The Lighter Side

Many say they know how to do it, few actually know how to really make it happen. In the kitchen and otherwise, there are imposters running amok.  Nothing will wreak more havoc on an Italian woman’s soul than trickery extending to the kitchen. In American households, this treachery is everywhere and is very evident when many attempt the classic Italian American Chicken Parmigiana dish.

For the love of all things holy, please do not simply fry a chicken cutlet, pour on jarred sauce (which is hereby banned from your kitchen), and scatter some processed cheese ( full of fillers like wax), heat it up, and invite me over. It destroys every fiber of my being, well most anyway. While bikini season is basically over, I plan on hitting the shore this weekend, so me and my mini me made a light version to ensure I can fit into the tiny dress Id like to sport, if I feel like shaving my legs..we shall see.

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We used organic, farm raised, (no cage) chicken, and home-made breadcrumbs (simple! please do not use breadcrumbs that have a 3 year shelf life, some simple dried wheat crumbs, dried herbs, and spices are easy to put together..store them in the freezer in small ziploc bags), some fresh tomatoes, bright peppers, mozzarella, romana and fontina cheese. Light on the cheese, this is a light dish after all:)

All done...YUM!
All done…YUM!

I do not brown the chicken, I simply flour and bread it and put 5 cutlets (tenderized)  in the oven at 400, while I make my garnish of yellow peppers and tomatoes. We simply cook down 5-7 vine ripened tomatoes, olive oil, sea salt,  6-8 small yellow and orange sweet peppers ( I buy the organic bag of small peppers weekly and snack on them all week),  a cup of fresh spinach, with three cloves of garlic, 5-7 basil leaves in a dish next to the chicken in the oven for about ten minutes until they soften. You can also fire roast the peppers if you want.

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Mini me was busy making her school lunch skewers while I slaved away at our dinner, but she is always in the kitchen at my side! 🙂

Since this “garnish” is not truly a sauce, I usually add about one cup of fresh marinara that I  store in the  freezer (simple as well) just to keep the juices going. Once the chicken is done, and the peppers have softened, we add the mixture on top of the chicken. In a small bowl, we put 1/4 fontina, mozzarella, 2 tb olive oil, 3 basil leaves, sea salt, pepper, Romano, 1/4 ricotta salata and spread the mixture on top of the chicken. I reduce the heat to 300 and bake it for another 5-7 minutes. Easy, simple, light.

The spinach and pepper mixture brings out some bright flavors and is brimming with vitamins, antioxidants and cancer fighting agents. Phylicia (mini me) needs her pasta fix, and since I had none fresh and we were in a hurry, I used a dry garden variety. The colors were incredible, and  although they advertise a list of nutrients, you are far better off getting nutrient from actual fresh food rather than dried versions. Your body does not properly store or absorb much else. But, we used it anyway and were pleasantly surprised.  As you can see, mini me had her own agenda this week:)

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