Fishy, Fishy, Fishy, Fish

Choosing fish these days creates all sorts of decision making stress.  The dilemma surrounds what not to buy—some fish might have mercury or PCB contamination and others are over-fished.  So what to buy? There are lists online to help.   Here are two:  one here and the other here. 


The other day my husband bought swordfish, a fish I never buy myself; I tend to stay away from large fish because of mercury.  Tuna we eat more often than swordfish but still not as much as we used to now that we have children.  I like tunafish salad sandwiches and adore sushi, but don’t have either more than once monthly. (Canned tuna has higher levels of mercury, so beware.)  We probably eat swordfish once or twice a year.  We figure since it’s so seldom that we might as well enjoy it when we do- and will only buy it when it looks so very good.


We grilled the swordfish and we served it with a choice of sauces: puttanesca and a lemon caper sauce; Forbidden Black rice; CSA rainbow chard; micro bok choy (really small bok choy); and CSA garlic scapes. 

Start rice first.  Forbidden Black Rice name comes from long ago when it was forbidden for anyone but the Emperor to eat.  It becomes a deep dark purple when cooked and is a whole grain rice that is supposedly high in iron.  We love the taste, and the boys love the color too. 

 Steam chard and bok choy and shock to stop cooking.  Leave to side to finish later.  Steam or blanch garlic scapes and finish on the grill.   

My two eldest kids love capers and will pick them out of sauces to eat first. For the lemon caper sauce just a squeeze half a lemon over 3 Tbsp of capers and two pats of butter.  I put it in the microwave for 40 seconds, stirred and served!  So easy and quick.  You can also do it on the stove.  Just want to melt butter and warm capers. 


Puttanesca sauce is really quick to make too.  Just a little more chopping.

  •  1 shallot or 1/4 white onion finely diced
  •  1 large garlic clove chopped
  • 1 plum tomato, seeded
  • 3 anchovies or 1 Tbsp anchovy paste
  • Handful of green or black olives, pitted and chopped.
  • 2-3 Tbsp capers
  • Black pepper to tasteHeat over stove until tomatoes have disintegrated.

Not every child will like puttanesca, but seeing that most kids like salty foods, some might surprise you!  We serve the sauces on the side so our kids can control how much they would like of them and where they want it placed!

To prepare the swordfish put olive oil, salt and pepper on a plate, place one side in oil then turn until both sides are nicely coated.  Place on hot grill and cook about 3 minutes on each side. (The cooking times vary depending on your grill and the thickness of the swordfish.)

Reheat the chard with touch of butter, salt and pepper.  Reheat the bok choy with butter or canola oil, sesame oil and soy sauce as I’ve noted before.



 © 2010

Summer Daze Ahead

It was the last day of school today, ahhh summer… couple of months without running to make the school bus.  The past couple of weeks have included lots of picnics and parties to celebrate the year’s end.  We’ve also just enjoyed our favorite summer pastime- Sunday Concerts on the Green.  Packing a picnic or planning something to bring to a party can be tricky when trying to keep the food choices healthy, but it’s possible.  Whether they’ll actually eat the healthier choices when confronted with ice cream truck offerings and ring pops, is another story!

I made a few types of salads to bring to different events.  I got a nice surprise the other day with a box of 3 different Briannas salad dressings from the company sitting on my front porch.  Who doesn’t love free stuff?  They sent it to me because I had called them in order to respond to a reader’s question.   I’d never tried the 3 flavors they sent me, so that day used the Champagne Caper Vinaigrette on a mixed greens and Romaine salad with orange bell peppers, celery, cucumbers, mint and parsley.  The dressing was nice, a little sweet but complemented the choice of vegetables well.  The boys ate the salad without any complaints.

We used the Santa Fe dressing for a pasta salad we packed in a picnic dinner for our Concert on the Green. 

  • Cook Farfalle pasta according to directions, then chill. 
  • Blanch zucchini and summer squash whole in boiling water.  Shock with ice water and then sliced first in half lengthwise then in 1/4-1/2 inch pieces. 
  • Red and yellow bell pepper sliced into thin strips (not too long).
  • Chop scallion (green onion)
  • Dress with Briannas Santa Fe Blend dressing and sea salt to taste
  • Toss all together.  Also great with chicken added.

My eldest two liked it but youngest found it a bit spicy for his three year old palate.

I also made a fruit salad (no dressing on this).  Sliced bananas and squeezed lemon juice on them —they don’t turn brown and also gives them a nice tartness.  Sliced and hulled strawberries. Picked the grapes off the bunch but left them whole (I only use organic grapes because the sulfur dioxide they usually spray on grapes makes me weeze. All my berries are also organic if not local).  Tossed them all gently with the raspberries.  I don’t find it necessary to add sugar because I find the sweetness of the grapes and bananas goes nicely with the tartness of the berries.  My children usually devour fruit salad.  We had also packed a separate container of cut up watermelon chunks. 

And for non-salad items this week we roasted chicken drumsticks.  In a large bowl, coat the drumsticks with olive oil, salt, pepper and Penzy’s Mural of Flavor (mixture of garlic powder, thyme, oregano and basil would do).  Roast in oven for 45-65 minutes at 350F (you can start it at 425-450 for 10 minutes for crispier skin).  After 45 minutes check temperature with instant-read thermometer, should be 160 to remove from oven.  Will continue to cook while it rests.  You can make this to eat immediately, but is delicious cold too.  The kids love eating drumsticks because they’re allowed to pick them up and eat them without forks. 

We also brought along the bread almost every event we went to lately.  I’ve been experimenting with combinations of different flours and really like the 1 cup spelt, 1/8 cup ground flax seed and 1 7/8 cups all purpose (unbleached, unbromated) flour.  It only takes minutes to mix and just being around to bake it.  There’s just something about fresh baked bread that’s still warm.  My kids can hardly get enough of it. 

With all these great foods to choose from, kids are bound to eat well.  Of course an after dinner treat of an ice cream from the ice cream truck is bound to please.

© 2010

Grilled Seafood and Baby Bok Choy

While shopping my sons the other day, my middle one requested some shrimp.  I saw some beautiful diver scallops there as well and decided a few of each would be great for grilling.  When I showed the boys the baby bok choy they actually hoorayed!  My brother joined us for dinner so I included an approximately pound-sized filet of salmon to grill with the shellfish (or else it wouldn’t have been enough for 5, especially with my brother’s appetite).  Salmon and seafood are great to grill for clean up convenience and also so you don’t have the smell lingering around the house the next day! 

After putting the jasmine rice on the stove and starting up the grill I put the baby bok choy on to stea m.  With baby bok choy you can steam the whole thing together, with the larger size you should cut the stems off to steam a minute longer first before adding the leaves.  Once the leaves are wilted, they’re done.  Shock with cold water.  Keep to the side to finish later.  

I then shelled the already cleaned shrimp, put a 2-3 on a soaked bamboo skewer, then  drizzled them with olive oil, sea salt and ground pepper.  I repeated skewering, etc. with the scallops.   I then put some olive oil on a plate and the salmon on top, flipping it over to coat it, then added salt and pepper.

I put the salmon on the grill first since it takes longer.  Once it had cooked a few minutes I added the shrimp and scallops.  I took them off after turning and the shrimp was just pink and scallops had more whitish-solid appearance.  You don’t want to over cook either as they’ll become tough.  It only takes a few minutes. The salmon doesn’t take very long either- it should still be dark in the center to be flavorful and tender. 

After the seafood and fish were done I finished the bok choy.  In a pan I heated 1 tsp sesame oil, a Tbsp canola oil and 1/2 tsp soy sauce.   I added the bok choy (I chopped mine into approximately inch pieces which make the leaves easier for the kids to eat) until warmed and coated.


Delicious for all!  My kids love this meal!

We use Tamari (by San-J and others) soy sauce which is richer in flavor and has no wheat, unlike the most popular types of soy sauce.  Perfect for those on gluten-free diets.  It also has no artificial flavors or preservatives and is naturally fermented.  Shoyu soy sauce (think Kikkoman’s) is made with a combination of soy and wheat.  There even are some cheaper soy sauces that use acid hydrolyzed soy protein instead of traditional brewing methods.  They have a longer shelf-life but you sacrifice quality, taste and possible health benefits.

© 2010

Picnic and Barbecue Time


I find it really challenging to get kids to eat the healthier choices when we’re out.  We had several picnics and barbecues over the Memorial Day weekend starting with my kindergartener’s class concert/family picnic.  I made a quick lunch with leftover steak, egg salad, mixed greens salad and strawberries.  The dessert table was full of blue jello cups, blue punch, cupcakes and very shiny marshmallow treats.  I find it so hard to get the kids to eat anything healthy if other children are already on dessert, but they have to have some good things first before they’re allowed.  I also try to get the kids to not pick the artificially colored desserts and choose the more “real” stuff like ice cream and cupcakes.  Not sure that I’m on the right track but the color thing gets to me.  I don’t serve my children dessert at every meal or every dinner for that matter, but I do give them some sometimes.  And again, holidays and birthdays my rules get much more relaxed.  They’re even allowed soda on those days (I try to get the ones without preservatives and artificial ingredients- like Virgil’s- if I buy any, which is next to never) but I serve them real juice or water if it’s available.  

One of the parties we went to I brought my mother’s old standby rice salad with tuna.  It’s such an unusual combination but so many people love it.  Perfect for summer gatherings. My kids love it too!  Maybe it’s the crunchiness and sweetness of the apple together with saltiness of the tuna and pickle.

Julia’s Rice & Tuna Salad

  • One and a half cups of white or brown rice (or 3/4 of each), cooled
  • One or two cans of tuna (depending on your taste preference)
  • 1/2 onion chopped (I prefer red)
  • 2 peeled and cubed tart apples, (Granny Smiths, Braeburns) soaked in a little water and lemon juice so they don’t turn brown
  • 2 pickles cubed
  • 2 chopped plum tomatoes –sans seeds if possible 
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs cut into large pieces (add last so they don’t break apart too much)
  • handful of chopped parsley
  • Tbsp fresh chopped basil or mint (optional)
  • vinaigrette or Italian style dressing
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

 Mix together and serve chilled.


I also have another great rice and fish salad that I adapted from Chef David Raymer’s chopped rice salad.  You can make it with white fish or salmon or even canned salmon. Fabulous for left-overs!

Make it same way as above but without the apples, eggs, tuna or pickles. 

 Use the rice, red onion, tomatoes, chopped fresh basil, and vinaigrette dressing.

Add veggies-(select your favorite or what ever’s left over) like zucchini, summer squash, asparagus, cauliflower, broccoli and green beans (prefer haricot verte)—all chopped. Add handful of nicoise olives, several handfuls of chopped mesclun greens and 2-3 Tbsp capers.  Really delicious!  Not all my children will eat the olives but they love capers …and the salad in general. 





Asparagus, Steak, Salad

We don’t eat much beef (or red meat), but every once in a while we’ll have a steak or beef chili.  I bought a New England farmed top sirloin from Whole Foods and cooked it simply on the grill the other night.  Though my husband would never buy that type of steak (he’s a ribeye fan) he would approve of my cooking method.  I just put some sea salt and pepper on the steak before it went over the hot coals (he prefers charcoal to gas grills).  Just make sure you slice it thinly so it’s not too tough.  It smelled so good our local raccoon came looking for dinner with his nose up in the air.   I served it with asparagus, organic baby spinach and organic red potatoes.  “Conventional” asparagus is considered “clean” in terms of pesticide contamination.  If you’re wondering which vegetables and fruits to buy organic over conventional there are lists of those considered “clean” and those you should always buy organic (like I recently got reminded that strawberries contaminated with pesticides , which we eat almost daily, have been linked to ADHD among other problems).   I had been buying the cheaper conventionally grown strawberries because the price was right, but now I think the price I have to pay is greater in the long run.

Understand, I didn’t grow up with asparagus because my mother said she didn’t have an “asparagus cooker” and it was expensive.  Asparagus is often on sale in spring and you certainly don’t need a specialized cooker.  Just another thing to clutter your cabinets, an asparagus cooker is a tall, narrow pot with a basket where the asparagus rests vertically in the hot water.  Another wonderful trick I learned from my husband… cook in a sauté pan filled with water where the asparagus lies horizontally.    I take the whole bunch in its rubber band and chop off the bottom third of the stalk before I put it in the boiling water.  That is the woody part and what most people complain about.  You can save it for asparagus soup or just compost it if you’re like me.  Just need to lightly boil the asparagus for a few minutes until tender (you can always taste test one), take off heat, and cold shock with ice water.    It’s one veggie that needs to be cooled completely to stop cooking.  No one likes mushy vegetables.  Wish someone would tell/teach that to the cooks at the elementary school.  Once you’re ready to serve everything, reheat in a little butter, salt and pepper (once again, notice the pattern).

Tonight my middle son, who normally says, “I don’t want that” at every dinner, asked for more salad.  He’d eaten all his spinach, some of his brown rice, most of his bool kogi, and wanted MORE salad!!  He even asked his brothers if they would give up some of their salad.  No, they wouldn’t share!  I give several raw veggies a day and at least 3 salads per week, but it’s not always the favorite thing, not always first, or not always finished.   But today, all three ate all their salad (mixed CSA greens, organic Romaine, cilantro, Brianna’s vinaigrette) and wanted more!  Love that! 

When we were at a PTA pasta dinner not one of them ate the salad but had ziti and meatballs or pizza and ice creams for dessert.  I kept thinking if anyone sees them,  “Really my kids do really eat the foods I blog about.” Just not often when we’re out.  That’s why it’s so important to give them the good foods at home. 




The dilemma these days is not the dearth of choices but glut.  From organic to all natural, from processed to ready-made, from junk to health foods, kid-friendly to just what your family always bought.  The book by Michael Pollan In Defense of Food really resonated with me and I have bought it for family and friends.  His latest Food Rules gives a guide of what to eat and how.  Part of the beauty of these books is that it brings food back to where it should be in our consciousness… something we need to think about but not obsess over.  His motto “Eat Food, Not Too Much, Mostly Plants” is such a practical guideline.  I try to buy organic and local when possible, but sometimes it doesn’t happen.  I limit my processed food purchases but I’m not perfect and there are a few things in my cupboard that I know shouldn’t be there.  Again, it’s a matter of balancing the “good” over the “bad” or just “better” over “worse”. 

One area in which there are way too many choices is breakfast cereal. Some of my friends are more shocked when they see or hear that my kids eat Chocolate Cheerios than that they eat kale.   Ok, so I refuse to buy Fruit Loops, Lucky Charms or Fruity Pebbles cereals but I do allow an occasional processed cereal.  I base these decisions on sugar content, artificial colors and flavors, and preservatives.  The Chocolate Cheerios don’t have as much junk in them as other flavored cereals.  I would prefer them to eat oatmeal daily, but it’s not always possible in the morning rush. 

 A friend also noticed the high sugar content of the Brown Cow Whole Milk Cherry Vanilla yogurt I so enjoy.  So, I called Brown Cow and was told that the sugar content is derived from three major components- one half from the milk itself, one quarter from the flavorings (whole fruits) and one quarter from sweeteners (sugar cane, maple and honey).  They don’t use fillers or thickeners (modified corn starch, etc) or preservatives.  They use real whole milk (the cream is on the top), real whole fruits, maple syrup and honey. So the choice isn’t always about how much sugar, but which sugar is better as well as the other ingredients.  If you read the ingredient list of some other yogurts you’ll be amazed at the unrecognizable contents.  And why on Earth has yogurt been turned into another junk food with toppings like Oreos and M&Ms or the Trix and Shrek colored stuff?   

My kids also love the Maple and Vanilla (low-fat) Brown Cow yogurts.  Since it’s not always available where I regularly shop, I do buy Stoneyfield or Trader Joe’s yogurts. They also love when I “make” frozen yogurt.  I take  Stoneyfield Organic “Yokids Squeezers” (in the tubes) and freeze, then peel off the top part of the packaging, wrap in a paper towel and serve as nice cool treat.

Just try to choose wisely for their health and wallet and your sanity!  Put as many fresh, whole foods in their diet and limit the processed and overly sugared and salty foods.  Don’t beat yourself up over all the choices.



“What is a CSA?” some might ask, others might already be in one.  Community Supported Agriculture (fruits, vegetables and even meat, eggs and dairy) is one way to reinforce your children’s healthy food habits, help our local economy and the environment.  By buying local you help reduce the impact of transporting the produce to your supermarket; decrease the harmful chemicals used and ingested; and can teach children where food comes from!  We belong to one at a local farm and our first “shared harvest” is ready this week.  I’m so excited!  The amazing flavors of freshly picked produce will convert anyone.  For instance a strawberry from the supermarket tastes bland and like cardboard compared to a freshly picked organic one from our CSA- it’s juicy and bursting with rich, strawberry flavor. 

At most CSA’s you pay a portion before you receive anything— you are actually paying for the seeds, etc. and then pay the remaining cost half-way through.  You share in the bounty from May/June until October/November depending upon the weather, blight, pests, etc.  Last year the wet weather wreaked havoc upon the crops, so we’re hoping for a better year.  It’s the chance you take when going “all natural” and not relying upon hot houses or pesticides to control the outcome.  But what you receive is so much better in nutrition and in taste. 

Each Wednesday we go to the farm, collect our bin full of fruit and vegetables and create our next week’s meals around them.  The kids love to see the cows, sheep and chickens.  They see the gardens with the plants growing and this year will help weed and maybe even harvest.  On an episode of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution a classroom of children didn’t recognize any vegetables (potatoes, tomatoes, etc) but how many children have seen broccoli before it’s harvested? It’s really a wonderful experience all-round.

Even though I’d grown up with a garden and my mother cooked great foods, I had never cooked Swiss chard, kale, beet greens and some squashes until they came in our bins a few years ago.  So my children had never eaten them before either.  Now they are a regular part of our diet, even when we’re not receiving our bins.  I believe it’s helped them want to eat the food when they’ve seen it grow or discovered a new one in our bin. We also plant a few herbs and vegetables in our garden (tomatoes, chives, mint, basil, potatoes, peppers).  This year I’ve cleared away more of our ever intruding weeds to make room for some beans and salad greens.  I’m not the best gardener, so I hope we get lucky!  At least the kids have fun!

Rainbow chard is an excellent vegetable to introduce.  The colors and textures are great for kids. The stems, unlike kale, can be chopped and served with the leaves.  I wash and chop the leaves and stems into one inch strips, steam for a few minutes, remove from heat and when we’re just about to serve, reheat in a pat of butter, couple of pinches of sea salt and twists of fresh ground pepper.  My boys love the earthy flavor and the rich colors.  

From my reading about foods over the years, I’d learned that certain nutrients from vegetables cross over to your blood better if they’re served with a little bit of fat.  So fat-free salad dressing is not the best way to go.  A tiny bit of butter, a little olive oil, or even some cheese… actually a better way to eat those veggies.  I stick with butter most times because the vegetables flavors aren’t masked.  And kids will eat it!


Even at parties with pizza, my kids chose…

Pizza!  Not really a surprise.  Butmy eldest had a piece of broccoli white pie and my youngest had me add some of the shiitakes that I’d sautéed for the appetizer I prepared.  Funny thing was that other kids were saying “yuck”, “eeww” and such at my eldest eating his broccoli pizza, but he didn’t care.  He just told them how ”yummy” it was.   

My middle son was just into the plain pizza and all three had huge ice cream sundaes with Swedish fish, sprinkles (jimmies) and chocolate sauce.  They are very much like other kids with sweet tooths and love of junk food.   

I went to Trader Joe’s today and knew I had some upcoming gatherings to which I’d have to bring something.  The nan is so easy and delicious. I came up with the idea myself for my book club when I didn’t think I had much to serve.   I sautéed the shiitakes and garlic with olive oil and butter, sea salt and pepper.  I wilted the spinach and added a pinch of sea salt, pepper and pat of butter.  When I arrived at the party, I used the oven there to heat the nan at 425F for 3 minutes, spread the goat cheese on it and then add the shiitakes or spinach or both.  Put in oven for another 2 minutes, remove and cut into 2 bite pieces.  Less than 10 minutes total.  A sprinkle of nutmeg might be nice on the spinach too. 


Tomorrow I am going out so I got Bool Kogi, a marinated Korean beef dish traditionally served in lettuce leaves, at Trader Joe’s for my babysitter to make for the kids.  It takes just a couple of minutes in a really hot pan or on a grill.  They’ll have string beans and broccoli with it.  I know those are the babysitter’s favorite vegetables.  I’ve known her since I was born and I’ve learned a lot of cooking techniques from her— besides many other wonderful things, including how to feed your kids the right way.


Chicken & Mushrooms

My youngest, 3, loves mushrooms and even asked me to sauté him some the other day for lunch.  Just mushrooms, nothing else.  But my middle child would often say, “I don’t like mushrooms unless they’re in your cream sauce.“  The last few times I’ve served mushrooms in anything besides the cream sauce, he exclaims that he “does like them!“ 

Actually most dinners are accompanied by a whine (from him) of “I don’t want this” and/or “I don’t like …” but every dinner he sits down with the rest of us and eats.  And tonight was no exception, “But I don’t want mushrooms, I don’t want chicken, I just want plain pasta.”  He ate everything on his plate.  He did try to sneak a piece of broccoli onto his brother’s plate so he could have dessert faster, but I caught him before it could happen.

So my tip here is don’t pay any attention to those whines.  I’m not saying don’t ever feed your kids what they want, just that it has to fit in with what is good for them as well.  I am not going to stop what I’m making and cook them something they’d rather eat instead.  And I am not going to cook 2 separate meals, one for me and my husband and one for them.  (Exception is when we’re having something extremely spicy and it is just too hot for their palates.)  My children get to make recommendations for what they’d like, just not after the meal is made. My eldest is craving sushi lately and it even got into a story he wrote today about a raccoon trying to steal his picnic dinner.  After the sword fight he tossed some sushi to the raccoon who had a great meal.  So, I’ll be making or buying some sushi soon.  Oh, and some seaweed salad too because he loves it and likes to bring the leftovers to school as a snack.

 A friend asked me recently what chicken nuggets I’d suggest because she wasn’t sure the brand she was buying was “real” chicken or at least good cuts.  I didn’t know one because as I stated before I don’t really buy them.  I have bought some from Trader Joe’s and I have purchased some from the supermarket, but it’s so rarely and not at all in the past 6 months so I just can’t tell anyone what/who to buy.  Instead I told her about my homemade ones and how delicious they are and how she and her husband would enjoy them as well.  Then she went on to tell me she doesn’t have time to do that.  After I told her how quick they were, and pointed out that she’d save time by not making 2 different meals (which is what she does daily), she agreed but said she won’t change.  Oh well. 

I digress. Often. So, chicken with mushrooms in a white wine cream sauce.

I got d’Artagnan organic chicken thighs with the bones and skins.  You can buy boneless and skinless or remove either, but I didn’t.  You’ll need one container of mushrooms, sliced. (I prefer baby criminis and/or shiitakes for this dish.) Fresh thyme, 1/4-1/2 cup heavy cream, 1/2 cup white wine, 1/2 cup chicken stock or base, 2 cloves garlic, shallots (optional), salt and pepper.  Sauté garlic and shallots in tsp olive oil, then add chicken (if it’s skin is on) until browned, add white wine and chicken stock, reduce heat to med-low and cover (stirring occasionally).  (If it’s boneless/skinless you can add the chicken after the liquids.) In a separate pan sauté the mushrooms with tsp olive oil and butter.  Add some fresh thyme leaves (strip at least 2 stalks and crush in fingers or chop to release aromatic), salt and pepper to taste.  Remove from heat when cooked through. Cook chicken for 25-30 minutes in liquids, add mushrooms, black pepper to taste and heavy cream, stirring well. Cook an additional 5 minutes.  Check for doneness especially with thigh bones.  Taste it before adding more salt as stock or base can be salty.

I served mine tonight over fusilli pasta, but you can use rice, other pastas, noodles, or grains.  And my kids loved it!  I served a side of fresh broccoli, which I steam and shock (run cold water over it to stop it from cooking) then reheat with pat of butter and tiny bit of sea salt and fresh ground pepper (Trader Joe’s organic butter is my favorite— and there is NO margarine in this house, ever). 

I do recommend everyone watch Food Inc and Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution and sign the petition for healthful school lunchesI want to get people to pay attention to what they’re feeding their kids and see that it’s doable to feed them well.


Chicken “Nuggets” with Homemade Bread Crumbs

Necessity is the mother of invention… I was watching a girl friend’s children and it was near dinner time.  I’ve had unfortunate experiences trying to feed one of them (and that child was probably traumatized as well) so I thought, how can I compromise— good food I know they will actually eat without gagging?  Chicken nuggets!!  Well, I don’t often have prepared ones on hand (it’s just not our thing) but I did have some gorgeous fresh Bell & Evans chicken breasts and thought, this should be easy enough.  Well, sometimes we have bread crumbs in the pantry, but they were used.  Boy am I glad.  I made the most delicious bread crumbs to coat the chicken, that not only did my kids and her kids gobble it up… I had enough to feed both parents and their friend when they came to pick up.  And everyone loved it- kids included!

In a Cuisinart I took yesterday’s baguette, a few end pieces of whole grain sandwich bread, olive oil, salt, pepper, and Penzy’s “Mural of Flavor” spice mix.  Mural of Flavor is a combo of Western Mediterranean spices and herbs, which is perfect for chicken.  (I often coat drum sticks in it and roast them for an easy meal), it can  be purchased online if you don’t have a store near you.  We have one in Norwalk near Stew’s.  If you can’t do either— a blend of dried oregano, thyme, marjoram, garlic salt, dried onion, lemon pepper and chives would produce a similar product.

I pounded the chicken breasts so they were about 1/4-1/2 inch thick, soaked them in milk and coated them with the rough breadcrumbs.  I cooked them in the oven, turning once, at 350 F until done but still moist, only 10-15 minutes (it depends on the thickness, you can always take one and slice it, if it’s no longer pink and solid its done).  I cut them into nugget size and served them with buttered noodles, spinach and broccoli. You can cut them smaller before you coat them for a more traditional nugget.

Tips for spinach: Baby Spinach only takes a few minutes to prepare— one of the easiest fresh veggies to serve!  In sauté pan add 2 teaspoons water and organic baby spinach.  Heat covered on high until wilted. (Steaming is fine too!)  Drain any excess water.  Keep off heat until ready to eat, then add pat of butter, pinch of sea salt and a couple of twists of black pepper.  Reheat, stirring in the added ingredients until coated and serve.  You can also sauté garlic in a little olive oil and/or butter then add spinch(Garlic powder for those really quick meals).