My parents got married on May 16, 1954 in Ridgewood, NY. I have no idea what the weather was that day, or who was in my mother’s bridal party beside her twin brother Walter and my father’s only sister Catherine. I do know that my mother’s gown was in the style of Princess Grace and borrowed from her girlfriend. I do know that they were both very much in love that day and that’s never changed. I also know her parents, especially her mother, didn’t approve of my father because he was an Irish Catholic. My grandparents had hoped my mother would marry someone better, but what they didn’t realize was that she married one of the best men ever. If they only knew how he cares for her now, as he did their entire marriage, they’d surely change their thinking.
Sixty four years later my mom lives in a full time care center, not by choice but by necessity. My mom has Alzheimer’s, a degenerative brain disease that robs one of their memories and ability to function. For ten years my dad lovingly cared for mom at home, including feeding and diapering her himself. It wasn’t until there was no other option, that he agreed to place her in the care center. Even though she has no idea, he goes and sits there with her every single day. He still feeds her, even though there are people there who can do so. He brings nice outfits for the aides to dress her in and makes sure her hair is done. Though many have criticized him for sitting there each day, there is truly no place he’d rather be. If you’ve ever read the Notebook, you know how the story goes. It’s heartbreaking, yet so inspiring at the same time.
I see so many sad people when I visit the care center. One gentlemen never married and has no family to care for him. He placed himself in the center to live out his remaining years. Another, after eight years in the care center, still talks about how he is getting better and will be going home soon. He has no idea that his wife will never be taking him home again. Not too many people come to visit these long term patients, only the rehab patients seem to have visitors. Believe me it is extremely hard for me to go there and visit. I dread it and some weeks it takes me a few days to not feel depressed. When we visit we always bring Sonny along because the people there love seeing him. We always seem to end up with other patients sitting with us when we visit, but we really don’t mind. Like my dad, I know that there’s no place I’d rather be.
Today, after so many days of dreary gray skies and rain, the sun made a comeback. When I went outside this morning, I couldn’t believe how hot and humid it was. Yesterday, we had heat on in the house and today we need air conditioning. Cooking is very therapeutic for my after my visit to the care center. Music, wine and cooking are the best medicine to get me out of my funk. Today, I decided to make my husband’s favorite dish today, Chicken Parmesan. I decided to try to lighten it up though and make a somewhat healthier version. I used chicken tenderloins instead of full breasts and baked them instead of frying. The tenderloins were just the right portion to eat 4-6 ounces of chicken, which is all you really need. We both felt the chicken was super tender and delicious and it cooked a lot faster too. Swapping out the pasta for zoodles also helped to lighten up the meal.
I made a pot of Sunday Sauce this morning to use in this recipe. I did not make meatballs as we were eating the chicken today. I did put some hot sausage, removed from casing, into the sauce for flavor. Recipe for Sunday Sauce can be found by clicking here – Sunday Gravy
I made the zoodles about two hours before we ate them. I cut them in half today (after spiralizing) to make them easier to eat, as they come out very long. Zoodles really are awesome and honestly make me feel like I don’t miss spaghetti. The consistency of them raw works best for me. Recipe for zoodles can be found by clicking here – Mother’s Day
Baked Chicken Parmesan & Zoodles
- Chicken breast tenderloin (1 lb. package was enough for two with leftovers)
- 2 eggs
- Fresh mozzarella sliced into strips
- Cover baking tray with aluminum foil and spray lightly with olive oil spray
- Mix two eggs in flat bowl dish
- Place panko in second flat bowl dish
- Dip chicken in eggs, then panko and place on oiled tray
- Spray all chicken lightly with olive oil spray
- Place in oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes
- Remove from oven and place in cooking tray with sauce in bottom
- Top with mozzarella strips and cover with aluminum foil
- Return to oven and bake for 10 minutes covered.
- Serve immediately over zoodles and add sauce as needed.