Now, I'm aware that you're probably familiar with Chicken Parmigiana and most likely have seen the recipe a gazillion times not to mention, eaten it at least a number of times in your life. However, I chose to post this recipe because its flavors rely greatly on the cheese factor. So, if the cheese is of poor quality, that will manifest in this dish. If you choose high quality cheese, you're in for a great ride. I want you to know that just because you have a dairy allergy doesn't mean you have to give up some of the great flavors you love or some of your favorite dishes. Chicken Parmigiana is one of my favorites and holds a special place in my husband's heart.
Let me just get something out of the way right now though. Soy cheese is evil. No, really, it's nasty stuff. I'm not sure why no one has perfected a soy product that emulates the real stuff. All I know is that we tried so many different types and different brands of imitation cheeses, all of which eventually ended up in the trash. For starters, soy cheeses just don't melt the same way as real cheese. Some of them don't melt at all but just spontaneously combust. Some require a very high temperature to even begin to melt. I've struggled and for the past two years my family and I had sworn off soy cheese and resorted to eating "cheese dishes" without cheese. Can you imagine lasagna without cheese... NOT fun.
Then last year I heard about something called Daiya which upon further research I discovered can be purchased online (for an arm and a leg) and would require some sort of ice pack combo and other space alien materials in order for it to be shipped unharmed. I thought that I would have to wear a special suit created by NASA just to receive Daiya. So for the longest time I heard a lot of good things about Daiya and people converting to Daiya and performing a special pilgrimage, but I never joined the masses and just waited patiently. Then one day, I found Daiya in the grocery store. Hallelujah!
Let me tell you, if you want a fake cheese that tastes like real cheese, melts like real cheese and smells like real cheese, it's Daiya. It melts at a low temperature, and it even comes in different flavors - Cheddar, Mozarrella and Pepperjack. AND IT"S NOT MADE OF SOY!! There will be a separate review about cheeses in the near future but for now, let's get back to our Chicken Parmigiana.
(nutri what?? What on earth is that?) Don't worry, I'll talk about it soon.
Start by salting and peppering your flour. Put it in a big bowl so you can work comfortably. Set it aside while you rendezvous with the chicken.
This is one of my favorite things about cooking. Stress relief. Take each chicken breast and place it between two big sheets of wax paper. Take your rolling pin.
Or if you're like me and your rolling pin is made of marble and you're worried that you might accidentally put yourself in a coma if your heavy rolling pin slaps you across the forehead, then just use a rubber mallet for pete's sake and save everyone the hassle.
Beat that chicken like a red headed step mule (yeah, I'm mixing my metaphors, because that's the way I roll), enough to make sure that it's uniform thickness. Don't make it too thin. About half inch thick will do.
Good, now take the other chicken breast and beat it the same way. The process of flattening them will also make them larger. Cut them into manageable pieces. I cut each breast in two.
Take the smaller pieces and dredge them in the prepared flour while the oil is heating in the skillet.
About two minutes per side should work but you may need to keep it for longer. You want them to be nice and golden.
Oh, and don't worry, you don't have to schlep all over town to get it. You'll find it at most grocery stores in their whole foods or organic sections.
You can certainly attempt to ask the clerk working in that section. Their head will most likely double in size and their eyes will widen and they will make you repeat what you said 4 times before they look at you suspiciously, like you're pulling their leg, and will proceed to ask you if you've looked in the bakery aisle as that is where yeasts are located. Then you will have to explain to the clerk that nutritional yeast is not like other yeasts and is not used in baking because it is dead (deactivated is a better term, the word dead might shock them) and is of great nutritional value. Make sure to let them know that nutritional yeast is often used by vegans as a substitute for cheese. Wait for the clerk to look at you blankly like a deer caught in the headlights. Then a light bulb will go off (or on) and they will tell you, "oh vegans, you mean gluten free? Our gluten free mixes are in aisle so and so." Follow the clerk to the aisle, while you try and figure out what she meant by "vegan, you mean gluten free". You will find nutritional yeast in the aisle that has gluten free foods... which according to the clerk, only "vegan people" consume.
You can avoid the hassle and go find it yourself. In the aisle that has gluten free foods, which only "vegan people" buy.
Go sort your laundry, or do the dishes, or yell at your offspring for leaving her toys scattered in the hallway and almost killing yourself by tripping on a pile of crayons.
Gently scoop one piece of chicken with some sauce and place on a plate of pasta. Serve with some garlic bread.
Chicken Parmigiana (Dairy, Egg & Nut Free)
2 Chicken breasts -- boned and skinned
1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp dairy free margarine
1 onion finely chopped
2 garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 cups crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup chicken broth, fat free
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
2 Tbsp dried parsley flakes
4 Tbsp nutritional yeast
4 Tbsp daiya cheese
3 cups Spaghetti, cooked
Pound chicken breasts with a rubber mallet to tenderize and flatten to half inch thickness. Cut each breast in half to make a total of 4 pieces. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine flour, salt and black pepper. Dredge chicken pieces in flour to coat well. Set aside.
Place oil and margarine in a large skillet on medium to high heat. When oil is hot, drop chicken and cook until golden and crispy, flipping occasionally. Remove from oil and set aside.
Place onion in skillet along with garlic. Stir until tender and translucent. Add crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce. Stir to combine. Add chicken broth, sugar, parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Return the chicken to the skillet and place in the sauce without mixing. Do not cover chicken with sauce. Bring sauce to a boil then lower heat to simmer. Place 1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast on each chicken breast and top with one tablespoon of daiya cheese. Place lid on skillet and let simmer for 30 minutes.
Carefully remove one chicken piece with sauce and place on cooked spaghetti. Serve with garlic bread.
Nutritional Info for original recipe (garlic bread not included)
Calories 476.58, Total Fat 10.62g, Cholesterol 68.44mg, Sodium 953.02mg, Potassium 813.27mg, Total Carbohydrates 56.78g, Fiber 6.28g, Sugar 6.55g, Protein 39.24g
Nutrition analysis is approximate and will vary depending on exact ingredients used. Calculations are based on the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for a 2000 calorie diet. Nutritional Facts are obtained from Radium Technologies' Living Cookbook. However, Allergymom.ca has no affiliation with Radium Technologies and does not guarantee the accuracy of this information.
For the garlic bread, I just cut a baguette into one inch slices and spray with Pam. Then I mix daiya cheese and some nutritional yeast in a bowl along with a pinch of garlic powder and parsley. Then I sprinkle on the bread on put under the broiler until golden and bubbling.