Recipe of the Week - Chicken Parmesan

When asked to contribute a Recipe of the Week blog, I was thrilled! But while I have a ton of recipes (ask me about my homemade deodorant), I'm not the best writer. So let's see how this goes! I've been thinking about what kind of meals most moms I know really cook and I think it comes down to a couple of things.

  • Quick - there's a kid screaming somewhere.
  • Not a ton of ingredients.  It takes too long to get them together!
  • Nothing that requires unusual items.  After all, you don't want to buy something you're only going to use once.

I know we want to be super mom and do everything...AND do it perfectly!  But I think sometimes super mom is the mom who says, "Dinner is a ham sandwich and I have a child that needs me more."

I've got a few recipes to share that shouldn't take too long, but look and taste awesome.  And they are mostly healthy. What can I say, I'm Southern and I like butter! So here's my first contribution:

I'm not a huge Italian food fan, but this was really good! I made a few tweaks because I believe recipes are better when tailored to your family. In this case, I used Italian bread crumbs (no, I didn't make my own.  That seemed way too time consuming with that screaming child.), basil and oregano diced tomatoes.  Also, I skipped the fresh herbs because I didn't have them on hand.

Even with the changes, it was awesome!

Quick Chicken Parmesan

Quick Chicken Parmesan Recipe


  • 2, 8-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
  • 1/2 cup coarse dry breadcrumbs, preferably whole-wheat
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1, 28-ounce can no-salt-added crushed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil or parsley
  1. Cut each chicken breast in half on the diagonal to make 4 roughly equal portions. Place between pieces of plastic wrap and pound with the smooth side of a meat mallet or a heavy saucepan to an even 1/4-inch thickness. Sprinkle the chicken with 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Combine breadcrumbs and 1 tablespoon oil in a small bowl; set aside.
  2. Position rack in upper third of oven; preheat broiler to high.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large, ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add half the chicken and cook until golden, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate. Reduce the heat to medium and repeat with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and chicken. Transfer the chicken to the plate.
  4. Add onion and garlic to the pan and cook, stirring, until beginning to soften, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Pour in crushed tomatoes; add Italian seasoning and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Return the pan to medium heat and cook, stirring, until the onions are tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Return the chicken and any accumulated juices to the pan. Turn to coat with the sauce.
  5. Sprinkle about 1/4 cup of cheese over each piece of chicken, then top with the reserved breadcrumb mixture. Broil until the cheese is melted, about 1 minute. (Watch carefully to prevent burning.) Serve the chicken with the sauce, sprinkled with basil (or parsley).

Original recipe found here.

Recipe of the Week: French Pumpkin Soup

Jamie's Autumn Potage a Variation on a Variation of French Pumpkin Soup I got the recipe for this delicious soup at the farmer's market in Carrboro, North Carolina. The C'est si Bon! cooking school was advertising and had samples of the soup with the recipe to take home. The original recipe had some slightly exotic and/or expensive ingredients like leeks and baby fennel, so I've adapted it to ingredients that are more available and affordable. I absolutely love the flavor of this soup and if you puree it, it makes very nutritious baby food!

3 T of fat, olive oil, butter, duck, chicken or goose fat 2 large onions, chopped 1 celery heart, chopped 2 sprigs of fresh thyme (or a couple pinches of dried) 2 bay leaves 3 pounds of fresh pumpkin or other hard squash (I like butternut better than pumpkin), cut in 1" cubes 1 pound of carrots, chopped 8 cups of chicken stock salt and pepper heavy cream or plain yogurt, optional

Heat the fat in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions and celery, stir well, cover, and cook over LOW for 15 minutes. Do not brown them. (I add a little salt here to help sweat the veg.) Add the carrot and cook, covered, for another 10 minutes. Add the cubed squash to the pot, then the stock. Season with salt and pepper (go easy on the salt if using store-bought stock) and add the bay leaves and thyme. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer, partially covered for 45 minutes or until the squash is very tender. At this point you can either mash the soup with a potato masher or puree it with a stick blender. (I prefer to puree it.) If pureeing it in a blender or food processor, let it cool a bit first. If the soup is too thick for your liking, add more stock. Check seasoning and add more salt if needed. DSC_0401When serving you can drizzle a bit of cream or yogurt on the top.

I can't tell you how delicious and warming this is! Serve with some bread and cheese to fill out the meal.

Recipe of the Week - Chicken Pesto Cavatappi


  I’m feeling rather generous today and sharing with you my "go to" meal for company. This recipe is a family favorite in the Earl household. My husband and my 21 month-old both ask for seconds and I think it tastes even better the next day, cold, out of the fridge. It is easy to prepare - especially if you’ve cooked the chicken earlier in the week along with another meal. I usually just serve it with a good loaf of bread and maybe a glass of red wine.

Chicken Pesto CavatappiPesto Pasta with Grilled Chicken Recipe

  • 1lb Cavatappi Pasta (I use whole wheat rotini)
  • 12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • ¼ tsp each salt and pepper
  • 1 tub (6-7 ounces) basil or cilantro pesto
  • 1 cup jarred roasted peppers – red and yellow (drained and cut into strips)
  • 1 cup halved grape tomatoes

Cook pasta and reserve 1 cup of water. Coat chicken in olive oil; sprinkle salt and pepper. Grill on stovetop grill pan 4-5 minutes until cooked through. (I just cook it in the oven on 350 for 30 minutes or so). Cut chicken into strips. Add to pasta, pesto, peppers, tomatoes and ½ of pasta water. Mix and serve! Enjoy.

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