Toddler approved: Chicken “parm”

Toddler approved Chicken Parm
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"

Servings 2 people


  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 jar Your favorite marinara sauce we usually use Bertolli Marinara and Burgundy wine or Lucky's Market Roasted Garlic
  • 3 slices Mozzarella
  • 1/2 box Orzo pasta


  • 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.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

My opinion:
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.

Homemade Chicken Shawarma

Chicken Shawarma at Home by
J recently found the most amazing chicken shawarma recipe originally from David Bonom, Cooking Light July 2008. It’s perfect with our homemade pitas.

about 1 pound chicken breast (we used boneless, skinless) cut into 16 (3-inch) strips
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil + 2 tablespoons olive oil for the skillet
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
3 garlic cloves, minced (or more)
2-3 tablespoons Greek yogurt

1/2 cup plain 2% reduced-fat Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons tahini
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 garlic clove, minced

We made the sauce first so we could use the left over Greek yogurt in the chicken marinade. Combine yogurt and next 4 ingredients (through 1 garlic clove), stirring with a whisk.  To prepare chicken, combine first 6 ingredients in a a zip top bag. Add chicken. Toss well to coat. Let stand at room temperature or at least 20 minutes. Heat a skillet to medium-high heat. Dump the chicken strips into the skillet. Cook about 10 minutes until cooked through. Serve immediately on a homemade pita with lettuce, tomato slices, red onion and sauce.

Homemade Chicken Shawarma by

My opinion:
Two of these sandwiches is more than enough for an adult. It’s filling and tasty and I always wish there were even more leftovers for lunch the next day.

Chicken Shawarma at Home by

Homemade Chicken Shawarma

Easy weeknight homemade Chicken shawarma recipe.
Course Main Course
Servings 4 people


  • 1 pound chicken breast (we used bonelessmskinless) and cut into 16 (3-inch) strips
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil + 2olive oil for the skillet
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 garlic cloves minced (or more)
  • 2-3 tablespoons Greek yogurt
  • Sauce:
  • 1/2 cup plain 2% reduced-fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 garlic clove minced


  • We made the sauce first so we could use the left over Greek yogurt in the chicken marinade. Combine yogurt and next 4 sauce ingredients (through 1 garlic clove), stirring with a whisk.
  • To prepare chicken, combine the first 6 ingredients in a zip-top bag.
  • Add chicken.
  • Toss well to coat.
  • Let stand at room temperature or at least 20 minutes.
  • Heat a skillet to medium-high heat.
  • Remove the chicken strips and add them to the skillet.
  • Cook about 10 minutes until cooked through. Serve immediately on a homemade pita and lettuce, tomato slices, red onion and sauce.
Keyword chicken, Chicken Shawarma, Homemade Chicken Shawarma, Shawarma, weeknight meal
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Thai Chicken Fried Rice with Basil

If you can’t already tell, I love Asian cuisine. Since we’ve been eating at home more often, J has tried to recreate my favorite dishes at home. He finally got my favorite Thai dish down. I won’t say it’s as good as my favorite Thai restaurant in town, because it might be better!

2 tablespoons Vegetable oil (or peanut or sesame, whatever you have on hand)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh Thai red chili pepper chopped (or if you can’t find fresh, rehydrate dry, or just use your favorite rooster sauce)
8 ounces boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into bite-size pieces and velveted (again this is the secret!)
2 cups cooked rice cold (cooked and cold, really cold. Like from the refrigerator cold. Also, use Jasmine, You’ll thank me.)
1 tablespoon Sugar
1 tablespoon Fish sauce
1 tablespoon Soy sauce (if you want to be adventurous try golden soy sauce if you can find it)
2 tablespoons shallots chopped
1/3 cup Thai holy basil (regular basil or Thai purple is also delicious)
1 tablespoon Fresh Cilantro, chopped (we’ve occasionally accidentally left this out, opps!)

First velvet the chicken by bringing a large pot of water to a boil. Stir the chicken to separate and stir again. Simmer for about 2 minutes until the chicken turns white. Drain the chicken. In a wok or large skillet, stir-fry garlic in oil until golden; then add chilies and chicken and stir-fry until chicken is cooked. Add rice, sugar, fish sauce, and soy sauce, and stir-fry, mixing gently. When well mixed, add shallots, basil leaves and cilantro; cook another minute or so, and serve. If you desire, serve with lime wedges, chile sauce, fish sauce, or soy sauce at the table.

My opinion:
Could I really say more than I said above? I. love. this. dish. LOVE.

Modified Garlicky Chicken and Barley Soup

Monday was a bit chilly and perfect for a crockpot soup. We tried a new one that come highly recommended. However, only after I started making it, did I realize we only had about half the ingredients, so we modified it. It was excellent. I can only imagine how great the original recipe will be!

3 cups chicken broth
1 large chicken breast, diced
1/2 onion, chopped
1 carrot grated
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 can whole tomatoes with juice
Italian seasoning
2 tbs olive oil
1/2 cup barley

Sautee the chicken, garlic and onions in the olive oil. Cook until garlic is fragrant, chicken is cooked and the onions translucent. Pour the tomato juice and chicken broth into the crockpot. (Note: Our crockpot is small. If yours is larger, you might need another cup of chicken broth.) Add the shredded carrot. Put the chicken, garlic and onion in the crockpot. Add the whole tomatoes (should be about 4 or five) to the same pan the onions and garlic and chicken were in. Sautee with Italian seasoning while mashing them. Allow the mixture to cook down. Add to the crockpot. Add 1/2 cup uncooked barley. Turn the crockpot on medium. Cook 6 to 8 hours.

My opinion:
The original recipe called for Italian diced tomatoes and celery. I think those additions would have made it a bit more like soup instead of stew, but this was still super tasty. It would even be good served chilled in the summer.