Thursday, October 27, 2016

Fresh Pico de Gallo

Farmer's market means, fresh veggies and herbs!  My husband and I took advantage of the fall like weather and loaded up our dog and off we went!  It was the perfect day at the market.  I even tried goat cheese (again) still don't like it.  Found some fabulous local vendors and some great treats!

I was feeling pico in my soul, so we picked up everything I needed.  Oh the joy of fresh veggies as opposed to the icky stuff in the store.  Take advantage while you still can!!!

This recipe seems to easy to even share, but I am sharing it anyway!  I never miss the chance to make some fresh pico and just wanted to share how I do it!

While I enjoy the combination of white onion and green onions, please, use just one or the other if you like.  Cilantro is another "to taste" ingredient.  We have discussed this on social media before, it seems people love it or hate it, there isn't much of an in between.  I VERY finely minced mine so a tablespoon is perfect, if you like more, get on with it!

2 cups finely diced tomatoes
1 jalapeno FINELY minced (remove veins and seeds unless you want to shoot fire out of your....whatever)
1/4 cup finely minced white onion
1 green onion chopped
1 T cilantro (not my fav, so add more if you like)
1/2 of a lime
1 tsp. salt

Place all ingredients into a bowl and mix until combined.  I used 1 tsp of salt and then ended up adding a WEE bit more.

This pico is so refreshing, so flavorful and should definitely make all of my healthy eaters happy! Very easy to double or triple for a party, and it will keep in the fridge a few days, so make tons, it is a delicious snack!  I think I will use the rest on some well seasoned grilled chicken breasts!  I am down for healthy AND this delicious and I hope you love it too!

This will get stronger onion and jalapeno flavor the longer it sets.  You could let the tomatoes drain before mixing in other ingredients, I simply use a slotted spoon to scoop it out into a bowl for eating!  


Monday, October 24, 2016

Oven Baked Cinnamon Toast

......cinnamon toast.  Not many other smells remind me of my moms kitchen like it does.  Saturday mornings, breakfast before the infamous "to do" list.  My mom had a bowl of cinnamon sugar on the counter.  If I remember it was white, with a lid and it had baby blue and yellow flowers on it.  Sibs, am I right?

Well, my husband has the same memories.  The difference?   His mom made his toast, AND she did it in the oven to boot!  Not to long ago he said to me, "I should totally make you my mom's cinnamon toast in the oven".  Well, as a cinnamon anything crazy lady, my eyes perked up like the ears of dog eyeballing a burger.  Well, YES you should my darlin'!  Uh huh........screeeeeeeeech.  What he meant to say was this, "I am so hungry for my mom's cinnamon toast.  If I tell you how to make it, can you make it for me and serve it to me upon my royal platter"?  Well sure, I would do about anything for my king!  I was so glad I did, not only was this delicious and SOOO crazy easy, the look on his face when he ate it was priceless!

So tell me if I was raised under a rock or if you, like me, had never heard of cinnamon toast made like this before!  When you take the like, oh I don't know, 5 minutes it takes to make this and you eat it, you are going to understand the goodness.  The key is LOTS of butter says my husband.  Of course his key to ANY goodness is LOTS of butter.

I did 8 slices, these measurements are loose but, you aren't going to mess it up, trust me!

8 slices of bread
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.  On a baking sheet, arrange your bread.  Butter each piece LIBERALLY.  Divide the brown sugar up between the slices of bread.  It may not take all of it or it may, depends on heavy you go!  When they are all buttered and sprinkled with brown sugar, take your cinnamon and just sprinkle the tops.  I give no measurement because, well, I don't like to put limits on cinnamon like that!  Slide into the oven for  8-10 minutes or until the brown sugar is melted and bubbly!

I dare you to try to just eat one piece.  Yea, uh huh, I dare you.

ENJOY!  Make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel!!

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!