Last night, I ventured out into new territory and made a chicken dish for dinner. Having been a vegetarian for many years, I have only cooked chicken a handful of times.
I should probably say a word here on why my vegetarianism has slowly faded over the past few years. Really, it boils down to two things: my family’s health and my waistline. I have two little boys, and after doing some reading on soy, I started getting nervous about feeding them too much of it. Also, I was using a lot of veggie burger-type foods, which are pretty far from the natural form of soy, and I wanted to try to eliminate the really processed stuff in our lives. So I started feeding them some organic poultry. For a while, it was just this locally-grown deli turkey that I would give them in sandwiches for lunch. I’ve been a vegetarian for essentially all of my adult life, so I’ve never learned how to cook meat. Recently, though, I’ve started to try to branch out, so I’ve been teaching myself via the internet, my mom, and some friends how to cook chicken.
Moreover, my waistline has started to expand as I get older and all that pasta and bread gets metabolized differently. It’s as if my body has decided that I’ve had a lifetime’s worth of pasta already, so it’s just going to store all those carbs on my hips. So I’ve been trying to eat a little more protein and a few less carbs.
All that build up for a simple chicken dish! I found a recipe in Everyday Food for breaded chicken cutlets, and I had an idea for a nice salsa to spoon over the top. Initially, I thought of it as a vegetable and fruit salsa, but my seven-year-old pointed out that there really aren’t any vegetables in it, since tomatoes and avocado are actually fruits. Thanks, smarty pants.
Breaded Chicken Cutlets
(adapted from Everyday Food, March 2009)
makes 4 cutlets
- 4 organic chicken cutlets
- ½ cup white whole wheat flour
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups fresh whole wheat bread crumbs
- ¼ cup flaxseed meal
- ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 4 tablespoons canola oil
To make the bread crumbs: Pulse two or three pieces of whole wheat bread in a food processor until finely ground.
Mix together bread crumbs, flaxseed meal, and Parmesan cheese in a wide bowl. Set aside. In another wide bowl, scramble the two eggs. Set aside. Pour the whole wheat flour into a third wide bowl. Line the three bowls up on the counter: flour, eggs, and then bread crumb mixture.
Dredge a cutlet in the flour, coating both sides well. Then dip the cutlet in the egg, coating well, and then the bread crumbs. Pat the crumbs onto the cutlets to make certain they are covered relatively thickly. Repeat with each cutlet.
Heat canola oil over medium high heat. Place cutlets in the pan without crowding them—you may need to fry them in separate batches. Fry until the bottom is crispy and brown, about 5 minutes. Turn the cutlets over and fry the second side until brown, about another 5 minutes. When the inside of the chicken reaches 165° or the insides are completely white and opaque, remove them from the pan.
You can make the salsa while the cutlets are frying.
(enough for 4 cutlets)
- ½ ripe mango, diced
- 1 kiwi fruit, diced
- 12 cherry tomatoes, cut in halves
- ½ avocado, diced
- juice from ½ lemon
- pinch salt
Mix all the diced fruit together. Squeeze the juice from the lemon over everything, and add a pinch of salt to taste. Mix together, and spoon over chicken cutlets.