Grilled Chicken Cuban Sandwich

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sunday, September 27, 2009

On this beautiful Sunday after church I decided to grill chicken for lunch with a recipe I've had from Williams Sonoma for years. This recipe is super easy and is ready to eat in about an hour. Today I served Two Cheese Grits with it, crazy I know, but they were good nonetheless.

Grilled Chicken Cuban Sandwich (serves 4)

For the marinade and mayo:
2/3 C. mayo, I always use lite
1 T. Dijon mustard
Juice of one lime
Grated zest of one lime
1 garlic clove, minced, I always use 2-3
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper

4 boneless chicken breast halves, lightly pounded out to an even thickness, I never do that
4 slices ham or turkey, I never add this
4 slices Swiss cheese, I used Muenster today
4 oblong soft sandwich rolls, I used small hamburger buns today
Sweet pickle slices for serving, I hate sweet pickles and bring out the Claussen
Sliced tomato and romaine lettuce from the garden I always add instead of grilling the sandwich as this recipe calls for.

To make the marinade, in a small bowl, whisk together ingredients reserving about 1/4 C. for the sandwich and refrigerate. Transfer the remaining marinade in a shallow dish and marinate 1 hour. I only marinate for 30 minutes while the grill is getting ready.

Lightly oil rack to prevent sticking and grill, turning once, until chicken breasts feel firm and juices run clear. About 10-12 minutes total. It says on the last 1-2 minutes of cooking to add the Ham and cheese so it melts. But I don't do this.

I never do this step but here it is: Meanwhile, spread the buns with the reserved mayonnaise mixture and fill rolls with the chicken breasts. Press the sandwich together firmly and return to the grill and cook turning once, until the rolls are lightly toasted, about 2 minutes per side. Cut the sandwiches in half and serve hot.

I served this sandwich with grits today but usually just Lays potato chips are perfect with a dill pickle. I generally only grill two chicken breasts and sometimes only eat a half of one and refrigerate the remaining chicken for a salad later in the week.

Two Cheese Grits (serves 4)

4 C. salted water
1 C. quick cooking grits
1 C. cheddar cheese, I used Colby jack
1/2 C. grated Parmesan
2 T. butter
Salt and pepper

Bring salted water to boil and stir in grits. Cover and cook at medium low for 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and stir. Very easy and is great for later in the week too!!

Homemade Granola

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sunday, September 20, 2009

One of my newest culinary chores is to make granola. When I think about the ingredients in Chloe's Rice Krispies that they add to keep it fresh and think about the energy it takes to get that cereal box into my home, it drives me nuts! To think they have to pick the rice, ship it, make it into a cereal, box it up, ship to distribution center, then on a truck, then to my grocery store, then to the shelf, then to my shopping basket, then gosh that's a lot of energy for something we can make ourselves without the preservatives. It takes less than 20 minutes to get in the oven and then your house will smell like honey and brown sugar, yum!

The recipe below has what it calls for but I wing it when I can't find or have all the ingredients on hand. I haven't found millet, oat bran or pumpkin seeds but this is fabulous without it and I can't imagine how great it is when I have these on hand. This recipe freezes well and is great as a gift.

Granola (San Juan cookbook)

7 c. steel cut oats, I use old fashioned but you can use quick, old fashioned are bigger and nicer
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. light olive oil, you can use grape seed
1/2 t. sea salt
1/2 c. whole almonds
1/2 c. whole pecans, I use Dara Bigger's from Marion that she gave me from her pecan tree
1/2 c. whole walnuts, I never have these
1/2 c. cashews, I never have these either
1/2 c. pepitas, raw pumpkin seeds, I can't find these
1/2 c. sesame seeds
1/2 c. flax seed meal, in the flour isle by the organic
1/2 c. millet, I can't find this
1/2 c. oat bran, I can't find this either
1/2 c. unsweetened coconut, I never have this
1/2 c. raw sunflower seeds, I use regular, salted sunflower seeds
3/4 c. honey
1 T. vanilla extract, I use my homemade vanilla
2 t. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Stir all ingredients in a large bowl, season to taste. You'll want to have some clumps remaining. Spread onto two large baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake 30 minutes, stirring once, until lightly toasted, I usually go 35 minutes, but be careful not to burn as I have once. Remove from oven and let cool on sheets, stirring periodically. When completely cool, store in airtight containers.

This is fabulous with yogurt, fresh fruit or simply with milk. It's so easy to make and has none of those preservatives.

Pasta with Tomatoes and Brie

Friday, September 18, 2009

Friday, Sept. 18, 2009

This is a new recipe for me and I love it because I can use my vine-ripe tomatoes. This recipe is from the cookbook my sister-in-law let me borrow called La Cucina Anna Maria, from the San Juan Islands. She went to vacation in Vancouver and stayed at this bed and breakfast and bought their cookbook. I love its theme of fresh and low fat ingredients. It features granola, I hope to blog soon, tapanades, Italian grain pie and the like. I made this recipe a few weeks ago and fell in love with it. It's easy and is ready in no time.

4 ripe heirloom tomatoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes, I used my beefmasters and better boys
1 lb. Brie, rind removed, cut into small pieces, I used 1/2 pound because I was gun shy of so much cheese but it certainly can be made with a pound.
1. C fresh basil, cut into strips
3 garlic cloves minced
1 C. plus 1 T. olive oil
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
1/2 C. grated Grana Padana, I used Parmigiano Reggiano, try not to used the jarred here
1 lb. Pasta, I used whole wheat spaghetti

Combine all ingredients except pasta, cover and sit at room temperature for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. I only had about an hour here. Cook pasta and toss with tomato mixture. Serve with fresh pepper and additional cheese.

Delicious, I may have to serve this one again tonight! And I did have some left over and it was great warmed up in the microwave with fresh grated Parmesan on top.

Chicken Enchiladas with homemade Picante Sauce Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2009

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Rainy Day, Birdeye

Unfortunately Chloe's on her third day of high fever battling the flu, she dozed off for a much needed nap and of course I went straight to the cookbooks. Since I have plenty of tomatoes and jalapenos in the garden, I decided on chicken enchiladas with homemade picante sauce. This is my first time making this sauce but I can say I am loving its freshness and my hands are on fire from the japs, but I love it, you know I do. This is a great, quick, fresh recipe for enchiladas that I have made before but the addition of homemade sauce was quite refreshing.

Chicken Enchiladas

3-4 C. cooked chicken, chopped
1/2 C. chopped onion
1 T. veg oil, I used grape seed
1 t. cumin
1 T. chili powder, I used my hot from Penzy's
12 flour tortillas
2 C. shredded cheddar, I used Colby jack
1 C. enchilada sauce, I used Mexican style canned, not Olde El Paso
1 C. homemade Picante sauce, try to not used the jarred

Saute chicken and onions in large skilled in the oil. Add cumin and chili powder. Cook until chicken is dry over low heat. Spoon onto flour tortillas with cheese. Roll to enclose filling and arrange in baking dish sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Combine enchilada sauce (if you have time to make your own, by all means do so!) and picante sauce (see homemade recipe that follows) and pour over enchiladas. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Garnish with lettuce, sour cream, olives and tomatoes.

Picante Sauce (yes, the

14 fresh jalapeno peppers (not jarred or canned, duh! as Chloe would say, but you can)
1 green bell pepper, I used a purple right out of the garden
1 4oz. can green chiles, I used three fresh pablanos right out of the garden, I roasted them at 350 degrees for 10 min, then they hung out in a paper bag for 15 min, then slice, get rid of the seeds and chop, ten times better than that can I use in the winter)
1 large onion, finely chopped, I grated, I can't cut that small
2-28 oz. can whole tomatoes, I used 5 homegrown Better Boy tomatoes and one can petite diced tomatoes.
Juice of 2 limes, don't use fake, but if you have to it won't be the end of the world

Seed and chop jalapeno peppers, remove seeds and insides using a spoon. Combine with bell pepper, poblanos, onion, tomatoes and lime juice in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 1-1/2-2 hours. May use fresh tomatoes instead of canned to make chunky sauce. If sauce is too hot, add additional tomatoes. Makes 20 servings. Of course, I only cooked this for 1 hour while I made the enchiladas then poured sauce on top and cooked remaining picante sauce for an hour and a half. The remaining sauce I'll use all week in a variety of ways like eggs and for chip and dip.

This is a wonderful, low fat spin on enchiladas plus it freezes well and can be used one of those nights you need a meal and don't have the time which is most of my life.

Enchiladas Rojas, Sunday, Sept. 13, 2009

Monday, September 14, 2009

Cooking in Birdeye

One lazy Sunday I pulled out one of my favorite recipes from Fresh, the cookbook from Lake Austin Spa. This is a fabulous recipe that takes literally 10 minutes to get in the oven and just 10 minutes to cook. Now that's my type of cooking.

1 T. canola oil
3/4 c. minced onion, I've used white and red and I grate mine
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 c. tomato juice, I used canned tomato sauce
2 t. adobo pasted from canned chipolte chilies, this is found in the Mexican food isle and is the in this recipe
2 t. brown sugar
1/2 t. salt
12 corn tortillas
2 C. shredded chicken breast or 2 c. shredded Chihuahua or reduced fat white Cheddar cheese, I cooked a chicken breast in the microwave and seasoned it with Chicago steak seasoning (yes, weird, but it was great), and used goat cheese. I used half chicken and half goat cheese in each enchilada
3 c. shredded lettuce, I used arugula out of the garden
3 radishes shredded, I skipped this
1/2 c. finely sliced onion, I used the rest of that red or white onion
1/4 c. chopped cilantro
1 t. olive oil
2 t. cider vinegar
1/2 c. feta cheese

Heat the canola oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until soft. Add the garlic and saute for a few seconds. Add the tomato juice, adobo paste, brown sugar and salt. Simmer until the mixture is reduced to a sauce consistency, stirring occasionally. Soften the tortillas by microwaving them on damp paper towels. They should be very pliant. Fill tortillas with chicken and cheese and roll tightly and place, seam-side down, in a baking dish sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Pour the sauce over the enchiladas and sprinkle additional cheese over top, I didn't. Bake at 400 degrees and for 10 minutes. Combine the remaining ingredients except the cheese and toss to mix. Place 2 enchiladas on a plate and top with equal poritons of slaw and feta cheese.

Serve with black beans seasoned with cumin, onion, garlic, cilantro and I add jalapenos. This is wonderful leftover too.

The photo is of Chloe and Sonyador, her 3 year old quarter horse cross. She and Sonya are a little green to ride this summer but I hope with age and confidence they'll make a good pair.