Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Quick and Easy Recipe: Chick'n Parmeshaun

This is another one of those things that I never really thought about posting, because it seemed too basic, or something.

We had a vegetarian house guest for a couple of months this summer, and I made this, which impressed our guest, who had only eaten Boca Chick'n patties in sandwiches, and never much thought about different ways to use them before. I also had an (omni) friend over for dinner after work one night recently, and I threw together this meal, which surprised her with its flavor and texture.

It's obviously not going to fool anyone into thinking they're having real chicken parmesean, but it does hit the same notes in a satisfying and much lower fat, not to mention super quick and easy, way. It's a nice, quick meal, although it's pretty much all prepackaged items, so it's not the freshest, or the least refined thing around. It's easy to keep the items on hand for the days when time is short.

For a 15-minutes-or-less meal of Chick'n Parmeshaun:

Boca Chick'n patties, one per person,
good pasta sauce, see note
FYH, Monterey Jack flavor
dried pasta, whichever shape you like most, I like penne
fresh green veggies like broccoli, sugar snap peas, asparagus, etc.

1) Turn on broiler if using FYH.

2) Put a 3 qt. saucepan full of water on to boil.

3) Place Boca Chick'n patties on a baking sheet, with 2--3" between each.

4) Pour sauce, as desired, over each patty. I typically use about 1/4 cup for each patty.

5) Crumble and sprinkle FYH over each patty.

Like this.

6) Place in oven or toaster oven for approximately 10 minutes, until patty is thawed and warm, and FYH is dark and melty.

Like this.
7) Meanwhile, blanch your choice of veggies in water as soon as it comes to a rolling boil. My veggie of choice for this meal is always broccoli.

8) Remove veggies from water when they are tender crisp. Add salt to water and let water return to boil.

9) Add pasta to boiling water and cook until al dente.

10) Dress your pasta. I usually add a dab of EB or a drizzle of olive oil, then a good sprinkle of nutritional yeast and garlic powder(fresh garlic is too strong), but sometimes I mix it up and keep the pasta plain with a drizzle of olive oil or EB, or heat some pasta sauce up and cook the pasta in the sauce for a few minutes.

11) Serve chick'n patty over dressed pasta, with a big side of cooked vegetables.

You can make a fresh green salad, sauté your vegetables, or cook something like kale in a separate pot, and omit step 7.

I love FYH, but if you're a diehard Daiya fan, or can't get enough Teese, you can use those. I've never tried them in this dish, so I don't know how long they would take, or if they would need the broiler.

This meal is all about convenience, so I use jarred pasta sauce. If you've got a stock of home canned sauce, or a freezer full of frozen sauce, I'm sure those would be amazing.

If not, look for pasta sauces that don't have sugar listed as an ingredient. The difference between sauces with and without this one ingredient is typically about 40 calories, not to mention a ton of flavor. The sugar tempers down all the yummy tanginess of the tomatoes and the subtleties of the other ingredients, so all you taste is sweet. Gross. I cannot stand super sweet marinara.

My favorite, widely available sauce is Classico's Tomato and Basil. It comes in both conventional, approximately $2, and organic, usually $3.50 or less. One serving is 1/2 cup and contains 50 calories. Classico's Tomato and Sweet Basil, on the other hand, is similarly priced(though I'm not sure if it's available in an organic version) DOES contain sugar, and one 1/2 cup serving is 90 calories. I'm not a fanatic about calorie counting, but this is a crazy big difference. It's always good to read labels to check out more than just the vegan-ness of ingredients.

I like making one extra patty and taking the leftovers for lunch. It travels super well, and it takes no more effort to make 1 or 2, than it does to make 3 or 4. The FYH will not remelt unless you broil it again, though....but I enjoy the once-melted texture.

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