Today marks three months since mom died. I hate that phrase, “mom died.” I don’t like “passed away” any better. I’ve found it also really catches people off guard when they ask “What’s new?” and I respond with “My Mom died.” These are casual acquaintances – we’re not friends on Facebook, so unless someone else happened to tell them, they’d have no way of knowing what I’ve been going through since January. I’m trying to take things one day at a time and I’m trying to get back to my life. My real life. The one with an unbelievably understanding husband and an amazing little boy.
A life that includes a job I enjoy and colleagues I consider friends.
I was reminded of that today when I spent most of the day with a dear friend I met at work. Come to think of it, I’ve met some of my closest friends (here in PA) at work. Even though she no longer works at the College, we’ve stayed in touch – even when she lived across the country. Now that she’s back…and lives less than 10 minutes from my house, I’m hoping we can see each other more frequently. We went to a “garage” sale hosted by a local church and then to a library’s used book sale. She shares my love of “treasure hunting”- something I inherited from Mom. One weekend when Mom was visiting, we all went to a large flea market together. On a separate occasion, I took Mom to a library book sale and we happened to see this same friend. Perhaps that’s how this friend knew that these events would be welcome distractions for me today.
We spent most of the day talking (I did some crying), hunting for treasures, and digging through boxes of books. It was perfect and I loved it.
I happened to bring up the topic of Mom’s recipes and cookbooks and we started talking about meal planning. I need to get back into the habit of meal planning, something I never seemed master despite the fact that I do enjoy cooking. My friend tends to cook her way through cookbooks, frequently trying new recipes. She keeps a record (in a paper journal) of those she tries, notes which are fabulous and which are flops. I’m thinking of doing something similar thanks to her inspiration.
The inspiration for tonight’s recipe comes from my day spent with her. I picked up one of Mom’s cookbooks and flipped through until I found something that sounded good and easy. It was already after 4p.m. when I started thinking about dinner, so I wanted to find something that didn’t need a lot of ingredients.
Hubby did the cooking for this one, I made some minor adaptations to the recipe.
The mustard was delicious. If you like dill, I highly recommend.
1/2 cup mustard *the original recipe called for Dijon, I used a Dill Mustard we had in the pantry. It sounded good and I love dill.
1 clove garlic, mashed
1/2 tsp dried dill (original recipe called for thyme)
1 cup panko
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 tsp paprika
2 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts (split into 4 pieces)
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Mix the mustard, garlic and dill together in a bowl. In a separate shallow dish, mix the bread crumbs, cheese, and paprika. Coat a piece of the chicken with the mustard mixture, and then place the chicken in the breadcrumb mixture. Turn to fully coat the chicken with crumbs on all sides. Repeat with all of the chicken pieces.
3. Place the chicken on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until they are golden brown, crispy, and cooked through, 50-55 minutes, depending on size.
4. Serve chicken hot, or let it cool and take it on a picnic (hence the name).