Easy Friday Night Family Meal = Chicken Parmesan, Hold the Parmesan

I hate cooking on Friday night. Back when we were married with no kids (and life was easy but we didn’t realize it), we were always exhausted on Friday and argued for about an hour over where we should go eat dinner. Of course, now I realize we COULD go out and eat whenever and wherever…life was good! Now, it’s not feasible to go out because of Todd’s schedule (and grouchy kids) so we eat in. I have come up with a few easy, yet “special” meals for our family to eat. Here is one…Chicken Parmesan, Hold the Parmesan.


Spaghetti Noodles (rice pasta if you wish)

Jarred Spaghetti Sauce – (Warning: avoid Ragu Chunky Garden Sauce…has cheese in it!!! Learned that the hard way!)

Frozen Chicken nuggets or patties (Tyson and Coleman’s Organic are dairy-free, Ian’s Gluten-Free is another option)

Mozzerella for your husband 🙂


You can probably put this one together in your head 🙂 Cook pasta, heat sauce, cook tenders in oven. Layer: noodles, sauce, tenders. Enjoy an easy meal! I acted like it was a fancy restaurant meal and served coke with it. Sam thought it was a special occasion!


Allergy-friendly quick and easy meal your husband can make when you haven’t gone shopping

Now that I’ve gotten your attention with that mouth-watering title, I need to give a disclaimer. I would heartily recommend ANY of those delicious recipes on the right to anyone who wants a good meal. This recipe is not really one of those types. I am listing this meal here for moms of kids with allergies like Sam, to make on “one of those days.” Today, Saturday,  was “one of those days.”  We had a busy day and arrived home at 5:30, all of us grouchy and starving. No groceries, no meal plan, no ideas. It is always a challenge with kids like Sam who are protein-challenged. The staples aren’t an option. Mac and cheese? Nope. PB and J? Nope. Grilled cheese? Oven pizza? No and no. So I was pleasantly surprised when I made this with Sam in mind – and liked it! Actually, check that, my HUSBAND made it. So you know it’s simple! 🙂 It is nothing special but perhaps another family grouchy and with bare cupboards could try it and like it!


Fun shaped box of pasta (Sam likes shells)

Especially yummy jarred spaghetti sauce (as it will be the star of your un-gourmet meal…I used Bertolli’s 🙂

Olive oil

Jar of great northern beans

salt and pepper



Cook pasta, heat sauce, wash and drain beans. Combine pasta and sauce with a handful of beans per bowl and sprinkle with salt and pepper. You’ve got your protein (beans), fat (olive oil), and carbs (pasta!) And, yes, it was actually tasty!!


Caramelized Onion and Chicken Tostadas

Unlike my sister Julie, I don’t invent recipes. I copy, I adapt, I follow recipes. So when I DO invent a recipe, I am so. stinkin. proud. Add to it that tonight I put this together in 30 minutes. And it was delicious!! So good! I guess this is just another testiment to the vast amount of things that can be accomplished when your husband is home.


  • 8 corn or flour tortillas – 6 inch
  • can of black beans
  • 1/2 lb. meat of your choice. (I usually hate when recipes say this, because it reminds me of the “choose your adventure” books and how good could a recipe be if something like meat is not specific? However, honestly – lots of things would be so yummy here. Leftover pork tenderloin, rotisserie chicken, grilled chicken breast, ground turkey, ground beef.)
  • one onion
  • avocado
  • tomato
  • cilantro
  • mexican spice mix (if you don’t have something along these lines available a splash of Tabasco would work)


  • Toast tostadas: Brush each side with olive oil. Put under the broiler for 3 minutes, watching closely. When they are browned, flip sides. Set them aside.
  • Caramelize onion: Slice onion vertically. Put in a pan with steaming olive oil on medium heat. Cook for a while until they are brown in color. I add 1/2 t of sugar about halfway through.
  • Prepare meat: saute ground beef or grill chicken breast and slice. Set aside.
  • Dice avocado and tomato and wash and chop cilantro.
  • Layer tostadas: tortilla, onion, meat, beans. If you are like me and like your food very HOT to taste, stick these layered tortillas back under the broiler at this point. Then add avocado, tomato, and cilantro.
  • Serves 4.


Cobb Salad by Rachel Ray and my friend Kelly

Right after I had Ty, my friend Kelly brought me her version of Rachel Ray’s Cobb Salad, with a dressing she created. Even without the cheese and egg that traditionally go with Cobb Salad, it was so delicious and so satisfying! We licked the plates. Here is Rachel Ray’s recipe, and Kelly’s dressing. I think instead of the poultry seasoning Rachel recommends, Kelly marinated the chicken in the salad dressing.

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, 8 ounces each
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning, eyeball it
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 large eggs
  • 8 sliced bacon, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3 hearts romaine lettuce
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 2 ripe avocados, halved and scooped from skins with a spoon, then diced
  • 2 vine ripe tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 cups white cheddar or Monterey Jack, shredded (or blue cheese crumbled)


Heat a grill pan or nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Coat chicken breasts with 2 teaspoons oil, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper. Wash hands. Grill or pan-fry chicken 6 to 7 minutes on each side. Remove from heat and let rest 5 minutes. In a small pot, cover eggs with cold water. Place over high heat and bring water to a boil. Once it comes to a boil, cover the pot and turn off the heat. Set a timer for 10 minutes. After the 10 minutes, cool eggs under cold running water. Peel and chop. Brown chopped bacon in a skillet over medium high heat. Drain bacon on paper towels. Chop 3 hearts of romaine lettuce and place in a large serving platter or salad bowl. Dress chopped lettuce with the juice of 1 1/2 lemons. Drizzle remaining 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil over lettuce. Season greens with salt and pepper, to taste. Toss diced avocados with juice of remaining 1/2 lemon, to retard browning. Halve chicken breasts and chop the meat. To serve, arrange rows of chopped chicken, chopped hard boiled egg, crisp bacon bits, diced avocado, diced tomato, chopped red onion and shredded cheese on top of either 4 individual portions of dressed romaine or 1 large serving platter.

Kelly’s dressing:

1/2 c. olive oil

1/4 c. lime juice

1 1/2 t cumin

2 T honey

1 T dijon mustard

salt and pepper

Shake and serve!


Chicken Cacciatora

 (recipe posted by bell’alimento on tastykitchen.com)

{Chicken Cacciatora}


What you’ll need:
1 whole chicken – cut into pieces
4 -5 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 large onion – chopped
2 14.5 oz cans of whole tomatoes
2 carrots – chopped
2 ribs of celery – chopped
1 6oz small package of mushrooms – sliced
2/3 cup white wine
Italian Flat Leaf Parsley – roughly chopped


What to do:
Pat your chicken pieces dry with a paper towel, season with salt & pepper & set aside. Heat the oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat. Add the chicken pieces & cook for approx 15 mins or until browned turning often. Add onions & cook for a few mins, lower heat to lowest setting and add: carrots, celery, tomatoes. Stir together. Add in the wine, cover the dish & simmer for approx 45 mins. Add in the mushrooms 15 mins before dish is finished, stir to combine. When finishedcheck for seasoning, Adjust if necessary. Garnish with parsley.


Can be served as is OR over polenta, pasta or rice.

Chicken Roulades with Sage

(recipe posted on allrecipes.com)

What you’ll need:
4 skinless boneless chicken breasts – pounded thin
8 medium-large fresh sage leaves
4 slices of thick cut bacon – halved
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

What to do:
1. Once you have thinly pounded out your chicken breasts, cut each breast into two strips {slightly wider than your bacon slices}. Season chicken strips with salt and pepper.

2. Place 2 sage leaves onto each strip of chicken. Roll chicken strips. Roll bacon over chicken roll and secure with toothpicks. Continue until all pieces are rolled.

3. Into a frying pan add olive oil and heat over medium heat. Once oil is hot, add chicken roulades and cook, turning frequently, until bacon has brown/crisped on all sides. Reduce heat to low and continue cooking for approximately 10-15 minutes until chicken has cooked through {cooking time will depend on thickness of chicken.

Katie’s Mexican Stew

My friend Kate made this for me a week after I had a baby. I devoured it. I am very impressed with the flavors and wholesome yumminess in every bite!
— 1 lb chicken – I boil it and pull it apart (shredded)
— Cooked rice (start with 3/4 c uncooked) and 1.25 c water – I use less than normal so it doesn’t get too mushy when you add it to the soup – I prefer brown rice, but I’m sure either would be good
— can of black beans – rinsed
— can of corn – rinsed
— can of diced tomatoes – rinsed
— a few cups of chicken broth – however much you like, I guess depending on your preferred consistency
— lime juice (usually do about 1 lime’s worth)
— about 1 T of chili powder (again can vary based on preference here)
— about 1/2 T of cumin
— salt and pepper
— a bay leaf or two – kinda weird, but I feel like it really does make a difference
— a little garlic or garlic powder
I just mix it all together and let it simmer for a bit.
— chopped cilantro
— chopped avocado
— slices of lime
— tortilla chips
— (shredded cheese)
— (sour cream)

Rice Crispy Chicken

I need to make a few disclaimers here. One, I did not make up this recipe. My mom did. (Or Grammy?) Two, my husband does not like it. But done well, it is really, really delicious. Honestly.

  • Boneless chicken breast – 3 pieces
  • one cup of rice crispy chicken
  • honey – 3T
  • dairy-free butter or coconut oil. – 3T
  • salt and pepper

Pound chicken breasts until even and 1/2 inch thick or so. Slice into tenders. Layer in sprayed pan. Mash up rice crispies. (Solicit toddler help for this one.) Melt butter or oil. To the butter, add honey and salt and pepper. Mix together. Drizzle over the chicken, then top with the crushed rice crispies. Cook at 350 for 20 minutes. Check for doneness. Do not overcook! Serve atop brown rice or with a sweet potato topped with brown sugar and butter.

Jessica’s Oven BBQ Chicken

Now look, people. I’m not pretending this recipe is going to be chicken of the year. It’s not fancy and it’s not tricky. But it’s good, it’s filling and it’s allergy-friendly!  


  • Chicken Leg Quarters (This is important. Quarters are yummy and they are cheap too! If you have a toddler eating, even better – dark meat tastes good and provides necessary fat and iron. )
  • Jarred BBQ sauce, suggested Sweet Baby Ray’s Sweet and Spicy BBQ Sauce
  • Chopped onion
  • Chopped red or green pepper
  • salt, pepper

Pat the chicken dry. Spread it in baking dish. Drizzle with BBQ sauce (not too much), sprinkle with salt and pepper, top with chopped onions and pepper. Cover with foil. Bake at 350 for an hour. Remove foil, dump the sauce that’s in the pan over the chicken, and bake uncovered for 15 more minutes or until juices in the chicken run clear. Serve with oven-baked fries, mashed potatoes, or baked sweet potatoes and salad.