Here’s a sneak peek from my new cookbook, How to Cook Everything Fast: a fast-tracked chicken parm I made with Reader’s Digest. It can be yours in 30 minutes, start to finish. How? By taking advantage of the downtime while, say, oil heats or chicken broils to get a jump on prep. It’s a recipe, in real-time. Follow it as you would any other, doing the prep (in italics) as you go — dinner practically cooks itself.

5 tablespoons olive oil
3 medium ripe tomatoes
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 2 pounds)
Salt and pepper
8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese
2 ounces Parmesan cheese (1/2 cup grated)
1 bunch fresh basil
1 cup bread crumbs

1. Turn the broiler to high; put the rack 6 inches from the heat. Put 2 tablespoons olive oil on a rimmed baking sheet and spread it around; put the baking sheet in the broiler.
Core and slice the tomatoes.
Cut the chicken breasts in half horizontally to make 2 thin cutlets for each breast. Press down on each with the heel of your hand to flatten.

2. Carefully remove the baking sheet from the broiler. Put the chicken cutlets on the sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top with the tomatoes, and broil on one side only until the chicken is no longer pink in the center, rotating the pan if necessary for even cooking, 5 to 10 minutes.
Grate the mozzarella and Parmesan.
Strip 16 to 20 basil leaves from the stems.
Combine the bread crumbs, mozzarella, and Parmesan in a small bowl.

3. When the chicken is cooked through, remove the baking sheet from the broiler. Lay the basil leaves on top of the tomatoes, sprinkle with the bread crumb and cheese mixture, and drizzle with 3 tablespoons olive oil.

4. Return to the broiler, and cook until the bread crumbs and cheese are browned and bubbly, 2 to 4 minutes. Serve immediately.


A new favorite.