Slow Cooker Sunday: Chicken Parmesan

Normally when I make Chicken Parmesan it’s because I have leftover breaded cutlets from the night before. I don’t know why, but, it just never crosses my mind to make Chicken Parmesan the same day I am frying up the breaded cutlets. Maybe it’s so I can have something different the following night… leftovers are good but they are even better when you can spruce them up into something different. For today’s Slow Cooker Sunday I am bringing you Chicken Parmesan that’s lacking the breading but definitely healthier without it and also because there’s no frying involved and you get some veggies in the mix – mushrooms and onions.

To begin I placed the mushrooms and onions in the bottom of my slow cooker.

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Next, I placed chicken breasts that I lightly browned on both sides over the vegetables.

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Following that I poured a jar of pasta sauce over the chicken. You can use your favorite pasta sauce; I used my favorite Francesco Rinaldi Three Cheese Sauce. I then sprinkled dried basil and oregano over it and placed a bay leaf in as well.

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After cooking it on low for about 7 hours I removed the cover and sprinkled it with parmesan and mozzarella cheeses and left it uncovered for about 15 minutes, until the cheeses were melted.

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Meanwhile I cooked spaghetti which I served with the chicken.

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Overall this was a nice alternative to the traditional chicken parmesan and definitely one that I will make again.

 

Chicken Parmesan

Ingredients:

8 ounces mushrooms, sliced

1 medium yellow onion, cut into thin wedges

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 to 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 jar (24 – 26 oz.) pasta sauce

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1 bay leaf

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Hot cooked spaghetti

 

Directions:

Place the mushrooms and cuts onions in the bottom of a 3 1/2 to 4 quart slow cooker.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and lightly brown the chicken on both sides. Place the chicken on top of the mushrooms and onions. Pour the pasta over the chicken, add the bay leaf and sprinkle the basil and oregano over the sauce. Cover and cook on low 6 to 7 hours or on high 3 to 4 hours.

Uncover, remove the bay leaf and sprinkle with the cheeses and leave uncovered on low for an additional 15 to 30 minutes, until the cheeses have melted. Serve over spaghetti.

From the book Crock Pot: The Original Slow Cooker Best Loved Slow Cooker Recipes

Tiramisu

Tiramisu is one of my favorite desserts and I have tried making it quite a few times in the past and have always been unsuccessful. I think it was partly because I hadn’t honed in on my baking skills and whenever I would go to buy ladyfingers I could never find them. In case you were wondering, ladyfingers are an egg-based biscuit roughly shaped like a large finger. Well, this time I had the ladyfingers on hand after coming across them at the supermarket on sale and buying them in anticipation of making this dessert. I was determined to master this favorite dessert of time and not to toot my horn, but, I think it’s one of the best desserts I have ever made.

Before assembling the tiramisu I had some prep work to do. I began by whisking egg yolks and sugar in a saucepan until they were well blended. I then added in whole milk and cooked the mixture over medium heat until it began to boil. After removing it from the heat I let the mixture cool slightly and then covered and refrigerated it for an hour. After removing it from the refrigerator I blended in mascarpone cheese until it was smooth. In another bowl I beat whipped cream and vanilla extract until stiff peaks formed. And in a third bowl I combined room temperature coffee with Kahlua.

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Using an 8 x 11 inch dish I made the first layer of the tiramisu and then topped it with another. After arranging ladyfingers that I soaked in the coffee and Kahlua mixture I topped it with the mascarpone mixture…

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Then the whipped cream mixture…

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And finally dusted the top with unsweetened cocoa powder. I then covered it and refrigerated it overnight.

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And then the next day it was time to enjoy it and enjoy it I did! It was incredibly light and the ladyfingers while crisp beforehand absorbed the coffee/Kahlua perfectly as well as the mascarpone mixture that was directly spread on top of them. I have finally mastered one of my favorite desserts and will definitely be making it again sooner rather than later.

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Tiramisu

Ingredients:

6 egg yolks

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2/3 cup whole milk

1 1/4 cups heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 pound mascarpone cheese

1 cup strong brewed coffee, at room temperature

1/4 cup Kahlua

2 (3 ounce) packages ladyfinger cookies (24 cookies)

unsweetened cocoa powder, for dusting

 

Directions:

In a medium saucepan whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until well combined. Whisk in the milk and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture begins to boil. Boil for one minute then remove from the heat and cool slightly. Cover tightly and chill in the refrigerator for one hour. For best results transfer to a Tupperware with a tight fitted lid.

In a medium bowl combine the heavy cream and vanilla extract and beat until stiff peaks form.

After one hour remove the egg mixture from the refrigerator and beat in the mascarpone until the mixture is smooth.

In a small bowl, one large enough to lay the ladyfingers in, combine the coffee and Kahlua. Dip the ladyfingers in the mixture for a few seconds and then arrange them in an 8 x 11 inch dish. Spread half of the mascarpone mixture over the ladyfingers and then half of the whipped cream over that. Repeat the layers with the remaining lady fingers, mascarpone mixture and whipped cream. Dust the top of the cocoa powder then cover with a sheet of parchment paper and then aluminum foil and refrigerate overnight.

 

Recipe slightly modified from Allrecipes

Chicken Parm Pizzas

Aaaahhh pizza. What is there not to like about it? I have been a pizza lover since a very young age. I can remember quite a few times when I was younger (I am talking under the age of 10) when I didn’t want to eat whatever my mom cooked for dinner so then dinner for me would be a slice of pizza. When I got to college, pizza was one of the tastiest (and safest) things to eat in the cafeteria. Thankfully they switched it up every day with Hawaiian pizza, pepperoni pizza, white pizza, focaccia pizza and so forth. So, what if you combined pizza – one Italian classic – with another classic, Chicken Parmesan? Well, you would get Chicken Parm Pizzas. And no, it’s not just a breaded chicken cutlet shaped into a circle. The key to this classic combo mash-up is using ground chicken to get that perfectly round pie.

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To begin I mixed a pound of ground chicken with Italian herb blend, salt, garlic and onion powders. I divided the mixture in half and then pressed it into two 8-inch cake plans that I lined with plastic wrap. Following that I covered the two pans with plastic wrap and placed them in the freezer for 4 hours.

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Before removing the ground chicken from the freezer I preheated the oven to 400 F and assembled the three separate coatings I would need for the chicken: Wondra Flour, 3 eggs lightly beaten and a breadcrumb – cheese mixture.

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The frozen chicken…

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Which I then coated in the flour, then in the eggs and finally in the breadcrumb – cheese mixture and then placed on a baking sheet.

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I then heated olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and cooked the chicken rounds until they were golden. After draining them on paper towels I transferred them to a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet.

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And then it was time for them to become “pizza.” I topped them with marinara sauce and sprinkled them with mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.

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I cooked them on the wire rack set inside the baking sheet for about 15 minutes, until the cheese was melted and the chicken was fully cooked through.

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While Chicken Parmesan is customarily served with pasta I opted to serve these pizza versions with steamed broccoli.

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Overall, these were quite tasty, but, I didn’t find them to be better than your typical Chicken Parmesan that definitely doesn’t require as much time or work. It’s definitely a nice twist on two classics though. One thing though, if I do make them again I will reduce the salt content in the seasoning for the ground chicken from a teaspoon to 1/2 teaspoon (or even a 1/4) since I did find them to be a bit salty.

 

Chicken Parm Pizzas

Ingredients:

1 1/4 lbs. ground chicken

1 1/2 teaspoon Italian herb blend

3/4 teaspoon garlic powder

3/4 teaspoon onion powder

3 eggs

1/4 cup Wondra flour

1 cup seasoned Italian breadcrumbs

1/2 cup panko

4 tablespoons grated Parmesan*

4 tablespoons grated pecorino*

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 cup shredded mozzarella

1/2 cup marinara sauce

*I didn’t have pecorino so I opted to use 8 tablespoons of Parmesan

 Directions:

1. Line 2 eight-inch cake pans with plastic wrap. In a medium bowl, mix the chicken, 1 tsp. herb blend, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. each garlic and onion powders. Divide chicken mixture and press into the prepared pans. Cover with plastic wrap. Freeze 4 hours.

2. Preheat the oven to 400 F. In a shallow bowl, beat the eggs. Place the flour on a large plate. On another plate, combine the breadcrumbs, panko, 2 tbsp. Parmesan, 2 tbsp. pecorino, and the remaining Italian herb blend and garlic and onion powders. Unwrap the chicken; remove from the pans. Coat the chicken in the flour, then the egg, then the breadcrumb mixture. Transfer to a baking sheet.

3. Set a rack inside a rimmed baking sheet. In a skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high. Cook 1 chicken round, turning once, until golden, about 4 minutes. Transfer the patty to paper towels. Repeat with the second chicken round. Transfer both to the rack.

4. Combine the remaining cheeses. Spread the marinara on the chicken, leaving a 1-inch border; sprinkle with the cheese mixture. Bake until the chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes.