A Trip into My Kitchen: Sharing My Favorite Recipes

A Trip into My Kitchen: Sharing My Favorite Recipes

My childhood home was always full of the most wonderful smells.  In the morning, I’d often be awoken to the aroma of fresh chocolate-chip pancakes or French Toast.  After school, I’d often walk into my house to the sweet smell of my mom’s special apple cake in the oven.  At night, I cherished catching a whiff of my mom’s homemade tomato sauce bubbling on the stove top.

When I got to college, I missed these familiar smells and the conversations I would have with my mom in the kitchen.  Cooking became a comfort to me– it was my connection to the home I was away from. As it connected me to my home, it also made wherever in the world I was start to feel like a home.  If I could sit down with a home-cooked meal in front of me, it felt like I could belong there.

Today, I’m sharing an altered version of my mom’s chicken parmesan, which I call chicken parm tenders.  

Ingredient List for Chicken:

1 cup of flour

1 jar of your favorite tomato sauce (I use Trader Joe’s three cheese pomodoro sauce)

1 beaten egg

2 chicken tenderloins (not breaded)

1 cup of Panko bread crumbs (I use bread crumbs with Italian seasoning)

½ cup of shredded mozzarella

Cooking spray

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F.
  2. Place your flour, egg, and bread crumbs in three separate bowls next to each other.  Take each piece of chicken and first put it in flour, then the egg, and finally the bread crumbs.
  3. Once your chicken has been breaded, spray a frying pan with cooking spray and set the pan to medium-high heat.  Fry both your pieces of chicken until golden brown and you can see that they are cooked through.
  4. Place your pan-fried chicken onto a tray and spoon tomato sauce onto the pieces of chicken so you are covering the entire top of the chicken.
  5. Top with shredded mozzarella– you can put on as much or as little as you want.
  6. Bake your chicken for 5-7 minutes, or until cheese is melted.
  7. Serve with your favorite side.

I served my chicken parmesan with my favorite simple pasta dish which I call parmesan pasta.  It’s light while still being filling and takes no longer than thirty minutes to make.

Ingredients:

1 cup of your favorite pasta shape (I used linguine)

1 cup of parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon of Olive Oil

¼ teaspoon of garlic powder

¼ teaspoon of ground pepper

Directions:

  1. Boil your pasta.
  2. Set your heat to medium-high and drizzle a frying pan with your olive oil and add your cooked pasta to the pan.  Move the pasta around so all of it is covered by the olive oil.
  3. Add your garlic powder and ground pepper.
  4. Add a touch of your parmesan and stir through.
  5. Gradually, add more parmesan, stirring through each time.  Your goal is to get the pasta slightly crispy.
  6. Once you have the pasta at your desired crispy level, serve.

I hope you enjoy these recipes that have helped me feel at home no matter where I am.  They may not be my mom’s amazing recipes, but they are great quick meals that will be done within forty-five minutes of starting.

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A Letter to My Mom on Her Birthday

A Letter to My Mom on Her Birthday

There is no one like mom.  My mom is my world: she’s the first person I want to share my successes with and the person who I know I can call when life falls apart.  She’s the one who has been silently cheering me on since I was small. I don’t say these things to her enough, even at all. I should.

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With self-care, we often look at it as a tool to make the hard parts of life easier but it should also be a tool to recognize the great parts of our lives.  One part of self-care is recognizing those who love us and we’re most grateful to. That’s what this post is about today: recognizing the crazy amount of love and care my mother has given to be.  I felt the best way to do this is a letter.

 

Dear Mom,

I wish I could tell you how much I want to be with you today.  It breaks my heart to hear you say that today is just an ordinary day when it is far from ordinary– it is your birthday, and that is very special to me.  I don’t tell you often enough how special you are to me. It’s hard for me to exactly describe what you mean to me, but I want to try.

In elementary school, you had to come countless times to pick me up from the school nurse’s office because I had gotten myself injured somehow.  You didn’t yell about my clumsiness. You didn’t tell me to stop my tears. You held my hand through it all.

In middle school, when I came home from school crying, you were there.  You sat and listened to me cry about how girls could so cruel. You comforted me as I felt alone and confused in my friendships.  You stayed through it all.

In high school, you dealt with all my mood swings.  You supported me when I achieved success and listened when I failed.  You sometimes yelled, but you never judged. You listened to it all.

In college, things have been different.  I don’t get to go home everyday and sit with you and tell you about my day.  Still, you care. You read this blog every day, you follow up on everything I tell you, even the silly, nonsensical things. You care for it all.

Our relationship isn’t without its flaws.  At times, I feel I am too similar to you to bear, with us both getting irritated at seeing our own faults front and center. Sometimes, I envy the ease of your relationship with my sister, where you don’t have to overcome this similarity.  But these negatives mean nothing when compared to all the love within our relationship. These faults do not stop us from loving or caring for each other. They make our relationship human– it is perfectly imperfect and true.

I hope you know how much you mean to me.  I would not be the person I am today without your unfaltering love and support.  You are my greatest influence and you make me a stronger, better person. If I can live my life giving out to the world just half the love you have given me, I will have lived a great life.

Thank you.  I love you.

 

Today, I challenge us to all to recognize those who give us unconditional love and the effect it has had on our lives.  There are so many people who love us, with no terms or conditions, and they make us better. They pull us through our rough times and into the light.  We cannot achieve self-care or self-love without recognizing these amazing people in our lives who make everything possible.