Sunday, March 2, 2014

Family kitchen: Recipe for Chicken Parmesan Meatloaf

I am not a keeper of things.

I hate clutter, I regularly donate items to Goodwill and I frequently purge things that are no longer of use. It's a good and bad thing. The items can go to people who will appreciate them more than I but there have been moments of regret. My first slow cooker, given to me by mom for my first apartment, was given to a co-worker and recent college grad. I could use it now {no such thing as too many slow cookers} and think of her as I prepare dinner.

I sometimes wonder whether I care about the items because my mom is no longer here, and I am trying to attach a sentimental value and memory to them. But I know that I carry the memories of my mom - in my heart and in the kitchen.

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As a wedding present, my mom tirelessly and relentlessly compiled a collection of family recipes. They came from aunts, cousins, friends - on both sides of the aisle. There are things that tempt me {Oatmeal Carmelitas}, dishes to remind me of home {Cincinnati Chili} and recipes to bring back memories {Pineapple Upside Down Cake}. It is one thing that I will keep for always.

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But the urge to share has not diminished. Nearly two years in the making, I finally presented my sister-in-law with her own {nearly complete} version when I went to Cincinnati this past weekend.

I lovingly typed in the recipes, taking care to not misspell flour 3,000 times, and spending too much time to perfect the formatting. I scoured Pinterest for cute presentations, cut scrapbook paper and got out the ole glue stick to create the pages.

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While there are no handwritten introductions or notes from Mom, I made sure to add my own touches. I've added some of the recipes from the other side of the aisle that have become favorites in my house and those for dishes that have served us well.

And then there is a true family recipe. It was one I put together for a cousin, seeking to find her own healthy eating path but was struggling to find her way on a narrow {palate} course. She loves pasta - alfredo and chicken Parmesan - but hadn't found some lighter versions. I sent her some links to check out but also started cooking up something in that brain of mine.

What I came up with - Chicken Parmesan Meatloaf - was a delicious dish with all the flavor of the heavy Italian favorite and a fraction of the calories. It earned bonus points as I was able to prep it in the morning and Mark could bake it upon getting home from school. A quick side of herb roasted potatoes and broccoli from the freezer aisle, and dinner was easily on the table by the time I got home.

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I shared the recipe with both Jess and April during my visit because a true family recipe is one that everyone gets to love.

Chicken Parmesan Meatloaf

1 pound lean ground chicken
2 egg whites
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon dehydrated chopped onions
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pepper, to taste
1/2 cup low-sugar pasta sauce
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl, combine all ingredients except pasta sauce and cheese. If the meat mixture seems dry, add milk by the tablespoon until it reaches desired consistency. Place meat mixture into loaf pan; top with pasta sauce. Bake for 45 minutes. Top with mozzarella cheese and bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes.

1 comment:

  1. Ok, that looks delicious. When I was about 8 years old, I wrote a cookbook of family recipes and gave it to everyone for Christmas. I revamped it, adding new recipes, back in 2007ish. I think I need to update it again, because I refused to add any Van Kirk family recipes because Josh hadn't put a ring on it yet. haha. I love having all the family recipes in one spot because I lose track of them so easily.