Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Italian Pan Fried Chicken with Parmesan Roasted Green Beans

Tonight my husband and I tried out some of my latest Pinterest finds for dinner. On the menu for the evening was an Italian seasoned pan fried chicken breast with a side of roasted green beans topped with Parmesan cheese.

I was drawn to this combination for a couple reasons. First of all, we typically try to bake most things that are usually fried. We decided to be wild tonight and went with the pan fry. This method results in a crispier texture, with a little extra crispy boost from the panko. Also, by pan frying you get the crunch, but use much less oil than traditional frying. Best of both worlds!

For the beans, I thought it would be a nice change. I LOVE roasting vegetables, but have never actually roasted green beans before. Since the texture of fresh green beans is somewhat similar to asparagus, I decided to roast the beans exactly how I roast asparagus, just with a little shorter cooking time since the beans aren't quite as thick. This dinner was quick and easy. We love cooking together so that made things go a little quicker. I prepped the beans while he prepped the chicken. So with the team effort, this meal came together in about 20 minutes.

Now, I wasn't overly precise in measuring anything tonight. That's the beauty of cooking! Here is the list of ingredients I used and the approximate amounts. Feel free to get crazy though and use your own combo of spices and quantities!

Italian Pan Fried Chicken with Parmesan Roasted Green Beans
(Serves 2-4)


Italian Pan Fried Chicken Breast
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, each cut in half and pounded to approximately 1/4" thickness
Enough panko bread crumbs to coat the chicken (I ended up using about half a can)
Dash of salt and pepper
~ 1 tsp garlic powder
~ 2 tbsp dried basil
~ 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
Handful of grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
Enough cooking oil to cook the chicken in

Place a large skillet on the stove with enough oil to cook the chicken in and turn the heat to medium high. While the oil is heating, prep the breading and chicken. You don't need so much oil that the chicken is submerged, just enough to cover the bottom of the pan. I used about 2-3 tbsp.

First we prepared the breading. You want this ready to go so you can just pound out the chicken, coat it with the breading and toss in the pan. We used a pie dish for the breading, but any shallow bowl big enough to hold the cutlets will do. In the pie dish we combined the panko bread crumbs, dried basil, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper. I also threw in a handful of grated Parmesan cheese, for good measure. We gave the breading a good mix to combine and set it aside.

We then took grabbed our two chicken breasts. Like I said before, I didn't get very precise with measuring so I'm not sure exactly how much chicken I used (by weight); just two normal-sized, boneless, skinless, chicken breasts. We cut each breast in half. You would do this sort of like how you would if you were going to butterfly the breast, only instead of stopping when you're almost through, you go ahead and cut all the way. That way you end up with two thinner pieces. We did this to each of the chicken breasts, resulting in 4 cutlets. We then pounded out each cutlet until they were nice and thin, about 1/4" thickness. This helps the cutlets to cook quickly and evenly.

Once the cutlets have been pounded, dredge them in the breading, making sure to really press the breading on and transfer to the hot pan. We were able to fit two cutlets in the pan at a time. Try to fit as many in the as you can, just remember that you don't want them touching. Once in the pan DON'T TOUCH them for about three minutes. Just let them sizzle away. After three minutes, give them a flip and let the other side cook for about three more minutes. When these guys are done cooking, transfer them to a separate plate and get the others fried up. Depending on how hot your burner is, the cooking time may vary. As long as your chicken is cooked all the way through, you're good. You may want to cut one in half to make sure it's cooked in the middle.

Parmesan Roasted Green Beans
3/4 lb green beans
Dash of salt and pepper
~ 1 tsp garlic powder
Couple shakes of cayenne
Parmesan Cheese (however much you want!!!)
~ 1 tbsp oil

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. You can get these going before the chicken, that way they finish at approximately the same time. Begin with prepping the beans. I usually chop of the tips of both ends, but I don't think you have to do that - really just need to chop the end with the stem. It's just habit of mine (who am I kidding - I'm a little OCD when it comes to uniformity of my veggies!). Once all the beans are chopped, give them a good rinse. I then transferred them to a medium sized bowl. I poured a little bit of oil and tossed to coat. Once the beans were coated evenly, I threw in all the seasonings. I used garlic, salt, pepper, and a little cayenne. You can pretty much use whatever you want though. Once again, I tossed to make sure the seasoning was evenly distributed. When everything appeared to be combined to my liking, I spread the beans out on a cooking sheet (I laid my silpat down first for easy clean up). At this point, I sprinkled the beans with the Parmesan cheese. However, I think in the future I'll let the beans cook up and then sprinkle with cheese during the last minute or two. This is personal preference.

When the oven is ready, slide the beans in and cook for about 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, my beans had softened, but were not incredibly soft - does that help at all? HAHA! If you want them a little mushier (yuck! I need some crisp left), cook for about 5 more minutes. If you decided you want to add the cheese at the end, I would add it when there is about 2 minutes of cooking time left. Now, because my oven sucks, I typically rotate whatever I'm cooking halfway through the process, just so everything cooks evenly. Know your oven people!

Kitchen Notes:
The recipe that I used as my inspiration indicated that 2 cutlets would equal a serving size. I'm not sure if my chicken was a big guy or what, but I think that one cutlet with the side dish was plenty. My husband ate two cutlets though. I'd say this meal would feed 2-4 people, depending on how hungry the crowd is and how big/small the chicken breasts are. We (and by "we" I mean "I") ate all the beans, but I love me some beans! Like I said, all in all this meal took about 20 minutes from start to finish. That's my kind of weeknight meal!! I hope you enjoy!

Inspired by: My favorite asparagus recipe and For the Love of Cooking for the beans and Bell'alimento for the chicken breast.

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