Sunday, June 17, 2012

Chicken Cutlets

Chicken breasts, pounded until thin, are a great quick dinner. Saute them to golden-brown and serve with some homemade marinara sauce. Add some shredded mozzarella cheese and stick under the broiler for a minute to melt the cheese and you have a quick Chicken Parmesan.

No need to spend money on bread crumbs. When you have dry stale bread, make your own to save some money and avoid all the additives put in most commercial bread crumbs. And, bread crumbs freeze well. You can always have some parked in the freezer for chicken cutlets.

Chicken Cutlets
(serves 4, total cost $6.65)

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, about 1 pound
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 large egg
½ tablespoon water
¾ cup dry bread crumbs, plain or seasoned (see Note)
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2 Tablespoons good olive oil

Cut chicken breasts in half lengthwise. Pound each half until they are ¼” thick. You can use either a meat mallet or a rolling pin. Even a wine bottle will work in a pinch.

Combine the flour, salt, and pepper on a dinner plate. On a second plate, beat the egg with ½ tablespoon of water. On a third plate, combine the bread crumbs and grated Parmesan. Coat the chicken breasts on both sides with the flour mixture (shake off excess flour), then dip both sides into the egg mixture and dredge both sides in the bread-crumb mixture, pressing lightly.

Heat 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large saute pan and cook 2 chicken cutlets on medium-low heat for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until cooked through. Add more butter and oil and cook the rest of the chicken breasts. Serve with homemade tomato sauce like this one.

Note: You can make your own dry breadcrumbs by putting dry stale bread in a heavy-duty plastic bag and smashing the bread into little bits with a rolling pin or wine bottle (or use a food processor for finer crumbs). This is a great way to use stale bread and get out some pent-up aggression. Bread crumbs can be frozen so if you have some stale bread, make crumbs and save them for when you need them.

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