Today I'm sharing with you what is hands down my family's favorite meal.
Crusted Chicken Romano
I had something similar at The Cheesecake Factory a few years ago and really enjoyed it. In trying to replicate it I came up with this recipe and it has become our favorite meal. I make it about once a month and it's requested for any special occasions like birthdays, Valentine's Day, etc.
Here's what you'll need:
- Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast (learn how to get it for .99/lb HERE)
- 2 eggs
- grated Parmesan & Romano cheese (about 3/4 cup)
- Italian style bread crumbs (about 1 cup)
- garlic salt (2 tsp, separated)
- olive oil and salt & pepper (I realized too late that I left these out of the picture)
- pasta of your choice (we prefer linguine, fettucini, or spaghetti)
You're going to start by slicing the breasts in half lengthwise so that you end up with two thin breast pieces.
Then you're going to pound them out even thinner. I like to place them two at a time into a gallon sized Ziplock. It keeps the mess contained and they don't slide around and get away from you like they do if you place them between two pieces of plastic wrap. For some reason I don't have a meat tenderizing hammer, so I just pound them with a rolling pin to flatten them out.
You want them pretty thin, but not so thin that they're tearing apart.
If I know I'm going to be strapped for time I try to have this done the day before to save myself the extra step.
Now let me just say here that the frying process for these is very quick, so if you're making pasta as a side dish you're going to want to go ahead and start heating the water for that before you start on the breading process, and let that boil while you work on the rest of it. I've made the mistake of waiting too long into it to start the pasta, and then I end up waiting and waiting for it while the chicken is getting cold.
Once you get them all pounded out you'll want to season them well with salt and pepper so that the meat has flavor underneath the crust.
Next you're going to mix up the 1 cup of the bread crumbs, 3/4 cup of the grated cheeses, and the teaspoon of garlic salt. Make sure it's blended really well.
Mix up the eggs and some milk for the breading process.
Then you'll dip the chicken in the breading, patting/pressing it on so that it adheres well.
Dip the chicken into the egg mixture making sure it's well coated, and allow the excess to drip off. Just like with the Southern Fried Chicken recipe, excess moist coating will cause the 2nd layer of breading to slip off.
After the egg mixture, you'll place your chicken back into the bread crumbs for a 2nd coating, pressing and patting it on. Repeat this process for all your chicken pieces.
Once you're about half way through the breading process, you can start to heat your skillet. You'll want a medium heat. I use setting number 4 on my stove with my cast iron skillet. You need it to be hot enough to sear the coating, but not so hot that it turns them black before they're cooked.
I like to let my skillet get nice and hot and then add the olive oil right before I start frying. I add just enough to cover the bottom of the skillet. Olive oil heats very quickly so you can add the chicken almost immediately after pouring it into the skillet.
(By this time your pasta should be boiling away.)
Carefully lay your chicken into the sizzling oil.
Now, these are very thin and they will only take 1.5 - 2 minutes on each side of frying time.
Turn them when they're a nice crispy golden brown. And same as the fried chicken, in between batches you can keep them hot and crispy by loosely covering with foil and placing in a warm oven (about 200 degrees)...unless you're baking garlic bread to go with it. Then you'll just want to cover them with foil and leave on your counter.
Also in between batches you may want to use several paper towels and carefully wipe out the old olive oil and add a fresh layer of oil to fry in.
4 chicken breasts cut in half will give you a nice big platter of 8 servings.
(That's my homemade bread rising in the background there...but that will be for another post.)
Your pasta should finish up about the same time as your chicken. After you drain it, add some olive oil to it and the other teaspoon of garlic salt (or to taste if that's too strong for you). I also like to add a bit of dried basil to it for an additional flavor, and extra color and interest.
Pair this dish with a salad, Quick and Easy Garlic Bread or yummy garlic knots, and you've got a full course meal your family will love.
If you try this recipe out I sure hope you'll come back and let me know how it turned out and what you thought of it. I know my family cleans their plates and asks for seconds every time I make it.
It never gets old. : )