Skillet to oven Cordon Bleu and Blue

The one on the left has Blue cheese dressing the one on the right has Swiss cheese.

The one on the left has Blue cheese dressing the one on the right has Swiss cheese.

I was so impressed with tamaraleigh recipe that I had to try it the next day but I did not have the same ingredients so I improvised. I also wanted to experiment a bit and have a least one topped with Blue Cheeses dressing. I am glad I did! This is a tasty meal and actually it turned out much better then I expected! This is a keeper!

Ingredients

  • 20 oz of boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 cup of plain bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon of Basal
  • 1 teaspoon of Oregano
  • 1 teaspoon of Kosher salt
  • Sliced Swiss Cheese – enough to top chicken
  • About a tablespoon of Blue Cheese dressing  – enough to top chicken
  • Black Forest Ham thinly sliced – enough to top chicken
  • Parsley – enough to pretty up your chicken
  • Olive oil – enough to coat bottom of of oven proof skillet – I recommend cast iron!

The steps for building this meal are not difficult and don’t have to be to create a great tasting meal.

Steps to goodness! 

  1. Move up the rack in your oven so when you put your skillet in the oven the top of the food will be about 5 or 6″ from the flame of the broiler. Turn on the broiler.
  2. Add Bread Crumbs, Basal, Oregano and Salt to a zip top bag. Mix it up a bit.
  3. Preheat your oven proof skillet to medium high heat with enough oil to just coat the bottom
  4. Put a few pieces of chicken at a time into the bag and shake to coat chicken
  5. Add chicken to the pan and cook 3-4 minutes on each side. Be sure not to burn the chicken it does have a breaded coating after all.
  6. Top each piece of chicken with a slice of ham
  7. Top each piece of chicken with either of the cheeses.
  8. Put the skilet into oven for a few minutes. You are looking to brown the cheese and toast the ham a bit
  9. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with Parsley
  10. Serve and enjoy you will!
A different viewl but the same applies, the one on the left has Blue cheese dressing the one on the right has Swiss cheese.

A different view but the same applies, the one on the left has Blue cheese dressing the one on the right has Swiss cheese.

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Italian Beef with some heat and side of Yukon Gold

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I love Italian Beef sandwiches and when you add Provolone cheese, grilled green peppers and onion with a dab of horseradish you have the perfect blend of flavors!  All you need now is a side of Yukon Gold potatoes and veggies and you are set.

Usually I cook potatoes in the microwave if I am going to cook them whole as it’s fast, easy,  little fuss and tastes good. This time around I wanted to try something different, boiling. I wanted Yukon Gold potatoes for dinner and thought what about boiling these in Chicken Broth then just smash and pan fry them a bit to look as a golden nugget would.

Golden Nuggets ingredients

  • Small Yukon Gold potatoes
  • Chicken Broth – enough to cover the potatoes half way
  • Water – enough to cover the potatoes the other half of the way

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To make the golden nugget clean the potatoes and add them to a sauce pan covered halfway up the potatoes with chicken broth then cover completely with water. Bring to a boil then simmer for 10-20 minutes until the potatoes are tender when you poke it with a fork.  Once tender transfer the potatoes to a skillet heat to medium high heat with just a coating of oil in the skillet. Gently smash the potatoes with something flat, I used a metal spatula. Don’t smash to hard as you are not making hash browns.  Cook about 3-4 minutes per side until you have the golden brown crispness. Season to taste, perhaps just a bit of salt then serve.

Golden goodness ready for the plate!

Golden goodness ready for the plate!

Italian Beef Sandwiches!

While you are cooking the potatoes you can prepare the Italian Beef sandwiches.

Italian Beef Sandwich ingredients

  • Green Pepper – Sliced
  • Yellow Onion – Sliced
  • Provolone Cheese
  • Horseradish – Cream Style
  • Italian Beef – I went with Papa Charlie’s Italian Beef this time around. You can make your own and I have but I don’t have a meat slicer.
  • French Rolls – I went with S. Rosen’s French Rolls which are my favorite for packaged store bought

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Italian Beef Sandwich steps

  1. Slice the green pepper and onion and brown a bit in a medium high heat skillet then remove.
  2. Add the French rolls face down to the skillet until toasty and remove
  3. Add the Italian Beef to the skillet until it’s just warm then blend it with the green pepper, onion and cheese until the cheese is melted
  4. Top the French rolls with the beef vegetable blend and add the Horseradish. How much and how you see fit or what your taste buds and nose can handle

Add the sandwich, golden potatoes and side of your favorite vegetables to the plate and enjoy! BTW this tastes amazing!

This is how I  enjoy my green peppers and onions.

This is how I enjoy my green peppers and onions.

Hard Shell Tacos (kind of and after the fact) – Beef

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This is a last minute recipe I came up with because I had a sudden urge for a spicy and crunchy meal. The crunchy part was going to be the hard shell but all I had on hand was flour tortillas so what to do? Pan fry them of course! I know flour tortilla don’t crisp up as corn tortilla would but I was not going to run out to the store for just that.

Ah the Ingredients

Ah the Ingredients

Ingredients for the Taco meat:

  • 1 pound Ground Beef 93% Lean – This just taste so much better then the higher fat content blend. I would go with grass fed if I could afford it.
  • Green Pepper – Chopped
  • Yellow Onion medium – Chopped
  • 1 can of Black Beans – drained
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic – diced
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • Dash of Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon Paprika powder

Preparing the taco filing is simple and quick process as there are just a few steps until you can enjoy the wounder flavors.

  1. Add the Green Pepper and Onion to a skillet heated to medium high heat cooking until soft. Be sure to stir every minute or two to cook evenly. 
  2. Add ground beef to the skillet browning and crumbling the meat
  3. Next into the skillet is the Black Beans mixing well then add the remaining ingredients mixing then reduce heat to low.

You will need additional ingredients to build your Tacos:

  • Couple table spoons of vegetable oil
  • Grated cheeses – I like the fine grate for this recipe
  • Flour Tortilla
  • Sour Cream
  • Ice Berg Lettuce
  • Archer Farms – Cuban-Style Black Bean dip – This is new at Target and it’s now my favorite. No I was not paid to say that it’s just a great product!

Heat a separate skillet to medium adding vegetable oil just enough to coat the bottom of the skillet. You have to work fast here as you don’t want to overcook the tortilla:

  1. Add tortilla to skillet
  2. Top with cheese and a couple tables spoons of the taco filling
  3. Fold tortilla in half cooking until bottom in brown then flip browning the opposite side.
  4. Remove from skillet and repeat these steps until you have the amount for this this meal. You can do more then one at a time but be sure not to burn them

As for plating your meal you can do this in many ways. You can add the taco to the plate then have dips surround the taco. You can build a mini taco salad. You can also just put all your toppings on top of the taco and eat it with a fork and knife. Be creative!

Soften the Green Pepper and Onion

Soften the Green Pepper and Onion

Brown the meat

Brown the meat

Add the remaining ingredients

Add the remaining ingredients

Give me some filling

Give me some filling

I love this stuff!

I love this stuff!

Make me fancy!

Make me fancy!

Corned Beef Hash with Golden Potatoes

Corned Beef Hash with Golden Potatoes along with Greek Yogurt Pancakes and an over easy egg

Corned Beef Hash with Golden Potatoes along with Greek Yogurt Pancakes and an over easy egg

What to do with Corned Beef leftovers? Corned Beef hash of course!

Ingredients for the Corned Beef hash

  • Leftover Corned Beef of course
  • 3 medium sized Golden Potatoes – I will let you think this one over
  • 1 medium Yellow onion  – chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic – diced
  • Dash of salt
  • Couple grinds of fresh ground pepper

This is a simple and tasty meal that pairs well with eggs and Greek Yogurt Pancakes.

The steps:

  1. Cube the raw potatoes in to small sizes
  2. Add potatoes to the skillet that has been heated to medium low and cook with the lid for about 10 minutes. You are trying to soften the potatoes. You can test the potatoes progress by using a fork to poke the potato piece. If the fork goes in easy you are ready for the next step. Each time you open the lid to test the potatoes be sure to flip the potatoes.
  3. Stir the potatoes keeping the lid off
  4. Chop the onion and add to a separate skillet heated to meduim high cooking until translucent then remove from pan
  5. Stir the potatoes again. You are trying to brown the potatoes just a bit
  6. Chop the corned beef  and add to the skillet you cooked the onion in cooking until crispy
  7. Now add the onion, crispy corned beef, garlic and chopped onion with the potatoes blending well. Be careful not to break up the soft potatoes.
  8. Now you are trying to crisp up your new blend so so you will need to make it flat using your spatula.
  9. Let the blend brown up and only flip a section at a time. Continue doing this until brown and crisp but not burnt!
  10. Add the salt and pepper to the mix then serve
  11. Enjoy!

Corned Beef

Does not look very exciting but this is very good!

Does not look very exciting but this is very good!

What is one to cook on St. Patrick’s Day if you have a little Irish in you or not?  Corned Beef of course! The thing is Corned Beef just does not take a very exciting picture but it does taste amazing! If you don’t want to spoil the mood keep your eyes off the nutrition label! The picture below is actually the second package I purchased. My family enjoyed the meat so much I dropped everything and went back to the store to get more. I am glad I went when I did because there was only a few packages remaining!

One of the advantage of having leftovers is you can make some great meals! I have a few ideas in mind and can’t wait to try them. Come back soon to see what I come up with.

Cooking this is very easy:

  1. Put this meat in a big pot covering the meat with water and start a boil. Once the boil begins skim the foam off the top of the water
  2. Reduce heat to a low simmer and put a lid on it letting it simmer for 2 1/2 to 3 hours
  3. Once a fork can enter the meat easily take it out of the pot and place on a cutting board and cut across the grain
  4. Add sides and eat!
Just unpack and follow the easy to cook steps.

Just unpack and follow the easy to cook steps.

All ready to cut across the grain and add sides.

Cut across the grain already  I am hungry!

Cut across the grain already I am hungry!

Cheese Fondue but not to spicy

I love cheese fondue!

I love cheese fondue!

I just love cheese fondue with fresh vegetables! Crunchy fresh vegetables dipped in warm cheeses is such an amazing taste I highly recommend you give this a try!

This is an easy recipe but does require a lot of chopping and self control not to sneak bites of fresh vegetables. You can use any dippers you want and you should mix it up a bit to keep things interesting. This time around I went with what is in the following picture.

The dippers!

The dippers!

Once you have the dippers ready you of course need to create the cheese fondue for well dipping.

Ingredients for the Fondue

  • 4 tablespoons of butter
  • 1/4 cup All purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups of Chicken Broth
  • 16 oz of shredded cheeses – I went with Mild Cheddar and Muster this time around and glad I did!

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Next up melt the butter over low heat and add the flour and stir for 3 minutes over low heat in your fondue pot.

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Add the Chicken broth and boil for three minutes but you must stir the entire time to keep things right.

I have been boiled!

I have been boiled!

Now add the cheeses 1 cup at a time but be sure to stir things up after each cup until all the cheeses are in there and melted well. Keep things just warm and start the dipping!

First cup of cheeses.

First cup of cheeses.

Ready for dipping!

Ready for dipping!

Blackened Cajun Chicken Sandwich

Blackened Cajun Chicken Sandwich on fresh bread

Blackened Cajun Chicken Sandwich on fresh bread

A Blackened Cajun Chicken Sandwich is so tasty and when you place it on fresh bread it’s just that much better! To round out this meal add a side of home cooked potatoes and a side of veggies from the freezer and you will be set to stimulate those taste buds.

I had leftover homemade french bread from the day before but only had enough for one sandwich. So not to be selfish I made a new loaf but this time I went with a Honey Oatmeal Bread from my bread machine book cooking it completely in the bread machine. I just LOVE the smell of bread baking! It’s just so easy to make with a bread machine I am surprised more people don’t make it.

I just love the smell of bread!

I just love the smell of bread!

When I first started thinking about Blackened Cajun Chicken I had no idea what spice combination I should use. I knew the basics which is most of the ingredients below with the exception of the Thyme Leaves which I found while researching Cajun spices. The blend below is what I came up with for the 20 oz of chicken thighs. The amount and taste was spot on! All you do is put all the spices into a small dish and blend well.

The spice of life

The spice of life

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Blend me now!

Ingredients for the chicken:

  • 20 oz of Chicken Tighs
  • 1/4 tsp. Fresh ground Black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. Paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. Cayenne
  • 1/4 tsp. Garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. Onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp. White pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. Oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. Thyme Leaves
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt
  • Topped with Olive Oil Mayo

Once the spices are blended well sprinkle both sides of the chicken well. In a cast iron skillet heated to a medium high heat cook the chicken for about 10 minutes flipping halfway through. Make sure there is no pink inside!

Spice me up!

Spice me up!

Cook me til I am a little blacken.

Cook me til I am a little blacken.

All done now put me on some bread with mayo!

All done now put me on some bread with mayo!

Once done put it on a piece of fresh bread with a bit of olive oil mayo.

On bread with oh so good olive oil mayo.

On bread with oh so good olive oil mayo.

Saturday, March 9, 2013 was National Meatball Day – I hear. Here is a meatball sandwich I created to do my part.

Yum a homemade Meatball sandwich!

Yum a homemade Meatball sandwich!

I have not had a meatball sandwich for a while and was in the mood for a homemade version. Little did I know before reading the news that it was National Meatball day. Who comes up with this stuff anyway?

What I wanted to put in the meatball was not known yet so I started thinking and looking around the kitchen to inspire me. In the picture below is what I came up with. I had no real idea what the outcome was going to be but that’s the exciting part of cooking.

I going to make a meatball with all this stuff plus some ground beef.

I going to make a meatball with all this stuff plus some ground beef.

Ingredients for the meatballs:

  • 1 pound of 80/20 ground beef
  • 1/2 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese
  • Yellow onion – about 1/2 and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves diced
  • 1 cup of Italian breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon of fresh ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried Basal
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried Oregano
  • 1 pinch of Kosher salt
  • 1 large egg

You will also need bread to put the meatball on, cheese to dress it up and of course some Classico spaghetti sauce. As for the Classico spaghetti sauce I used about a cup then added about a 1/4 cup of water to thin it a bit for the 3 meatballs I wanted to use for the sandwiches.

Before I get started with the meatballs I went the extra mile and made homemade french bread. I did use the bread machine to prepare the dough with the rest by my hands and the oven. First things first is dump the prepared dough on to a floured surface, shape into a loaf then place on a baking sheet that has been greased and dusted with cornmeal.

Right out the of bread machine ready to be handled.

Right out the of bread machine ready to be handled.

It's in great shape!

It’s in great shape!

Now it’s time to rise to the occasion. Let the dough rise until double in size in a warm draft free place. I always put my in the oven after I warmed it at the lowest setting then turned it off. The dough took about 50 minutes to rise. Next up remove the dough from the oven, heat your oven to 375 F, slice the top of the dough with a very sharp knife about 3 or 4 times and brush on egg white. Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes.

I have risen, been sliced and have egg whites all over the top of me.

I have risen, been sliced and have egg whites all over the top of me.

I have been baked now just let me cool before you slice into sandwich size. No sneaking!

I have been baked now just let me cool before you slice into sandwich size. No sneaking!

Okay now it’s time to continue making the meatballs. Put all the ingredients into a large bowl and blend well.

Put everything in one bowel I  am getting hungry over here.

Put everything in one bowel I am getting hungry over here.

Blended well now lets make some balls!

Blended well now lets make some balls!

Form the meatballs into even sizes and the size you want. Put the meatballs in the Frig for about 15 minutes to cool back down so they will stay together during cooking.

Those are nice looking meatballs!

Those are nice looking meatballs!

Preheat a large skillet to medium high heat and place meatballs in skillet but make sure they are not touching. You will need to rotate the meatballs often so they cook evenly. I rotated mine with a fork and spatula but be careful you don’t want these to fall apart. Cook for about 10 minutes or until brown with a crunchy outside. Remove from the skillet when done with a large spoon and place into simmering spaghetti sauce. Let the meatballs simmer for about 30 minutes.

Toasty bread is so much better! So for this recipe I sliced the bread and placed this in a heated skillet with olive oil to toast the insides. Now the last step is to plate it. Just put the bread on a plate, add meatball then top with the cheese of your choice. I did make large meatballs so I had to smash it just a bit to eat it. This was amazing tasting! I can’t wait to try the leftovers!

Cooking!

Cooking!

First flip!

First flip!

Done! Ready for the sauce!

Done! Ready for the sauce!

Simmer time!

Simmer time!

Chicken Parmesan Panini

Chicken Parmesan Panini oh so good.

Chicken Parmesan Panini oh so good.

I wanted a sandwich but not just any sandwich it had to be extra tasty. I had some leftovers from my Skillet Chicken Parmesan meal so what better to do then chop of the chicken and compress it into a sandwich. The problem is I did not have a Panini maker. So what to do, make something that creates the same results! With two hot pans and an oven I created my own. I wanted the lines on the sandwich so I pulled out my gill pan.

Check out those ridges!

Check out those ridges!

I did not have another pan with ridges so I had to settle for my heavy cast iron skillet.

Heavy iron skillet to be heated.

Heavy iron skillet to be heated.

In order to make the crispy compressed sandwich I heated the oven to 450 F and put the iron skillet in there to heat up as well. Next up build the sandwich. I started with homemade french bread buttering the outside to help it brown.

Butter me!

Butter me!

Of course you need more the just butter so I added the chopped chicken and provolone cheese.

Give me some chicken and cheese please.

Give me some chicken and cheese please.

It can’t be a Chicken Parmesan  Panini if it does not have spaghetti sauce.

Give me some sauce.

Give me some sauce.

In order to help speed things up I put the sandwiches on the ridged pan then heated it for a few minutes.

Pre-heat me

Pre-heat me

Next up put the foil on top of the sandwiches to help keep the iron skillet clean then put this setup into the oven then top it all off with the heavy very hot iron skillet and bake for about 10 minutes until a crispy golden brown.

My tin foil hat

My tin foil hat

You can't see this well but this in the ridged skillet, the sandwiches, foil then iron skillet.

You can’t see this well but this in the ridged skillet, the sandwiches, foil then iron skillet.

 

It’s done!

All done!

All done!

Nachos

All dressed up and ready to eat!

All dressed up and ready to eat!

Nachos is something I enjoy eating from time to time especially when I have some leftovers. This time around I had leftovers of Southwest-Inspired Corn & Black Bean blend and hamburgers. These two leftovers are a perfect match for those crunchy corn tortilla chips.

Ingredients:

  • Southwest-Inspired Corn & Black Bean blend
  • Tortilla chips
  • Leftover hamburger or other kind of meat chopped into small pieces
  • Blend of grated cheeses – just a hanful or two
  • Homemade Guacamole (see my Homemade Baked Taquitos and Guacamole post) – one or two spoonfuls
  • Salsa – to taste
  • Sour Cream – one spoonful
  • Smoked Paprika

Top it Heat it Eat it

  1. Preheat oven to 450 F
  2. In a single layer place the corn tortilla chips on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil
  3. Top with meat, Southwest blend then the cheeses
  4. Place in oven until hated and the cheeses are melted which could be about 6-10 minutes
  5. Remove from oven and just slide the foil with food and all to a serving plate
  6. Add a spoonful of sour cream in one drop on top of the nachos then sprinkle with Smoked Paprika just on top of the sour cream
  7. Add a spoonful or maybe two would be better of Guacamole in one drop on top of the nachos
  8. Sprinkle with the salsa
  9. Enjoy!

A visual view

Corn Tortilla Chips on a single layer just waiting for something to happen.

Corn Tortilla Chips on a single layer just waiting for something to happen.

Nachos ready for the oven

Nachos ready for the oven

Fresh out the the oven with everything warm and the cheeses melted

Fresh out the the oven with everything warm and the cheeses melted