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.

chicken and eggplant stir fry 

I love eggplant.  It’s one of my absolute favorite veggies.  I always order it when I go out because hubs doesn’t really like it and neither do my kids.  I especially like it at Chinese restaurants and have tried to make it at home like the Chinese restaurants…sadly, mine never came out the same. I asked my friend’s mom, who is an amazing cook (and Chinese), how to make Chinese-style eggplant and she straight up told me – you won’t do it at home because to get it the way you like, all soft and delicious, would take so much oil that you’d faint.  I was like,”Oil??? What?!?!” Um, yes… apparently the dish I like needs an insane amount of oil. So, no more Chinese restaurant eggplant! But this dish comes pretty darn close without all the oil.

Let me say something here.  I am a recipe girl, remember?  Also, I started really cooking as an adult.  I’d talk to people early on when I was just learning to cook and they’d say things like, “I never measure…” or “Just add until it tastes right.”  That was like a nightmare for me so I’d actually tune out.  I couldn’t imagine life without the safety and comfort of recipe measurements.  But sure enough, over time and with enough practice, I can now guesstimate ingredient quantities and season to taste without freaking out. This is one of those recipes.  I saw it somewhere but I’ve made it my own just by adding more seasonings to taste.  The trick is this (and it may be obvious but I’ll say it anyways) – start small.  You can always add but it’s so much harder to make things less salty or less sweet!  Be conservative and keep adding in small increments until you are more comfortable.  I will add some basic measurements but this dish is really by taste.  Also, it’s a perfect example of something that tastes amazing but looks so blah.

Another funny tidbit about this dish. When I made this there were leftovers which let me pack enough for me, hubs’ and daughter’s lunch. I made hub’s portion mostly chicken, mine mostly eggplant and daughter’s a balance but with a little more chicken than eggplant. When I picked her up from school, I asked how her lunch was and she said it was good except she wished there was more eggplant.  I said “Oh no! I purposely took all the eggplant because I thought you’d prefer more chicken!” She burst into tears (no joke) and said she LOVES the eggplant and now she has to wait until the next time I make it (which I already shared will probably be in a few months).  So, I guess this dish is tear-worthy!!!  🙂

Chicken and Eggplant Stir-fry

Serves 4


1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced ginger
Salt and pepper
1 eggplants, ends trimmed, cut into 1-inch thick plank like pieces
1 onion, sliced
1 bell pepper, sliced
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1-2 teaspoons sugar

*I added several shakes of gochugaru, korean pepper flakes, because I tend to add it to anything Asian but this is completely optional and I’ve done it many times without!


Cut chicken breasts into 1-2 inch long pieces, however you like your stir fry to look.  I tend to make them long like the sliced onion, bell pepper and eggplant.

Heat wok on high heat.  Add oil to wok.  Then add garlic and ginger and cook about a minute or when the garlic starts to brown but NOT burn!  Add in chicken and cook a few minutes until almost cooked through.  Add in all the veggies.  Cook about 3-5 minutes until everything is cooked through.

Add soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar and if using, gochugaru.  Stir and mix until all the flavors are combined.  Serve over or with white rice!

chicken with chorizo salsa


Remember the paella I made?  Well, I had like a tiny bit of chorizo and chicken breast left and was wondering what I should do with it. My default is to make something breakfast-y with it to wrap in a tortilla but I love when things come together and I can make another dinner with those same ingredients!  I have a pretty elaborate recipe collecting process/system and I often refer to it for inspiration when I have leftover ingredients. That’s how I came across this dish.  I was perusing the chicken breast recipes I had and saw “chorizo” and was thrilled that I could use the same paella ingredients to make a completely different dish so the family wouldn’t tire of the same flavors.  I really try hard to not waste the foods I buy on a weekly basis.  Part of it is environmental and part of it is budget.  I hate knowing that our landfills are nearly 40% food waste.  I’m really fortunate to live in an area that encourages composting by using our green bins.  It’s the bin that we collect your leaves, grass, etc. in.  We throw in our compost/food scraps and it is taken care of on the County level.  Our trash used to be so stuffed every week but after composting and recycling, we now barely fill half of the smallest size trash can.  I feel great knowing that I’m doing my little part in the world.

This chicken was super flavorful, thanks to the chorizo involved.  One more note… I am a recipe hoarder.  I rarely make my own creations.  I sometimes tweak things to the point that it ends up my own but typically I follow the recipes.  I will always share where I got the recipe from so you can also check out my resources!

Chicken with Chorizo Salsa
from Pink Parsley
serves 4

  • 2 oz (1 link) Mexican pork chorizo
  • 4 (6-oz) boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, pounded to even thickness
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp canola oil
  • 1 cup seeded and chopped tomato (1 large)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 Tbs finely chopped red onion
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1/4 cup crumbled queso fresco
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Remove the chorizo from its casing and crumble into the pan.  Cook, stirring constantly, for about 4 minutes.  Transfer the chorizo to a small bowl.
In a small bowl, combine 1/4 tsp of salt, 1/4 tsp of pepper, and the ground cumin.  Sprinkle the mixture over the chicken breasts.
Return the skillet to the stove top and add the oil to the drip pins in the pan, swirling to coat.  Add the chicken to the pan and cook 5 minutes per side, or until it’s cooked through (reaching 165 degrees as the internal temperature).  Remove the chicken from the pan, and cover with foil.
Once again, return the pan to the stove top.  Add the tomato, cilantro, and onion, and cook, stirring constantly 1 to 2 minutes.  Add the chorizo, then stir in the lime juice.  Season to taste with salt and pepper and transfer the salsa to a small bowl.
To serve, place 1 chicken breast on each plate and top with about 2 tablespoons of the salsa and 1 tablespoon of cheese.

chicken, chorizo and shrimp paella


My favorite paella is a squid ink paella from Duende in Oakland, CA.  It’s so rich and heavenly!!!  I’m actually kind of obsessed with squid ink these days.  My co-worker was suggesting we do a food challenge using squid ink since we both love it so much but I don’t think I’m quite up for that yet!  But I do love some paella.  My boss has a paella pan and tells me these amazing stories about how he has paella parties… but I have yet to score an invite!  The family and I ate a great paella at a street festival this past summer and my son was sold!

It was a little chilly here in the Bay Area and I kinda wanted something warm and satisfying.  The kids are on spring break and have spent the last 4 days with my cousin who was visiting from D.C. Hubs worked from home today so there was no after school rush to get to.  I decided to make this easy home version of paella that doesn’t require a paella pan.  It might not taste like some of the restaurant paellas I’ve had but it hit the mark – we all enjoyed it.  Well, except my daughter who found it to be too spicy for her tastes….tonight.

Easy Chicken, Chorizo and Shrimp Paella

adapted very slightly from iowa girl eats


serves 4

  • 2-1/2 cups chicken broth
  • pinch of Spanish saffron
  • drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 lb chicken breasts, chopped
  • 6oz Mexican chorizo
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • dash of chili powder
  • 1 cup long grain white rice
  • 1/2 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas (i used peas and carrots because that’s what i had in the freezer)


  1. Bring chicken broth and saffron to a boil in a small saucepan then turn heat to low and place a lid on top to keep hot.
  2. Meanwhile, heat extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat then add chicken, chorizo, and shallots, season with salt and pepper, and then saute until chorizo and chicken are cooked through, 5 minutes, breaking chorizo up as it cooks. Add garlic then saute for 1 minute. Add tomatoes and their juices, paprika, and chili powder then saute until tomatoes are softened, 3 minutes.
  3. Add rice and hot broth to skillet then stir to combine and bring to a boil. Place a lid on top then lower heat and simmer until rice has nearly absorbed all the broth and is just slightly al dente, 13-15 minutes. Stir in shrimp and peas then place lid back on top and let skillet sit off the heat for 5 minutes. Season with more salt and pepper to taste then serve.


bbq chicken french bread pizza


Getting kids involved in the kitchen can be a test of patience mostly for the adult.  Things that take me a few minutes will most likely be doubled or tripled if I have the kids help.   But my kids love helping in the kitchen and like many sources say, kids are more likely to eat what they help prepare.  My weekdays are a bit hectic but on some days, I have just one kid with me at home while the other one is at a practice.  I use that as an opportunity to get some rare one-on-one me with them in the kitchen. This week, my son decided to help me make these bbq chicken french bread pizzas.  He cut the bread, I cooked the chicken and he simply assembled the rest.  My daughter came in right at the tail end, just in time to sprinkle some cheese and all of a sudden it became family cooking time!

My kids started cracking eggs and chopping things with a paring knife at 5 years old.  My son’s been expressing more and more of an interest to cook after watching “Worst Cooks in America”? I’m not familiar with the show but apparently it’s made quite an impression on him! My hope is that we’ll be able to spend a lot more time together in the kitchen this summer.  This was a great weeknight meal!

BBQ Chicken French Bread Pizza

recipe from Damn Delicious

Total Time 25 minutes

Yield 8 servings


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, diced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup KRAFT Original Barbecue Sauce, divided
  • 1 (1-pound) French bread loaf, cut in half crosswise
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium high heat.
  • Season chicken with salt and pepper, to taste. Add chicken and 1/4 cup BBQ sauce to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until cooked through, about 3-4 minutes; set aside.
  • Place bread, cut-sides up, onto the prepared baking sheet. Spread remaining 1/4 cup BBQ sauce evenly over the bread slices; top with chicken, red onion and cheeses.
  • Place into oven and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the cheeses have melted.
  • Serve immediately, garnished with additional BBQ sauce and cilantro, if desired.

chicken parmesan ravioli


Happy National Ravioli Day!  I used to read a newsletter that listed national food days and I became a huge fan!  I like reading the daily food/drink to be celebrated and if it’s within my power, I celebrate it!  Our day started early, at 5am, so that my daughter could go to her dance competition.  When I woke her up, she popped her eyes open and said “Yay!”  I often look at her and wonder whose child she is!!!  No matter how excited I am for certain things, I would never say yay at 5am! She danced, we stopped to get jjajangmyun on the way home and then mama took a long nap!  When I woke up, I wanted to cook something simple and then I remembered it was national ravioli day!  Frozen ravioli? Easy! Since I was refreshed from my nap, I decided to bread some chicken and make it a chicken parm style ravioli dinner and it was ooey gooey and delicious.  The picture up there basically is why I don’t take a lot of food pictures – I like to make delicious food but it doesn’t always look so pretty on the plate!  But if it is satisfying, I don’t care so much about how it looks.  But I know sometimes you want to see the end result so there it is!  Don’t just take my word for it, try this out!

For those of you who are looking for even more of a hack, try pre-breaded frozen chicken as a topper!  When I first started to cook, just the practice of making a meal every day was enough pressure.  I often made chicken parm that way and worked my way up to making the chicken from scratch.  Wherever you are in your cooking journey, you can make it work!

Chicken Parmesan Ravioli
recipe from Cassie Craves

1 pound chicken tenders, cut into chunks
1 cup Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 egg, beaten
Vegetable or canola oil for frying
1 jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce
1 package frozen cheese ravioli
8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into chunks
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, cut into a chiffonade
Shredded parmesan cheese
1. Place the breadcrumbs, flour, and 1/4 cup parmesan cheese in a plastic freezer bag. Dip the chicken chunks in egg, then add to the bag and shake to evenly coat.
2. Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large pot. Fry the chicken in batches until crisp and cooked through. Remove to a baking sheet and place in a warm oven while you prepare the rest of the meal.
3. Meanwhile, heat the spaghetti sauce over gentle heat in a medium pot. Cook the ravioli according to package directions; drain.
4. Return the ravioli to the hot pot. Add the heated sauce, the reserved chicken pieces, the chopped mozzarella, and most of the basil. Stir gently to combine.
5. Sprinkle each serving with additional basil and parmesan cheese.