I crave Italian food in a hot and steamy summer because it reminds me of Sicilian tomato sauce cooking in my Nonna’s kitchen. She used to make gallons of sauce and jar them every summer so that the whole family would have plenty all winter long. That’s why, in the winter, all I want is the sauce from those jarred tomatoes, smothering some chicken in basil and melted Parmesan. It’s the perfect comfort food that is a nod to summer preservation of food, culture and traditions.
One dish I make a lot in the winter (simply because it is so easy and contains basically every one of my favorite ingredients), is this incredible Skillet Chicken Parmesan which can be made eaten right out of the pan with some rustic Italian bread dunked in the sauce, or you can make some pretty scrumptious sandwiches out if it, too.
It all starts with great halal chicken, of course and then is prepared much like a regular Chicken Parmesan dish in that the meat is seasoned the same way, although it is cooked on the stove top instead of baked.
This is when you get to decide whether or not you want to enjoy this over spaghetti, on some rustic Italian bread as a sandwich fit for dinner…
…or right out of the pan…
I always seem to choose the sandwich. I’m an 80’s kid and we seem to have made sandwiches out of everything.
This is more like a gourmet Italian sub.
I can’t get enough of them, and I don’t have to look around at any restaurant to serve it up, especially when halal chicken is hard to come by in many Italian places, not to mention any of the issues around bread (i.e. the dough conditioners I talk about in the My Halal Kitchen cookbook) and cheese (i.e. enzymes and rennet that I also discuss in my cookbook), and anything else that might be processed or not so fresh.
It’s so good you’ll want to make it over and over again, trust me.
What’s your go-to comfort food sub or sandwich?
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Skillet Chicken Parmesan Recipe
No time for the long version of Baked Chicken Parmesan? This is the perfect way to satisfy the craving for something Italian, filling and delicious, without all the fuss or time involved.
Makes 2-3 sandwiches
- 4 pieces boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2-4 tablespoons good quality olive oil
- 2 organic eggs
- 2 cups bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons parsley (Italian flat leaf or curly)
- 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups prepared tomato sauce (you can also get the recipe to make your own in my Summer Ramadan Cooking cookbook)
- 1/2 cup fresh mozzarella cheese
- 4-6 fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
- 1-2 tablespoons freshly chopped Italian flat leaf or curly parsley for topping
- 1 loaf rustic Italian bread, cut in half
- Prepare one bowl and two plates for the egg wash, bread crumbs, and breaded chicken.
- Slice the chicken in half to thin it out, or alternatively, use a meat hammer to thin it out (this helps it to cook faster and more thoroughly). Cut chicken into 2-inch vertical strips.
- Crack the eggs into a bowl and whisk vigorously.
- In a medium size bowl or rectangular dish, combine the bread crumbs, sea salt, black pepper, Parmesan and parsley.
- Dip one piece of breaded chicken into the whisked egg and turn so that it is fully covered in the egg. Remove and place in the bread crumb mixture, then onto a separate plate. Repeat until all chicken has been breaded.
- Heat the oil in a medium-large saute pan.
- Place the chicken in the heated oil and cook until browned, about 3-4 minutes. Flip and cook the other side until brown for the same amount of time.
- Add the sauce to cover the meat. Slice the mozzarella and place directly on top of the sauce. Add the basil leaves, too.
- Lower heat to a simmer and cover. Cook for about 20 minutes.
- Remove the lid and turn off the heat. Add fresh parsley on top, if desired. Sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan, if you like.
- Move chicken to a serving platter if serving over cooked spaghetti; remove each piece individually if placing on rustic bread for sandwiches.
- If making sandwiches, place chicken on one half of a large slice of the bread, then close with the top half and cut. This is much easier than making two small halves.