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What’s Cookin’ – Chicken Salad Sandwiches

I got a great deal on a dozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts at the grocery store last week. Made Parmesan Chicken with 8 of them, then Hubby barbequed the remaining 4 last night. We made grilled chicken sandwiches for dinner and had 2 left over today so I got to make one of my favorites … Chicken Salad Sandwiches.

I chopped up two chicken breasts into small chunks, although you can use the large cans of chicken that are sold near the tuna fish at the store. Drained and chopped one 10.5 oz. can of mandarin oranges, threw in about 1/8th of a cup of sliced almonds, seasoned lightly with garlic salt and mixed all together with a few spoonfuls of mayonnaise. It’s that simple and is so good. It always tastes really fresh. I think it’s the mandarin oranges that give it the light, bright flavor and the crunch of the almonds is spectacular!

You can get four sandwiches out of the two chicken breasts. We pile them nice and thick on wheat bread.

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What’s Cookin’ – Chicken Parmesan and Double Chocolate Cream Pie

We had our weekly family dinner Thursday night and everyone ate too much. This is another easy, delicious recipe that takes very few ingredients.

Chicken Parmesan

Serves 8

8 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

2 eggs, beaten

2 cups Italian seasoned bread crumbs

1 26 oz. jar of spaghetti sauce

1-1/2 cups grated mozzarella cheese

12 to 16 oz. fettuccine noodles or your favorite pasta

Directions:

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray 9 x 13″ baking dish with olive oil. Rinse chicken breasts. Put beaten egg in one dish, bread crumbs in another. Dip chicken breast in egg (both sides), then in bread crumbs (both sides), coating well, then lay in dish.

Bake uncovered for 25 minutes. Spoon spaghetti sauce over chicken. Put 1/2 cup of hot water in bottom of spaghetti sauce jar and shake it up to get every last drop. Then pour over chicken as well. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Put back in the oven uncovered for another 15 minutes.

In the meantime, start your pasta water boiling. I time the pasta so that it finishes about 5 minutes after I pull the chicken from the oven. Just cover it with foil to hold the heat. Put a nice serving of pasta on the plate and lay a chicken breast over it. Spoon a little of the sauce over it as well.

It’s amazing what you find when you root around in your cupboards. When I was looking for my pasta maker this last week, I found a mini food processor attachment that goes on my Oster blender. I’ve been thinking I wanted to get one and here I’ve had it for years. I use my blender all the time, but forgot about the attachment buried in the back of the cupboard.

And the point of this is, I used the mini food processor to make my own bread crumbs for the chicken dish. We have a bread basket that is always full of drying up ends of the loaf. I took those and some too crusty French bread and ran it all through the processor with some Italian seasoning. Ended up with several containers of wonderfully Italian scented bread crumbs to use. Geez, I feel bad now about all the bread I’ve thrown out over the years.

Something else new I tried for last night is Paula Deen’s Double Chocolate Cream Pie. When I asked YD’s BF recently what his favorite kind of pie is, chocolate cream was at the top of the list. This is definitely not a low fat recipe, but it sure is delicious. As Paula said to Oprah, “I’m your cook, not your doctor!” And easy to make. I loved the real sweetened whipped cream spread over the top. We eat a lot of fat free Cool Whip (because I’m lazy and I like it) but every now and again, I’ll make a batch of the real stuff. I figured since we were already going big with 3 eggs, whole milk and 2 kinds of chocolate, what the heck? I had gotten this recipe from a website, but can’t find it now so here it is …

Paula Deen’s Double Chocolate Cream Pie

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup baking cocoa

1/4 cup corn starch

pinch of salt

3 cups whole milk

3 egg yolks

1-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1 9″ deep dish pie crust, baked and cooled

sweetened whipped cream (optional)

chopped toasted pecans (optional)

Directions:

In a heavy-bottomed 1-quart saucepan, combine the sugar, cocoa, cornstarch and salt. Stir with a spoon to mix. Combine the milk and egg yolks and whisk until well-blended. Slowly begin adding the milk and egg mixture to the chocolate mixture, blending well with a metal spoon. Cook the mixture over medium heat until it thickens, stirring constantly (about 5 minutes). When it is quite thick, add the vanilla and chocolate chips. Stir until completely blended. Pour into the pie crust, allow to cool, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Top with the whipped cream and pecans before you serve.

A couple of notes: I used a wooden spoon, even though it says a metal spoon. Mine took quite a bit longer than 5 minutes to thicken, which is probably the difference between cooking on a gas stove versus my smooth top electric. Whatever … it was ridiculously good!

What’s Cookin’ – Chicken en Papillote

We had a small dinner party Saturday night and I was looking for something creative to serve. I remembered a recipe that I haven’t made for a while, but is so easy and healthy and delicious!

Chicken en Papillote is from the “Colorado Collage” cookbook published by the Junior League of Denver in 1995. This is a beautiful cookbook and there are a number of them available on eBay if you’re interested.

Our guests were arriving as we were still putting this meal together and it is so simple, we were able to visit while we chopped and prepared and wrapped up these cute little packages. I wish I had a photo to post but, believe me, this is a fun dish that everyone enjoys.

Chicken en Papillote basically means chicken in paper. You need to have good quality parchment paper to wrap each serving in. I used a light weight brand once and the chicken juices soaked through the bottom and tore the parchment. We made a big pot of white rice to serve over and some crescent rolls. Yes, the Pillsbury crescent rolls from the can that YD calls crack because they’re so addictive.

Because we’re big fans of mushrooms, we also threw in some creminis. The beauty of this dish is you can really substitute any vegetable you like. While I haven’t tried it, I’m sure you could use other meats such as pork chops or tenderloin or salmon. People enjoy unwrapping their own little bundles of meat and veggies so it’s part of the entertainment, too.

What’s Cookin’ – Honey Lime Marinade

We eat a lot of chicken and I love the flavor a nice marinade adds before sauteeing or grilling. One of our favorite marinades came about with a little experimentation and it’s very tasty. Every time I whisk this mixture together, hubby walks by in the kitchen and comments on how good it smells.

Honey Lime Marinade

2 limes

3 garlic cloves

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup honey

2 T. rice vinegar

1/4 tsp. salt

Zest and juice the limes into a bowl. Finely mince the garlic and add to lime juice along with with the olive oil, honey, rice vinegar and salt to taste. Put chicken breasts and marinade in a ziploc baggie and refrigerate for at least one hour, but a couple of hours is better.

Chicken Breasts in Honey Lime Marinade

Chicken Breasts in Honey Lime Marinade

This marinade would also be great for fish, like tuna steaks.

What’s Cookin’ – Eva’s Dill Sauce

Eva’s Dill Sauce is what I never knew I always wanted! I have, in the past few years, fallen in love with salmon, especially poached salmon, usually with a little lemon juice squeezed over it. Oh, yum! But I have recently been introduced to something that is so indescribably good – Dill Sauce – specifically, Eva’s Dill Sauce.Salmon

A woman who is – no kidding – one of the best cooks I’ve ever met, treated us to Dill Sauce over chilled, steamed salmon the last time we were invited over for dinner. Hubby and I both looked like slobbering idiots, drooling, rolling our eyes, groaning with pleasure over this Dill Sauce. Since then, I have made it and it is so easy and so amazingly delicious. In fact, I had some left over from making salmon and used it the following night as marinade on sauteed chicken breasts. It was great!

 

Eva’s Dill Sauce

Juice of 1 lemon (approx. 1/3 cup)

1/4 cup olive oil

4 T. fresh chopped dill

2 T. dijon mustard

2 large garlic cloves, pressed

Whisk together the lemon, oil, dill, mustard and garlic, along with a little salt and pepper.

 

HouseboatAbout 10 years ago, on a Lake Powell houseboat vacation with four other couples, hubby and I were fortunate enough to spend five days sharing a houseboat with Eva and her hubby. We definitely had the best houseboat because Eva is an amazing cook and baker and, oh, the hungarian pastries we consumed!

Whoa, I believe I just gained weight thinking about all the yummy food. Anyway, Eva has a wonderful recipe website that you are sure to enjoy, Eva’s Recipes. The Dill Sauce is included in her recipe for Dilly Salmon.

Cook Yourself Thin

Cook Yourself Thin Cookbook

Cook Yourself Thin Cookbook

The day of birthday feasting was great. The herb-roasted chicken and roasted veggies that we had for dinner are from my favorite new cookbook, “Cook Yourself Thin.”

MyLifetime.com aired a television show of the same title a few months back and I just loved it. The guest of the week would tell the hostesses/cooks about their favorite dishes. Total calories would be calculated and were ALWAYS way over the number of calories the guest should eat in a day to get to their goal weight. So the hostesses would re-make those recipes, slimming them down to usually around half of the normal calories.

While you can get the recipes online — here is the link for the Easy Herb-Roasted Chicken and Roasted Veggies — I love the feel of a book in my hands. Had a Barnes and Noble gift card from Mother’s Day to spend, so I ordered one. I have repeatedly made several of the dishes from this cookbook and they are absolutely delicious and do not taste de-calorized (is that a word?).

In addition to the roasted chicken, I can recommend the Turkey Mini-Meatloaves, Green Chile and Chicken Enchiladas and Turkey Chili Crunch (this one might be my very favorite so far). Instead of the chipotle pepper called for, I just use a small can of mild diced chiles and we scoop the soup with Baked Tostitos Scoops. OMG, I can’t even begin to tell you how good this is!

A little cupcake heaven

A little cupcake heaven

The cupcakes hubby requested for his birthday cake, we saw on an episode of Food Networks’s “The Best Thing I Ever Ate: With My Hands.” It is a devil’s food cupcake (I like the Duncan Hines boxed mix), iced with cream cheese frosting and rolled in sweetened flaked coconut. They are so good! But hubby’s favorite part of the show was when the chef (sorry, can’t remember her name) made a Cupcake Sandwich … tear off the bottom of the cupcake, put it on top of the frosting and you have a sandwich with the frosting in the middle. It really is great and fun to do. Little kids, as well as big Old kids love it!!!

The cream cheese frosting is one of mom’s recipes:

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 T. butter, softened

1 3-oz. package cream cheese (I used Fat Free and it was just fine)

2 cups confectioners sugar

1/2 tsp. vanilla

Blend until creamy.

Yum!

Saturday Chat

A booth at the farmers' market

A booth at the farmers' market

We had a big thunderstorm Friday evening with lots of lightning. The rain smells wonderful and cooled things off a bit. The high temperature today is only supposed to be 98 degrees, which is an 11 degree drop from yesterday. Went to one of our favorite farmers’ markets this morning. Have to support the local farmers and get great fresh produce!

Farmers' market buys

Farmers' market buys

Got some nice vegetables. Planning to make stuffed bell peppers next week and found some beautiful red ones. Going to do an herb roasted chicken with roasted veggies for hubby’s birthday dinner tomorrow. It’s one of his favorites. Got russet potatoes, sweet potatoes, baby bell peppers, onions and mushrooms to roast. We’ll also be doing one of the cholesterol laden southwestern breakfasts he loves in the morning with maple bacon, eggs, a pot of pinto beans, tortillas and, yes, more potatoes.

Went off on a tangent yesterday and decided to start knitting a Christmas gift. All I will say is this is the softest boucle yarn — absolutely yummy!

Also decided I want to learn Fair Isle knitting on the knitting machine. Working on a purse that was one of the learning projects in the book that came with it. I think it went well, although I had a few tense cuss word moments. Will put on a photo of it once completed, but here it is on the machine — the back of the knitting shows where you can see the floats of yarn.

Fair Isle on the knitting machine

Fair Isle on the knitting machine

Have a great weekend, everyone!