Being a mom and having guilt go together like pancakes and syrup. It just goes with the turf. You wake up in the morning and right away you can think of things to feel guilty about. I should spend more time… I should not have gotten upset when… I shouldn’t have let them… Maybe we should give them… I should be getting up, what with the baby yelling for me from her crib and all…
If you get that first paragraph, then you know what I mean when I say how it makes you feel when your children make good choices… despite all your mistakes, something is getting through.
Well, here’s my little triumph in the food dept… my girls count Grilled Chicken Breast Salad as one of their favorite meals. We have it at least every other week. It’s hard to get a healthier meal than this, really… fresh veggies, hard-boiled egg, lowfat mozzarella cheese, some croutons, and grilled (not breaded or deep-fried) chicken breast. In the tortured mental games that I sometimes put myself through, them liking salad seems like it, in some way, compensates for the times I say yes to ANOTHER piece of candy or that lazy Saturday when we had ice cream cones for breakfast (hypothetically speaking, of course, not like any responsible parent would ever actually allow that, or do it herself), or those times when I let the girls fend for themselves for lunch and it’s anything but a square meal, a triangle meal at best.
Chicken Breast Salad
I’ll show you how a meal that involves grilling is a joint effort for us… I’ll color code it just to humor myself.
His 1st job: Starting the grill, either charcoal or gas. This particular time, he used gas because it gets ready faster.
My 1st job: Thawing the chicken breast. Here’s how I do it. It goes from freezer to thawed in 5 minutes… which is good news to any of you who don’t always plan ahead and don’t get the meat out the night before to begin thawing!
Take this out of the freezer:
Put the chicken pieces out on a dinner plate.
Put the plate in the microwave on High for 1 minute. Flip the pieces, reposition them so what was on the outside is now on the inside, and if one was on top, don’t put it on top the next round… in general just move them around at random.
Repeat that step 4 more times. If we’re having rolls or breadsticks to go with it, during those minute intervals is when I’d be getting them in the oven. Trim off some fat and drain off the juice. Your plate of chicken breasts should look like this, thawed and ready to hand over to the master of the grill.
He seasons them with Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Blackened Steak Magic seasoning. You can season more boldly when it’s going on a salad than if you’d be eating the meat by itself. If you notice the 2 small ones with little seasoning, those are the ones the girls will eat. Their tastebuds seem to not be mature enough yet to handle the extra kick, so theirs get only Lawry’s Seasoned Salt and I think Shannon might sprinkle some Lawry’s on ours too. And then he puts them on the grill.
Meanwhile, I’m making salads…
Whatever else you want or have on hand like Carrots, Bacon, Italian seasoning, whatever. And they don’t all need to be the same… personalize them to each person’s taste.
Looks kinda refreshing on a hot day, huh?
Meanwhile, the chicken is on the grill. I left my salad-making and followed Shannon out to the grill when he went out to flip them…
Those of you who want to make this salad, I hope you sorta know how to grill chicken breast because when I asked Shannon what he did and how and time on the grill and stuff, I got very sketchy details, but I also got some great tips.
For example, I asked how long they were on before he flipped them and he didn’t know. He said you need to be on the edge of your comfort zone with it, though, and not overdo it. He said alot of people freak out about making sure chicken is done and then end up with dry rubbery chicken. You want it so it’s just so done, not pink anymore, and juicy. So, of course, I asked how to know when that is and he said, “You just go by instinct.”
So, yeah, good luck with that.
You could use a meat fork thermometer. Shannon used to have one, but hasn’t for quite awhile because, uhhhh, one time yours truly immersed it in water because the handle was messy and, you know, of course one time of immersion wouldn’t matter… famous last words. Yet, grilled chicken breast around here always ends up being perfect… done, but still juicy.
My only job left is to get out the cutting board and the knife… HIS knife, I should say. Yeah, we each have our own knife this size and we each think our own is THE best. Sometime, I should put them both on here and take a poll. I’ll best mine would win because, if for no other reason… it has a case!
Soon, he brings the chicken in, slices it,
and places it on top of the salads.
Zig-zag some Ranch dressing over it…
And dig in!
You don’t think this salad is so healthy that it could actually take away those cavities caused by the extra pieces of candy, do you?
Don’t you just love the sound of that? Schnitzel. Makes me feel like I’m cooking authentic German food. It’s really good. I’ll give you a brief description and see if you think you’d agree… pieces of turkey breast dipped in milk, then flour, then eggs, then seasoned bread crumbs, then fried in oil and butter. Mmmmmm!
My mom gave me this recipe, including the ingredients. She does that for birthdays. I love it! She shares my love for trying new recipes, but she’s also got a bunch of tried and true ones.
Printable recipe coming soon
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup flour
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1 lb. turkey slices (1/4″ thick) or strips
2 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. canola oil
Mom gave me this with the recipe.
It’s some GOOD stuff, but I wonder if she knows that things like this are way out of my comfort zone!
I think the only chunk of meat I’ve ever bought with a bone in it is ham. Oh wait, sometimes I get a rotisserrie chicken at the deli, but that’s easy, all I have to do is reheat it. I’ve never even done a turkey at Thanksgiving! This turkey breast is supposed to be cut into slices or strips. Well, I got various sizes and shapes of pieces!
Place first 4 ingredients in 4 separate bowls.
Dip turkey slices or strips into milk, then flour, then eggs, then bread crumbs. Place on waxed paper and let stand for 5-10 min. I was out of waxed paper, so I just used plastic wrap.
Heat butter and oil in large skillet. Brown turkey for 2 minutes on each side or until juices run clear.
Serves 4. In Germany and Austria, schnitzels are served with French fries and lemon wedges (to squeeze on meat).
The meat stayed really moist. And it had a great flavor! Because you can quick fry it up, it’s one of those quick things to make for when you’re staring in the fridge/freezer/cupboards at 4:30 p.m., totally blank for a supper idea. Mom said she even tried it with just the bread crumbs (without dipping it in milk, flour, and eggs) when she was in a hurry and that was good too. It would be good with chicken breast too, I’m sure, although I’ve never tried it, having only made it this once… so far anyway. So, with these variation ideas, the question would be: Would it still be schnitzel then? We sure don’t want to lose that word!
Coming before Christmas yet: Cranberry Salad and Fudge. That is 2 separate recipes, by the way.
Lexi made supper tonight.
Her menu was:
Crunchy Chicken Tenders
Easy Mac n Cheese
Trees with Cheese
There were only 4 ingredient spills. The only help Lexi accepted was finding some of the right ingredients and measuring cups/spoons and reading the recipe (”because it’s faster if you do it and I don’t know all the words”) and a couple times, handling hot stuff. I did tell her when to do stuff so it would all get done at the same time. I also gave her lots of tips and how-to’s, but she did the actual work. She did very well, actually better than I expected.
Now and then, Tiffany (3) crossed her arms, put on a scowl, and whined, “Mom, she won’t let me dump that in. I don’t have ANYTHING to do!”
I was planning to blog as it was going on, but I was kinda busy with damage control.
She loved doing this meal! I believe we have a cook in the making.
Crunchy Chicken Tenders … recipe from Betty Crocker Kids Cook cookbook
3/4 cup cornflakes cereal
1/2 cup flour
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/3 cup buttermilk or milk
1 pound uncooked chicken breast tenders, not breaded
Heat the oven to 400. Line a 9×13 pan with foil.
Spray the foil with cooking spray.
Put the cereal, flour, salt, and pepper in a plastic bag. Seal bag closed. Use a rolling pin to crush the cornflakes.
Pour the milk into a bowl. Dip chicken in milk.
Drop milk-coated chicken, a few pieces at a time, into cereal mixture. Seal bag closed. Shake bag to coat chicken with cereal mixture. Put the coated chicken in the pan.
Spray chicken with cooking spray. Throw away any leftover cereal in the bag. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until coating is crisp and chicken is no longer pink in center. Makes 4 servings.
Dishing it up…
Good stuff! We ate them with bbq sauce. I realize I didn’t get a picture of the rolling pin part… they had great fun with that!
Easy Mac and Cheese …recipe from Betty Crocker Kids Cook cookbook
2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni or small pasta shells
1 Tbsp. butter or margarine
1 cup milk
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese or American cheese
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground mustard (I had to talk her into putting mustard in!)
1/4 tsp. pepper
Fill a 3-qt saucepan about half full with water. Bring to a boil. Add pasta to water.
Heat to boiling again. Boil uncovered for 8-10 minutes, stirring often with a wooden spoon. Drain pasta (put a colander in the sink and pour the pasta into it). Put drained pasta back into saucepan. Add butter, milk, cheese, salt, mustard, and pepper to pasta.
Stir with spoon until mixed. Cook over low heat for about 5 minutes, stirring a few times, until cheese is melted. Makes 4 servings.
Dishing up. This was a bit wild! Whoosh! and it was all in the serving bowl in about 2 seconds. Pretty amazing that some didn’t land on the floor!
Trees with Trees … recipe from Betty Crocker Kids Cook cookbook
1 1/2 pounds fresh broccoli (I just had her use a bag of frozen broccoli florets.)
3 Tbsp. water
6 oz process American cheese loaf
1/3 cup milk
1/4 onion salt
1 drop red pepper sauce, if you like (she didn’t like )
Microwave the broccoli and water till hot and crisp-tender. Melt the rest of the ingredients in a saucepan or microwave. Stir with a wooden spoon until the cheese is melted and mixture is smooth. Drain broccoli and put it into a serving bowl. Pour hot cheese over broccoli. Makes 6 servings. I didn’t notice it at the time, but in all the photographing, I missed the broccoli, all except the dishing it up!
Puddin’ Cones … recipe from the 2003 Quick Cooking annual cookbook
This is what sparked the whole idea of making supper. Her cousin Krista made these for dessert when she made supper one time and Lexi saw a picture and wanted to make them too. Krista, you’re her hero!
1 1/2 cups cold milk
1 pkg. (3.4 oz.) instant vanilla pudding mix
3 envelopes whipped topping mix (when Lexi read this, she said “Envelopes?! What do envelopes have to do with cooking?”)
8 cake ice cream cones (about 3 inches) She used only 6.
Chopped nuts, jimmies and miniature colored baking chips or topping of your choice
In a mixing bowl, beat milk and pudding mix on low speed for 2 minutes.
Blend in whipped topping mix; cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Spoon 1/4 cup into each cone; sprinkle with toppings. Yield: 8 servings. I just told her to fill the cones, not to measure. When the pudding mixture was gone, there were only 6 cones used, which I think is better because they look more like ice cream cones if they’re heaped a little.
These were good, altho’ not as good as real ice cream. She made them right before she dished up the food and till we got done eating and were ready for dessert, the cones were starting to get a little soft already. So, they should not be made too much in advance!
Sometimes I feel stuck. In a rut. With cooking, that is. Well, other things too, but we’ll just stick with cooking. ;)
I have a certain style of cooking and I don’t deviate from it much. I want to change that. Maybe doing some more ‘Out of my Comfort Zone’ foods would be a good idea. I don’t make stir-able casseroles. Pretty much the only all-in-one casserole type things I make are wet burritos and lasagna. Other than that, it’s sandwich-type things (like these melts) and most of the time it’s meat, potatoes/pasta, veggies, and rolls. And I pretty much use the same seasonings too. So, this evening for supper, I was browsing a cookbook for new recipes and passed up the Chinese Beef and the Sirloin Squash Shish Kabobs and landed on something ’safer’ like Chicken Cheese Melts. I use way more chicken breast than any other meat and I never buy the dark meat unless I get a whole rotisserie chicken. Other meats I keep on hand and regularily use are ham, ground beef, beef roasts, and bacon. And that’s pretty much it. Other kinds of meat are very rare. Over the summer (think, more grilling), I buy pork chops, brats, and steaks.
Do you think I need a bit of help here with diversity? :) What’s your style of cooking? I’d love to hear it! Tell us in the comment section!
Meanwhile, here is a recipe using exotic ingredients like chicken breast, butter, cheese, and bread. Just kidding about the exotic part. This recipe comes from my newest cookbook, which I’ve owned for a little over 48 hours now… What’s Cookin’, compiled by the Schlabach family. Makes it more fun because I’m good friends with some of these Schlabachs. And I like seeing their names under a recipe now and then.
Chicken Cheese Melts
1 cup chicken, cooked and chunked (I used more like 1 1/2 cups, you can never go wrong with more meat )
1/4 cup margarine, melted (I used butter)
1/4 cup sour cream
2 Tbsp. onion, chopped
1 Tbsp. parsley flakes
Saute onions in margarine briefly.
Mix together all ingredients.
Put on slices of French bread or any other bread. I used hamburger buns. And toasted them first.
Top with cheese.
Bake at 350 until cheese is melted. The cheese was melted after about 5 minutes, but then I turned on the broiler because I like cheese to have a bit of browning on top.
These, by the way, got rave reviews and were thrown into the ‘Yum! Make again!’ category. And they were easy and fast too, esp since I pulled chunked up fried chicken breast out of the freezer.
Now, I wanna hear about your this-is-the-norm-for-me cooking. Also, do you plan menus? I’ve seriously thought of doing that. Seems like that would eliminate the 4:00 p.m. staring in the fridge/freezer/cupboards/cookbooks for a supper idea!
This is one of those recipe names that you pretty much know what the dish is… the 3 main ingredients in this dish are mushrooms, muenster cheese, and chicken. And a good combo that is!!! Really, how could you go wrong with those ingredients.
This recipe was in my pile of loose recipes. It’s clipped out of a Country Woman magazine, I don’t know what year or month. It was on page 51… I guess you don’t need to know that, unless you want to go thro’ your stack of Country Woman magazines and look up all the page 51s. In the italic print with the recipe, it says it won 1st place in a festival contest.
Mushroom Muenster Chicken
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs (I used crushed Town House crackers and mixed in a bit of Italian seasoning and seasoned salt.)
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1″ cubes
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. Cajun seasoning
1/2 lb. sliced fresh mushrooms
10 oz. Muenster cheese (I have a little scale, so I dutifully weighed the cheese and guess what! 10 oz was exactly 10 slices!)
In a shallow bowl, beat eggs. Place breadcrumbs in a large resealable plastic bag. Dip chicken in eggs, then place in bag and shake to coat.
In a large skillet, cook chicken in oil over medium heat for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Transfer chicken to a greased 9×13 baking dish. Sprinkle with Cajun seasoning.
Top with mushrooms and cheese.
Cover and bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes or until chicken juices run clear.
Yield: 6 servings. Serve with a mixed green salad or steamed fresh green beans. I served it with California blend veggies (cauliflower, broccoli, and carrots) and crescent rolls. And to serve the chicken, I just put a serving spoon in it and we dished it out like you would a casserole.
This tastes great and is easy to throw together, but we thought it was a little greasy. I want to try it with grilled chicken to see if the greasiness was from frying the chicken in oil. If it’s still greasy w\ grilled chicken, I’ll assume it’s because of the muenster cheese and try mozzarella or provolone instead.