The Barefoot Contessa is a big fan of breadcrumbs—store-bought or homemade.


From a dependable Super Bowl dip to a granola-based after dinner treat, Ina Garten always knows the ideal dish to serve for any occasion. The latest perfect fit comes from Barefoot Contessa: Cook Like a Pro season two, which premiered Sunday.

Put Parmesan Chicken in your weekly rotation, everyone. Ina calls it her favorite weeknight dinner recipe.

During Sunday's episode, Garten revealed several “breadwinning" dishes for the true loaf lovers in your life. From cheese boards to pudding, there are countless delicious ways to use bread in its various forms as both the base and final touch of your meal. That includes breadcrumbs, which Garten explains she enjoys making from leftover bread, but also frequently pulls from her pantry.

Featured in her Barefoot Contessa Family Style cookbook, the recipe calls for, among other ingredients, boneless, skinless chicken breasts, freshly grated Parmesan cheese (with a little extra for serving), salad greens, and the Contessa’s very own Lemon Vinaigrette. The dressing is as flavorful as it is simple, requiring only freshly squeezed lemon juice, olive oil, kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper.

Other dishes the Barefoot Contessa says breadcrumbs aren’t just great for but essential to during Cooking Like A Pro? Meatloaf, to bind the meat, as well as spanakopita, where the crumbs soak up excess liquid from the spinach, leaving Phyllo dough extra flakey, Garten explains. In the season two premiere, Garten also uses Panko to make her fish and lobster cakes.

To Garten, “all [bread crumbs] have their place,” including the seasoned kind in her Parmesan Chicken recipe.