Happy Friday everyone! What a sweltering week it has been! I'm looking forward to it cooling off a bit this weekend. I'm also happy to have Ceri Marsh from the super-informative and tasty family food blog The Sweet Potato Chronicles here today. One of the best presents you can give a new mum is a dish of homemade food (or if you're lucky like me a freezer full of it - thank you Ruth & Donna!). Below is Ceri's go-to freezer favourite. I'll be back here on Monday with a brand new Hello! Neighbor tour. Have a good weekend!
What to Cook When You're Expecting
When I was expecting my first child I felt overwhelmed by the things I didn’t know. How often should she nurse? How hard do you pat their backs to make them burp? Daily baths? Weekly shampoos? Co-sleeping? The closer my due date came the more it became clear that my husband and I were not nearly ready for what was coming at us. So, I became a little obsessed with preparing the things I could. Which perhaps explains the crying jag I had while we were stroller shopping and my husband suggested that perhaps he’d like to do something else, something not baby related, that afternoon. There was ugly crying.
Somehow the second time around was slightly, if not entirely, better. Even though I knew what was coming when I had my son a couple of years later, there’s still that feeling of never being quite prepared enough. Whether you’re having your first, or like Emma, babe number two, one area you’ll be so glad to be organized is in the kitchen. Or rather, the freezer. Even if you’re nesting, post-birth, it’s an oddly social time. Everyone wants to pop by and visit mother and child, which is lovely. But the last thing on earth you want to be worried about is how you’re going to feed people. And if no one is coming around, you’ll still be happy you’ve got something in the freezer for dinner rather than having to rely on take out because no one can face it. Take some time before your due date to make tomato sauce, chili, lentil soup – anything you can make in large-ish quantities – and get it in the freezer.
This Chicken Parmesan is one of my favourite things to have in the freezer. Never, never make a single batch of this – always double it to have extra. You can serve it over mashed potatoes, have it in a sandwich or chop it coarsely and stir it into a bowl of pasta. It’s the perfect thing to make in preparation for the beautiful chaos that is a new baby. Good luck, Emma, I can’t wait to meet the new addition!
OMG Chicken Parm
Simple Tomato Sauce
1 28 ounce tin of whole plum tomatoes Good glug of extra virgin olive oil 3 garlic cloves roughly chopped handful of herbs – basil, oregano, thyme a splash of red wine vinegar pinch of salt and pepper
4 Chicken breasts cut in half, horizontally
1 1/2 cups Breadcrumbs or Panko
Several basil leaves roughly torn
1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
1 cup milk
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Sautee the garlic in the oil for a couple of minutes and then add the tomatoes. Let them simmer and keep breaking them down with the back of a wooden spoon. Simmer for about 20 minutes while you prepare the chicken. Towards the end, add the herbs and season with salt and pepper.
Season your breadcrumbs with some salt and pepper. Sprinkle them on a plate. Pour milk into a shallow bowl. Dip each piece of chicken in milk and dredge in the breadcrumbs.
Brown the chicken pieces in a medium pan with a bit of oil until brown. Don’t worry about cooking the meat through. As each batch cooks, place the chicken in a large casserole dish. Cover the chicken in tomato sauce. Scatter the basil leaves over the sauce. Cover all with the shredded cheese. Pop in the oven for 10 minutes, then increase the heat to 400 degrees for another 10 to 15 minutes. Take out the biggest piece and cut into it to check done-ness.