Archive for May, 2012
Life isn’t about winning (channeling Charlie Sheen) or having the most stuff and it most certainly isn’t a contest. Life, according to The Kitchen Whisperer, is about being real; enjoying the simple things in life and enjoying each and every moment. Life is about appreciation not awards; it’s about love, honesty and integrity. For standing up and having faith. So to those people that feel that theiris bigger, better, faster, richer, prettier, skinnier, any “ier”… Kiss it! You’re missing out on life. So to those that are completely happy sitting on the front porch, kicking back and enjoying life and it’s many splendors.. have at it! Live for you!
…. *steps down off her soap box* LOL
So as I was saying… this chicken dish will impress anyone. It’ll seem like you slaved hours on it. It’s a gorgeous presentation and packs that “WOW! Factor!”
Last night when I got home from work I asked Mr. Fantabulous what he wanted for dinner. I got the standard “Pasta” response to which I said “No, I’m tired of making it.” To those that are new here.. this man LIVES on pasta. I mean he literally could eat it every single day (and has) for months and not get tired of it. It has to be an Italian thing; has to be! So I rummaged through the fridge and found some chicken that I needed to use. My go-to with chicken is probably Chicken Parmesan. Why? It pairs awesomely with pasta (since he has to eat it every friggen night! LOL). This wasn’t settling well with me as I seriously didn’t want to make it and dirty 3 pans. So I set the chicken on the counter and went back to the fridge. That’s when I spied the beans and Brussels sprouts. Ah yeah.. we’re going Fancy Schmancy on Mr. Fantabulous. I grabbed my “Thor” meat mallet – I have to post a pic of this thing. It’s GINORMOUS and I think could take down like a bear if it came into my house. LOL Well okay, not really but it’s huge.
Anywho, I grabbed the mallet and started flattening the meat. Mr. Fantabulous comes running out to the kitchen “Honey are you ok??? I heard you banging something.” Me, being evil at times, glared at him giving him major stink eye and just continued to whack the meat. The look of “OMG what did I do now???” on his gorgeous face was priceless. Then I cracked a smile and busted out laughing (I can’t tease him for long). He looked at me, told me he was going to whip my butt and walked away chuckling. I know.. pure evil
I made a roasted veggie mixture and popped that in the oven and got to assembling the chicken. Now literally this meal took me from start to finish (whacking the meat… er wait, that sounds so bad *blush*.. lemme try again… flattening the meat to popping it in the oven) in under 10 minutes. So this can EASILY be made on a weeknight when you get home from work.
Yes, you can make it on a Tuesday night. Come home, kiss your family/pet/self in the mirror (hey some people are freaky like that! Don’t judge! *wink*), go pee (yes you have to pee, trust me. I think it’s in our genes!), change your clothes and go to the kitchen. Put this into the oven and go chill for 30 minutes. It’ll take you longer to pee and change clothes than it’ll take you to prepare this.
You want this; I know you do So make this and make a killer side with it! I made Parmesan Roasted Potatoes, Green Beans & Brussels Sprouts and Chicken stock red quinoa (so love that stuff).
|Chicken Cordon Blue… er Bleu… um… really good chicken!||
- 4 chicken breasts, skinless and boneless
- 4 slices of baked ham, sliced thin – now if you can afford it Prosciutto is AMAZING in this
- 1/2 cup Gruyere, grated – now gruyere isn’t cheap so you can use a combo of provolone/mozzarella and even fontina
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 tsp each of Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
- 1 cup Panko – don’t buy it, make your own!
- 1 tsp thyme; fresh and chopped
- 1 tsp garlic, finely minced
- 2 Tbl unsalted butter, melted
- 1 egg
- 2 Tbl Extra virgin olive oil
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Lay the chicken breast on cutting board between 2 pieces of plastic wrap.
- Gently pound the chicken to 1/4-inch thickness with the flat side of a meat mallet. You don’t want “pock marks in it”. Using the ribbed side will possibly tear the chicken.
- Remove the top sheet of plastic and lay 2 slices of ham on top of each piece of chicken. You want to cover the breast but not have overhang.
- Add about 2 Tbl of grated gruyere over top of the ham leaving a ¼” edge of plain ham.
- Fold in the sides of the chicken over top of the ham and cheese and roll up tight like a jellyroll.
- Use the plastic wrap and wrap each breast like a sausage forming a night tight log twisting the ends.
- Place the flour in a small pie pan adding in the salt and pepper.
- Place the bread crumbs in another pie pan adding in the thyme, garlic, salt, pepper, and melted butter. Use a spoon to mix all together. The bread crumbs will be *almost* wet.
- Beat the egg and add to another bowl.
- Unwrap the chicken and discard the plastic.
- Dredge the chicken in the flour.
- Dip it into the egg mixture and then place in the bread crumbs. You want to full coat the roll.
- Drizzle a baking pan with the oil and place the chicken on it, seam side down.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until browned and cooked through.
- *Note: if you want a crispier crust broil for 2-3 minutes.
- I actually have Brussels sprouts and green beans in my fridge.
- I actually cook them frequently.
- That I actually eat them.
- And… that I didn’t lose a bet to do any of the above
Now truth be told my fancy for Brussels Sprouts is fairly new when I made them myself and realized that they “actually don’t suck“. Growing up my Mom would make them religiously for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Straight from the freezer box…
In a pot of salted boiling water…
and placed in I swear, a butter bath.
Now hold on a minute… if you or your parents were like mine you had the following quote drilled into your brain growing up “Try it, you might like it!” Um… yeah, c’mon you’re getting flash backs of your younger years now just hearing that phrase in your head. Well I have issues with that phrase. There needs to be like ground rules or something for it. I want, in writing, how many times do I have to “try it” first. Most would assume once. Right?! Um no.. not in my house. Apparently 6,743 times constituted a “try”. So yes, every friggen holiday those things were made, I HAD to try it. It got so bad that I swear the dog would go and hide into the other room when they were put on my plate. Puppy was no fool!
Once I realized those little green suckers are pretty tasty, I have been incorporating them more into our diets. Tonight I made Chicken Cordon Blue (Bleu??? which is it actually???), chicken stock red quinoa and needed some greens with it. After rummaging through my fridge and pantry I came across some potatoes that um “had to be used”, some fresh green beans (Mr. Fantabulous will eat them raw straight from the fridge… yeah, I’m not that brave yet) and fresh sprouts.
I wanted something light but yummy. This is what I came up with.
This could be used with most harder type veggies – carrots, parsnips, turnips, etc…
So if you’re looking for something that you can use up those few later taters, some stray beans, carrots and hey.. give the little green guy a chance. Brussels sprouts actually don’t suck Really…
With that being said, I raise my green bean and Brussels sprout laden fork to you Mom & Dad. You’d be proud of me
|Parmesan Roasted Potatoes, Green Beans and Brussels Sprouts|
- 20-25 fresh green beans, ends trimmed
- 1 1/2 cups Brussels sprouts, halved
- 3 large red potatoes cut into 1 1/2” slices, leave skin on
- 1 Tbl dried oregano
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried parsley
- 1/2-1 tsp sea salt
- 2 tsp ground black pepper
- 2 Tbl grated Parmesan *optional
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F with the rack in the middle.
- Drizzle a 9×13” rimmed baking sheet with oil.
- Add the potatoes and Brussels sprouts to the sheet.
- In a small bowl, mix all the spices together.
- Add the spices over top of the veggies.
- Using your hands, mix the veggies and herbs coating it evenly picking up the oil then spreading out to a single layer on the pan.
- If the veggies seem dry drizzle just a Tbl or two of oil over top.
- Bake for 15 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and add in the green beans.
- Using a rubber spatula or flipper, mix the beans into the other veggies coating with oil and herbs.
- If you want you can add 1 tsp of oil but you shouldn’t need it.
- Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes or until fork tender.
- *If you want a little crisp on the veggies, broil for 3 minutes.
- Use a slotted spoon to scoop up the veggies leaving any oil behind and serve.
Okay fine.. so they “technically” aren’t “boiled” (quit having a cow already!) but they will turn out exactly like those boiled in water on the stove top. If you didn’t know they were baked, you’d call them “hard boiled too” so shush yer face and listen…
Now I love eggs in pretty much every fashion possibly made however I rarely make hard boiled eggs. If I’m making a salad at work you can be sure I get a big ol’ scoop of those hard boiled bad boys. They are awesome source of protein and are really healthy for you. Well okay, not the yolks but still.
Anyway, at any given point in time I’ll have about 4-5 dozen eggs in my fridge. Well tonight I went to put a watermelon in the fridge and there literally is NO ROOM! I mean no room! Like we’re talking stuff was holding up stuff that was anchored to the side and if you moved the ketchup all hell was going to break loose! ANNNNNNNNNNNND unfortunately Mr. Fantabulous walked beside me and then went “HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONEYYYYYYYYYYYY WTH? Where am I supposed to stick this?” and before I could answer him with a smart ass remark *grin* he said “please fix that” and walked away shaking his head. LOL
I decided one easy was to make about a dozen or so hard boiled eggs. I can then compact them into egg salad (he LOOOOOOOOOOVES that stuff) and make some more. Well I got the pan and was grumbling about it as it’s a pain in the butt to make ‘em. I know “Are you serious?? It’s just water in a pan and turning on the stove!” I know but I still just don’t like it. Plus you get that whole mess of trying to peel them and shells sticking, egg chunks coming off with the shells. It’s a pain.
Well anyway I remembered this episode I saw with Alton Brown about baking his “hard boiled eggs” in the oven. The way he did it though I was pretty leery on. See he placed his directly on the racks and baked them. Inevitably you’ll end up with a cracked egg when you boil them. I got flashes of that egg cracking in my oven and the mess I would have to clean up. Um.. no thanks! Until I get a kitchen crew like Mr. Brown, I’ll stick with a more safe way.
I actually just read a pretty good cookbook the other day (review to come soon) that actually gave instructions on how to boil the perfect egg. Really??? Perfect egg… REALLY??? It’s an egg people! It’s not rocket science. You don’t need to boil for 9 minutes or add salt, or shut the heat off as soon as you put the eggs in, hold your breath and pray to hit the lottery. LOL But hey, if you’re cool with boiling ‘em, go for it.
So got your pens and papers? This is pretty difficult to follow. I mean this will require your full attention… for a whole 20 seconds
|Hard Boiled Eggs… BAKED IN THE OVEN!!!||
- As many eggs as you want/pan can hold.
- Preheat oven to 325.
- Put the eggs into a mini muffin tin.
- Set pan into the oven.
- Bake for 30 minutes.
- Remove from oven (don’t worry about the brown spots – that’s normal).
- Using tongs (as they will be hot), place them into a bowl of ice water.
- When cool enough to handle, peel and use as you want. *Note, you don’t have to peel immediately. You can put them into the fridge for later.
- No seriously… that’s it!
And just how to they turn out when peeled??? I’d tell you but my mouth is stuffed with the other half of this egg and my Mama told me to never talk with my mouth full…
Actually I will give you one thing here… this is rich. I mean really rich and decadent. But then again you wouldn’t expect anything less from something this amazing.
|French Silk Brownie Tart|
- 1 recipe for 8×8″ pan of brownies
- 6 Tbl butter, softened
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate melted and cooled
- 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
- 1 tsp chocolate extract
- 2 large eggs
Stabilized Whipped Cream
- 2 tsp unflavored gelatin
- 1 Tbl + 1 tsp cold water
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 1/4 cup sifted powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- chocolate curls or mini chips
- Prepare the brownie batter per your instructions (you want fudgy type).
- Pour the batter into an ungreased 10” tart pan with removable bottom, making about a 1” layer of batter. You’ll have extra batter if you make a 9×13″ pan so you can either make mini tarts or just make a small batch of regular brownies.
- For the large tart, bake about 20-25 minutes or when an inserted toothpick comes out mostly clean. For the mini ones, bake for about 12-17 minutes
- When they are completely cool, if it’s not an even layer, lightly press down on the brownie to make it even.
- Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy.
- Add in the cooled chocolate and extract. It won’t look completely smooth yet but it will when you’re all done.
- With your mixer on low, add in the eggs.
- When they are all incorporated, increase the speed scraping the sides as you go.
- Once it’s all puffy and fluffy, spread it out into the tart pan taking it all the way to the edges. You can mound it or make it flat; your preference.
Make the Stabilized Whipped Cream
- Put the mixing bowl and whisk attachment in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour. You want them ice cold!
- In a small microwave bowl, combine gelatin and water; let stand until thick ~about 1 minute.
- Microwave for 20-30 seconds just until the gelatin dissolves and it’s not grainy. Do not allow this to set.
- Whip the cream with the sugar and vanilla until slightly thick. ~1 minute
- While slowly beating, add the gelatin to the cream.
- Whip at high until stiff.
- Pipe the whipped cream on top, top with chocolate curls.
- Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
Oh hey wait a minute.. there’s strawberries on that!!! Yep Right before I piped on the whipped cream I added a chilled strawberry glaze and slices of fresh berries.
Since I didn’t have the time to make chocolate curls, I opted for mini chips…
So this was my first week back to work. My Lord… I swear it took 19 days to get to Saturday! I honestly think Monday occurred 12 times this week alone! It’s funny; you could tell I was back to work. How? My butt was in bed most nights by 9pm. Well okay, except for the whole American Idol and Glee season finale. I’m not sure how I feel about the Glee season finale. I mean I understand why they did it… I’m thinking “spin off” for Rachael but I don’t know.
And American Idol.. WOW. Did you people see that duet by Jennifer Holiday and Jessica Sanchez??? HOLY CRAP! First… I gotta say it. What in the world was up with Ms. Holiday’s crazy eyes as she sang?! But man, if making jacked up faces like that can make me sing that awesome then let the crazy faces occur! LOL But I’m telling you, even though Phillip Phillips won (he is truly talented), I honestly feel Ms. Sanchez will be a bigger star than any idol. She’s THAT good.
I found out last night the boys were coming back today to help Mr. Fantabulous out in the yard. ANNNNNNNNNNNNNNNND of course I had no food in the house. Well okay, that’s not true. I just had nothing in the house that I felt like making It’s 90 here today in Pittsburgh with about 800% humidity (gotta love Pittsburgh) and the last thing I wanted to do was stand over the stove and cook.
So I ran to the store (apparently everyone and their mother felt the need to go to every store I was going to). I mean really… can’t you people go to the store during the week and leave the stores to me on the weekends? I mean I seem to recall a memo being sent out about this *wink* LOL It’s so funny though at those warehouse club stores. When they pass out free samples it’s an honest-to-goodness feeding frenzy! I mean really, is that mini corn dog really worth running over a lady with a shopping cart???
Anyway… when I got home, I made the boys Italian Subs on fresh baked buns (thank you warehouse store!) and dessert. The hoagies were a success and they asked for dessert then but it still needed a few more hours to chill and set. About 2 hours later they came in but unfortunately my one nephew is diabetic and his insulin pump broke so they had to leave early and go tend to that. Therefore no dessert for them. I sure the husband has a sweet tooth as I have 3 small tarts and 1-9″ tart in the fridge and it’s just he and I for the next few days.
What is that you ask??? *giggle*
That tis my French Silk Strawberry Brownie Tart.
She’s pretty isn’t she?
Got a fork???