Chicken Parmesan

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Chicken Parmesan is an “I love you” meal that I’ve only made a small handful of times, and only ever for my Main Taste Tester. In the very early stages of our relationship, when lots of wining and dining was going on, I noticed that he often ordered it when we went out to eat. Soon after my realization, I wanted to try making it for him myself and invited him over to my apartment one evening for a surprise supper of Chicken Parmesan. My first attempt turned out really well and I feel like once the guy knew I could cook, and I knew that he loved to be cooked for, that sort of sealed the deal for us. The way to my man’s heart is definitely through his stomach.

I’ve written some gushy posts about some of the most important people in my life before and I’ve certainly told you a lot about my Main Taste Tester. However, I haven’t really dedicated a post to him although he definitely deserves one.

We first met in mid-October almost three years ago. I had just gotten out of a relationship a few months earlier and was absolutely not even thinking about dating anyone. My good friend Amber invited me to a party at her friend Zack’s house and I agreed to come along. The group was small and the get together was in the garage. Very low key. After we had been hanging out for a while, Amber suggested that we go in the house to see if Zack’s brother Tommy was home and say hello. I shrugged my shoulders and followed her in. I had to pee anyway.

When we walked in the back door, there was a guy standing at the fridge. When he heard us come in, he turned around, totally caught off guard as Amber introduced the two of us. I instantly knew that he was kind. He had the warmest brown eyes, a huge, open smile and a hearty laugh. I also noticed that he was handsome and he wasn’t 20 years old, like every other guy in the garage. Interesting.

As the evening progressed we began to talk and after a while he offered me a tour of the house. As we walked around, I noticed a book on one of his bookshelves. First of all, I was impressed by his book collection; he was intelligent and I liked that. When I commented that I had wanted to read that particular book, he said casually but nervously all at the same time, “Tell you what. Why don’t you borrow that one and give it a read?” I was a little stunned. I mean, I just met the guy and he’s loaning me a book? He doesn’t even know me. Then he said, “I’ve heard it’s customary to wait three days before calling a woman so I’ll call you then and find out what you think of it so far.” Fast forward to three days later and I’m hanging out at home with my roommate when my phone rings. When I saw a strange number, I knew who it had to be. We talked for HOURS that night. Like 4 or 5. Conversation with him was effortless, although I did stutter really horrifically at one point. We still joke about it. It was BAD.

Ever since then, we slowly became a couple and we’ve been the best of friends for almost three years now. I’ve watched him fit into my family seamlessly and nothing gives me greater joy than that. We’ve gone on about a million road trips, had a thousand conversations that lasted all night and laughed too hard at those inside jokes that only we understand. We’ve bickered because I load the dishwasher wrong and he can’t fall asleep without a fan blowing full blast on us. But you know what? That’s real life and if you find someone you really love who really loves you back for exactly who you are, then you hold on through the fun and the annoying. Real life isn’t perfect and compromises will be made, but Tom is so overwhelmingly good in so many ways that I am often in awe of him. He has patience when I can’t fathom it; he understands me without me saying a word; he sacrifices for so many people without even thinking of himself. I am incredibly fortunate to have found a man like him. He is also endlessly supportive of this blog. He faithfully reads every post, “likes” every photo and brags about my blog to others constantly. He truly believes in my dreams and my potential to achieve them.

We had to say goodbye to our Grandpa and our dog this Summer and we’ve become even closer in that process. Losing two hugely important parts of your life will do that. Any relationship can be great when things are easy but when times are hard is really when you learn the most about who you’re with. I’ve learned that Tom has my back no matter what. I’ve learned that he will comfort me tirelessly while I cry. I’ve learned that he will always remind me to appreciate the ones I love because they may not always be there.

Why am I not writing this on his birthday or our anniversary? Something else you should know about Tom; he’s not big on traditional romantic things. He’d much rather bring me flowers on a random Tuesday than on Valentine’s Day, and he often does. I decided I’d turn the tables and surprise him with a random lovey-dovey blog post when he’s not expecting one. He’ll appreciate it more, I think.

Tom, although it is hard to put into words what you mean to me and what you contribute to my life, I’m hoping this is a start. And it’s on the internet too which kind of makes it permanent. A grand gesture, If I’ve ever made one.

Oh, I almost forgot about the Chicken Parm. It’s super delicious. If you make it for someone you love, they’ll surely love you back. I speak from experience here.

 Chicken Parmesan

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 6 small boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 beaten eggs
  • 2 cups seasoned Italian breadcrumbs (mine had Romano Cheese in them too)
  • Olive oil, for frying
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • Parsley for garnish
  • Spaghetti, extra tomato sauce and garlic bread for serving

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Line up three medium bowls. In one, put the flour, in another put the egg and in the last one put the breadcrumbs. Pound the chicken breasts until they are thinned out a bit.

Drizzle a medium skillet with about a tablespoon of olive oil and turn it to medium heat. While the skillet heats, bread the chicken breasts. Dip one in flour, then the egg, then coat well with the bread crumbs. Lay in the pan and fry until golden brown on each side, about 2-3 minutes per side. Repeat with the other 5 chicken breasts.

Once the chicken is all pan fried, spread 1 cup tomato sauce on the bottom of a 9×13 dish. Lay the fried chicken breasts down on  top of the sauce. Spread the remaining 1 cup tomato sauce evenly over the chicken breasts. Sprinkle the chicken evenly with the mozzarella and parmesan. Bake for 20 minutes, then cover the dish with foil and bake for another 20 minutes until chicken is cooked through and cheese is golden and bubbly.

Serve with spaghetti and garlic bread if you like!

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