Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole


  • 2.5 lbs russet potatoes (about 4 medium), peeled and sliced 1/8-inch thick
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 4 Tbls. butter
  • 1 small/medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, finely minced, or 1 1/2 tsp.
  • 6 Tbls. all-purpose flour
  • 2 C. low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3/4 C. heavy cream or milk
  • 7 oz. Swiss cheese, shredded, about 2 cups
  • 2 Tbls. Dijon mustard or Grey Poupon hearty spicy brown mustard
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of excess fat and sliced thinly
  • 2 C. deli ham, chopped
  • 2 Tbls. minced fresh parsley leaves

  1. For the topping, place bread and butter in a food processor until coarsely ground. Set aside.
  2. For the filling, preheat the oven to 400 degrees, with the oven rack in the middle. Place the potatoes, 6 cups water and 1 teaspoon salt in a large pot. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered, until the potatoes are partially cooked, about 2 minutes. Carefully drain potatoes and set aside.
  3. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, thyme, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook until the onions are softened, about 6 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic and cook about 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  5. Add the flour, stirring constantly, cook until golden, about 1 minute.
  6. Slowly whisk in the chicken broth and the cream or milk. Bring the mixture to a simmer, whisking often, until slightly thickened. 
  7. Remove sauce from heat and whisk in Swiss cheese, Dijon, and cayenne pepper until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and set aside until ready to use.
  8. Toss the potatoes with half of the sauce and spread into the bottom of a lightly greased 9X13-inch baking pan.
  9. Layer alternating pieces of the chicken and ham over the potatoes, overlapping as needed ensuring he chicken is not clumped together in order to cook thoroughly.
  10. Pour the remaining sauce evenly over the chicken and sprinkle with the bread crumb topping.
  11. Bake until the chicken is cooked through and the casserole is bubbling, 30 to 35 minutes.
  12. Sprinkle with parsley and cool for 10 minutes before serving.

*This casserole can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator until you are ready to cook. Please add 5-7 minutes to the baking time.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Homemade Ranch Dressing

Homemade Ranch Dressing

  • 3/4 cup light mayonnaise
  • 3/4 cup light sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 -1 cup buttermilk
  • 4 green onions (use just the green parts) or 1 small bunch chives
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor.
  2. Start with 1/4 cup of the buttermilk and blend for 10 seconds.
  3. Check the consistency and taste and blend in additional buttermilk as desired, I used about 1 cup. 
  4. Add more buttermilk for dressing and less for dipping vegetables.
  5. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Southwest Egg Rolls

 Looking for something new for dinner this evening, found this fairly healthy recipe and oh my goodness, yummers! I added a little more minced chipotle chiles in adobo sauce to the dipping sauce to spice it up a little more... we will definitely be having these again!! Enjoy!

Baked Southwest Egg Rolls with
Creamy Chipotle Dipping Sauce


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow or red onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 3 (about 1 1/2 pounds) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  • 1 green or red pepper, diced small
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, membranes removed, seeded and finely minced or 4 pickled jalapeno rounds from the jar
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 10 ounces frozen, chopped spinach, defrosted and liquid squeezed out (wringing through a kitchen towel works great)
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2-3 cups shredded cheese, such as Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack or Cheddar
  • 2-3 dozen small, fajita-size flour tortillas
Chipotle Dipping Sauce:
  • 1 cup sour cream, low fat
  • 1/4 cup salsa
  • 1 teaspoon minced chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (if you are opening a new can to only use 1 teaspoon, freeze the remainder in a freezer-safe ziploc bag and pull out and thaw as needed)

  1.     Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line two rimmed baking sheets with foil and lightly grease with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2.     In a small bowl, combine the dipping sauce ingredients. Mix well and set aside or refrigerate until ready to serve.
  3.     In a large 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and saute for 3-4 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add the cubed chicken breasts and peppers and cook over medium or medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add the rinsed and drained black beans, spinach, corn, cilantro and seasonings. Mix well and cook until the mixture is heated through. Add the cheese and stir well, cooking, until the mixture is hot and cheese is mostly melted.
  4.     Warm the tortillas. I place 5-6 between two damp paper towels and microwave for about 45 seconds. Place some of the filling on each tortilla and roll up tightly, egg-roll style, folding in the edges. Place seam side down on the prepared baking sheets (secure with a toothpick if needed).
  5.     Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, until the rolls are lightly browned and heated through. Serve immediately with dipping sauce.

 Recipe Source: Mel's Kitchen

Friday, June 14, 2013

It's a Broccoli Kinda Week!

So since I mostly post recipes on this blog I've updated the title and background to reflect this. Tried out a new recipe today, that's perfect for a warm summer day! Even now as I'm thinking about it, I bet hard boiled eggs might make a nice addition... worth a try, no? Enjoy!

Summer Broccoli Salad


  • 9oz light or regular mayonnaise (just over 1 C.)
  • 3oz granulated sugar (just over 1/3 C.)
  • 1 1/2 Tbls. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 lbs fresh broccoli, chopped into small bite-sized pieces
  • 1 C. cranberries
  • 3/4 C. sunflower seeds (kernels, ie without shells)
  • 1/4 C. red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 1/4 C. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 7 slices bacon, cooked and chopped

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together all of the dressing ingredients and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl (approximately 13 cups large) toss the salad ingredients together. Pour the dressing over the broccoli mixture and toss to coat all the ingredients with the sauce.
  3. Cool in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving.
  4. Prior to serving, toss the salad to mix any dressing that may have settled at the bottom.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Baked Penne Pasta with Chicken, Broccoli and Smoked Mozzarella

Tried something new tonight off of Pinterest. While I wasn't quite sure what to expect, I was pleasantly surprised! Sharing the recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe blog with some adjustments I made... enjoy!!

Baked Penne Pasta with Chicken, Broccoli and Smoked Mozzarella

  • 3/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
  • 2 Tbls. butter, melted 

  • 1 bunch broccoli (about 1 ½ pounds), stalks cut off, florets trimmed into 1-inch pieces
  • 12 oz penne pasta
  • 2 Tbls. olive oil
  • 3/4 medium onion, minced
  • 6 medium garlic cloves, finely minced or 3tsp. pre-minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • ¼ C. all-purpose flour
  • 2 C. chicken stock
  • 1 C. heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. pepper
  • 1 ½ lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 3), trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 4 oz. smoked mozzarella, shredded*
  • 8 oz. jar oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped into pieces (get the julienne sliced and you'll eliminate chopping!)
* Couldn't find smoked mozzarella in this little town but regular part skim mozzarella worked just fine.

  1. In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs and butter and set aside. Lightly grease a 9X13-inch baking dish and set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and make sure the oven rack is placed in the middle of the oven. In a large pot, bring the water for the pasta to a boil. Stir in one tablespoon salt and the broccoli. The broccoli cooks quickly so stay close! Cook the broccoli for 1 minute, until it is bright green. Quickly remove the broccoli with a slotted spoon to a plate. Return the water to a boil and add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 1-2 minutes less than how you would eat it normally (it will cook a bit more in the oven while baking). Drain the pasta in a colander and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Leave it in the colander and set it aside.
  3. Wipe the pot dry. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and return to medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and cook until softened and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and thyme; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add the flour, salt and pepper, and cook, stirring constantly, until golden, about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the broth and cream; bring to a simmer, whisking often. Add the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until cooked through, about 6-7 minutes. Stir in the sun-dried tomatoes and smoked mozzarella.
  4. Add the cooked pasta and broccoli to the sauce; stir to combine. Transfer the pasta mixture to the prepared baking dish and sprinkle with the bread crumb topping. Bake until the casserole is bubbling and the crumbs are lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Serve immediately.
*The casserole can be prepared in advance with the following steps: after the broccoli is removed from the boiling water, plunge it into a bowl of ice water and cool completely. Assemble the casserole following the directions in the recipe. After the casserole is spread in the prepared baking pan, let it cool for 5-10 minutes before covering with plastic wrap and refrigerating for up to 8 hours. To bake, preheat the oven to 375 and bake uncovered for 30 minutes.

Recipe Source: adapted from Cook’s Illustrated Cover and Bake & Mel's Kitchen Cafe Blog