I love to cook. I pride myself on my cooking. My friends tell me that I'm a good cook, and my best friends tell me that I'm a great cook. They're exaggerating, but let's face it, that's why they're my friends. So it is a constant source of frustration--shame, even--that my children don't like my cooking. They saunter into the kitchen, sniff disdainly at whatever is in the pot, and ask, "so what are the kids eating?" A neighbor once shared with me that my oldest bragged about my cooking skills, and I dejectedly thought, "How the hell would she know?" My kids don't eat my food. Is there a 12-step program for this?
I succeed sometimes. We are a family of five: me, one husband (an Irishman who will happily eat anything as long as it's accompanied by a potato), and three incredibly picky eaters. A couple times a week I can get one child to eat what I've prepared--sometimes I manage two. By default it has become a sort informal ranking system. I'll rarely make a meal twice if it's merely a twofer--i.e. only my husband and I will eat it. Threefers I go to now and again. The fourster tends to be a staple, but really, how often can you eat meatloaf or pasta? But there is one dish, one glorious dish that I can get everyone in the family to eat. They may not go for all of the side dishes, but no matter. When you're essentially running a restaurant, the one dish that will make all of your customers happy is a beautiful thing. In most circles, it's called chicken cordon bleu, but to me, it is simply: "The FIVER."
5 chicken cutlets or chicken breasts pounded very thin.
5 slices swiss cheese
5 slices of ham
1 cup Italian bread crumbs, 1 tsp dried parsley, 2 Tbs parmesan cheese--mixed.
1/4 cup butter or 1/4 cup olive oil or 5 generous sprays of Pam
Toothpicks or kitchen string
Take each cutlet and lay one slice of cheese and one slice of ham on top of it. Fold up the sides of the cutlet to make a little package. Secure with toothpicks, or if you're "crafty" you can tie it up with kitchen string. The toothpicks work just fine, and ultimately they are easier to find and pull out vs. the string, which always seems to manage to leave behind a fiber or two that if you are over 40 will absolutely, positively, get stuck in your back teeth.
Depending on your current cholesterol level, roll the stuffed chicken package in either (a) butter (cholesterol levels good); (b) olive oil (cholesterol needs some work); or (c) spray Pam (keep the defibrillator handy). Roll the chicken one more time in the bread crumb mixture. Place in a slighty oiled or sprayed baking dish and bake at 375 degrees until the breading is golden brown--about 25--30 minutes.
Serve to your ENTIRE family, and then bask in their glow.