Sunday, March 6, 2011

Stay in date night

Only a week late...

I celebrated the end of my week off (and the weekend before vegan week) by making a delicious date night dinner for myself and Tim - chicken parmesan with homemade pasta and sauce, served with a fresh storebought loaf of Italian bread (scroll to the bottom for recipes).

My mom gave me my great-grandmother's old rolling pin as a late Christmas gift, along with one of the very few pictures of us together before she died. This is my very favorite kind of gift! Sentimental, useful, and inexpensive! I pulled it out for the first time to help with pasta rolling.

This was my first attempt at using the pasta press and cutter attachments that I bought myself for my Kitchenaid mixer, and it was awesome - my mixer did all but a minute or two of the kneading (and my boy helped with that!), and the pasta turned out great.
pasta dough

Not-yet-boiled noodles drying

I made a centerpiece

Unibroue's Quelque Chose. I normally LOVE Unibroue beers, but this one tasted just like cherry cough syrup. It went down the drain :(
You can see my excitement! And my inability to hold the plate still.

I am so gosh darn lady-like.

dessert: a Cadbury egg, my favorite.

Chicken Parmesan
recipe adapted from Zoom Yummy

1/3 to 1/2 of a medium yellow onion
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 garlic cloves, minced or finely chopped
1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning blend, divided
1 teaspoon white sugar
salt and pepper, to taste
4 chicken breasts (look for the thin filets, or pound regular breasts to about 1/2 inch thickness)
2 eggs
1/2 cup breadcrumbs (storebought, or made in the food processor with day old white bread)
3/4 cup grated parmesan
3 tablespoons olive oil
a handful of fresh basil
a block of mozzarella (you'll need 2 to 4 ounces) - I used low fat, but it didn't melt as well as regular

  1. Grate the onion in a cheese grater. This gets a little tricky by the end, so finely chop whatever you can't grate without grating your fingers, too.
  2. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and the garlic. Heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions begin to turn golden.
  3. Add the can of tomatoes, including the juice, and 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, sugar, and salt/pepper to taste. Lower the heat and keep at a simmer for about 20 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 400° F.
  5. Beat the eggs in a shallow bowl. In another shallow bowl, mix together the remaining 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, the breadcrumbs, and 1/2 cup parmesan.
  6. Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons oil in a skillet over medium-high. Dip the chicken, one piece at a time, in the egg, then the breadcrumb-parmesan, and place in the oil. Repeat with remaining chicken breasts.
  7. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes per side, until golden brown.
  8. In an oven-proof baking dish, spread about 1/2 cup of tomato sauce on the bottom. Place the chicken on top, top with another 1/4 to 1/2 cup sauce and chopped basil.
  9. Grate or slice the mozzarella into flat strips and lay on top of the chicken, then top with the remaining 1/4 cup parmesan.
  10. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the cheese gets slightly brown and the chicken is cooked through. Serve with pasta and remaining sauce.


  1. As always, your food looks delicious. I genuinely wish I was more inclined to cook. That gift from your mom is really sweet. :)

  2. Maybe force yourself to do it from time to time and see if you end up enjoying it? But if you don't, it's not worth it. Yes, I loved the rolling pin. She also gave me recipe cards with relatives' (grandmothers, great grandmothers) handwriting, and some of my grandmother's old cookie cutters!