Saturday, March 12, 2011

Dinner. Now, please.

I love to cook, but I really hate to make anything complicated or too involved after being at work all day.  Even worse is when I go to the gym after work: when I get home, I need food in mouth ASAP!

The past couple weeks I’ve really enjoyed some of our weeknight dinners, and the best part was how fast they came together! 

Oven Baked Chicken Parmesan


I had a package of chicken tenders, and my new favorite way to cook them is based on Giada’s method.

  • 1 package (approx 1 lb) chicken tenders
  • buttermilk or an egg
  • bread crumbs (and kind you like)
  • parmesan cheese
  • olive oil
  • olive oil cooking spray
  • your favorite tomato sauce
  • shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

I don’t have set quantities for this dish because it’s one that you just eyeball.

1.  Clean chicken
2.  If using the buttermilk, place in a shallow dish and let chicken sit in the buttermilk for 15-20 min
2a.  If using an egg, crack 1 egg into a shallow bowl and lightly beat with a fork.
3.  Place bread crumbs and parmesan cheese in another shallow bowl.  I use about 2 parts bread crumbs to 1 part parmesan cheese
4.  Brush a baking sheet with olive oil
5.  Take chicken from buttermilk (or dip in egg), then dip in bread crumbs/cheese to coat, and place on baking sheet.
6.  Spray chicken with olive oil spray (or drizzle oil over tenders)
7.  Bake at 500 for about 12 min

Heat up your sauce in a pan or in the microwave.  Assemble cooked chicken in a pan, topped with sauce and mozzarella cheese.


Broil until cheese is melted.

While your chicken is baking, prep your sides!  Pasta, salad, veggies…whatever you want.

We had some steamed asparagus and a few slices of leftover baguette, toasted. 


This all took about 30 min from the time I came home, to dinner on the table.


Next: Mediterranean Style Burgers

The inspiration for these burgers came from Whole Foods, and it came to me when I was in Whole Foods!  There were samples of a similar burger sometime last year and I remembered that Brian and I both loved it but hadn’t made them yet!  Essentially it was a mix of ground beef and ground lamb with cumin and lemon juice.


  • 1/2 lb ground beef (I used 93%)
  • 1/2 lb ground lamb
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • lemon zest from about 1/2 of the lemon


Combine all of the above ingredients and form into burgers.  I made 3: 1 big one for Brian and two smaller ones for me so I’d have one for lunch the next day.

We even fired up the outdoor grill!!  First time this year I think, since the snow was preventing us from even getting to the grill. 

While Brian handled the grilling, I cooked up some caramelized onions, made salads, and roasted some thin cut potatoes.


** microwave your potatoes for a few minutes first to soften them up, then brush on olive oil, salt, pepper, and whatever seasoning you want.  Bake at 450 for 15-20.  If you cut them thin, and pre-cook them a little they will be ready much faster!

I had picked up a few items from the WF’s antipasto bar for the salads: olives, sundried tomatoes, and marinated artichoke hearts.


Salad was dressed in lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.

Burgers served medium/med-rare, on whole wheat buns, topped with caramelized onions and a spread of some Trader Joes parmesan-artichoke dip (optional).


I had half a bun, and ate my burgers in the same bowl as my salad :)


Grilled anything gets me excited for warmer weather.  I REALLY loved these burgers.  I refrained from using ketchup because I really wanted to taste the lamb/cumin/lemon.  All the flavors are very subtle but everything tasted so fresh.

Once again, this dinner came together in about 30 min! 

I have a couple more I want to share, but we’ll save that for another post!

Don’t forget to SPRING forward tomorrow morning!! 

Brian and I are running a 5K tomorrow morning, and I’m pretty sure a whole bunch of other local bloggers will be running it as well…time to get some sleep!!


  1. Good luck on your 5K and thanks for some great dinner ideas.

  2. I hope the 5K goes really well! Josh loves a healthy chicken parm. I actually use a combo of water and lemon juice instead of egg/buttermilk. I know it sounds weird, but it works! And your burgers look fantastic

  3. Hi - the mediterranean burgers looked so good until I read that there was lamb in it! Awww - can I use chicken instead?

    Do you think that would work - or would they be too dry?

    PS: I'm following you for sure - I'll be back!

    Tina "The Book Lady"

  4. good luck in the run! sorry to miss it :) YUM. i'm totally craving a burger, and it's 7:30 am ;)

  5. good luck in the 5k! Those burgers look deeeeelicious

  6. I love these great weeknight meals! I find a lot of inspiration from the Food Network or Everyday Food for finding good weeknight recipes!

  7. hope the 5K was fun today. the baked chicken parm looks amazing. I might have to make it tonight....

  8. that med burger sounds so yummy! very different.

  9. i love giada's chicken parm so good! yours looks great. best of luck on your 5k!

  10. Love your dinners- I know when I'm hungry I can't wait even a few minutes and have to eat NOW! I try to make things as quickly as possible and end up with salad a lot. I am gonna try your chicken parm though- looks fantastic!

  11. Definitely making that chicken parm next week. Looks fab! And my mom grilled last nite too, love it!

    I was supposed to run the 5K but had to do longer distance instead....