Thursday, September 30, 2010

Chicken Roll-Up Dinner

I'm moving away from Asian this week into something that feels truly American.  How much more American can you get than mashed potatoes, broccoli, steak, chicken and cheese (we'll ignore the Panko for now).  Eating this felt pretty decedent and not very healthy at all, but since it has broccoli I'm going to go ahead and consider it a healthy meal!

Chicken Roll-Up Dinner

4 Large Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, pounded to an even thinness

1 1/2 Cups Mashed Potatoes (I used instant, but this would be a great way to use leftovers)
3 Cups Steamed Broccoli, finely chopped
1/2 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese (I used reduced fat.  See?  Healthy!)

1/2 Cup All Purpose Flour

1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Pepper
1 Egg, beaten
1 1/2 Cups Panko (found in the Asian and/or baking aisle)
1 1/2 Tbs Ranch Dressing Seasoning Mix (found in the dressing aisle)
10 oz can Cream of Chicken Soup
1 Cup Milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix flour, salt and pepper in a shallow bowl, place beaten egg in a second shallow bowl and mix panko and ranch seasoning into a third shallow bowl.  My bowls are absolutely not shallow so I had to use plates for the dry ingredients.

Pound chicken breasts relatively thin and spread a thin layer of mashed potatoes over each, then a layer of broccoli, followed by a layer of cheddar cheese.

Carefully roll each chicken breast, securing ends with a  toothpick.

Coat rolled chicken in flour, then egg, then panko mix and place on a baking sheet that's been sprayed with cooking spray or is lined with silpat.  You're going to have some spillage.  I just threw the spillage back into the ends of one of the rolled chicken (making sure it was coated in panko of course). 

Bake for 30 - 35 minutes or until chicken is cooked through (try to actually push start on the timer, unlike I did...).  Let rest for 10 minutes before eating.

In the meantime, heat cream of chicken soup, milk and about 1 Cup of broccoli in a small saucepan until warm.  Spoon the sauce over chicken rolls and serve!

Woops!  I forgot to take a pic with the sauce, but you get the *picture*.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

DVF steals

Over the past few weeks I've gotten some great deals on random DVF stuff. 

With the release of the latest Kindle, cases for the second generation dropped.  I had been eyeing a DVF case for a while, but couldn't justify the price tag when I already have a nice Cole Haan case.  I'm not gonna lie, I still kind of want this case, but I love Spotted Kat Kasi Canvas Clutch for Kindle that I ended up with.  It had always been my second choice, it's lightweight, slim, fun, (pink on the inside!), it holds my kindle much more securely than my old case, and now it's pretty cheap!

My other DVF steals came along when I was innocently walking down a side street in Alexandria and came upon a sidewalk sale at The Shoe Hive.  Unable to resist the lure of something so glorious, I forced Kota to do a little browsing with me when I saw them....  Sandals with a toe loop AND peacock feathers.  They didn't have my normal size, but when I tried half a size down they fit just fine so I took home Diane Von Furstenberg's Dahlia Feathered Flat Sandals for a $150 savings.

I also grabbed a pair of Diane Von Furstenberg's Haven Flats saving $175.  I don't love them quite as much as my other purchases (they show toe cleavage so there's promise!), but I also haven't broken from wearing sandals yet so they have been untested so far.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Chicken and Snow Pea Stir Fry

I've noticed that when I cook, I tend to choose recipes with a decidedly Asian flair.  Well, here's another!

Chicken and Snow Pea Stir Fry

2 Tbs Soy Sauce
1 Tbs Hoisin Sauce
1 tsp rice vinegar
1 tsp Corn Starch
1/2 tsp chili garlic paste
1 Tbs Brown Sugar
1 Tbs Olive Oil
1 Lbs Chicken breast, cut into bite sized cubes
1-2 Tbs Ginger, minced

Combine the soy sauce, corn starch, brown sugar, hoisin sauce, rice vinegar, and chili garlic paste in a small bowl.  Whisk until smooth.

Prepare Rice Noodles according to directions.  Try to time it so they are fresh when stir fry is done.

Heat oil a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken, ginger, and garlic, and stir fry until the chicken is cooked through.

Add the snow peas and sliced onion, and continue to stir fry until the vegetables are slightly tender.

Add the sauce to the skillet and continue to cook for a minute or two, until slightly thickened.

This dish has been Leftovers Approved!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Three Basil Pesto

Eric asked me to try this week's recipe.  It had to be altered quite a bit due to availability of ingredients and laziness (I didn't want to go to the store).

For your convenience, here is the original recipe.

I ran into a few problems here:  pine nuts are really expensive right now, I didn't have Pecorino Romano cheese, I only had two cups worth of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, I didn't have Bush Basil or Parsley.  I ended up making some substitutions and halving the recipe.  I used the three types of basil I have growing in my garden.  I also assumed Sweet Basil is the same as Italian Basil so I used mostly that.  Here's what I ended up with:

Three Basil Pesto
Three Basil Pesto on a bed of spaghetti with chicken and homegrown eggplant.

2 Garlic Cloves
1/2 Cup Walnuts (not chopped yet)
2 cups Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese, grated
2 1/2 cups 3 types of FRESH Basil Leaves.  Mine worked out something like this
      1 1/4 Cups Sweet Basil Leaves
      3/4 Cups African Blue Basil Leaves
      1/2 Cup Lemon Basil Leaves
2 1/2 Tbs Olive Oil
1 tsp Black Pepper
Splash of Lemon juice

More basil than I thought necessary (along with the rest of the ingredients in the back) turned out to be just enough to half the recipe.  Picking the basil took forever.

Pulse garlic in a food processor until finely chopped, then add nuts, cheeses, a large handful of herbs and pepper and process until chopped.  Add remaining basil one handful at a time, pulsing after each addition until finely chopped.  With motor running, add oil and blend until incorporated.

I put the end result over spaghetti, grilled chicken (with truffle salt!) and eggplants I had picked from the garden a few days before.

  • It was tasting too cheesy for me (I never thought I'd say that), so I added a splash of lemon juice.  Eric thought I could have added more nuts instead, but the lemon juice turned out well.
  • For a smoother texture, make the pesto in a blender.  Make sure to scrape down sides frequently.
  • Pesto can keep for a bit in the fridge, but it will brown (yes, even with lemon juice) so be sure to cover the surface.  It can be kept frozen for a few months as well, again, make sure to press out excess air in sealed plastic bags.

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Truffle Shuffle

This week I've altered my breakfast routine.  Well, a very small part of it, but this is a big deal folks.  It started when I was finally able to visit the Old Town Tea and Spice shop last weekend and picked up a few choice items.

Raspberry Infused Sugar
Fleur de Sel
Chocolate Salt
Hawaiian Red Salt
And last, but absolutely not least, the jewel of my small salt collection:  Black Truffle Salt.

If I'm gonna be honest, I haven't used any of them but the Black Truffle Salt and I'm having a hard time making myself stray, it's just that amazing.  The truffle smell that gets released when you open the jar is strong, but so delicious.  I don't know how to describe the smell of truffles aside from...truffley?  Musky may work, but it doesn't quite capture it. 

Little black pieces of truffley goodness mixed in with the pacific sea salt.

Anyway, we've tried lightly sprinkled on chicken before it's grilled.  It adds a subtle flavor in the small quantity that really ups the anty on chicken.  Where I'm really loving it is on my eggs in place of my usual Lizano Salsa.  I'm going to have to force myself to switch things up every now and then.  I'll be sure to report back when I can tear myself away from the truffle salt long enough to try my other purchases.

Cat in a Bag!

The best part of unpacking from vacation.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Cat on a Bag!

One of Duff's favorite summertime spots.

By Popular Demand I Bring You... Cakeballs!

A few weeks ago I made delicious Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes.  They had a surprise ball of chocolate chip cookie dough in the middle.  Delish!  As I mentioned in that post, I had to spoon out some of the cake in order to make room for the cookie dough.  I planned on using the extra cake and some extra icing and cookie dough to make cake balls.  I ended up throwing in some of the cupcakes that hadn't been eaten after 4 days as well.  Bakerella is the queen of cakeballs, but the basic concept is this: 

Bake a cake, let it cool completely.  As we know, in this instance I used this recipe.

Mash cake until it is all crumbs.

Add in icing and mix together.  (This turned out to be too much icing for the original amount of crumbs I used.  When I added the cupcakes it all evened out)

Roll mixture into balls about one inch in diameter.  Put them on a cookie sheet on a Silpat pad or parchment paper.

Freeze.  I usually let them freeze overnight

Melt chocolate chips in the microwave.  I usually use one package of semi-sweet or 16 oz of dark chocolate.  If you throw a tablespoon of butter or shortening in there you get a nicer texture.  Put in the microwave for one minute, stir, continue this until the chocolate is melted.  It usually takes around 2:30 to 3:00 minutes.  You can also use candy melts(found at a craft store) if you want to use colors.  If you use white chocolate (which I don't recommend, use the candy melts instead, it's basically the same flavor) do not add the butter or shortening.

Coat the frozen cake balls in the melted chocolate.  There are a lot of methods for this.  You can stick a toothpick in the top and dip in the chocolate, spoon them, roll them, etc.  I'm still trying to perfect the method so I won't suggest one yet. 
So I did this step in the living room, don't judge me!

If you want to top the cakeballs with decoration, do it while the chocolate is still melted.  For the these cakeballs I topped them with kosher salt and it added the perfect kick.

Put them back in the freezer.  You can store these treats in the freezer for quite some time, just take them out about 15 minutes before you want to eat them to defrost.  NEVER put cake in the refrigerator.


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