Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Hot Cordon Bleu Sandwiches

Chicken Cordon Bleu......

I love this stuff.  My husband makes the best, which is a recipe here on the website. (I will link at the end).  I was at the grocery store a couple of days ago and found a huge mega section of fresh bakery items on clearance.  You know what I did, right?  You guessed it, swooped up a bunch of rolls and buns and tossed them in the freezer.

I have been on a bit of a sandwich kick lately.  I just would be happy with a sandwich for every meal.  Perhaps it is the fresh tomatoes I can top each one with, or maybe it is the unfortunate carb addiction I have.  Either way, if my husband has to eat another sandwich he will probably fall over!  In order to disguise said sandwiches, and being hungry for the cordon and the bleu, I decided to make one of my favorite dishes into a a hot sandwich.  Ask me how soon you should make these.  Go ahead, ask me.

You can't get to the kitchen fast enough!  These are SO very good.  In fact, they turned out 100 times better than my best expectations  I can't wait for you to try them, all cheesy, and toasty and resting right next to a bowl of soup!

Fall, it's the most wonderful timmmeeeeee of the yeeeaaaarrrr!

3 large chicken breasts cut into bite size pieces (or strips)
1 T. Italian seasoning
3 T. butter
2 heaping T. flour
2 cups milk
6 oz. Swiss cheese
pinch of salt
1 lb thin sliced deli ham
6 rolls of your choice

In a large skillet, add in chicken and Italian seasoning, stir and cook until the chicken is completely cooked through.  Set aside.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a small saucepan melt the butter, add flour and let it cook for about 1 minute, stirring often.  Add in milk, salt and whisk.  Let the mixture begin to simmer and thicken, then add in your cheese.  Mix until completely melted and remove from heat.

Line a baking sheet with foil.  Lay the rolls out and drizzle lightly with olive oil.  Place in the preheated oven for 3-5 minutes until toasted.  Remove.

Place a spoonful of chicken on the roll, top with 2-3 pieces of ham, cover the top with a ladle of swiss cheese sauce.  Do this with all of the sandwiches.  Place back in the oven for 5-10 minutes.

Serve with a delicious Garden Caprese Salad!

If you like this recipe, you may also enjoy:
Chicken Cordon Bleu

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Lime Cheesecake Dip

As I sit here writing..........  the same 3 neighborhood dogs have been "talking" to each other going on about 5 hours.  I love dogs, I love dogs more than most people, but for the love of the dog pound, can we get these things to SHUT UP?!?!

I had to get it out to someone, and you guys were here.  And so it goes!

I don't know about you, but when I get asked to bring "something", "somewhere" last minute, I panic.  I seriously have 50 things in my arsenal that are for situations just like these, so why do I panic?  "Have I taken this before"?  :Will anybody like it"?  "Do I have all the ingredients".  Those kind of thoughts run through my head.  Because let me tell you something, I dislike going to the store.  I want to make the list, and have an expert pick my items up and deliver, then I need someone else to put them away.  Again, distracted.  UGH these dogs!

Here is a simple, 4 ingredient dip, that you can whip up in ohhh....let's say 3 minutes, if you have to plug in your hand mixer.  Please, serve it with some honey graham sticks, they are the perfect balance.   OR, you could do nilla wafers, or, whatever tickles your fancy.

2, 8oz bricks of cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 lime, juiced and zested
1 tsp vanilla extract

Add all ingredients to a bowl and get at it with your hand mixer.  Mix until creamy and smooth. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving, longer is better.

SEE!  Now, get your things together and get off to where you are taking this to, and throw kisses to your public as they swoon over your dip!


Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Anna's Special Request: Hot Brown Copycat from Chik-Fil-A (Dwarf House)

This is a VERY special request.  I have been educated in so many ways with this recipe and the person who requested it!

There are so many of you that I have had the pleasure of "meeting" through messages, and a couple of you in person at Trader Joes!  You are all special, you all rock my socks off and without you, Chefwannabe would be pretty stinkin' boring.

So, last week-ish, I get a request.  "Can you make the Chik-Fil-A (Dwarf House) version of the Hot Brown"?  She continues to explain why she can't get one, "I am unable to leave my home due to cancer treatment and it is the one recipe I can NOT find online".  We discuss the dish, what is in it, how it tastes, how it looks, etc.  I ask her to describe every detail of it that she can remember.  Then we go on to discuss life, and her treatment, what kind of cancer she has, family, meeting our husbands, etc.  We became fast friends and learned we had a few things in common!  She said I could share her photo and so I want you to meet my new friend, Anna!  Gorgeous, inside and out! 

Here we are chatting it up and I am thinking, she is the one going through these trials, treatments and icky stuff, and she is making ME laugh!  In the short time we have known each other, it is clear she is a fireball, and her such a good heart, and sense of humor!

So, off I went to attempt to make this lady the dish she desperately misses!  Boy was I livin' on a prayer, I had NO idea other than what she said, and the photo of the dish what I was doing!  The good news is, I think I got it, she hasn't had it yet,  but my husband loved it as well!  Obviously unless you go grab nuggets from Chik-Fil-A, you aren't going to have the EXACT same taste but one thing I HIGHLY recommend is that you deep fry your nuggets or make homemade batter dipped ones.  I just used frozen, I wanted to get this knocked out as soon as possible for her.  But if you don't deep fry they will get a bit soggy and, in my opinion, not good.

Here we go!  This is not a traditional hot brown like the Kentucky Hot Brown, it is just a version from the Dwarf House she loves!  This recipe will serve 4 regular servings or 2 of the restaurant size servings! HA!

4 T butter
3 T flour
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
PINCH of salt
16-20 chicken nuggets
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
8 slices of bacon
buttered toast for the garnish

Prepare your nuggets and set aside.  The rest won't take long so they will be fine and the sauce will heat them back up!

For the sauce, melt the butter in a small pot.  When it is melted add the flour, and let it cook while you stir it for 30-45 seconds.  Add in your chicken stock and whisk until smooth and it begins to thicken.  When it is thickened add in Parmesan cheese and a pinch of salt and whisk until smooth and creamy.

The plating is where this all comes together.
1.  Place chicken nuggets on your plate.
2.  Ladle over the top some of your sauce.
3.  Sprinkle cheese down the center.
4.  You can microwave for about 20 seconds if you want the cheese to be completely melted on top.
5. Place bacon strips in the center.
6.  Add butter toast points all around.

This was awesome!  I made one large plate that my husband and I shared.  I hope it is exactly what you are wanting Anna, but if nothing else, it is an awesome treat of a dinner!

I hope you give this a try.  Let me know what you think and if you have had it from the Dwarf House, if it is even close to the real thing!

ENJOY and please keep Anna in your thoughts, your prayers!  Please send her love, light and healing vibes!

I think taking time to make my Batter Dipped Chicken Nuggets would take this OVER the moon!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Egg Roll Stuffed Chicken

Sounds delicious doesn't it?  It is!  There is a hot topic for me involved in this recipe.  It is the whole dark meat vs. white meat, thing.

Let's just talk chicken for a minute.  By the way, I wish I had chickens, although I am scared of them if one bit me, I could just eat it.  How bad can that turn out?  Not really, the reality is I would name them try to dress them, and hug them VERY much against their will.  They would be in family photos and it would be way over the top.  That is how I am with animals.  I would never be able to live with myself knowing that my chicken son "Chuck" was on the dinner table.  I just couldn't.  Wait, this isn't the chicken conversation I wanted to have.

The conversation I wanted to have involved, white, dark, bone in, boneless, skin on, skinless, etc.....  Everyone has a very distinct preference it seems.  I used to prefer just white boneless meat until boneless thighs came along, and since I grew up and started cooking, I realize you can't beat the flavor of a piece of bone in chicken.  Regardless of what you prefer, please trust me when I tell you that just because it is white mean does NOT mean it has to be dry!  I hear so often, "Oh I don't like white meat, it is to dry".  That would mean it was overcooked.  Why is it that some people will overcook the CRAP out of anything they can get in an oven or on a grill?  Thermometers are our friends!  The point is, this recipe does call for boneless chicken.  I used thighs as we love them but you choose what you would like.  Either way it will be healthy, and tasty, and served on a bed of rice (fried rice) you will have people thinking you are a culinary legend!

Here is what you will need
7-9 boneless skinless thighs or breasts.  (Pounded thin or butterfly the breasts to easier rolling)
1 tsp. vegetable oil
1, 1lb bag of shredded coleslaw mix with carrots
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. dried ginger
3 T soy sauce
1/4 tsp. white pepper (regular pepper will also do)
 2 T. additional vegetable oil

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  If you are using chicken breasts, either butterfly them open or pound them thinner for easier rolling.  I used thighs and this made 8-9 but using breasts, go with 7 or so.  Set aside.

In a large high sided skillet or wok, heat up your 1 tsp of vegetable oil.  Add in the cabbage mix, and garlic and saute for 3 minutes.  Add in the rest of the ingredients, ginger and soy sauce.

Stir to combine and continue stirring until the cabbage is soft and reduced by half.  Turn off heat and let it cool completely.

Place a large spoonful of mixture into the center of each piece of chicken and roll it up.  Use toothpicks if you need them to stay together better.

Place seam side down on a baking sheet.  Do with with all of the chicken.  Now, use a paper towel and wipe out your pan, place your 2 tablespoons of oil and let it get hot again.  Place 2 or 3 pieces of chicken at a time, seam side down in the oil and let them brown for approximately 3 minutes on each side.

Just get some good color on them and then place back onto the baking sheet.  When you are done, bake them for 25-30 minutes until chicken is cooked through.

Serve on some rice for a tasty dinner!!!  Check out the recipe suggestions below for other options to go with this meal!


If you like this recipe, you might like....
Egg Drop Soup
Chicken Spring Rolls
Wonton Soup

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Peanut Butter Bites

I will admit, I am a typical foodie, food blogger, etc.  If I see something on T.V. or in the store that looks delicious, I get right to the kitchen and try to recreate it myself.  This has happened a good handful of times......at least.  I saw these peanut butter bites advertised on T.V.  This was actually quite some time ago.  I was hungry for peanut butter the other day and suddenly I remembered that I never tried to make them, or rather make MY version of them.  I got to work, and although I am not sure if they are exactly the same, in my world, they are the clouds of peanut butter heaven!

These are so easy, and you should totally get your kids or grand kids in the kitchen with you.  Nieces, nephews, cousins, just get them involved.   Who cares of they don't end up the same size, I am a grown woman and mine didn't! Who cares if they get dirty, there are these new fangled things called washing machines!  Who cares if they lick the peanut butter off before making a new one, germs are healthy!

Find a little person who can help you and have a blast!

1 cup creamy peanut butter
3/4 cup rice crispy cereal
3/4 powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups peanut butter chips
vegetable oil

In a bowl combine peanut butter, cereal, and powdered sugar.  Mix until completely combined.  Refrigerate dough for 20 minutes.  Use a tablespoon measure and roll mixture into balls.  Place on foil or parchment lined baking sheet.  When all of the dough has been rolled into balls, place into the freezer for 30 minutes.

Place peanut butter chips into a bowl and melt in microwave.  Use 30 second increments until all melted.  If your mixture is slightly thick, add a few drops of vegetable oil to loosen it up and make it perfect for dipping.

Using a fork to help you, dip the peanut butter balls one at a time, use a fork to lift out of the melted peanut butter and tap on the edge or let it drain.  Place back on to the baking sheet.  When all of the peanut butter balls have been dipped, place back in the fridge until set.


Saturday, September 17, 2016

Easy Country Sausage Gravy

Hello!!  Long time no see!  You wouldn't believe it if I told you I feel like I am just now REALLY getting my mojo back after the loss of my mom and brother.  It has taken time, and it will probably take more but, it is what is best for me, and makes me happy.  Thank you for your undying patience, kindness and compassion during this time for me.

Breakfast for dinner!  Truth be told, breakfast is my favorite meal of the day.  Mostly because I love eggs.  I mean, I REALLY love eggs.  My husband and I were grocery shopping and I found a good sale on some breakfast sausage and he instantly said, "OHHHHHH please make sausage gravy and biscuits".  Well what kind of wife would I be if I didn't make it for him???  I make it pretty regularly, I don't know, I just kind of thought it was something everyone could make.  Truth is, I think someone will be able to benefit from the recipe.  I always use half and half.  Milk isn't rich enough and heavy cream is just to much, half and half makes a beautiful smooth, creamy, dreamy gravy!  I also add butter, because butter belongs in breakfast food!  Hey!  I didn't make the rules, but whoever did....God BLESS them!

I made a video to go with this post.  I will post here.  Please hit SUBSCRIBE on my YouTube channel, I would love to have you there!!

Side note:
I am so ready for winter.  That's all.

1 lb breakfast sausage
2 T. butter (divided)
5 T.  flour
2 cups half and half (1 qt)
salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet, brown your breakfast sausage until completely cooked.  Add in 1T. butter and flour.  Stir until the butter is melted and the flour is no longer visible.  Add in your half and half slowly, constantly stirring.  Salt and pepper to taste at this point.  I did add a couple of grinds of salt, while the sausage is a salty, for me, it didn't lend enough salt for the additional ingredients.  I like lots of pepper too!  It will take a couple of minutes to come to a boil, but keep stirring.  When it begins to boil, turn down the heat and let it simmer until smooth, thick and creamy!  Add in the last of the butter and stir it in until melted 

As you can see, I served this on biscuits, but love it just over toast as well.  With a side of scrambled eggs, it was our "breakfast for dinner"!


Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Cheese Stuffed Shells

 Here we are again!  I hope your day has been great, and happy!  I love this time when we get together to share food.  I especially enjoy sharing family favorites with you.  It is hard to not share them all at once, and spread them out.  This is one I have never shared, and it is just your everyday run of the mill stuffed shells.  My family loves them and this is what I would consider a quick weeknight meal. If you are a meal planner/prepper, have your sauce made, shells boiled and all of your grated cheeses put together in one large resealable bag.  When the night comes you want to make it, it is not much more than just assembly.

This makes about 20 shells.  You can only cook that many or cook them all and eat the leftovers with butter and salt and pepper!  That is what my husband lives for when I make extra pasta.

You will notice I use what some of you may consider a lot of salt.  I don't find that the saltiness of Parmesan cheese hits the same notes as actual salt seasoning in a dish.  I find ricotta needs plenty of seasoning and that is just what I do.  When you divide that salt out among a large casserole, I think you will live.  If you want to omit it, please do, or cut it back, please do that as well.  You have to adjust things to what is good for your family.  I won't mind, in fact, I will welcome it !  Lets get started on this basic stuffed shell recipe that your family will love!

Oh wait!  You can also shred some provolone to use in this.  I saw some of those cheese blends at the store include a provolone/mozzarella combination....um, YUM.  OK, now we are ready.

1/2-1 full box of jumbo shells, cooked per package directions
15 oz. ricotta cheese
8 oz.  shredded mozzarella cheese (hold out 1/4 cup)
8 oz. shredded Parmesan cheese (hold out 1/4 cup)
1 T. Italian seasoning
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
4 cups marinara sauce (divided)
1 can diced tomatoes
2 T. sugar

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Cook shells according to box direction, drain and run under cold water until they are completely cool.  Let sit and drain while you mix up the cheese filling.  In a bowl combine, ricotta cheese, shredded mozzarella, shredded Parmesan, Italian seasoning, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper.

Mix to combine.  Use about 1/2 cup of your marinara (just plain) to dump in the bottom of the pan.  Spread it around as it will keep the shells from sticking.  Fill your shells with a teaspoon.  This mixture will fill about 20 shells.  You can cook the whole package or just the 20.  Fill and place into the baking dish.

Continue until your filling is gone.  In the same bowl as the filling (hey I am not about using as many dishes as possible ya know?) Pour in the rest of the marinara and the diced tomatoes UN drained.  Add in sugar and stir.  Carefully pour over the shells as evenly as possible. 

Spread out the sauce with a spoon, and use the cheese you held back to sprinkle on top!  Now, confession time..........  I used like, a lot more mozz.  The photo below show only Parmesan but I decided I wanted more mozzarella on top!

ENJOY my friends!