Monday, May 5, 2008

Dinner: Chicken Cutlets

The older I get and the more children I have, the less I want to host dinner parties. Several years ago, planning and executing dinner parties was my most favorite thing to do. Back then I had one child, numerous childless friends, and more time to plan and cook. Things are very different now. I have four children and almost no time for such frivolities. My childless friends now have children themselves, and it is all we can do to e-mail one another or meet for lunch once in a while. Last month we invited friends over for dinner. We rarely see these dear people, and I wanted to offer them comforting food. But my life being what it is, I did not plan the meal until that morning. As I drifted through the grocery store, I felt increasingly frustrated with my inability to pull off a tasty evening. I stopped in the meat isle and had a little talk with myself, and here is how it went:
Type A Rebecca: Why are you incapable of keeping it together?
Overwhelmed Rebecca: I guess I just have too much on my plate. I'm sorry (said apologetically).
Type A Rebecca: You have been cooking since you were eight. You have buckets of experience. If you can't pull together a good meal for friends by now, you have failed.
Overwhelmed Rebecca: I haven't failed. I've just been busy. I've had four kids in seven years. I put my husband through graduate school. I manage a home. What have you done?
Type A Rebecca: I gave up a lot for you. I am held captive in the dark recesses of your mind, only to emerge when you wonder whether or not you should have gone to law school (which you didn't, by the way).
Overwhelmed Rebecca:Yeah, you don't need to remind me.
Type A Rebecca: Whatever. You need to decide what to serve these people. And fast. How about Steaks au Vinagre?
Overwhelmed Rebecca:Too hard.
Type A Rebecca: Roast?
Overwhelmed Rebecca:Too generic.
Type A Rebecca:Lobster?
Overwhelmed Rebecca:The girls would cry if they saw the little guys going into the big pot.
Type A Rebecca: Wow, you really are inadequate. Let me give you something you can wrap your simple mind around: chicken cutlets.
Overwhelmed Rebecca: I love chicken cutlets! They are easy, yummy, impressive, and even little kids love them.
Type A Rebecca:There you go. And don't forget the arugula, lemon wedges and bread.


Chicken Cutlets (Italians call it Chicken Milanese)

fresh bread crumbs
parmesan cheese (optional)
1 egg
splash of milk
olive oil
chicken cutlets (my favorite are the Perdue Thin Sliced Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts)*

*If you don't buy pre sliced thin chicken breasts, be sure to pound your chicken until it is incredibly thin. We're talking like 1/16" thin.

Heat pan over medium heat. Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Mix egg with milk, beat well with fork. Toss bread crumbs, a bit of shredded parmesan cheese, and a few dashes of salt. Spread bread crumb mixture on plate. Dip individual chicken breasts in egg wash, then bread crumbs. Fry in pan until both sides are golden brown. Place finished chicken in warm oven until entire batch is done. Serve to soon-to-be-impressed-and-full crowd.

We always serve ours with lemon wedges. Fresh lemon juice on a crispy chicken cutlet is heaven.

11 comments:

Mikki said...

Wow. I always wondered what went on inside your head. :) This is one of my favorite meals, BTW. Also, the Germans call it Vienerschnitzel. I think.

Libby said...

My kids just discovered the tank of lobsters at Star Market. There goes THAT dining option.

In Argentina, a pounded-thin, breaded (with some parsley for seasoning) and fried piece of beef is a "milanesa."

Zina said...

Hi Rebecca! I found you via Doris Day Parking and am enjoying reading of your food adventures.

I loved reading your inner dialog. And what a happy resolution.

I just found a big stack of recipes I'd saved from various Berkeley Ward things and never got into a binder -- a bunch of soup recipes, a bunch of recipes for potatoes, a bunch for eggs, some Chinese cooking recipes, easy/simple meals (by you and Jenny, I think,) and on and on -- and it made me SO nostalgic. I hate to generalize that my ward or Utahns in general don't "get" good food . . . but I do have to say that nothing here has held a candle to your average ward potluck there.

Anyway, just wanted to say hi, (and glad to see your former self is getting a say and helping your overwhelmed self out.) :)

Mindy said...

Looks yummy! I love reading your blog it helps me to keep in touch with my inner foodie.

Kathy D said...

I'm having it for dinner tonight! What side items to you prepare - rice? pasta? Thank you for blogging again - I check everyday for a new, delicious something from you.

Rebecca said...

Kathy-we often serve it with a simple green salad, or orzo (rice-shaped pasta). The girls prefer the orzo. I just boil it, and toss it with butter , salt, and lemon peel. I throw on some fresh fruit to round out the meal.

SLP said...

Rebecca,
I loved the inner dialouge, it gave me a whole new perspective on my Type A conversations with, well, me.
You post made me ask myself "what is my staple meal - pork tenderloin with sweet potato mash and some green veggie.
Great post!
Stacey

Rebecca said...

Stacey, I may have to copy your staple meal--that sounds way too yummy!

Da Spears said...

Becca, you are amazing. You need to keep up this writing. You are too clever not too. Clever girl!

Mindi said...

You can still go to law school.

lindy said...

very funny Becca-- I always serve my chicken cutlets with mashed potatoes. Can't imagine chicken cutlets without them!

Lindy