For my eleventh birthday, my parents took me to a French restaurant in downtown Richmond, Virginia. La Petite France was an iconic restaurant that opened in 1971, and it stayed in business until 2008.
I can’t even tell you how huge this dinner was for me and how it’s stuck in my head for 30 years.
First of all, we just didn’t eat out. If we did, it was McDonald’s, certainly not a fancy restaurant all the way downtown with valet parking and candles on the tables.
I’m really not sure what prompted my parents to pull out all the stops for my eleventh birthday, but they did.
I got all dressed up. At age 11, that meant a church dress (I can still see it…dove gray with magenta color-blocking on the shoulders), white tights and black patent leather shoes. My fancy clothes. My parents hired a babysitter for the rest of my siblings, and we drove downtown for dinner, just the three of us.
The restaurant was dim and hushed with candles and small lamps on heavy, white tablecloths. My dad wore a suit and tie, and my mom also had on a dress with heels. My dad pulled out the chair for me and my mom.
They ordered for me, I think. I wasn’t a picky eater so I’m sure anything would have been good. I had a chicken breast smothered in mushrooms and a wine sauce (I probably didn’t know that at the time), a fluffy roll served on a separate plate, and asparagus. There was a chocolate confection for dessert, which came with a candle blazing on it.
I felt so grown up.
This recipe is pretty close to what I had at dinner that night, and it takes me back to those memories every time I think of a “fancy” dinner.
Chicken Breasts Lombardy
1 (8 oz) pkg fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 Tbs butter, melted
6 chicken breasts, skinned and boned
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup butter
3/4 cup marsala wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
2 green onions, chopped
Cook mushrooms in 2 tablespoons butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, for about 3 to 5 minutes or just until tender. Remove from heat; set aside.
Cut each chicken breast in half lengthwise. Place chicken between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; flatten to 1/8-inch thickness, using a meat mallet or rolling pin.
Dredge chicken pieces in flour. Cook chicken in batches in 1 to 2 tablespoons butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, about 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until golden. Place chicken in a lightly greased 13 x 9-inch baking dish, overlapping edges. Repeat procedure with remaining chicken and butter. Reserve pan drippings in skillet. Sprinkle mushrooms evenly over chicken.
Add wine and broth to skillet. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in salt and pepper. Pour sauce over chicken. Combine cheeses and green onions; sprinkle over chicken.
Bake uncovered at 450° F for 12 to 14 minutes or until cheese melts.
Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 586, Calories from Fat: 291, Fat: 32 g, Cholesterol: 193 mg, Sodium: 780 mg, Carbohydrates: 12 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 1 g, Protein: 56 g
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