Warning – this is one of those rare Crock Pot dishes that does require the meat to be thawed first. It is the only drawback to an otherwise fabulous dish. That one tiny step – thawing out the chicken – is the only step that requires you to think ahead rather than stagger into the kitchen in the morning and throw everything into the pot.
Our favorite Italian Restaurant has closed. What a bummer. One of the “cute” traditions was that it did not seem to matter what you ordered, it always came with a small bowl of pasta on the side – usually spaghetti topped with a lovely marinara sauce. (And when I say it did not matter what you ordered, I kid you not – even if you ordered a big plate of Spaghetti – you got more on the side!)
I miss my little Italian joint. I miss our waiter, a little old man who shuffled when he walked, with an accent so heavy you’d swear you were at Caffè Florian, situated in the Procuratie Nuove of Piazza San Marco, Venice. This wonderful establishment has been serving up strong cups of coffee since 1720 . Our favorite waiter was warm, with a quick laugh and a hear as big as all outdoors. I miss his wife, the grandmother of the kitchen. Often she stood in the doorway leading to her domain, a giant dish towel tied around her thick waist. Her kind eyes were a window to her beautiful old soul. I miss the music – all those Dean Martin sing-a-longs! I feel homesick for a country that I’ve only visited in my dream.
So I’m cooking up one of our favorite dishes, Chicken Parmesan, with a heavy serving of Spaghetti on the side, and pouring Chianti Classico into mason jars. Here’s to a bygone memory!
Chicken Parmesan Crock Pot Style
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1 egg, beaten
2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese, divided
1 (26 oz.) jar spicy or mild marinara sauce
1 lb Linguine or Spaghetti Pasta, cooked al dente
Flat Leaf Italian Parsley for garnish
Coat the bottom of the slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Spread a thin layer of marinara in the bottom of the slow cooker.
In a bowl, whisk egg. Mix together bread crumb, seasonings, and Parmesan cheese in a separate dish. Dip chicken into egg mixture; then into bread crumb mixture, coating both sides.
Place the chicken in slow cooker and top with 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese. Cover with entire jar of marinara sauce. Cook on low 6-7 hours or high for 3-4 hours.
When chicken is done, keep warm in the crock pot. Bring a large pot of salted water to a full boil. Cook pasta as directed, about 8 to 10 minutes in boiling water.
Chop parsley while pasta is cooking
Transfer pasta to a large bowl. Place chicken on a serving dish. Ladle marinara over both dishes. Toss pasta to coat. Sprinkle pasta and chicken with parsley to garnish
Pasta can be eaten on the side in a small bowl (Italian Style) or topped with chicken when serving.
A nice salad, or pan-seared vegetables and warm bread round out this supper nicely. Enjoy!