Sunday, October 10, 2010

Dinner- check, Dishes- check, Tea on the couch- check check check

I have a very simple approach to my cooking.  Whether its for guests, or just for us...basic is best.  That's not to say that I don't bring out the big guns on Holidays or special occasions.  I just think that if things get to complicated, its not enjoyable... and if it's not enjoyable, whats the point?  I don't, however, have a weekly schedule of dinners.  What I do have, is a few standbys that I go back to time and time again, always with a little tweaking and improvisation.  One of these standbys is chicken cutlets.  Chicken is fundamental, but can be morphed into some incredible dishes.  I use thin sliced chicken cutlets for the majority of my chicken meals, because its quicker cooking, a more appropriate serving for the rugrats, and breaded cutlets can be used in a TON of stuff.  Here is my ranch and Parmesan chicken cutlet recipe.  You can add or subtract spices and flavorings as you see fit.  The outcome will always be delicious and easy. 



What you need:
  • 1 package chicken cutlets (you can buy them that way, or pound chicken breast)
  • 1 package powdered ranch dressing mix (1/3 cup if you buy it in bulk like I do)
  • 1 1/2 cup PLAIN breadcrumbs ( I always have plain and Italian style in my pantry)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese ( I buy a chunk and grate my own, it has soooo much more flavor and pre-grated!!)
  • 2 eggs
  • olive oil (or vegetable oil)



What you do:
Heat on medium, enough oil to thoroughly coat the bottom of your pan ( I always pan fry in cast iron, but that's your choice)




In a shallow dish, I use pie plates, mix the ranch dressing mix, bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese.  In another dish, lightly beat the eggs. 


I make my own breadcrumbs.  Uses old bread and saves me $$$

Dip the cutlets in the egg, then lightly dredge in the bread crumb mixture, cover both sides completely ** if you use one hand only for the egg, and the other only for the dry ingredients, you'll minimize the junk that can build up on your fingers** Then add only a few cutlets at a time to the pan.



Cook for about 3-4 minutes, than turn.  The second side should cook 3-4 minutes too.  Since you might have to cook these in batches, your second and subsequent batches may be a little more browned that your first, that's because of the smudge left behind in the oil, so don't fret!  The result is crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside and has a ton of flavor.  They are perfect the next day for sandwiches, and are even good eaten cold!


A plate of goodness!


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