I have to keep reminding myself that she didn’t mean any harm. But she hijacked my damn recipe. My Chicken-Parmesan Bundles.
Let me back up. It was Christmas Eve and my sisters and I were trying to plan dinner. I know this is shocking to you, but I do not have a reputation among the Clyde family as being a stellar cook. So when I made a suggestion for the dinner menu, my sister Linda almost fell over.
“What did you say, Lou?" Linda asked, her chin dragging on the floor. "You mean you can make something other than toast and brownies?”
“Yes,” I said, proudly. “I make this really good meal where you mix spinach with mozzarella cheese and cream cheese, smear it on chicken breasts, roll them up, poke them with toothpicks to keep them from unrolling, and cook them.”
My sister Jean Anne said, “Oh, I’ve had that. Only you don’t use cream cheese. You use ricotta cheese.”
“Have you made it before?” I asked suspiciously.
“No, but I’ve eaten it at restaurants. A lot.”
“I’m pretty sure it’s cream cheese. I can look it up. Oh, and after you roll them up, you dip them in egg and coat them with crushed up Ritz crackers. They’re delicious.”
“Ritz crackers?” Jean Anne asked in disbelief, attempting to suppress a gag. Then she reconsidered. “I know….we can use Panko crumbs”
(Did I mention that Jean Anne is a complete health food nut who weighs about 92 pounds soaking wet? She eats about 20 meals a day, each meal consisting of about 3 ½ bites of something healthy. She avoids junk food like the plague, although I once saw her eat a Hershey’s Kiss in 3 sittings.)
“Oh…OK. We can use Panko crumbs,” I said, not wanting to show my ignorance, but wondering what the heck Panko crumbs were. I’ve since learned that Panko crumbs are from Japan (big surprise). Apparently,they come from bread that has been subjected to an electric current that gets rid of the crust.
Am I missing something? Why would anyone, besides a toddler, want crust-less bread? That’s the best part.
“So, do you put spaghetti sauce on the chicken?” Jean Anne asked.
“Yes. Just a spoonful of Prego.”
“Prego?” Jean Anne said. “No way. My friend, Mary, (the chef) makes an unbelievable spaghetti sauce. I’ll make that.”
That’s how quickly it happened. My Chicken-Parmesan Bundles became Chicken-Spinach Pasta-Free Lasagna with Panko and Chef Mary’s Sauce.
My attitude soured as we prepared “my” recipe.
“How long do you cook your recipe?” Jean Anne asked.
“This isn’t my recipe. You hijacked my recipe.”
“But how long do you cook your version?”
“Oh, do you mean my recipe with the cream cheese, the Ritz crackers and the Prego? It takes 30 minutes”
“We better cook it for 40 minutes,” Jean Anne said, completely oblivious to the grand theft entrée she was committing.
I have to admit, the Chicken Spinach Pasta Free Lasagna with Panko and Chef Mary’s Sauce was pretty good, although not nearly as tasty as the original, hijacked recipe.
But on a positive note, I’m pretty sure I’ll live at least another minute or so longer because of that Panko.