Chicken Parmigiana has to be a pub classic in Australia. If you are longing for a simpler and similar taste but are short on time (or your fussy kids make having a mixed texture food like this a bit difficult for your family meal) read on!
A meat aversion or fussy eating can be difficult for families that want to serve the same meal for all members of the family. I hope that this recipe can inspire you to address the meat aversion in a creative way that gives control to the child without you blurring the lines between your mealtime responsibilities. As per Ellyn Satter’s division of responsibility model, that features heavily in the Happy Mealtimes eCourse, a parent’s role is to provide the what, when and where of the meal. The child decides whether and how much. I talk more about DOR in this podcast, Dealing with Dinner Time Without Losing Your Cool, hosted by Karin from Calm to Conniption.
My daughter helped with preparing the halved chicken breasts by using the meat tenderizer and some baking paper. We then cooked each fillet of chicken on the stove top in a “shark tooth grill” pan (it just gives the lines on the meat). You could easily do this in any pan or on a bbq. We then spread out the cooked chicken fillets on a baking tray and everyone chose their toppings before putting them under the grill. We still put a version of all toppings in the middle of the table. This means that we still get an additional chance to interact with all the foods, even if they didn’t go onto the grilled chicken. This works if some people preferred non-grilled versions or don’t like the sensory processing difficulties of “mixed textures”. My oldest doesn’t love grilled cheese, but was happy to put some fresh grated cheese onto her plate alongside her cheese-less parmigiana that came out of the grill. (To read more about why kids find mixed texture foods difficult, I have a bit of information in this post about how children learn to eat). The kids love putting their own toppings onto their crumb-free chicken base. It’s like a chicken pizza!
Tomato Chutney (Recipe included below OR you can use a store bought chutney)
Panko Bread Crumbs
We served ours with cucumber, capsicum, some plain pasta and the uncooked versions of the toppings (except panko crumbs – everyone used up our packet as we were designing them in the pre-grill phase).
If you have ever checked out pubs that offer a range of gourmet chicken parmigiana styles, you’d know that the sky is the limit on the types of toppings you can use. Avocado, baby spinach, black beans and roasted capsicum come to my mind when I think about adding more vegetables to parmigiana.
- 2 whole skin-free chicken breasts
- ½ cup tomato chutney
- 50g panko crumbs
- 1 tsp oregano
- 100g sliced and diced prosciutto
- 200g grated cheese
- Slice the chicken breasts length ways to get 4 thin fillets
- Using a meat tenderizer, flatten out the chicken fillets
- Cut in half width ways to make 8 small fillets or leave as 4 large fillets - as per your family's desire. The smaller fillets were more appealing to our young girls and allowed there to be more blank space on their plates when we served them. Blank space is important to alleviate sensory overwhelm and to give them room to cut up their chicken.
- Pan fry the chicken fillets for 3 minutes on each side.
- Lay out on an oven tray
- Top with toppings (chutney, proscuitto, pinch of oregano, cheese and small sprinkle of panko crumbs) as desired by each member of the family
- Grill until the cheese has melted
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 clove of garlic, crushed
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 8-9 tomatoes, diced
- 2 cups of water
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Sautee the onion and garlic in the olive oil.
- Add the tomatoes and water, bring to the boil.
- Reduce to a simmer and add the remaining ingredients.
- Simmer for 20-30 minutes, stir regularly, add water and salt/pepper to taste and desired thickness.
- Bottle in sterilised jars.
I am linking this blog up for my first ever “blog hop” arranged by the Kid Food Collective. The theme for this blog hop is “Recreate a Junk Food Favourite in a Healthy Way”. Do you have a fave topping for chicken parmigiana? Do you love the look of some of these recipes below? There are some amazing recipes out there!
Kid Food Collective