Pillbox

Le Melon: chicken parmesan is simple and fun

Chicken parmesan may look gourmet, but is deceptively easy and cost-effective to prepare for college students. Chicken parmesan may look gourmet, but is deceptively easy and cost-effective to prepare for college students.

For weeks and weeks, I’ve been heavily catering (pun intended) toward those who love to go out to eat and indulge, and I’ve been unforgivingly neglecting to acknowledge a very important part of the food loving world: the cooks. I’m not just talking about those who make homemade pasta from scratch and those who own more than five different types of knives and know how to use all of them, but I’m also talking to the average college student who has more instant ramen in their cabinets than forks and who sometimes wakes up with the glorious ambition of whipping up some solid toast with a nice spread of peanut butter to top it off. There’s a clear contrast between the different sorts of homebodies who take preparing their food into their own hands, but I think the one thing that unites them — and the restaurant goers — all together, is a word that most college students know all too well: budget.

I’ve found, both from my own experience and from speaking to my peers, that one of the biggest problems that the average college student faces is feeding themselves well, and getting both enough to eat, and wholesome things to eat, on a college student’s budget.

As an avid Buzzfeed user, I often come across list such as “25 foods that every college should master” and “30 foods you should learn to cook in your 30s,” which personally intrigue me, but also really make me consider what I as a college student find most appealing and what would actually be feasible for me to make on an average weekday or maybe for a nice weekend dinner. So, what I’ve decided to do this week is recommend a recipe that I’ve found online (and tried myself) for my wonderful readers to take a crack at for themselves. I’ve gone ahead and picked a low budget, low effort, and sophisticated-looking recipe just for you, and I highly recommend you give this one a shot when you’ve got the time. Chicken Parmesan: Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as just throwing some parmesan on some chicken, but if you’ve got an oven, the work you have to do is pretty minimal.

Serves: 2

Ingredients:
- 2 frozen chicken breasts (thawed in advance)
- 3⁄4 cup flour, 2 large eggs, 2 cups breadcrumbs
- about a 26 oz. jar’s worth of spaghetti sauce
- shredded mozzarella (8 oz. should be good)
- 3⁄4 cup grated parmesan
- salt and pepper to taste
- spaghetti (optional)

Materials:
- 2 shallow dishes (make sure you’ve got enough space to dip your chicken breast)
- a bowl
- wax paper and a 13” baking pan or a well-greased non-stick 13” baking pan
- a pot (if you’re planning to make the spaghetti)

Prep:

Preheat your oven to 375oF. Make sure your chicken breasts are thawed and pound them so that they’re around an inch thick at most. If you’re using wax-paper while baking, lay it out on your baking pan ready to go. If you’re using a non-stick pan, grease it down with some butter, oil, or non-stick spray.

1) In the shallow dish, combine the flour, 1⁄2 tsp salt and 1⁄4 tsp pepper.
2) Break both of your eggs into a bowl along with 2 tbsp water and beat together.
3) Spread your breadcrumbs out evenly into the other shallow dish (tip: if you can’t find breadcrumbs, you can make your own by drying out some bread slices in the oven at around 300oF and then popping them into the food processor). This is a good place to mix in any other dry spices you might want to add to your dish such as oregano.
4) Lightly coat the chicken breast in the flour by laying it down in the dish, flipping it over, and then shaking off the excess. From here, dip it into the egg mixture, and allow excess to drain, and then coat in breadcrumbs as you did with the flour. Press on the breast gently in the breadcrumbs to make sure they stick.
5) Place breast onto baking pan (on wax paper or non-stick surface) and repeat with other breast. If you want to double coat the chicken with breadcrumbs, do so at this point.
6) Bake the chicken breasts in the oven for around 30 minutes. (This is a good time to cook the spaghetti, while you’re waiting.)
7) Pour spaghetti sauce over each breast and sprinkle mozzarella and parmesan over the tops. Pop the tray back in the oven for another 10-15 minutes or until the chicken isn’t pink anymore.
8) Take everything out and serve over the spaghetti.

Difficulty level: 2/5

Till next time, I hope you enjoy giving this astonishingly simple rendition of a modern classic a go. Additionally, if you have any suggestions for restaurants you’d like reviewed or recipes you’d like featured, please send me an

email at: aatal@thetartan.org