Sunday, March 25, 2012

Cinnamon Sugar Puffed French Toast

Lover woke up sick this morning and wanted something gentle for dinner tonight. He'd been eating a lot of soup lately so we decided to mix it up and have breakfast! So I ran out to the grocery store to pick up some bread and eggs. We went a little over budget for my birthday vaca this month so got some cheap italian bread. But when I got home, I discovered that there was a fancy loaf of sourdough bread in with my groceries. I was shocked. I had never seen it before! I realized the grocer must have mistakenly put it in my cart.

I hesitantly opened it up and took a bite, and it was so incredible that I ended up using it for our french toast! I felt slightly guilty at first but Gradon assured me that they wouldn't put it back on the shelf if I took it back because it had been paid for, although not by me.

Truth be told, this french toast would be awesome with any old bread, but this lovely sourdough loaf took it over the top. In the past, I've made it with Texas Toast which is also wonderful.

You will come back to this gem time and time again! This french toast puffs up like a dream and tastes almost candied. You have to taste it to believe it!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I have a few solid cookie recipes, so it's not too often that I try something new. But today I was craving something peanut buttery, so my classic chocolate chip just would not do!


Grades and I spent this past weekend in Durham and Raleigh North Carolina for a little birthday getaway for me. We totally loaded up on amazing savory foods like gourmet pizza and decadent homemade pasta with meat sauce and italian sausage, so we came back craving something sweet. This little number sure hit the spot. 

This recipe comes from a blog that I love, Brown Eyed Baker. She is wonderful! This cookie is crisp and buttery on the outside and soft, yet delightfully nutty on the inside. And it's totally stuffed with chocolate chunks. Plus this cookie keeps a nice texture and shape which is a big bonus in my book. I hate flat cookies!

I'm an oatmeal lover and found myself wanting a bit more of it than what this recipe delivered. If you are into oatmeal as well, you may want to increase the oats to ¾ cup. I'm planning to do so next time around. 

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies 
Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

Makes about 24 cookies
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2-3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (or chunks)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

With an electric mixer on medium speed, cream together the butter, peanut butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and beat to combine.

On low speed, gradually add the flour until just combined. 


Stir in the oats and chocolate chips.

Drop dough on to greased baking sheets about 2 inches apart. Resist the urge to roll them into pretty little balls. They look best a bit messy and rustic!

Bake for 9 minutes or until the cookies look set in the middle. They taste excellent warm and would be fantastic with ice cream. But if you can wait it out, cool completely and then store in an airtight container at room temperature.

And now for some snapshots from my birthday weekend! We visited Duke University on Friday and it was a spectacular sight. We spent the evening wandering through gorgeous gardens and admiring majestic gothic architecture. 

Then we got up early, helped ourself to an extensive breakfast buffet and explored downtown Raleigh, a city with a history centered on Tobacco. It was interesting to see a few of the old cigarette ads and huge factories still scattered through the streets. We even got to join the locals in watching the annual St. Patricks day parade and picked up some delicious apples and sweet potatoes at the Raleigh farmer's market. To top it all off, we got treated like royalty at an adorable italian restaurant—they covered our table in confetti and even gifted me a birthday cannoli! 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Chicken Cordon Bleu with Parmesan Cream Sauce

I have all of these wonderful memories of eating chicken cordon bleu with my sister. Every Sunday hundreds of BYU college students would flock to a huge eatery called “the Cannon Center. And every other Sunday, it would serve the coveted chicken cordon bleu. Oh how we loved it. No line was ever too long for chicken cordon bleu.

Looking back, I realize that this dish that we hopelessly craved was prepackaged, frozen, mass produced chicken cordon bleu. Don't get me wrong. It was really good. But what I'm about to share blows it out of the water. It's perfectly seasoned and oozing with gooey cheese.

This lovely recipe that I have made for several years now, was given to me by my wonderful former roommate Lauren. Back during my sophomore year in college I lived a crazy life in a house with 6 girls. We were usually out and about studying and dating during the week, but on the weekends we would have roommate dinner. It was a special occasion that brought us together. And on one of those occasions, Lauren made chicken cordon bleu. I was hooked from that time on!

It is an awesome chicken dish that is both hearty and elegant. It goes with many sides, but I especially love it with garlic mashed potatoes and a green vegetable. This time I made roasted asparagus and it was wonderful. But that's for another post!

When we parted after sophomore year, one of my roommates Emily made us a darling book that included some of the recipes that we made for roommate dinner. I use it all the time! Oh look! There we are. :)

I slightly adapted this recipe from the original and added a luscious parmesan sauce that complements it beautifully! 

Chicken Cordon Bleu with Parmesan Cream Sauce

For the chicken:
  • boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1.5-2lbs) I usually get three big breasts and cut them in half horizontally
  • 6 slices cheddar cheese
  • 6 thin slices ham (I use deli meat)
  • 1 cup italian bread crumbs
  • 6 Tbsp butter
For the sauce:
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced or pressed
  • 3/4 C half-and-half or heavy cream
  • 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
  • Splash of cooking wine
  • Salt & pepper (to taste)
  • 1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese
Start by cutting your three chicken breasts in half horizontally if they're thick. You can also just buy 6 thin chicken breasts. Then get out your trusty meat tenderizer and pound until fairly thin. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. 

Mix breadcrumbs and butter in shallow bowl and dip each chicken piece in breadcrumb mix until well coated.

Place 1 cheese slice and 1 ham slice on each breast. Roll up each breast as tightly as possible and use a toothpick or two to secure.

Bake at 350 for 35 minutes or until juices run clear.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Then saute the garlic for a minute or two. Add a splash of wine and watch it fizz up a bit! Let it simmer for another 1-2 minutes.

Whisk together your half and half with the cornstarch. After it is combined, slowly pour in the pan and mix until smooth.

Turn the heat up to medium and continue stirring for a few minutes until thickened. Add the cheese, salt and pepper and cook until melted. Removed from heat.

Drizzle the sauce over the breasts just before serving or serve in a separate bowl to accommodate different preferences for sauce. Gradon and I like A LOT!
Hope everyone is enjoying the first signs of spring! Although it did snow here in Cville yesterday! It was so beautiful. University Gardens was blanketed in it.
Also of note, today is Super Tuesday! Gradon and I were super pumped to get to the polls and do our civic duty! And we cozied up to Mr. Jefferson a bit while we were in Alumni Hall.
I also opened up my very first birthday present from my very thoughtful and cute mother in-law. She's the greatest! And she knows what I love.