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Monday, January 6, 2014

Chicken Melanzana

Happy Monday, I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. I was pretty busy as usual chauffeuring the kids to cheering practice; then headed to a cheer competition at a local college for our eldest daughter (they took 1st...YAY!). Hubby and I also took advantage of a last minute family gathering cancellation and went on a date night to The Capital Grille for dinner. Love that place. Great food and the wine list is incredible! We also De-Christmased (I's not a real word!) the house. It was fun while it lasted, but onto bigger and brighter beginnings for 2014.

I'm back in my kitchen in full force and have a LOT of wonderful new recipes to share with you in the coming weeks. We got a Vitamix for Christmas so I'm going to try my hand at some smoothies too so be on the lookout! Just as a reminder, if you don't already follow Carrie's Experimental Kitchen by email, you can sign up in a snap. Just click on this link "Sign Up for Email", and each week you will receive 3-5 new recipes delivered to your mailbox. No more waiting to see what my next experiment will be or missing a post on one of my social media channels (especially since Facebook has been hiding my posts from you with their new algorithms). You will know first hand!

Ok, so onto our first new recipe for 2014 with this Chicken Melanzana. Never heard of it? Well actually, I made it up. Melanzana (or melanzane) is Italian for eggplant and since this recipe had so many wonderful components, it was hard to come up with a short, concise name for this recipe. I think Chicken Melanzana has a nice ring to it, don't you think? Sauteed chicken topped with fresh eggplant and vine ripened tomatoes; then covered in a pink marinara sauce and shredded mozzarella cheese. This dish was heavenly and I wouldn't be surprised if your family or guests think you had it catered by your local restaurant!  I used Kumato tomatoes, which are a bit sweeter than regular tomatoes this time of year, but a nice, ripe Roma tomato would work wonderfully as well when they're in season.

As you can also see, this recipe is enough to serve ten people, so this is the perfect recipe to make for Sunday dinner when you have a crowd, or if you just want leftovers. Eat what you want now; then freeze the rest for another meal.  Short on time and you want to make this during the week? Prepare as directed the night before up until the chicken has been assembled in the baking dish; then cover and refrigerate. Bake the next evening right before you're ready to serve. ~Enjoy!

Chicken Melanzana
Prep Time: 30 minutes    Cook Time: 25-30 minutes      Serves: 10
  • 30 oz. Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts (or ten 3-ounce chicken tenderloins)
  • 1/4 c. All-Purpose Flour (you can substitute with G.F. or Whole Wheat)
  • 3 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 tbsp. Butter
  • 1 Eggplant (approximately 1 1/2 lbs.), skin on, sliced 1/2" thick
  • 3 Medium Ripe Tomatoes, sliced 1/2" thick
  • 2 c. Prepared Marinara Sauce (any kind you like, but I use homemade)
  • 1/2 c. Fat Free Half & Half
  • 1 1/2 c. Reduced Fat Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  2. If using regular sized chicken breasts, slice them horizontally into 1/2" thick slices (approximately 3 ounces each). For both types of chicken, pound them with a meat mallet to make them uniform in thickness. 
  3. Add flour to a bowl and dredge the chicken in the flour until all pieces have been coated. 
  4. Heat the oil and butter in a large nonstick saute pan over medium heat; then add the pieces of chicken. Brown the chicken 2-3 minutes per side and place the chicken in a large oven safe baking dish (I used a 13"x9") in a single layer. (You may have to brown the chicken in two batches. Also, if your chicken doesn't fit into one baking dish, use two separate dishes). 
  5. In a small saucepan, combine the marinara sauce and half & half; heat over a medium flame.
  6. Add one slice of eggplant and one slice of tomato to each chicken breast; then top with sauce. 
  7. Sprinkle the cheese on top of each piece of chicken; then bake for 25-30 minutes until the cheese is hot and bubbly. 
Nutrition Facts per Serving
Calories 245, Carbs 12.5g, Fat 11.3g, Protein 25.1g, Fiber 3.1g, Sugar 5.4g
*Calculations based on ingredients entered into Calorie Count and may not be 100% accurate.

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