Baked Chicken Milanese With a Mushroom, Spinach and Sherried Tomato Ragu

30 01 2014

Milanese is a breaded meat cutlet that is traditionally dredged in an egg, flour and breadcrumb mixture and pan-fried. I’m offering a healthier version on this Italian classic. By only dredging in oil and panko, and baking verses frying, you can still achieve a deliciously, crunchy coating.

You’ll find milanese often served with an arugula and/or tomato salad on top. But in addition, I was craving something a bit warmer on this cold night. This mushroom and spinach ragu pairs very nicely with the chicken cutlet. Overall, this is a delicious meal that you can feel good about enjoying! 🙂

Baked Chicken Milanese With a Mushroom, Spinach and Sherried Tomato Ragu

Baked Chicken Milanese With a Mushroom, Spinach and Sherried Tomato Ragu

The following serves 2 (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat and Cuisine For Two):

  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, butterflied open
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup panko
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 large shallot, sliced
  • 3 containers (8 oz each) sliced baby bella mushrooms
  • 3/4 cup diced fresh tomatoes, use whatever you have
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat, low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup dry sherry
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp tomato paste
  • 3/4 bag (9 oz) baby spinach
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp minced fresh thyme, or a dusting of dried thyme
  • Arugula
  • Salt and pepper to taste

To butterfly the chicken, cut breasts in half lengthwise almost to the end, just be careful not to cut all the way through. Unfold the top half to lay flat. Whisk 1/3 cup of olive oil with the lemon zest in a medium bowl. Add the cutlets and marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 450.

Combine the panko and parmesan in a shallow dish. Dredge the marinated chicken breasts in the panko mixture, pressing the chicken into the mixture to adhere. I eyeball the measurements here – you can always add more panko and cheese if needed to completely cover all the cutlets. Transfer to a baking sheet sprayed with non-stick spray. Bake chicken for 20-25 minutes, or until browned on both sides and cooked through, turning half way through.

While the chicken bakes, work on the ragu. In a large saute pan over medium heat, saute shallots in the leftover flavored oil you used to marinate the chicken in until soft. Increase heat to medium-high, add the mushrooms and saute until brown, stirring occasionally. Stir in tomatoes, broth, sherry, vinegar and tomato paste. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Wilt in the spinach and season ragu with salt and pepper to taste. Finish with parsley and thyme.

To serve, plate the ragu and top with a little parmesan cheese. Add a piece of chicken, garnish with a squeeze of lemon juice and fresh parsley. Top with a little arugula dressed with lemon juice, olive oil and a salt and pepper to taste.


Weeknight Ragu alla Bolognese

24 04 2013

Bolognese sauce is an Italian meat-based sauce in which the meat is traditionally braised. It can take hours to develop a classically deep, rich Bolognese sauce. This is my recipe for a healthier version of this classic, that can be made quickly and even enjoyed during the week!

Weeknight Ragu alla Bolognese

Weeknight Ragu alla Bolognese

The following serves 4-6 (compliments of This Girl):

  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Medium onion, chopped
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 large piece of celery, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 medium carrot, grated
  • 1 package of lean ground turkey
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup or more dry red wine
  • 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 box whole wheat pasta of your choice (spaghetti is pictured here)
  • Parmesan cheese for garnish
  • Fresh parsley, torn for garnish

Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil, a few good turns of the pan. Add chopped onions and saute until softened, 3-5 minutes. Add garlic and pinch of red pepper flakes and saute until fragrant, 1 more minute. Next add the chopped celery and season with salt and pepper. Using a hand-held grater or microplane, grate the carrot right into the skillet. Cook veggies together for 2-3 minutes.

Next add the ground turkey and brown along with the veggies – be sure to break up the turkey with a spatula. Add tomato paste, salt and pepper to taste and mix well into the turkey and veggies, cook for another minute. Next, deglaze the pan with the red wine and cook for another minute until the wine is well incorporated. Finally, add the crushed tomatoes and bring to a boil. Cover and lower heat, simmer sauce for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring often. If the sauce starts to look dry or starts to stick to the bottom of the pan, add more red wine – 1 turn of the pan at a time.

Meanwhile bring a large pot of water to boil. Season liberally with salt and cook pasta to al dente according to package directions. Drain.

Add the drained pasta directly to the skillet with the sauce and finish cooking for a minute until the pasta is tossed well with the sauce. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve pasta with grated parmesan cheese and torn parsley, and of course, a glass of dry red wine 🙂

Pork Ragu Over Creamy Parmesan Polenta

1 03 2012

This is a knock out meal kids….Rachel Ray’s luscious pork ragu paired with my go-to creamy parm polenta, make for a must try 🙂

Pork Ragu Over Creamy Parmesan Polenta

The following serves 4 (courtesy of Rachel Ray):

  • 3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 2 ribs celery from the heart with leafy tops, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 lb pork (I used ground pork, Rachel uses pork shoulder)
  • Pinch ground cloves
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • Polenta (see recipe below)
  • Handful chopped parsley leaves
  • Shredded parmigiano cheese

Heat large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add a little olive oil and the pork, breaking up in pieces. Saute over medium-high heat until it starts to get a golden brown color. Add 2 more Tbsp olive oil along with the carrots, celery, onions and garlic. Stir in the bay leaf and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook the veggies until soft, about 5 – 6 minutes. Add the tomato paste and stir for 1 minute, then add the wine and cook for another minute. Next stir in the stock and bring sauce to a simmer. Next add a pinch of ground cloves (this really gives a nice depth of flavor).

When the sauce returns to a simmer add the milk and reduce the heat to low. Let the sauce mellow for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. After about 30 minutes, start the polenta.

Creamy Parmesan Polenta:

  • 2 cups skim milk
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup parmesan, grated
  • Salt to taste

Bring milk and broth to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Slowly whisk in cornmeal, reduce heat to low and simmer until thick, 5 minutes, whisking constantly. Off heat finish with parmesan and a little salt.

You can make the pork ragu ahead of time and reheat over medium-low heat. You may need to add a splash of water or stock when you’re reheating the sauce to thin it out a bit.

Serve the sauce atop the creamy polenta and garnish with lots of cheese and parsley.