Kids in the Kitchen

Honestly, I have tried to teach my child how to cook many times over the years.  When he was young we included him in preparing meals.  When he was 12 or 13 I insisted that he help prepare a dinner meal once a week.  Of course none of this happened without a lot of grumbling and “why do I have to do this”.  Now at age 19 and on his way to college he has decided that he needs to know how to cook.

True to his generation’s comfort with electronics he searched the internet for recipes that looked good.  His choice of websites was has over 40000 recipes, menus, meal ideas and tips submitted by home cooks.  You can search recipes by meal, ingredient or lifestyle.  If you want to watch someone make the recipe there are videos to watch.  What I like about this site is that you can change the number of servings needed and calculate the amount of ingredients needed.  You can print the recipe, save it to your previously  created recipe box or create a shopping list.

The recipe of choice for this young cook was Simple Chicken Parmesan.  It received two thumbs up from his proud mom.


Original Recipe Yield 4 servings

  • 2 medium garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes (quality varies dramatically; I prefer Redpack, Progresso and Muir Glen brands)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (6 to 8 ounces each), halved crosswise
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 8 ounces spaghetti or linguine
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grated part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for passing at the table
  1. In a large saucepan, heat garlic and 2 Tbs. oil over medium-high heat until garlic starts to sizzle. Stir in tomatoes, basil, oregano, sugar, a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Bring to a simmer; simmer until sauce thickens a bit and flavors meld, 10 to 12 minutes. Cover and keep warm. (Remember, this makes twice the amount of sauce you need, so put aside half for another meal.)
  2. Put chicken pieces between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound, using your fists or a heavy pan, until the cutlets are about 1/4-inch thick.
  3. Bring 2 quarts of salted water to a boil in a large soup kettle.
  4. In a pie pan, beat egg until well-blended. In another pie pan, mix bread crumbs and more black pepper. Preheat broiler.
  5. Working one cutlet at a time, dip both sides of each in beaten egg, then in bread crumbs. Put cutlets on a wire rack set over a cookie sheet (this step helps breading stay put).
  6. Heat remaining 1/4 cup oil over medium-high heat in a 12-inch skillet. When oil starts to shimmer, add cutlets and saute until golden brown on each side, about 5 minutes total. Wash and dry the wire rack and return to cookie sheet. As the cutlets saute, cook pasta in boiling water according to package directions.
  7. Transfer cutlets to clean wire rack over cookie sheet. Top each with a portion of the cheeses. Broil cutlets, 4 to 5 inches from heat source, until cheese melts and is spotty brown.
  8. Drain pasta. Put a cutlet and a portion of pasta on each of 4 plates. Spoon 2 or 3 tablespoons of sauce over part of each cutlet, then sauce the pasta as desired. Serve with extra Parmesan.
 Be sure to check out CCPL’s catalog for cookbooks for kids.


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