Saturday, April 16, 2011

Do unto others...

Remember when I was having a terrible week and my mom helped me through by cooking a week's worth of food for us? This week, I finally got to pay it forward.

My mom had to have surgery on her foot and is now non-weight baring. Don't worry, she's recovering nicely. On the bright side, some forced R&R is probably a good thing for the lady who never stops.

Since my dad had to be out of the country for work this week, M and I had to pleasure of cooking for her.

Also, our friend's cousin, Julie, is currently fighting stage 4 cancer. And as if that isn't enough for one young family, her son, Jaden, (2 at the time) was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma last year (also stage 4). It's been one hell of a year for them, but they recently received some good news. Jaden is now in remission! But, Julie's own battle continues. Please keep this family in your prayers.

And, with everything going on, Julie was kind enough to let me interview her for a grad school paper. So I found out Jaden's favorite dinner is baked ziti and got to work. It was the first time I ever made it, so I hope it turned out ok!


Monday -- Actually my fabulous M.I.L. stepped in and brought my mom dinner, since we were just returning from a long weekend in the Bahamas.

Tuesday -- Parmesan crusted chicken (below), roasted brussel sprouts and spinach salad with strawberries, feta, pecans, almonds, pepper and just a touch of EVOO.

Wednesday -- Carrots and rutabaga, another spinach salad (pictured). I also prepared the baked ziti (did everything except bake it), then delivered it to the family with a salad and Italian bread. That way all they had to do was actually bake it on Thursday.

Thursday -- Pulled pork sandwiches. Holy easy! One of my new favorite crock pot recipes. We made 6.5 pounds, so we had to call in reinforcements to help us eat it all. It got rave reviews from all of our last minute dinner guests, which I (of course) loved.

Friday -- Naan pizzas. Nothing too fancy since we don't eat meat on Fridays during Lent. Just a little EVOO with roma tomato slices and fresh mozzarella, Romano, Parmesan, and Fontinella. Oh and we've been using the whole wheat Naan. It's good.

My mom requested a lot of veggies and protein, since she can't exercise. So we barely incorporated carbs and we definitely didn't miss them. Plus everything we made was quick and easy.

We're also trying to branch out and try different things. I think brussel sprouts somehow got bad name, but they really are delicious. And that carrot and rutabaga recipe is so easy and tasty. Seriously -- try them. You might just be pleasantly surprised.

I know this post is getting long, but I still want to share my Parmesan Crusted Chicken recipe. It's so easy and we always have these ingredients handy.

Bread crumbs
Fresh grated Parmesan
Fresh grated Romano, Fontinella, any other cheese you have handy
Italian Spice
Garlic powder

Preheat the oven to 350. Pound the chicken (so it cooks faster).

In one small bowl, crack an egg or two. In another bowl, mix a cup of bread crumbs, 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, 1/4 of other cheeses (or a full cup of Parmesan if that's all you have). Season with a shake or two of all spices.

Then make an assembly line. Dip chicken in egg, then in the breadcrumb mixture, then place in a baking dish. Repeat for all pieces. Cover with foil and bake until chicken is cooked through.

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