Anatomy of your new favourite weeknight meal…
5:00 p.m. – Put a teenager in charge of the toddler and pull the chicken from the fridge. Preheat the oven and line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
5:05 p.m. – Grate the zucchini over a clean tea towel; give it a good squeeze to drain any excess water. Grate the Parm. Combine both in a bowl. Referee argument between toddler and teen.
5:10 p.m. – Place chicken pieces on prepared pan and drizzle with oil. Salt the meat. Top with zucchini and Parm mixture. Add red pepper flakes, if desired.
5:13 p.m. – Set toddler up for colouring. Get teen to set the table. He’ll argue because it isn’t his week to do that chore, but his brother is having dinner with his girlfriend and isn’t home to do the job himself. Remind him that team work makes the dream (family dinner) work. Watch him roll his eyes so far back into his head you’re not sure if they’re ever return to their proper position. Place chicken in the oven.
5:15 p.m. – Make a few quick side dishes. It could be orzo with pesto, garlic bread, roasted baby fingerlings (throw them in the oven with the chicken), salad, steamed veggies, leftover rice, quinoa, quinoa salad…whatever can come together in less than 25 minutes.
5:20 p.m. – Let toddler reset the table because “he didn’t get to help!”
5:35 p.m. – Place side dishes on the table. Assign toddler to the job of cutting some lemons (best job in the world as far as he’s concerned). Get over the fact that each slice is mangled and full of seeds.
5:40 p.m. – Pull chicken from under the broiler and carry to the table. Watch the pieces disappear from the plates. Except the toddler’s. He’s decided that while he loved this dish last week, he really hates it tonight. The beans and potatoes apparently aren’t cutting it either, so he excuses himself/screams his way down from the table and lies on the floor with the dog while the rest of us devour our dinner.
Zucchini Parmesan Crusted Chicken
The size of the chicken thighs will determine whether you need 6 or 8 for this recipe. If you go by weight, you’ll require roughly 1 ½ pounds of meat. Feel free to use chicken breasts instead, if that’s your preference, though I would suggest you slice the pieces in half through the equator to make them thinner (alternatively, you can pound them out with a meal mallet but I’m far too lazy to do such a thing). Also, please do not use Parmesan cheese from a can for this recipe; you’re definitely looking to use the real stuff here.
- 6 to 8 boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 1 ½ lbs.)
- Olive oil
- Kosher salt
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup grated zucchini, squeezed and drained
- Crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- Lemon wedge (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a rimmed sheet pan with parchment paper.
2. Place the chicken thighs on the prepared pan and drizzle with olive oil. Season lightly with kosher salt.
3. In a small bowl, stir together the Parmesan cheese and zucchini with a fork. Top each piece of chicken with a thick layer of the zucchini mixture and sprinkle with red pepper flakes, if using.
4. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. Turn the oven to broil, and bake for an additional 2 minutes. The top of the chicken should be golden brown. Serve the chicken at once with a lemon wedge.