Thursday, October 28, 2010

Meat and Potatoes: Italian Style!

Balsamic Marinated Flank Steak and Parmesan Garlic Mashed Potatoes
I'm a red-meat loving kind of girl. It's just so tender, delicious, and flavorful. And served alongside potatoes? Well, let's just say that few pairings are more pleasing to the pallet (although chocolate and peanut butter are a close second). Strangely enough, however, my favorite go-to inspiration source of Italian cuisine includes few traditional meat-and-potatoes dishes. What choice had I but to develop my own? Throwing together some of my favorite Italian-themed flavors I put together this delicious hearty dinner that I found particularly satisfying after tonight's seven mile run in the rain. I served it alongside a good helping of sauteed spinach with shallots. Enjoy.

- 1 2 lb. cut flank steak, scored on both sides in a diamond pattern
- 3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- juice from 1 lemon
- 1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
- 3 cloves minced garlic
- 1 Tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 lb. little yellow potatoes
- 1 head garlic
- heavy cream
- 1 c. grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 stick butter
- 1 handful Italian parsley, chopped

Season steak of both sides with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, minced garlic, and thyme. Pour over steak and marinate in refrigerator for at least twenty minutes, overnight is okay too!

Preheat oven to 425˚ F. Slice the top of a head of garlic and place in the center of a foil square. Sprinkle with salt and drizzle with olive oil. Wrap into a packed and roast in oven for about 30 minutes until garlic becomes soft and brown. Meanwhile, begin boiling a large pot of water for the potatoes. Remove the roasted garlic from oven and allow to cool. Turn the oven to broil.

After steak has worked, place in an oven-proof dish and broil each side to desired doneness, (4 minutes per side for medium-rare). Remove from oven and allow meat to rest for about 5 minutes before slicing thin crosswise.

To make the potatoes, add potatoes, and to boiling pot of water and cook until very tender and can be easily pierced with the tip of a knife, about 15 minutes. Drain potatoes and return to pot. Squeeze roasted garlic into the potatoes and mash together with a potato masher. Add pieces of butter and a splash of heavy cream. Sprinkle in Italian parsley, grated cheese, and season with salt and pepper. stir together until thoroughly combined. If potatoes are a little dry, add a little more cream. Serve warm with steak. Good dinner!

Super Spooky Halloween Fun

Pumpkin Spice Sour Cream Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
Trick or treat! My announcement to my students that Friday's class would require wearing Halloween costumes to engage in a Fall-term Acting I tradition I have deemed "Super Spooky Halloween Fun" was met with a variety of responses. While several students were less than thrilled at the prospect of donning Halloween-themed attire two days before the actual holiday, their attitudes shifted when I promised a baked "treat" as part of the festivities. Pumpkin-themed baked good abound this time of year . . . and with good reason! The familiar orange gourd-like squash yields a flavorful and moist texture to cakes and cookies. I hope you enjoy this spicy, rum-spiked treat throughout the autumn season.


- 2 c. sugar
- 2 1/2 c. butter, room temperature, divided
- 4 large eggs
- 1 15 oz. can pumpkin
- 2 c. flour
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 2 Tbsp. vanilla, divided
- 2 Tbsp. dark rum
- 1/2 c. sour cream
- 2 Tbsp. cinnamon, divided
- 2 tsp. fresh nutmeg
- 1 tsp. cardamom
- 8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
- 2 c. powdered sugar
- Halloween candies for decoration

Preheat the oven to 325˚F. Line two muffin tins with paper-liners and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, cream 1 1/2 sticks of butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Blend in pumpkin. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add baking soda, cardamom, 1 Tbsp. cinnamon, and nutmeg and blend until thoroughly mixed together. Add eggs, one at a time, alternating with 1/2 c. additions of flour. Blend thoroughly after each addition. Blend in sour cream, rum, and 1 Tbsp. vanilla until combined.

Spoon prepared batter into paper cupcake liners. Fill each cup to about two-thirds full. Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes. Test cupcakes for doneness and remove from oven. Let cool on a rack completely before frosting. Bake cupcakes in batches and continue process until all the batter has been baked into tasty treats!

In a large bowl blend together cream cheese, 1 Tbsp. vanilla, 1 Tbsp, cinnamon, and 1 stick butter with an electric hand mixer. Blend until frosting is smooth and creamy. Add more cinnamon to taste, if desired. Frost each baked and cooled cupcake with a generous amount of frosting and decorate with Halloween candies. Enjoy this spooky and tasty seasonal treat!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Bounty Hunter Brownies

Sarah: Breaker of Translucent Wings Memorial Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies
It was just another ordinary day in playwriting class. Clustered together in the basement room, the students shuffled their papers and poised their pencils for another in-class writing assignment. Suddenly, our peaceful haven of creativity was disrupted by the dull buzz of an uninvited intruder: Musca domestica, the common housefly. Incredibly annoying, not to mention unsanitary, this winged, garbage-dwelling insect has no place at my table. After a few of my own feeble attempts at swatting the little bugger away, I realized a hero could emerge from the crowded table of students. "I will bake cookies for whoever kills the fly." The offer of baked-good worked as a motivating bounty and within three seconds the fly's crumpled body fell to the floor. The victor? Sarah, a clever brunette with a sardonic wit and an impressive collection of Woot tee-shirts. When I asked what kind of cookie she was interested in, she requested brownies. No problem. I developed the chocolate and peanut butter combination in honor of Sarah: Breaker of Translucent Wings and to our fallen and worthy foe who gave his life so that we could enjoy an afternoon snack.


- 2 1/2 sticks room temperature butter (plus 1 Tbsp.), divided
- 2 c. sugar
- 2 c. powdered sugar
- 1 c. cocoa powder
- 5 eggs, divided
- 1 c. creamy peanut butter
- 1 1/4 c. flour, divided
- 2 Tbsp. vanilla, divided
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 16 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Line a 13x9" baking pan with foil. Butter lightly with 1 Tbsp. of butter. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350˚ F. In a medium, heavy bottomed saucepan, melt 1 1/2 sticks of butter over medium heat. When butter is melted, add sugar and cook over medium, stirring frequently, until ingredients are well combined and the surface looks shiny, about 3-4 minutes. Remove pan from heat and whisk in cocoa powder and 1 Tbsp. vanilla until thoroughly combined. Add three eggs, one at a time, whisking ingredients together after each addition. Whisk in 1 c. flour and baking powder.

Spread brownie batter into prepared baking pan and bake in oven for 15 minutes.While brownie layer in baking place peanut butter, powdered sugar, and remaining stick of butter into a large mixing bowl and cream ingredients thoroughly with an electric mixer. Add 2 eggs, 1 Tbsp. vanilla, and remaining flour and beat thoroughly with mixer. Set aside until brownie layer has baked for fifteen minutes. Remove brownies from oven and carefully spread and even layer of the peanut butter mixture on top. Evenly distribute the chocolate chips on top on the peanut butter layer.

Return to oven and bake for about 20-25 minutes longer until the brownies are baked through and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool completely before cutting into 2" squares. Eat!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Vodka: What Can't It Do?

Mascarpone Vodka Sauce with Turkey Meatballs
Maybe it's something floating around the autumn air, but lately Angie and I have been on the same food wave-length when musing over our dinner plans at the office. The other day I mentioned, "Do you know what I've been in the mood for? Spaghetti and meatballs!" Angie exclaimed, "Me too!" And we began comparing notes for potential pasta and ground-meat permutations. Mascarpone cheese is always a good idea and I have recently been gifted a fantastic bottle of vodka- this variation on vodka sauce seemed like a natural fit. Enjoy a heart bowl on a chilly October night. Keep in mind, the delicious herb-laden marinara base to the sauce makes more than enough for leftovers. Whip it up, save all about about 3 cups and freeze the rest for a future lasagna recipe.


- 2 medium yellow onions, finely diced
- 1 c. carrots, finely diced
- 4 stalks celery, finely diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 28 oz. cans crushed tomatoes
- 1/4 c. olive oil
- 1 Tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
- 1/2 c. Italian parsley, chopped, divided
- 1/4 c. fresh basil, chopped
- 1 c. good quality vodka
- 4 oz. mascarpone cheese
- 1 tsp. sugar
- salt and pepper
- 3 lengths Italian turkey or chicken sausage, removed from casings
- 1 lb. ground turkey
- 2 slices whole wheat bread, torn into small pieces
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 tsp. herbs d' Provence
- 1 tsp. poultry seasoning
- milk
- 1 c. grated Parmesan cheese, divided

Heat 1/4 c. olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Saute onions and garlic for about 3-4 minutes until they become soft and fragrant. Add carrots and celery, cook until vegetable begin to soften, 2-3 minutes. Add fresh thyme, 1/4 c. Italian parsley, and fresh basil. Stir to combine. Add crushed tomatoes, sugar, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for about 20 minutes until sauce begins to thicken.

At this point, you have a delicious and complete marinara sauce. Enjoy with pasta, chicken, eggplant, or anything or use as the base for about a thousand other sauces.

To make the vodka sauce, take 3 cups of the Delicious Herby Marinara Sauce in a Dutch oven and add 1 c. good quality vodka. Simmer over medium-low for about 20 minutes for sauce to thicken. Add 1/4 c. mascarpone and 1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheeses. Stir warm sauce until cheeses are melted and well combined. Season with additional salt and pepper and pour over cooked pasta to serve.

Preheat oven to 350˚F and spray a 9x13" baking dish with cooking spray, set aside. In a large bowl combine ground turkey, chicken sausage, torn bread pieces, herbs d' Provence, poultry seasoning, 1/4 c. chopped Italian parsley, 1 egg, a splash of milk, and 1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese. Mix with hands until ingredients are thoroughly combines. Form meat mixture into 2" balls and arrange in prepared baking dish. Bake in oven for about 20 minutes, until meatballs begin to brown. Serve over prepared pasta and vodka sauce. It's good stuff!

Further Experiments in Decadence

Almond and Mascarpone Stuffed Brownies
When fearless and awesome team captain Jessi proposed an informal reunion for our amazing Hood to Coast team I couldn't resist the drive all the way up to Southeast Portland. But what to bring to this potluck barbecue? Appropriately enough on a Saturday evening run I cataloged the ingredients available at home in the cupboard. Brownies were certainly an option, but I didn't want to bring just any old brownie. My first instinct was putting together one of my favorite flavor combos: chocolate and peanut butter! Unfortunately, due to my recent experiment (see Chocolate-Dipped Pretzel Peanut Butterscotchies) I was out of peanut butter. An unopened jar of almond butter, however, was waiting for me at home. A soft, cakey brownie seemed like the perfect pairing for this under-utilized nut butter. It was a hit! Hope you like it.


- 1 sticks unsalted butter
- 2 1/4 c. sugar
- 1 1/4 c. cocoa powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 Tbsp. vanilla
- 6 eggs, divided
- 1/4 c. water
- 2 c. flour, divided
- 1/4 c. mascarpone cheese
- 1/2 c. creamy almond butter
- 2 c. powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350˚ F. Lightly grease a sheet of foil and line at 13x9" baking pan. Set aside. In a medium, heavy saucepan melt butter of medium heat. Add sugar and stir over low heat until melted. Remove from heat and whisk in cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, and vanilla. When thoroughly combined add 5 eggs, water, and 1 1/2 c. flour. Whisk until smooth and creamy. Pour mixture into prepared pan and set aside.

In a medium bowl blend mascarpone, almond butter, 1 egg, 1/4 c. flour, and powdered sugar with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. If mixture is too runny, add more powdered sugar or flour by the tablespoon.

Drop dollops of almond butter mixture into brownie batter-filled baking dish. Try to distribute evenly throughout the baking dish. Place prepared pan into preheated oven and bake for about 30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Remove from oven and set aside. Allow brownies to cool completely before cutting into squares and serving. Enjoy with milk and friends!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Experiments in Decadance

Chocolate-Dipped Pretzel Peanut Butterscotchies

I've been on a baking kick lately. Perhaps it's the fall weather that makes me want to fill the house with oven-warmth and the scents of vanilla, chocolate, and sugary goodness. Last week, on a whim, I threw together some chocolate chip cookies. Jordan (always a source of food-inspiration) had the idea of doing something with butterscotch chips as a deviation from the chocolate-chip default. I mused over this and came up with some tasty ideas. Jordan provided the butterscotch chips. I always love the combination of sweet and salty and decided for this tasty treat I would put together a variety of beloved snack flavors. While these cookies are perfectly delicious without the chocolate coating . . . I figured if you're going to do the thing, you should do it right! Feel free to omit the chocolate dip . . . your call. You are the master of your own cookie destiny. Enjoy! (And by the way, the cookie dough was awesome!)


- 1 1/4 c. sugar
- 2 c. flour
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1 1/2 sticks of butter
- 2 large eggs
- 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
- 1 c. creamy peanut butter
- 2 Tbsp. corn syrup
- 2 c. butterscotch chips
- 2 c. crumbled pretzels
- 2 c. chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350˚ and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter, peanut butter, sugar, vanilla, and corn syrup with an electric mixer. Add eggs, one at a time, and blend ingredients thoroughly. Add flour and baking soda in batches until mixed. Using a wooden spoon, mix in butterscotch chips and broken pretzel pieces. With a cookie scoop or tablespoon scoop equal portions of dough and place on prepared baking sheet, spaced several inches apart (cookies will spread a bit while baking.) Bake in batches for 9-11 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer cookies to a metal rack.

When cookies have cooled completely, place chocolate chips in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Melt in microwave for 1 minute, stir chips around and return to microwave. Cook for another minute, stir again until chips are melted and smooth. Dip cookies, one at a time, into melted chocolate and then place on a sheet of waxed paper for chocolate to cool and harden. Eat!

Even More Stuff to Do With Chicken

"Barbecued" Chicken and Cheddar Bakes

Along with cans and cans of tuna (see previous tuna-themed blog entries), Jordan also happened to bring cans and cans of chicken. I'll admit, I was a bit skeptical of the idea of chicken in a can. He assured me it was good and "perfect for chicken salads." I also reminded myself that I was perfectly comfortable eating fish from a can. I was looking to make something really fast and simple without a lot of prep. Ta-dah! Enjoy all the taste of barbecued chicken with a lot less mess.


- 1 12.5 oz. can chicken breast meat
- 1/4 c. barbecue sauce
- 1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
- 1 yellow onion, peeled, halved and sliced
- 1 tsp. sugar
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 Tbsp. butter
- 1-2 Tbsp. cooking sherry
- 1 c. extra sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 lb. fresh pizza dough
- flour

While preparing other ingredients, allow dough to rest before working with it for about 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 450˚ and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon mat. Set aside.

Heat butter and olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add onions and peppers. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they become very soft and begin to brown. Sprinkle with sugar to allow them to caramelize a bit. Add cooking sherry and turn down heat. Continue to cook until liquid evaporates. Remove from stove. Set aside.

Drain canned chicken and place meat in a medium bowl. Mix with barbecue sauce and additional salt and pepper if desired. Take rested dough and cut into four equal pieces. Roll each out on a floured surface into a 6" round. Place on prepared baking sheet. Top each piece of dough with equal portions of chicken, onion and pepper mixture, and a sprinkling of cheese. Fold the dough over and seal around the edge. Cut two slits in the top of each to vent while baking. Bake in oven for 10-12 minutes until crust begins to brown. Remove and eat! Serve with extra barbecue sauce for dipping.

Josh Steele's Slammin' Salmon Chowder

When avid fisherman and all-around hilarious guy, Josh Steele, brought home a bounty of delicious salmon from a recent trip, he had the good sense to break out his fish smoker and make some magic. Seriously . . . delicious! And there was so much of it. A huge bag of flaky, salty-sweet salmon. "Liz, do you think you can do something with this?" Yes . . . yes I can. No real drawback here, just the opportunity to whip up something new and tasty. October weather calls for big steamy bowls of chowder with warm crusty bread for dipping. It's a natural fit. Thanks Josh for this inspiration here. Your salmon rules! Bring back more please!


- 2-3 c. smoked salmon, flaked into bite-sized chunks
- 6 ears sweet white corn, kernels removed from cobs
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
- 1 orange bell pepper, seeded and diced
- 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 yellow onion, peeled and diced
- 3 stalks of celery, trimmed and diced
- 2 small red potatoes, diced
- 4 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
- 1 tsp. dried dill
- 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1 handful chopped Italian parsley
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 qt. half and half
- 2 Tbsp. butter.

Melt butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add garlic and onion and cook, stirring occasionally over medium until onion becomes fragrant and translucent. Season with salt and pepper. Add celery, bell peppers, and jalapeño peppers. Cook until peppers begin to soften, about 2-3 minutes. Add corn, potatoes, bay leaves, and 1 c. water. Stir and combine ingredients. Cover and simmer about 5-7 minutes for potatoes to soften. Add salmon, tomatoes, pepper flakes, dill, parsley, and half and half. Watch the pot for the half and half to begin to bubble around the edges. Lower the heat to low and simmer about 10 minutes. Season with additional salt and pepper, remove bay leaves, and serve with warm crusty bread and butter.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Soup and Sandwich Night

Open-Faced Tuna Melts with Spicy Tomato and White Bean Soup
Romeo and Juliet. Gin and Tonic. Yin and Yang. There some things out there in the world go better in pairs. On a chilly October evening after a long day at the office followed by chores and errands there are few things more satisfying that a nice sandwich covered in melty cheese and a big ol' bowl of soup. When Jordan moved in, he brought with him an X-Box, an enormous tv, and many, many cans of tuna. "Let's do something with these." He said. Challenge accepted.


- 2 7-8 oz cans Albacore tuna (in oil or water), drained
- 1/4 c. chopped Kalamata olives
- 1/2 red onion, peeled and diced
- 2 Tbsp. capers, chopped
- 1 handful chopped Italian parsley, divided
- 4 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
- 1 ciabatta loaf, sliced lengthwise
- 1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
- sliced Provolone and cheddar cheese
- 1 tsp. dried dill
- 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 28 oz. can tomato puree
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 2 large shallots, minced
- 1/4 c. minced carrot
- 2 c. chicken broth
- 1 14.5 oz. can white beans, rinsed
- 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp. hot sauce


Heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil in a medium sauce pan. Saute shallots for about 2-3 minutes until they begin to soften, add carrots. Cook another 2 minutes, season with salt and pepper to taste. Add tomatoes, broth, beans, 2 Tbsp. chopped Italian parsley, sugar, pepper flakes, and hot sauce. Bring to a boil, then turn heat down to low and simmer for about 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper. Serve.


While soup is simmering, heat the oven to 400˚ F. In a large bowl, combine tuna, olives, capers, onions, dried dill, 2 Tbsp. olive oil, remaining parsley, red wine vinegar, and mustard. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside. Set out sliced ciabatta on a foil-lined baking sheet. Top with tuna mixture and then cover with slices of cheddar and Provolone cheeses. Bake in oven 15-20 minutes so that the bread becomes toasty and the cheese is melted. Serve with soup. Eat. Yum.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Salmon in the Fish Tacos!?! Salmon!!

Salmon Fish Tacos with Black Bean and Corn Salsa

In a memorable (and hilarious) episode of the animated show, King of the Hill, Hank and his co-worker, Enrique, begin frequenting a local Mexican restaurant. When the neighborhood is suddenly taken over by obnoxious hipsters, things change. High-strung Enrique appeals to Hank, exclaiming in horror, "They put salmon in the fish tacos!!!" I never realized salmon was such a controversial fish. While perhaps, not the most "traditional" choice I rather like a good piece of salmon and I friggin' love tacos. A bag of medium-ground cornmeal, a can of black beans, and a few avocados sitting around in the cupboards began playing upon my foodie imagination and inspired me to do my own Northwest nod to the fish taco.


- 1 14.5 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 ears sweet white corn, kernels scraped off into a bowl and reserved
- 4 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
- 1 small red onion, finely diced
- 1-2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 Tbsp. minced fresh cilantro
- juice from one lime
- 1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp. chipotle chili powder
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

- 1-1 1/2 lb. salmon fillet
- 1 c. medium ground cornmeal
- vegetable oil for frying
- 2 eggs, beaten
- flour for dredging
- salt and pepper
- small flour tortillas
- sour cream
- guacamole

In a medium bowl, combine ingredients for the salsa, stir gently. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside while preparing the fish tacos. The salsa is great on its own with a handful of tortilla chips! Wrap the flour tortillas in foil and place in the middle rack of a 300˚F oven so that they are warm and ready for topping.

While tortillas are warming, season salmon fillet on both sides with salt and pepper. Slice the salmon crosswise to make about 2-3" strips. Dredge strips, one at a time, in flour then dip in beaten eggs and roll in cornmeal, covering completely. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, cook cornmeal covered salmon pieces until they begin to turn golden brown, about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove finished salmon pieces from pan and drain on a paper towel lined plate while frying remaining fish.

Remove tortillas from oven and build fish tacos with a piece of salmon topped with black bean and corn salsa, guacamole, and sour cream. Serve with Coronas and lime! Yum. Fiesta in my mouth.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

More Things to do with Chicken

Polenta-Crusted Triple Cheese Chicken Parmesan

What's not to like about chicken, breaded, fried in olive oil, and covered in melty cheese? The answer is nothing. It's just a good idea all around and with a garden-fresh homemade marinara sauce . . . this is a fantastic one-dish meal to feed an army. I have made several variations of this Italian restaurant classic. This particular riff was inspired by a bag of medium-ground cornmeal sitting on the pantry shelf. The crispy polenta crust is a fun variation of the breadcrumb coating. Hope you like it.


- 5 or 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, split in half lengthwise to double the number
- 1 lb. fresh mozzarella cheese
- 1 c. shredded Parmesan
- 10 or 12 small slices of Provolone cheese
- 1 1/5 lbs. mixed cherry, Roma, or heirloom tomatoes, rinsed and pulsed to a puree in the food processor
- 1 sweet yellow onion, peeled and finely minced
- 1 carrot, peeled and finely minced
- 3-4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 2 celery sticks, rinsed and minced
- 3 Tbsp. olive oil plus extra for frying
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tsp sugar
- fresh basil leaves, minced
- a small handful of Italian parsley, minced
- 3 eggs, beaten
- flour for dredging
- 1 c. medium-ground cornmeal

Heat 3 Tbsp. olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until they become tender and fragrant, about 3-4 minutes. Add minced carrots and celery and cook over medium about 3 minutes to soften. Add tomato puree, basil, parsley, sugar, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer and the cook over low heat, covered, for about 20 minutes. Remove from heat. You can use this over any pasta you like or save it for the chicken Parmesan extravaganza.

Preheat oven to 350˚ F. While oven is heating, taken sliced chicken pieces and season both sides with salt and pepper. Dredge each piece in flour, then beaten egg, then roll in cornmeal until completely covered. Set aside for frying. Drizzle enough oil in the bottom of a medium skillet to cover it evenly, you will have to add more oil periodically as you fry the chicken. Heat oil over medium high and arrange several chicken pieces in the pan to cook. Don't overcrowd the pan! Cook chicken until it begins to turn golden brown, about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove from oil to drain on a paper towel lined plate until all the chicken has been browned.

Arrange a layer of chicken at the bottom of a 13x9" baking dish. Top each piece of chicken with a slice of mozzarella and a slice of Provolone. Top with half the prepared marinara sauce. Add a second layer of chicken, cheese, and marinara then top everything with shredded Parmesan cheese.

Bake in oven for about 25-30 minutes until chicken is cooked through and cheese is melted and delicious!