Friday, July 29, 2011

Chicken Cordon Bleu

This classic American novelty is believed to have originated in the 1960’s and is French for ‘Blue Ribbon’.  The beauty of a recipe like this is the potential you have to truly make it your own. You could use chicken or veal as the main meat and stuff with any type of cheese you want.  I LOVE a recipe like this because I can try many variations and my husband doesn’t realize we are essentially having the same thing for dinner a couple nights a week.
When I hear ‘Chicken Cordon Bleu’, the first thing that comes to mind for me is the frozen chicken you find somewhere like Sam’s. That is how I first experienced Chicken Cordon Bleu. Little did I know that as delicious as this was, it was (eek!!) FULL of fat (see below) and really only half as good as it has the potential to be.

I have managed to put a twist on a recipe I found to make this much lower in fat than its counterpart. It’s easy, delicious, and my hubby has requested it to be added to our regular dinner rotation (that’s really saying something!).
Here’s what you’ll need:
Chicken Breast
Swiss Cheese (I used the sandwich slices)
Deli Ham
Low Fat Parmesan Cheese (instead of breadcrumbs)
Italian Seasoning

1 Can Fat Free Cream of Chicken Soup
1/2 Cup Fat Free Sour Cream
1Tbsp. Lemon Juice
Pound out your chicken until it is about 1/4 inch thick. Season both sides with salt and pepper.

See how big?! This makes it cook evenly and easy to roll.
  Place half a piece of cheese in the middle of the chicken. Place a couple of slices of ham on top and then add the other half of the cheese.

Tightly roll and secure with a few toothpicks.

Mix some Italian seasoning with the parmesan cheese and...

coat each chicken breast.

Place in a cooking dish, seam side down and bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. While the chicken is cooking, you can prepare the sauce. Combine the ingredients in a saucepan and heat through.

Easy, huh? This sauce is totally optional, but is a good addition to the meal. If you are making rice as a side dish, this is a great topper for that as well.
Here’s where you can mix it up a little…
Remove from oven and spray with cooking spray to brown the top or top with a little more cheese. Place under the broiler until desired doneness is reached.
Wow! I can't wait to dig in!

The cheese is so ooey gooey, you won't believe how yummy it is!

Prep, prep, prep…This is a good recipe to make in advance. You can roll up the chicken the night before, and coat the chicken with the parmesan cheese right before time to cook. I hope this twist on a classic will inspire some of you followers to try something new. Let us know how it turns out!

Friday, July 8, 2011

No Bake Peach Pie

This week has been crazy, but crazy good! Stephen’s baseball team just won their district tournament, and they are heading to state! With that being said, I haven’t had time to cook. I haven’t had time to gather with my other blogger buddies, but I was able to find a few minutes to make this recipe. That is how quick and easy it is to whip up. Even if you are having one of those hazy, crazy days of summer, you still have time to make a sweet dessert for your family or friends.
It’s July, and it is hot.  Who wants to turn the oven on this time of year? It just causes your air conditioner to have to work overtime; therefore, you will have a higher power bill.  A perfect excuse for you to make this pie!  This pie was the easiest treat I have ever made, and it is delicious. It didn’t hurt that I had fresh from the orchard peaches on hand.  My mom and granddaddy go every summer (twice for different varieties) to pick up fresh peaches from a local peach farm.  So when they went this year, I knew that I would have to make something using them.  A cobbler came to mind first, but I feel like we as Southerners get the chance to eat those at just about every single family gathering, at mine anyway.  I wanted to try something different, and boy, did it pay off!

I ran across this recipe after searching what felt like hours.  It’s from a blog called Sprouted Kitchen, and she calls her recipe Peach Cream with Gingersnap Crust.  Yum.  She had me at peach cream.  I’m sure the gingersnap crust would be delicious in this recipe, but I don’t own a food processor. Apparently no one in my immediate family does either, so I opted to use a store made graham cracker crust. I’m not disappointed.
The ingredients list is short and sweet. 1 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk She suggests using low-fat. I don’t.  ½ cup of crème fraiche I used sour cream. You can also use a plain yogurt. Both work as its substitute. ¼ cup of lemon juice I used one whole lemon, and it wasn’t quite enough, but it didn’t hurt anything. 1 Tbsp of cinnamon This ingredient scared me. It looked like a lot of cinnamon. Lastly, 1 ¼ cups of fresh peaches, peeled and diced.
1 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk 
½ cup of crème fraiche
¼ cup of lemon juice
1 Tbsp of cinnamon
1 ¼ cups of fresh peaches, peeled and diced

First you will need to peel and chop your peaches. Peeling and chopping peaches is a dirty job. I suggest doing this near a sink.  Next, you have to figure out how many peaches equal 1 ¼ cup. I peeled five peaches, but one was probably consumed during this experiment.  Four peaches should do the trick depending on their size. Chop them into tiny pieces and give them a good squeeze in your hand before dropping them in your mixing bowl. This helps to break them up and get a little juice in the mix.  Then pour your can of sweetened condensed milk in as well as your sour cream.  Next, goes your lemon juice. You could always use the pre-juiced lemon juice (does that even make sense??). You know the kind in the little plastic lemon.

Lastly, add your cinnamon.  Stir all ingredients together very well.  I used a spatula and was kind of rough in order to break up the peaches a little more. After a few minutes of stirring, I still found pockets of cinnamon. That doesn’t sound like good eats to me. (Did Alton Brown trademark that?)

After it comes together, pour the mixture into your pie crust. Place in the refrigerator to set for four hours.  The author of this recipe even suggests placing it in the freezer, then letting it sit a few minutes before serving.  Four hours is key.  The lemon juice reacts with the milk which makes the pie firm.  I could not wait four hours, so I tried it after about two. It was a little runny, but that will be the last thing on your mind! I was tempted to lick the plate, so maybe the runny-ness isn’t such a bad thing?

Next time, I may not add quite as much cinnamon, and one day I will attempt the gingersnap cookie crust.  Regardless, I think it was a homerun!

Happy summer! Kirby

Gingersnap Cookie Crust
10 oz. Gingersnap Cookies
3 Tbsp. Butter
In a food processor, grind together the cookies. While pulsing, add the butter. Press into a pie plate and let firm in the freezer.