New Lighter Chicken Parmesan


Our little garden is just bursting with tomatoes this time of year, and the little cherry tomatoes are so juicy and sweet and delicious and plentiful that I wanted to use them creatively in a recipe instead of the usual simple throwing of them into our dinner salad.

I also have a really healthy crop of fresh basil.


Anyone that’s been around for more than a minute likely knows I LOVE chicken for dinner and am always looking for new, creative ways to prepare it.

So last night, I decided to try a newer, lightened-up version of the classic chicken parmesan recipe that is typically dipped in milk and egg wash, rolled in bread crumbs and fried in oil before topping it with cheese and baking it.

For this recipe, I marinaded the chicken in buttermilk – a great tip for making baked (or fried) chicken moist and tender – and then simply topped it with freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano instead of rolling it in bread crumbs.

I’ve said it before, and many of you know this well, but there really is no substitute for the real Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.  Powdered cheese in a green plastic container will not do.   Other cheeses called “Parmesan” will not do.  The real deal –  Parmigiano-Reggiano is worth the spend (even if you have to skimp somewhere else – like that Starbucks latte or the pricey bottle of red wine).  Nothing can compare to the sharp, complex, fruity/nutty, strong savory flavor and slightly gritty texture of Parmigiano-Reggiano.  Inferior versions can impart a bitter taste, so if you think you do not like “Parmesan” cheese, because you ate the powdered stuff from the green plastic container as a kid, please give the real “parmesan” a try!  You won’t regret it.


I then roasted it along with lots of sweet, juicy marinated tomatoes with tons of fresh garlic and basil and healthy extra virgin olive oil.


We ate ours over whole grain thin spaghetti and a tossed fresh green salad.  It was divine!

Don’t expect it to taste like the familiar fried version soaked in sauce (which is quite yummy in moderation!), but allow yourself to enjoy the fresh, lighter flavors of this wonderful winner, winner of a chicken dinner!  (You knew I had to say it – right?!)


Here is my recipe, which is adapted from one I found on Epicurious.  Hope you’ll give it a try and let me know how you like it.

New Lighter Chicken Parmesan


  • 3 lbs boneless chicken breasts and thighs
  • 1 cup buttermilk (you can easily make by adding 1 Tbsp vinegar to 1 cup milk)
  • 3 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup finely minced fresh garlic
  • 1/4 cup finely minced fresh basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 8 oz. fresh Mozzarella cheese, sliced


Wash and prepare chicken.  If chicken breasts are thick, cut them in half horizontally so they will cook faster and more evenly.  Marinade chicken in buttermilk for a minimum of 2 hours or up to overnight in an airtight container or large Ziploc bag.

Whisk together olive oil, garlic, basil, oregano, and salt.  Pour over tomatoes and stir.  Let marinade a couple hours if time allows.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.  Remove chicken from buttermilk marinade and place on a baking stone or dish with sides that will fit all pieces evenly without overlapping.  Top with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and pat to press into chicken.  Spoon marinated tomatoes in between chicken pieces pouring remaining oil marinade over top.

Bake for approximately 15 minutes until chicken is cooked, cheese begins to brown, and tomatoes begin to bubble and brown.  Add a slice of Mozzarella cheese on top of each piece of chicken, and return to oven for approximately 5 minutes until the Mozzarella is browned and bubbly.

Serve over whole wheat or regular pasta or by itself with a fresh green salad.


Cheers & Hugs,

Beer Chicken in the Crockpot

beer chicken 2

Are you looking for a super simple chicken dinner you can throw in the crockpot in the morning, forget about, and arrive home at dinner time to a taste-like-you-slaved-all-day meal?

I adore cooking and baking, but many (really most) days don’t allow me the luxury to spend the time I’d like in the kitchen, so this recipe is just the ticket.  It is full of flavor, tender, and moist.

Beer Chicken in Crockpot 2

And it’s EASY!  Besides the chicken, there are only FOUR ingredients:  a bottle of your favorite beer, a tablespoon or two of seasoning (I used Montreal Steak Seasoning – yep STEAK seasoning), 2 Tablespoons of fresh herbs (I used rosemary), and 2 large cloves of garlic.

Beer Chicken in Crockpot

You can use a whole chicken or chicken parts, or boneless chicken breasts like I did.  Put it all in the crockpot on low for 8 hours or high for 4-5 hours.

beer chicken

The sauce can be made into a beautiful gravy, and I served it with mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli.


The chicken tastes almost like those moist, tender rotisseries chickens you get at Costco or your local grocery, but even better!

Add this to your collection of winner winner chicken dinners!  You won’t be sorry!

Beer Chicken in the Crockpot


  • 4 chicken breasts or a whole chicken or your favorite chicken pieces
  • 1 bottle of your favorite beer
  • 2 Tbsp Montreal steak seasoning (or your favorite blend)
  • 2 Tbsp fresh Rosemary (or your favorite herb)
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced


  • Place all in crockpot and cook for on high for 4-5 hours or low for 8 hours.

Cheers & Hugs,


New York – New York! And the Blogiversary Winner is….

albert and jodi

Albert of “Albert’s New York” Blog – Best Tour Guide Ever!

I just returned from a jam-packed three-day trip to New York City.  Two days were spent at a business meeting, but I was also fortunate enough to have some free time to explore the city on my first visit with one of the best tour guides ever… ALBERT!!!!  My buddy from Albert’s New York Blog.  Here we are on the roof top of his apartment building where we had the chance to view the sunset and a beautiful view of the city.

And this little cutie is as charming in real life as he is on his blog.  I hope you will check it out.  I’m guessing you will fall in love with him as I have.   And what a wonderful gift after our loss this week to get to hug and meet this beautiful new friend.

When I found out I was heading to New York, I immediately wrote to Albert and asked if he wanted to meet up and wondered if he had time to show me around.  He and his Lady and Guy were so amazingly gracious to spend the afternoon and evening with me.

I’ll have more to tell and photos to show soon, but for now I promised to announce the winner of my One-Year Blogiversary card today.

PP245 Pleasant Poppies Lots of Thanks

I was so overwhelmed and truly humbled with the response and the amazing comments.  Thank you all so much for all the love!

I asked hubby to pick a number from one to………….  and before I could even give an end number, he firmly stated, “7.”

So the W I N N E R of my One-Year Blogiversary Card is the 7th person to comment – BILLIE MOAN!

Congratulations Billie!  (Please email me your address at – and it will be on its way!)

I am back in Mars – and though I adored New York – there really, truly is no place like home.  (even when it’s Mars!)

Happy Friday everyone!

Cheers & Hugs,