Archive for June, 2012

June 9, 2012

Trying to determine what to make while home in Michigan, my sister and I settled on what she called “Lazy Chicken Cordon Bleu.” I really wanted to cook, but demanded food immediately. So I liked that term a lot.

Throwing chicken in the oven is an easy task, yet I wanted to add a little something to the poultry so I settled on a normal jar of Italian seasoning, covering both sides. While I waited for it to cook in the oven, I gulped down a beverage and retreated to the basement refrigerator for another. We then found a random bag of potato rounds in the freezer and tossed those in the oven as well.

I am unsure of what my favorite frozen potatoes may be, as I certainly do not mind French fries, tater tots and potato rounds. A nice ole selection of waffle fries do the trick every time, yet I adore the five-pound bag of tater tots for less than $5 at the local Super Target. Dip those babies in barbecue sauce and I got myself a cheap thrill.

Back to the task at hand, my sister plopped some ham and cheese onto the stove and placed the cover on top, letting it melt together nicely. When it blended and the chicken was cooked, we placed the ham and cheese on top and quickly obliterated the meal. For so little prep work, the chicken served as a tasty dish and the ham added a slight crunch (although not severe). However, I always will prefer cooking the ham and cheese inside the chicken.

What You’ll Need

As Many Chicken Breasts Required

Deli Ham

Swiss Cheese

Italian Seasoning

The Steps

1)      Spray pan with cooking spray and set oven to 350.

2)      Sprinkle Italian seasoning on chicken, both on top and on the bottom.

3)      Bake chicken for about 30 minutes.

4)      On the stove, spray a pan with cooking spray.

5)      Chop deli ham and place cheese on top. Place in the pan and cover for a couple of minutes, letting the cheese melt into the ham.

6)      When both are done, simply place the ham/cheese on top of the chicken.

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Rosemary Dijon Burger

Posted: June 25, 2012 in Burgers
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June 8, 2012

Grilling outside when I am back home in Temperance, Mich., easily qualifies as one of my favorite activities. And a basic, tasty meal to satisfy my craving is a burger. So on my second day in the Great Lakes State, I started scavenging for what I required.

After locating hamburger in the garage freezer, I stared at my options in the refrigerator and went a different route, ultimately choosing Muenster and Provolone cheeses with Dijon mustard. Burger buns were not accessible, so two slices of white bread made an appearance as well, while I reached into the spice rack for some rosemary.

My final preparation was heading to the basement fridge for two bottles of Labatt Blue. Now it was grilling time.

I decided to mix rosemary with the burger itself. I have learned that spice is certainly not for everyone when it comes to meat, but my little heart enjoys it occasionally. Placing the burger on the grill, I sat down and stared at the backyard with a Blue in hand.

Flipping it once and covering it with cheese, the fresh smell had to have gotten the attention of the stray animals galloping around, especially the squirrels and the black cat that roams the neighborhood.

I built the sandwich and dove in. For a hamburger, everything has to elegantly blend together to truly be rewarding. And this one did the job. The rosemary, cheese and mustard did not overpower one another, but joined forces as friends to make my taste buds happy. It was a simple burger which went down easy, just like my Canadian beverage.

What You’ll Need

Two Slices of Toasted White Bread

80/20 Hamburger

Muenster Cheese

Provolone Cheese

Rosemary

Salt

Black Peppercorns

Dijon Mustard

The Steps

1)      Mix the meat and rosemary (or add rosemary when it is done).

2)      Mash the burger into your preferred patty shape. I like it a tad thinner than the average while pushing in the middle when placing it on the grill.

3)      Have an adult beverage.

4)      Flip the burger and eventually add salt and pepper as well as both slices of cheese.

5)      Toast the bread on the grill.

6)      Keep drinking.

7)      Put the sandwich together with Dijon mustard.

June 7, 2012

I never even stopped at home first.

It was my first day during my annual trip up north, and my mother joyously picked me up at the Detroit airport. Instead of taking the Erie Road exit on I-75, we kept diligently motoring South across the state line into Ohio. And we kept going.

Advancing close to the dirty Maumee River, we finally hit Exit 201A and I found myself next to the Toledo Zoo for the first time in probably 15 years. I would have loved to have hopped out and poke around the monkey cages, but onward we charged because dinner waited.

All the way in South Toledo, we arrived at Burger Bar 419 and my sister Kate was already there plopped in a booth next to a wall which featured a giant mirror. The establishment nestled itself in a random shopping plaza and the inside was somewhat dark and mysterious, yet boasted mediocre paintings with price tags on them.

Since it was my first day back, I simply cared about drinking a northern lager and getting my burger on. So I requested a Buckeye beer from the Maumee Bay Brewing Company and an adjectival appetizer called the Baked Cheddar-Bacon Mac & Cheese with Grilled Chilis. I was sold.

The beer was thankfully very smooth and had a pure Midwestern taste. Although I am not sure what a Midwestern taste actually should be categorized as, but I assume terms like dirty, blubberish and bland would do the trick. The mac & cheese had a mouthwatering description although it fell short on its delivery. I think I hyped it up too much.

As for the burger, I went for the Short Stuff and it was smothered with braised short ribs and smoked cheddar. The presentation was excellent as it arrived with hand-cut fries in a rusty-looking gray pie pan. The short ribs were an interesting addition and amazingly I did not taste them too much throughout my eating process. It ended up being a basic burger which tasted fantastic but it was missing something. I tried pouring some steak sauce on the meat to help give it a kick and it did succeed in bringing a smile to my messy face.

The surprise of the evening occurred when I tasted the fries. Mom described them as those one demolishes when getting fat at Cedar Point in Northern Ohio. I thought they had the look of my mother’s homemade fries, but Cedar Point’s fries are some of the most scrumptious things on Earth.

I certainly would visit Burger Bar 419 if I return to South Toledo. My next order likely would be the Pigs in Heaven appetizer (bacon in horseradish cheese spread) with The Italian burger (arugula, balsamic grilled tomato which I would ask them to remove, basil aioli and mozzarella).

Chicken Parm

Posted: June 8, 2012 in Randomness
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I cannot take credit for this dish, as a lovely gal by the name of Jenna produced a massive amount of chicken parm June 4 for a friendly group of us. The only thing I helped with was supplying some oregano (well, I did make a dessert). So I do not have a recipe, but the picture as well as Jenna’s cooking skills still deserve some mild attention.

Taco Seasoning

Posted: June 4, 2012 in Randomness
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I did not think blogging about the tacos I made over the weekend would be a delicious read. So I simply just had a thought…

Usually I use mild taco sauce and shredded cheddar cheese on my tacos. However in some ways it does not matter what kind of shredded cheese you use, and adding a bit of cayenne pepper and chili powder worked wonders in spicing things up a bit. I did not use a lot, just a couple of dashes.

Overall though, a simple taco recipe should not me messed with too much, especially for a picky eater like myself.

I’m heading north to experience the great eats of Michigan and Cleveland soon. I hope to share some interesting treats when I return.

May 30, 2012

Discovering this recipe online (Eat-Yourself-Skinny.com, which is not my kind of name for a website), I was immediately tempted. I am always in the mood for different chicken meals, and the title alone sparked my interest. But maybe it was because I remember making an herbal chicken pizza at Rosie’s Italian Restaurant in Toledo, and I just liked saying “herbal chicken.”

I really am never one who sticks with a recipe; I enjoy adding my own touch every time. The only changes I made to this, though, were money-saving differences such as not buying fresh rosemary and thyme, but using a small jar of Italian seasoning. I also did not have Dijon mustard so I simply used a spicy version as a replacement, and the original recipe called for minced garlic so I settled with garlic powder.

The combinations worked deliciously. Having an outer crust on the chicken brought out tremendous flavor, as well as made the kitchen smell incredibly ferocious. With herbs filling my nostrils and my belly, I gobbled it up in a speedy fashion. On the side rested red potatoes cooked on the stove and eventually mixed with butter, salt and pepper. I like pepper.

One of the best parts about this recipe is how you really only need to purchase chicken breasts and bread crumbs (unless of course those are already in the refrigerator as well). You do not have to go out and spend lots of money on different spices, but you can substitute whatever might be lying around. And the result is so money.

What You’ll Need

4 – Skinless chicken breasts

1 CUP – panko bread crumbs

2/3 CUP – Parmesan cheese

3 TSP – Italian seasoning (or 1 TSP chopped rosemary and 2 TSP thyme)

4 TBS – Butter

1 TSP – Dijon or spicy mustard

1 TSP – Worcestershire sauce

1 TSP – Garlic

The Steps

1)      Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2)      Combine panko bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese and herbs.

3)      In a saucepan, melt butter and stir in mustard, Worcestershire and garlic.

4)      Remove from heat.

5)      Dip chicken into butter mixture, roll in breadcrumb mixture and make sure all crumbs cling.

6)      Place on baking pan and bake for 30 minutes.