Please don't be scared by the title of this post. I am NOT an oatmeal lover—AT ALL. And it's all my dad's fault. Really, Dad, I love you and you know that! But the oatmeal? Well … let's just say that it's a part of my childhood that I have nightmares about. (And if that is the worst of my childhood nightmares, I'd say I'm doing alright! So, Dad, don't take it personally. And I know you're reading! I can feel those steely blues through my screen!)
When we were growing up, Mom and Dad believed very strongly in a hearty breakfast. It probably came from their farm upbringings and needing 1200 calories before they went out to milk cows at 4 AM! I was ever so hopeful that they would come to realize that, as adults, they didn't run a farm—only a houseful of kids. We had no cows to get up at 4 to milk, we didn't slop the hogs after school, and we certainly weren't bailing hay all summer. Under any of those circumstances, I might've been willing to eat even oatmeal just because of all the caloric outgo, but I was a regular kid (sort of), growing up in a fairly 'normal' home, doing school, having friends, just being … oatmeal not required.
Dad believed otherwise. Breakfast was at 7 AM. Be there—or be in trouble. J Your choice. Simple as that. There was orange juice poured at every set place. And there was a set place for everyone. You're getting the picture. Good. There was a plate of toast—or French bread—loads of it because I had four brothers! There was peanut butter (always the peanut butter!). There was honey, jam, jelly, preserves, marmalade, whatever. AND … there was oatmeal. Being dished into everyone's bowl as we entered the inner sanctum called the kitchen. My stomach turned almost every morning. Honest to God … and that is NOT swearing: I really didn't like oatmeal.
There's a caveat, though. There was almost always brown sugar and cinnamon on the table! And anything goes down better with lots of brown sugar and cinnamon. I could be One with Mary Poppins on this. If it wasn't for the brown sugar and cinnamon, I'm sure I would've met an early grave—all because of the oatmeal.
Ok, enough of the histrionics.
I first found this recipe in the Victoria Magazine. I am a charter subscriber of this magazine and proud of it. It showcases everything that is fine in life and I learned so many things from reading it. I had saved every issue until my husband, during one of our moves, looked at me with soulful eyes and said, "Do you really need to keep all these?" His muscles were aching and his brow was beaded with sweat and I said, " … Yes …"
The Starting Line-Up:
Really, the only things you need at first are the buttermilk and Dijon Mustard. And please buy the best Dijon you can find. It is the only honorable thing you could do in this recipe that calls for oatmeal.
Mix the buttermilk and Dijon in a platter or Tupperware Marinating Dish, which I must say, is very handy. The recipe calls for 3 lbs of trimmed chicken and I usually use bone-in, skinless breasts. However … apparently, my family has about has much problem removing chicken from bones as I had eating oatmeal despite the many lessons I have provided them! There is a saying that goes, "if Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy." In my case, I will admit to that being true only occasionally. I will more readily admit to the fact that if my family ain't happy at the table, the leftovers are hard to get rid of! SO … all that to say that I most often use skinless, boneless chicken in this recipe. The bones will impart great flavor during the baking, but that doesn't seem to matter to my family. J and I try to keep smiling.
After you mix the buttermilk and Dijon, season with salt and pepper and bury your chicken in it. Other people call it marinating.
In the meantime, toast the oatmeal. (And herein lies its saving grace.) The toasting combined with the fragrance of your Pumpkin Spice candle will cure all that is ill in the world. I do it in a skillet, constantly stirring, shaking, or flipping it. You might prefer a cookie sheet in the oven. I don't feel that the oven-cookie-sheet scenario gives me ample control. And I like control.
After you've put the chicken in to marinade and toasted your oats (no! I didn't say 'sown your wild oats'!), you can go to lunch with your girlfriend, take flower photos (on Manual Mode only!), and catch a matinee.
You might consider picking up the kids from school, and if you do that, when you come home, you'll have to get the chicken in the oven. Because they'll be tired, hungry, and cranky. And there's no cure for those three things except good, hearty food, shared at the table.
SO … mix the toasted oatmeal, grated Parmesan (and in honor of all things Holy, please do not use the Green.Can! Please buy fresh Parmesan and grate it. It really doesn't take that much longer to grate a beautiful piece of yummy cheese that will make your chicken hum in delight!)
Speaking of dramatic! Please!
Starting over—mix the oatmeal, Parmesan, bread crumbs, and fresh chopped rosemary.
Take the chicken out of the Buttermilk Marinade and dip it in the coating mixture and lay it in a butter-coated pan. You can use olive oil if you like, but I've found that when I coat my pans with butter, NOTHING, but nothing, sticks! Your choice, of course. I had too many to put in one pan so I used one of my favorite French pottery dishes to finish it off. I think when I cook for just Ken and me (in many, Many, MANY years down the road, these will be the types of photos I'll be posting: just two pieces of chicken in a very small baking dish … … … )
Here's the recipe that you can follow more easily than all my ramblings:
Oatmeal Crusted Chicken
For the marinade:
- 3 lbs. chicken, skinned and cut in pieces
- 4 T. Dijon mustard
- 1 ½ c. buttermilk
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the chicken:
- ½ c. parmesan cheese
- ½ c. oatmeal, toasted
- ½ c. fresh bread crumbs
- 2 T. fresh rosemary
- 4 T. Butter
- 2 T. olive oil
(I always use more of the cheese, oatmeal, and bread crumbs … seems these quantities are quite enough to cover my chicken.)
- Marinate chicken overnight. (or for as long as you have!)
- Preheat oven to 375˚ F.
- Mix parmesan cheese, toasted oatmeal, bread crumbs, and rosemary in shallow pan and coat chicken.
- Put chicken in a baking dish.
- Stir together melted butter and oil and drizzle over chicken. (I usually use more oil than butter.)
- Bake coated chicken for 40-45 minutes. If desired, (and I usually do), broil lightly at the end of the baking time for about 2 minutes.
Remember our Goldie dog? Can you resist those eyes?
She had surgery this summer on her torn ACL and meniscus. She also has arthritis and she's only (about) 7! Recently, Ken has taken to walking every evening. Goldie is hopeful that this will continue indefinitely and she has come to expect her W-A-L-K. Yes, I have to spell it. I have a smart dog that knows what the alphabet is. And even though I'm typing, she just might pick up on it. I never know.
So last night, Ken was in the family room, watching sports, playing on his laptop … you know, normal stuff. He got up, went upstairs and changed clothes, and Goldie started getting curious. He came down, went in the ½ bath, and Goldie was still curious. See her head cocked in Wondering.Mode? And she's wagging that tail like nobody's business!
That's the way she loves ending her day … on a W-A-L-K with Dad. Hmm … Life is Good.