Chicken Parmesan and Trying New Things

Chicken Parmesan is not new to the grownups of the house, but cooking it is new to me and eating it is new to my kids!

I’ve included a brief video showing me putting together this recipe last night with my kids playing at my feet.   I provide a few tips and a general overview of the recipe. You can find the details with Skinny Taste – the recipe I used came straight from her cookbook Skinny Taste Cookbook but she has a similar version you can find on her blog. In the cookbook she provides a quick marinara recipe too that I adapted using what I had on hand. The nice thing is that this is baked, quick and super tasty.

Beyond this easy and tasty recipe I have something new I wanted to share with you – a new philosophy we are using with our kids surrounding food. It comes from this awesome blogger Ashley (a pediatric dietician turned stay at home mom) over at “Veggies and Virtue.” I’m brand-new to her blog and the philosophy, but we have started implementing the  strategy of “love it, like it, and learning it” at our house. I haven’t ventured too far into all she has to offer, but what it means so far at our house is that at each meal the kids get something they love to eat, something they just like to eat, and a food that is new to them that they are learning. It also means that they can no longer say “yuck” or “I don’t like that…” and instead they have to say “I’m learning it…” I can’t believe the difference this ha already made. They have already tried (smelled, licked, bit, tasted…) several brand new to them foods. And they are easily getting used to the new language surrounding the foods on their plates. Not to mention there are already fewer outbursts, tears, and no substitutions or alternative meals being offered. (That wasn’t something we did a lot but it was known to happen from time to time.)

Last night, as I tried this new recipe, it didn’t even cross my mind what else I would put on the plate as a “learning it” food. They love chicken and spaghetti. Then Cashel came across a mushroom, yes you read that correctly, a mushroom in the sauce. Instead of offering, like I might have in the past, that he just pick it out and lay it aside I said unphased, “oh good news that’s your ‘learning it food’ tonight and Papa loves mushrooms.” He didn’t ask if he had to try it, didn’t complain, or even try to compromise with a lick or smell. He just went for it. First smelling it himself, then licking and ending with a bite! No prompting from me. Beyond that he was so proud when he actually liked the mushroom that he tried several more just to “show us” and then asked for more to be added to his sauce. This of course doesn’t mean he will like them every time, or want to bite into a raw mushroom; but boy oh boy can I see a difference in even just his willingness to try new things. What’s even better? Camper follows suit! I hope you’ll check out Veggies and Virtue and share your stories too! At first I just started following her on Instagram and found so much inspiration from her kids’ colorful and beautiful meals and from her simple descriptions of this strategy. You can believe I’ll be exploring her blog more and sharing updates as we head down this “we eat everything” path!


Did I mention that this was a brand new recipe to me and it pretty much was 30 minutes from start to finish – started around 4:55 and we were eating by 6:00. I love that!
Tips in the video include:
1. Mushrooms need room to breathe when cooking so use a large pan.
2. I wouldn’t use stoneware to bake the chicken next time since a lot of my breading ended up on the stoneware instead of the chicken. I just re-breaded when I flipped in the oven and then when I transferred them to the marinara I scraped the bar pan and added the cheesy breading to the top of the cooked breasts before sprinkling on the mozzarella. Then the melted cheese held it on. Can you tell that’s my favorite part and I couldn’t bear not to have it?

For the recipe I used:
Parmesan (an Italian blend) shredded cheese
Bread Crumbs
3 (LARGE) or 4 chicken breasts
butter and olive oil
Italian seasonings
1 box of spaghetti noodles
1 can crushed tomatoes (or other form of tomato sauce/marinara)
(fresh basil, that I didn’t have on hand but would have typically used)
Olive Oil
Mushrooms (I added these)

Do you have a favorite marinara recipe? Do share.




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1 Comment

  1. We make marinara all the time. In the summer we put up over 8 gallons from our garden!

    Most important part: high quality tomatoes. Fresh in season or San Marzano canned. Trader Joe’s has the best price on the good yellow canned ones. They are still pricy but well worth it to us.

    Standard marinara:
    Sweat diced yellow onion until translucent in a heavy dose of olive oil. This oil adds serious body to the final product. Add diced garlic and cook until just soft Add tomatoes and cook until tender. At this point we go a few ways. Typically we use an immersion blender to smooth it all out. Sometimes will strain out the seeds. Then freeze for a very basic sauce that can be seasoned lots of ways. Or add dried oregano, salt, pepper and fresh basil for a good pasta sauce. We use the non seasoned one for curries, soups, chili, pizza sauce etc and adjust as needed.

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