Well tonight was the celebration dinner for my boyfriend’s birthday. Last year I made him a chicken parmesan, pasta and caesar salad dinner. He liked it so much that he made me promise to make it for his birthday every year… which I agreed to. So his birthday rolled around this year and it was time to make the dinner again. I decided to up the ante this year and make even the pasta sauce from scratch. Then to cap the night off I made a triple berry crumble. Here is what I did:
Chicken Parmesan (original recipe from Simply Recipes)
- 1/2 large yellow onion
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 medium garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes (we use Muir-Glen)
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 3 chicken breast cutlets
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup breadcrumbs (use plain)
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 Tbsp dried oregano
- mozzarella cheese, sliced (enough to top the chicken with)
1 Prepare the sauce. Finely chop the onion. Heat olive oil in a saucepan on medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add the minced garlic. Cook until fragrant, about a minute more. Add the tomatoes and oregano. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to maintain the simmer. Cook, uncovered while you prepare the chicken (about 10-12 minutes).
2 Preheat oven to 400°F. With a meat pounder (or heavy bottomed skillet which I have done in the past), pound the chicken pieces to flatten them to an even thickness – between 1/4 – 1/2 inch.
3 In a shallow bowl (large enough to dredge the cutlets), mix together the breadcrumbs, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan, and oregano. In separate shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs.
4 Heat 1/4 cup of olive oil in a large sauté pan on medium-high heat. The oil should be shimmering, not smoking. Dredge the chicken pieces 1 piece at a time first in the egg mixture, then in the breadcrumbs. Then lay the pieces in the hot sauté pan. Turn the heat to medium, then gently fry the cutlets until they are golden brown, about 3-4 minutes per side.
5 Spread enough tomato sauce to coat the bottom of a casserole pan or baking dish (that will fit however many chicken breast you have easily). Once the cutlets are browned on both sides, arrange them on top of the tomato sauce in the baking dish. spoon some more sauce over each of the cutlets. Sprinkle the tops with sliced basil. Then top the cutlets with slices of mozzarella and the remaining 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese.
6 Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until the mozzarella begins to brown.
Serve with pasta using the remaining sauce for the pasta (or not if you are like me and can’t eat pasta because gluten is evil) and caesar salad. I like renees caesar dressing and made about 5 slices of bacon cooked extra crispy to mix in with the salad and croutons.
Andre finished his meal pretty quickly and even had a little bit more of my chicken since they were huge servings. For reference, he NEVER stuffs himself. He is one of those lucky people who just eats until he’s comfortably full and then stops (god I wish I could do that so easily!). But both this year and last he finished off the huge portion I gave him AND still had dessert.
For dessert I used this recipe which I have used before with much success for…
Triple Berry Crumble (makes enough for a 9×9 dish)
- 1/2 pint each of fresh (you can use frozen if you need to but the crumble will be way less liquidy and much more stable if you use fresh) raspberries and blackberries
- 1 pint fresh strawberries chopped to approx. same size as the other berries (you could also use blueberries I just didn’t have any)
- 2 tbsp. pure maple syrup
- 1 c. spelt flour (or other flour of choice such as gluten-free, coconut, almond meal, or plain whole wheat flour)
- 1 c. large flake oats (GF if needed)
- 3/4 c. brown sugar
- 3/4 c. butter (softened slightly, but still hard)
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
- In a large bowl, gently toss together blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, and maple syrup
- In a separate large bowl, combine flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
- Cut in butter until crumbly – if you don’t know how to do this here is a tutorial. It can be done with a pastry cutter which makes life easy, except i couldn’t find mine today so I just used a knife and occasionally my fingers to break up stubborn clumps.
- Press half of mixture in the bottom of a 9×9 inch pan and cover with berries, then sprinkle remaining crumble mixture over the berries.
- Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until fruit is bubbly and topping is golden brown (I once forgot about this for an hour and a half, so 50 additional minutes in the oven and it still tasted fantastic, it’s seriously indestructible as long as you use fresh fruit).
I love serving this with a good quality vanilla bean ice cream, but some heavy cream or some greek yogurt would be great too.