Miss A is continuing to learn to use toddler forks and spoons and loves practicing. She also loves Italian inspired dishes and eating dinner with us. That means J and I are regularly trying to come up with dinner recipes that work for all three of us. We had success once with this pork dish (probably because it contained A’s beloved apples), but not with much else since. On a whim, I whipped together this baked chicken and orzo dish. She couldn’t get enough and kept asking for more!
Toddler approved: Chicken "parm"
Yes, yes you can bake from frozen! I was thrilled to discover this after reading the back of the bag of frozen chicken. First, preheat the over to 350 degrees.
Then put the olive oil in the bottom of the pan. We've used everything from a pie plate to a baking dish. What you use doesn't matter as much as making sure the bottom is mostly coated in olive oil.
Put the chicken breasts on top of the oil and add pasta sauce.
Bake for at least 45 to 50 minutes. Check for done-ness by cutting the largest chicken breast to see if it is still pink. If it is, put it back in the over for 10-15 minute minutes and check again. Since we baked from frozen, it usually takes about an hour of total baking.
Because the chicken is topped with sauce and resting on olive oil, we haven't had any issues with drying it out even the one time I accidentally cooked it for almost an hour and a half.
When there's about 15 minutes left in baking, cook the orzo per the package directions.
We also like sauce, so we heat up about a cup and a half of the remaining pasta sauce in a sauce pot on the stovetop.
When the chicken is cooked through, remove from oven and place mozzarella slices on top. It should melt.
Serve over top the orzo and sauce with your favorite vegetable. Miss A is partial to peas.
Truthfully, it’s a bit bland for our palates, but a little salt and pepper after go a long way. As A gets better at chewing and using utensils, we will season and then brown the chicken before baking. This dish is super easy and very simple to get going before we pick Miss A up in the evening from school.
Now that Miss A has started eating more and more table food and declared her toddler independence, we have started looking for recipes that will feed her and us for dinner. Many are just misses, but this one from the Baby Center was a hit with everyone. That said, being a “hit” with a one-year-old A means most of it didn’t get thrown to the floor.
Toddler approved: Roast Pork Chops With Apples
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. I boiled the apple cider to reduce it a bit. Grease the bottom of a medium-size roasting pan or an ovenproof skillet (like our favorite cast iron skillet!) with the olive oil.
Arrange the apples on the bottom of the pan, layered as needed.
Place the pork chops on top.
Then sprinkle with the sage, salt and pepper and pour the cider on top.
We didn’t actually baste the meat once or twice as the directions indicate and it probably wouldn’t have made much of a difference. Since we were eating this as a family, I didn’t “season with authority” (as J is so fond of saying!), but we were able to add seasoning at the table for our liking. All in all we would eat this again.