Thursday, August 8, 2013

Lemon Chicken Romano!

Somebody stop me! I am a cooking machine lately! I'm loving it! So much fun to have the time to experiment, and even more fun when I realize that I actually kinda know what I'm doing. ;) My latest recipe that I tried (from Pinterest, of course) was Lemon Chicken Romano. I made it last night and was pleasantly surprised with how great it turned out. My apartment smelled SO good when I was making it! I kept looking at the recipe and trying to decide if I thought it would turn out as flavorful as my mind thought it would, and fortunately for me, it sure did! I would highly recommend giving this recipe a chance. I had leftovers for lunch today and again for dinner tonight, and it was just as tasty! That's a good test for the recipes I make since I always have leftovers. Always good to find a keeper in that respect! Anyway, I figured I'd get a post done as usual in hopes that I can keep inspiring people!:) (Sorry if I'm annoying any of you with all my food posts lately. There have been lots of exciting things going on these days, but these recipes are the easiest for me to post at the moment, and I'll update you on other life happenings soon!) I hope you try this recipe. Totally worth it, and you best believe I will be making it again in the near future!

 The ingredients!
 I cut my chicken breast into 4 pieces as instructed. I don't have a meat mallet, but I tried to pound them out to an even size as much as possible (by using the bottom of a glass) to help ensure that they would cook evenly.
 Mix an egg with some flour.
 And in another container, mix all the stuff for the coating. (Panko bread crumbs, Romano cheese, oregano, lemon zest, garlic powder and pepper.) Looks cool, no?!
 Dip the chicken in the egg/flour mixture, then dip it in the coating mixture. It actually coated really well!
 Heat up the olive and vegetable oil.
 Throw in two of the chicken pieces and let them sit for about 2 minutes before flipping them over to do the same on the other side.
 Look at that golden goodness! I was so surprised with how good it looked! Also smelled AMAZING.
 Cook the other two pieces of chicken! (As you'll see in the below picture, the two pieces that were cooked in the second round got a little more done than the first batch. I noticed that when I cooked them and the oil was still hot, the little pieces of the breading that were left over from the first pieces started burning a bit in the pan. I even set off the smoke detector, ahhh! If you can, try to get some of those pieces out of there so they don't burn or stink up your house. Wasn't too big of an issue, but just a tip!)
 Put the chicken on a baking sheet...
 And sprinkle it with your other cheese mixture. Then throw it in the 350 degree oven for about 12 minutes.
Take it out of the oven and plate it up! Mmm, mmm, mmmmmm!

  • 2 (8 oz) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed, halved horizontally, and pounded to 1/2-inch thick (I didn't do it quite like this as I had one large chicken breast, but ending up with 4 pieces that are decently thin all around is ideal.)
  • 2 oz shredded Whole Milk Mozzarella cheese* (1/2 cup)
  • 2 oz shredded Provolone cheese* (1/2 cup)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1 1/2 oz finely shredded Romano cheese* (1/2 cup)
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano (I didn't have fresh oregano, so I just used the dried kind I have in my spice cabinet. I looked it up, and 1 Tbsp of fresh comes to about 1 tsp of dried. They are definitely not equal, because if you used 1 Tbsp of dried, it'd be way too overpowering!)
  • Zest of 1 lemon (2 tsp) (I have a zester, but this was my first time using it, and I found it a little tricky. I did get some of the zest, but I don't think I had quite this much. I was okay with that and don't think it made too much of a difference. I didn't want it to be overpowered with lemon either.)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Lemon slices or wedges for serving (you can just use the one that was zested) 
*I used various cheese I had on hand. For the mozzarella/provolone mixture, I actually used a bag that had a combination of mozzarella and parmesan in it (from Target) and combined it with a 3-cheddar blend I had. For the coating mixture that called for romano, I used more of the cheese from the mozzarella and parmesan combo. I thought these cheeses made for excellent flavor, so you could probably easily improvise with whatever you have on hand. I say that assuming all people have cheese on hand at all times. Maybe that's just me. ;) If you have to go out and buy some regardless, might as well get what the recipe calls for or get whatever flavor(s) appeal to you!

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sprinkle each side of the chicken cutlet lightly with salt (about 1/16 tsp per each side), let stand at room temperature 20 minutes. Combine Mozzarella and Provolone cheese in a bowl, set aside.
  • In a shallow dish, whisk together flour and egg until smooth.
  • In a separate shallow dish, toss together Panko bread crumbs, Romano cheese, oregano, lemon zest, garlic powder and 1/4 tsp pepper.
  • Pat chicken dry with paper towels. Working with 1 chicken cutlet at a time, dredge chicken in egg mixture coating both sides and allowing excess to run off, then immediately transfer to Romano mixture and coat both sides with mixture, while pressing gently to allow crumbs to adhere. Transfer chicken to a plate and repeat process with the remaining chicken cutlets.
  • Pour 2 1/2 Tbsp each of olive oil and vegetable oil into a 10-inch non-stick skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Once oil is hot, add 2 coated chicken cutlets and fry without moving them until bottom is crispy and golden brown, about 2 minutes, then using metal tongs rotate to opposite side and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes longer. Transfer fried chicken to a large plate lined with paper towels to drain. Repeat process with remaining 2 pieces of chicken. (As I mentioned above, try to get some of the little leftover coating pieces out of the pan because they might start to burn as you cook round two of the chicken. No need to make people think you're burning the house down;).
  • Place cutlets on rimmed baking sheet, sprinkle tops with Mozzarella cheese mixture and transfer to preheated oven to bake until internal temperature registers 165 degrees on an instant read thermometer, about 12 minutes. You can broil during the last 1 - 2 minutes if desired. (I ended up taking my two thinner pieces out of the oven a little sooner than the thicker pieces because the thicker pieces took a bit longer to cook all the way through. This underscores the importance of pounding them thin if you can.) 
  • Remove from oven and garnish with lemon slices or wedges, serve warm. Squeeze fresh lemon juice from lemon slices over chicken just before enjoying.

There ya have it! Enjoy! :)

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