Chicken Cutlets and Rice Pilaf a Penny Pincher's Meal for Four

When I buy a whole boneless chicken breast and trim it myself I like to split them not only in half at the center but also in half by thickness.  It works best if they are partially frozen if it is your first try. Anyway, until you get the hang of this!  First halve them at the center.  I like to trim any fat off and the line of cartilage that joins the two sides.  Next on a piece of parchment I arrange one of the halves and place my left hand flat on top.  Next I use a sharp knife and guide it half way through the thickness.  Repeat for the second half.  This yields me four very nice big slices of chicken.

Note:  When making this menu I start the Rice Pilaf before the chicken and it works out perfectly for me.  However the rice can hold a few extra minutes with the lid left on the pan or the cutlets and hold in a preheated 200 degree F. oven as described if need be .

Ingredients for Chicken Cutlets:

4 sliced chicken breast pieces cut as above, or ask your butcher to do this
1 C. flour
2 eggs beaten
1/2 C. grated Parmesan cheese
2 C. Panco bread crumbs
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
oil for frying

Place the first chicken slice on the parchment and cover it with plastic wrap.  Using a meat tenderizer. or mallet,  or small frying pan pound out the chicken until it is evenly thin about 1/4" in thickness.  Process the remaining pieces the same way.  Salt and pepper each piece.

Arrange a breading station with a dish of plain flour, a dish with the beaten eggs. and a dish containing the well mixed cheese, crumbs, salt, and pepper. 

Heat about 1/2 to 3/4" of oil into a heavy skillet and begin breading the cutlets.  Dip the first slice of chicken into the flour on both sides shaking off any excess.  Dip the floured chicken into the egg  turning so both sides are coated.  Next liberally dredge the egg covered chicken slices with the crumb and cheese mixture again shaking off any excess.  Place the breaded cutlet into the hot oil and fry until browned turning to cook both sides.  This takes 3-4 minutes a side.  Place the cutlets into a preheated 200 degree F. oven on absorbent paper on an oven prof platter until all of the cutlets have been cooked.  They can hold until the rest of the meal is finished.

Ingredients for Rice Pilaf:

1/2 C. orzo
1 C. long grain rice
1-2 cloves of garlic diced very finely
2 C. chicken stock
2 T. butter
salt and pepper to taste

Melt the butter in  a wide bottomed pan with a tight fitting lid.  Add the orzo and toast lightly.  Add the garlic and the broth stirring well.  Lightly salt and pepper and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and cover.  Let this slow simmer for 20 minutes before removing the lid and tossing with a fork.  Taste to correct the seasoning and serve hot.  Yield four servings.

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