Barefoot Bloggers: Parmesan Chicken

Another Thursday installment of the Barefoot Bloggers, and this Thursday features Ina Garten’s Parmesan Chicken, a wonderful selection from Megan of My Baking Adventures. Chicken pounded thin, coated in a traditional breading of flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs/Parmesan, and then sauteed in a combination of olive oil and butter – this is a classic dish that Ina has managed to perfect. Served over a bed of greens, this is a wonderfully satisfying meal.

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Lighter Chicken Parmesan

Not too long ago, after I fell in love with Cook’s Illustrated magazine, I began recording the America’s Test Kitchen show on PBS. I have really enjoyed watching many of the recipes being made, picking up some tips and tricks along the way. An episode that I saved from a couple of months ago featured a lightened up chicken parmesan recipe. The key to this recipe is that the breaded chicken is not fried, but rather the panko breadcrumbs are toasted first, and then the breaded chicken is baked at a high temperature in the oven.

Big thumbs up from both of us. This had tons of flavor, and the combination of toasted breadcrumbs and parmesan was tasty enough that Nick and I both kept eating spoonfuls of it before the chicken got prepped. Next time I would probably do more smothering with the sauce and cheese, but this will definitely go into our regular rotation.

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Chicken Fajita Enchiladas

While on vacation we had dinner at a Latin restaurant, and it got me craving Mexican since we haven’t made it a lot recently at home. I have seen enchiladas popping up on a number of blogs recently, and have never had them, so I decided to make them for dinner Friday night. We absolutely loved these – they (and any other variations I can think of) will be going into the “regular rotation”.

How to make the enchiladas and recipes after the break.

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Chicken and Dumplings


I have only had chicken and dumplings once in my twenty-something years of existence. However, I do remember that I loved them. I have been seeing some of these dishes pop up on a number of blogs that I frequent, as well as on some cooking websites. The only problem was that I didn’t *love* any of the recipes. I liked parts of one, some parts of another, and so as a result I just never made any of them! This is where I run into problems, as I am a big recipe follower. Perhaps it’s the baker in me. Bakers NEED to follow recipes, or bad things happen. While this is not so in cooking, I still treat it as such. I am always leery to stray from a recipe, in fear of what might happen. Nick has been helping me cook more through intuition and feel (he’s so good at this!) than always by a recipe. So I channeled my inner Nick for dinner and decided to just create my own recipe for chicken and dumplings (cut to bright lights and angels singing). I must say that I think it turned out fabulous! Nick really liked it as well; it felt warm and hearty, just like a good bowl of comfort food should. If you try this recipe, I hope that you enjoy it as much as we did!

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Chicken Spinach Parmesan

Nick was reading his latest issue of Men’s Health when he came across this recipe and asked me to make it one night. It seemed like an easy enough recipe with ingredients we always have on hand, so when we were trying to decide what to have tonight I figured this would easy to whip up. This was a very easy meal to make and incredibly tasty. I used sauce that I had in the freezer and served the meal over whole wheat penne pasta. A great healthy alternative to traditional chicken parmesan!

The adaptation below includes changes I made to amounts because the Men’s Health recipe was only for a serving of one. (Usually I will eat one chicken breast and Nick eats two.)

Chicken Spinach Parmesan
(Adapted from: Men’s Health, September 2007 Issue)

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 boneless, skinless chicken breast cutlets
1/4 cup Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup marinara sauce
1 clove garlic, crushed or minced
1 6-oz. bag baby spinach

1) Heat olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat.

2) Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper and dredge in breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese, pressing lightly so the crumbs stick.

3) Saute garlic in the olive oil until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the chicken to the pan and cook 2-3 minutes per side, until browned.

4) Top chicken with warmed marinara sauce. Add spinach to the pan a little at a time, turning with tongs, until wilted (about 6 minutes).

Parmesan Chicken & Rice

This is a nice light version of the typical Italian dish, risotto. Nick and I are both big fans of the creamy rice concoction, but we treat ourselves to it only on special occasions because it can be pretty heavy. I came across this lighter adaptation on Cooking Light and only made a couple of slight modifications on the original recipe.

There are no leftovers to speak of, so you know it was a hit! This was also a great clean-up meal since you only need to use one pot! I served this with a side salad – it was a very filling meal!

Parmesan Chicken and Rice (adapted from Cooking Light)

1 T. olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
8 oz. sliced mushrooms
3/4 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup uncooked instant rice (in my pantry was Uncle Ben’s Fast & Healthy Brown Rice)
1.5 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup (2 oz.) grated fresh parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, thyme and mushrooms; saute 5 minutes or until onion is tender.

2. Add chicken; saute 4 minutes or until the chicken is lightly browned.

3. Add wine, salt, and pepper; cook 3 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates.

4. Stir in rice and broth. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer until liquid is absorbed. Stir in cheese and parsley.

**Note: The original recipe only called for 1 cup of chicken broth but I had to add an additional 1/2 cup because the rice was not yet cooked after cooking through the first cup of broth.

Chicken Salad

This is a delayed Mother’s Day weekend post 🙂 When I had my mom and sister over on Saturday for lunch, I made my mom’s favorite lunch – chicken salad. I didn’t follow a recipe but just threw together what I thought sounded good. My mom loved it, and Nick actually asked for another big batch so he could eat it throughout the week! I served these on croissants – you could do any type of roll, or even lettuce cups.

**Note – I didn’t put any nuts in this salad because I’m allergic, but I think cashews or walnuts would be great!

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