Crispy Parmesan Chicken with Creamy Lemon Sauce

The lemon tree in my back yard is overflowing with lemons. Problems is, a girl can only make so much lemonade right?  This is how this recipe came about, coupled with the rarity of being able to go out with toddlers.

Before kids, trying new restaurants was my hobby. It’s probably because I loved it when other people cooked for me. Of course it’s the best thing when someone else cleaned up too! Not to  Yes, we could have gone out for dinner and ordered this somewhere, but that would have taken more than the 30 minutes it takes to whip this up. The husband offered to clean after so it was a win win for everyone.

Furthermore, my boys have an appetite of teenagers and it gets pricey. I remember enjoying this dish at a restaurant in downtown Los Angeles, and I was craving it. Crispy Parmesan Chicken with Creamy Lemon Sauce

On any given day I’ll have chicken in the refrigerator.  I almost always have some form of pasta in my pantry.  Crispy Parmesan Chicken is always an easy fix.  It’s hands down one of my favorite 30 minute recipes for white sauce pasta. It’s incredibly delicious and my whole family enjoyed it. My toddler enjoyed the chicken more than the noodles, however.  I mean it’s pretty much a chicken nugget right? On some occasions,  I’ve also added spiralized zucchini to the noodles to add some veggies to the dish. I have also paired it with some steam veggies on the side to make it a complete meal.

Crispy Parmesan Chicken with Creamy Lemon Sauce

Tastes like a gourmet chicken nugget! Makes everyone in the family happy!

Try this Crispy Parmesan Chicken with creamy lemon sauce recipe on a weeknight or weekend and enjoy.

Parmesan Chicken in Creamy Lemon Sauce

Ingredients

  • 6 small chicken thighs
  • 6 tbs. butter, divided
  • 1/2 c. bread crumbs
  • Dash of onion powder
  • Dash of garlic powder
  • Dash of italian seasoning
  • 1 c. grated parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1/4 c. flour
  • 1/2 c. heavy whipping cream
  • 8 oz thin spaghetti noodles
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper

Instructions

  1. Cook noodles per box instructions, set aside
  2. In a bowl, melt 4 tbs of butter in the microwave
  3. In another bowl, mix bread crumbs, dash of onion, garlic, and italian seasoning, 1/2 c. parmesan cheese, and flour
  4. Dip chicken in the melted butter then bread crumb mixture
  5. Melt 2 tbs of butter in a large skillet and cook chicken on medium heat and 165f internal temperature
  6. In a medium skillet, add cream, cheese, lemon juice, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Whisk until it starts to thicken
  7. Add cooked pasta to cream sauce, top with chicken
https://easytoddlermeals.com/2018/05/crispy-parmesan-chicken-with-creamy-lemon-sauce/

 

For a lower carb option try this Baked Parmesan Chicken “Pasta” recipe.   It’s a similar recipe where I combined zucchini noodles to the dish, just a different sauce.

This recipe was adapted from The Recipe Critic

Chicken Afritada – Chicken Tomato Stew

I always make it a point to introduce cultural foods to my children.  I want them to try different kinds of foods from all over the world and enjoy it.  It also gives them a diverse palate so they are more open to eating other food than what we normally eat. This chicken afritada recipe is my twist to a classic dish from the Philippines.

Lets keep it real though, depending on which one of my sons you ask, they don’t always love it. But, they will always try it. Fortunately, they love anything and everything with rice!  Naturally, this dish was a hit because I paired it with it. By the way, I have always offered my children the same food the family is eating. It just makes life easier and more convenient to cook one meal for everyone. I did this from the start and it’s all they know. That said, it’s never to late to slowly ease into it. It might be challenging and frustrating, but if it works it will be worth it!

My chicken afritada includes bell peppers and sweet potato which gives it delicious flavors. By the way, this was one of the hardest recipes for me to jot down. Traditionally, my family passes down recipes by word of mouth. That means, having whoever wants to learn look over their shoulder, see the estimates and taste as you go. Call my family odd, but for reals, they just say, “add a little of this and a little of that.”  Now it’s my turn to tell you please do the same and add seasonings to taste. This however, should come pretty close.

I used my new Lodge Dutch Oven shown above for this recipe. It’s perfect for cooking roasts and stews like this, but also very versatile. You can cook almost anything in it and it regulates temperature well. I have yet to try it, but you can even fry food and cook bread in it!

 

 

Chicken Afritada Recipe

Chicken Afritada

Ingredients

  • Ingredients:
  • 1lb chicken thighs
  • 2 tbs of Tamari or low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp of fish sauce (optional)
  • 1.5 tbs of minced garlic
  • 1 onion minced
  • 3 tbs tomato paste
  • 2 cut sweet potatoes, or white
  • 1-2 bell pepper, sliced
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 2 tbs canola oil
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 tbs brown sugar

Instructions

  1. Heat a dutch oven pot or deep pot with oil and garlic.
  2. Brown chicken, add soysauce, black pepper, and onion
  3. Add tomato paste, then cook for 2 min, add water, add fish sauce, bay leaves and sugar
  4. Add half bell pepper, potatoes, and carrots then cook for 25 min on low. For a speedier steam carrots and sweet potatoes separately and add into cooked mixture
  5. Add remaining bell pepper and cook for 5 min
  6. Add salt to taste
  7. Serve over rice
https://easytoddlermeals.com/2018/04/chicken-afritada-chicken-tomato-stew/

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Chicken Potato Bake

A hearty  meal is sometimes all you really need after a long day. This chicken potato bake recipe is easy to prepare and is pretty much a one pan meal. Just a few ingredients and you have dinner on the table. I’ve also tried cooking it the night before to make meal time easier the next day. It still tasted great the next morning.

At first ,I wanted to use sweet potato instead white potato, but sometimes you just need the real thing. Even though white potatoes get a bad rap, it actually still has a lot of nutritional benefits. You might not believe it but it actually has nearly half your daily value of vitamin c. It also has more potassium than a banana, vitamin b6 and even antioxidants and fiber! So don’t knock it down when you see it in a recipe.

chicken potato bake

My son loves all things bacon so we added some turkey bacon to it and of course cheeseChicken Potato Bake

And of course.. there are veggies in there! When in doubt add spinach. It’s relatively tasteless. I always try to incorporate some type of vegetable in all of our meals. It’s not a deal breaker if you don’t add it, but you can hardly see it if you put a small amount. As always, green stuff optional, but give it a try you never know. Worse comes to worse, your kiddo can pick it out.

Also, the baking time may vary depending on how large your baking dish is. These small mini loaf dishes cooked up the chicken potato bake in about 30 minutes or so. Furthermore, don’t forget to mix it up every 15 minutes for even cooking. A 9×13″ baking dish will take about 50-60 minutes, stirring every 20 minutes to give you some reference.

Chicken Potato Bake

Ingredients

  • 6 small russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 lb. chicken breast tenderloins, cubed
  • 1/3 c. olive oil
  • 1 tbs. onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt (this is to taste, add more if desired)
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tbs. paprika
  • 1/4 c. spinach, chopped
  • 3-4 strips of cooked turkey bacon, chopped
  • Mexican cheese
  • Green onion for garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400F
  2. Peel and cut potatoes in small cubes, set aside
  3. Cut and cube chicken, set aside
  4. In a large bowl, mix olive oil, onion powder, salt, pepper, paprika
  5. Add spinach and chicken into bowl
  6. Bake for 20-30 minutes until chicken is cooked and potato is soft. Mix once or twice halfway. May take longer if your baking dish is larger.
  7. While chicken is cooking, cook bacon or use cooked bacon
  8. Remove from oven, add chopped bacon and sprinkle cheese over top
  9. Return to oven for 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted.
  10. Garnish with chopped green onions
  11. Enjoy!
  12. Recipe adapted from Stock Piling Moms
https://easytoddlermeals.com/2018/03/chicken-potato-bake/

You can also try these other dinner choices! Creamy Tomato Pasta 

Or you can try my 4 Ingredient Mini Chicken Pot Pies

Cheesy Potato Balls

Potatoes and crunch. That’s what this cheesy potato balls recipe is all about.  Every so often, I get cravings.  Who am I kidding, I would say I crave something daily. Being that my favorite Cuban bakery is way to far to visit, I created the closest thing to Cuban potato balls I could with the amount of time and ingredients I had on hand.  The combination of flavors is amazing!

There are only a few better combinations than potatoes and cheese. Add a hint of chicken and barbecue sauce and you have the perfect bite! My kids devoured these, because well, they’re the best things ever. Thank goodness I made extra because my sons couldn’t stop eating them.  He could hardly wait to eat them before I snapped the photo below. Don’t tell anyone but there may or may not be a half bitten potato ball in his basket below.

Cheesy Chicken Potato Balls

You can also bake them if you prefer, but it’s hard to get the same crunch you would get compared to frying. Vegetarian? No problem, just omit the chicken.

Cheesy Potato Balls

Recipe

Cheesy Chicken Potato Balls

Ingredients

  • 2 c. mashed potatoes, cold
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 c. bread crumbs
  • 1/2 c. chicken, chopped
  • 2-3 tbs. barbecue sauce (to taste)
  • 1-2 Horizon Organic Mozzarella string cheese

Instructions

  1. Cut string cheese in 1 inch pieces
  2. Bowl #1 - mix barbecue sauce with chicken, set aside
  3. Bowl #2 l- lightly beat egg.
  4. IBowl #3 - add bread crumbs
  5. Using a cookie scooper or ice cream scooper, place one scoop of mashed potato onto your hand
  6. Add indentation using the back of the scooper
  7. Add prepared chicken and one piece of cheese, form into a ball, create several balls and place on a plate
  8. Dip prepared potato balls into egg then bread crumbs
  9. Fill a medium sized saucepan with 1.5 inches of oil. On medium high heat, gently drop a few potato balls
  10. Drain in a metal strainer if desired.
https://easytoddlermeals.com/2018/02/cheesy-potato-balls/

video

Thank you Horizon Organic for sponsoring this post.

 

Sticky Chicken Wings

These are the best fried sticky chicken wings ever. Well, at least that I’ve ever made ;). This is obviously a cheat treat for my little guy, but it sure beats frozen chicken wings. Plus, if you’re on the organic train you can make these 100% organic. Sticky Chicken Wings

So here’s the back story. My best friend and I used to eat chicken wings in Koreatown all the time. These days we both have two kids, and it’s nearly impossible to get out. I’m not really sure how to explain the taste of this.  It’s not teriyaki and it’s not barbecue. I call it incredibly delicious. Fast forward to today, while deleting stuff off my phone, I  recently found a note listing possible ingredients to my favorite chicken wings. The last time I ate this at a restaurant, I basically sat and tasted every morsel very slowly  trying to figure out the ingredients.  And then today I tried it!

Sticky Chicken Wings

Sticky Chicken Wings

Ingredients

  • 18-20 chicken drumettes
  • 1/2 C. flour
  • 1/2 C. cornstarch
  • 1/8 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • Sauce:
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 4 tbs. water
  • 2 tbs. rice vinegar
  • 2 tbs. sesame oil
  • 1.5 tbs. ginger, chopped
  • 2 tbs soy sauce
  • 3 tbs. honey
  • 1 tbs. brown sugar (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp. corn starch
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • Sesame seed (optional)

Instructions

  1. Rinse chicken and pat dry
  2. In a large bowl, add corn starch, flour, pepper, salt, and garlic powder
  3. Add chicken in flour mixture. Make sure all parts are coated. Should be lightly coated not clumpy.
  4. In a deep dutch oven, add enough vegetable oil to cover drummette
  5. When oil is hot (about 350F) or when it bubbles when tested, add chicken
  6. Set aside when cooked and place on baking rack to drain oil
  7. Cook for 15 minutes on medium-high, until brown and crispy
  8. In a small saucepan on medium low, combine ginger, garlic, sesame oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce, honey, brown sugar, corn starch and water.
  9. Stir until thickened.
  10. Coat cooked chicken with sauce thoroughly and serve.
https://easytoddlermeals.com/2018/01/sticky-chicken-wings/

Creamy Tomato Pasta

I came up with this creamy tomato pasta recipe because we were a little bored of plain red sauce and plain Alfredo sauce. I looked in my refrigerator and put stuff together. That said, I’m not always successful, but sometimes I hit the foodie jackpot! This was the outcome, such deliciousness.

In case you were wondering, I have no culinary background just a home cook eager to feed my hungry family! A huge plus, the toddler didn’t pick out his spinach. That in my book is kind of a big deal these days. My oldest now has an opinion on which green stuff he will eat. Unfortunately,  large pieces of spinach is not part of his desired food options. Where’s my rolling eyes emoji when I need one. This time however, he gobbled it up!

Creamy Tomato Pasta

A beautiful marriage between red and white sauce makes for a tasty dish!

Tomato Creamy Pasta

 

Creamy Tomato Chicken Pasta

Ingredients

  • For Chicken:
  • 2 tbs. olive oil
  • 1 lb chicken breast, sliced
  • 3/4 tsp. paprika
  • 3/4 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp. salt (optional, to taste)
  • For Sauce:
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 roma tomato, chopped
  • 3 1/2 c. spinach, raw
  • 1/4 c. tomato sauce
  • 1 1/2 c. half and half
  • 1 c. parmesan cheese, grated

Instructions

  1. Slice chicken breast and season with Italian seasoning, paprika, salt
  2. In a large pot cook penne per box instructions, drain and set aside
  3. In a large pan, add olive oil
  4. On medium-high heat cook chicken until it's not pink
  5. Set aside and keep warm
  6. In the same pan or another, add garlic, chopped tomato, tomato sauce, spinach, then half and half
  7. Once half and half mixture is boiling, bring down heat to low and add parmesan cheese
  8. Cook until cheese is melted
  9. Add salt if desired, to taste
  10. Mix in chicken and pasta and serve hot
  11. Garnish with chopped chives and/or parmesan cheese
https://easytoddlermeals.com/2018/01/creamy-tomato-pasta/

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Blooming Spinach

We love to host get togethers at our house and enjoy feeding a pack.  This always makes the cut when I choose my appetizers. It’s fast easy and delicious. I’m sure this Blooming Spinach will be a hit for the upcoming Superbowl Sunday .  It takes just 15 minutes to make. If entertaining isn’t your thing, this also makes for a great side dish for any meal. We have it with spaghetti and tomato chicken.

Blooming Spinach

You can reduce the garlic or spinach if you’d like.

Make sure you bake it uncovered after the first round of baking to get it extra cheesy!

Picky eater tip: If you have a child who likes bread and/or cheese. This may be a good option to try. Yes, they may pick off the spinach, but they may not and hopefully they will realize it’s not that bad. If you’re shaking your head right now, you can always leave the green stuff out.

blooming spinach Recipe

Blooming Spinach

Ingredients

  • 1 Unsliced Sourdough Bread Round
  • 1/4 cup chopped spinach
  • 1 tsp garlic
  • 8 tbs-10 tbs. melted butter
  • 10 oz sliced cheddar cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven at 3705F
  2. Using a knife, cut sourdough bread in squares (see video). Start cutting lines lengthwise, then width wise through the crust, but not all the way through.
  3. In a bowl, mix melted butter, garlic, and chopped spinach. Set aside
  4. Fill each cut with cheese.
  5. Pour butter mixture on top of the bread.
  6. Place foil on baking sheet. Use another piece of foil to cover bread. Bake covered at  350F for 15 minutes.
  7. Uncover, and bake again for about 6-7 minutes or until cheese melts.
https://easytoddlermeals.com/2018/01/blooming-spinach/

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Hidden Veggie Alfredo Sauce

My kids are relatively decent eaters but some days they won’t eat all the veggies on their plate. It’s probably because I serve some type of vegetable at every meal. Like adults though, they get bored too! By the way, if you’re wondering, they will only eat a select number of vegetables so trust me I have some battles too. I’m now hooked after making this hidden veggie alfredo sauce.

I gave this a try thinking it may not turn out so great, but I was so pleasantly surprised. I now personally won’t have alfredo sauce any other way, at least at home anyway. The cauliflower flavor is definitely there so if you have a super picky eater, i suggest blending the floral shaped veggie into regular alfredo sauce.  Give this a try, my family loved it!

Top it on some fettuccini, spaghetti or whatever pasta your pint sized dictator wants! You can even add chicken.

 

Hidden Veggie Alfredo Sauce

Ingredients

  • 10 oz. cauliflower florets (about 1.5 c. raw)
  • 1tbs. butter
  • 1/4 tsp. salt (to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. onion powder
  • 3/4 c. whole milk

Instructions

  1. Steam or boil cauliflower florets until soft
  2. While still hot, blend in butter, salt, garlic, and onion powder
  3. Add milk, and blend until smooth
  4. Serve on pasta.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste
  6. Add chicken optional
https://easytoddlermeals.com/2018/01/hidden-veggie-alfredo-sauce/

Turkey Cranberry Sliders With Veggies

T’was the day after Christmas, when all through the house a tired mom was… Okay, poetry is not my strong suit. Time to get to the point like I always do. After weeks of hustle and bustle including travelling on planes and unpacking suitcases, I was exhausted. It was lunchtime after the holidays and I opened my refrigerator to find no food in sight.  All I had left in the fridge was some unopened organic turkey meat, some dinner rolls, left over cranberry and some cheese. And that folks, is how i came up with this turkey cranberry sliders veggie recipe!

Did I mention it takes about 10 minutes to make!? Ok, now I hope I’ve sold you, because it’s a piece of cake to make.

It was a hit at my house and I’m sure your kids with love it. You can chop up the spinach in small pieces if they aren’t fan of green veggies. Or let them try it because you can’t even taste it!

Turkey Cranberry Sliders With Veggies

Ingredients

  • 6 Hawaiian dinner rolls
  • 4-6 turkey deli meat slices
  • 4-6 slices swiss cheese
  • spinach, chopped
  • 2 tbs. melted butter
  • 2-3 tbs. cranberry sauce (to taste)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven 350F
  2. Cut dinner rolls in half (see video for reference)
  3. Layer turkey meat then chopped spinach
  4. Add cheese on top of spinach
  5. Spread cranberry sauce to your taste
  6. Replace dinner roll half on top of cut half
  7. Add melted butter on top of prepared rolls
  8. Bake for 7-10 min.
https://easytoddlermeals.com/2017/12/turkey-cranberry-sliders-veggies/

Christmas Tree Pizzas

I’ve never met a child who didn’t like pizza, let alone a cute one. Tis ‘the season for all things holidays! This Christmas Tree Pizzas recipe is fun for both kids and parents to make. It takes a minimum of 2 ingredients and whatever other toppings you would like to add.

One serving also has carbohydrates, proteins, and vegetables. You know how I feel about complete meals! Serve it with a side of fruit and call it a Monday, or a lazy Sunday. Plus, there’s something always fun about incorporating fun cookie cutters in everyday meals. While we don’t do it all the time, it makes food that much more enticing to eat.

You can use other cutters like stockings or candy canes too!

Christmas Tree Pizzas

Ingredients

  • Pizza Dough (store bought, or homemade)
  • Pizza Sauce
  • Shredded Mozzarella Cheese (we use Horizon Organic)
  • Red Bell Pepper (sliced, chopped)
  • Green Bell Pepper (sliced, chopped)
  • Additional toppings desired

Instructions

  1. Roll out pizza dough
  2. Use a cookie cutter to "cut out" tree shapes
  3. Grease a baking sheet with cooking spray
  4. Place trees on sheet
  5. Add pizza sauce onto each tree
  6. Add cheese
  7. Decorate as desired
https://easytoddlermeals.com/2017/12/christmas-tree-pizzas/

Thank you Horizon Organic for sponsoring this post. This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Horizon. The opinions and text are all mine.