one pan lemon parmesan chicken and asparagus

We had a whirlwind trip to Chicago in July to celebrate the wedding of my little brother and his beautiful new bride!  I only have one brother and my kids were in the wedding party so it was quite a big event for me.  However, it was a mad dash to get to Chicago.  My son was playing in his all-star baseball games right up until the night before we left town. That meant we didn’t get home until past 8:30 PM and then it was a race to pack all our stuff, including wedding wear!!  So stressful.  I don’t think I relaxed until we got on the airplane. Then it was a flurry of wedding activity while trying to squeeze in visits with family and friends before having to go back home.  I was only home a a mere week and then we were off again to SoCal for baby girl to compete at the national dance competition.
We ate great Chicago food during our trip.  My requisite italian beef, a trip to our favorite local ice cream parlor, a novelty visit to White Castle (since my son has only tasted the frozen kind!) and of course, Chicago style pizza.  All accompanied with lots of good, home cooking by family!  I wish I took more pictures but honestly it felt so good to unplug and just be present without being attached to a phone during the entire trip. Kind of how we used to do it back in the day!  On this trip I had a talk with my son about nutrition and food. I gently mentioned that i noticed that he had put on some extra weight and talked about why it was important to be mindful of what we put in our mouths. He decided to enjoy the vacation without limitations and then work on his diet when he got home.  He agreed that it would be a good idea that he make efforts to cut out some unhealthy snacking and drinking and make better choices about food. I remember being put on my first diet in 5th grade and how it’s caused me to have my own issues with food and dieting and I really want to be careful of how I approach this with my own soon-to-be 5th grader.  We have a great rapport and because of that, I hope I can help him navigate better choices without having to resort to any severe methods of deprivation or traditional “dieting”.  It’s day 3 and already he’s been awesome about turning down unnecessary treats.  He’s been chugging water again (yay!) and because he’s cut out idle snacking, he’s eating better at dinner.  I made this dish and normally the kids would eat it very sparingly but with daughter in a very physical outdoor camp all week and son’s new commitment to eating better, this dish was DEVOURED at night.  Every last bit – no leftovers at all!!!  It’s so satisfying for me to cook a meal in my kitchen and then enjoy it with my family, watching them nourish their bodies with the food.  This is why I do what I do.  Hope you all had a great summer!

One Pan Lemon Parmesan Chicken and Asparagus

recipe from Chelsea’s Messy Apron


Prep time 20 mins
Cook time 20 mins
Total time 40 mins
Serves: 4-6
  • 1 and 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts or tenders
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 cup panko
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese, separated
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3-4 lemons
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) melted butter, separated
  • 1 tablespoon lemon pepper seasoning
  • 1 pound asparagus
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • Optional: fresh parsley, 1 lemon for topping
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Grab three bowls. Add the flour to one bowl.
  3. Combine panko, 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, dried parsley, garlic powder, about 1/2 teaspoon each of salt (I use seasoned salt) and pepper. Stir.
  4. In the final bowl, add 1-2 teaspoons lemon zest, 4-5 tablespoons lemon juice (depending on lemon flavor intensity desired), minced garlic, and 5 tablespoons melted butter. Stir. Remove 4 tablespoons of this mixture and set aside.
  5. Slice chicken breasts to the size of tenders (about 1 and 1/4th inch strips) or use chicken tenders.
  6. Coat in flour, heavily dredge in garlic lemon mixture, and then coat in the Parmesan panko mixture.
  7. Place on prepared sheet pan. Use any remaining Parmesan panko mixture and sprinkle over tenders. Sprinkle lemon pepper seasoning over the tenders (I use Mrs. Dash lemon pepper)
  8. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes and remove.
  9. Flip the tenders to the other side.
  10. Place the asparagus next to the tenders and drizzle the reserved lemon butter sauce. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese over the asparagus and toss with tongs.
  11. If desired place lemon slices over the chicken (optional)
  12. Return to the oven and bake for another 10-12 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken has reached 165 degrees F.
  13. Meanwhile, whisk remaining 3 tablespoons melted butter, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, 1-2 teaspoons lemon zest, 3 tablespoons olive oil, and 3 tablespoons honey in a small bowl. Add some pepper and parsley if desired.
  14. Remove from the oven and top with the honey lemon mixture and fresh parsley if desired and enjoy immediately.
  15. Do not top chicken breasts with the honey lemon mixture unless eating immediately and aren’t planning on having leftovers since it will make it soggy.

international smoke review

A little while ago, I headed out to the city to check out Ayesha Curry’s pop up at Michael Mina Test Kitchen.  I didn’t go to this popup because I thought Ayesha was going to be in the kitchen –  I knew they’d be dishes she enjoyed to cook and perhaps inspired by or collaborated with her.  She seems like a cool gal who enjoys good food so I thought I’d check it out, especially after hearing that Korean bbq was on the menu.  Sadly, by the time I went the Korean bbq was off the menu for whatever reason but I was excited to check out the other eats!

I have to kick it off by saying the staff at Michael Mina Test Kitchen were so warm, inviting, and fun!  They were attentive but not oppressively so and ummmm the music throughout the whole evening was AWESOME. It had me dancing and grooving in my seat. I even joked that it helped with digestion! What a fun place to be for a night out – I totally recommend as a date night! On to the food!

Here was the menu for the evening:



First up, snacks!  Shown below are the pickled veggies. Shown in the tiny upper right hand corner are the corn nuts.  OMG these were not your average corn nuts from the store. I don’t like those corn nuts because I always feel like I’m gonna crack a tooth eating them.  But these?  They had the amazing roasted corn flavor with just the right amount of crunch.  And just the right amount of salt!  I’m always wary of places that oversalt and it would be easy to do with this kind of snack but these were perfect! I had to stop myself before I got full on snacks.


Next was the thai style barbeque shrimp chili (shown below).  It tasted like thai curry without the rice.  Because I had that in my head, I was expecting an overwhelming flavor but it was like curry but taken down a notch.  I was able to enjoy it like a soup and appreciated that the flavors were scaled back.  The cornbread was soooo good. It may have been the first and only time I didn’t use butter on cornbread but it honesty didn’t need it. Yum.



Next up was the smoked heirloom tomato salad with crispy squash blossoms and white nectarine (shown below).  This was tasty and really refreshing. A good palate cleansing course after the curried flavor in the prior course.  Isn’t it plated so beautifully?  That’s what I lack in my own cooking – the presentation!


At this point, we were given some supplemental options.  One was a soft shell crab with singapore street noodles and another was the Tokyo hash browns.  I opted to pass on the crab with noodles because I needed space for the BBQ!  But I could not pass up the Tokyo hash brown description. So below, you will see the Tokyo hash browns (which are actually tater tots!).  People, this was my favorite dish of the night. Soy caramel, Kewpie mayo drizzled all over and this toasted nori that just pulled everything together. O.M.G.  I was telling my friend that THIS dish is why I enjoy eating out.  Discovering a new and exciting way to pull together flavors I already know – that’s exciting to me.  And this dish did exactly that.  It was comfort food to the hilt and tasting these familiar flavors in a unique combination was so fun and delicious!  I want to recreate this and serve it up to friends and family.


And finally… the BBQ.  We chose Ayesha’s spiced chicken, St. Louis style baby back ribs and “Bacon on bacon”.  The other 2 choices were merguez sausage and pastrami. You could add those on but I was already pretty full at this point!  Ok, here is where I need to be really honest.  I mean, this is my blog and I try to be straight up with you all.  Ayesha’s namesake chicken dish – I was not a fan.  The sauce was a bit overpowering and the flavors just didn’t mesh for me.  The BBQ ribs were the best meat option I tried.  It was tender, fall-off-the-bone and tasty.  But I could make those at home.  And the bacon on bacon?  The bread (although toasted) was soggy and fell apart.  Mushy bread = no bueno. Good thing those Tokyo tots filled me up!  The portion size, by the way, was really generous. You get a LOT of food here.  I was just disappointed at the BBQ portion of the evening.


The corn dish shown below was served as a side.Moroccan street corn.  It actually went well with the BBQ meat, especially Ayesha’s chicken.  But it could not save the BBQ platter.IMG_3204[1]

The tasting ended with a pineapple granita (shown below) that had toasted macadamia nuts, something aloe and some mochi bites.  This was really refreshing and perked up the meal again.  It was the perfect dessert.  Cleansed my mouth and was very light and not too sweet. Had that good balance of sweet and tart. Reminded me of somewhere tropical…. I wish the whole experience ended there.  But they gave us one more bite to end with….


I was really full but they brought out this bite of devil’s food cake with a peanut butter mousse on top.  It was one bite and really not necessary.  Thing is, it wasn’t very good.  So after bringing the meal back up with the pineapple granita, I left the table with the last bite being so mediocre and blah.  I wish I hadn’t even eaten it.


So…. my thoughts?  It was a fun and delicious evening.  It had some hits and misses but as one server mentioned, it’s a test kitchen.  They want to try things out.  And for the most part, this was a big hit.  A great date night experience or a night out with friends and like I mentioned, a fun vibe to the whole place.  Ayesha was on an anniversary trip with Steph so alas, no picture with her (ha!) but I’m glad to have experienced it and would recommend  others to try it out.  It definitely gave me a great impression of the Mina Test Kitchen and I’d try out a future pop-up as well.