Once again rummaging through the fridge, looking for some sort of inspiration for dinner, I found a little ham and cheese that was left over from making sandwiches earlier in the week and I knew I had some chicken in the freezer. So I said to myself, Let’s have stuffed chicken for dinner tonight along with some brown rice and some vegetable. So here is how I made chicken cordon bleu that night.
I took the chicken breasts out of the freezer and defrosted them under some running cold water.
Using some doubled over plastic wrap, I carefully pounded the chicken breast until it was really thin. Then dredged it in some seasoned bread crumbs and set them aside.
As you can see in the picture, the black forest ham is twice the size of the smoked Gouda cheese, but the cheese is twice as thick as the ham because I like it gooey.
Fold the ham over the cheese and place it on one side of the pounded chicken breast, then fold the chicken over the ham so the chicken kinda seals the open part of the ham. This will help keep the cheese inside the chicken breast while it cooks. If you want you can use tooth picks to help keep the chicken together.
Cook over a medium heat until golden brown about three to four minutes then carefully turn over to cook the other side for about the same amount of time.
If you want, place the chicken on a pan and place it in the oven to keep warm while you make the rest of them, that is, if you have a big family or cooking for a lot of people.
My wife brought home an eggplant from the farmer’s market a few days ago and asked I make a meal without meat this week. I was in the mood for pasta anyway so here is what I did.
While making dinner the night before, I took the eggplant sliced it about ¼ of an inch thick, sprinkled some table salt on both sides and laid the circles on a wire rack over a sheet pan, covered it and placed it in the fridge overnight. The reason for doing this is to “sweat” the bitter juices out of the eggplant. I feel this really helps the flavor of the eggplant come through better and be less bitter.
The next day I took the eggplant out of the fridge, quickly rinsed the salt off the circles, dipped them in flour, then egg wash and then in seasoned bread crumbs.
I fried them in a large non stick pan with a little olive oil over medium heat. Set those aside on a wire rack to cool.
Now let’s build the stack. Start with some of your tomato sauce on the bottom of a pan that can go in the oven. That’s so it doesn’t stick to the pan. Then place an eggplant disk on top of the sauce. Top that, in my case with some left over pesto sauce and some tomato sauce and on top of that, some mozzarella cheese. Repeat 3 or 4 more times. Make sure not to put the cheese on the top layer just yet.
Set the oven to 325F. Place the eggplant stack in the oven for about 20-25 minutes to cook while you are boiling the pasta to go with the meal. After the stack is thoroughly heated, pull it out and top with some more of the mozzarella cheese and leave it in the oven until the cheese is nice and melted.
Pour yourself a nice glass of Italian red wine, sit down and eat your Italian feast.
My wife and I were discussing how much she likes grits for breakfast and I asked her if she ever has had polenta. She said no, so I suggested that I make her some for dinner. Dinner? As she looked at me funny, I said I bet you will like it, it would be my take on Southern shrimp and grits. So this is what I did.
Start out with good polenta. Make it to the directions on the package substituting one cup of water for one cup of heavy cream, add one stick of butter. Stir together. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Pour off about half of the mixture into a buttered shallow pan if you have one. We are going to save that for another day. We will use this over the weekend for breakfast. Let it cool completely then cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge. Back to dinner now.
Take the shrimp you are having for dinner and marinate them in some olive oil, and whatever spices you like to make them spicy say some crushed red peppers, garlic, paprika, salt and pepper.
With the rest of the polenta in the pot add about 2 cups of cheddar cheese and mix in until its smooth, if necessary loosen the mixture a little with some more heavy cream. You are looking for a consistency of very thick applesauce. Put the bowl off to the side over very low heat and cook the shrimp.
Heat a non stick pan to medium high, add the shrimp, and cook a few minutes a side just until done. Scoop some of the hot cheesy polenta into a bowl and top with the spicy shrimp. Serve with a nice cool glass of your favorite white wine. As for my wife she now likes polenta just as much as grits.
The inspiration for this meal came from two things: One, the Super Bowl and Two, the Atlantic Bakery Co.’s Onion Sub Rolls. You will see them later in the background of one of the pictures. We are lucky enough to have a great bakery right down the road from us that sells wholesale to the public!
As you can see in the first picture, I have covered the counter and the rolling-pin with plastic wrap and placed two 8 oz burgers on it.
The second picture not only shows the rolls I mentioned earlier, but one of the burgers rolled out a little longer than the buns. You want them to be about ½ inch in thickness when you are done.
In the third picture you can see the burger seasoned with salt & pepper and strips of pepper jack cheese cut into strips and laid across the bottom of the flattened burger.
Now here comes the tricky part, using the plastic wrap as a third hand and starting from the cheese side, you want to roll up the burger into sausage like looking thing as seen in this picture.
Now in the fifth picture you will want to heat a large non stick pan to medium with some butter in it to toast the buns in preparation for the meat tubes of cheesy goodness that will shortly follow. After taking the rolls out put the burgers in the pan and let them cook a few minutes on one side. Then carefully roll the beef over on its other side and let cook there for a few minutes. Keep rolling and cooking for about 8 minutes or so. Once you see the cheese start melting out one of the ends you would be close to a medium burger.
Put the burger tube on your toasted bun and dress it the way you like. Personally I just like ketchup on my cheese burgers.
In the last picture you can see the bun, the meat-cooked medium and the cheese in the middle oozing out of the center. Serve them with some garden veggie straws that come from Costco or potato chips.
Hope you like my new way of making burgers. Enjoy ~