Cheesy Frenchies

This is more than just a grilled cheese.  This is the ‘chocolate molten lava cake’ of grilled cheeses.  The Cheese Frenchie, a super crunchy, battered and fried sandwich with a cornflake exterior is stuffed with as much American cheese as humanly possible.  Resulting in just that one bite that oozes warm melted cheese everywhere!

The history of this famous 1960 recipe stems from the now long gone, small, drive-thru restaurant known as King’s Food Host, based in Lincoln, Nebraska.  They had their success in the 60’s and 70’s, branching out into other Midwest states, but after their closing the Cheese Frenchie still lived on!  Now, if you don’t make them in your own kitchen, the popular Don & Millie’s restaurant, also located in Nebraska (my home state!), can prepare them for you…just like the ones from years ago.

So given its a rainy, RAINY, Sunday afternoon, I think I will curl up on the couch with a good movie and a platter of those warm Cheese Frenchies and tomato soup!

 

The Starting Lineup

Makes 12 triangles

  • 6 slices white bread
  • 6 slices American cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1⁄2 cup milk
  • 3⁄4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup corn flakes
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • oil (for deep frying

Spread mayonnaise on bread, and use 2 slices of American Cheese each.  *ONLY American to stay true to the classic.

Cut sandwiches into triangles, cut off crust.

Combine egg, milk, flour and salt.  Dip the triangle sandwiches into egg/flour mixture.

Coat entirely with corn flake crumbs.

Deep Fry in oil at 375 degrees until golden and set on paper towel lined plate to absorb any extra oil.

Serve alongside a warm bowl of tomato soup or ketchup for dipping and a dill pickle!

CheesyFrenchies1

Chicken Cordon Bleu en Croute

Fancy title, right?  I agree (to my own question), but it’s really so easy that my mother could do it and I’m not even saying that meanly. 😉  *unlike me, she loathes the kitchen.

I have another affinity to this recipe, not just because of it’s taste, but largely in part that it was my first “1st Place” winning recipe in a magazine contest a few years back!  Yep, I received my first $check$ from this and I often wonder who else in the world has since made it in their kitchen.

Ok, on to the backstory of the famous Chicken Cordon Bleu for those not ‘in the know’…

“A cordon bleu or schnitzel cordon bleu is a dish of meat wrapped around cheese, then breaded and pan-fried or deep-fried. Veal or pork cordon bleu is made of veal or pork pounded thin and wrapped around a slice of ham and a slice of cheese, breaded, and then pan fried or baked. For chicken cordon bleu chicken breast is used instead of veal. Ham cordon bleu is ham stuffed with mushrooms and cheese.”

Now that we’re all on the same page, you will see how I fancied my version up with baking it in the puff pastry and adding a light pan sauce to it.  No messy frying involved.  Plus with it’s gussied up appearance, this make a for a great in-home date night meal or you can easily double or triple the recipe for a dinner party.

*If shallots aren’t readily available (note: they’re usually by the garlic in your produce section), you may use about a tablespoon of diced red onion + a minced garlic clove.

**The puff pastry will be located in your freezer section’s dessert aisle.  My go to is from Pepperidge Farm, fyi.

The Starting Lineup

Chicken

  • 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 sheet puff pastry dough
  • 4 slices Swiss cheese
  • 4 thin slices ham, Black Forest ham from deli section preferred 
  • Egg wash (1 large egg, beaten with a tablespoon of water)

Pan Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons butter (1/4 stick)
  • small shallot, minced
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup chicken broth

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Chicken: Cut each breast horizontally through the center to create a total of four pieces. Place pieces between two sheets of plastic wrap, pound gently to an even thickness, then season with salt and pepper.
3. Heat olive oil and butter in a skillet or sauté pan over medium-high heat. Place two chicken breast pieces in pan at a time and cook 2–3 minutes on each side to brown. Repeat with remaining chicken, then set aside to cool (no need to fully cook the chicken). Keep the skillet handy for further use; do not clean.
4. Cut the sheet of puff pastry dough into four squares. On a floured surface using a floured rolling pin, roll each square until doubled in size. Layer a slice of Swiss cheese, a slice of ham and piece of seared chicken on the dough diagonally and fold the dough ends over the stack to form a pocket. Turn seam side down and place on parchment-lined baking sheets. Repeat with remaining pieces of cheese, ham, chicken and pastry dough. Place two croutes on each baking sheet.
5. Brush tops with the egg wash. Place both baking sheets in oven and bake 25–30 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool about 5 minutes.
6. Sauce: About 15 minutes before the chicken is done, start the sauce. On medium-high, heat butter in the same pan used to sear the chicken. Add the minced shallot. When shallot starts to soften and brown, add the flour, stirring constantly to make a golden roux. Pour in the wine to deglaze the pan, then add the broth. Stir continuously until reduced by about half.
7. Spoon sauce onto plates and set two chicken croutes on each plate.  I like to serve our with a side of steamed or roasted asparagus.  Enjoy!

ChickenCordonBleu

 

Bacon Egg & Pimento Cheese Biscuit

It’s a beautiful day in Texas.  Well, perhaps just beautiful to me, but it’s unseasonably warm, a bit humid, overcast and I think we’re fixin’ to have a storm.  Please, please bring on the rain!!

That being said, it’s funny how weather can really affect what you crave to eat.  For me on rainy, muggy days all I can think about are biscuits!  Warm, fluffy, that special aroma filling the kitchen…give me all the biscuits!!  So since it’s morning, why not make my favorite into the ultimate southern style breakfast sandwich!  Really, what’s more south in your mouth than a biscuit and pimento cheese??  I certainly don’t know…

But, for those of you in the dark, pimento cheese was conceived in heaven.  Well, it tastes as such anyway!  It’s a creamy blend of bright, sharp cheddar cheese, cream cheese, sweet pimentos and I always like to add a bit of heat with a minced jalapeno.  Combine this with the crisp bacon on my biscuit and I’m in love…nap time anyone?

*Any leftover pimento cheese can be fabulously used as the cheese on a hamburger, a grilled cheese with tomatoes, a dip for celery, etc.

The Starting Lineup

  • 6 Biscuits, warm and halved (homemade or a quality frozen version prepared as directed)
  • 6 fried eggs, seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 12 strips bacon, cooked crisp
  • Pimento cheese, homemade

Pimento Cheese

  • 1 1/2 cups extra sharp cheddar, hand grated
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 4 oz chopped pimientos, drained
  • 1 jalapeño, stem off – keep seeds in for the heat
  • Dash or two of hot sauce (prefer a Franks style flavor)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Kosher salt & Fresh ground pepper

In a food processor, you simply combine all of the Pimento Cheese ingredients and blend till smooth and creamy.  Easy right??  Set aside.

Now, while your biscuits are warm, perhaps even hot, halve and spoon a good amount of the pimento cheese onto the bottom (the heat from the biscuit will almost melt the cheese in a great way).  Next, top with 2 slices of crisp bacon, the seasoned fried egg and the warm biscuit topper!

Grab a couple of napkins, dig in and enjoy every southern bite! xoxo

BaconEggPimentoBiscuit

Adobo Shrimp Primavera

If this is your first time on my site, you may have noticed that I like to take your traditional recipes and give them a twist and a spike in flavor!  Who needs hum-drum?

Though it’s technically still winter and we definitely  have our cold days and nights, we also have some quite warm days (it is bi-polar Texas after all) and I was just totally over the typical stew dinner.  So here I give you my “Adobo Shrimp Primavera”, just in time for our approaching Spring!

This alfredo has a great smoky and slightly spicy flavor from both the chipotles and the adobo seasoning, but it keeps with tradition using cream and parmesan cheese.  You can also use your favorite fresh vegetables of choice for the primavera aspect and if you don’t care for shrimp, then use chicken!  ..or hey, keep it vegetarian and enjoy the best aspect of all…that sauce!!

https://www.goya.com/en/products/adobo-with-pepper

 

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 lb large fresh or thawed shrimp
  • 1-1/2 tsp Adobo seasoning (i.e. Goya brand)
  • 16oz pasta noodles of choice
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 yellow squash, thickly sliced
  • 6oz asparagus, cut into thirds
  • 1 cup fresh spinach
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1-2 Chipotle in Adobo peppers, finely diced + 1 Tbsp sauce (use 1 pepper for mild sauce)
  • 1 cup heavy cream (half & half ok)
  • 3/4 cup parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish

 

Place the shrimp in a bowl and toss with the Adobo seasoning, set aside.

Bring a large stock pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain and set aside.

In a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat, add the oil and butter along with the squash, asparagus and spinach.  Sauté for 3-4 minutes.

Next, stir in the halved cherry tomatoes, heavy cream, diced chipotle pepper + sauce and the shrimp.  Toss and cook until shrimp are opaque, about 6-7 minutes.

Finally add in the cooked and drained pasta noodles and parmesan cheese; toss and cook until the cheese has melted, about 2-3 minutes.  Taste for more Adobo seasoning and/or salt if needed.

Serve in a large bowl along with extra parmesan cheese to garnish and warm crusty bread for soaking up the rich, slightly smoky and spicy cream sauce.  Enjoy!!

ShrimpAlfredo

Biscuit & Gravy Sausage Dippers

Life gets busy, it gets hectic, it gets messy….literally at times.  So one morning, while cleaning the house up in a hurry for unexpected company, my boys were just about begging me for biscuits and gravy.  I had zero time for that nonsense, but the “mom-guilt” was setting in.  Scanning my fridge and pantry I found a few staples that I could conjure up into their breakfast favorite; my fingers were crossed at least.

Whelp, all I can say in conclusion is that THIS is the way I may always make them “biscuits and gravy” from here on out.  It was quick, virtually no cleanup, and no mess with having young boys try and cut their biscuits with a fork, dropping crumbs on the ground, gravy dribbles across the table…sausage grease on the stove, flour on the counter…nope!  Just baked and rolled sausage crescent in hand with a gravy dipping sauce.  Oh the obviousness that’s been in my house this entire time…

*For a “crustier” baked dough, simply brush a bit of egg wash (1 egg+ 1 Tbsp water) overtop the prepared sausage crescents prior to baking.

**You can also add cheese and/or scrambled eggs, cooked bacon, jalapenos etc. to this prior to rolling up and baking.

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 package crescent roll dough
  • 8 sausage links (precooked/ready-to-eat)
  • Cream gravy (homemade or packet, ‘Pioneer’ brand makes a pretty good one)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.

Lay out the perforated triangles of crescent roll dough onto your baking sheet and place a sausage link, horizontally, at the widest end of the triangle.  Roll the sausage and dough up towards the point, making sure there’s about 1-2″ in between each one.

Place in the oven for about 20 minutes, until the dough puffs up and turns a beautiful golden brown.

Serve with a cup of warm peppered, cream gravy to dip into and some fresh fruit!  Enjoy!

BiscuitandGravySausageDippers

Caprese Stuffed Portobello’s (w/ semi-homemade Parmesan Risotto)

In the mood for Italian food but tired of the same ol’ pasta dish? going for the “Meatless Monday”? or maybe even the gluten-free route?  Well, as always, I have a goodie that fits all of those bills!

Honestly, my reasoning for this creative dish was that my oldest son and I are mushroom fanatics and my dear husband was out of town with work (dang trains!).  The “my husband” part is important to this because he does NOT eat meals without meat.  Salads are for the meat he eats, aka cows. 😉 but I digress…

I relished at the opportunity of a meatless meal and obviously that is where the Portobello fit in!  Rich and meaty in it’s own right that pairs so well with Italian flavors!  Now for the non-heavy, gluten-laden feeling, I went with rice…and in Italian fashion, I tweaked it to a cheat-sheet risotto!

I tell ya, this will be a staple in my home from here on out!  On Mondays.  On day’s my carnivore husband is away. 😉

The Starting Lineup

Caprese Stuffed Portobello’s

  • 4 large Portobello mushrooms, “gills” scraped out of center)
  • 2 ripe Roma tomatoes, sliced 1/2″ thick and quartered
  • Fresh mozzarella (sliced, torn or small individual ball’s i.e. BelGioiosa or Galbani, etc)
  • Fresh basil, torn
  • 2+ Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • Balsamic reduction (i.e. FINI brand), garnish drizzle
  • Parmesan cheese, garnish

Semi-Homemade Parmesan Risotto

  • 1 box risotto (parmesan flavor if possible, i.e. Lundberg Creamy Parmesan Risotto), substitute low-sodium chicken broth/stock in place of water required
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped for garnish

_____________________________________________________________________________________________

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, line baking sheet with foil or parchment.

“Risotto”

Prepare similar to your package directions:  Toast the Arborio rice with the 1 TBSP olive oil in a large skillet or sauce pan over medium heat for 2 minutes.  Add 2 1/2 cups chicken broth and seasoning packet to rice, stir, bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer, leaving uncovered for 20 minutes, until rice is tender, stirring occasionally.  Once thickened, add in the butter and parmesan cheese; fold in the parsley.  *If too thick, stir in 1/4 cup more chicken broth at a time. 

Meanwhile….

“Caprese Stuffed Portobello’s”

Place your cleaned out Portobello onto your baking sheet, hollow side up.  Drizzle with a bit of olive oil.  Layer on the fresh mozzarella cheese, followed by the sliced tomatoes, a bit of the fresh basil and a hefty pinch of salt and pepper.  Drizzle a bit more olive oil overtop.  Place in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, until cheese appears melty and gooey and tomatoes slightly roasted; juices appearing.

To serve:  Spoon the creamy risotto in a bowl making a slight well.  Place the roasted Caprese Stuffed Portobello overtop that well you made and sprinkle with a bit more fresh basil and a drizzle of balsamic reduction.  Enjoy!

CapreseStuffedPortobello

 

Texas Breakfast Patty Melt

Lord help me, I just cannot keep up with the overnight-oats, acai breakfast bowl brunch eaters of late.  When it’s the weekend, all I crave is some stick-to-your-ribs, hungover (remember, I said “Lord help me”), diner style goodies!  Whelp…here it is!

Speaking of diner style, I often enjoy the famed patty melt when frequented, so here I did a morning spin on it.  Also, in true Tejas fashion, I had to kick it up a bit with some yee-haw hot peppers!  All in all, I may never go back to the regular guy…seems a bit boring now.  Everyone knows I’m into the rebels of the world!…Lord help me.

The Starting Lineup

  • 8 slices Texas toast (or rye, sourdough, etc)
  • 1-1/2 lb breakfast sausage
  • 8 slices thick cut bacon, cooked crisp
  • 4 eggs, fried
  • 4 American cheese slices
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 poblano pepper, seeded chopped
  • 1-2 jalapeno peppers, sliced (seeded optional…how spicy do you like it??)
  • 4 Tbsp butter, divided
  • 2 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • Pickled jalapenos (optional)

In a large heavy bottomed skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium-low heat.  Add in the chopped onion along with the poblano and jalapeno peppers.  Allow to cook down for at least 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  This creates the very soft, translucent patty melt style onion you’re familiar with.

Meanwhile, make 4 large, but thin patties out of the breakfast sausage.  Cook the sausage patties along with the bacon till cooked through.  Remove to paper towel lined plate.  To that same pan, cook up your eggs to you desired doneness (over-easy, over-hard, scrambled..)

Assemble Sandwiches:

Coat each slice of bread with the mayonnaise, the side that you’ll be grilling.  The mayo creates a nice “crust” when cooking.

To your 1st slice of bread, layer the cheese, sausage, onion-hot pepper mix, bacon, egg (and another slice of cheese and pickled jalapenos if desired).  Top with remaining slice of bread, again, mayo side out.

Add remaining 2 Tbsp butter to a hot, wiped-clean skillet and carefully grill each side to a golden brown perfection!  Enjoy my friends!!

TexasMelt

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