Secret Ingredient: Chicken Patties (Quick Japanese Katsu, Curry, Parmesan and Cordon Bleu Recipes!)

Yeah, yeah, yeah.  We cook all the time at our house.  Sometimes, though, we need something fast and filling. Chicken patties are one of my secret weapons in the kitchen. Here are some ways to prepare them beyond the basic chicken sandwich!

Chicken Parmesan 

  • Frozen chicken patties
  • Tomato sauce
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Italian seasoning
  • Pasta (to serve on the side)

Place frozen chicken patties in a baking dish.  Cover with tomato sauce. Top with mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle Italian seasoning on top. Serve over pasta.

Chicken Piccatta 

  • 6 Frozen chicken patties
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock or dry white wine (such as a Sauvignon Blanc)
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup brined capers
  • 2 Tbsp fresh chopped parsley
  • Pasta (to serve on the side)

Bake the chicken patties to package directions, in a baking dish (you want them to be crispy in the end product).  In the mean time,  in a sauce pan, melt butter. Add stock / wine and lemon juice.  Reduce to half the liquid.  Stir in capers. Take the chicken out of the over just before it’s supposed to be done. Top with sauce and caper mixture.  Place them back in the warmed oven for another 5 minutes while the sauce absorbs slightly into the chicken. Before serving, garnish with parsley.  Serve with pasta.

Japanese Chicken Katsu

  • Frozen chicken patties
  • Kikkoman Tonkatsu Sauce
  • Finely shredded green cabbage
  • Sesame vinaigrette dressing
  • Pink pickled Ginger
  • Rice (short-grained is ideal)

Start the rice. Bake the patties (or fry them if you have time) to package directions.  Shred the cabbage and mix with a tough of sesame vinaigrette dressing.

Plate the cooked rice for each serving, and place the shredded cabbage salad on the side.

When the chicken patties are done, cut each patty into strips that are about 1.5 cm wide.  Place the strips of chicken side by side on the rice so that they resemble the original patty, only cut into strips. Drizzle with tonkatsu sauce. Garnish with pickled ginger.

Japanese Chicken Katsu Curry

  • Frozen chicken patties
  • S&B Hot Curry Golden Sauce Mix (comes in cubes)
  • Vegetables for the curry (see curry package directions – usually variations of onions, bell peppers, carrots, potatoes)
  • Curry pickles aka Fukujinzuke (optional – find them at the Asian grocery store)
  • Mozzarella cheese (optional)
  • Rice

Start the rice. Bake or fry the patties to package directions.  In a sauce pan, make the curry sauce to package directions.  (This usually involves sauteing vegetables, adding water and the curry roux, and then cooking until the sauce thickens.)  Plate the cooked rice into servings. When the chicken patties are done, cut each patty into strips that are about 1.5 cm wide.  Place the strips of chicken side by side on the rice so that they resemble the original patty, only cut into strips. Top with curry and vegetable sauce.  Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top. Garnish with fukujinzuke.

Chicken Cordon Bleu (Sandwiches…if you want!)

  • Frozen chicken patties
  • Thinly sliced cooked ham
  • Swiss cheese
  • Dijon mustard
  • Sandwich Rolls (OR, omit the rolls and serve with buttered noodles and salad)
  • Dill pickle
  • Potato chips

Place the chicken in a baking dish.  Spread Dijon mustard on the patties. Place slices of ham on top of the patties. Top with swiss cheese. Bake according to the chicken patty package directions, so that the patties are cooked through and the cheese is melted and golden brown.  Place the Cordon Patties on rolls and serve sandwiches with a pickle and chips.



Sarah’s “Healthy Fats” Salad – Turkey, Avocado, Granny Smith, Raisins…


For health reasons, I have been trying to eat more protein from poultry (vs. beef), more healthy fats, more B-complex vitamins and more fiber.

This salad has it all, it’s really tasty, AND it’s a great way to use leftover turkey.

Sarah’s Healthy Fats Salad

Makes 2 Servings:

1 cup cubed turkey
1 whole avocado, cubed
1 medium tart, firm apple .. like a Granny Smith, cubed
Sprinkling of raisins
Sprinkling of crushed walnuts
Drizzling of cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil (Di Giovanna is my favorite)
Drizzling of rice wine vinegar

Nutritional Info Per Serving (Click for complete)

Calories 440.9
Total Fat 23.3 g
-Saturated Fat 3.3 g
-Polyunsaturated Fat 5.0 g
-Monounsaturated Fat 12.4 g
Total Carbohydrate 41.7 g
-Dietary Fiber 9.6 g
-Sugars 26.4 g
Protein 22.6 g

Simple Lunch: Spicy Coconut Chicken & Zucchini

This is a concoction I made with leftovers and pantry ingredients + some herbs from my (now end of season) garden (can I just say that fresh herbs are such amazing flavor pick-me-ups?).

Why do I have the Simple Lunch category? It reminds me that, instead of feeling dizzy and moving through my day with a hunger headache, I can actually whip up something quickly that I will enjoy eating. Most days, I have to get to the headache stage before I realize this. I’m getting better though!

I have a feeling many moms are the same way… going about their day, taking care of their children, and surviving on room temperature milk left in sippy cups and PBJ crusts. Shall we encourage one another to take better care of ourselves?

Spicy Coconut Chicken & Zucchini

Sauté minced garlic and ginger in a skillet.
Add cubed chicken (leftovers from that big batch of broth I made!)
Add chopped zucchini (mine was from the bottom of my veggie drawer, mushy parts cut out!)
Sprinkle with salt, pepper and a pinch of curry powder
Stir the goodness together for a minute to distribute the spices
Pour in coconut milk (canned) to cover your chicken/zucchini
Simmer for a few minutes until the zucchini is tender and coconut milk thickens
Sprinkle on minced fresh basil and cilantro (I had leftover basil from our pizza last night!)
Plate and serve with lime wedges and Red Chili Hot Oil

..because Moms need to eat lunch, too!

Waking Up Early : A Small Habit Change With Big Results

View From My Driveway : Mt. Iwaki

I have always been a night owl. Just ask my parents.

As mom, staying up late conflicts with my children’s natural waking time of around 8am.

Last year, I was doing well with keeping a schedule. Since I came home from vacation, the schedule bombed. I became very homesick and stayed up really late chatting online with friends and family back home (who were awake in a different time zone) and writing to fill the void. Writing and keeping in touch are admirable, but they were not what I was supposed to be doing during those hours — resting so I could be refreshed for my family.

In the morning, I was waking up when my children wake up, instead of waking up a little earlier to get the day started. In other words, there no prep time in the morning, only hitting the ground in panic mode — a problem that no amount of coffee can fix.

Changing one’s sleeping and waking schedule is not an easy thing to do. However, I knew it was best for my family and it was what needed to be done.

Last week, I made a point to change. I was not used to going to bed earlier. For the first few nights, I stared at the ceiling, not tired, thinking, “Why am I doing this??”

I realized, though, that I fell asleep around midnight, before I would have normally gone to bed between 1am and 3am. It was a rough start that resulted in a small victory. After two days, I felt tired around 11pm. During this transition, I tuned into my body and noted that I need about seven hours of sleep to feel rested.

I did not make this change by myself, though.

Primal Stride began a challenge last week to wake at 5am and run 5k. With many people participating and Seth Simonds at the helm to motivate the crew, we have formed a community of sorts of people who are committed to doing small things and seeing big changes as a result.

The idea is that when you rejoice in victory over small changes, you challenge yourself a little more. Before you know it, you are rejoicing in bigger victories. By focusing on a small goal on the path to the bigger goal, I am not as overwhelmed. I am realizing I can apply this idea to more than going to bed on time and waking earlier.

The snow is about three feet deep presently, with nowhere to run outdoors. To make it work for me, I modified last week’s Primal Stride challenge by running up and down my stairs, which are quite steep and tall. The steps probably total nowhere near 5k, but my heart rate is up and my legs are shaking by the time I am done! A small victory.

On Reddit, we have a saying, “Pic or it didn’t happen”. Part of Primal Stride’s interactive challenge is to take a photo of the sunrise. This photo was taken January 4th. I bundled up, walked the recycling to the bin down the street and kept walking. It was more of a slow shuffle with arms out to balance. The roads are ice-covered. There is a sidewalk about two blocks from my house. I made it to the sidewalk and walked to its end. Then, on my way back, I fell right as a snowplow was passing by. The driver laughed. So did I. (I also learned that the snow plows are out at sunrise and that you can get trapped by them, as there is no shoulder to escape to when they come down the street. Unintentionally, I was quite annoying. They had to stop and wait for me to get to the next street before they could do their job. Oops!)

Above is a photograph taken of Mt. Iwaki at sunrise from our back driveway. Seeing the mountain made me realize the beauty I had been missing out on each morning. It is like looking at a fresh clean sheet of paper; a day waiting to be written upon. (Yes, I was that kid, who could not wait to get her crisp notebooks at the beginning of the school year!) Is that some serious motivation or what?

I feeling more rested and calm when I wake. The result is that I can be more focused on my writing in the morning, rather than staring at the screen, late at night, slowly hashing out words, overshadowed by feeling guilty for staying up so late. I am also prepared for my kids, so that I can meet their needs when they wake up without beginning the day with a meltdown.

As far as running up and down the steps? I can now run up and down 11 times before I have to stop. I started at having to stop after nine times. Throughout the day, I run up and down as many sets as I can fit in.

Want to join me for challenge #2?

Primal Stride Challenge 2 – Double Crunch

Begins: 12:01am Friday, January 8th, 2010

Ends: 11:59pm Thursday, January 14th, 2010


Exercise: 250 crunches per day. Split them up however you like. 250 crunches every 24hrs will do it.

Health: Eat a different green vegetable each day. Suggested modifications include eating a different fruit each day or preparing a green vegetable in a different way each day. It’s up to you! Be creative!

Remember: You can customize the food and amount of crunches to suit your needs. Just make sure to include the changes when you sign up by leaving a comment!

PS: If you are in a rut, no matter how deep or small, and need some literary motivation, I highly recommend these books from my library, which I have recently re-read :