Chicken-Stuffed Eggplant Parmesan

by Melinda Winner
(Zephyrhills, Florida)

The Best Sunday Family Meal Ever

The Best Sunday Family Meal Ever

All my life life Sunday dinner has been a major part of my life. Every Sunday the family would gather for a large meal and visiting. I am now grown and have my own children and grandchildren. Sunday dinners mean so much more now. This is a time for us to stop and enjoy each others company in a time of crazy fast paced lives where no one has time. We all cook, eat and share together. This dish takes a little more time to make . However; It is so worth it. It gives the woman of the family more time for girl talk. The taste says it was worth the time. After we enjoy the meal we all sit and talk for hours, I hope you enjoy this recipe.


INGREDIENTS

  • 1 eggplant, peeled and sliced
  • 4 Egg Land’s best eggs (for egg wash and for breading eggplant)
  • 3 T. milk (for egg wash)
    2 cup Progresso Italian bread crumbs (for breading eggplant)
  • 1 1/2 cup flour (for breading eggplant)
  • 3 boneless chicken breasts, pan fried and shredded, then added to spaghetti sauce
    Salt, pepper, and garlic to taste for chicken seasoning
  • 15 oz. ricotta cheese
  • 1 tsp. garlic for ricotta cheese
    1/2 c. Breakstone’s sour cream (for ricotta cheese)
  • 2 tsp. fresh parsley, chopped (for ricotta cheese)
  • 8 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 c. grated Parmesan cheese, divided

    PREPARATION

  • In a large, deep, nonstick skillet over medium heat sprayed with high temperature nonstick cooking spray, place chicken, and season to taste with salt, garlic, and pepper.
  • Continue to cook until done, then remove from the pan and set aside to cool a little. When chicken has cooled to the touch, shred the chicken using a fork and get ready to add to your sauce.

    When you are finished with the chicken, make your spaghetti sauce (recipe to follow) using the same skillet or wash pan. You can use your favorite jarred sauce if you do not want to make homemade. However, the taste of this dish will vary a little. After you have your sauce mixed in the skillet, start on the eggplant.


    Eggplant directions:

  • Preheat deep fryer filled with canola oil to 350°F.
  • First, get three pie pans—one for flour, the second for egg wash, and the third for breadcrumbs.
  • To make an egg wash, just add eggs and milk and whisk for 30 seconds to one minute.
  • Now pop the top off eggplant, and using a potato peeler, peel eggplant and slice into about 1/4- to 1/2-inch slices (thickness is your preference). You may also want to leave the skin on, and it is just fine that way also.
  • Now dredge in the flour, then egg wash, and lastly, breadcrumbs.
  • Press breadcrumbs firmly onto eggplant and drop right into the fryer until golden brown.
  • Turn over and brown the other side. It should be only about 1 minute for each slice.
  • Place the finished eggplant slices on paper towels to drain while you are frying the rest of the eggplant.



    Ricotta cheese mixture:

  • In a small bowl mix ricotta, garlic, parsley, sour cream, and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Stir well.



    Spaghetti sauce:

    INGREDIENTS

  • 2 T. Olive oil
  • 1/2 red onion, diced finely
  • 1/2 large green pepper, diced finely
  • 2 cans (28 oz.) Hunt’s crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (6 oz.) can Hunt’s tomato paste
  • 1/2 lb. mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tsp. basil flakes
  • 2 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. celery salt
  • 1/2 tsp. McCormick’s Italian seasoning
    pinch of cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp. McCormick’s pepper melody
  • 1 tsp. sugar

    PREPARATION

  • In a large skillet over medium-high heat add olive oil.
  • Add onion and green pepper to the hot oil.
  • Sauté until tender. Now add crushed tomatoes and tomato paste; whisk well.
  • Add garlic powder, basil, oregano, onion powder, salt, crushed red pepper, celery salt, Italian seasoning, cinnamon, pepper melody, and sugar to the tomato mixture.
  • Whisk well and lower heat to medium.
  • Let simmer, stirring often for 15 minutes, then add sliced mushrooms and shredded chicken and continue to simmer for another 20 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and set aside.


    Assembly:

  • Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • Now spray a 13x9x3-inch glass baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  • First, cover the bottom of pan with sauce, then a layer of eggplant, a layer of sauce, a layer of mozzarella, a layer of ricotta, and a layer of parmesan.
  • Repeat this pattern until all your ingredients are used up. You should have three layers.
  • End with the sauce and then a coating of mozzarella on top of the sauce and a sprinkle of Parmesan.
  • Bake for 40 minutes uncovered or until bubbly and hot.
  • Remove from oven and let it sit for 10 minutes before serving.

    Garnish with fresh parsley and serve with a side salad.

    Yields 6 to 8 servings

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