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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Celebrating Easter With Family


No matter whether you celebrate the religious aspect of this blessed holiday or do not, I wish you a day filled with laughter and fun and good food with your family.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Cauliflower and Potato Mash


If you read my Chicken Cordon Bleu post you already know we served it over this beautiful bed of smashed cauliflower and potatoes. To back up a bit I had purchased a huge and lovely head of orange cauliflower which has become our favorite in this household. Using about one third of the head for our Mini Cauliflower Gratin there was the other two thirds to utilize. It ended up that I wasn't entirely in the mood for plain mashed potatoes so I decided to blend the two together.
It feels kind of cheesy to post this recipe because anyone can do this simple mash, but at the moment it's all I have for something "new" to post. So forgive me! At least you can glean from this the ratios of ingredients I used and make a batch of your own for something different for a night time meal.
  • 2/3 head cauliflower
  • 8 small white potatoes
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1/4 cup half and half
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  1. Chopped up the cauliflower removing heavier stems. Peel and slice potatoes about 3/4 of an inch thick.
  2. Place both the cauliflower and potatoes in a pot of cold and salted water and boil as you normally would for mashed potatoes, but let them go a few extra minutes.
  3. After draining return the pot to the stove top and over medium low heat allow some more of the liquid to evaporate and add in slices of butter - total 1/2 stick.
  4. Turn heat down to low and begin mashing and add in the milk, mashing and stirring. Then add in the half and half, any extra salt and the black pepper. Mash well, stir.
  5. Make any adjustment to milk or half and half to achieve the creaminess and texture you want.
We made ours creamy - with some texture and they ended up to be just the perfect side dish. Starch and a veggie together so no other vegetable was needed.
Depending on how much your serving becomes there was enough to feed five comfortably and even more if you have smaller children or people with light appetites. I am basing my pricing on five hefty portions.
Total cost for me was $4.48, feeding five for 89¢ each.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Chicken Cordon Bleu



We are going retro recipe today. Taking you back in time to the 60's era. Remember that Chicken Cordon Bleu gained popularity in upscale restaurants of that era and the earliest reference I found was from The New York Times around 1967.
The dish originated in Switzerland as "Veal Cordon Bleu" during the 1940's and from there emerged the dish using Chicken, and published in a cookbook in 1949. Translating from the French, Cordon Bleu means "Blue Ribbon". The dish is made roulade style where the meat is pounded down and then a layered with ham or prosciutto inside along with an easy melting cheese like Gruyere or Swiss. It is then rolled in bread crumbs and either fried or baked. Some versions even have the prosciutto or ham on the outside.
My version is made with an inexpensive deli ham and Swiss Cheese. In fact when I told my husband what I was making he eyeballed me and said, "I thought you didn't like ham with melted cheese." He knows I am not overly fond of that combo. I replied that I would like to give it a go and I am so glad I did. This totally changed my perspective and I must admit that it was wow. The recipe is simple - the only lengthy part really is pounding down the chicken breast thin enough to roll it with the ingredients added.
  • 2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1 tbsp. oil (vegetable, canola or olive oil)
  • 4 slices deli ham (I used Imported Ham)
  • 2 large slices Swiss Cheese (or four of the sandwich size)
  • 2 cups Panko bread crumbs (you could use regular plain crumbs)
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 tsp. granulated garlic
  • 1 1/4 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt + 1/8 tsp. for the flour mixture
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper + 1/8 tsp. for the flour mixture
  • 1 whole egg - beaten with a splash of water
For the Breading Station:
  1. In a bowl combine the flour and the 1/8 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Mix well.
  2. In another bowl combine the egg and water and whisk well.
  3. Then in a third bowl combine some crushed panko bread crumbs with the granulated garlic, paprika, onion powder, salt and black pepper. I crushed the panko in a large plastic zip bag and added the spices in and shook well to combine. I poured out in a dish what I needed and saved the rest of the untouched bread crumbs and labelled the bag with the description and date to save for using in another recipe. NEVER SAVE THE crumbs that have already been used for the protein; only the untainted crumbs can be used again.

I told you to get two large breasts like the ones shown here as they pound down to a very large surface to roll when you are done.

After you have washed and prepped and dried your chicken breasts, pound them down between two sheets of plastic wrap to 1/4 inch or a little less. Try to get them as evenly pounded as possible.


Next salt and pepper the top of the breast. You want flavor on the inside so sprinkle as much or as little of the seasonings to suit your own taste.


Lay the cheese down on the breast, then the ham. I used one big slice of the cheese and 2 slices of ham for each breast.



Roll up the breasts and secure using butcher's twine secure the roulade. Just remember to remove the string when serving the finished product!







  1. Preheat your oven to 350°.
  2. After you have these two large beasts under control - rolled and tied, roll them first in flour and shake off excess.
  3. Dip and roll in the egg mixture, drain excess and roll in the panko mixture pressing the crumbs onto the roulade.
  4. Melt 1/2 stick of butter and 1 tablespoon of oil (I used regular olive oil) in a large skillet over medium heat.
  5. When the butter melts and bubbles and the pan is hot add in the roulades and brown all sides using tongs to GENTLY turn them in the pan. About a minute or so per side. When they are nicely browned, turn off the heat and pop them in the preheated 350° oven and bake uncovered for 26 minutes.
THAT IS NOT A TYPO - yes 26 minutes on the dot. Your chicken should come out perfectly cooked, tender and juicy. And look at the nice golden brown crust on the outside! My husband absolutely loved this dinner - when he compliments me over and over and goes for seconds I know that it was a huge hit. And you may be wondering what I served it over so I'll tell you that was excellent as well - cauliflower and potato mash. Next recipe post will detail how I did that.


The total cost for the Chicken Cordon Bleu, serving four portions worked out to $7.57, $1.89 per person.