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McCormick's Flavor of Together Program with Chef Donatella Arpaia

McCormick Flavor of Together Program

We all have a personal story about flavor. A few weeks ago we learned all about how McCormick is encouraging people to share their flavor stories where for each flavor story shared, they will donate a $1 (per story) to United Way Worldwide. As part of this celebration of flavor and giving chefs have teamed up with McCormick to share their own recipes and share their favorite flavors. To learn more about this program, Momtrends spoke with mom and Chef Donatella Arpaia about what flavor means to her as well as a delicious recipe that you can all try at home.

Momtrends: How does McCormick flavors influence your cooking?

Donatella Arpaia:McCormick makes it so easy to add flavor to any dish without extra calories- just with a pinch of seasoning. I know I’m not the only one trying to slim down after the holidays, and herbs and spices make a big difference in making you enjoy low-calorie foods. They also to prevent boredom in your eating, which can lead to falling off the wagon. I love McCormick's “Recipe Inspirations” – those little packets of pre-measured seasonings. It’s such a smart concept that allows people to experiment with new flavors and expand their pallets without the commitment of buying a huge container of something new.

Momtrends: What are some of your favorite recipes using McCormick spices?

Donatella:Dried spices are best for rubs or sauces. One of my favorite recipes is almond-crusted chicken paillards. It’s a grown-up chic version of chicken fingers. (See attachment for recipe.)

Momtrends: How has your flavor preferences changed over the years?

Donatella: I’m always changing and evolving, and over the past few year I’ve found a new love for spicy foods. I don’t like it too hot—but a nice smokey flavor is really delicious. It’s kind of timely since I demonstrated the chili at the Flavor event! [McCormick recently announced their Flavor Forecast 2014 at an event in NYC. Donatella attended and demonstrated the Chilies Obsession trend, which highlights the chile as an extremely versatile ingredient – you can pickle, ferment and candy it to tease out its flavor potential.]

Momtrends: What are some new food trends you are seeing for 2014?

Donatella:I’ve recently discovered the “Meatless Monday” movement, which I find inspiring. It forces you to eat more vegetables and fruit than you otherwise would, which is a great way to start the week. Using McCormick flavors is essential to jazz up a vegetarian dish and make up for the lack of meat.

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Momtrends: What does McCormick’s Flavor of Together program mean to you? [McCormick’s Flavor of Together program is collecting stories about flavor in an effort to spark a global conversation. The program seeks to donate $1.25 million to United Way to help feed those in need by the end of the year.]

Donatella:Reading all these different Flavor Stories on is very nostalgic because food is such an important aspect of someone’s culture. It’s so interesting to see how even just the smell of a certain dish can draw up the past. Food can create memories and trigger emotion – the way my meatballs remind me of Sundays with my mother, or how Italian pastries makes me think warmly of my dad. It doesn’t matter what your background is or what flavors personally speak to you, food has a way of bringing people together that’s very special.

Donatella's Almond-Crusted Chicken Paillards


(Serves 4-6)

  • 4 6-oz. boneless, skinless, chicken breast halves
  • McCormick’s salt and freshly ground pepper
  • ½ tsp McCormicks’ dried tarragon
  • 2/3 cup sliced, unblanched almonds
  • 2/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 large eggs
  • 20 cherry tomatoes, halved (red and/or yellow)
  • 2 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • lemon wedges for serving


  • Pat chicken breasts dry with paper towels and place each breast between 2 sheets of plastic wrap, opening out the fillets. Pound gently with a mallet or rolling pin to an even thickness. Do not make them thinner than 3/8”. Season both sides with salt and pepper.
  • Pulse almonds in a food processor until coarsely chopped and combine with panko breadcrumbs and half of the tarragon.
  • Lightly whisk the eggs in a shallow bowl with a pinch of salt. Dip each piece of chicken into the eggs, let the excess drip away, the press both sides of the chicken into the panko coating. Place on a baking sheet and refrigerate for 20 minutes until the crust sets.
  • Meanwhile, combine the tomatoes, scallions, 2 tbsp of olive oil, remaining tarragon, and lemon juice into a bowl.
  • Heat a skillet over medium heat and add the butter to the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. When the butter foams, place the chicken into the pan and increase the heat to medium-high. Cook, turning once until the crust sets and turns golden brown: 3-1 ½ minutes on each side.

?Chef Tip: Don’t put the tomato salad on top of the cutlet until just before serving to avoid a soggy crust.

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Momtrends was not paid for this post.

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