It’s dinner, not a workout. So, why spend an hour on a meal when you can just as easily spend 30 minutes and turn out a meal the whole family will love?
Parmesan Crusted Chicken Breasts with Tomato and Basil (and Potatoes with Peppers!)
1 ½ to 2 pounds fingerling potatoes or red skin baby potatoes
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips
1 Italian mild green pepper, cubanelle, seeded and thinly sliced
4 large cloves garlic, cracked away from skin
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
¼ cup tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Coarse salt and pepper
2 cups shredded Parmesan, available in tubs near deli -- make sure to get shredded cheese, not grated
4 (6 to 8-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 plum Roma tomatoes or small, vine ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped
15 to 20 leaves fresh basil, pile leaves, roll then thinly slice -- chiffonade
Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
Cut fingerling potatoes into halves or quarters, depending on thickness of fingerlings -- thin, small fingerlings may also be left hole, larger potatoes should be quartered to speed cooking process. If you are using small red potatoes, halve or quarter them in the same way.
Cover a large cookie sheet with foil. Place potatoes on cookie sheet. Combine with peppers, garlic and crushed red pepper flakes. Coat the potatoes and peppers with extra-virgin olive oil just enough to coat vegetables in a thin layer, 2 to 3 tablespoons. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Place potatoes in the oven and roast 20 to 22 minutes, until potatoes are just tender and peppers are crisp at edges. Toss mixture with tongs, turning the potatoes after 15 minutes. When the potatoes are cooked, transfer them to a serving dish and peel the foil off the cookie sheet and discard for super-quick clean up!
While potatoes cook, prepare chicken. Roll out a 2-foot piece of waxed paper or foil near the stove top. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat -- your pan must be very hot when the chicken is added. Pile the shredded cheese on the work surface created with the waxed paper or foil. Season your chicken breasts with black pepper but no salt; the cheese will add enough salt to the taste of the dish. Press the breasts firmly into the cheese. Coat both sides of breasts with as much cheese as possible. Add 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil to the skillet, 1 turn of the pan. Set breasts into the skillet and cook 7 minutes on each side, until cheese forms an even, golden casing around the tender chicken breasts.
While chicken cooks, combine chopped tomatoes with basil in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper, to your taste.
Drain off any excess oil from chicken as you remove it from the skillet. Top chicken with big spoonfuls of raw sauce and serve with potatoes and peppers.