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Family Central: A great dinner idea for a new parent

This week a co-worker stopped by the office with her beautiful four-week old son. It was late afternoon, and the sweet young mother confessed it was her third attempt to get out of the house that week before she and her baby finally made it out the door.

I wanted to throw my arms around her and tell her that everything was going to be alright. I can remember the fear of being a new mother, not knowing what to do or how to do it to take care of my baby Will.

The day my mother left after a couple of weeks helping me make the transition, I confess I sat on the floor the entire day either holding or staring at Will, crying the entire time. Now, he gets his license next month, and I wonder what on earth it was I was so stressed about 16 years ago!

One of my favorite meals a friend brought to me when Will was born was this Chicken Vegetable Linguine. It was filling and flavorful, but not too heavy like many pasta dishes. It didn’t upset Will’s stomach either!

Seeing my co-worker reminded me of how much I enjoyed this dinner, and the importance of caring for new parents as much as we “older” parents can. There’s a hand off of knowledge and experience between generations that is both a relief to receive and a delight to give.

Chicken Vegetable Linguine
Serves 4

2 carrots, thinly sliced
2 zucchini, thinly sliced
1 cup fresh sliced mushrooms
2 ripe tomatoes, diced
1 (8 oz) pck linguine, cooked to al dente and drained
4 Tbs unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg, slightly beaten
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cooked and cut into strips
8 oz shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Preheat oven to 350° F. Steam carrots, zucchini, mushrooms and tomatoes for 5 to 7 minutes until tender crisp. Toss warm cooked linguine with melted butter. Combine Parmesan and egg and toss with linguine as well. Spread linguine in a greased 2-quart casserole. Toss steamed vegetables and chicken over, and top with Monterey Jack cheese. Bake until cheese is melted and bubbly.

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