She's Got Words

February 10, 2014

Quick -n- Dirty Chicken Cordon Bleu

Filed under: food & drink — Gigi @ 10:24 pm

 

chicken cordon bleuIn my house we tend to have a lot of little bits of left overs at the end of any given week. A little bit of left over chicken here, a little bit of left over pot roast there- we even some times (when the world is off its axis) have a little bit of left over picnic shoulder ham hangin’ around. Now before you go an revoke my Southern card, just you wait till you see what I do with that left over ham- and a bit of that left over chicken, too. As to that left over pot roast, well that makes some mighty fine sammiches, come soup day.

 

Hope y’all enjoy this no fuss weekday meal. Prep it earlier in the day, or even the night before, then bake it off just as everyone hits the door screamin’ “I’m hongry, when’s dinner?”, and your family will be singing your praises faster than you can shake up a side car and kick off yer shoes.

 

 

 

Y’all enjoy, now, ya hear?

 

Quick -n- Dirty Chicken Cordon Bleu

4 chicken tenders- pan sautéed and seasoned.
10oz of ham- any will do. Chopped deli, baked, diced, pre-packaged, etc
2 1/2 cups of penne pasta- boiled in salted water
1/2 medium onion- diced fine
1 tbsp olive oil/avocado oil
6 tbsp of real butter
4 tbsp good quality flour
1/2 cup skim milk or soy milk (really any sort will do)
1/2 can low sodium/healthy request cream of chicken soup
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp coriander
1 tsp fresh garlic
1 tbsp stone ground dijon mustard
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 cup of unflavoured panko bread crumbs
1 1/2 cup shredded swiss cheese

Bring pasta water to a boil and simmer pasta for 8 minutes. Drain and set aside. 
Preheat oven to 350º. 
Add your diced onions to a sauté pan and sweat for 5 minutes over medium-low heat. 
Shred chicken and ham and add the meat mixture to the onions. 
Once warmed, remove meat/onion mix from pan and add 4 of the 6 tbsp of butter to the pan and melt till bubbly. Add the 4 tbsp of flour to the butter and mix with a wooden spoon till golden brown (about 3-4 mins)
Once roux is cooked add milk to the pan, off of the heat, stirring all the while till thickened. 
Return pan to low heat and stir in soup. (Don’t stop stirring) Your sauce should coat the back of a spoon lightly. If needed, you can thin it down with stirred in warm water- a bit at a time. 
Once your sauce has thickened, add paprika, salt, pepper, coriander, garlic, and mustard. Continue to stir well to combine. 
Remove from heat and taste for flavour- adjust seasonings as you wish. If you feel your sauce needs a brighter note, add lemon juice to the sauce a few drops at a time, mixing in and tasting till the desired flavour is achieved. 
Spray a 9×9 baking crock with cooking oil. Combine noodles, meat/onion mix, and sauce to the baking crock- mixing well. Layer on swiss cheese and then cover with tin foil and bake for 30 mins. 
In a small sauté pan, melt the remaining 2 tbsp of butter with the bread crumbs along with a bit of garlic and pepper. Toast to a light golden brown. 
After baking, top the meal with the bread crumb mix and broil for an additional 5 mins on low- watching with care. (it will burn if you turn your back) 
Serve with peas and carrots for a filling, well-rounded meal.

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December 29, 2012

Combo-Mac-n-Cheese

Filed under: food & drink,health & wellness — Gigi @ 5:34 pm

I’m dyin’, y’all.  Seriously, it is bad.  I’ve been starved for a good mac-n-cheese recipe since I left Atlanta and P’cheen is no longer in my backyard.  It doesn’t help that every time I make mac-n-cheese tiny man sticks his tongue out at it ’cause it isn’t as orange, and “watery” as he prefers.  *cue my gag reflex and eye rolling here*

I get it– no, really, I do.  I fully understand that if a kid is exposed to only one type of a food, especially one filled with artificial flavours, dyes, and preservatives it is nearly impossible to steer them into a love affair with something homemade, and good for them; well, as good for you as gooey, cheesy-covered noodles can be.  We even had this argument over grilled cheese the other day.  His claim that I never make “good grilled cheese with the orange, wrapper cheese” hit me right in the stomach- especially since I had just lovingly hand crafted for him an amazing, mouth watering grilled cheese with the most mild cheese I had on hand.  A sandwich he swore he would eat and enjoy.  A sandwich made with the last two piece of bread in the entire house which denied me my very own delectable cheesy goodness.  Let me tell y’all, I had to leave the table for a few minutes for a break after his admission.  I was that hurt.  Even so, I still get it.  So how do I fix it?  

I’m not gonna give up.  I will do whatever I can, within my power, to find the perfect combo-mac-n-cheese there is.  In short: it has to be wholesome, with whole grain noodles, but not chewy plastic-y noodles one often finds with whole grain.  It must be gooey and creamy, but not made so by velveeta or some other processed crap.  And most importantly, it must be soul-satisfying without leaving me feeling like I need to spend a week in the gym to stem the flow of cheese heading straight for my butt-cheeks.  I’ve scoured the interwebs looking for the perfect blend, but I have to say there isn’t much out there.  With this being the case, I’ve taken it upon myself to engineer my own combo-mac-n-cheese from bits and pieces of other recipes that I’ve had former success with in hopes that I’ll stumble upon some hodgepodge of perfection.  So hike up your girdles, girls, this is about the get serious.  

mcncheeseVersion numba 1 of Combo-Mac-n-Cheese

  • 1/2 cup whole wheat panko bread crumbs
  • 3 cups skim milk, hot but not boiling
  • 1.5 cup low/no sodium chicken stock, hot but not boiling
  • 5 tbsp AP Flour
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 16oz low fat/skim mild cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 4 cups whole wheat elbow noodles
  • Worcestershire to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • nutmeg to taste
  • cooking spray for pan

Set the oven to 375°.  Bring pasta to boil in salted water until cooked just under al dente.  You want the pasta to be soft on the outside, but still firm on the inside.  Generally boiling for ~3-4 minutes less than the directions achieves the desired consistency.  Once pasta is cooked, drain it in a colander and rinse under cold tap water. Allow to drain completely while building the sauce.
In a medium sauce pan heat the butter till melted and bubbly.  Add the flour to the butter and whisk for about a minute or so, till the paste is cooked through.  Gradually pour, in a steady stream, the hot milk/chicken stock mix into the paste while whisking the mixture.  Continue to cook and whisk until the sauce bubbles and thickens.
Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in cheese, Worcestershire, salt, pepper and nutmeg.  Remember your pasta has cooked in salted water, so not much salt will be needed in the sauce.  Your cheese sauce should be the consistency of sweetened condensed milk.  If you want to get a little creative, add some powdered garlic, powdered onion or cayenne to your sauce at this time to give your mac-n-cheese a bit of a kick.
Mix the pasta and sauce into a casserole dish and sprinkle the bread crumbs on top.  Bake for 20 minutes or until the top is golden, the sauce is bubbly and the noodles have completed their cooking.

December 6, 2011

Chicken Pot Pie, Anyone?

Filed under: food & drink — Gigi @ 11:05 pm

Easy, peasy and oh so good!

This week, with all the cold and the excitement of the coming festivities, I wanted to make a few ‘stick to your ribs’ meals to keep us warm and happy.  I started out with a basic meatloaf with mash potatoes and broccoli and tonight I concocted an amazing, melt in your mouth chicken pot pie that was the easiest meal I’ve made in years.  All it takes is a crock pot, a few hours, your favourite veggies and chicken bits and two pie shells and voilà- instant homemade goodness!

Homemade, Crock Pot Chicken Pot Pie

3-4 chicken breasts (with rib meat)
4-5 potatoes, diced
A small can of corn nibblets
A can of green beans
A can of mixed peas & carrots
A can of cream of celery
1/2 cup of chicken stock
A handfull herbs de provence
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 pre-made pie shells, in tins
Salt and pepper to taste

Now all of my ingredients were as low sodium as I could find, which is my preference, but get what you can and want.

Basically, take the first 9 ingredients and throw them in your large crock pot for 6 hours on high.  Once the chicken is cooked through, shred it and add it back to the pot.  Preheat your oven to 400°.  Simmer the stewed ingredients on low until the majority of the liquid is boiled off.  Follow the instructions on the pie shells package for making a double pie crust.  Prick the entire bottom crust with a fork and add the crock pot ingredients to the shell.  Cover the pie with the remaining crust, seal the edges together and cut slits in the top crust.  Add salt and pepper to the top crust and bake in the oven on a cookie sheet for 45 mins or until the crusts are golden brown.  Brush butter on the crust if you want an extra touch of flavour, but it isn’t really needed.  Let the pie cool for about 10 mins and cut into four pieces.  Enjoy!  You will have plenty of filling left over, so save it and eat it straight or load another double shell and freeze it to bake it off later.  

So easy, and so good.  Hubs even went back for seconds… but then again he always does that.  Let me know what you think, y’all.  

November 29, 2011

Easy (Healthy) Tomato Chicken & Ravioli Soup

Filed under: food & drink — Gigi @ 1:29 pm

Yummy and Easy Soup

1 Can of diced Tomatoes

1 Box of Trader Joe’s Tomato and Roasted Pepper Soup

A large hand full of basil

A heaping table spoon of crushed red pepper flake (or sub in black pepper if you want a more mild soup)

A dash and a half of garlic powder

1 Can of shredded Chicken Breast

1/2 family size package of 4 cheese Ravioli

Combine first 5 ingredients in a large sauce pot and simmer for 10 mins. Add chicken, stir well and simmer for another 5 mins. Reduce heat to low and gently drop in ravioli pasta one at a time stirring frequently and gently.  Simmer another 5-10 mins.  Viola!  Healthy and yummy dinner!  Add grilled cheese for a well rounded meal.  

August 8, 2009

Want Muffins?

Filed under: food & drink — Gigi @ 11:33 pm
Win Your M-I-L over Banana Muffins

Win Your M-I-L over Banana Muffins

Banana Muffins

3 or 4 Large bananas, mashed (the more bananas the moister, so I use 4)

1/2 cup white sugar (original recipe calls for 1 cup, but I don’t like them too sweet)

1 slightly beaten egg

1/3 cup melted margarine or butter

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups flour

For the entire recipe go here

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