I am having some friends over for dinner tonight, after a busy day of being a kid-taxi. Each of them helps to run the after school enrichment classes through our local recreation centers – they are some of my biggest fans and offer my What’s Cooking classes in several schools.
Should the pressure be on when the kid’s cooking teacher is hosting people for dinner? No, it doesn’t have to be. I am keeping things simple! Most of our meal tonight is already prepared, with some last minute cooking to be done right before we serve our meal. So, what’s on the menu, you may ask?
Everything tonight will be gluten-free, since my husband is testing a theory for the month about how to make his body feel better…
While I put the finishing touches on the meal, we will snack on baby carrots with hummus. Dinner will be Chicken Parmesan (recipe below), salad with spiced nuts/pomegranate seeds/sliced apples and grilled polenta (recipe below). For dessert, I thought we would try some chocolate meringues that I found at Trader Joe’s.
My family loves the flavor if this easy dish! If you prefer, you can substitute Portobello mushrooms for the chicken, and the result will be a hearty vegetarian meal!
3 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 chicken cutlets, 3 ounces each
1 1/2 cups marinara sauce
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1 cup grated Parmesan
2 Tbs unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
- Stir the oil and herbs in a small bowl to blend. Season with salt and pepper. Brush both sides of the cutlets with the herb oil.
- Heat a heavy large oven-proof skillet over high heat. Add the cutlets and cook just until brown, about 2 minutes per side. Remove the skillet from the heat.
- Spoon the marinara sauce over and around the cutlets.
- Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of mozzarella over each cutlet, then sprinkle 2 teaspoons of Parmesan over each. Sprinkle the butter pieces atop the cutlets.
- Bake until the cheese melts and the chicken is cooked through, about 3 to 5 minutes.
CALL THE KIDS:
- Peel the herbs from the stems.
- Measure olive oil, add herbs and brush on each side of the chicken.
- Grate mozzarella cheese.
Crispy Grilled Polenta
Use a stove-top grill pan, if you have one, for this recipe, and you will get impressive-looking grill marks on your polenta slices!
1 roll ready-made polenta, sliced into 1/2 inch slices
Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat a non-stick skillet or stove-top grill pan over medium-high heat.
- Spray with cooking spray.
- Place polenta slices in the pan and cook on one side until heated through and crispy, 5 – 7 minutes.
- Spray polenta with cooking spray and turn over.
- Continue to cook until undersides are brown and crispy, 5 minutes.
Ready in: 15 minutes
CALL THE KIDS:
- To spray the pan with cooking spray.
- Slice the polenta with a butter knife
- Flip the polenta slices, under adult supervision.