Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Quick Weeknight Dinner: Oven-crisp Parmesan Chicken with Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower


My intentions always start out strong: every morning, I think about what I'll make for dinner (because my mind just works like that). Sometimes the plan will be elaborate, sometimes it'll be simple (like a frozen Kashi pizza). But by the end of the work day, after the commute home, sometimes the last thing I want to do is cook. So I have built up a stable of quick and healthy recipes that taste like they took a little while for days just like that... which happened to be today. Which is how I came to make Oven-crisp Parmesan Chicken with Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower. I like this dish because:
  • You can do some prepping in advance
  • You can prep pretty quickly
  • You can cook the chicken and the veggies together
  • Oven time is 30 minutes total
  • It's delish!!
Ingredients:
  • Chicken breasts (one per person)
  • Buttermilk, about 1/2 cup
  • Bread crumbs, about 1/3 cup
  • 1/4 t. paprika
  • 2 T. Parmesan
  • 1/2 head fresh cauliflower
  • 1-2 bunches broccoli
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
Directions:
(optional prep work: as early as the night before, you can marinate the chicken breasts in the buttermilk in a zip-top bag, or in a covered baking dish. You can also chop the broccoli and cauliflower)
  1. Arrange two racks in your oven so that one is about a third of the way down and the second is a third of the way up. You want to be able to cook the chicken and veggies at the same time. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. If you've not pre-marinated the chicken breasts, place them in a shallow baking dish, or a pie plate, and pour the buttermilk over them. Let them soak a couple of minutes.
  3. In another shallow dish, combine the bread crumbs, paprika, and Parmesan cheese. Place this dish directly next to the dish with the chicken.
  4. While the chicken marinates, cut the broccoli and cauliflower into bite-sized pieces and place them in a roasting pan or a 13x9 baking dish coated in cooking spray. Drizzle the vegetables with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, then toss the vegetables. Place in the oven on the lower rack.
  5. Working with one breast at a time, using tongs or a fork, lift the chicken from the buttermilk and let the excess drip off. Place the chicken into the breadcrumb mixture, then turn to coat the other side. Place the chicken breast in a baking dish coated in cooking spray, preferably one with a rack. Now do the rest! Spritz the chicken breasts with cooking spray before putting the baking dish on the upper rack of the oven. The spray will help the crust crisp up as it bakes.
  6. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. While the chicken is cooking, every 10 minutes or so, stir the vegetables around. Watch to ensure they're not burning or sticking to their baking dish - if they are then take them out of the oven.
  7. Everything should be done after 30 minutes... remove from the oven and enjoy!
  8. While this is all cooking, why not nuke a sweet potato? It will add some color to your meal, give you some awesome beta carotene and some fiber. It should only take about 6 minutes - poke a medium sweet potato all over with a fork and wrap it in a damp paper towel. Turn it over about three minutes through and shazam! You have a yummy sweet potato.
Nutrition information for the chicken: Per serving (4 oz. each serving): 159 calories, 7 g carbs, 3 g fat, 30 g protein, 1 g fiber

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