School is almost back in session and I can honestly say that I have begun counting down the days. As much as I love the lazy mornings and the relaxed schedule, there’s something to be said for pushing the chicks out of the nest to fly on their own, even if it’s only for a few hours each day. This year my youngest, Drew, will officially begin his educational foray through preschool. He’s more than ready and so am I. After seven years of full time “momhood”, I will finally have a couple mornings to myself. Don’t get me wrong, I love to share moments with my kids, but I have to say that the thought of a doctor’s appointment without a child in tow is somewhat intriguing. The ideas are already beginning to form as to how I will spend this precious alone time. Blogging, of course, will take a chunk. With no boys left back at the house, I’m free to finally volunteer at my older children’s school. I suspect that the long lost art of exercise might also creep it’s way back into my life. Lord knows it needs to.
With summer winding down, I’m gearing up for the inevitable dinner time crunch that will soon return. Gone are the days of leisurely dinners and back are the rushed 30 minute meal times. So in the spirit of back to school, let’s whip up a 30 minute plate pleaser, shall we?
I have been wanting to try my hand at chicken piccata for some time now. Every time I see a picture of the dish floating somewhere across the internet, it gets my stomach grumbling. Chickenwise, there’s nothing quite like a perfectly breaded and cooked filet to get me running for my dinner plate in anxious anticipation. The Southwestern inspiration? Well, that’s just me craving a little bit of the west in my dish, which I have have to say happens more than I’d like to admit. Not that anyone has a problem with that mind you. Just sayin.
Begin your chicken piccata by flattening out a few choice chicken breasts, flouring them up, splashing a handful of choice spices over the top, and tossing them into a hot frying pan with a little oil.
Once they’re cooked through, pull them out and set to the side. Try not to nibble too much while you’re cooking the sauce.
Turn the heat down to low and into the same pan add some lime juice, white wine (be sure to pour yourself a glass to drink while cooking, it really aids in the mood of the chef), chicken broth, diced green chiles, and a few more spices for good measure.
Stir in a couple dollops of sour cream, a splash of heavy cream and a handful of chopped fresh cilantro. Season with salt and pepper and serve over rice or noodles.
Bring on the school time meal crunch. This mama’s ready to get back in the groove.
Southwestern Inspired Chicken Piccata
Total Time: 30 min
2 Tbsp Butter
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Pd Chicken Breasts
Cumin, Garlic Powder, Salt, and Pepper for Sprinkling on Breasts
1/2 Cup Flour
1 Lime, juiced
1/4 Cup White Wine
1/4 Cup Chicken Broth
4 Oz. Can Diced Green Chiles
1/2 tsp Chili Powder
1/2 tsp Cumin
1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp Onion Powder
1/4 Cup Sour Cream
1/4 Cup Heavy Cream
1 Bunch Cilantro, Chopped
Salt and Pepper, to Taste
Heat up the oil and butter in a large sauce pan on medium high heat.
Pound out your chicken breasts to between 1/4" and a 1/2" thick.
Sprinkle each breast on both sides with the cumin, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
Dredge the chicken with flour on both sides and place into heated pan.
Cook Chicken, flipping once, until juices run clear. Remove from pan.
Using pan juices, turn heat down to medium low and add in the lime juice, wine, chicken broth, chopped chilis and the spices.*
Stir in the sour cream and heavy cream. Add in the cilantro and season to your liking with salt and pepper.
Serve the chicken over rice or noodles with a few hearty spoonfuls of sauce over the top.
* If the pan juices have become burnt while cooking your chicken (brown is ok, black is not), replace the juices with a fresh 2 tbsp of both the oil and butter.
I hope everyone had a wonderful Memorial day. Our holiday weekend involved a camping trip up to the Smoky Mountains. I guess you could say that when there are four boys living in the house, at some point in time, sleeping in the great outdoors becomes a given. Fortunately for me, I enjoy it as much as they do. If you’ve never been before, make sure you go at some point in time. There is nothing quite like The Park. Incredible hiking, amazing scenery, quaint towns, and windy roads leading to God knows where.
Kids say the darndest things. Last night we were sitting down to dinner, enjoying some quality time, when Alex made a sudden declaration that he didn’t like meat. “All meat?” I inquired. “No meat.” he replied. So I asked him the next logical question that came to my mind. “Do you think you might want be a vegetarian when you grow up?” An overly exaggerated look of utter frustration washed over his face as he rolled his eyes at me and sighed. “I thought we already discussed this. I want to be an ice cream truck driver when I grow up!” Silly, silly mommy for asking such a ridiculous question. But hey, as long as he drives his truck through my neighborhood it’s all good to me.
The voting over at the Rice Krispies Facebook page is officially up and running! If you have a minute head over and cast a vote for Team Asheville’s entries. We’re the top four pictures listed. Thanks so much and I’ll let you know the results as soon as they’re announced.
Cordon Bleu is one of those dishes that instantly takes me back to my childhood days. My family spent all their vacations up in Northern Wisconsin at my grandparents cottage on Rest Lake. We enjoyed summers frolicking in the water and digging never-ending holes to China, and winters planting our tip-ups on the iced over lake in the hopes of catching that one lucky fish. I still remember venturing out on the boat one warm summer morning with my grandfather on a hunt for muskies; one of the biggest and baddest lake fish there is, and the exact moment that one actually started to follow my line towards the boat. I began to reel faster and faster; there was no way I was going to let that fish actually catch my line!
When we arrived home from our fishing expedition, my grandmother had put together a lunch for us of cordon bleu with mushroom sauce. She was a big fan of the Schwan man (still is) and would always have a pack of their cordon bleu on hand. Oh how I loved those chicken filled treats. I used to look forward to visiting my grandma Mimi just so I could get my hands on one of them.
Today my grandmother lives in Arizona and we don’t get out to visit her and my grandfather nearly as much as we’d like. My grandfather’s 87th birthday was a few weeks back and it reminded me of those younger times up at the cottage. This dish is a way to bring back those cherished moments and to say thank you to my grandparents for all the wonderful memories and love they continue to pour over me to this day.
Having resided in Dallas, Texas for six years before moving to North Carolina, I can most definitely appreciate great TexMex fare. With so many enticing options to grab a pleasing plate of authentic grub right at your fingertips, it’s hard to know where to go first. I definitely have my favorites: Mi Cocina (Margarita anyone?), Via Real (their chicken Monterey is UNREAL) and Blue Mesa Grill ( Sweet Potato Tortilla Chips. Enough said.) to name a few. But if a sizzling fresh plate of fajitas is what you crave, then Joe T. Garcia’s in Fort Worth is your place. Best darn fajitas I’ve every put my mouth to. Period. Let me break it down and show what I mean. The dinner menu is a total of three items. Chicken Fajitas, beef fajitas, and a family sized dinner with enchiladas, tacos, and cheese nachos. That’s it. You better believe they do ’em right.
Missing these beauties the way I do, I had to try and recreate my own “go-to” fajita platter. Joe T’s is a pretty big commute these days and we’re not planning to move back anytime soon. I’m sure my version doesn’t do the original justice, but it still fills that ever present craving I always seem to have for a pepper and onion loaded, guacamole topped, cheese and salsa filled, flippin’ delicious chicken fajita. Oh, and remember that salsa verde we whipped up a couple days ago? Throw a spoonful or two on these beauties and watch them sing.
It’s one of those weeks. My vacuum is broken, and my house is in desperate need of a suction. My husband is missing in action for the next few days with work and, wouldn’t you know, Nicholas is home sick with a fever that won’t seem to go away. We’re expecting a delivery of new bedroom furniture for the boys rooms, but as it stands now, their accommodations are such a disaster that I can barely step foot in them, let alone move heavy furniture around.
I’m starting to feel that all too familiar caress of the “I must have a “Calgon take me away” bath and a large glass of wine IMMEDIATELY” syndrome. When you’re alone in the house with three boys, though, bathes and wine aren’t always an option. Step in choice number two. Which, I might add, ranks right up there with hot water and wine.
I cook up something amazing. A dish that’s both delectable and tummy pleasing; mind calming and sheer comfort food all rolled into one. For me, that’s stuffed chicken. It can be stuffed with just about anything anyone wants to throw in and I’m ready to take it on just so long as one of the accouterments is cheese. Lots of cheese.
This little creation lives up to it’s purpose. With the addition of both cream cheese and jalapeno jack, it’s loaded with everything an overworked mom needs to replenish her sanity for another day on the job. Heck, just looking at that picture and seeing the cheese oozing out of the chicken makes my blood pressure drop a notch.
Grab a large glass of wine and let’s do this.