Chicken Milanese

Let's face it.  Returning from vacation is hard.  So what can you make for dinner that first night back into the swing of things that will be just as tasty as anything you ate on vacation?

Nothing.  So don't try too hard.

This weekend my husband and I took a mini-vacation to the beach in celebration of his birthday.

We stayed at the Queen Victoria Bed & Breakfast, a delightfully-charming Victorian inn set in the heart of the small seaside village of Cape May, at the southern tip of the New Jersey peninsula.

The inn is comprised of three historically-preserved Victorian homes, each with unique and richly-appointed decor.  No two guest rooms are alike.  They have so much character!  It's quite fancy.

The right kind of fancy, not the snobby, no-fun kind.

Guests of the inn are treated like British royalty.  Each morning, the innkeepers prepare a fresh breakfast buffet, and muffins/breads are baked each day on premises.  Each afternoon, guests congregate in the main home for proper afternoon tea, complete with sweet homemade treats, savory snacks, and good conversation.

We had the good fortune to be staying in the home that housed the main kitchen where all the baking took place.  I was constantly hungry.

Did I mention that this is where my husband and I got engaged three years ago?  He sure did pull one over on me that day.  It's very easy to say yes to things when all you smell are cookies.

Pre-proposal, May 2009.  So smooth.
 On Saturday afternoon, we made a visit to the Cape May Winery where we enjoyed a complimentary wine tasting.  The tasting room was massive, and was well-stocked with American Oak-barrelled, award-winning Chardonnay.

So we stayed for awhile.  When you're dealing with balsamic vinegar cheese, a sunny afternoon, and floor-to-ceiling wine racks, why leave?  Let's not make things harder than they need to be.

Aside from a lazy breakfast, afternoon tea, and wine guzzling tasting, you may be wondering what else there is to do at the beach during the winter months.  I was wondering the same thing.  I have been known to unravel without a steady plan, afterall.

But do you know how nice it is once in awhile to take a nap?  To sit in a rocking chair and read a book?  To spend the afternoon window shopping and snacking on salt water taffy?  To have absolutely no agenda, no plan, no list of things to get done, no sense of time or direction or purpose?

If not, I'll tell you.  It's very nice, indeed.  You should do it!

The simplest joys in life present themselves when you slow down long enough to give them a chance.
Two fools in love.
Tonight's dinner is brought to you by simplicity.  It's hard enough to get your head back in the game after such a relaxing weekend away,  why make dinner a chore?

This healthy version of Chicken Milanese is light, refreshing, and super simple to put together.  Coat your chicken with crispy Panko, and bake it up to golden perfection.  Serve it on a bed of peppery arugula topped with a rustic tomato, basil, and balsamic raw sauce.

Then promptly plan your next getaway.

Chicken Milanese
Inspired by Rachael Ray
Yields 4 servings

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin (or just buy them thin!)
1/2 c egg substitute (or 2 eggs)
1 c Panko breadcrumbs
1 tsp garlic powder, divided
3 plum tomatoes, chopped
1/2 medium red onion, chopped
1 bunch fresh basil, chopped
1/4 c balsamic vinegar
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 package baby arugula

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and spray with cooking spray.

Pour the egg substitute into a medium-sized bowl.  In a similar-sized bowl, mix together the Panko, salt/pepper to taste, and 1/2 tsp of the garlic powder. 

Dip each chicken breast into the egg mixture, making sure to coat on both sides, and then dip the chicken into the breadcrumb mixture.  Make sure the breadcrumbs evenly coat the chicken, shake any excess back into the bowl, and lay each chicken breast on the baking sheet.  Bake for approximately 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown.

Meanwhile, combine the tomatoes, onion, basil, the remaining 1/2 tsp garlic powder, salt/pepper, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil in a medium bowl.  Let the "sauce" sit at room temperature while the chicken cooks.

To serve, place each chicken breast on a bed of arugula, and top with the raw tomato sauce.  Add parmesan cheese or extra balsamic vinegar as desired.

1 comment:

Terry said...

And when did you have time to put this together?
Love the story, love the pictures and will definitely try the dinner.

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