Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Avocado chicken parmigiana

I'm totally digging this seasonal eating thing!  One of my goals for 2013 has been to eat more seasonal produce and challenge myself to enjoy ingredients in new and creative ways.

It's not that I didn't eat fresh fruits and vegetables when they were in season, it's just that I didn't gravitate toward them when planning meals and doing weekly shopping.  It's been an eye-opening experience in so many good ways.  Would you believe that produce not only costs less but tastes better at the peak of its growing season?  Gasp!  How convenient :)

Plus, trying things outside of my comfort zone has introduced me to so many amazing foods -- items that I couldn't imagine living without now.  Like asparagus.  And tomatillos.  And, ohmygosh, kale!  Be still my fluttering heart.

Avocados aren't necessarily new to me, but I love 'em just as much.  Those gorgeous colors!  And that creamy, buttery texture and taste.  I could (and have) eat them totally plain.  But I have managed to restrain myself and enjoy them in other ways beyond delicious yet standard guacamole: mashed atop toast, on salads, in tacos and wraps, with scrambled eggs, and in a grilled cheese sandwich!

It seems like the sky is the limit when it comes to the ways an avocado can be devoured and enjoyed, but I think this one is going to blow you away: avocado chicken parmigiana!


Your socks = officially knocked off.

All the delicious staples of the classic Italian dish of chicken parmigiana -- tender chicken, seasoned bread crumbs, sweet marinara, and gooey mozzarella cheese -- kicked up with a layer of buttery ripe avocado slices!

When I first thought of this, there was a little hesitation.  "Could this really work?" I wondered.  But my growling stomach overpowered my brain and squashed any doubts I had.  As I always say, the stomach is a muscle, too, so you better give it a good workout!

If only all my workouts tasted this good.  Mm mm mmm!  Chicken parm has always been one of my favorite Italian dishes, but this may have trumped the traditional kind for my new preparation of choice.  So good!

I can't say enough good things about it.  So, I'll say no more and let you fill in the blanks.

Okay, one more thing: make this now!  'Kay, thanks, bye.

One year ago: Sour cherry streusel coffee cake
Two years ago: Coconut cream pie

Avocado Chicken Parmigiana
(an original recipe!)
-serves 2

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 Tablespoon of water
1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
Nonstick cooking spray or olive oil for drizzling
1/4 cup marinara sauce
1 avocado, halved, pitted, and sliced
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Italian seasoning

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper and set aside.

Create a breading station with three shallow bowls; place flour in one bowl, egg wash in second, and bread crumbs in third.   Coat one piece of chicken in flour and shake off excess.  Dip it in egg mixture, allowing excess to drip off, and coat in bread crumbs, pressing to adhere.  Place on prepared baking sheet.  Repeat with second chicken breast.

Drizzle olive oil on top of each chicken breast (or mist with olive or canola oil spray).  Bake for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and spread 1-2 Tablespoons of marinara sauce on top of each chicken breast.  Arrange avocado slices, distributing evenly between two pieces, over sauce and sprinkle with cheese.  Top with a dash of Italian seasoning.  Return to oven for another 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.  Serve with a salad or, perhaps, atop a bed of cooked pasta.  Enjoy!

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