{In case you're wondering, that means "Everyone to the table to eat!" in Italian}

Monday, May 10, 2010

Menu Plan Monday: Week 11

Hope everyone had a wonderful Mother's Day! My hubby and kids got me a new cookbook that I've been wanting- Lidia's Italy- so this week I will be trying out a few recipes from it. The 3 starred recipes are the ones I'm trying from the book-I'll write a review next week! Here's this week's menu:

Monday: Southwest Shepherd's Pie
Tuesday: Chicken Fajitas
Wednesday: Spring Asparagus Pancetta Hash with fried eggs
Thursday: Pork Scaloppine with Mushrooms & Marsala*
Friday: Pizza Night
Saturday: Asparagus & Rice Soup*
Sunday: Chicken with Artichokes* and Italian Bread

Friday, May 7, 2010

Chicken Cordon Bleu

This yummy and easy recipe from Melanie at My Kitchen Cafe was my first attempt at traditional Chicken Cordon Bleu. It turned out not only delicious, but pretty, too! Thanks, Melanie!

Chicken Cordon Bleu

Note:To make sure the cheese doesn't leak out of the chicken while baking, use large (at least 8-ounce) chicken breasts and chill the stuffed chicken breasts in the refrigerator before breading.

25 Ritz crackers (I used whole wheat crackers and loved the extra nuttiness)
4 slices hearty sandwich bread, white or wheat (again, used homemade wheat bread and it was hearty and delicious)
6 tablespoons butter, melted
8 thin slices deli ham (about 8 ounces)
2 cups shredded swiss cheese
4 thick boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 pounds total), see note above
Salt and pepper
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 cup all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Pulse the crackers and bread in a food processor until they are coarsely ground. Drizzle in the melted butter and pulse to incorporate together. Transfer the crumbs to a rimmed baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the crumbs are lightly browned. Transfer the crumbs to a shallow baking dish (a pie plate works great!). Leave the oven on. Top each ham slice with about 1/4 cup shredded cheese. If your ham slices are too smile, shingle two ham slices on top of each other to create a larger slice and roll the cheese up in that. Roll tightly and set aside. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Cut a pocket in the thickest part of the chicken breast and stuff each pocket with 2 ham/cheese rolls. Pull the top flap of chicken over the rolls and press to seal (you can use a toothpick to gently secure the pocket edge, if you like). Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper. Refrigerate the stuffed chicken, covered, for at least 20 minutes.In another shallow dish or pie plate, beat the eggs and mustard. Place the flour in a third shallow dish. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator. Working with one stuffed chicken breast at a time, coat the chicken lightly with flour and then dip in the egg mixture, covering both sides. Dredge the chicken in the toasted bread crumbs, pressing lightly to help the crumbs stick to the chicken. (The breaded chicken can be refrigerated covered for up to 1 day.) Transfer the chicken to a lightly greased rimmed baking sheet. Bake on the lowest rack of the oven until the bottom of the chicken is browned, about 10 minutes. Move the chicken to a middle rack in the oven, reduce the temperature to 400 (you don't have to leave the chicken out of the oven while the temperature adjusts, just put it back in the oven and then reduce the temperature), and bake until golden brown and the chicken is cooked through (160 degrees on an thermometer), about 25-30 minutes. Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Cowboy Cookies

I got the recipe for these cookies from the Sister's Cafe blog, and man, were they good. Full of chewy oats, sweet coconut, and creamy chunks of chocolate, these cookies were a really hearty version of a chocolate chip cookie. Mmmm!

Cowboy Cookies
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 cups flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips or chunks (I used milk chocolate)
1 cup chopped pecans or shredded coconut (optional- I used the coconut)

In a large bowl stir together the oats, flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. In the bowl of your mixer blend the butter and sugars until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs and continue to beat until fluffy, about 1 1/2 minutes. Blend in vanilla. Using a wooden spoon, stir in dry mixture, half at a time. Mix in chocolate chips and coconut. Refrigerate dough for at least 1-2 hours (I did not do this). Heat oven to 350. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or spray. Using a scant 1/4 cup per cookie shape dough into balls and slightly flatten (I just dropped balls on). Place about 2 inches apart. Bake for 12-14 minutes. Let cool on pan for 5 minutes and then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

**To change it up--**
Omit the chocolate chips, cinnamon and nuts and add:
2 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup dried sweetened cranberries

Monday, May 3, 2010

The Best Grilled Cheese Sandwich Ever

This is Pioneer Woman's favorite sandwich, and it is seriously awesome. I mean really, really, REALLY awesome. I'm not sure I can ever eat a plain grilled cheese again. It is THAT good! We tried it a few weeks ago and had it again for dinner last night, and I am drooling looking at the pictures as I post this. Try it, you'll love it! Unless you don't like green chiles, or tomatoes, or onions. In which case you won't love it. But if you do like them, you will love it, I promise! Have I convinced you yet?

PW's Favorite Sandwich (aka the best grilled cheese sandwich ever)
1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard, to taste
1 Tablespoon Mayonnaise, to taste
1 whole Tomato
1 whole Red Onion, Small
2 slices Mild Cheddar
1 can (4 Oz.) Whole Green Chilies
2 slices Provolone
2 slices Rye Bread (I used my whole-wheat and it was great!)

First make the special sauce. Measure 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard and 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise and mix them together in a small bowl, and then spread a very thin layer onto the inside of both pieces of bread. Now slice a nice ripe tomato. Thinly slice a red onion. Place two slices of tomato on one piece of bread and two slices of mild cheddar on the other slice. On top of the tomatoes place several slices of red onion followed by two slices of provolone. Open your can of whole green chilies and lay one or two slices on top of the provolone. Now very carefully put the two halves of the sandwich together. Spread a good amount of butter on top of the bread (or just generously butter the griddle, that's what I do becuase it's quicker. If you do it this way, don't forget to butter it again when you flip the sandwiches). Flip the sandwich over and repeat on the other side. Meanwhile, heat a skillet (non-stick is preferable here) over LOW heat. Place the sandwich in the skillet and cook it for at least 5 minutes. Flip and continue cooking for another couple of minutes, until golden brown. Remove to a cutting board and slice in half and eat. YUM! Makes 1 sandwich (obviously, I make 6).

BTW, here are some awesome pictures of the awesome bread my awesome hubby made the other night. Have you tried this bread yet? If not, you really must. The link is here.

Menu Plan Monday: Week 10

Monday: Southwest Chicken Salad (Lemon Mousse for dessert)
Tuesday: Quiche Lorraine and fruit
Wednesday: Cinco de Mayo- Chili Rellenos, quesadillas, and guacamole
Thursday: Sweet & Spicy Salmon, baked sweet potatoes, and asparagus
Friday: Chicken-artichoke Pizza
Saturday: Southwest Shepherd's Pie
Sunday: California Rolls and Teriyaki Chicken

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Chef Salad

It seems silly to post a recipe for this salad, but it is so good I decided to post it anyway- it's a great dinner idea when it's too hot to cook or you don't have much time. During the summer we have some kind of main dish salad for dinner just about weekly. Those warm days are coming soon- right?!

Here's what you need:

A nice large, crispy head of lettuce- I prefer romaine or green leaf for this salad.

One cucumber, peeled and sliced.

4-6 hard-boiled eggs (about an egg per person), peeled and sliced. Yes, I know there are 7 here. Thanks for checking my counting skills, though!

About a cup each grated cheese, diced deli ham, and diced deli turkey.

Chef Salad
1 head green leafy lettuce
1 cucumber, peeled and sliced
4-6 eggs, hard-boiled, peeled & sliced
1 c. shredded cheese
1 c. diced deli ham
1 c. diced deli turkey
favorite dressing (we like Ranch or Green Goddess, bleu cheese is good too)

Wash, drain, and tear lettuce into bite-sized pieces. Divide among plates. Top with cucumber, sliced eggs, cheese, ham and turkey. Drizzle with your favorite dressing. This should serve 4-6 as a main course. And it's great for families with kids, because the ones that don't love salad can have just a little lettuce on the bottom with lots of the good stuff on top.

Cherry-Lemon Scones

This recipe came from the Sister's Cafe blog, and it was delicious! Perfect for breakfast with some scrambled eggs on a lazy Saturday morning.
Cherry-Lemon Scones
2 c. all purpose flour
¼ c. granulated white sugar
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
½ c. unsalted butter, cold and cut into pieces
½ c. dried cherries
Zest of 2 lemons
2/3 c. buttermilk

Egg mixture for brushing tops of scones:
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 Tb milk
white granulated sugar, for sprinkling the tops of the scones

OR after they are baked drizzle with lemon glaze
Glaze:Juice of one lemon
Powdered sugar--just keep spooning it into the juice until desired consistency for drizzling

Preheat oven to 400° and place rack in middle of oven. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper (or spray with cooking spray).In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cut the butter into small pieces and blend into flour mixture with a pastry blender or two knives. The mixture should look like coarse crumbs. Stir in the dried cherries and the lemon zest. Add the buttermilk to the flour mixture and stir just until the dough comes together. Do not over mix the dough.Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead dough gently four or five times and then pat the dough into a circle that is about 7 inches round and about 1 ½ inches thick. Cut this circle in half, and then cut each half into 3-4 pie-shaped wedges. Place the scones on the baking sheet. Make an egg wash of one well-beaten egg mixed with 1 tablespoon of milk and brush the tops of the scones with this mixture. Sprinkle with raw sugar (if desired). Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Glaze if desired. Makes 6-8 scones.