Monday, April 22, 2013

Mondays With Mom- The Weekly Shake and Bake

My Mom always had to work, but she always took a job that would allow her to be home when my sister and I got out of school. For a few years, she even worked in the cafeteria of my elementary school. I was never embarrassed to see her there, in her hairnet. She was hilarious and all my friends loved her. It wasn't until a sociology class in college, while researching my family's educational history, that I learned that my mom had two master's degrees and was pretty wicked smaht. She had been an educator most of her life, so slopping mashed potatoes on an endless line of plastic trays was a truly sacrificial move on her part.
Throughout my childhood, in the mornings, mom would grab some kind of meat out of the deep freezer and set in the sink to thaw throughout the day. Not in a sink filled with cold water, just the sink. When I commented on this when I became an adult who cooked and who knew that this really wasn't a safe way to thaw out meat, she responded, "Nothing bad ever happened, right?"
I don't remember a lot of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, which are a staple in my house today. I remember a lot of pork chops. I'm sure they were a cheaper option. If there were pork chops in the sink, you could count on one thing for supper- Shake and Bake. I loved Shake and Bake nights, because of course, I helped!
These days, I still rely heavily on a weekly dose of "shake and bake" chicken. 25 minutes in the oven, a side of brown rice and some veggies? Done. And everyone loves it. Growing up, the cast of characters would have included a bag of Lipton Rice and a salad. There was always salad on the table. 
Crispy Rosemary Chicken is my go-to version of mom's weekly favorite. It requires little more effort than the boxed variety and it tastes infinitely better. This meal has completely taken the place of Parmesan Chicken as my family's favorite meal.  
I think mom would have loved it. I'm willing to bet your family will, as well. 


  1. I loved seeing that smiling face when I clicked on your link! That's exactly how I see her in my mind when I think of her! It's so interesting that you were in college before really understanding she was one smart cookie. And funny! Oh my gosh, she could make me laugh so hard. I am going to love this new series. And, the crispy chicken sounds delish!

  2. Loved do remember that "salad" was iceberg and a chopped tomato, right? I am going to like Mondays a little more! Aunt Pam

    1. Au contraire, Aunt Pam. It was my job from a very early age to prepare the salad. There were always cucumbers, green bell peppers, and lots of stuff that I wanted nothing to do with. The best part of the salad, for me, were the croutons, cheese, and bacon bits. :)

  3. Loved this post, Keely. :)

  4. Your mother sounded like a great woman. A great role model. And she was so beautiful. How touching for you to have a tangible memory of her with good ol' Shake and Bake!

  5. So amazed by your mom's willingness to work the cafeteria line with her educational background. What a testimony to her character AND to her love for her family.