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Angry Chicken "Parm" | virginia is for hunter-gatherers

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Angry Chicken "Parm"

We haven't had a "traditional" pasta dish in ages, and the other day, while rummaging through the pantry, I found something that sparked my creative juices. A couple months ago, I made Paleomg's Double-decker Carrot Cake Cupcakes (and, yes, they were amazing!); but I had a lot of ground-up cashews leftover because I guess I got a little zealous with that part, haha. I saw the airtight container I stored the leftovers in and thought, "Oh man, I need to use that!"

Now, I've seen paleo-friendly chicken parmesan recipes in passing AND I've also seen recipes for paleo-friendly "cheese" made from cashews. So, my logic was this: I could make a chicken "parm" using the cashews as a base, and maybe it'd come out a little bit like the real thing. :)

And the best part? I found a "clean" pasta sauce at my regular grocery store! I wasn't sure I'd find something suitable--in fact, I was pretty certain I wouldn't, so I was prepared to make sauce from scratch or at least from "clean" canned, crushed tomatoes--but I checked the pasta sauce aisle, just in case. I found Rao's Homemade Arrabbiata Sauce. OMG, I can't believe this stuff. It's completely clean! I've included a few pictures at the bottom of this post so you can check it out for yourself. Go ahead, scroll to it before reading the rest, if you want. Just make sure you come back up here to read the recipe and such later. ;)

Anyways, back to the final product: Brent was shocked. I told him I'd be experimenting while he was at work, and I think he was a little leery, haha. But I brought him a chicken "parm" popper when I picked him up from work that night, and he loved it! The next day, I packed up some "angry [zucchini] spaghetti" and a bunch of chicken "parm" poppers for his lunch. He came home raving, "It was so good!"

YAY! I love it when he loves my experiments. I hope you will love it too...

Angry Chicken "Parm"

Ingredients for the Chicken "Parm" Poppers
  • 4 chicken thighs (bone-in, skin-on is cheapest so that's what I buy; but you can save yourself some time by getting boneless, skinless thighs)
  • 2 eggs, scrambled in a bowl
  • 1 cup of ground cashews
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoon ground garlic
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • salt and pepper to taste (I used about 1/2 teaspoon each)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Ingredients for the "Angry [Zucchini] Spaghetti"
  • 3 medium to large zucchinis
  • Salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Approx. 1/3 jar of Rao's Homemade Arrabbiata Sauce
  1. Wash and pat dry the zucchini.
  2. Cut off the ends, and then use your super cool julianne peeler to peel the zucchini down to the seeded center. Be careful! You don't want to cut yourself or get any of the seeded center of the zucchini. (If you don't have a julianne peeler, you could use a normal veggie peeler to make flat, fettuccine-style noodles.)
  3. Toss the noodles with a pinch (or three, haha) of salt in a large bowl and set aside. (The salt will help draw out some of the moister. This is important because later, when you cook it and add the sauce, it could get too watery if you don't dry out the "pasta" a little before hand.)
  4. Turn your attention to the chicken! 
  5. If you bought thighs with the bone in and skin on, like I did, go ahead and de-bone those suckers! Need some help? Go to YouTube, search "debone chicken thigh," and pick a video or two. There are tons.
  6. Peel off (most of) the skin. You don't have to get everything though--a little fat is good for you and the chicken. ;)
  7. Cut the chicken thigh meat into bite-sized pieces.
  8. Now, make the cashew mix by combining all the dry ingredients--the ground cashews, almond flour, garlic, oregano, basil, and salt and pepper.
  9. Note: I like to have a plate, bowl or platter on the side for my chicken "parm" poppers after they are dipped and rolled, before you place them in the pan. Honestly, I'm not skilled enough in the kitchen to have the pan hot and going, while prepping the chicken. :p
  10. Dunk the chicken pieces into the egg, then roll in the cashew mix, and set aside on a plate (or in a bowl or whatever you have). 
  11. Once all (or at least, a substantial portion) of the chicken pieces have been dunked and rolled, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large pan.
  12. Place the pieces into the pan and let them sizzle and simmer on one side for a few minutes (depending on their size, 2-4 min). The outside should get golden and crispy, but don't be discouraged if not all of the pieces are perfect.
  13. Flip!
  14. Let the chicken pieces cook another 2 to 4 minutes on the other side. 
  15. At this point, I like to check one piece to make sure it's cooked through. Just pluck it out with a fork or spoon, cut it open and check inside. Then I eat it! ;)
  16. When they are done, remove the pieces from the pan and place on a plate with a paper towel on it. This will absorb any excess oil so they are less likely to get soggy.
  17. Repeat steps 10 through 16 until all the pieces are dunked, rolled and cooked.
  18. Time for the "pasta"!
  19. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large pan.
  20. Add the zucchini "spaghetti noodles" to the pan and cook for about 2 to 4 minutes. If you want them to be more firm, 2 minutes; more cooked (and, thus, more soft), go with 4 minutes.
  21. Add the arrabbiata sauce to the pan and stir around.
  22. Simmer for another 2 minutes or so to heat through. 
  23. Serve the chicken "parm" poppers over the angry zucchini spaghetti and enjoy!!!

As you can see, we used about 1/3 to 1/2 of the jar.

Here are the details about Rao's pasta sauce. :) I think it's absolutely delicious and I'm excited about the absence of artificial ingredients, preservatives, and such. It doesn't even have sugar or sugar substitutes! Check it out:

Check out those beautiful, clean ingredients! I can't believe I found this at Giant. I'm so excited. :)
I also bought a jar of Rao's Homemade Marinara Sauce. I'm looking forward to trying it out soon, and I'll definitely post about it when I do. :)


Brent. said...

Everything came together for me yesterday: I came across this posting, I've always wanted to try veggie "noodles," I've never had a use for my julienne cutter, and I had several zucchinis from the farmer's market! I didn't try the chicken, but thanks to your post, the noodles turned out great!

Therese said...

We use the Rao's marinara in this recipe:

It is so good. Also serve it on the zucchini noodles or on top of eggs. :)

Heather said...

Brent--I'm so glad to hear you found our blog helpful! I strongly recommend you try the chicken from this recipe next time ;)

Therese--Mmmm, Rao's over eggs sounds amazing. :) Also, I've not seen that blog before, but I just took a peek around and it's adorable. Thanks for sharing!

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