Day 11 of the 30 Day COVID-19 Dinner Challenge: Father’s Day Delight

June 21, 2020 ~ This was Kate’s third night in a row of cooking. She deserves overtime pay!

We all know Tom’s favorite meal is chicken parmigiana. It has been since I have known him. Anyone who has ever been to an Italian restaurant with him more than once knows he will always order chicken parm, always. The Italian restaurants we go to on a regular basis the wait staff who know him do not ask what he is having. They just know.

These days we temper the amount of chicken parm with pasta at a sitting. Diabetes does not do well with large quantities particularly if there are carbohydrates involved. Even with a smaller quantity of chick parm and pasta last night, his fasting blood sugar was nothing to brag about but we went into this meal knowing it would take a hit. This is where balance comes in.

We balance quality of life, like every day. The ALS factor always has us in a space where we know every day is a gift so we try to live well without destroying his pancreas. The pancreas, when not healthy, often makes a person have diabetes. Most of the time Tom’s diabetes is controlled. As we balance ALS vs. Diabetes and Tom’s love of good food we also consider this: Will this be Tom’s last Father’s Day? Maybe. I suppose anyone can say that since none of us know what the next moment will bring but we know, for sure, Tom is terminal. All days are important but there are those biggies like Father’s Day to cherish and make memories while we can. He has already exceeded life expectation by five years with ALS. We never take time for granted and sometimes we go for the gusto, like chicken parm and homemade cake for dessert on Father’s Day.

Chicken Parmigiano with Penne Pasta

Makes 3 servings

1 lb of chicken breast – Tom and Kate’s chicken breast was breaded. Mine was not. Between living a gluten-free lifestyle and my weight loss journey we opted out of breadcrumbs for me.

1/2 zucchini

1/2 yellow squash

1/2 of a red onion

1/2 cup of green beans

1 tablespoon sundried tomatoes

Fistfuls of fresh basil from the garden

2 tablespoons Olive Oil

1 1/2 cup of red sauce

1/2 cup part-skim mozzarella

6 ounces of penne pasta – gluten-free

Directions – sear breaded and non- breaded chicken in a non-stick pan with a splash of olive oil. Put in a foil-lined pan, add the sauce (hold some sauce aside if you prefer the penne pasta to have some sauce on it) top with mozzarella. Cook in a preheated 400-degree oven for 30 minutes.

While the chicken is baking cut up the veggies. Add all of the veggies together and cook up in a non-stick pan with some olive oil. Veggie cooking is a personal preference in terms of being soft or crunchy or something in between. Tom prefers veggies that are cooked beyond recognition. Kate and I are not in agreement with Tom. We have found a middle ground of tenderness, thankfully.

Heat a pot of water for the penne pasta and cook according to directions on box. We use gluten-free penne.

When the penne pasta and veggies are ready, mix them together and the pasta will have a light coating of olive oil on it with the veggies.

Calories per person if each person had unbreaded chicken cutlets: 684

It was likely even less than 684 as Kate and I did not eat our entire cutlet. For future chicken parm’s after the 30-day challenge, of course, we will knock down the pasta serving to an ounce.

Dessert was unbelievable. Kate made a gluten-free lemon cake with raspberries. Cut into 12 servings each serving comes in under 250.

Until the next time!