When I first got married at the ripe old age of 20 I didn’t know much about cooking. Sure I had basic cooking knowledge and could follow a recipe but that was about the extent of it. What I’ve always possessed is a fearless desire to learn and the willingness to always try something new. Lucky for me, when I was first married there was a new TV Network devoted to teaching people how to cook. They introduced us to new flavors and exotic foods from all around the world, and in many ways it was the birth of the “Foodie” nation we know today. Yes I’m talking about Food Network, but not the Food Network of today with overly scripted celebrity chefs and one reality cooking show after another. I’m talking about the way it use to be….
Back when we first met Giada De Laurentiis and she cooked traditional Italian food Everyday. When Rachel Ray coined the term EVOO and cooked quick and easy meals in 30 minutes or less. Alton Brown made Good Eats and taught us the science and history behind cooking with the help of his wide array of puppets. There was Semi-Homemade with Sandra Lee and she could do anything with a Crock Pot. Let’s be honest Sandra Lee was Pintrest before there was Pintrest. Then there is Ina Garten with her Perfect Roast Chicken, Perfect Pie Crust and Perfect East Hampton home (I still love her!). And who can forget the original Southern Queen Mrs. Paula Deen, teaching us how to make collard greens, shrimp and grits, Buttermilk Biscuits and all our Southern favorites.
These cooking shows were all “Must See TV” for me. I can remember sitting on the sofa printing out one recipe after another of dishes I wanted to try and cakes I was determined to bake. While some of these recipes were successes and evolved into things I still make today others just looked better on TV…. Cie La Vie.
But of all these recipes that I printed off and cooked this one, from an episode of Paula’s Home Cooking, for Dustin Chicken Spiedini was one of the first major successes. Over time my knives sharpened, my cooking skills were honed, and this recipe evolved to what it is today…. My Chicken Parmesan Spiedini….
What is a Chicken Spiedini?? Chicken Spiedini are thin strips of chicken, wrapped around a cube of cheese (I like mozzarella cheese), secured with a toothpick and dredged in flour, egg and breadcrumbs. Then these tasty little stuffed nuggets of goodness get lightly fried in olive oil and then baked off in the oven. I serve them swimming in a pool of marinara sauce (no pasta needed). As you slice into their golden brown, crispy crust the gooey mozzarella cheese oozes out. Delicious!!
Yep that’s why I’ve continued to make this dish for 11 years now….
P.S. These Chicken Spiedini make great party appetizers too!
Chicken Parmesan Spiedini
Makes 12 Chicken Parmesan Spiedini
4 Large Boneless, Skinless, Chicken Breasts, pounded out thin
4 Sticks of Mozzarella String Cheese, cut in to 12 equal pieces
1½ Cups Italian Style Panko Breadcrumbs**
½ Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes (optional)
3 Eggs, beaten
1 Cup Flour
1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
Salt and Pepper
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 cups Marinara Sauce
Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese
Pre-heat the oven to 350
Grab 3 containers to use for a dredging station. (One for the Flour, one for the beaten eggs, and one for the breadcrumbs.) Season the flour with salt, pepper and 1 teaspoon of garlic powder and season the breadcrumbs with the ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes.
Place one chicken breast into a large zip top bag. Using a rolling (or meat mallet) pound out thin. You want the chicken to be about half its original thickness. Repeat with the 3 remaining chicken breast. Slice the each chicken breast into 3 long strips lengthwise.
Wrap each chicken strip around 1 piece of cheese and secure with 2 toothpicks.
Then dredge the chicken in the seasoned flour and shake of the excess, next dip the chicken in the egg and finally roll the chicken in the breadcrumbs.
Heat about ½ cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil in a large skillet over medium heat. In two batches, brown the chicken parmesan spiedini on all sides.
Place the browned chicken parmesan spiedini in a greased pan and bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
While the chicken parmesan spiedini finish cooking in the oven heat up about 3 cups of your favorite marinara sauce.
Serve these Chicken Parmesan Spiedini in a pool of sauce and topped with freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.
** Sometimes I can’t find the Italian Style Panko breadcrumbs at my store so I make my own and it’s as easy as 1,2,3.
1 ½ Cups Panko Breadcrumbs
1 Teaspoon Dried Basil
1 Teaspoon Dried Parsley
1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
¾ Teaspoon Onion Powder
¼ – ½ Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
Salt and Pepper to taste.