Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Chicken Cordon Bleu

I had a hankering for this comfort food today, so I tried my hand at it.  You may recall I made something similar back in December called Chicken Kiev and it turned out really well!  So here's my Chicken Cordon Bleu, that turned out equally as well! (If not better!)  :)

 Chicken Cordon Bleu:
Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts (one per person or so)
Sliced Ham (Deli meat, leftover from spiral, etc...)
Mozzarella Cheese (Shredded or sliced)
Bread Crumbs (Plain or Italian)
 1.  Preheat oven to 375degrees.  Pound each breast until it's flat and thing enough to roll up. (Tip:  Try pounding one breast at a time in a Gallon size Ziploc with just the flat (not the bumpy) side of a meat tenderizer.  Much less mess!)
 2.  Place a slice of ham and some cheese in the middle (or so) of the pounded chicken.
 Get bread crumbs ready on a plate.
 3.  Roll up the chicken keeping the ham and cheese inside!  Then carefully roll in the bread crumbs.
 4.  Place on a greased baking pan.
 5.  Repeat process for each chicken breast.  
6.  Once they are all put together and placed on baking pan.  Bake for about 30 minutes or until done.  If yours are thicker then they will take more time, etc...
Just out of the oven!  Look at all that ooey gooey cheese ooozing out! :)
 7.  Plate and serve with your desired sides.  (Like salads, veggies, etc...)  I just hadn't gotten the rest of my plate together yet for pics...
Yum!  Just as good (if not better) than restaurant and store-bought ones!  :)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Whole Grain Crackers

I never realized how easy crackers were to make at home until I just made them yesterday!  They are also tasty, and I know exactly what is in them! :)  Plus they are super versatile....whole wheat, whole grain, whole lotta options!

My basic whole grain cracker recipe:
1 c. Whole Grain Flour
1 c. All Purpose Flour (or whole grain)
1 T. Olive Oil
2 t. Honey
1 t. seeds (optional)
1/2 t. Baking Powder
1/4 t. Salt

My rye cracker recipe:
1 c. Rye Flour
1 c. Flour (1/2 c. Whole Wheat & 1/2 c. All Purpose)
1 T. Olive Oil
2 t. Honey
1 t. Caraway Seeds
1/2 t. Baking Powder
1/4 t. Salt

1.  Mix together all of the ingredients.  The dough will be sticky.  Preheat oven to 400degrees.
2.  Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until it is easy to work with and not sticky anymore. (Just a few kneads really.)
3.  Roll out to about 1mm or so thin, and cut into your desired shapes.  I used a round biscuit cutter because I felt like round crackers.  Do whatever makes you happy! :)
 4.  Place on baking sheet.  (I actually used my holey pizza pan to sure crispness, but you can do whatever you want!) 
 5.  Once the pan is filled up, be sure to poke several holes in each cracker with a fork before baking.  (See example a little below as to why we poke.)
 6.  Once they have been poked with the fork, you can bake them for about 7 minutes.  Be sure to check them after 5 minutes though.  Also you can turn them halfway through if you'd like.  I did a combo of things on mine to see what I liked best.  If you make thicker crackers they will need to bake longer in order to get crispy.
7.  Once they are done baking, immediately remove them from the baking pan and place them on a cooling rack until cool.  Then store them in an airtight container.
 In the above picture you can see the difference between a cracker that has holes poked in it verses on that doesn't.  :)  So I recommend the holes, unless you like puffy crackers.  :)
 Homemade crackers.  Yum.  :)
Cream cheese on my new homemade cracker?  Yes please.  :)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Homemade Noodles

These homemade treasures aren't rocket science, but they sure are delicious!  Here's how to make them yourselves!  :)

Homemade noodles:
~2 c. flour
3 eggs
Pinch of salt

1.  Place the flour in a bowl or on a pastry board.  Make a well in the center of the flour.
 2.  Place the cracked eggs in the center of the well, like this...but put all three in there, I just didn't get a pic with them all in it.
 3.  Mix with a fork or by hand until well combined.
4.  Turn out onto a flour surface and knead just until smooth.  (Add flour if necessary.)
5.  Roll out as thick (or thin) as you would like.
 6.  With a knife or pizza cutter cut into noodle strips.  :)
 7.  Let rest/dry for about 30 minutes (or more).  
8.  Either place in bag and freeze for later, OR place into boiling water/broth.  They only take about 3 minutes to cook when they are freshly made like this.  You can use these in your homemade chicken noodle soup or chicken 'n noodles, or whatever else you think of!  Enjoy!  :)
Yum!  I love comfort food, don't you?

Monday, August 15, 2011

French Toast

Super easy, super economical and super yummy!  I love breakfast for dinner, don't you? :)  Here's how I do it...

This is what you'll need for 4 pieces of bread, so if you use 8 double it, if you use 12 triple it, etc.... :)

French Toast:
4 slices of bread
2 Eggs
3 T. Half and Half
1 T. Sugar
Pinch Salt
Pinch of Cinnamon
Little Pinch of Ginger

1.  Mix together the eggs, half n half, sugar, salt and spices.
2.  Dip each piece of bread into the mixture quickly getting each side covered.  (don't soak though, or else they'll get soggy.)
3.  Immediately after you dip the bread in the egg mixture place on a preheated skillet/griddle and repeat step 2 until the pan is full.
4.  Flip when the first side gets golden.
5.  Serve warm with butter and maple syrup!  (Or whatever else you'd like!)  :)
Enjoy!   Yummy!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

National S'more Day!

Don't forget to celebrate with a S'more or two.  :)  You can also use homemade graham crackers for a real treat!  :)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Hibachi at home

Have you ever had a to die for meal at a Japanese "Hibachi" steakhouse before??  Like Benihana, Gasho, Kanki, Shogun, etc.?  I sure have.  I just love those places.  In fact, when my Mom was out here visiting in April we went took her to the one here.  Sure enough, it was just as good as the ones we'd had in CO and elsewhere.  :)  They start out with that crisp salad with ginger dressing, onion soup, depending on the place and time of day shrimp appetizer and then the real show and meal!  Steak or chicken perfectly cooked with veggies to compliment and rise to finish.  Oh and the sauces.  They seem to be the thing that varies the most between the different steakhouses, but they are always yummy! I just love, love, love it!  Can you tell?!? ;)  I just did the veggies, meat and rice (and one dipping sauce) this time.  But next time I will add more, and add more to this post too! :)

Anyway, when I got to feeling like some Hibachi yummy on the way home from work yesterday I remembered that I'd gotten some "Hot Oriental Mustard Powder" at Savory Spice last week.  So...I stopped at the store to grab some veggies and whipped up some delightful hibachi at home!!  :)  When my hubby walked in the door, I greeted him with "Welcome to Cindy's Hibachi House", dinner will be ready soon.  We both cracked up after that too....  On to how I did it! So you can too!  :)

Hibachi at Home:  Serves 4 Adults
1 lb. Chicken or Beef (count on 4 oz. per serving)
2 Onions, sliced
2 Zucchini, sliced
2 c. Mushrooms, sliced
1-2 c. Bean Sprouts (fresh)
Soy Sauce
Vegetable Oil (or other) 
1/4 c. Butter
Jasmine Rice, 2 c. uncooked rice prepared.
Sesame Seeds, optional

1.  First, cut up your meat into bite size pieces.  Cook it up in some preheated oil in a skillet or wok, adding some soy sauce when it is about cooked through.  ( I only seemed to manage to get a pic of the chicken cooking....)
 2.  Once the meat is cooked place it in an oven safe bowl and in a warm oven.  Slice onions and start cooking in a little bit of oil.
 3.  Separate onions and add soy sauce.  Let them cook until they are starting to get tender.  Then place them in an oven safe bowl and place in the warm oven.
 4.  Melt butter.  You could use oil again, but the butter gives it the real flavor of the restaurants.  :)
 5.  Add the sliced zucchini to the melting butter.
 6.  Add in the sliced mushrooms too.  Stir together and let cook for about 5 minutes with a lid on it.  Whip up sauce/s at this point if desired.  :)  The hot mustard sauce was a breeze with the powder.  All I had to go was add water.  :)
 7.  Add in fresh bean sprouts.  Let cook for 2 minutes, without lid.
 8.  Stir in the onions and add a tad more soy sauce.
 9.  Plate the meal.  Rice, veggies and meat.  
Hibachi Chicken
 Sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired.
Hibachi Steak
This actually tasted just about identical to *what I remember* the actual restaurants tasting like.  The only difference was the sauces.  I didn't do a veggie dipping sauce (kind of just forgot) and the mustard was better yet also way HOTTER than any of the restaurants.  So next time I will definitely try to make a veggie sauce, and I may see if I can make the mustard taste more like the restaurant ones....or maybe not. ;)  

I also want to do the salad next time.  My Mom gave my sister and I a few years ago, a great recipe for a salad dressing like theirs.  So sorry, I won't be adding it on here.  But, I'm sure you can experiment with it for yourselves!!  Happy cooking!!!!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Homemade Oreos

Oreos.  You know, I never really liked store-bought oreos that well.  The "chocolate" cookies never really even tasted like chocolate to me, and the only ones I would eat were double filled. (Which are somehow addictive though....)  Anyway, I had wanted to try my hand at making them at home but couldn't ever get my hands on the special cocoa (Black Onyx) that makes them so super dark!

That is, until I discovered that there is a Savory Spice Shop in Raleigh, NC!  I fell in love with Savory Spice back in CO (where there are a few on the front range) but had NO idea, until this week, that there were any in other states!!!  So, on Wednesday I ventured over to their store and bought some (actually 8 oz.) of Black Onyx Cocoa Powder as well as some other spices and seasoning.  If you haven't ever heard of, or been to a Savory Spice, I highly recommend them!  :)  It's more than just a spice shop, it's a whole experience!  On to the recipe, so you, too can make these delicious sandwich cookies at home! :)

1/2 c. Butter, softened (1 stick)
1 c. Sugar
1/2 t. Salt
1 Egg
1/4 c. Water
1/2 c. Black Onyx Cocoa
1/4 c. Your Favorite Cocoa
1 t. Vanilla
2 c. Flour

Cream Filling:
1/2 c. Shortening
1 T. Cold Water
2 c. Confectioners Sugar
1 T. Vanilla

1.  Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
2.  Cream together the butter and sugar.
 3.  Mix in salt and the egg until well combined.
 4.  Add the cocoas (see the difference in color to regular cocoa and the black onyx?) and mix well.
 5.  Add water and vanilla mixing.
 6.  Add flour and mix until well combined.  It will be pretty dark still.  Yummy. :)
 7.  Place balls (either from a scoop or just make them in your hands) on a lined baking sheet.
 8.  Flatten with something like this above, until they are your desired thickness or about 1/8" thick.  (See pics below for alternate way of making thin cookies. :)
 9.  Bake for about 8-10 minutes.  Check every few minutes to make sure they don't burn.  :)  Cool on cooling rack.
10.  While the cookies are baking you can start on the filling.  First combine shortening and water in your mixer until somewhat fluffy. (like pic below)
 11.  Mix in vanilla and confectioners sugar until creamy and well combined.
 12.  Once cookies are cooled you can start filling them.  Yum.  You should probably taste one just to make sure they are alright at this point.  Or two, or three.   I'm just saying you might want need to.  ;)
 I made some regular (small) ones, medium ones and bigger ones.  Although the bigger ones remind me more of a whoopie pie even though they are crispy....

Remember you can fill them with as much or as little filling as you want too!  :)  Just the way you like 'em! :)  Joys of baking them yourself!  Enjoy!  I found these to be much better than the original.  They taste like chocolate, look super cute and the filling is fantastic!  :)

Here's another (and probably easier/better) way to get thin perfectly matching cookies to sandwich together!  :)

Once the dough is all mixed together, roll it out on a floured surface.
 Then use a small glass (or circular cookie cutter) to cut out perfect little circles.
 Dust off excess flour and peel away the scraps of dough (to roll out later) and place the cookies on a baking sheet.
 Bake as directed above (325 for 8-10 minutes) and let them cool before filling.
Yum!  :)  Even more like the original--but better because they are homemade!  :)
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