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Chicken Cordon Bleu

Chicken Cordon Bleu sure sounds fancy!  Cordon Bleu is a dish that has meat wrapped around cheese then breaded and fried.  It translates in French to “blue ribbon” and refers to the highest order of knights which wore a blue sash on their robe (which could be looked at as an apron) and has become synonymous with dishes that are prepared to very high standards or outstanding cooks.

This dish can be tricky to make just from a wrapping perspective and trying to get the chicken to retain its shape.  In this dish the chicken is also stuffed with prosciutto and baked instead of fried.

Difficulty: Medium
Prep Time: 30 min
Chill Time: 30 min
Cook Time: 20 min
Total Time: 1 hr 20 min
Yield: 4 servings
Taste: Good

These are full chicken breasts.  They just didn’t wrap completely which is why you see some of the stuffing.  

INGREDIENTS:

4 chicken breasts skinless and boneless
4 thin slices prosciutto
1/2 pound Gruyere, grated
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup panko bread crumbs
4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely minced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 eggs
Extra-virgin olive oil

PROCEDURE:

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2) Lay the chicken breast between 2 pieces of plastic wrap. Using the flat side of a meat mallet, gently pound the chicken to 1/4-inch thickness (the thinner it is the easier it is to roll).  Remove the top sheet of plastic and lay 2 slices of prosciutto neatly over the top to cover the breast and sprinkle a quarter of the cheese over the prosciutto.

3) Roll the breast up tightly like a jellyroll using the plastic wrap around the outside to keep it tight.  Squeeze the log gently to seal and twist both ends of the plastic wrap tightly to form a nice log. Repeat with remaining chicken.  The video here is helpful to watch the tricky wrapping process.

4) Place rolled/wrapped chicken in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes to aid in retaining its shape.

5) Season the flour with salt and pepper.

6) Mix the bread crumbs with thyme, garlic and kosher salt, pepper, and melted butter. The butter will help the crust brown.

7) Beat together the eggs and season with salt and pepper.

8) Lightly coat a baking pan with olive oil or cooking spray.

9) Remove the plastic wrap from the chicken. Lightly dust the chicken with flour, dip in the egg mixture and gently coat in the bread crumbs. Carefully transfer the roulades to the baking pan.

10) Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until browned and cooked through.

11) Cut into pinwheels and serve on top of Brussels Sprout Hash with Chicken Jus and Cranberry Chutney, if desired.

Source: Food Network

Peanut Butter Chocolate Pudding

I really enjoy baking, but if it is only Jim and I I typically don’t want to make a batch of cookies, brownies, or a pan of bars (there’s my Midwest roots on that one).  Having a smaller more individual dessert is just right and this pudding recipe you can easily half to make 3-4 servings.  The puddings took some time to make; carefully watching the pudding cook, stirring to make sure it didn’t burn, plus the added chill time, but it was good mix.  And you can certainly add whipped cream, chocolate pieces, reeses, ect to get creative.  Along similar desserts, I’ve made this tasty chocolate mousse before.

Difficulty: Medium
Prep Time: 5 min
Cook Time: 30 min
Chill Time: 2 hrs to 1 day
Total Time: 2.5 hours
Yield: 6sih individual servings
Taste: Good

 

INGREDIENTS:

Peanut Butter Pudding

1/2 cup sugar
5 teaspoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups whole milk (I substituted skim milk and it worked fine)
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream (I substituted regular whipping cream, also fine)
1/2 cup creamy (smooth) natural peanut or almond butter (made with only peanuts and salt)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Chocolate Pudding

6 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups whole milk (again, skim works fine)
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream (again, regular whipping cream is fine)
4 ounces imported milk chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Optional Topping
1 cup chilled whipping cream
1 tablespoon powdered sugar

PROCEDURE:

Peanut Butter Pudding

1.Whisk sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a large saucepan to blend.

2. Gradually whisk in milk, then cream. Whisk over medium heat until mixture comes to boil. Then boil until thick, whisking constantly, about 30 seconds.

3. Whisk in peanut or almond butter; boil until thick again, whisking often, about 1 minute longer. Remove from heat; whisk in vanilla.

4. Divide pudding among six 1-cup glasses or dishes (generous 1/3 cup each). Chill uncovered while preparing chocolate pudding.

Chocolate Pudding

5. Whisk sugar, cornstarch, coco powder, and salt in heavy large saucepan.

6. Gradually whisk in milk, then cream. Whisk over medium heat until mixture comes to boil. Boil until thick, whisking constantly, about 30 seconds.

7. Add chopped chocolate. Boil until chocolate melts and pudding is thick again, whisking often, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Remove from heat; whisk in vanilla.

8. Cool pudding 5 minutes. Spoon atop peanut butter pudding, dividing equally (about 1/3 cup each).

9. Chill puddings uncovered until cold, at least 2 hours. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and keep chilled.

Optional Topping
Whisk cream and powdered sugar in medium bowl to soft peaks. Spoon topping onto puddings and serve.

Source: Bon Appetite

Sweet and Spiced Roasted Nuts

This is a quick easy snack I have made for some parties and is adaptable to other types of nuts.  I chose pecans.

photo (5)

INGREDIENTS:

1 pound nuts (pecans)
2 tbs melted butter
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbs light or dark brown sugar
OPTIONAL: 1/4 to 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper for extra spice

PROCEDURE:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 deg F
  2. Toss pecans with melted butter and scatter on a 9×13-inch pan.
  3. Roast nuts in oven stirring once or twice until fragrant and golden about 12-15 min total time.
  4. Mix salt and sugar in a medium bowl, add hot pecans, and toss to evenly mix.
  5. Return nuts to baking pan and continue to roast to melt the sugar slightly about 3 minutes longer.
  6. Cool slightly before serving.

Source: Perfect Recipes for Having People Over, Pam Anderson

 

Quinoa Gado-Gado Bowl

This is a pretty easy good weekday dinner option.  Gado-gado is an Indonesian dish typically served with rice and steamed vegetables a peanut sauce dressing.  Here the rice is substituted with quinoa.  The initial recipe only called for 1/2 cup of quinoa which was not enough for Jim and I.  There’s plenty of sauce and veggies for 2, but I’ve increased the recipe below to 3/4 cup quinoa which still puts us at likely no leftovers.  Increasing to 1 cup would give us a leftover serving.

Difficulty: Easy
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 20 min
Total Time: 30 min
Yield: 2 servings
Taste: Good

 

INGREDIENTS

3/4 cup white or red quinoa, well rinsed and drained
1.5 cup water
1 cup (100 g) greens beans, trimmed
1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
3/4 cup (25 g) mung bean sprouts
2/3 cup (46 g) thinly shredded red cabbage
2 whole carrots, thinly sliced with a knife or mandolin

SPICY PEANUT SAUCE
1/3 cup (80 g) salted creamy peanut butter (or sub almond butter, cashew butter, or sunbutter)
1 Tbsp (15 ml) soy sauce
2-3 Tbsp (30-45 ml) maple syrup (to taste)
3 Tbsp (45 ml) lime juice
1 tsp chili garlic sauce, 1 Thai red chili, minced, or 1/4 tsp red pepper flake (more to taste)
Water to thin (0-2 Tbsp)

OPTIONAL TOPPINGS
Cilantro
Lime wedges
Red pepper flake

PROCEDURE:

1) Heat a small saucepan over medium heat and add rinsed, drained quinoa. “Toast” for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently, to remove excess liquid and add a nutty flavor to the quinoa. Then add water, stir, and bring to a low boil. Then reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for about 18-20 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed and quinoa is tender. Fluff with a fork, remove lid, and set off heat.

2) While quinoa is cooking, steam green beans until just tender. You can do this either in the microwave (covered, in 1-minute increments) or by placing green beans in a steamer basket inside a large saucepan filled with 1 inch of water. Bring the water to a simmer on medium-high heat, cover, and cook until just tender – about 4 minutes.
Once steamed, add green beans to a bowl of ice water to “shock” them (stop them from cooking). Set aside.

3) Make peanut sauce by adding peanut butter, soy sauce, maple syrup, lime juice, and chili garlic sauce/Thai chili/red pepper flake to a small mixing bowl and whisking to combine.  If needed add water 1 Tbsp (15 ml) at a time until a desired semi-thick but pourable sauce is formed.

4) Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more soy for saltiness, lime juice for acidity, maple syrup for sweetness, or chili garlic sauce/Thai chili/red pepper flake for heat!

5) To serve, divide quinoa between 2 serving bowls and top with green beans, red bell pepper, mung bean sprouts, and carrots. Serve with peanut sauce and any additional toppings (optional), such as cilantro, lime wedges, and red pepper flake.

Peanut sauce keeps for 1+ week.

Source: Minimalist Baker 

Easy Chocolate Loaf Cake

I recently made this for dessert when we had some friends over for dinner.  It was easy and not a huge dessert quantity both qualities I was looking for.  It had a nice almost crunchy crust to the outside which I normally wouldn’t think is great for cake, but this was a nice contrast to the soft interior texture.  It was not as moist as I would have thought.  Perhaps I baked it a touch too long.  So if I were to change anything may add a chocolate or fruit sauce or syrup to add after cut, not on top because that would take away from the nice crunchy outside.



Difficulty: Easy
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 55 – 70 min
Total Time: 1 hour 30 min
Yield: 8-10 servings
Taste: Good

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 cup (1 stick or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup (6 7/8 ounces) firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup (4 ounces) granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups (6 3/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (2 5/8 ounces) Dutch cocoa powder (NOTE, if you have non-dutch use 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and no baking powder)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

PROCEDURE:

1) Preheat the oven to 325°F. Butter and lightly flour a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan, or spray it with a butter-flour spray.

2) In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth.

3) Add the sugars and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes.

4) Add the egg and beat well, then the buttermilk and vanilla. Don’t worry if the batter looks a little uneven.

5) Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt together right into your wet ingredients. Stir together with a spoon until well-blended but do not overmix. Scrape down the batter in the bowl, making sure the ingredients are well blended.

6) Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 50 to 70 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool in pan on a rack for about 10 to 15 minutes, at which point you can cool it the rest of the way out of the pan. Serve with whipped cream and fresh berries or a dessert sauce.

Source: Smitten Kitchen

Carrot Salad with Tahini Dressing

I finally found tahini in my local store, but it’s sold in a rather large jar so I was happy to find this recipe to use some of it up.  The carrot and crisped chickpea combo is similar to this carrot soup I’ve made (and also from the same blogger).

Difficulty: Easy
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 30 min
Total Time: 35 min
Yield: 4 servings
Taste: Good

INGREDIENTS:

Chickpeas
1 3/4 cups cooked chickpeas, or 1 15-ounce can, drained and patted dry on paper towels
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

Salad
1 pound carrots, peeled and coarsely grated
1/4 cup coarsely chopped parsley
1/4 cup shelled, salted pistachios, coarsely chopped

Dressing
1 medium garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 tablespoons well-stirred tahini
2 tablespoons water, plus more if needed
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and red pepper flakes to taste

PROCEDURE: 

1) Roast chickpeas: Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Toss chickpeas with one tablespoon olive oil, salt and cumin until they’re all coated. Spread them on a baking sheet or pan and roast them in the oven until they’re browned and crisp. This can take anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the size and firmness of your chickpeas. Toss them occasionally to make sure they’re toasting evenly. Set aside until needed.

2) Make dressing: Whisk all ingredients together until smooth, adding more water if needed to thin the dressing slightly. Taste and adjust seasoning.  Note, the sharpness of the lemon will be mellowed by the sweetness of the carrots.

3) Assemble salad: Place grated carrots in large bowl and toss with parsley. Mix in 2/3 of the dressing, adding more if desired. Add more salt and pepper if needed. Sprinkle with a large handful of chickpeas (you will likely have extra)and pistachios.

Do ahead: Salad keeps well in the fridge for two days, however, it would be best to add the chickpeas and pistachios right before serving, so they don’t get soft.

Source: Smitten Kitchen

Squash Pancakes

You want brinner?  This is a good recipe for that can be breakfasty and savory or sweet.  I was impressed with how pancake-like these were.

Difficulty: Easy
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 1 hour (if squash is uncooked), 15 min if squash cooked
Total Time: 30 min to 1 hr 15 min
Yield: 6-12 depending on size
Taste: Great


INGREDIENTS

1 cup (8 to 8 1/4 ounces) roasted and mashed winter squash (butternut, kabocha, or acorn)
1/3 cup (80 grams) yogurt or sour cream
2 large eggs
1/2 cup (about 30 grams) finely grated gruyere, comte or parmesan
3/4 teaspoon fine sea or table salt
A few grinds of black pepper
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup (130 grams) all-purpose flour
Butter or olive oil for frying pan

Optional toppings: butter, sage leaves, syrup

PROCEDURE: 

1) If you have raw squash: halve the squash and remove seeds with a spoon.  Roast in the 375 deg F oven face down on a greased baking sheet for 40 to 50 minutes until squash is very tender.  A 2 pounds squash yields ~2 cups mashed.  If you have pre-cut and peeled squash in ~1 inch chunks cook in oven for ~25 minutes.

2) In a large bowl, whisk squash, yogurt, eggs, cheese, salt, pepper and baking powder until smooth.

3) Add flour and stir until just combined. Batter will be thick.

4) Heat a large frying pan over medium-low to medium heat. Coat the bottom with butter or olive oil, or a combination thereof, and spoon in pancake batter, a heaped soup spoon or scant 1/4 cup at a time. Press the back of the batter mound to flatten the pancake slightly. Cook until golden brown underneath, flip and then cook until the color until golden brown on the second side. If this is happening very fast, lower your heat. If you’re worried pancakes have not cooked in the center, you can finish them for 10 minutes in a 250 degrees oven. You can also keep your pancakes warm there until needed. Repeat with remaining batter.

5) Option to finish: wipe out frying pan and place butter, a pinch or two of salt and sage leaves back in it, heating over medium. The sage leaves will crisp and the butter will brown in a minute or two so keep a close watch on it. Pour leaves and butter over pancakes.

NOTE: The pancakes keep well in the fridge and can also be frozen.

 

Source: Smitten Kitchen