Why is it when Grace tells me she likes something that she ate at a restaurant or friend’s house, my mind begins to race with how I can possibly top what she just had? I mean it’s not like she goes out all that often or is begging her friend’s parents to invite her over for dinner, or for that matter doesn’t get a home-cooked meal every night that she usually raves about or at the very least eats without complaint. Why does it somehow make me feel that I have to prove myself just because she enjoys eating someone else’s cooking?
Thinking about this makes me consider the possibility that perhaps I’m afraid of being replaced. This is an inevitable reality of parent/child relationships. Eventually she is going to no longer depend on me to cook for her every night and either do her own cooking or have someone else cooking for her. At some point in time she will no doubt have in-laws that will have her over for dinner and she will probably rave about her mother-in-laws cooking. This is only to be expected. Does this mean though that I am supposed to be happy about it?
Everyone needs purpose. Everyone needs to feel needed. Making dinner for my family and making something that they would rather have than going anywhere else, has satisfied both of these needs for about the past 22 years now. Giving that up, even when it’s part of the normal evolution of parent/child relationships is difficult for me.
Do I sound needy and insecure? I suppose as a parent I shouldn’t be either of those, but honestly I can’t help it. By trying my best to duplicate, if not top, what Grace has enjoyed somewhere else, I somehow gain a false sense of security that I’m not losing my little girl. Silly, I know, but on the bright side of things, the family gets to try a new dish which on occasion turns out to be a hit.
This morning Grace was reminiscing about her best friend when she was a little girl, that she no longer has contact with. As with many childhood friendships, they grew apart as they grew up. Surprisingly, it wasn’t the friendship Grace was missing, she was remembering a chicken dish that her friend’s father would make every time she was there for dinner. He’d found out she really liked it, so whenever they got together and she stayed for dinner, he made it.
As expected my mind went to work. I asked her what dish he’d made for her. She told me she wasn’t really sure but it was a breaded chicken that had a lemony taste. Okay then, lemon chicken. I could do that. Why not? Although I’d never made this dish, I was sure I could figure it out.
Grace gave me very little to go on as far as how to make it, other than it was breaded with bread crumbs. I did a bit of research, settled on three recipes that were all different and went to work. This is what I came up with.
Breaded Parmesan Lemon Chicken with Lemon-Butter Sauce
- Boneless/Skinless Chicken Thighs
- 1 Cup Flour
- 1 tsp. Salt
- 1 1/2 Cups Seasoned Bread Crumbs
- 2 tsp. Garlic Powder
- 3 tsp. Lemon Pepper
- 4 Eggs
- 2/3 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
- Olive Oil
- 1/2 Cup Butter
- 5 tsp. Minced Garlic
- 3 Tbsp. Parsley
- Juice of 2 Lemons
Combine flour and salt in large plastic bag. Dredge chicken thighs in flour mixture.
Combine bread crumbs, garlic powder, and lemon pepper in plastic bag. In large bowl, beat eggs. Add parmesan cheese to eggs and stir till well combined.
Remove chicken thighs from flour mixture and coat with egg mixture and then dredge through bread crumb mixture.
Heat olive oil in large fry pan and brown chicken on both sides. Remove chicken from pan to oven-safe dish. Place chicken in oven at 350 degrees while making sauce.
In fry pan that was used for chicken, melt butter. Add garlic, parsley and lemon juice. Cook until garlic is fragrant and sauce begins to boil.
Remove chicken from oven and transfer to pan with lemon-butter sauce. Cover and cook on medium-high heat for 20 minutes or until chicken is done.
Did my version of lemon chicken taste like what Grace remembered? Not quite. Grace raved about it, told me it was excellent, but confessed it did not taste like what her friend’s father made.
Does this matter? Not really. I got a great new recipe for all my insecurities that the family truly loved and Hubby proclaimed it was “company worthy.” That made my efforts worth it. As for trying to top what Grace so enjoyed…well, at the moment that doesn’t seem all that important. Maybe I just needed to prove to myself that I can make something comparable. I can’t really explain it. What I do know is I’m satisfied that I have a new chicken recipe that Hubby can’t stop talking about, Zeb wants me to make for his next birthday, and Grace has given notice that all “leftovers” are hers, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.