Going for a run, slugging a punching bag, or a fierce cleaning rampage are all methods I have heard people use to let out pent up aggression from a stressful, day, week, month or year (who knows?!). But last Wednesday morning when I told my friend’s dad that I had duked it out by making my own breadcrumbs, it definitely made him do the “head-tilt”. You know what I’m taking about – the tilt those pugs on YouTube do every time their owner asks them a question…complete confusion. No disrespect to pug lovers globally (seeing as I am a devout owner and fanatic of the wrinkly aliens), but they definitely capture that same sentiment that overwhelmed this dear man that morning. I told him that while it wasn’t my intention when I first decided to make my own breadcrumbs (in fact it was inspired by the fact that I had a rock-hard baguette that could double as a WMD if I didn’t do something with it), as I sat in my apartment pounding this French staple into coarse shavings, I could not help but feel the frustration from my typical work day leave my nerves and travel through my instrument to make something I was then going to use for my dinner. Now if that is not a healthy and effective way to cope with stress, I don’t know what is!
My inventory of kitchen supplies, while impressive for someone my age and fairly new to the independent lifestyle, lacks a mallet traditionally used to pummel bread into crumbs. However, this was not going to stop me! As Barney Stinson says, “Challenge accepted!” So, while I would not recommend this for children, I wrapped the blade of my serrated bread knife with a thick tea towel and used the handle as my mallet. I’ve gotta say, it did the job! However, for the sake of the realization that if I had injured myself no one would have found me for a day, I think my next Amazon.com hunt will be for a mallet. Otherwise, the only things you need to set yourself up for some healthy stress-busting is dry bread, parmesan cheese, and Italian seasonings. Ladies and gentlemen, start pounding!!!
To Make the Breadcrumbs:
- 1/3 hardened/stale baguette (or roughly four slices of some other bread)
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
- 4 pinches Italian seasoning
- Cube the bread and put in a gallon-size ziplock bag and seal tightly.
- With your mallet, pound the outside of the bag, crushing the bread cubes until they make fine to semi-coarse crumbs. The more you pound, the finer they will become – it’s all dependent on how much time you want to spend and how bad your week has been.
- Open your bag and dump in the parmesan and Italian seasoning. Seal bag and shake until well mixed. Add more Italian seasoning if necessary.
Baked Parmesan Chicken Cutlets
- 1 1/2 cup homemade breadcrumbs (see above)
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- 4 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless (roughly 5 oz each)
- 4 TB honey
- Preheat oven to 400F. Spray a cookie sheet with Pam.
- In a Ziplock bag, mix breadcrumbs and paprika together. One at a time, toss the chicken breasts in the bag until evenly and thickly coated. Place breasts on greased cookie sheet.
- Drizzle each breast with 1 tablespoon of honey. Sprinkle remaining breadcrumb mixture over the breasts, gently pressing into the honey so that they adhere.
- Make a tent with tin foil and bake the chicken for 20 minutes. Uncover and cook 10 more minutes, or until brown and cooked through.
- Serve immediately and with your favorite sides – I recommend some sort of green vegetable and a potato dish.