Quick Chicken Parmesan

By Susie Middleton   |   Thursday, November 24, 2011
1 Comments   1 comments.

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butternut squash stew


Chicken Parmesan doesn’t have to take hours to make. In fact, we're going to show you how to make a quick version that tastes just as good as the original!

These crisp chicken cutlets are topped with two cheeses and a super-fast tomato sauce in this easy take on an Italian restaurant favorite.

Serves: 4

Nonstick cooking spray
2-1/4 oz. (1/2 cup) unbleached all-purpose flour
Freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs
1-1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
4 thin-sliced boneless, skinless chicken breast cutlets (about 14 oz.)
Kosher salt
5 Tbs. olive oil
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (use the small holes on a box grater)
4 oz. fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 medium cloves garlic, finely chopped
One 14.5-oz. can crushed tomatoes (preferably Muir Glen fire-roasted crushed tomatoes)
1/4 cup packed fresh basil, chopped (1/2 oz.)

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 425°F. Line a large rimmedbaking sheet with foil and lightly coat the foil with nonstick cooking spray.

Mix the flour and 1/4 tsp. pepper in a wide, shallow dish. In a second wide, shallow dish, lightly beat the eggs with 1 Tbs. water. Put the panko in a third wide, shallow dish. Season the chicken with salt and coat each piece in the flour, tapping off the excess, then the egg, and then the panko, pressing the panko to help it adhere.

Heat 2 Tbs. of the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Working in two batches, cook the chicken, flipping once, until the crumbs are golden and the chicken is almost cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes per side, adding 2 Tbs. more oil for the second batch. Transfer the chicken to the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle the chicken with the Parmigiano and then top evenly with the mozzarella. Bake until the cheese is melted and the chicken is cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes.

Meanwhile, wipe the skillet clean and set over medium heat. Pour in the remaining 1 Tbs. oil and then add the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until the onion is tender and lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and 1/4 tsp. salt. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the basil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve the sauce over the chicken.

Nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 480; Fat (g): 28; Fat Calories (kcal): 250; Saturated Fat (g): 8; Protein (g): 33; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 16; Carbohydrates (g): 24; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 3; Sodium (mg): 610; Cholesterol (mg): 160; Fiber (g): 3.

susie middleton

Susie Middleton is editor at large for Fine Cooking magazine.

Hot and Spicy Wings
By Ming Tsai

Monday, March 28, 2011
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sliced irish soda bread

I grew up dipping my dim sum in a simple yet potent mixture of soy sauce, vinegar, and sambal. Since then I've varied the original as I've found new ingredients and today I'm updating it with a tribute to our melting pot: a blend of Tamari, a mellow Japanese soy sauce, and good ol' American hot pepper sauce in today's recipe: my Hot and Spicy Wings. My spin on the classic New York Buffalo wings that could single-handedly melt all that lake-effect snow. Let's get cooking!

Serves 4

2 pounds chicken wings, brined*, rinsed, patted dry
1/4 cup tamari (wheat-free naturally brewed soy sauce)
3 tablespoons Tabasco or other spicy/tart hot sauce
4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
Celery sticks, for garnish
Ranch dressing and blue cheese combined for dipping sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Canola oil for frying

Prepare a tall stock pot filled half way with canola oil. Using a thermometer, bring oil to 375 degrees and add brined, dried wings slowly so oil doesn't bubble over. Fry wings until golden, brown and delicious, about 15-20 minutes. You may have to fry the wings in batches to maintain temperature. Meanwhile, in a large, stainless steel bowl, combine the tamari, Tabasco and butter together and whisk smooth. When wings are golden, brown and delicious, add to bowl and toss with sauce. Serve ASAP with celery sticks and Ranch-blue cheese dipping sauce.

*Brine: Make a sweet seawater solution by combining 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup kosher salt to 1 quart water; multiply as necessary to fully submerge wings in a large container. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Rinse wings well under running water, drain and pat dry.

Drink notes
Grove Mill Pinot Gris
—Marlborough, New Zealand
Taste: Round, mouth-filling and smooth
Aroma: Rich and full, recalling sweet apricot jam
—Great as an aperitif or with a wide range of foods, from blue cheese to duck. A nice pairing with both the Tofu Stir-Fry and the Hot and Spicy Wings.

—Winemaker is David Pearce, who is widely regarded as one of the country's most innovative enologists. Respect for nature is fundamental at this winery - for instance, they've instituted a program to protect and rehabilitate the wetlands surrounding the vineyard.

—100% Pinot Gris

Michelob Ultra : A low carb beer, which might seem like an oxymoron, but I love the clean flavor. It goes great with the spicy, salty wings.


ming tsai thumbnail holding limeChef Ming Tsai is a local restaurateur and host of Simply Ming.

Soft Chicken Tacos with the Works

By Susie Middleton   |   Friday, May 18, 2012
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spicy red beans

These tacos are the perfect destination for leftover chicken. Set up a taco bar and let your family assemble their own tacos with their favorite fillings and toppings. You can find chipotles en adobo in the Mexican food section of the grocery store.

Serves 4-6


2 large ripe avocados, pitted
2 limes, 1 juiced and 1 cut into wedges
1-1/2 tsp. kosher salt; more as needed
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper; more as needed
2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, finely diced
1 tsp. chili powder
Scant 1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 14-1/2oz. can petite-diced tomatoes, drained
1 medium chipotle chile, finely diced, plus 1 to 2 Tbs. adobo sauce (from a can of chipotles en adobo)
2-1/2 to 3 cups leftover roast chicken, shredded or cut into thin strips
12 small corn tortillas, warmed
6 oz. queso fresco or feta, crumbled (1-1/3 cups)
3 cups thinly sliced red cabbage (about 6 oz.)
2/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves, washed and patted dry


Mash the avocados with the lime juice in a medium bowl. Season with about 1 tsp. of the salt and the pepper, or to taste.

Set a large, heavy-based skillet over medium heat. Add the oil and onion, sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 tsp. salt, and cook, stirring, until softened and translucent, about 6 minutes. Add the chili powder and cinnamon and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, chipotle, and adobo sauce and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes, mashing the tomatoes with a wooden spoon. Stir in the chicken, cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook until the chicken heats through, about 10 minutes. Taste, and season with salt and pepper if needed.

Let diners assemble their own tacos by spreading the warm tortillas with the avocado and then topping with the chicken, cheese, cabbage, cilantro, and a squeeze of juice from the lime wedges.

Serving suggestions

Serve with Jícama, Avocado, Radish & Orange Salad with Cilantro.

Nutrition information (per serving):

Size : based on six servings; Calories (kcal): 510; Fat (g): 28; Fat Calories (kcal): 250; Saturated Fat (g): 7; Protein (g): 29; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 15; Carbohydrates (g): 40; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 4.5; Sodium (mg): 1010; Cholesterol (mg): 75; Fiber (g): 9;

Susie Middleton is editor at large for Fine Cooking magazine.

Classic Fried Chicken

Friday, April 6, 2012
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spicy red beans

Not only is it cheaper to buy a whole chicken than one sold in parts, but you can also use the neck, giblets, and back to make a gravy for the fried chicken.

Serves four to five. Yields about 1-3/4 cups gravy.


For the gravy (optional)

1 tsp. vegetable oil
Neck, giblets (exluding liver), and back from a 3-lb. chicken, chopped into 2-inch pieces
1 small yellow onion, quartered
Kosher salt
3 Tbs. reserved chicken frying oil (or 3 Tbs. vegetable oil)
3 Tbs. all-purpose flour
1-1/2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
1 tsp. lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper


For the fried chicken

1-1/2 cups buttermilk
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 whole small (3- to 3-1/4-lb.) chicken, cut into 10 pieces
9 oz. (2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 Tbs. sweet paprika
2 to 3 cups vegetable oil



Make the batter

In a large bowl, mix the buttermilk with 2 tsp. sea salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Add the chicken and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 and up to 24 hours, turning occasionally.

Make the Broth for the Gravy (optional)

Heat the oil in a large (4-quart) saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the chicken parts and onion and cook, stirring often, until the chicken parts lose their raw color, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken parts release juices, about 20 minutes. Add 1 quart of water and 1/2 tsp. salt. Increase the heat to medium high, bring to boil, and then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Simmer until the broth is flavorful, about 20 minutes. Strain the broth into a 1-quart glass measuring cup. (You will need 1-1/2 cups for the gravy; reserve remaining broth for another use.) Set aside.

Fry the chicken

When you’re ready to fry the chicken, put the flour, paprika, 2 tsp. sea salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper in a large doubled brown paper bag, and shake to combine. Working in 2 batches, drop the chicken pieces into the flour mixture, fold the top of the bag closed, and shake to coat completely. Arrange the coated chicken on a large wire rack set over a large rimmed baking sheet. Discard the remaining flour mixture.

Pour enough oil into a deep heavy-duty 12-inch skillet (preferably cast iron) to reach a depth of 1/2 inch. Heat the oil over medium-high heat until a deep fat/candy thermometer clipped to the side of the skillet without touching the bottom registers 350°F.

Carefully arrange the chicken skin side down in the hot oil—it’s fine if the pan is very crowded. The temperature will drop to about 300°F. Partially cover the skillet with a lid or a baking sheet, leaving the thermometer visible, and fry until golden-brown, about 5 minutes, adjusting the heat as needed to maintain 300°F to 325°F. If necessary, move the pieces around for even browning. Turn the chicken over and fry, uncovered, until browned all over and an instant-read thermometer registers 165°F when inserted into the thickest part of each piece, 5 to 7 minutes more.

Meanwhile, wash and dry the wire rack and baking sheet and set the rack over the sheet near the skillet. Using tongs, transfer the chicken to the rack to drain briefly. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Make the Gravy (optional)

Strain the hot oil from frying the chicken into a heat-safe container. Pour 3 Tbs. of the oil back into the same skillet and set it over medium-high heat. Whisk in the flour and cook, whisking constantly, until the flour mixture is golden-brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in the 1-1/2 cups broth and the thyme and bring to a simmer. Continue to simmer, stirring often, until thickened, 2 to 3 minutes more. Add the lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately with the fried chicken.

Nutrition information (per serving):

Calories (kcal): 350; Fat (g): 19; Fat Calories (kcal): 170; Saturated Fat (g): 5; Protein (g): 36; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 8; Carbohydrates (g): 5; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 4.5; Sodium (mg): 390; Cholesterol (mg): 140; Fiber (g): 0;

Susie Middleton is editor at large for Fine Cooking magazine.

Roast Chicken with Rosemary-Lemon Salt

By Susie Middleton   |   Friday, March 30, 2012
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spicy red beans

For a very flavorful roast chicken, I like to liven up plain old kosher salt by mixing it with some fresh rosemary and lemon zest. Pulsing it in the food processor helps release the flavorful oils from the zest and the rosemary. This recipe is for two chickens, which will give you leftover meat to use in salads, wraps, or this quick stir-fry. One whole chicken serves four for dinner; the second yields enough to make two additional meals.

One whole chicken serves four for dinner; the second yields enough to make two additional meals.


2 medium lemons
2 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. kosher salt
2 Tbs. chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 4-lb. chickens, giblets and excess fat discarded
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

Tip: Salting seasons the bird, of course, but if you can do it a day, or even a few hours, ahead, you'll get more flavorful meat and crisper skin.


Finely grate the zest from the lemons. In a food processor or mini chopper, combine the zest with the 2 Tbs. salt, the rosemary, and black pepper. Pulse several times to combine.

Sprinle each chicken with this salt mixture both inside and outside the cavity and between the skin and the breast meat (use your fingers to gently open up a pocket between the two). Cut 1 of the lemons in half and stuff a half in the cavity of each bird. Reserve the remaining lemon for another use. Set the chickens on a wire rack atop a rimmed baking sheet, and refrigerate uncovered for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours.

About 30 minutes before you're ready to roast the chickens, set an oven rack in the middle position and heat the oven to 425°F. Take the chickens out of the refrigerator and brush the butter uniformly over the skin. Sprinkle each chicken with 1/2 tsp. salt. Set each chicken, breast side up, on 1 or 2 racks (preferably a nonadjustable V-rack) in a large roasting pan. Let the chickens rest at room temperature while the oven heats.

Roast the chickens until the breasts are nicely browned and crisp, about 40 minutes. Gently flip each chicken (I like using tongs to clutch the inside ofthe cavity and the side of the bird) and roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165°F to 170°F, about 20 minutes more. Let rest for 5 minutes before carving one of the chickens into pieces.

Nutrition information (per serving):

Size : based on eight servings; Calories (kcal): 570; Fat (g): 35; Fat Calories (kcal): 310; Saturated Fat (g): 12; Protein (g): 59; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 13; Carbohydrates (g): 0; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 7; Sodium (mg): 1160; Cholesterol (mg): 205; Fiber (g): 0;
Susie Middleton is editor at large for Fine Cooking magazine.

Pretzel-crusted chicken breasts with mustard-dill dipping sauce

By Susie Middleton   |   Friday, March 16, 2012
0 Comments   0 comments.

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Roasted Shrimp with Rosemary and Thyme

Ground pretzels not only make a great crunchy-salty coating for chicken, they also make this dish a family-friendly favorite you'll get plenty of requests for.

Serves: 4


1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
1/4 cup plus 1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
3 cups pretzels (not low-sodium)
3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 1-1/2 lb.)
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh dill
1 tsp. honey
1/2 cup vegetable oil


Put the flour in a wide, shallow bowl. In another wide, shallow bowl, lightly beat the eggs and 1 Tbs. of the mustard. Process the pretzels in a food processor until a coarse flour forms, about 30 seconds. Transfer the pretzel flour to a third wide, shallow bowl. Line up the flour, egg, and pretzel bowls in that order.

Put the chicken on a cutting board, and holding your knife parallel to the board, split each breast in half horizontally. Sprinkle both sides of the chicken lightly with pepper. Dredge both sides of the chicken in the flour, then the egg, and then the pretzel flour, coating well and shaking off the excess. Transfer to a baking sheet and refrigerate for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix the remaining 1/4 cup mustard with the mayonnaise, dill, honey, and 1/8 tsp. black pepper; set aside.

Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot but not smoking, add three of the chicken breast pieces. Cook until the first side is dark brown, about 2 minutes. Carefully flip and cook until the chicken is cooked through and the second side is golden-brown, about 2 minutes more; if the chicken seems to be browning too fast, reduce the heat to medium. Transfer to a clean cutting board and cover to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining chicken.

Slice the chicken on the diagonal. Divide the slices among four dinner plates and serve with the dipping sauce.

Serving suggestions:

Serve with tangy Sweet-Sour Red Cabbage.

Nutrition information (per serving):

Calories (kcal): 810; Fat (g): 50; Fat Calories (kcal): 440; Saturated Fat (g): 8; Protein (g): 43; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 17; Carbohydrates (g): 47; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 22; Sodium (mg): 1210; Cholesterol (mg): 210; Fiber (g): 2;

Susie Middleton is editor at large for Fine Cooking magazine.

About the Author
Susie Middleton Susie Middleton
Susie Middleton is editor at large for Fine Cooking magazine and the author of veggie cookbooks Fast, Fresh & Green and The Fresh & Green Table.

Follow her on Twitter at @sixburnersue


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