Cooking With Claire: The best cuisine

“Cooking with Claire” is an introduction to dining beyond the dining hall using easy, fast and cheap recipes.

Garlic bread is an easy and tasty Italian staple that anyone can make. (Popo le Chien/Wikimedia Creative Commons)

While I have experimented with cooking various types of cuisine the one type I always come back to is Italian. There is something so satisfying about pastas, rich sauces and fully flavored meats and sides. I’m always on the hunt for great local Italian restaurants but sometimes the wallet does not allow that kind of luxury so I’m including two essential Italian food recipes. One, courtesy of Rachael Ray, is a garlic bread recipe, while the other is a “cheater” recipe for chicken parmesan.

Garlic Bread

Ingredients

  • Four cloves garlic, crushed
  • Two tablespoons butter
  • Two tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • One loaf crusty bread, split
  • Three tablespoons grated cheese, Parmigiano or Romano, optional
  • Chopped fresh parsley

Directions

  1. Combine garlic, butter and oil in a microwave safe dish or in a small saucepan. Heat in microwave for 30 seconds or in a small pot over medium-low heat for three minutes.
  2. Toast split bread under broiler. (If your oven does not have a broiler option, use the highest heat). Remove bread when it is toasted golden brown in color. Brush bread liberally with garlic oil. Sprinkle with cheese (if using) and parsley. If you added cheese, return to broiler and brown for 30 seconds. Cut into chunks and serve.

Cheater Chicken Parmesan

Ingredients

  • Two chicken breasts
  • One cup flour
  • Two eggs
  • One cup bread crumbs with Italian seasoning sprinkled in
  • Two cups tomato sauce
  • One cup mozzarella cheese

Directions

  1. Prepare breading. In three separate plates place flour, scrambled eggs and bread crumbs. Dip chicken breasts into flour, egg mixture, then finally bread crumbs, pressing the chicken into the crumbs to fully coat.
  2. Heat extra virgin olive oil in large skillet on medium-low heat. Cook chicken breasts until nearly cooked through, flipping only once, about 7-10 minutes. Be sure the pan is well greased and the temperature is not too hot so the bread crumbs don’t burn.
  3. Pour sauce over chicken. Sprinkle cheese on top. Cover and cook for 2-5 more minutes until the sauce is warm and the cheese is melted.

My girl Rachael Ray always comes through with the best recipes. The video makes it look like a piece of cake for Ray, but I’m pretty sure this recipe is foolproof for any chef.

Traditionally, chicken parmesan is cooked by first frying the chicken cutlets on the stovetop, then baking them with the sauce and cheese in the oven. My cheater recipe gives all the flavor without all the fuss.

Serve with a side salad for a complete meal.


Claire Galvin is a senior staff writer for The Daily Campus.   She can be reached via email at claire.galvin@uconn.edu.