Since this is sort of a photo diary of two of my new favorite recipes (that are definitely in my rotation), I’ll save you from my usual rambling to make this more of a visual experience! Before leaving, please scroll down to check out the visual tutorials! I’ll talk food later!
Still, I’d like to leave you with some of my thoughts since my last post…
This came from a stroll through Boston’s North End and enlightenment in the form of the best cappuccino after a slice of life:
I’ve found for me, anyways, that when you feel lost or when things are up in the air, that there comes a point when you have to make a decision to just make a decision, to make a plan, whether or not it’s perfect. Sometimes you realize that enough is enough. When something in your life has become too much, it gives you the opportunity to decide to put yourself first and to listen to what your body and/or mind is literally telling you. It’s okay to stand up for what you believe is right, for what you deserve. This is not asking too much. Unfortunately, some things are out of our control and even if the best is finding middle ground, just go with it, especially when you can’t find a real reason not to. Just fight today’s battle, not tomorrow’s war. Be strong, believe in yourself, be confident, be healthy, be happy, breathe, live, do what you love, embrace positivity (and eat delicious food!)
Also, before we sit down for this virtual meal, I’d like to leave you with this inspirational quote:
“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger
Menu & Recipe Links
Spaghetti & Meatballs – The Pioneer Woman – Lauren’s Gouda stuffed version!
Cait’s Chicken Parmigiana
A childhood memory, wooden spoons in the sauce can, I find myself doing the same ;)
My dad’s favorite pasta shape, fusilli, lunghi:
A pretty good slice: Hershey’s cream pie – frozen food section of the grocery store :@)
Lauren’s Pick – Gouda Stuffed Meatballs & Spaghetti
My adorable cat (my baby) Sniper, sipping iced water during dinner and playing with his favorite toy, a bottle cap
Let’s hop on the Green Line Train, go to the North End, just to get a cappuccino & pastries! It’s that easy :@)
But first, if you want delicious fresh pasta, Depasquale’s is great:
Here, I recently discovered my absolute favorite & new obsession, Radiatori shaped pasta!
Some great shots by Lauren! :@)
Recipes & Special Directions
Cait’s Chicken Parmigiana
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1/2 white onion
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 inch vegetable oil for frying
- 1 – 28 oz can San Marzano Peeled Tomatoes
- 6 chicken breasts, pounded thin
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups Italian season breadcrumbs
- salt and freshly ground pepper for seasoning
- 1/4 cup freshly grated pecorino romano plus extra for topping
- quarter pinch red pepper flakes
- fresh mozzarella, sliced
- Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a medium saucepan. When hot, add onion, let cook.
- Add finely chopped garlic, careful not to burn.
- Pour in Peeled Tomatoes. With a potato masher, mash the tomatoes (for a slightly chunky sauce)
- Add red pepper flakes, salt and pepper, check for seasoning, cooking the sauce over medium heat.
- Before boiling, simmer the sauce, adding in pecorino romano
- While sauce is simmering, rinse and dry chicken breasts, place in a large ziploc bag and pound thin.
- Season the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides.
- Whisk eggs in a shallow bowl and set aside with bread crumbs.
- Dip the chicken in the egg and then in the breadcrumbs, repeat, dipping it back in the egg and breadcrumbs for a double coating.
- Heat vegetable oil in a cast iron pan or heavy skillet to approx. 350 degrees F
- Fry chicken 2 minutes per side.
- In a large baking dish, line first with about 1/4 of the sauce
- Place chicken on top of the sauce and pour the rest of the sauce on top.
- Top with sliced mozzarella and grated pecorino romano
- Bake in 350 degree F oven for 20 minutes
- Switch to broil for 3 minutes to further melt and brown the mozzarella (husband’s technique)
- Click the link above, following her recipe
- We substituted 3/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs with 3/4 cup (1/2 Italian seasoned breadcrumbs + 1/2 panko)
- We stuffed each meatball with a cube of Gouda
- My family. I’ve had tomato sauce every Sunday, since I could eat. Sunday dinner was a time that we all sat down to eat a big, home cooked meal, talked and caught up. I’ve always loved that tradition and I hope to continue it with my kids someday (am I considering children now? What is happening to me?! I blame the post-marriage hormones, although I am happy with my cat for now!)
- My mom and dad make delicious sauce. I’ve been spoiled. They usually use red wine (probably less garlic than I use!) and simmer the sauce all morning/afternoon. I wanted to make a quick sauce, but with flavor. Following from memory, some of the steps my parents use in making their sauce, starting with good, Berrio olive oil and ending with (what I never realized, it’s like a secret ingredient) grated cheese! A variety of grated cheeses, parmesan, romano, etc. I love this tip. The cheese makes the sauce decadently delicious, smooth and salty!
Inspiration behind double breading:
- My Dad’s recipe – he told me that he usually double dips them because he ends up using too many eggs and doesn’t want to waste them, sounds like me! I’m always wasting eggs, now I know where I get it from.
- Chicken Parmesan tutorial video – The Hot Plate – She double breads! Check out Amanda’s awesome tutorials!
- Lauren’s City Table Restaurant week experience, she had these delicious Gouda stuffed meatballs and for her pick, she wanted to try to recreate them. I loved the idea! This post is all about recreating the food you love!
- Besides Pioneer Woman’s base recipe, she consulted Spaghetti with Stuffed Meatballs – Williams – Sonoma
- I loved that she mixed in panko breadcrumbs with the traditional Italian seasoned breadcrumbs, she thought it would add more texture, great idea, Lauren, love it!!
Review the Dish
These two dishes are incredible. I’ve said enough already! Give these recipes or even just some of these techniques a try, even with your own sauce, you don’t have to use mine! They are worth the effort. Let me know what you think!