Four Step Dinner on the Fly With the Food Editor

Monday is always my day back to the regular routine. We always try to start the week with a family dinner. It has to be fast, nutritious and of course, tasty. I am in a unique position because there are usually some Canadian Family recipes in development or I have leftovers from recent photo shoots which are usually Fridays. This leads to having an unusually large stock on hand that needs to be cooked. And face it, in order to actually make dinner on the fly; you can only cook what you have on hand. In your case, this means stocking some basics in your pantry.

Some of my standard pantry basics are canned tomatoes, olives, parmesan cheese, onions and garlic. Combined with the on sale boneless chicken breasts and zucchini lurking in the back of my vegetable drawer, I whipped up this ratatouille meets chicken parmesan pasta dish. It is a great way to pack tonnes of veg into what could be a basic tomato sauce. If you use whole wheat pasta, it becomes even more nutritious. I added some Tapenade that we shot on Friday for the Summer 2009 issue, but this is optional.

I find little kids love being able to see the individual parts of a meal so if that is your case, serve each component separately on the plate and let them mix together if they wish.

3 boneless breasts of chicken
1/4 cup corn meal
2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
1 onion, peeled and chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 small zucchini, cut into small dice
1 can diced tomatoes
2 tbsp olive tapenade
whole wheat pasta
salt and pepper
canola oil

1 Cut each chicken breast into four pieces. Pound thin between plastic wrap. Season with salt and pepper.
2 Combine corn meal and cheese on a plate. Dredge pounded chicken in cornmeal mixture and pan fry in oil until golden brown on each side and then transfer to a plate.
3 Sauté vegetables in a bit of oil until nicely browned. Add tomatoes and cooked until thickened, about 10 minutes. Add back chicken pieces and juices pushing into sauce to warm.
4 Cook pasta to until tender and serve with tomato sauce and chicken.

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