A Quick Dinner for Two
Preparing a dinner has nearly become automatic for me. I say, nearly, because there are still times that I am stumped about how to approach a particular meal, which usually causes me to bounce around the kitchen like a ping-pong ball, while trying to accomplish the simplest tasks. But, over the years, I’ve learned how to manage my time and I’ve learned how to stay calm in the kitchen, even while improvising.
For this meal, I wanted to flavor the broccoli with garlic but I didn’t want pieces of garlic in the finished dish and I wanted to add garlic paste to the schnitzel gravy so, it made perfect sense to me to quickly pan fry the broccoli with whole pieces of garlic and then use the garlic for the gravy. That kind of efficiency pays off when you want to reduce the amount of time preparing a meal. If I remember correctly, this meal took about 45 minutes to prepare.
Mushroom and Broccoli ingredients:
8 oz fresh broccoli florets
5 garlic cloves
8 oz fresh mushrooms (stems removed)
8 oz Mozzarella, crumbled
1 Tbs bread crumbs
Heat a small pan and add a little olive oil, about 1 tablespoon. Add broccoli and peeled garlic cloves over high heat, tossing in the pan, frequently. The high heat will char the broccoli without overcooking. Remove and set the garlic aside.
Add about 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a ceramic baking dish. Smear the oil around the bottom of the dish, to coat.
Remove stems from mushrooms and arrange them in the dish. Nestle the broccoli between the mushrooms.
Top with crumbled Mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle bread crumbs over the cheese.
Bake at 350° for about 20 minutes, or until the cheese melts and begins to brown. Remove from oven and store in a warm place.
Schnitzel Gravy ingredients:
15 oz tomato sauce
4 Tbs Hungarian paprika
5 garlic cloves, sautéed and mashed
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbs softened butter
2 Tbs flour
For the schnitzel:
1 cup of cooking oil
2 large chicken breasts, flattened
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup Panko bread crumbs
2 Green onions, chopped
Add tomato sauce to a large pan and set the heat to medium/low. Add the paprika and swirl into the sauce with a whisk.
Move the sautéed garlic, prepared earlier, to a clean cutting board. Sprinkle a little coarse salt over the garlic cloves. Press and smear the garlic with the broad side of a kitchen knife, to form a paste.
Add the garlic paste to the sauce and mix.
Add flour and softened butter to a small bowl. Mix with a fork. Ladle some of the warm sauce into the bowl and continue to mix.
Add the mixture back to the sauce and continue to the heat the sauce over medium/low heat. The sauce will thicken during the next several minutes. Reduce heat to low and simmer while preparing the chicken.
Add about 1 cup cooking oil to a pan and heat over medium/hot heat.
Add chicken breasts to a clean work surface. Pound the chicken to about ½” thick with the broad side of a meat cleaver or mallet.
Set up a dredging station with beaten eggs in one dish and Panko bread crumbs in the other dish.
Dredge the chicken in the egg, coating each side. Lay the chicken in the Panko bread crumbs and turn over to coat each side. Press on the chicken with your hands to ensure that the chicken is thoroughly coated. Pan fry the chicken for about two minutes on each side, or until the chicken is golden brown.
Remove to a paper towel to remove excess oil.
Add the chicken to a serving dish and cover with the schnitzel gravy. Garnish with chopped green onions and serve warm.