Thursday, January 24, 2013

Chicken Cordon Bleu

Last month, we had a friend we hadn't seen in quite a while come visit us over dinner. Wanted to make something yummy yet didn't have a whole lot of time, nor a lot of energy, so this is what I came up with: Chicken Cordon Bleu. It mostly appealed to me because I had some Homemade Bread Crumbs in the freezer I wanted to use up since I have lots of frozen bread waiting in the freezer for their turn to be turned into more homemade breadcrumbs!

Though it may look a bit on the fancy side, it is really so easy to make PLUS (my favorite part) you can make it ahead of time, store it in the fridge and just pop it in the oven when it's dinner time. I LOVE being able to do that. :)



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The ingredients: Chicken breasts, ham, swiss cheese (I used baby swiss), bread crumbs (homemade or store-bought) and an egg I forgot to include in the picture. Oops! :) And of course, I finally found some Applegate Swiss Cheese, but only after I had already made this. Oh well, NEXT time!



Assembling the chicken, ham and cheese:



All rolled up and ready to take trip to the oven.



Chicken Cordon Bleu
by happyvballgirl @ My Epicurean Adventures
http://www.myepicureanadventures.com/2013/01/chicken-cordon-bleu.html
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Ingredients:
2 lbs thinly sliced chicken breasts (sliced into 8 pieces)
1 cup Happyvballgirl’s Homemade Bread Crumbs (or your favorite Italian seasoned bread crumbs)
4 slices of ham cut in half, lengthwise into 8 pieces
4 slices of baby swiss cheese, cut in half into 8 pieces
1 egg, beaten
1 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp oil

1.      Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 13x9” baking dish.
2.      Place bread crumbs in a shallow bowl and mix water and eggs in another.
3.      Place one slice of ham and one slice of cheese on one slice of chicken. Roll starting from smaller end.
4.      While holding it in your hand, dip in egg mixture and then into bread crumbs, making to cover all sides. Though some like to use a toothpick to hold in place, but I just carefully place the seam side down.
5.       Bake at 350 for about 20-25 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink in the thickest part. *Note that the part of the chicken touching the ham will look pink.

Makes 4-8 servings depending on how hungry you are. J

Here's the adult plate, Chicken Cordon Bleu accompanied by mashed potatoes and green beans sauteed in butter, garlic and a few dashes of salt:



And the kidded-up version, w/ cooked carrots added too. Happy to report it was a hit w/ the girls, well at least one of them. Little Sis left not a crumb on her plate while Big Sis had some chicken leftover but she asked for seconds on the green beans and mashed potatoes - which to me is awesome, because neither of them were fans of green beans until now! Woo hoo!


Shout Outs:
Applegate for providing organic nitrate-free yet oh-so-convenient pre-packaged deli meats. Check out my FB post professing my love for them: FB post professing my love for Applegate :)

Thanks so much for stopping by and please feel free to make my day by leaving me a comment, joining my blog in the top right corner or liking my on Facebook at MyEpicureanAdventures - the more the merrier! :)

Christine, aka happyvballgirl :)

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Ginger Fruit Tea

Even though I'm 41 years old, my parents still try to take care of me when ever they can. Last year, I had a rough go w/ a vicious cold/flu and they insisted on coming down to visit us. I told them they were nuts and not to come because I didn't want them to catch it! But, being parents, they didn't listen and came any way. They cooked for me, they watched the kids for me, they took care of me.


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This tea is high on their list of cold remedies. They drink it when they're sick, they drink it when they're not, they just drink it. And I must say, I've grown to love it. It has a gingery kick, but you could always remedy that by adding less ginger, more water or honey to take the edge off. I've made it on my own several times now, and just a few days ago even made it for my friend Cat who has fallen to the flu. She tried this years ago when my parents were here for a visit and fell in love with it. So I took over a baggie filled w/ the fixins' of apple, orange and ginger and left them with instructions to finish it off. I made a batch myself, even though I'm feeling just fine. Whenever I drink it, I fills me w/ a warm and fuzzy, not only because it's tea, but because it reminds me of just how much my parents love me and how they will always try to take care of me, no matter what my age.

So here it is:

Homi & Hobi's Ginger Fruit Tea

Ingredients:
2 apples, cored and cubed
2 oranges, cubed
1/2 to 1 whole ginger root, depending on how gingery you like it (My Mom always says, the more gingery, the better)
12 cups of water


Directions:
1. Wash the fruit really well, as you'll be boiling it in its skins. Try to use either organic fruits since they're pesticide-free, or use a fruit/veggie wash like the one below. I also use veggie brush to scrub em well..


2. Cut up the fruit in about 3/4" "cubes" and place in a dutch oven or other big pot.

3. Peel and slice up ginger in 1/2" chunks and add to pot.


4. Pour water into pot and boil (w/ lid on but vented so it won't boil over) for about 30 mins, or until fruit looks translucent.

That's it! Drink it hot and ladle it into your cup and add honey for an extra boost of flavor and health. Once I'm done, I just let the pot cool and stick the whole thing in the fridge. Then later on, I can just pull it out, add a little more water to it (you can do this a couple times until the flavors are boiled out) and boil it once again. It's the tea that just keeps giving. :)


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Or if you prefer, you can just transfer the cooled tea to a pitcher or carafe, fruits included. This is also pretty tasty cold, like a natural vitamin water. Or just reheat in a small pot or microwave for more tea.


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Here's that baggie I delivered to my friend. Contents: one batch. Just empty into pot with 12 cups water and boil! :)


My parents always tell me you can eat the fruit (peels and all) for added nutrition. The apples I can do, but when I tried to eat the orange w peel, I about gagged. What was I thinkin'? I can't even stand orange marmalade because of those rinds! Well, I gave it the ol' college try. :)

I really hope you like it as much as we do! :)

UPDATE 3/14:17 because Brian D. demanded it and because I thought I already had:

My parents' ginger fruit tea has evolved over the years. Here's a new batch which includes a couple of cinnamon sticks and a handful of seedless dried red dates. They also say slicing everything thinner is better, too. lol. I agree, better to choke down the fruit, when they make me. ;)



Thanks so much for stopping by and please feel free to make my day by leaving me a comment, joining my blog in the top right corner or liking my on Facebook at MyEpicureanAdventures - the more the merrier! :)

Christine, aka happyvballgirl :)

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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Cooking With Friends #2 - Chicken Pot Pie

Ok, I really gotta crank this one out (even though we did this like before Thanksgiving!) because we have #3 coming up this Thursday - woo hoo! Ok, nevermind, #3 was cancelled because buddy has the flu. :( So I just cooked up a big mess all by myself today since I already bought all the stuff and made *somebody* some homemade chicken alphabet soup to be delivered tomorrow. And even though there's no rush for this, it's already done so here it is! :)

Meet my go-to chicken pot pie recipe from Pillsbury: Classic Chicken Pot Pie. Nothin' fancy at all, but it's good ol' comfort food. I got the recipe off the box of those Pillsbury Pie Crusts years ago and haven't bothered to try another one since. You'd be surprised how many "keeper" recipes I've found on the backs of boxes, bags and even in the coupon fliers! I do have every intention of making the crusts from scratch one of these days, but those Pillsbury Pie Crusts make life so darned easy and are oh so very tasty. I've tried the cheaper grocery store brands, too, but they just never compare.

Anyway, I've made these so many times I can't even keep track. I barely measure out the ingredients any more and just throw extra onions, veggies and chicken so it comes out fairly thick. I think if you stay true to the recipe, the finished product will be on the runnier side, but it's still yummy. Just depends on how you like. And I don't know why, but I almost always serve this dish w/ a side of rice.

We made this dish per my friend Cat's request. Her dad was coming to visit soon and she wanted to have some ready to go. When I make these, I always make at least a double batch - one to eat that night and the rest to freeze for later. I stick 'em in the freezer without baking them and when it's time to bake one, I just pull it out of the oven, stick in straight into the oven w/o thawing (LA-ZY!), start the pre-heat and then bake it a longer. This time we made 6!

The filling, nice and thick.
Pie plates just waiting to be filled.
Almost done!

Witness this master pie crust pincher at work. I swear, my friend Cat makes the prettiest pies in the south! :)

And I just HAVE to include a picture of me and my buddy Cat. Oooops, this is old! Look how long my hair was when we did this - that was 8 inches ago! Looking forward to our next one! Stay tuned and hopefully it won't take 2 months to post! :)

Me and my buddy Cat :)
And... the close up. :)
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Thanks so much for stopping by and please feel free to make my day by leaving me a comment, joining my blog in the top right corner or liking my on Facebook at MyEpicureanAdventures - the more the merrier! :)

Christine, aka happyvballgirl :)

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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Salad-In-A-Box: My Post-Fasting Lunch

It's that time of year to go for a whole 12 hours without eating or drinking anything but water, black coffee or sugarless gum in preparation for my annual physical. :) I know, I know, 12 hours is nuthin' and it really is nuthin' (especially the majority of it is spent sleeping, but I found it so funny that once that timer started ticking (at 10:30pm last night), all of the sudden I was STARVING! It certainly didn't help that I didn't have a huge dinner to begin with (apparently, I was NOT thinking ahead) and that my hubby was sittin' on the couch snackin' away right next to me (how rude!). And yes, I know I shouldn't be snacking at 10:30 at night anyway, but I do and last night I couldn't. :)

After I dropped the girls off at school this morning, before my appointment, I went to Trader Joe's to pick up a few things, which of course, turned into a LOT of things! They say don't go grocery shopping when you're hungry, but I did and I came away with like a million more things than were on my list. But they all looked soooo yummy! And I had to pass up a free sample of chocolate covered marshmallows they were handing out. Phooey. Plus, I had a lot of errands to run post-physical, so I decided to plan and pack myself a post-fasting lunch right then and there.

This probably should have rather been a PRE-fasting lunch, for like 50 lunches and dinners before the physical, but I have a tendency of scheduling mine when I'm at my absolute worst. Last year it was a week after Thanksgiving and this year, it was after a culmination of too much over-eating, over-indulging, not-enough exercising and +7 lbs of holiday cheer. Actually, it turned out to be +3 so I didn't feel SO bad. The way I see it is, I might as well get checked out when I'm gluttonous since it can only get better from there. Plus, I'd have really good excuse: um, the HOLIDAYS! (haha) if things didn't turn out so well. But luckily things are usually fine and they'll only get better throughout the year. Thank goodness for good genes! Let's hope that's the case this year and i didn't just totally jinx myself! ;)

So, whaddya think? The funny thing is that this is an 88.89% Trader Joe's meal in that 8 out of the 9 food items pictured here were purchased from Trader Joe's at one time or another. And I don't even shop there all THAT much!


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In this lunch:
  1. Organic baby spinach, Organic Mixed Medley Cherry Tomatoes, Organic Dried Cranberries, All-Natural Fresh Mozzarella Cheese and Roasted, Unsalted Sunflower Seeds all from TJ's
  2. Fresh blueberries and strawberries, once again from TJ's
  3. Trader Joe's Red Pepper Spread with Eggplant and Garlic and the only thing NOT from TJ's was Stacy's All-Natural Simply Naked Bagel Chips - both purchased today in the peak of my starvation. haha!
Shout-outs:
EasyLunchBoxes - love my ELB's!!



And of course Trader Joe's since they provided 88.89% of my lunch today! :)

Thanks so much for stopping by and please feel free to make my day by leaving me a comment, joining my blog in the top right corner or liking my on Facebook at MyEpicureanAdventures - the more the merrier! :)

Christine, aka happyvballgirl :)

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Monday, January 14, 2013

Ramen Noodles Lunch

Disclosure: Affiliate links are used on this blog so feel free to help a girl earn some extra change an use them to get some fun bento stuff. :)

Last night I read the girls the school lunch menu, as I do every night before school, to see if they want to bring lunch or buy. Cheese pizza or Chicken BBQ on bun were the choices. Big Sis said "Bring" and Little Sis say "Buy!!" (cheese pizza). So this morning I asked Big Sis what she wanted to bring for lunch and gave me a very definitive "Ramen noodles." It isn't something I've packed for them before, but Big Sis recently developed an affinity for Ramen noodles after our visit w my parents over the holidays. Let it be known that my dad, aka Hobi, nicknamed by Big Sis when she was 2 (short for Halabogee which means Grandpa in Korean) is a Ramen head, aka he loves Ramen. And FYI: in our house, if you LOVE something, you're a "something" head. :) Anyhoo...

Ok, not the healthiest, but I don't do it every day and it's not as bad if you don't use the whole soup base packet or don't drink all the broth if you do. Plus, I added an egg to it (by cracking a raw one into into the boiling noodles and stirred it up for an egg-drop-soup-like consistency) to give it some protein. Had to double check w/ Little Sis and told her Big Sis was getting Ramen "noo noo" for lunch today and she blurted out as fast as she could "I WANT TO BRING!" So there it is. Little Sis, much like her Hobi, is Ramen noonoo head too. :)

Sorry, I neglected to get a pic of the actual Ramen noodles in all my haste this morning, but I did manage to snap this. It's the brand I grew up with. I bag makes makes two kid-size servings.


And let me tell ya, I ALMOST went as far as making up another batch just so I could include a pic and even went as far as boiling up some water but then came to my senses. :) I'll just snap a pic next time (it looks pretty much the same each time, haha) and maybe I'll just sneak it in here later.

It's later! It's 2/10/13 and I'm finally adding a picture:

So here it is, their Ramen Noo Noo Lunch. 


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In this lunch:
  1. In the thermoses: Ramen noodles w/ eggs
  2. Mozzarella Cheese Its
  3. Red Seedless Grapes in Little Sis' Lunch and Peeled Snacks' Apple Crunchers
  4. Doctor Yum's Homemade Granola Bars (hyperlinked to my post and recipe link)
  5. Frosted Flower Sugar Cookies (My new companion post!)
  6. GoGo Squeeze Applesauce - Berry for Little Sis, Cinnamon for Big Sis
Thanks so much for stopping by and please feel free to make my day by leaving me a comment, joining my blog in the top right corner or liking my on Facebook at MyEpicureanAdventures - the more the merrier! :)

Click here if you're stopping by from Following In My Shoes' I Heart Lunch Link Up to see some  Grown-Up Bentos!

Christine, aka happyvballgirl :)

Here are some items used in this post. To see a full list of my favorite bento gear and such, just visit my "Products I Love" page! :) Any purchases made through these links earns me a little extra cash to support my bento habit, which my hubby would really appreciate. haha! So thank you!!! if you choose to use any of 'em! :)

Frosted Flower Sugar Cookies

Ever since I answered my question of "To Treat or Not to Treat" w/ "treat!" in an earlier post, I've been having fun finding recipes that provide my girls with yummy homemade treats. Tis far better to make at home than to buy from store, if/when possible. Here's one I liked making and the girls liked eating. Plus, it's easy to jazz up any lunch when you stick one of these in it!

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Found the cookie recipe online: Lofthouse-style Frosted Sugar Cookies and used my favorite
Whipperberry's Simple Vanilla Buttercream Recipe (this time w/ a teeny bit of pureed strawberries mixed in) as the frosting. Helped that I already happened to have some on hand, so cool, saved myself a step! What totally drew me to the cookie recipe I found on Pinterest was the fact that we always have to pass these cookies by in the stores because they always seem to "May contain nuts". Phooey! Not fair that my girls can't eat 'em because they always look soooooo pretty and goooooooood!

And as much as I like to cook and bake, I don't always have the time to just whip up a batch of whatever, so when I DO, I try to save some for later and stick a bunch in the freezer for future use. Now it's so easy to have homemade treats on hand when all you have to do is pop one out of the freezer and stick it in a lunch. It's perfectly thawed by lunch, and even earlier for that matter!

Update: 7/24/13
Here are some pix I took of a batch I made over the Fourth of July. Yummy once again! This time we made stars:


...and circles:

and just used the frosting recipe that came w/ the cookie but added a couple drops of raspberry extract (to taste) and oh MAN, where they yummy! So this white frosting actually tasted like raspberry frosting!


I thought I'd have some more fun and added some natural food coloring made using veggie colorants by India Tree and even made them match their raspberry flavoring. :)


Thanks so much for stopping by and please feel free to make my day by leaving me a comment, joining my blog in the top right corner or liking my on Facebook at MyEpicureanAdventures - the more the merrier! :)

Christine, aka happyvballgirl :)

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