Chicken and Eggplant Parmesan

Slice 1 eggplant in slices about 1/4-1/2 inch thick
Pound chicken breasts or slice so they are half as thick
Dip in bowl of beaten egg (2-3 eggs)
Then dip in plate breadcrumbs (I used store-bought for easiness- that I added oregano, salt, pepper, garlic powder and Parmesan cheese to)

To Cook Eggplant:
Heat oil in skillet, about 1 inch deep, until it bubbles when you stick the tip of a chopstick in it. If the oil is not hot enough it will soak into the food and make it greasy and limp, too hot and you will have some lovely charred food.

Gently place eggplant in hot oil a few at a time, don't crowd. Turn with tongs after a few minutes, you want them to be golden. When both sides are golden remove from oil. **Secret step for crispiness: take a cookie cooling rack, place in a pan, lay fresh-out-of-the-oil eggplant on rack to cool**

The old way of lining a plates with paper towels makes soggy eggplant (or chicken or french fries...)

In meantime: boil water for pasta, add salt or olive oil to water. When water is boiling, add pasta.

To Cook Chicken: Dip chicken in egg, then breading as you did eggplant. Drizzle olive oil on a high sided baking sheet, place chicken on sheet, wiggling each piece to coat bottom of chicken with oil. Don't crowd the pan. Drizzle top of pieces with olive oil. Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes, then flip. Bake another 10 minutes (or longer if pieces are thick). When thoroughly baked and golden, remove and cool slightly. Turn oven temperature down to 350 degrees.

Drain pasta when it is al dente. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to prevent sticking together.

Next step for chicken or eggplant:
Drizzle casserole dish (I use one dish for eggplant and one for chicken) with olive oil, spoon in spaghetti sauce. Add chicken/eggplant. Sprinkle each piece with shredded mozzarella. Add more sauce around and overlapping pieces but don't cover completely. Loosely lay foil on top. Place in oven  at 350 degrees, bake 15-20 minutes.

Remove from oven, cool slightly. Serve over bed of pasta with a shake of Parmesan on top.



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