I saw a recipe on foodgawker that seemed yummy, and it didn’t require a lot of pots and pans (that means easy cleanup for me since I don’t have a dishwasher!). It was a stuffed chicken recipe. I decided to tweak it and make a twist on Chicken Cordon Blue, using broccoli, mozzarella cheese and black forest ham. Mmm Mmm. This was pretty easy to make, and quite impressive looking I must say. Just roll them, bread them, pop ’em in the oven and voilà! The great thing about a recipe like this is you can create a ton of variations using an array of fillings from spinach to cheddar to mushrooms (or even all three!). Have fun with it, the possibilities are endless!! You can serve this up with a starch or salad. I went with a simple romaine salad with tomatoes and balsamic vinaigrette, oh and a glass of vino…or was it two?
¼ cup breadcrumbs (I used regular, but wheat or panko works too)
crushed red pepper (optional)
cooking spray or olive oil
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
First, let's blanch the broccoli. Blanching means to boil something for a few seconds or minutes, and then immediately stop the cooking by placing in cold water. This helps keep your veggies nice and brightly colored, and maintains a nice crispness. Bring a pot of salted water (enough to fully cover the broccoli) to a boil. Drop the broccoli in boiling, salted water for 2-3 minutes, and then immediately cool in cold water. Set aside.
Season the chicken well with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
Start assembling. Place one slice of mozzarella cheese, followed by a slice and ham, and finally a few pieces of broccoli on top of each piece of chicken. Make sure not to overstuff! If any ham and/or cheese is hanging off the edge of the chicken, fold it in over the broccoli, and the roll up the entire chicken and secure with a toothpick. If there any excess ham or cheese hanging out the sides, you can remove some of it if you'd like.
Add the breadcrumbs to a bowl, and season well with salt, pepper, garlic powder, dried parsley, and crushed red pepper.
In a separate bowl, add the egg and ½ tablespoon water and whisk together.
Take each chicken rollup and coat in the egg wash, then in the breadcrumbs. Be delicate to avoid loosing all your contents! Place on a baking sheet toothpick side down, covered with aluminum foil that's been greased with cooking space or olive oil (for easy cleanup and prevents the chicken from sticking).
Repeat until all 4 rollups are breaded and place in the oven for 25–30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through, and the cheese is melted.
Let’s change it up a bit, and talk about other things besides food. Just like a lady, when I’m not cooking (or working), I’m usually shopping (or at least browsing around wishing I had money to buy everything I see). Shoes are a known obsession of mine. Anyone who knows me knows this is true—I mean my bridal shower was shoe themed! Well lately I have a new obsession, miniature cooking tools (have you seen those little baby gratin dishes?!) and dinnerware. Actually not just dinnerware, more like anything pretty or fun for your kitchen or dining room table (even though I don’t have a dining room).
I thought I’d share with you some of the great pieces I found at Anthropologie—one of the many stores I stay away from in fear of spending my whole paycheck there. Why do I love their pieces so much? They have such fun patterns and shapes which is definitely a way to bring a little extra happiness to your kitchen (especially when that recipe is really stressing you out or your soufflé falls). Here’s some of my picks this week:
Farmer’s Egg Crate—I love the color! Who wouldn’t want to see this in their refrigerator when making omelets early on a Saturday morning??
Chalkboard Spice Jar—Kitchen storage I can show off my calligraphy skills with? Yes, please! ( I mean I’m pretty good with a nib if I do say so myself)
Painted Amaryllis Measuring Cups—I actually already own these. They were a wedding present from my good friends from college. I love, love, love these (yes mama, I was quoting Pride and Prejudice :)) They’re perfect little prep dishes too, and make a really wonderful sound when they clink together. Oh, and they sell a matching butter dish and spoon rest!
Color Tab Measuring Spoons— Well, they wouldn’t be the best at reaching into a deep, narrow jar, but there’s something so playful about the shape and numbers.
I had a flank steak in the fridge that I originally bought to make soy mustard steak. Not sure what changed my mind, but for some reason I had crispy beef on the brain. I’ve eaten crispy beef or Szechuan beef as it’s also called many times in chinese restaurants. Thin pieces of beef (I have an obsession with small pieces of anything), fried to a somewhat chewy and crispy consistency coated in a spicy, flavorful sauce. I figured I’d try it, I mean why not? It’s usually served with carrots, but I had a bunch of bean sprouts in the fridge (I love them!), but after I was done eating, I realized that I totally forgot to add them!!!!. O well, more for later
I suggest making your rice first. Once the rice is ready, start frying your beef. While the beef is frying, sauté your eggs and veggies for the rice. Once the beef is fried, finish your rice, and then make your sauce for the beef.
If you’re a first time rice maker and want to make it over the stove like I do instead of using a rice cooker, it’s always a little tricky to get your water to rice ratio right. It all depends on the pot you’re using, the rice, etc. If you’re rice seems dry, just sprinkle a little more water and cook until it moistens up. Too wet? Let cook a little longer uncovered. PS. If your rice comes out mushy…no big deal! It will still taste great. I touch a little more on it in the recipe below.
If you don’t have a wok (and I don’t), just grab the largest pot or sauté pan you have. One with the most surface area. We’re going to dry fry the beef, which means we’re not coating the beef or dredging it in flour or cornstarch. When you add the beef to the hot oil, it may give off a lot of water depending on how much surface area your pan has. If that’s the case, you’ll have to be patient and wait for all the water to evaporate before the beef will actually start frying. Don’t worry, the water will evaporate eventually. I think I let the beef boil in its own juices for 5-10 minutes before it actually started to fry. Oh, and another thing…take the beef out of the pot before it’s done. It will continue to cook once removed, and before you know it…you’re beef will be overly crispy and chewy! When you think to yourself, just a few more minutes…take it out! It shouldn’t take more than say 10-15 minutes. If you overcook it (and I have) it will still be very tasty! Just a bit more beef jerky-esque.
@1.75 pounds flank steak sliced very thin and into 2 inch pieces
@ ½ cup peanut oil for frying
½ tablespoon grated ginger
3 garlic cloves minced
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
4 teaspoons chili garlic paste (less or more as you like)
¼ cup rice wine or sherry
¼ cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
¼ teaspoon ground Szechuan peppercorns (I purchased this at Williams Sonoma, but you can probably find at an asian market or a spice shop)
½ cup of bean sprouts (can substitute julienned carrots or red bell peppers, but you may want to sauté them with the garlic and ginger)
First you need to rinse your rice. We want to rinse off all the excess starch. Place in a large bowl and run under cool water stirring the rice with your hand. Drain as much of water as you can without losing any rice. Repeat this process about 3 or 4 times. You'll see that the water will be less cloudy the more you rinse it.
Once rinsed, add the rice to a pot with a nice fitting lid. Make sure you use a large pot as the rice will triple in size. Add the 3 cups of water and pinch of salt. (There are many suggestions for your water to rice ratio, and it all depends on your pot, the rice you use, etc. I suggest you use about 1¼ to 1½ cups of water per 1 cup of raw rice. You can always add a bit more water if you need.
Uncovered, place the rice on high heat until it comes to a rapid boil. Stir, and let it boil for a minute or 2 or until you can see the water level decrease, and craters forming at the top of the rice. Immediately place on low heat and cover tightly.
Let simmer covered for about 20–25 minutes. Check once or twice throughout to see how it's looking. You can add a sprinkle of water if it's looking really dry near the end and recover. If you're rice is looking too wet, then let it simmer uncovered for an additional few minutes to help it dry out.
After it's ready, fluff with a fork and turn the heat off.
Coat a large sauté pan with peanut oil on medium heat.
Crack the 3 eggs into a bowl and beat quickly. Add to the pan and break up quickly with chopsticks or wooden spoon. It will cook very quickly, Once cooked, remove from the pan and set aside.
Add another touch of oil, and sauté the garlic, onion, and carrots. Once softened, add the rice back to the pan. Toss the rice and let cook about 2-3 minutes.
Add the soy sauce and toss the rice to fully incorporate the soy sauce. The rice will be very light. If you want to add a touch more soy sauce be my guest.
Right before you serve, add the 1½ tablespoon of butter and full incorporate. This give the rice a nice sheen, and a nice, light, buttery finish.
Add the oil to a large sauté pan, pot, or wok over medium high heat. Once the oil get hot add the beef. You can tell when the oil is hot by placing a chop stick or end of a wooden spoon into the oil. If it starts to bubble, it's ready.
The beef may release a lot of water. Wait until all the water has evaporated and you will see the beef begin to dry fry. Once the frying has started, toss the beef occasionally until the beef turns a nice browned color. It will start to look as is it's drying a bit. Don't let the beef get too brown as it will cook a bit after you remove.
Once the beef turns a nice browned color, remove the beef from the oil and set aside. Remove the excess oil, and leave only enough to sauté the garlic and ginger.
Add the garlic and ginger and let sauté for a few seconds stirring so it doesn't burn. (If you're adding carrots or bell peppers to your crispy beef, and want them to be more cooked, add them now)
Add the chili garlic paste and mustard and stir.
Slowly add the soy sauce and sherry or rice wine to the mix.
Lastly, add the brown sugar and Szechuan powder.
Let all the ingredients come together and once it starts to simmer, add the beef back to the pan.
Add the bean sprouts (If you want to add carrots or bell peppers here, they will be pretty raw and crispy)
Let the beef and bean sprouts simmer in the sauce for a minute or two stirring until the beef is fully coated and heated back through. Serve over fried rice!
I’m so excited for this post! Why?? Not only is this recipe super healthy and super yummy, but it was shot with my lighting set-up. Hopefully you enjoy this recipe as well as the photos!
This recipe was made with the leftover cabbage I had from St. Patty’s Day. I know that was weeks ago! No, my cabbage didn’t stay good for 3 weeks, it just took me this long to get the recipe up. Busy bee I am. Well either way…this is sort of a combination of stuffed cabbage (which I love) and stuffed peppers. I used the cabbage inside the peppers which is a great way to get some extra veggies in. I usually add some shredded cheese to my stuffed peppers, but I omitted it here (and I didn’t miss it actually!). The tab of butter on top is the only “bad” ingredient here, but such a small amount that you shouldn’t feel bad about eating it. This is a veggie-packed, low-fat, yummy, and really easy meal. This recipe makes enough filling for 6 peppers, but I only had 5, and one was red. Not sure why I bought 4 yellow peppers and 1 red. Oh well. The red one was mine (hehe). Serve this with a side salad and you’re eatin’ healthy (while being satisfied). Go splurge on some dessert after
About 2 cups green cabbage, sliced into 2 inch thin strips
1 small white onion, diced finely
3 garlic cloves minced
1-15 ounce can of tomato sauce
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
@1½ cups cooked brown rice
6 small/medium bell peppers, tops removed (trim a bit off the bottoms to level if necessary)
extra-virgin olive oil
6 tablespoons of whole-wheat breadcrumbs
1–1½ tablespoons of unsalted butter
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Coat the bottom of a skillet with extra-virgin olive oil. On medium-high heat, add the ground turkey and cook until it's no longer pink, breaking it up and moving around the pan. Once fully cooked, remove from the pan and set aside.
Add a touch more oil to the pan, and saute the cabbage, onion, and garlic. Cook until softened.
Add the turkey back to the pan.
Add the tomato sauce and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, and then lower the heat to low and continue to simmer until the sauce has thickened, about 10 minutes.
Once thickened, stir in the cooked brown rice.
Place the peppers into a baking dish. Fill each pepper with the chicken mixture. Don't be afraid to stuff it above the top! As long as it stays in. If you have a little mixture left over, no worries. You nibble while you wait!
Top each pepper with about a tablespoon of breadcrumbs and a sliver of butter to help them brown in the oven.
Fill the bottom of your baking dish with about an inch of water to help cook the peppers.
Finishing cooking in the oven about 15–20 minutes or until the desired doneness is reached. I don't like my peppers too cooked. I like them to still have a little crispness to them.
It was really nice to have someone cook for me. What a treat. My friend Matt came over with a handful of ingredients and some little terra-cotta baking dishes, called cazuelas, and cooked up Gambas al Ajillo, or shrimp with garlic. What a simple, quick dish. Soooo delicious. He used smoked paprika which is one of my favorite spices now. It really gave the oil a smoky, almost bacon-like flavor. YUM. Be sure to have a lot, and I mean A LOT of bread for dipping. You won’t want to let any of that tasty oil go to waste!!
I happen to own a flat top griddle, so we placed the cazuelas on top of the griddle over the burners. Don’t have any cazuelas? No problem. You can sauté all the servings in one pan on the stove and divide into individual dishes later, or better yet bring the sauté pan to the table for everyone to share. You could also place the oil in a baking dish and place it under the broiler and cook it that way. Whatever works for you!
Mmm…pizza. Everyone loves pizza. Being from NY (and a lent observer), pizza was a big part of my life growing up. My family would go to the pizzeria often, but oddly enough, I’d always get a rice ball or something besides a slice. As a kid, I was an extremely picky eater. I mean I used to peel the cheese off my pizza! Now I couldn’t image pizza without it.
Sure, grabbing a slice is a quick meal, but making your own at home is almost as simple…and it’s definitely more fun! You can find pizza dough in most supermarkets. It’s usually in the refrigerated biscuit section (where they keep those delicious crescent rolls). You can also go to your local pizza shop, and buy some of theirs. This recipe is quick and easy since most of the ingredients are store-bought and there is barely any cooking required. Feel free to change-up your ingredients…there are endless combinations!! You can even throw your leftovers onto the crust for a brand new meal. Pair your barbecue chicken pizza with a cold brown or amber lager.
6-8 oz shredded cheese like cheddar, monterey or mozzarella (I use a combination of all three pre-shredded)
¾ cup of your favorite barbecue sauce, plus a little extra for placing on crust
2 cooked chicken breasts shredded or cubed (I boil my breasts in heavily seasoned water for about 20-30 minutes or until fully cooked)
¼ of a large red onion, sliced thin
large handful of baby arugula
a few very-thin slices of jalapeño pepper
Preheat oven to temperature indicated on pizza dough package.
Combine the shredded chicken with ¾ cup of bbq sauce.
Spray some cooking spray or olive oil onto a pizza stone or baking sheet. Roll out pizza dough into a rectangle or circular shape. You'll want to spread it fairly thin as it shrinks a little when cooked, about ¼" or so. The package directions may show the size to spread the dough too. My pizza was about 14 inches by 8 inches.
Spread a bit of bbq sauce over the dough. Top with cheese.
Top with chicken mixture, then red onions, jalapeños, and arugula.
Wow, it’s been quite some time since I posted last. It has been such a crazy 2 weeks. Between planning an event, my day job, and taken care of some things at home, I’m glad I was finally able to get in the kitchen and do what I love. What better treat on St. Patrick’s Day than cupcakes. Not just any cupcakes, but bar-drinking inspired cupcakes…Irish Car Bomb cupcakes. For those not familiar with Irish Car Bombs, let me enlighten you. You’ll get 2 glasses when you order this at the bar—half a glass of Guinness Draught and a glass of Bailey’s Irish Cream with a drop of Jameson whiskey on top. When you’re ready (and you’ll usually have a few friends join in on the fun), drop the glass of irish cream into the beer, and drink it all before the irish cream begins to curdle!
So you’re wondering how we’re turning this cupcakes right? Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes with Bailey’s Irish Cream Icing. I think I may add a bit more cocoa powder next time, but these are not overwhelmingly chocolate or beer tasting. I added a good amount of Bailey’s to the icing, so it tastes just like the liqueur. I love Bailey’s Irish Cream…why?? It’s like chocolate milk for adults…enough said.
I love chocolate cookies…I mean who doesn’t? The idea of pairing the chocolate with Nutella seemed out of this world. For those unfamiliar with Nutella, it’s a hazelnut cocoa spread. I remember a lot of kids bringing Nutella sandwiches to school with them when I was young. The stuff is great in between bread or on top on pretty much any fruit. I’ve tried to melt the stuff into ganache, which wasn’t so successful, but beating it into sugar was quote simple. I was a bit disappointed in the fact that these cookies didn’t really taste like Nutella, but when I thought past that I realized that these were the best darn chocolate cookies I’ve even made! I love a crispy cookie, mainly because I am a milk lover (duh). Crunchy cookies soak up the milk best. When I bit into these cookies, they were crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. I think the Nutella cools and almost hardens inside the cookie, giving them that nice texture. Trust me when I say that these will go fast!!
There’s nothing more comforting in the winter months than a big bowl of stew with rice. Expecting some guests for dinner, stew is a great choice. A one-pot meal that can stay on the stove until everyone is ready to eat is an easy, no-fuss way to feed a large group of people—one of the reasons to enjoy the winter months. A meal like this is best enjoyed when it’s cold outside.
I’ve never made ropa vieja, but have enjoyed it many times at a usual Cuban lunch spot. I was so surprised at how well this turned out. It truly tasted just as good if not better than the lunch I order from the restaurant. I even enjoyed the left overs! I like to serve this with yellow rice. For a great salsa, purée green bell peppers, cubanelle and jalapenos with a bit of olive oil, salt, pepper and lemon—YUM!
Cut the flank steak into large 3"x4" pieces. Season generously with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
Coat a dutch oven with extra virgin olive oil. Sear meat on medium high heat in batches until all sides are browned.
Remove meat from the pan and set aside. Add a touch more olive oil if necessary. Saute the peppers, onions and garlic until softened. Add a pinch of salt to help release the water from the vegetables. Use this liquid to help scrape all the brown bits off the bottom of the pan
Add the sofrito and pureed tomatoes and cook for a 2–3 minutes.
Place the meat back into the pot and add water until everything is just covered, about 3 cups. Add bouillon cube, Sazon packet, pinch of cumin, and pinch of cayenne (a few pinches if you like it spicy!).
Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to low and cover.
Simmer for a 1½ hours stirring occasionally.
Remove the meat from the pot and shred while allowing the stew to simmer and thicken.
Add the shredded beef back to the pot and continue to simmer for another 10 minutes.
This dish is vegetarian friendly! Not only can you make these from fresh ingredients, you can use any leftovers in the fridge to make these fried finger foods. I’ve eaten my fair share of rice balls throughout the years. I would eat them as a kid at the pizzeria. If you’re not familiar with these, they’re essentially rice croquettes. A ball of rice breaded and deep-fried. YUM! Some have ground beef in the center, and some have peas. My favorite filling is ooey gooey mozzarella cheese.
I decided to make potato and mushroom croquettes, with a cheesy, mozzarella center. This is a great recipe because you can use those leftover mashed potatoes in the fridge. This recipe makes a lot of croquettes, but feel free to half the recipe. I actually fried half for dinner, and then refrigerated the rest to fry or bake later on during the week for a quick meal or snack for unexpected guests. It makes a great appetizer for a party, or just serve a few with a salad for dinner.
2 cups breadcrumbs (I used half regular, half panko)
approximately 8 ounces of mozzarella cheese cut into 1 inch rectangles. (approx 20 cubes)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
oil for frying
Place potatoes in a pot and cover with water. Add a pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Boil potatoes until softened, about 15 minutes. You should be able to pierce with a fork.
While potatoes are boiling, coat the bottom of a skillet with olive oil and a touch of the butter. Saute mushrooms, garlic and parsley until softened. Set aside.
When the potatoes are fully cooked, drain and return to the hot pot to help evaporate some liquid. Add the remaining butter and a pinch of salt and pepper to taste.
Mash potatoes with a masher, rice, or food mill (or a large whisk since that's all I have) until smooth.
Combine the mashed potatoes with the mushroom mixture. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Crack 2 eggs into a bowl and whisk. Add to the potato mixture. Let cool.
When cool enough to handle, take a palmful of the mixture in hand. Place a cheese cube in the center and cover. Shape into a log, about 2" by 4".
Once all the croquettes are shaped, it's time for breading. Place the breadcrumbs in a shallow dish. Season with salt and pepper. Crack the remaining two 2 eggs into another large bowl or dish and whisk.
Dip croquettes in the egg, then coat in the breadcrumbs.
Place about ½ inch of oil in a deep pot. Bring the oil to 380 degrees.
Fry croquettes in batches, about 3–4 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Don't overcrowd the pot or else your oil temperature will get too low. If you're oil isn't hot enough, the croquettes will be greasy and absorb the oil.
When you remove from the oil, drain on paper towels and salt while hot.
My name is Tanya—art director by day, wannabe housewife by night (minus the cleaning part of course). I love to cook, bake, and watch reality tv (the kind that follows people with real deal jobs like ghost hunting, crab fishing, bounty hunting, etc). I hope this blog encourages you to try new things, and enjoy the mishaps or miracles that come of it. Enjoy!