Hi there! I'm so excited to be sharing Everyday Food recipes on metrofamilymagazine.com. When I say "Everyday Food" I mean food that is relatively easy to make, healthy, kid approved and parent approved.
A quick back story—for about the first five years of my first born son's life I would fix dinner for myself and my husband, and then fix a separate dinner for my son. He was very picky (like a lot of kids) and had a very small repertoire of food that he would eat. Chicken nuggets, yogurt and apple slices made up about the only dinner I could get him to eat with any success. I hated that because I always said I wasn't going to be that mom. One day I had enough!
I decided that I was no longer a short order cook and he was going to eat what we were eating. We started slowly and the rule was that he had to eat at least one element of what my husband and I were having for dinner then he could have his other staples. Slowly, I added more "grown up" dinner and less nuggets to his plate. Now we all eat the same meal every night. I'm not cruel…I don't force him to eat brussel sprouts but I certainly don't want to eat "kid" food every night either. Dinner time can still be a battle ground but I'm slowly learning how to roll with the punches and I think my 7 year old is too. I've had a lot of strike outs at dinner time but I've also had a lot of home runs too. I'll share the home runs with you.
There's no easier way to dress up a boring chicken breast than with a pecan crust. This is so simple and yet so tasty it should be in the Guinness Book of World Records for easy-meals-that-make-you-feel-fancy-even-if-you're-not-fancy.
Here's what you need:
- 3-4 chicken breasts
- 1 cup finely chopped pecans
- 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1 Tbs. wheat germ
- 3 Tbs. grated parmesan cheese
- zest from half a lemon
- 1 egg
- salt and pepper
- 3 Tbs. vegetable oil
To make pecan crusted chicken:
- Combine pecans, bread crumbs, parm, wheat germ, zest, salt and pepper in a bowl.
- In another bowl beat egg and 2 Tbs. of water. Set aside. (If you don't have Wheat Germ don't worry about it. It won't make or break this recipe. It just made me feel like a responsible parent for adding it)
- Now it's time to let all of your frustrations out on the chicken. Place chicken breasts in a large zip lock bag, using the flat side of a meat tenderizer, beat them until they are about 1/4 of an inch thick. If you don't have a meat tenderizer, a mallet from the garage works just fine. Mallets are great for…beating things…to a pulp. But without the crude, uneven impressions of a hammer. I like to think of the mallet (compared to the hammer) as the New Yorker of bludgeoning tools.
- Once you have bludgeoned the chicken breasts to 1/4 inch thickness dip both sides in the egg wash then dredge them in the pecan mixture. Coat both sides really well and press the mixture in. Heat oil in a skillet and pan fry until chicken is cooked through, golden brown and crispy. About 5-6 minutes per side. Drain on a paper towel and prepare to wow your family.
Reality check: My oldest scraped all of the pecan goodness off. Apparently if the crust is not the exact recipe and consistency of Raisin' Canes he will turn up his nose at it. He did eat all the of the chicken sans pecan crust. I guess half a victory is better than no victory at all.
Find more from Stephanie at www.hugskissesandsnot.com.