Stuff My Kid Eats
When I told my toddler that we were having chicken Parmesan for dinner she said, “No, yucky! We’re having soup!” Then I put her plate in front of her and she recanted her statement: “Oh, this chicken! I LOVE this chicken!” If that’s not endorsement enough, I don’t know what is. Her favorite part of the dish is the wedge of lemon that she gets to squeeze over each bite. Each. Individual. Bite. Not over the entire cutlet, mind you, just one squeeze before every forkful. It’s an arduous, try-momm’s-patience way of eating, but she always cleans every bite off her plate. Every freshly-squeezed, 3-minutes-in-the-making, pull-your-hair-out-waiting bite. Oy!
Parmesan Chicken Cutlets
When I think of chicken Parmesan, I picture a heavily breaded piece of poultry smothered in marinara sauce set under a gooey slice of melted cheese atop a large mound of pasta. This is not that chicken Parmesan; lightly breaded, quickly pan-fried, and served with a squeeze of lemon — it’s much more my speed, and something I don’t mind serving my family a couple times a month. (Recipe by Jenny Rosenstrach of Dinner: A Love Story, by way of Bon Appétit magazine)
Parmesan Chicken Cutlets
¾ cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
1½ cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
¼ cup grated Parmesan
1 Tbsp. mustard powder
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
4 small skinless, boneless chicken cutlets (about 1½ lb. total), pounded to ¼” thickness*
8 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 lemon, halved
Place flour in a shallow bowl. Beat eggs in a second shallow bowl. Combine panko, Parmesan, and mustard powder in a third shallow bowl and season mixture with salt and pepper
Pat chicken dry with a paper towel, then season with salt and pepper. Working with one cutlet at a time, dredge in flour, shaking off any excess. Transfer to bowl with beaten egg and turn to coat. Lift from bowl, allowing excess to drip back into bowl. Coat with panko mixture, pressing to adhere. DO AHEAD: Chicken can be breaded 3 months in advance. Place between pieces of waxed paper and freeze in resealable freezer bags. Thaw before continuing.
Heat 6 Tbsp. oil in a large heavy skillet or a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Working in 2 batches, cook cutlets, adding remaining 2 Tbsp. oil to pan between batches, until golden brown and cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer cutlets to a paper towel-lined plate and season with salt. Serve with lemon to squeeze over top.
*Note: Still have those chicken tenders patiently waiting in your freezer that I told you to save? This would be the time to use them. (If using chicken tenders, decrease cooking time to 2 minutes per side.)
- Serve with a chilled glass of Sauvignon Blanc or a non-oaky Chardonnay.
- A simple starch and vegetable medley is all you need to make this a hearty meal (see Winter Squash and Brussels Sprout Bake recipe below).
Winter Squash and Brussels Sprout Bake
This easy gratin-style bake is an excellent way of introducing (or re-introducing) your family to the most unloved vegetable on the planet: Brussels sprouts. When roasted, Brussels sprouts become sweet and slightly nutty, which nicely compliments the decadent winter squash. Add some chopped herbs and a sprinkle of salty cheese, and you’ve got yourself a winning side dish. (Oh, and cut the Brussels sprouts into small wedges to make them less threatening to any skeptics at your table!)
- ½ Acorn, Kabocha, or Butternut squash, seeded, cut into 1-inch cubes, rind left on (unless using Butternut squash, then remove the rind)
- 12-14 small Brussels sprouts, cut into quarters
- 1 leek, halved and thinly sliced, white and light green parts only
- 2 Tbsp. fresh oregano, chopped
- 2 Tbsp. coconut oil
- Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine all ingredients except Parmesan in a baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the Brussels sprouts have browned and the squash is fork tender, tossing halfway through. Sprinkle Parmesan over veggies and return baking dish to the oven for 3-5 minutes, until cheese has melted and has started to bubble.