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Jen Pollock Michel

( author + writer + speaker )

Monday's Menu: Chicken Parmesan

When was the last time you invited someone to dinner? Friends we knew from Chicago made hospitality their priority. And their life was no easier than ours: they had six children and lived on a modest pastor's salary. But it became their practice every Sunday to go to church prepared with lunch invitations.  Saturday night, she would have made two pans of lasagna, and if they ended up inviting more than that two pans of lasagne would feed, they would stop by KFC on the way home from church and pick up a bucket of chicken.

Their meals weren't Martha Steward perfect. But it didn't matter because what people really longed for wasn't an elegant meal but authentic fellowship. And fellowship can happen over fast-food chicken any day.

We want to make hospitality our habit as a family, but I need reminders like:

- My house doesn't have to look perfect.

- The meal doesn't have to be elaborate.

- A table set with authenticity and sincere love is the most elegant of all.


Here's a great simple recipe for having guests in your home. This is no-fuss entertaining. Open up a bag of salad, and throw some frozen garlic bread in the oven. You're done!

  • 4 boneless chicken breasts, pounded to 1/2 inch thickness (To pound chicken, I cut each chicken breast in half, place it between two sheets of plastic wrap, and whack it with a rolling pin or mallet. Your kids might like to help!)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • seasoned bread crumbs
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil + 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 8 slices mozzarella cheese, or more
  • 1 jar (16 oz) spaghetti sauce
  • Parmesan cheese or four-cheese shredded Italian blend
Whisk together the egg and milk. Dip the chicken breasts in milk and egg mixture and then in bread crumbs. Heat olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the chicken in the hot oil on both sides until golden, about 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Set chicken in a baking dish (sprayed with canola cooking spray). Cover each chicken breast with mozzarella cheese slices. Pour 1 jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce over all (or more if you like). Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and a little more mozzarella and bake at 350° for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until bubbly. Serve over spaghetti with garlic bread and a nice green salad.