Thanks to a coworker….

…..otherwise, I would have never come across this simple recipe.

Typically, when I ask my husband what he wants for dinner, being the creature of habit that he is, I almost always get one of two responses. Either, Chinese food or baked chicken. Since we are trying to be conscience of what we eat, Chinese food is not an option right now. So, baked chicken it was!

But….what to serve with it??? I wanted to make something new so I could post something to share with you all. Lucky for me, one of my coworkers had brought in some magazine she had at home with several different recipes. I came across this dressing.

Simple Dijon Vinaigrette

2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp dried parsley
Salt and pepper, to taste

Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl. Set aside until ready to use.

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I actually doubled the recipe above for dinner tonight. The original recipe recommended serving the vinaigrette over steamed broccoli, but I had some fresh carrots I wanted to use up. So I steamed them along with the broccoli.

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The dressing was delicious. I think it would be great on a garden salad as well!

ENJOY!! 🙂

Weekly Ingredient: Chicken Breast

Tonight’s recipe was influenced by the first weekly ingredient I chose: boneless, skinless chicken breast. It is so versatile, and you can pretty much flavor it with your favorite favors. I have marinaded, baked, grilled, and sautéed chicken breast many times, but it can easily get boring!

So, before I left for work this morning, I laid out 4 chicken breasts to defrost. Although, I still had no idea what I was going to do with them. I just knew I wanted to make something I had not previously made.

After some thought in between patients this morning, the idea of chicken cordon bleu popped into my head. I’m not really sure what made me think of it. In times past, I had always bought the pre-made, frozen version at the grocery store. For some reason, it just seemed like a lot of prep work went into making chicken cordon bleu, but in reality, no more prep time than needed for most other recipes. So, below is my version!

Stuffed Chicken Cordon Bleu

Ingredients:

4 large, thick boneless, skinless chicken breasts
8 slices deli ham (I used Hillshire Farm brand, low sodium, thin slices)
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1 egg, lightly beaten
4 oz Swiss cheese, shredded
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 paprika
Cooking spray

Directions:

Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with cooking spray and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl, combine the bread crumbs, pepper, salt, and paprika. In another bowl, lightly beat egg. Set aside.

On the thick side of the chicken breast, with a knife, make a pocket (My pockets were about 2 inches long by 2 inches wide). Be sure not to cut all the way through the other side of the chicken. Continue with the other chicken breasts.

After all the pockets are made, begin to fill. First, I put in 2 pieces of ham and about 2 tablespoons of cheese. Using a toothpick, puncture the chicken to seal and keep the cheese and ham inside. Once sealed, coat stuffed chicken breast in egg, then bread crumb mixture. Place in greased baking dish. Repeat with remaining chicken breasts.

Bake the chicken for 30-35 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through completely, the cheese is bubbling and the bread crumbs are golden (Prior to baking, I also sprayed the tops of the chicken with cooking spray to help the bread crumbs brown, since I omitted the butter from the original recipe).

**Recipe inspiration: The Girl Who Ate Everything

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As in the original recipe I found, I made a Dijon-parmesan sauce to go on top.

Dijon-Parmesan Sauce

Ingredients: (NOTE: This made quite a bit of sauce. I think I could have probably halved the recipe and had enough for 4 people.)

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup 1% milk
1/4 cup chicken stock (possibly more if the sauce is too thick, I ended up using about 1/2 cup total)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions: When the chicken is almost done, in a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Stir in the flour, whisking constantly. Cook the flour/butter mixture for 1-2 minutes. Slowly pour in the milk while whisking quickly. Stir in the chicken stock and salt. Whisk mixture constantly over medium heat until the mixture begins to simmer and thicken, about 3-5 minutes.

Once the sauce has bubbled and thickened, remove from heat and stir in the mustard, Worcestershire sauce and Parmesan cheese. Stir until the cheese is melted. Keep the sauce warm until the chicken is finished baking. If your sauce is too thick, whisk in some more chicken stock. If it’s too thin, simmer longer.

Additionally, I made a zucchini and squash gratin. Both of the vegetables were on sale at my grocery store. I could not resist buying them at such a great price!

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Zucchini-Yellow Squash Gratin

Ingredients:

2 large zucchini, shredded in food processor
2 large yellow squash, shredded in food processor
1 cup shredded cheese (any combination you like, I used 1/2 cup Swiss cheese and 1/2 cup cheddar-jack cheese), plus extra to top
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place shredded zucchini and squash on a clean kitchen towel. Spread evenly over the towel, roll-up and wring the towel over the kitchen sink to extract as much liquid as possible from the zucchini.

In a small bowl, place the cheese, flour, salt, and pepper and toss to coat the cheese with the flour.

Add the dry zucchini to a large bowl, toss in cheese and flour mixture. Stir to combine.

Spread the mixture into greased 8×8-inch glass baking dish. Sprinkle with additional cheese over the zucchini mixture

Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Let rest five minutes and serve.

**Recipe credit: RV Goddess

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My family really liked these dishes, and I hope yours does too!

ENJOY!! 🙂

Steakhouse Dinner…..at home!!!

Sorry for the late night post, but I had to go see my out-of-town visitors one last time before they head back to Pennsylvania tomorrow. I will miss them terribly, and really do not want to have to wait until December to see them again! 😦

On to business…..

There is a restaurant here in Tampa that I absolutely love! It has been a bit since we have been there. We do not always have the ability to get out for a nice sit-down dinner since the little guy came along. So tonight’s dinner is my attempt to recreate my favorite meal there, of course, with a twist!

Using your favorite cut of steak, grill it to your liking. I typically sauté some onions in olive oil, salt, and pepper to serve along with the steaks. If you like mushrooms, they would be great too.

What makes the steaks even more delicious is the sauce (recipe below) that I have been making for a few years now. The original recipe for this sauce called for Italian dressing, grated Parmesan, and black pepper instead of the Caesar dressing, but one time years ago I wanted to make this sauce and did not have any Italian dressing. So, I used the next best thing, and cut out the Parmesan and pepper since it is already included in the Caesar dressing I buy. Also, typically, I make the sauce a couple hours in advance. I think it tastes a little better when the sour cream and dressing have time to blend flavors.

Sauce:

1/2 cup fat free sour cream
1/4 cup lite Caesar dressing (I prefer Ken’s)

Stir to combine ingredients. Place in refrigerator until ready to serve.

The steak and sauce is pretty versatile. I have used this to make hot steak sandwiches as well. They were delicious!

Other than the delicious filet I order, I always order smashed cauliflower. Sometimes, two orders! I’m not kidding…it’s that good! Below is my attempt at smashed cauliflower, again with a few changes.

Smashed Broccoli and Cauliflower

Ingredients:
1 head of cauliflower, chopped into small florets
2 small bunches of broccoli, chopped into small florets
4 cups chicken stock
4 cups of water
1 large garlic clove, grated
3 tbsp asiago cheese, grated (left over from my Brussels sprouts earlier in the week)
1/2 cup fat free sour cream
2 tbsp fat free half&half
Salt and Pepper to taste
Chives for garnish

Directions:

In a large stock pot over high heat, combine water and chicken stock.

Bring to a boil. Add broccoli and cauliflower. Boil for 8 minutes or until tender. Drain and set aside.

Using a hand mixer, combine broccoli and cauliflower, sour cream, half&half, garlic, cheese, salt and pepper(I think next time I will use my food processor. I was just too lazy to get it out this time…lol).

Garnish with fresh chives and serve immediately.

**Recipe inspiration: The Novice Chef

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ENJOY!!

Cracker-coated Cod

Try to say that three times…..cracker-coated cod, cracker-coated cod, cracker-coated cod!

Anyway, in an effort to continue to eat healthy and in hopes of continuing to lose weight, I feel like I often have to reinvent the wheel. I mean, how many times can you eat baked or grilled chicken in 1 week. Foods like fish and chicken are pretty versatile, and take to spices, herbs, and marinades well.

I was in the mood for fish tonight, and thankfully my grocery store had cod filets on sale this week. I went on a hunt online to find a recipe that looked good, and one that I thought the rest of my family would enjoy. I came across a pretzel-coated fish recipe. This sounded so good, but unfortunately I didn’t have any pretzels on hand, and I wasn’t going to go buy a bag of pretzels just for this recipe. So, like usual, I took to my pantry to see what I had. Saltine crackers…..perfect substitute!!

The original recipe also called for mayo with seasoning salt to coat fish, but I wanted to be a bit healthier. So, I substituted an egg. Below is the delicious recipe I developed!

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Cracker-coated Cod with Dijon Apricot Sauce

Ingredients:

4 cod fish filets (about 5-6 ounces each)
20 saltine crackers, low sodium, finely chopped in food processor
1 tsp seasoning salt
1/2 tsp ground white pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tbsp olive oil

Combine crackers, seasoning salt, and white pepper.

Coat fish in egg, then coat in cracker mixture. Complete until all pieces of fish are coated.

Heat olive oil in large pan over medium heat. Cook breaded fish 3-4 minutes on each side, until cooked through.

Sauce:

4 tbsp apricot preserves
4 tbsp Dijon mustard
4 tbsp fat free half&half
1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

Combine all ingredients in a microwave safe bowl. Whisk to combine slightly and break up preserves. Microwave on high heat for 20 seconds. Whisk again, breaking up preserves. Microwave another 20 seconds. Whisking until smooth. Add fresh parsley. Top fish with desired amount.

**Recipe inspiration: All Recipes

ENJOY!!