and easy to make, it doesn’t mean you have to reach for the mac ‘n cheese box. Although having Cheerios for dinner every once in awhile doesn’t hurt anyone, right?
Chicken Parmesan has become a standard around our house, but not just because it’s a cinch to make. Along with having a short ingredient list (made up of mostly things you should have on hand), this dish tastes like it took hours to prepare.
Want to know the secret? Keeping it simple. The dish combines butter, Parmesan cheese, black pepper, garlic and chicken – that’s it. You batter the chicken with the Parmesan to create a crust. Unlike traditional Parmesan chicken, there’s no need to dip the chicken three times: in flour, then egg, then bread crumbs mixed with Parmesan. And no need to fry the chicken either; a little broiling at the end makes for a crispy finish. Instead, you can dip the chicken right into the cheese, then just pour the butter over the top. The chicken is oven-ready in less than 10 minutes.
While the chicken is cooking, I prepare pasta noodles and heat up a marinara sauce to serve alongside. OK, I’m going to have an infomercial moment now, but here goes – wait, there’s more! I can usually turn this one meal into two. With the leftover chicken, I make Italian subs the next day. On a hoagie roll, I add thin sliced Parmesan chicken, then ham or pepperoni (or skip the additional meat altogether), then tomato, shredded lettuce and add a little mayo to the bun. I often sprinkle either dried oregano or basil onto the mayo and even add a few drops of red wine vinegar to give the sandwich a little zing.
So one 30-minute meal can actually give you two days worth of bring-the-family-around-the-kitchen-table-worthy dinners. Maybe this does deserve the infomercial treatment!