Can you believe Christmas has come and gone already? It all sort of feels like a dream; I woke up the day after Christmas and had a blurry memory of opening gifts and standing rib roast, but was sure it hadn’t actually happened yet. Of course after being awake for five minutes I realized that sadly, it indeed did happen, and yes, it was all over. No more Christmas music 24/7, no more gazing at my pretty Christmas tree, no more wrapping presents, no more cookie making, and no more excitement. Boo Hoo.
…but when I really think about it, there are a thousand things to get excited about and look forward to now that Christmas has come and gone. One of my best friends is welcoming a baby boy in a few short weeks, we have Kevin’s family coming in for wedding festivities in April, we have our WEDDING in June, and we will hopefully have a new little bundle of joy in the next year.
….a puppy people, I know where your mind was going with that statement.
I was thinking about taking the whole week off from blogging, but just couldn’t quite commit, so I’m here with another low fat and inexpensive dish to share.
Traditionally on Thanksgiving and Christmas, we prepare a massive meal like normal people do, but have an enormous array of appetizers as well. The more I think about it the more I realize that it’s probably not smart to consume a whole bevy of appetizers right before you’re about to stuff yourself with obscene amounts of food, but year after year, we do it and we all end the night horribly full, tired, and ready for bed.
With this year being no exception to the rule of the more food the better, I decided to make a new app I’d been mapping out in my head for a few weeks. These little chicken parmesan bites are cute, tasty, and perfect for adults and children alike. Thin pieces of chicken breast are wrapped in mozzarella cheese, breaded and baked until golden brown and super crunchy. Serve with homemade or store-bought marina sauce and gobble one cheesy, crispy popper after the other.
- 3 large chicken breasts
- 4 ounces mozzarella cheese, cut in ¼ inch cubes
- 1 cup panko
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- ½ cup flour
- ½ cup egg beaters
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided
- ¼ teaspoon pepper, divided
- 1 cup homemade or store-bought marinara sauce
- Olive oil or olive oil spray
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Using your hand as a guide, butterfly chicken breasts. Pound out until very thin, about 1/8 inch thick. Cut into four equal pieces.
- Place one mozzarella cube in the middle of raw chicken and wrap chicken around cheese. Secure with toothpick.
- Place flour, egg, and panko in separate bowls. Season flour with ½ teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Add parmesan cheese and remaining salt and pepper to panko.
- Coat chicken pieces in flour, removing excess. Coat in egg, remove excess, and then lastly coat in panko, removing any excess crumbs. Place on a cookie sheet and freeze for 10 minutes.
- Place a cooling rack on top of a cookie sheet. This will ensure the chicken poppers brown evenly. Spray the rack with olive oil spray. Place poppers on rack. Generously spray chicken pieces with olive oil spray. Bake in oven for about 20 minutes until poppers are cooked through and golden brown.
- Remove toothpicks and serve with warm marinara sauce.
- Homemade marinara: ¼ onion grated, ½ tablespoon olive oil, ½ cup tomato paste, 1 cup water, ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, ¼ teaspoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon sugar, ¼ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste if you wish. Sauté onion and olive oil in a small saucepan over a medium heat, about three minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.