Pomme Frite Crisps

These easy and yet just a touch of gourmet crisps/chips are quite delectable.  They are a perfect accompaniment to the Stuffed Chicken Cordon Bleu. Make these earlier in the day and serve them as nice after school snack or warm with a meal.
Again this is one of those recipes that the amounts will vary depending on how many you want to make.  Make a batch as big or small as you want!

You will need:
russet potatoes
salt and pepper
herbs d' provence
and oil to fry in

Slice the potatoes  on a mandolin slicer and place slices in a bowl of ice water. This will help wash off the starch and make your chips crisper.  See how cloudy the water is? That is all the starch coming off.
Drain the slices on paper towels and pat dry.

In a large skillet heat about 1/4" of vegetable oil to aprox 375. When you put a potato slice in it should bubble up all around it.  If it doesn't the oil is not hot enough.  In batches fry the slices about 2 min on each side. Remove to paper towels then sprinkle with salt and pepper and the herbs d' provence. Immediately put on a wire rack so they won't get soggy.  Keep working in batches till all are done.
Enjoy your gourmet snack!

Stuffed Chicken Cordon Bleu

We have just about been around the Globe together this week! Morocco, India, Asia, now France! This is my quick and easy version of a traditional Cordon Bleu. I wanted to show all my readers and my husband that chicken can be exciting and flavorful in ways he couldn't imagine.  How do you all think I am doing?
One good thing about this recipe is that there is no exact measuring. So the amounts can be as large or as small as you want depending on how many you are feeding!
skinless boneless chicken breast
turkey or streaky bacon ( I like the turkey bacon healthier)
salt and pepper
herbs d' provence
blue cheese slices or crumbles.

Fry bacon in a skillet, slice chicken breast half way through the thickest part of the breast to make a pocket.  Stuff with the blue cheese.  Sprinkle the salt and pepper and herbs d'provence, wrap two slices of bacon around each breast and arrange in a shallow baking dish.
Cover with foil and bake at 375 for 30 minutes. Bon Appetite! Serve with the Pomme Frite Crisps and a spring salad.

Asian Fusion Chicken

OK so believe me I know how pretentious that name sounds.  We just recently moved to Kansas City from California and everything in the Bay area is Fusion this, Fusion that..... It is all over the food world when you don't have a pigeon hole to stick something we call it Fusion.  I could call this, it was at the end of paycheck and I did not have all the ingredients to make either Pad Thai or Chop Suey so I made this.  Somehow I don't think you would respond to that so well. Asian Fusion it is!! This is the latest installment on my World Tour of Chicken Dishes!  If you like Pad Thai, and you like Chop Suey, or if you like one but not the other, I promise you will Love this!

For the Sauce
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup chicken broth
3 tbs peanut butter
2 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs brown sugar ( I use the Splenda Blend)
2 tsp Asian chili sauce
1/2 tsp sesame oil

1 pound ground Chicken
1/4 red onion chopped
3 garlic cloves chopped
salt and pepper
1 tsp ginger powder
1/2 can water chestnuts chopped
1 bag of frozen chop suey vegetables or any other Asian vegetable blend

In a mixing bow combine all the sauce ingredients and cover and set aside. Do not chill.  In a hot wok or skillet, heat 1 tbs canola oil add onion and garlic.  Always add onion and cook for a few seconds before adding garlic. Garlic is tender and the pieces are small and will burn easy if you throw them in first.  Cook for 1-2 min.  Remove from pan and reserve.  Season the ground chicken with salt and pepper and ginger power and cook in the hot wok till crumbled and cooked all the way through.  Add the onions and the garlic back in and add the frozen vegetables.  Pour the sauce mixture over all and mix till all is coated. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer and cover.  Cook 7-10 min till vegetables are done, stirring occasionally.
Asian Fusion without the pretension served up on a platter!

Pink Lemonade Cupcakes

So Summer is winding down and we are all getting ready to have the kids head back to school!!! Yippee! All the stores have their fall decorations up and the sweaters are on the shelves.  It is easy to wish the days away when Corporate America has us all brain washed to start thinking Christmas Shopping Season is a mere few weeks away. Then we step outside and the blast of the heat is upon us! Step back Retail Guru's, I am not ready to head into fall just yet.  It is August for crying out loud! It is HOT HOT HOT out there! So here is my toast to a Summer that I am not ready to give up on just yet!
This is super easy to boot!
1 package white cake mix
3 egg whites
1 cup water plus 2 tbs
1/3 plus 1/4 cup frozen pink lemonade concentrate thawed
2 tbs canola oil
pink gel paste food coloring
4 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup butter softened
1/4 tsp lemon extract
2 1/2 tbs meringue powder

in a mixing bowl combing cake mix, egg whites, water, oil and 1/3 cup pink lemonade and a tiny amount of gel paste.  This stuff is strong so go light on it unless you want a pepto pink cake mix.

Line 24 cupcake liners in 2 muffin tins and divide the batter evenly filling each well about 2/3 full. When done give the pans a little jiggle to settle the batter and a quick tap on the counter to remove any air bubbles.  Cake mixes of today are nothing like the dry air filled mess that they used to be.  You can really jazz up a good mix and they are moist and tasty!
Bake for 20 min at 350 or till the batter is baked through and the cake springs back when you touch it.
Cool cupcakes on a rack.  The air circulation will cool them faster and keep the bottoms from getting soggy.  We have all had that cupcake at pot luck from the poor individual who just doesn't quite get it.  If you are that individual this is the tip that fixes that!
While cupcakes are cooling make your frosting. If you plan on piping make a double batch of frosting as piping uses more product than just frosting with a palate knife.
Take the powdered sugar, 1/4 cup lemonade, 1/4 tsp lemon extract, 2tbs of water, and 2 1/2 tbs meringue powder in a standing mixer and combine till smooth and creamy.
If you pipe you can use room temperature cupcakes.  If you are going to frost with a palate knife the cooler the cupcake the better.  I would chill them for 30 min first.
Pipe or frost the cupcakes and enjoy your summery delight!!

Croissant Bread Pudding

This is a melt in your mouth, OMG I have died and gone to heaven kind of dessert! The night I made this batch I got home late from work, the boys had been busy all day with soccer practice and getting packed for their yearly camping trip and we were all a bit tired and cranky.  I had two recipes I really wanted to make that night and I almost pushed this off for a bit.  Dear heavens that would have been a huge mistake.  As soon as we could smell the chocolate melting in the oven, our moods started to shift a little.  By the time our spoon with the first bite hit our mouths we were all laughing and the hard day was soon forgotten!  That is the power of a good desert!
6 mini croissants
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup 1/2 & 1/2
1 tbs powdered vanilla and 2 tsp of powdered vanilla beans (you can substitute with 2 split vanilla beans or you can try with liquid extract)
6 ounces semi sweet baking chocolate chopped in small pieces

Heat oven to 325.  Cut the croissants into 1" pieces and place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake 10 minutes.  Shake and toss around and bake 8 minutes more. Til nice and golden and crunchy.Beat yolks and sugar in a mixing bowl. Heat both the creams and the vanilla in a sauce pan till just almost hot. Pour into the egg mixture.  Don't let the cream get too hot or the eggs will curdle.
Divide the cubed croissants and the chocolate evenly in  6 ounce ramekins or make one batch in a 1 quart baking dish. Pour custard mix evenly in each ramekin.  To make sure your pudding cooks evenly you need to bake it in a water bath.
Place filled ramekins in a 9x19 baking dish and pour in HOT water till about 1/2" to top of ramekins. Be careful not to splash any water into the ramekins. Place in the oven uncovered and bake at 325 for 40 min.  Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream! Delish! Decadent! Amazing! Family Mood Lifter! Dessert!


In keeping with my global theme on chicken, I have a special delight for you tonight! This Moroccan inspired dish is healthy, fast, easy, and quite possibly the tastiest chicken you will ever eat!!!
3-4 skinless boneless chicken breasts
1/4 cup flour
olive oil to coat pan plus more
1 onion sliced
1 yellow pepper diced
2 garlic cloves minced
2 heavy dashes of cinnamon
1 short dash of cloves
1 heavy dash of nutmeg
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
juice of 1 lemon keep lemon halves

Cut the chicken into 1" cubes and salt and pepper.  Dredge in the flour and pan fry in the olive oil in a hot pan till golden brown.  You may have to do this in small batches. Be sure not to over crowd the pan or you will end up steaming the meat and not getting a nice crunch to it. Remove chicken from pan.
Add a bit more olive oil to the pan and add the chopped yellow pepper and sliced onion. Cook for approx 10 minutes stirring occasionally, till they are golden and tender. Return the chicken and add the chicken stock, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Add the juice of the lemon and toss the rinds in to add more of a lemon flavor.  If you have Sumac, (which I thought I had, but apparently not so much) you can keep the rinds out and just add 2 tsp.
Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for 5-7 min.  Add the cilantro and stir.  Serve with Risotto, or couscous.  Tonight my dear husband made the Risotto, hence that is why it is not shown in the picture.  But he did try and it was so sweet to have a sous chef in the kitchen.

So after a week of over indulgence in red meat it is back to my staple meat, CHICKEN!!!  Now don't let the idea of bland, white, boiled, tasteless white meat rule your thinking of chicken.  I can make even the most mundane of proteins exciting for you!!! Just follow me on my global tour of chicken this week and I will make the most skeptical of you (my husband) see just how exciting and versatile this important healthy protein is!
For the Indian BBQ sauce
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup white wine
1 tbs brown sugar
1tbs chili powder
1tbs coriander
1tbs curry
1tbs cumin
1tbs paprika
1tsp allspice
For the Grilled Chicken
4 boneless/skinless chicken breasts
olive oil
salt and pepper
For the Peach Relish
4 Large peaches
1 red pepper
1 jalapeno seeds and veins removed
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup orange juice
juice of one lime
1 tbs honey

Slice peaches, dice both peppers and combine in a mixing brown with cilantro, honey, and lime and orange juices.
To make the BBQ sauce combine the vinegar, wine, all the spices and brown sugar in a mixing bowl, cover and chill.
Brush the chicken with olive oil on both sides and salt and pepper each side.  Grill over medium high direct heat 5-7 min each side. Making sure to baste the chicken multiple times each side with the BBQ sauce.
Plate the grilled chicken with the peach relish and serve with the extra BBQ Sauce.  A taste of Mumbia in your family's kitchen!! Just think you didn't even have to travel the 10,000 miles!!!

Tomato Pie

If you are currently taking a Statin for high cholesterol stay away from this!! Ok so from that warning label this is not a low cal or low fat dish, it is not for the faint of heart.  If you want to try something that will make your eyes roll in the back of your head from the sheer delight that your taste buds will have from the first bite!

I found this recipe in a Gooseberry Patch cookbook and I knew I had to try it!  Our Tomato garden has exploded in the heat we are having here and I needed a good excuse to make this!!

4 large ripe tomatoes sliced about 1/4" thick
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup mayo
4 slices bacon cooked and crumbled
1 pie crust (now I usually make my own pate brise, but my food processor bit the dust. Christmas gift wish list anyone....)
salt and pepper

Blind bake your pie crust according to package directions. Blend mayo and Parmesan cheese together and set aside.  Slice your tomatoes.

Layer half the tomatoes in the pie crust sprinkle with cracked pepper and the crumbled bacon. Layer the second half of tomatoes and sprinkle with salt and cracked pepper.  Spread the mayo cheese evenly on top of tomatoes and arrange a few extra pieces in a pleasing manner. Add a touch more cracked pepper.

Bake at 400 for 17 minutes until top is bubbling and golden brown.
Let cool for about 10 minutes before you slice into it.  Depending on how ripe your tomatoes were will depend on how juicy the pie will be.  Even if it won't hold together when you slice it don't worry in the end it is all about the taste anyway!!!!


Best Ever "Gormet" Burgers

I know, I know..... I keep saying I am not a big red meat eater and then I post two red meat recipes back to back! Steve has been on vacation this week and both boys have been with us all week; so I am a little out numbered......  Now mind you Steve has been on vacation, I have not.  So I am still working full time, running to soccer practice everyday, keeping up with housework (not so much), and still trying to devote some time to the Blog. Needless to say I needed a little extra iron in my blood this week. So here is my recipe for probably one of the tastiest burgers and super easy you will ever try!

1 pound of leanest ground beef
1package dry onion soup mix
2 tbs Worcestershire sauce
fresh ground pepper
1 sweet onion sliced in 1/2" thick slices
sliced blue cheese ( if you can't find sliced you can use crumbled)
4 Kaiser rolls
1 tomato
Dijon Mustard

Mix soup mix and Worcestershire sacuse with the ground beef and form into 4 patties grind fresh cracked pepper on both sides of burgers.

Grill burgers and onion slices over medium high direct heat for 6 to 7 minutes each side till meat is done to medium rare to medium doneness. If you push on the pad of your thumb the resistance you feel should match the resistance when you push on the burger, for a touch test.  Only flip the meat once and do not press down while the meat is cooking.  You don't want to push all the  flavor out...... place a slice of blue cheese on each burger and let melt.
Butter both insides of the buns and place just off the heat to get a nice toast on them.
Serve the grilled buns, burgers, and onions with sliced tomatoes, arugula and a dab of Dijon mustard.  You will think that you are in a Gastro Pub in NYC!

Steak Rose

My Grandmother, like all your grandmothers, was one of my greatest influences in life.  This was absolutely one of her most favorite meals.  My mother grew up on this, I know grandma made this at least twice a month when I was a child and I am sure that my cousins remember it also.  Even though now as an adult I really try to limit my red meat.  I feel such a sense of nostalgia and really happiness when I make this.  I hope you try this and love it as much as the Schmidt-Lane-Sirois family does!

1 3/4 lbs round steak cut in 1/2" strips
1/4 cup flour
3/4 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper
2 tbs butter
1/2 cup dry white wine ( you can use red, but grandma only liked white)
1 1/4 cup water divided
1/2 package dry onion soup mix
1/2 can tomato paste
1 tbs sugar
4 oz  white sharp cheddar cheese grated (grandma used yellow, I feel that the white has a bit more flavor and adds a bit of a bite to the dish)

Heat oven to 200.  Salt and pepper the beef strips and dredge in the flour.
Melt the 2 tbs butter in a skillet and brown strips on both sides.  Remove from pan and deglaze with wine and 1 cup water.  Add onion soup mix and bring to a boil.
In a 9 x 13 baking dish, sprayed with fat free non stick spray, place browned beef strips and pour the wine mixture over.  Cover dish with foil and bake at 200 for 45 minutes.
Meanwhile in a bowl combine the tomato paste 1/4 cup water and sugar in a bowl.  Once the 45 minutes have past, add to the dish. Recover with the foil and continue cooking 20 more minutes.

Add the shredded cheese, uncover and cook for 10 more minutes.

Serve with mashed potatoes and asparagus, or really any vegetable combination your family likes.  The meat is so flavorful and so tender you can just use a fork, no knives needed!

Chocolate Dipped Ice Cream Cones

Not all desserts need to take all day to make, nor do the need to be fussy souffle's, (although I  do love a good fussy souffle).  Sometimes you just want a fun and fast desert! A trip to the local ice cream shop will not only cost you in the $5 a cone ridiculous price, but time and gas.  So why not bring the ice cream shop home to your family?  Considering the day that I made these is was 112 outside, so hot I could barely move!  Everyone Cheered! Everyone Cheers for Ice Cream!

1 tub microwavable dipping chocolate
6-12 sugar ice cream cones
a variety of colored sprinkles, chocolate jimmies, crushed nuts.  Really any flavors that your family likes.
1/2 gallon ice cream, on this occasion I used no sugar added banana split flavored ice cream.

Place different toppers in separate bowls.  Microwave chocolate according to package directions. Take a cone and dip in the melted chocolate and let excess drip off.  Quickly roll dipped cones in a single flavor or mix flavors for variety. ( If you do you will be bolder than this traditional preppy girl)
If you have a rack to place cones in that would be best.  If not you may have to enlist family members, a dangerous proposition in my family.  Let chocolate cool and hardened it only takes a couple of minutes or so.  Scoop out one, two, hey go for three scoops! It is Summer after all! Enjoy!

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