To me, Memorial Day is one of our most important non-religious holidays.  A tribute to the men and women who have died in service of their country.  These folks that I didn’t know, will never know, served and laid down their life for me.  What brave people they were!  I admire their courage and valor.

This weekend while we are enjoying the unofficial beginning of summer by having picnics, going to the beach or playing baseball, let’s take the time to remember what this holiday is really about and say “thank you” to our brave troops.

Awhile back, I was at an event that was having an “armed forces day”.  I sat right next to some of our enlisted men and women.  I had never been at arm’s length from a large group of soldiers.  What were my thoughts?  I thought that they were so very young, and so very innocent.  The same men and women who will be picking up arms and fighting, wherever, whenever they are told to defend our country.  They are all someone’s son or daughter, loved and cherished by their parents, spouses, relatives, friends.   Some of those that were standing there with sunny smiles on their faces will not return.

After we stood and sang our National Anthem, we applauded them loud and hard.  I would like to do that again today.  To all of you serving our country, a big salute and thank you!  I hope that you are going to be home with your family and friends very soon, sitting down to many Sunday suppers.  It’s because of you that we are able to so freely enjoy ours.

Thank you!

Herb Encrusted Oven Baked Crispy Picnic Chicken

Yield: 4-6 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 25 - 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

This recipe can be very, very only like white meat, no problem. You want to make it healthy, no problem. Pick what suits you best and go for it. You'll be happy you did! This recipe is great to serve straight from the oven but it is perfect to make the day before, refrigerate and serve chilled at your picnic, but it won't be as crispy.


1 whole chicken, cut up, skin removed (about 5 pounds) or 4-6 boneless, skinless breasts (about 1 12/ to 2 1/4 pounds)
1/2 cup mayonnaise or 1/2 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely minced (about 1 teaspoon)
2 cups panko bread crumbs
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary (removed from stem before chopping)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme (remove from stem before chopping)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Wisk together mayonnaise or olive oil with the finely minced garlic.

Rinse chicken and pat dry. Rub the cut up chicken that has had the skin removed with the mayonnaise (or, if you prefer olive oil). Please note: If you cut the breast pieces in 2 they bake more quickly. Or if you prefer white meat and don't want to fuss with taking the skin off, you can use boneless/skinless breasts. There is a lot of flexibility in this recipe!

In a large plastic bag, place panko bread crumbs, chopped rosemary, thyme, parsley, parmesan cheese, salt and freshly ground pepper. Shake so the ingredients become evenly distributed. Spread this mixture on a plate.

Dredge the chicken on both sides in mixture, coating it well.

Place on baking pan and bake in oven for approximately 25 minutes. Please use a meat thermometer to make sure that the thickest pieces of chicken has reached a temperature of 165 degrees. Please note: You may have to remove the smaller pieces of chicken (wings, legs, thighs) before the breasts have finished cooking.