Upholding Tradition: Chicken Cutlets

There are few memories throughout my life so far, that are as deeply ingrained as the first time I cooked with my mother. It was one of those cherished memories that I feel helped mould me into the person I am right at this very moment. Our families Chicken Cutlet recipe is a staple of an Italian family, my Nana passed it down to her daughter in law (my mom), my mom passed it on to me and I am sure if I have children I will pass it on to them.  It is classic, simple, and extremely tasty. 

I have expounded upon my Mothers and Nanas recipe as I got older and formed my own culinary preferences, and tastes, but it still has the bases of good ol’ Italian cooking. The only one true difference between my recipe and our traditional family recipe is that I like to add lemon pepper to my dry mixture. I think it adds a balance of flavor a slight tartness to the italian seasonings. 

All you will need for this recipe is: 

1-2lbs of thinly sliced chicken cutlets. 

1 cup of italian style breadcrumbs (you could use panko if you like them extra crunchy)

1/3 cup of parmigiana cheese (pecorino romano will also do)

3-4 eggs

2 tbsp of lemon pepper seasoning 

Oil for the pan.

 

Combine all of your dry ingredients into one bowl, crack the eggs and put them into another. Coat the chicken in egg, move to dry ingredients and cover thoroughly.  You can if you choose double batter them, either way works just depends how much breading you like.  Heat olive oil in a medium sized frying pan and cook them till golden brown or the chicken is all the way cooked. 

When they are all finished, either serve with sauce or plain.  My dad always liked them with apple sauce. 

I hope you enjoy my families simple, and classic chicken cutlets.  A tradition I hope to carry on. 

Spicy Ranch Steak

I’ve been living with my new roommate Dale for going on 2 months now, and we haven’t had time to really sit down and make a meal. Now, I’ve made food and he has consumed it but it hasn’t been a real roommate meal.

Now, this meal sprang out of a random trip to the grocery store. Upon arrival to our local bodega, Natalie and I, run away from Dale and right to the free sample food kiosk (Publix has a employee who cooks a meal of the day) seeing the stand of recipe cards we decide to cook this spicy ranch steak. I was slightly skeptical because of the ranch part, because although I am a huge fan of ranch dressing, ranch steak seemed less appealing.

I’ll post the recipe later, just because it is football time and I’m distracted.

Kristina out. 🙂

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Candied Apricots

so at 1am after our ménage a trois of raviolis, dessert was needed. We had originally planned for a dessert ravioli but honestly we were not pleased with the results of what was going to be our filling. It had come out watery, seedy, and just all around unpleasant in flavour and texture. BUT! we, and more specifically I came back from this failure with a candied apricot creation that tremendously tantalized my taste buds.

Apricots are sweet in general, but the dried variety have a fantastic texture that is just brilliant when used as a topping for a dessert or when mixing savoury with sweet. I started out by taking pure maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, and a bit of sugar mixing it together in a preheated small pan and letting it absorb the sugar and thicken a bit. After it was the proper consistency I added chopped dried apricots to it, reduced the heat to low and let it sit and simmer for 10 minutes. Letting it sit and simmer for that 10 minutes unleashed a myriad of flavours, the apricots became soft and the sugary mixture retained its subtle flavours as well as acquiring the slight taste of apricot.

Needless to say while I wasn’t pleased with what the dessert raviolis had come out to be, I was more that pleased and thrilled with the candied apricots, you know if you couldn’t tell by my posting at all. I don’t think I need to give you a more specific reaction, I think my post has conveyed my feelings.

Jenni’s reaction: While they smelled atrocious at first, they ended up fantastically stupendous.

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Menage a trois, ravioli style.



It is Saturday! Since we haven’t cooked together in a while, we decided to work on a creative effort…homemade ravioli using wonton wrappers! Being that we are Kristina and Jenni, and brimming with creative food ideas, we finalized our list of ravioli to three distinct types of ravioli. One will feature artichokes, sun dried tomatoes, and feta cheese. A second one will have eggplant, hummus, and feta (this one was my idea!). A third, a simpler and more basic ravioli, will include spinach and mushrooms with ricotta and parmesan.

Covering the ravioli will be a sauce made from Hunts tomato sauce simmered with garlic slices, onions (gasp! Yes mom, I will take out the dreaded onions on my dish!), fresh basil (Kristina grows a lovely basil plant), fennel, black pepper, salt, and oregano.

Artichokes and Sun Dried Tomato Ravioli

Ingredients:
Wonton Wrappers
Artichokes
Sun Dried Tomatos
Feta Cheese

Pulse the artichokes and sun dried tomatoes in a blender like object (we used Kristina’s Ninja pulse blender). It does not need to be creamy, just small and chunky! Take the wonton wrappers and fill the center of one wrapper with the pulsed mixture, some feta cheese, and place the second wrapper on top. Start with the end of filling and push out. Then use a fork to make little indentations to hold the wrappers together, finally seal with water. THIS PART IS INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT! Set aside until time to cook them!

Hummus and Eggplant Ravioli

I know this sounds weird…it may even taste weird. But if I get a chance to add chickpeas to something…and somehow get Kristina to approve, I am going for it!!!


Kristina here, I must interject! I will always agree to chickpeas, whole, pulsed, hummus-y (yes, I have made hummus-y a word, deal with it. Muahhaha) I know…I know I have threatened Jenni with strangulation if she tried to feed me any more chickpeas but I was just being vindictive because you know what I can. MUAHAHAHA. Kristina out, deuces.


Ingredients

chickpeas
coriander
garlic
lemon juice
olive oil
a little little bit of curry powder (cooking at Kristina’s place we do not have my cumin!)
black pepper
eggplant
feta
Wonton Wrappers

Make the hummus by blending chickpeas, coriander, garlic cloves, lemon juice, olive oil, and while I usually use cumin you can substitute with a tiny tiny tiny amount of curry powder. The curry powder adds a bit of a sweet taste that can be corrected with more garlic! The eggplant was chopped into tiny pieces (skin attached, skinning those things is a pain!), and sautéed with olive oil and garlic.(Kristina here, I also added a bit of lemon juice to the eggplant to brighten it up a bit) Add feta to this unusual concoction and press using the same procedure as described above.


Hey ya’ll Kristina again, this time slightly less sassy at least for right now. :] So, cooking raviolis has definitely been an experience, one that I have quite enjoyed except for all of the blasted fork pressing and water sealing. It was the Chinese water torture of cooking.

Without any other delay here is the recipe and what I did to make these delectable delicacies.

Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli

Ricotta (any type you prefer)
Spinach
Garlic
salt
pepper
olive oil
mushrooms

I cooked the spinach in a pan with the mushrooms just until it was wilted down a bit. I used my new “fancy” mandolin to cut up the garlic into thin cut slices and tossed it in with the spinach and mushrooms. I put a dash of salt and pepper. When it was time to start making the raviolis I mixed in the ricotta cheese. Pretty simple. As Jenni said earlier make sure you use water to seal your raviolis, tres tres important.


Once all three variations were finished, we boiled water, and I started the cooking process. First went in the spinach mushroom ones. This was a true case of trial and error (in case you were wondering, you formally learn about trial and error in the sixth grade…I just taught this lesson in relation to cavemen Friday!) I carefully put all ten of the spinach ravioli in the boiling water. This was a mistake…there were too many ravioli! They were tumbling around the water, and several of them broke, and others attached themselves to several of their companions. This was a mess. This is also when we learned that double sealing them (rolling the ends in after pressing with a fork) was the best policy…those were harder to break! The water was replaced and in went the Sun Dried Tomato Artichoke ones. Three at a time…much better. Same with the hummus ones.

Now for our reactions:


Kristina: I was really pleased with how they came out, I do believe my favorite was the artichoke/sundried tomatoes, but that is most likely because of my utter and complete obsession with that combination.

Jenni: I am really happy to say that these all turned out really well, even if they are far from being vegan!! My favorite was the hummus/eggplant ones, it was unusual, but really good!! I was concerned about the chickpeas and tomato sauce…now maybe I will try falafel in marinara??

No-Bake “Energy” Balls


Lucky readers, two posts in one day!

Every now and then i get a sweet tooth…and yet, I want something healthy. I found this recipe on trusty pinterest. They are called ‘energy balls’, require no baking, and the ingredients are usually a hodgepodge of whatever is in the pantry…with a few base ingredients.

Base Ingredients:

Dry Oats
Peanut butter
Honey

Extra Ingredients:

Milled Flax Seed
Shredded Coconut
Dried Cherry infused Cranberries
Agave Nectar
Cinnamon
Sliced Almonds

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Measurements are up to you, but the peanut butter and honey needed to be added until the consistency is sticky and capable of being rolled into balls the size of medium meatballs (or golf balls…your choice!) DO NOT ROLL THEM YET!!

Place the mixture in the fridge…for about thirty minutes. THEN roll into balls and keep in a container. Try not to eat all at once!!

Great for breakfasts and snacks! These are healthy, vegan (unless you disagree with the use of honey as it is from an insect)

Mushroom Pasta!


One of the hazards of teaching is being exposed to a plethora of different germs. This past week, one of my darling 118 students shared their germs resulting in me falling ill and desiring nothing but unimaginative soup for the past week.

But now I am cured! Hooray!

The first thing I decided to cook was mushrooms and pasta using Penzeys spices and fresh herbs. For those of you who are not familiar with Penzey, they make amazing spice combinations, including one called “Forward!” usually placed in a lovely box celebrating teachers. This concoction includes “black pepper, onion, paprika, garlic, turmeric”. Yum!

Ingredients:

Penzeys Forward!
scallions
basil
oregano
garlic
olive oil
mushrooms
pasta

This recipe is REALLY easy, which is great for someone with a busy schedule who is still tired from a strained immune system. Sauté garlic in olive oil. Add chopped fresh mushrooms. Add basil, oregano, scallions, and sprinkle Penzeys Forward! on top. Leave on stove until the mushrooms are cooked throughout. I had precooked pasta, if you do not, boil pasta. Once everything is cooked and warmed to satisfaction, combine and mix!

This recipe is healthy, easy, fast, and vegan!

Awkward Pesto

so earlier this week I went to the store with my roommate Dale, and I decided to acquire a Basil plant since quite frankly it is more cost effective. (If I don’t pull a Jenni and kill it) So, with my new plant in mind yesterday I decided to make some pesto for my pasta lunch.  

Normally pesto has pine nuts and parmigiana cheese in it, but being the poor college student that I am do not have either one of those rather expensive ingredients on hand. In comes my improvisational cooking techniques.  I couldn’t think of anything on hand to replace the pine nuts with, because while I had walnuts, that didn’t seem to appealing to me. Instead of the parmigiana cheese I used munster cheese, because why not?

I am going to attempt to write out what I put in my awkward pesto.  I have this dreadful habit of making up things that end up tasting awesome because of my clear culinary prowess (heavy sarcasm) but I never remember to write down what I do. 

so I used maybe 10 leaves of basil

4 cloves garlic

5-6 mushrooms

olive oil

about a tbsp of truffle oil

2 1/2 slices of munster cheese

little bit of red pepper flakes

 

I put it all in my ninja blender and pulsed.  Turned out surprisingly good and more then I needed for just myself, so I fed my roommate and our friend Andrew dinner that evening with the leftovers. 

 

Avocado Pasta!

Avocados, oh how I love thee! And so does our dear friend Christine! Today’s creation stems from Christine’s cravings and our trusty shared pin on Pinterest. It is healthy, delicious and vegan!! The original recipe can be found at http://www.flourishingfoodie.com/2012/03/creamy-avocado-pasta.html. We did not really deviate from the original recipe…it is fabulous just the way it is.

Ingredients:

2 Avocados

Olive Oil

garlic

salt and pepper

pine nuts

lemon juice

basil

tomatoes

pasta

 

While the pasta is cooking on the stove, cut up the tomatoes (we used cherry tomatoes cut in half), drizzle with olive oil, and place in the oven on broil. The goal is to get them to shrivel up! (The original wants them in the oven for an hour at 300…we simply did not have that amount of time!)

With both parts of the oven in use, it is now time to turn your attention to the avocado sauce. This is fairly simple. Peel and remove the pit from two avocados and toss them into a blender. Then add a handful of pine nuts, a few squirts of lemon juice, some olive oil, 3 cloves of garlic, salt and pepper, and a few basil leaves. Blend. If it is not creamy enough, add more olive oil! Taste periodically, we had to add more salt and pepper to the mixture.

When the pasta is done, and the tomatoes are wilted, combine all three components and enjoy!